Saturday, 3 October 2009

PBEM Campaign almost ready to start

I have had a very busy couple of days working on the new campaign. It is very much a matter of making things up as I go along, as I have never run a Play By Email campaign before.

I have ten players and am trying to confirm that the email communication is working. To do this I sent out a sort of starter pack by email with a map and instructions for the CinC and each corps commander and asked them to reply. They live all over the world, so I have set the standard that replies should be received within 24 hours. One day later three had still not replied. Three more emails, and six hours later, I am still waiting for the last. The problem is that I don't know if they did not receive it, or just didn't bother to reply.

I can see that this communciations could become a big problem, especially as I am relying on each player to email his daily movement orders to me each day Monday to Friday. So I have laid down that once the game is underway, and I know the contact emails are correct, it is each player responsibility to notify his CinC, and me, if he will not be able to send orders. The CinC will then control his corps until he returns. If they don't notify me I will send one reminder. If it happens again they are out of the campaign. It sounds a bit harsh, even to me. But the alternative is that I will spend all of my time chasing players to send in orders. As it is I will have ten mails each day to convert into the campaign and then issue a new daily situation map.

There are plenty of questions, especially from the two CinC. Yesterday Jan and I went into Denia for our weekly "people fix", and to do the weekly shop. It was a lovely day, and we had lunch at the harbour. So it was late afternoon when we got home - to find 20 emails about the campaign waiting for me.

I started at about 4pm, and it was gone midnight before had sorted them all out. Most were questions, and many the same question. So I have laid down that all campaign questions of a general nature should be put on the Forum. In that way all players can read the question, and all get the same answer. Also they can refer back if necessary.

The other thing which kept me busy was getting the blog right. The questions made me realise that a lot of things were not covered on the blog. So as well as answering their emails I was updating the blog and putting new ones on. In particular there is now a blog explaining what sort of orders the CinC can issue, and exactly what must be done now to start the campaign.

We are off to Calpe to meet some friends for a short walk and lunch. I wonder how many emails will be waiting when we get back this afternoon?

Its been great fun, though a lot of work, so far. I just hope that our campaign designed to provide quick wargames can translate into an enjoyable multiplayer PBEM campaign. Only time will tell.

2 comments:

MurdocK said...

have you seen Cyberboard?

http://cyberboard.brainiac.com/

There are a few gameboards for Napoleonic titles and I have been working on one for the Danube Campaign which will have flexibility to reach out into all the Napoleonic theaters.

Which one is your chosen campaign?

thistlebarrow said...

Hi MurdocK

Thanks for the link to cyberboard. I had never heard of them before, but will certainly look into it.

I have never run a PBEM campaign before, and I am trying to incorporate it into my normal campaign system - which is VERY low tech.

What I hope to be able to do is to run the strategic and tactical map movement as a PBEM, and Jan and I to fight the wargames.

Its VERY early days to see how this will work, and I am not at all convinced that it ever will work. It would be great if it did, but time will tell.

Paul