Saturday, 10 October 2009

PBEM Campaign - Not so good

Only yesterday everything seemed to be going so well with the PBEM campaign, and now the wheels have fallen off!

The exchange of emails worked much better than I dared hope, especially as each player had to submit his orders every 24 hours.

However the communication has been a problem. What would be simple to explain face to face has proved very difficult via email. This may be due to the way I explained it. Some players seemed to understand at once, others couldn't seem to grasp what I meant. And with the daily requirement, plus the different time zones players live in, this proved difficult.

The biggest problem was the system I was using. It has worked really well for a solo campaign, and I think it would also work if there were just one player per side and an umpire. But it was not up to it for a multi players.

First there was too much for the CinC to do, and not enough for the corps commanders. I tried to allow the corps commanders more freedom by using the types of command which work so well in the wargame. But as a battle drew near it became obvious that it would not work for the campaign.

I thought that we could get through the first battle, and that the corps commanders would then have more to do in the aftermath. But on Friday there was a lot of traffic between players trying to sort out their battle plan, and we just ran out of time. I tried to cobble the first battle, but the more I thought about it the more I realised it needed serious reorganisation.

So today I have called a halt to the campaign whilst we sort things out. I have mailed each player to confirm that they want to continue, and to ask for feedback on the campaign so far. I have also published the outline of the new system on the blog.

Hopefully by Monday I will have all of the replies, and we can get it going again.

The whole idea of the campaign was to learn what works and what doesn't with PBEM. Well I have certainly learned a lot about what doesn't work! If I can keep the players on board I am sure that we can get it going again.


MurdocK said...

Just curious:

What are you using for the 'information' being passed from player to player?

Have you looked into Cyberboard?

thistlebarrow said...

Hi Murdock

The main means of communication is the blog PBEM Magdeburg Campaign, which is updated daily.

Communication between players and myself are by email.

I have been given a link to Cyberboard but it looks a little complicated for me! You will gather from my maps that I am extremely low tech.