Wednesday, 27 January 2010

End of PBEM campaign

I have reluctantly decided to abandon the PBEM campaign. After sending two reminders, and waiting two weeks for a reply, I have to accept that the two players who have not sent me their latest move orders are no longer interested in the campaign.
With the two who have confirmed that they no longer wish to take part, this makes four players out of ten who no longer wish to continue with the campaign.
The campaign was already approaching a major battle, which would have been a good place to bring it to an end. Had I received the outstanding orders it would have brought us to the end of a campaign day. The two commanders in chief would then have issued orders for the battle, and the eight corps commanders confirmed their first move. I would then have had a whole campaign day to fight the battle as a wargame.
Its a pity that after so much dedication and participation by all players that the campaign has to end on a sour note. I do not want to finish on this note, so I am going to set up a battle based on the current map locations. In effect the campaign has ended as far as the players are concerned, and all corps will just "march to the sound of the guns". So at least they will have the satisfaction of a major battle which will decide the winner.
I set up this series of PBEM campaigns to see whether I could run my own 1813 campaign as an ongoing PBEM one. However my experience over the past four months or so has convinced me that it is not a good idea.
My own campaign was designed to provide an endless supply of good wargames for Jan and I. And to this end it was worked very well. The campaign element was fought on a series of simplified maps, each of which was one of my scenery squares. So I could always set up a wargames table by just placing a template on the map to cover nine squares.
I had hoped that handing over the map moves to PBEM would make the campaign more interesting. I regret that it has failed. The maps are too simple for an enjoyable map campaign, and that is all that the PBEM players have. The battle produced were sometimes pointless, and not very enjoyable for us to fight or for the players to read about. Worse the whole thing relied on each player being reliable in submitting daily movement orders. And this was the worse failure of all. Every week I had to chase outstanding orders, not always from the same player. And this resulted in long delays between moves. This in turn meant that the players forgot what they were trying to achieve. And the long Christmas break just compounded all of these problems.
I have already started a "one off game" in the Wellington's Battles series. I did so because I expected that it would take at least one week for the final orders to be received for the PBEM battle. I will continue to fight this wargame, and when it is finished I will set up the final PBEM wargame.
I will then return to my own solo campaign. I am trying not to come to any hasty conclusions about future PBEM campaigns. At present they seem unlikely, and certainly they will not in future take the place of my own wargame producing campaign. But whether I will try to run one alongside my own campaign is still a possibility.
Its been very enjoyable taking part in PBEM at last, both as a player and an organiser. Its not been as rewarding as I had hoped. The game I took part in as a player just stopped without explanation. I still don't know why. This must be the worse way to end a campaign. Very disappointing for all concerned, and quite rude to the players who are left wondering what happened. This is the main reason I am determined to end the campaign I am running with a major battle.
Running my own PBEM campaign has also been disappointing, mostly because of the mixed degree of interest on the side of the players. I think this is probably part and parcel of Internet groups. There seems to be a real lack of commitment on the part of some players. And the fact that you are faceless and unknown makes it easy to just drop out when you get bored. It is perfectly understandable that this should happen, and a simple email would allow the remainder of the group to carry on. The fact that some feel this common courtesy is unnecessary is the thing which most annoys me.
Perhaps its a age thing. As you get older you notice how rude people are to each other, especially the young, even face to face. The good manners which used to be general, and the lack of which commented upon, seems to be a thing of the past. And if younger people treat their friends with disrespect and lack of courtesy, then its hardly surprising that they would carry this behaviour over to their dealings on the net. Understandable of course, but still quite sad.
Anyway at least Jan and I have a wargame on the table again, and its good to be back to our old routine.

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