I have always thought that there were quite a few solo wargamers around. I have no statistics to prove it, but over the years I seem to have read a lot about solo Wargaming and how difficult it is to find an opponent.
If this is true, then you would think that PBEM campaigning would be an ideal solution. Particularly in recent years when almost everyone I know has a computer and communicates by email or Skype.
For many years I have followed various Napoleonic Wargaming forum, in particular TMP. Last week I was interested to read a post about PBEM. The poster wanted to know who was interested, who has played, what did they like or not and what would improve their enjoyment of such a campaign.
I am currently working hard on the next phase of my own PBEM, so I was very interested to see what response he would get. I was very disappointed, as he must have been, to see only two replies before it went down the list to oblivion.
And this on a Napoleonic Discussion group where there were 12 replies to a post about “......a game based around an invasion of Mars by Napoleon's Grande Armée in 1812” !
Either I am wrong about general interest in PBEM campaigns, or those interested do not read or post on TMP.
I run a Yahoo forum for my own PBEM campaign, and in the past I have often asked for feedback on the previous campaign when I have started work on the next one. Usually I get one or two comments.
Having read the post on TMP I thought it would be a good idea to do something similar on my forum. But given the previous lack of response I thought it might be a better idea to send out a questionnaire to each member. There are currently 93 members. All have asked to join, so presumably all have an interest in PBEM in general and my campaign in particular.
Anyway I spent most of yesterday afternoon sending each one an email with the questionnaire attached.
Some years ago I started another Yahoo Forum, this one called Campaigns of Napoleon. I had hoped to create an exchange of views. But after a good start it quickly dried up. I still get the occasional question, and even more surprising the occasional request to join. There are currently 206 members on that forum. I did not send each a questionnaire, but I did put one in the Files Section and posted to ask anyone interested to complete and send to me.
It is only 24 hours since I did all of this. So far I have had a very disappointing 6 replies. I suspect that anyone who is going to reply will do so within a couple of days. So it does not look like my questionnaire will be a runaway success.
So it would seem that there is not the interest in PBEM campaigns that I had thought there would be. Or perhaps there are lots of wargamers out there running their own PBEM who just don’t want to get involved in a discussion about it.
Some time ago I ran a wargame group in Salisbury over a period of 20 years. It was quite successful, but I had to trawl for new member’s very year or so. Just before I moved to Spain I happened to meet a solo wargamer who also lived in Salisbury. H e told me that he had heard about my group, and had often thought of joining, but just never got around to it.
“Nowt as strange as folk” as my son’s northern neighbours would say