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PBeM - You Got to Love it!

 
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PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 7/1/2010 3:53:52 PM   
mwest


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Hi Gents:

It was "strongly" suggested to me... in an earlier post on the AI limitations... that I start a new thread dealing with PBeM. So here it is!

Things I love about JTCS PBeM

Superior quality game play versus AI. IMO, there is nothing that beats playing against a human opponent. Feints, probes, deep recon missions, ambushes, etc. are now possible... and probable "events." Players need to "out think" their opponents and utilize superior tactics and moves to succeed on the battlefield. No longer can a player exploit the AI's many short comings to "win" a battle... cause you never know what may happen when playing against a human opponent! Also, when playing against a human opponent... that person's "morale" plays a role in the game. Wipe out some high value units like HQ or artillery... and you may be rewarded by your opponent resigning the match!

Multiple games at one time. Many PBeM generals have several games (from different theaters) underway at a time... against different opponents... creating unique and different conditions. Tactics that work against "cautious" Jones will be disastrous against "aggressive" Smith.

Turn-based combat / moves. I like being able to take my time and focus on a specific turn... checking LOS multiple times... reviewing the road network for possible friendly and enemy advances... calculating attack odds... watching the turn replay, etc. And then executing the turn... in a manageable chunk of time.

Maybe other PBeM enthusiasts can add to this list?

I was introduced to PBeM back in 2006... and have never looked back!

Good stuff!



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Regards, - MW

The Blitz - Wargaming at its Best!

http://www.theblitz.org/
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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 7/1/2010 6:23:51 PM   
Geomitrak


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Mike,

Agree with all the above...plus, the pleasure of knowing a little of your opponents psychology and habitual tactics. I'm playing with an old friend I've known for over 35 years. We first started playing with miniatures at college, so its quite incredible to be facing him on an 'electronic' battlefield all these years later. Still as formidable an opponent as ever he was, too.

PBEM is the way to get the most out of this game, and we've already agreed to face each other in Vietnam when Modern Wars is released. Huge entertainment !

Regards

Paul

< Message edited by Geomitrak -- 7/1/2010 6:25:02 PM >


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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 7/1/2010 6:53:32 PM   
mwest


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Paul:

That is fantastic!

I agree with your comments... if it were not for the friendships and acquaintances I've made over my many years of CS PBeM... I would have left this game a long time ago.

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The Blitz - Wargaming at its Best!

http://www.theblitz.org/

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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 7/1/2010 7:52:37 PM   
Crossroads


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I wish I would've tried it the first time EF and WF were around, during the Talonsoft days... I am definitively a PBEM convert as well. Those of you who haven't tried give it a shot!

Nothing like the adrenaline of the first battle seeing a live enemy advancing towards you 

(in reply to mwest)
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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 7/2/2010 2:29:52 AM   
lgsptlnd

 

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As one who's never played PBeM, I often thought...well, with on-line play you can both peruse the scenario file and you both know the exact disposition of forces, you both know when and where reinforcements will arrive, you know the geographic specifics of roads, no-roads, blown bridges, crossings etc. Doesn't this take some of the unkown out of it?

(in reply to Crossroads)
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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 7/2/2010 5:15:49 AM   
Jason Petho


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Joined: 6/22/2004
From: Calgary, AB, Canada
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quote:

ORIGINAL: lgsptlnd

As one who's never played PBeM, I often thought...well, with on-line play you can both peruse the scenario file and you both know the exact disposition of forces, you both know when and where reinforcements will arrive, you know the geographic specifics of roads, no-roads, blown bridges, crossings etc. Doesn't this take some of the unkown out of it?


You can do the same thing against the computer, but what you cannot do is predict how your opponent is going to manage that particular scenarios.

Each player will play a scenario differently than another player. Typically, each player will play the same scenario differently based on what their past experiences.

The true beauty is that human players are completely unpredicable while you can literally make the computer do what you want when you are playing it, especially when playing a DGC.

Carl von Clauswitz wrote "No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy" which is very true in this case. You may know everything there is to know about a scenario, for turn one. Turn two is a different game altogether, depending on your opponent.

Give PBEM a try... you'll love it!

Jason Petho




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The website needs to be updated.

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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 7/2/2010 7:29:55 AM   
Crossroads


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jason Petho


quote:

ORIGINAL: lgsptlnd

As one who's never played PBeM, I often thought...well, with on-line play you can both peruse the scenario file and you both know the exact disposition of forces, you both know when and where reinforcements will arrive, you know the geographic specifics of roads, no-roads, blown bridges, crossings etc. Doesn't this take some of the unkown out of it?


You can do the same thing against the computer, but what you cannot do is predict how your opponent is going to manage that particular scenarios.

Each player will play a scenario differently than another player. Typically, each player will play the same scenario differently based on what their past experiences.

The true beauty is that human players are completely unpredicable while you can literally make the computer do what you want when you are playing it, especially when playing a DGC.

Carl von Clauswitz wrote "No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy" which is very true in this case. You may know everything there is to know about a scenario, for turn one. Turn two is a different game altogether, depending on your opponent.

Give PBEM a try... you'll love it!

Jason Petho



In addition to that, you should be able to find other players such as me who never look at the scenario file, before playing. I personally consider blind playing muh more fun, not knowing what to expect apart from the tidbits of information the scenario designer has put to the description.

So, when looking for someone to play, just state your prerequisites beforehands. I am sure some one will answer.

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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 7/2/2010 4:15:36 PM   
Otto von Blotto


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I think pbem is the only way to play these games for any length of time without it becoming stale and predictable.

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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 7/19/2010 8:07:26 AM   
Pasha

 

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Yes of coarse theres nothing like beeting a real flesh and blood player. I challenge you all to play ef cross roads to moscow without looking at enemy. If anyone wins first or even second try please pm me. I would be interested in hearing how it went. Its a perfect training Game in my opinion. I think you all will be to busy trying toi survive to remember its an ai game. A real gem. Have fun.

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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 7/19/2010 8:35:39 PM   
rekm41


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Sounds like an interesting one. Will have to give it a shot.

Thanks

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Keep Moving and Keep your Head DOWN!!

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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 1/2/2011 7:37:52 AM   
HansHafen

 

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Is there a PBEM technical post somewhere? I do the german turn, end turn, then zip it and email it to my opponent. He unzips it, loads it, does his Russian turn, ends turn, zips it, emails it to me. (Same name, 00js-rl.bte each time) I unzip (to same default location in jtcs) and load it and it shows me the german turn (that I did) and says its the Russians turn again! When it should show me the Russian turn my opponent did and let me play turn two for germany. Infuriating! Help!

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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 1/2/2011 10:06:23 AM   
Crossroads


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quote:

ORIGINAL: HansHafen

Is there a PBEM technical post somewhere? I do the german turn, end turn, then zip it and email it to my opponent. He unzips it, loads it, does his Russian turn, ends turn, zips it, emails it to me. (Same name, 00js-rl.bte each time) I unzip (to same default location in jtcs) and load it and it shows me the german turn (that I did) and says its the Russians turn again! When it should show me the Russian turn my opponent did and let me play turn two for germany. Infuriating! Help!


Saw your other post as well. It seems the G1 Admin did not make it to new Blitz portal. Too bad.

My first guess as what went wrong would be that you are opening an old file. I always play extra safe with game files, by cutting the file from game folder and pasting it to my "PBEM Files" folder. Then, when I receive a file, I always put it to an game folder that is empty of the previous file.

The other reason might be that it is not you but your opponent who accidentally sent your original file back?

Third common problem is not to push the Next Turn button, but the symptoms of that is that you are not able to open the file at all.

I can't recall what the Blitz article said, I believe Glenn Saunders' article is pretty much spot on. The thing I do like about the Blitz recommedatios is the file naming, which I like more:

!!YournameOpponentsnameScenarioname,

!! ensures the files are not to be mixed with other files that start with a number, as there is a plenty of them in the folder.

Anyway, here's what the manual has to say. It is good advice, although makes for a long reading. I hope it helps. It seems you have already read it, though, given you are using the naming convention it mentions...


15.0 Having Fun with Play by E-Mail
By Glenn Saunders
Pitting your skills against another human in a PBEM game is one of the more challenging aspects that the Campaign Series has to offer. I’ll never forget my very first PBEM game. My heart was literally pounding as I saw the units move across the map, but this time not under computer control. There was another human at different terminal trying to defeat me. This was getting personal!

But for someone new to this aspect of wargaming, it can sometimes lead to frustrat¬ing experiences where files just don’t seem to cooperate. The purpose of this section is to point out some “tried and true” techniques that have proven themselves over time to reduce, if not completely eliminate, most PBEM difficulties.

First of all, you cannot keep your game files in a separate folder (or directory). As much as it may seem like you can, this Windows95/98®, Windows XP or Windows Vista file management ability does not work with the Campaign Series. In order to work properly, all saved game files must be kept in, and opened from, your Campaign Series directory, that by default is usually:

C:\Program Files\Matrix Games\John Tiller’s Campaign Series

Secondly, when playing the game, always, always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep the same game file name. Here are a couple of tips on this:

Consider starting your PBEM game file name with 00, as these files will alphabetical¬ly appear at the top of your directory list in Windows® Explorer.

Use your initials and your opponent’s initials separated by a dash. Therefore if I, Glenn Saunders, were playing a game with John Brown, our game file might be called:

00gs-jb.bte

It may seem complex, but it really works.

Avoid trying to send files back and forth that include the turn number. If you wish to use the File / Save As... function to save the game at every turn, then that is your own business. But if you try sending these variable file names, you will inevitably make a mistake and save the file with the wrong name resulting in lost time and relaying turns or exchang¬ing e-mail while you sort out the mess with your opponent.

Passwords can be used with PBEM games. The whole purpose of the password protection in Campaign Series is not to prevent cheating per se, but to prevent your opponent from accidentally opening your game file in the wrong phase and thus spoiling the Fog of War effect by seeing the position of your hidden units. Passwords are for honest players and are not meant to stop cheating. There are some people out there who are going to cheat, but by and large, I’ve found that the vast majority of wargamers are honest.

Keep your password simple. This is not your bank account or your company secrets that are being guarded here. Use common words that are before your eyes or so easy to spell as to be difficult to forget. Avoid complex names using special characters and shifts in case from capital letters to lowercase. Here are some examples of my favorites: as I look around my office, I see the words “monitor” and “laserjet.” I see “pocket” and “oxford.” I drive a “van.” Use your dog or cat’s name, perhaps. Anything you won’t easily forget.

Use a compression utility and always “zip” (compress) your files, even if they are not big. Compressing the file adds a little time to the PBEM process, but it saves tons of lost time. Compression utilities can be found as shareware on many sites around the Internet. You will certainly find something at: www.winzip.com.

Compressing (i.e., “zipping”) the game file has two purposes:

– It reduces file corruption when the file is being sent across the many miles that typ¬ically separate you from your opponent. I will not go into the technical details, but it is like “rolling up a map before you step out into the wind” – there is much less chance the map will be ripped away by the wind if it’s properly rolled up.

– When sending and receiving files by e-mail using many different types of e-mail programs, ZIP files are usually handled in a consistent manner that can be handled by the person receiving the file.

For example, I have been sent files that were not zipped and they are sometimes appended to the end of the e-mail message. In these cases, it is possible but difficult to copy the entire message into an editor and remove the unwanted parts – but you have to be very careful and know what data’s important and what’s “excess.” Miss a single character, and the file will not work properly. “Error opening file” is not a message you want to see!

Any e-mail message that includes a game file should have the word “GAME FILE” in the subject line of the e-mail. Some people like to chat and exchange e-mail messages, including game comments or other news with their opponents. Sometimes they attach the file. But sometimes they think they attached the file, and never mention the game in the message. The result can easily be several lost days while the person who “thought” he sent the file (and didn’t) waits for the person who doesn’t have the file to return it.

If you are chatting with the person you are playing, be careful to remove the “GAME FILE” word from the subject line if your message does not contain the file. When in doubt, ask! It only takes a second and might avoid days in lost gaming.

Make yourself a backup copy of your game before you press the “END PHASE” button and get the file ready to send. What I recommend is that you do a FILE / SAVE AS... view.bte – then “SAVE AS” again – back to the GAME FILE name. This does two things:

1) It allows you to look at and ponder the situation while you wait for your opponent to respond (it could be days and you may wish to look at the situation map), and...

2) It gives you a backup. If the file does become corrupted during the transfer and your opponent can’t open it at his end for whatever reason; you merely open that file, then SAVE AS / Game file / END PHASE / ZIP and resend it to him. You’d be surprised how many games have been saved that way.

Finally, always press the “END PHASE” button before you send the file. Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how often it is forgotten. Simply by rushing to send out the file and get on with the game you are more likely to cause delays. And that is a fact proven over many matches.

In the event that you do have a problem with a PBEM game, reading a file or getting an error, here is what is recommended:

1) Try checking your password.
2) Completely shut¬ting down your PC and “cold start” it (that has opened 3 or 4 file that would co-operate).
3) if #1 & #2 fail, then ask your opponent to check and make sure he remembered to END PHASE. These three simple things correct 98% of the PBEM problems.

If problems continue, come up to the Campaign Series forum at www.matrixgames.com and see if one of the helpful contributors there can help you out.

Good Luck and Good Gaming!




< Message edited by Crossroads -- 1/2/2011 10:11:57 AM >

(in reply to HansHafen)
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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 1/2/2011 7:13:52 PM   
HansHafen

 

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Hey there, I have read the manual re PBEM and so has my opponent. The only thing that makes seen is that he is sending me my move back instead of his new file. I bet this has something to do with saving the new file with the same name as the old file. I bet MS Windows is screwing us somehow by not changing the data in the "new" save with the same name. Maybe we should go with a,b,c or 1,2,3 to eliminate that possibility. Thanks for your help and I'll let you know if we get it to work.

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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 1/2/2011 10:52:00 PM   
Geomitrak


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Sounds like you are just saving the scenario situation and then sending it.

When you have finished doing all you want to do, go to the menu bar at the top, click on 'Turn' then click on 'Next'. You will get the message 'File is ready to be sent to your opponent' or something like that.

By doing this, the scenario is both advanced into the next move, and saved on your computer, and is ready for your opponent to play his turn.

Regards

Paul

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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 1/4/2011 8:08:21 AM   
HansHafen

 

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OK, figured it out. I had to update my brand new game to a newer version of the game. The update was from like two years ago, but the download didn't include it. So my friend and I were using different versions of the program. So, add that to our list of fixes for the PBEM problems!

Thanks for you help!

(in reply to Geomitrak)
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RE: PBeM - You Got to Love it! - 1/4/2011 8:46:17 AM   
Wolfie1

 

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From: Blackpool, England
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Glad you got it working

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Teamwork is essential - it gives the enemy someone else to shoot at.....

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