Below are two other ideas for streamlining the PBEM game. For this thread, I am assuming that simultaneous diplomacy and reinforcement turns are integrated into the game (simultaneous reinforcement and diplomacy phases have been discussed elsewhere and, although improvements are still possible, are not the subject of this thread). The objective of this thread is to reduce the number of 24 hour turn arounds significantly by dealing with peace.
Despite the name of the name, most players spend most of their turns at peace, so much so, the game could be called Empires at Parade Rest. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that a player is at war only 25% of the time (not counting France). The game has 120 months, so this leaves 90 turns for a player to pick his nose. A fantastic way to cut years of playing time off the game would be to let players opt out of their land and naval phases. How could we do this?
Naval phase: Easy enough, allow players to “skip” their naval phases (even if at war) by selecting a button during the reinforcement phase. By skipping, their naval units simply do not move. So for instance, say Prussia, Austria, Spain, Russia, and France either have no fleets, are ice-locked, are blockaded, or have nothing to do. These players opt to “skip” their naval phase. Let’s assume GB selects to go last in the naval phase. At the end of the reinforcement phase (which is now simultaneous with all files sent to the French player), the game determines who is next, which is in this case Turkey. Turkey does her move, then sends the files to all players, as usual, with game announcing it is GB’s naval phase. GB does its move and then it is the land phase. So instead of 7 naval moves, each assumed to take 24 hours, we have 2. Assuming that this happens often enough (say 50% of the time), we have eliminated 60 months worth of naval moves by 5 players or 300 days from the game. Not bad.
Land phase: A little harder, as this phase can not be skipped. However, a player could opt to do no movement (i.e. autoforage all units) during the reinforcement phase, either auto foraging or paying for supply. Let’s call this standing down. Troops from all the stood down powers would autoforage simultaneously during the reinforcement phase (effectively completing their no movement first). Naval movement of stood down troops would not be allowed.
There would have to be a couple of compromises. First, the game would assume that units of other players do not move into areas controlled by the player who has stood down his units, or if they do they do not affect forage rolls unless they started in an area with stood down corps, i.e. a foreign corps moving through the area with a stood down corps would not affect the stood down corps forage roll, but a foreign corps starting in the same area as a stood down corps would. Second, a stood down player could not build depots outside his own country when stood down, to prevent the simultaneous construction of depots in the same area (the work around here is for corps in foreign nations to be “lent” or simply to not to opt to stand down your army).
Again, let’s say it is January 1806, and assume Prussia and Austria are under enforced peace with France. Russia, Turkey and Spain have conquered all the minors they are going to get and GB has its two corps at a tea party in London safe behind the Channel Fleet. None of these powers has any reason to move their army. France opts to go last but still keep its movement. At the end of the naval phase, the game will announce it is French land phase, France does its move, then we go into the diplomacy phase. Instead of 7 separate players each taking 24 hours to do nothing, we have one turn. So again, assuming this happens 50% of the time, we have eliminated 60 months of moves by 7 players, or another 360 days from the game.
This basically creates what happens several times in all the board games when the game leaps ahead several months at a time. It also lets less active major powers (i.e. Spain) be less involved in the game when they are not needed, saving them from complete boredom.
What do you all think? The math might not be right, but I think it is a good idea. Combine with simultaneous reinforcement and diplomacy phases, a peaceful month could be reduced to two game days. You could do a year in a less than a month.