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Vassal. - 8/12/2008 7:26:37 PM   
andym


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OK,bit thick but here goes.I have come across a thing clled Vassal engine.Now it seems to me that this is a bit of software that enables you to play computer versions of old board wargames.A few things have arisen in my mind.


1.It looks as though its free,is it?(i dont mind paying but hey............)
2.Do you HAVE to play online or can you play against a computer opponent?
3.Do you HAVE to have the original version of the game,ie an actual physical version?
4.Is it any good?

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RE: Vassal. - 8/12/2008 8:12:37 PM   
GJK


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quote:

ORIGINAL: andym

OK,bit thick but here goes.I have come across a thing clled Vassal engine.Now it seems to me that this is a bit of software that enables you to play computer versions of old board wargames.A few things have arisen in my mind.


1.It looks as though its free,is it?(i dont mind paying but hey............)
2.Do you HAVE to play online or can you play against a computer opponent?
3.Do you HAVE to have the original version of the game,ie an actual physical version?
4.Is it any good?


Welcome to VASSAL - I and many others have been using it for years now.

To answer your questions:

1. It is free, though Rodney Kinney and the rest of the programmers sure would love a donation every now and then to help keep the website running and the software up to date. ;)
2. You can play online or via Pbem (by sending recorded logs of your game). There is no artificial intelligence or computer opponent in any of the games. It is merely a tool that represents the boardgame version of games on the computer screen.
3. In most cases, you do need the original copy of the rules. You won't need to set up the game or use any of the pieces when playing on VASSAL. You will need to know the rules (as it does not enforce any rules) and you may need any charts that the game uses.
4. It is great! It revived my board wargaming addiction!

Other tools that may interest you. They are all similar but offer their own unique set of features:

Cyberboard: supports Pbem play (only at this time). Many prefer it for Pbem play to VASSAL.

ZunTzu: Supports online play (only at this time). A newcomer that has a slick interface and fancy zooming/scrolling and is an easy to make gamebox (no coding) application.

Wargameroom. Online play (only at the moment) that does support rules enforcement for the few games that it has to offer. Some of the older titles aren't very slick looking, but with rules enforcement and an easy way to find opponents, this is a nice choice if you're just learning a game perhaps.

There's a few others but I think those are the "big 3" at the moment.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/12/2008 8:23:56 PM   
andym


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Many thanks,looks like i need to get up in the loft and see just what i do have!

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RE: Vassal. - 8/12/2008 11:16:04 PM   
sabre1


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What is the difference between Vassal and Aide de Camp 2, other than Vassal is free?

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RE: Vassal. - 8/12/2008 11:30:56 PM   
GJK


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Being free is the big one. Also, the fact that it is actively being developed with more and more new features being added is another. Module support (game availability) is a third.

ADC2 was great for it's time, but there has been no changes to it in years and the availability of new game modules is less and less. I know that MMP has stopped developing ADC2 modules in lieu of VASSAL modules, and perhaps other companies have as well.

Also, with a recent update to VASSAL, you can now import ADC2 game modules and convert them to VASSAL. Several have been converted already.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/13/2008 6:42:08 PM   
Grell

 

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Sheesh I didn't know you could play boardgames via email.

Regards,

Greg

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RE: Vassal. - 8/13/2008 7:32:04 PM   
GJK


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That ability has actually existed for some time (in the case with wargames at least). I recall playing the old AH "Victory in the Pacific" via snail-mail. You would use the last digit of a pre-determined stock symbol as your die roll. It just seems unimaginable today.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/13/2008 9:05:37 PM   
Veldor


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What I don't get is if there are that many people who will play board wargames online... Why won't anyone get off their butt and drive more than 5-10 miles to actually play face to face????

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RE: Vassal. - 8/13/2008 9:12:46 PM   
GJK


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Same question, different subject:

Question: What I don't get is if there are that many people who will shop online... Why won't anyone get off their butt and drive more than 5-10 miles to actually buy in a store????

Answer: convienence I suppose.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/13/2008 9:38:18 PM   
Veldor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: GJK

Same question, different subject:

Question: What I don't get is if there are that many people who will shop online... Why won't anyone get off their butt and drive more than 5-10 miles to actually buy in a store????

Answer: convienence I suppose.


Yet there are plenty who will pay to watch in person a baseball game they can "convienientely" watch for free at home.

So your saying lazyness is what killed FTF boardgaming?

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RE: Vassal. - 8/13/2008 9:59:55 PM   
GJK


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What's to say that those that do play boardgames online don't also play FTF? I know that I do.

With your baseball analogy, I think that we can agree that watching it live at the game is the much better experience, however not everybody has a ballpark near them (nor opponents near them for boardgaming) and for some, they'd rather not mess with the crowds, expensive ticket prices, etc., just like some boardgamers would rather not mess with the drive, or meeting new people to play against, etc.

And quite to the contrary, I think that FTF boardgaming is making a nice resurgence.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/13/2008 10:27:14 PM   
Veldor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: GJK

What's to say that those that do play boardgames online don't also play FTF? I know that I do.


Because every Friday I hold a boardgaming party at my house, and for approx the last 15 years not one person has shown up!!

quote:


With your baseball analogy, I think that we can agree that watching it live at the game is the much better experience, however not everybody has a ballpark near them (nor opponents near them for boardgaming) and for some, they'd rather not mess with the crowds, expensive ticket prices, etc., just like some boardgamers would rather not mess with the drive, or meeting new people to play against, etc.

Thats about why Vassal and the like don't work for me. I guess I prefer the extremes. Either a full blown PC Experience with rules enforcement etc or might as well be Face to Face

quote:


And quite to the contrary, I think that FTF boardgaming is making a nice resurgence.

Not in Chicago...and 10 Bazillian people live here...

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RE: Vassal. - 8/13/2008 11:26:25 PM   
GJK


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I enjoy pbem'ing the games the most as I can take my leisurly time in getting a turn completed however I do enjoy the occassional online game using a VOIP application like Skype. We agree the biggest appeal of boardgaming is actually sitting in front of your opponent and witnessing the dice rolls and the frustrations and triumphs that come with that. Pbem'ing isn't bad in that you have a chat log that plays back along with your moves so you can still heckle and comment while you're playing your turn and then read your opponents while he does his. VOIP of course allows you to chat while playing, so it's a close 2nd to actually being there.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/13/2008 11:53:06 PM   
Veldor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: GJK

I enjoy pbem'ing the games the most as I can take my leisurly time in getting a turn completed however I do enjoy the occassional online game using a VOIP application like Skype. We agree the biggest appeal of boardgaming is actually sitting in front of your opponent and witnessing the dice rolls and the frustrations and triumphs that come with that. Pbem'ing isn't bad in that you have a chat log that plays back along with your moves so you can still heckle and comment while you're playing your turn and then read your opponents while he does his. VOIP of course allows you to chat while playing, so it's a close 2nd to actually being there.


My second biggest complaint is probably that many of the modules (Say even Memoir for example) dont look nearly as good on the Vassal Module as they do the actual game and playing pieces. Thats without even getting into the whole tactile feel thing. But much of the "appeal" of those particular kind of games starts with how great they look.

Even VASL seems to look a little tired graphically in the year 2008 compared to where the average PC wargame is and of course the physical game itself.

Still I will probably give in and start playing through Vassal soon..

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RE: Vassal. - 8/14/2008 12:02:27 AM   
GJK


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That's why I like to redraw all of the graphics instead of just using "scans". Even so, I think scans look ok - it may be the old Cyberboard gameboxes that you're thinking of, they only had like 16 colors and looked...well, not as good as many of the gameboxes and modules do today.

Here's a screenshot of one of my modules, "A Mighty Endeavor". All graphics redrawn based on the originals of course:

TME Screenshot

Here's another:

Thunder at the Crossroads II

Ok, I'm on a roll now. Remember this game? Did a simply little VASSAL module for it, with my representation of the old game:

NFL Strategy

This one shows what the complete VASSAL module looks like when playing, for those that haven't tried it yet:

Fortress Berlin

Not to brag, but I think that these samples look better than any computer wargame that I've ever played. It's actually one of the reasons why I like VASSAL. Here's my version of "Fire in the Sky" (fun game by the way):

Fire in the Sky

Ok, sorry - one more. This was a bitch to redraw:

Ardennes '44

< Message edited by GJK -- 8/14/2008 12:19:20 AM >

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RE: Vassal. - 8/14/2008 2:12:16 AM   
Brigz


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Veldor


quote:

ORIGINAL: GJK

I enjoy pbem'ing the games the most as I can take my leisurly time in getting a turn completed however I do enjoy the occassional online game using a VOIP application like Skype. We agree the biggest appeal of boardgaming is actually sitting in front of your opponent and witnessing the dice rolls and the frustrations and triumphs that come with that. Pbem'ing isn't bad in that you have a chat log that plays back along with your moves so you can still heckle and comment while you're playing your turn and then read your opponents while he does his. VOIP of course allows you to chat while playing, so it's a close 2nd to actually being there.


My second biggest complaint is probably that many of the modules (Say even Memoir for example) dont look nearly as good on the Vassal Module as they do the actual game and playing pieces. Thats without even getting into the whole tactile feel thing. But much of the "appeal" of those particular kind of games starts with how great they look.

Even VASL seems to look a little tired graphically in the year 2008 compared to where the average PC wargame is and of course the physical game itself.

Still I will probably give in and start playing through Vassal soon..

You have to remember Veldor, that Vassal is 100% volunteer work. People make these modules out of love for the game. Vassal isn't a commercial wargame where you would expect professional artwork and much more for $40 to $50 dollars. Vassal and the modules are free. I've never complained to anyone about the graphic quality of their module. I just occasionally thank someone for taking the time to make a module that I might be interested in.

It's also strange that you can't find a live opponent in the Chicago area. I live in a city about 1/6th the size of Chicago and I play FTF on a regular weekly basis. There are more people that want to game than I have time to game with. We have a large wargaming community here in Sacramento. FTF is not declining here. It's thriving. I'd think someplace like Chicago would be even better. I also play Vassal games by email on a regular basis. Sometimes you have to go where the game is instead of waiting for people to show up at your place. Keep trying. I'm sure you can find a game opponent if you are willing to play away from home.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/14/2008 5:38:56 AM   
Veldor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Veldor
You have to remember Veldor, that Vassal is 100% volunteer work. People make these modules out of love for the game. Vassal isn't a commercial wargame where you would expect professional artwork and much more for $40 to $50 dollars. Vassal and the modules are free. I've never complained to anyone about the graphic quality of their module. I just occasionally thank someone for taking the time to make a module that I might be interested in.

You took it the wrong way. If I buy at game for $60.00 that I know I'm only going to play via Vassal then its that games Vassal representation that will factor into whether I pay $60.00 for the game. I'm not the freeloading type who just gets a pdf scan of the rules from a friend and then plays via Vassal for free (And it may be the unspoken truth, but its done and done plenty). I know Vassal also helps game sales, as possible in my case, so maybe its a wash... or maybe it isnt. Mostly I just meant that games like Memoir '44 are very beautiful to play face-to-face and lose a lot of their luster in the current Vassal version (Through no fault of whomever made it).

quote:


It's also strange that you can't find a live opponent in the Chicago area. I live in a city about 1/6th the size of Chicago and I play FTF on a regular weekly basis. There are more people that want to game than I have time to game with. We have a large wargaming community here in Sacramento. FTF is not declining here. It's thriving. I'd think someplace like Chicago would be even better. I also play Vassal games by email on a regular basis. Sometimes you have to go where the game is instead of waiting for people to show up at your place. Keep trying. I'm sure you can find a game opponent if you are willing to play away from home.


Well the size of the City works against itself. Given I don't live in the city itself..From a suburban standpoint any opponent is probably at least an hour commute between another. And people just don't want to drive that. We have like the 3rd worst commute in the world last I checked. After fighting traffic for an hour each way I guess people are just too tired or too lazy. I'd probably do better in the back hills of Kentucky.

And the fact that every last store in Chicagoland that sells board wargames has closed is only further verification of that sad fact. Every single last one (To be fair the owner of the very last store passed on).

Actually, even Vassal figures are a bit depressing to me.. Isn't that basically worldwide? I popped in there just now and not counting Warhammer 40K there were exactly THREE games being played non-solo.

Now thats scary.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/14/2008 6:06:02 PM   
sabre100

 

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I also tried Vassal before and could not find much or many people playing at all. Maybe it is all PBEM?  I would love to try it as well.  Is there any boardgames you can buy that can be played SOLO in VASSAL? 

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RE: Vassal. - 8/14/2008 7:15:53 PM   
GJK


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A lot of it is done pbem. VASL (Virtual ASL) is usually the busiest lobby. Command: Colors & Anients is quite popular as well and FWIU, is a good game to solo also. Most of the games can be played solo if you just "change seats" and get into the mindset of the other side when playing. That's how it was done for years before computer wargames with AI's came around. There's also a number of games that are made as solitaire only games, "Ambush", "Carrier" for example. Check on boardgamegeek.com geeklist for "solitaire" and you'll find a list of all the games designed this way.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/15/2008 1:58:15 AM   
sabre100

 

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Thanks for the info GJK I really appreciate it.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/15/2008 3:00:14 AM   
Veldor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: GJK

A lot of it is done pbem. VASL (Virtual ASL) is usually the busiest lobby. Command: Colors & Anients is quite popular as well and FWIU, is a good game to solo also. Most of the games can be played solo if you just "change seats" and get into the mindset of the other side when playing. That's how it was done for years before computer wargames with AI's came around. There's also a number of games that are made as solitaire only games, "Ambush", "Carrier" for example. Check on boardgamegeek.com geeklist for "solitaire" and you'll find a list of all the games designed this way.


So how does a Vassal N00b actually go about finding an opponent then? It would seem I can't very well just fire up a game and wait around for someone else to join. Is there a message board where peeps prearrange 1on1 gaming sessions and another for arranging pbem sessions or how all does opponent finder work?!?

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RE: Vassal. - 8/15/2008 4:13:34 AM   
Brigz


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Veldor


So how does a Vassal N00b actually go about finding an opponent then? It would seem I can't very well just fire up a game and wait around for someone else to join. Is there a message board where peeps prearrange 1on1 gaming sessions and another for arranging pbem sessions or how all does opponent finder work?!?

If you have a particular game that you want to play, try searching the web for support sites or forums that cater to that game. Also you can go to the Vassel web-site's list of modules and each module will list names of players. Some modules have just a few if any players and some have lots. You can click on a name and send an email to that player and request a game session. Another idea is to go to the Boardgame Geeks site and look at their listing for a certain game. Usually, especially if it's a popular game, there will be forum entries. You can try and contact some of the people who post there. Most wargame forums have people looking for opponents. I guess what I'm saying is you have to get out there and mingle and do a bit of detective work to track down people. Heck, Sabre100 on this very thread wants to try Vassal. Why don't you and he get together and log on to the Vassal server and try it out.

Give me and example of what game(s) you want to play.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/15/2008 4:18:22 AM   
Brigz


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I take back part of my previous message. Apparently you can't send an email on the Vassal site game listing to contact players. Sorry, I thought you could. There is an Opponents Wanted section on their forum. Looks like a lot of entries. See if your game is there or post a message yourself.

< Message edited by Dave Briggs -- 8/15/2008 4:20:18 AM >


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RE: Vassal. - 8/15/2008 7:41:42 AM   
GJK


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You can send an email via the VASSAL site. Find the game(s) that you want to play and then add your self to the list of players. For example, if Ardennes '44 was one of the games that you wanted to find an opponent for (selfish plug for one of my modules), then you would click on the "Players" link and add yourself to the list (which is a good sized list). You can then click the link that says "Send an email to all players" and announce your desire for a FTF or pbem game.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/15/2008 9:08:14 AM   
GenChaos33


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I have been using Vassal for the CARRIERS AT WAR Campaign.

Matrix/CAW/AAR forum

I created a simple/generic strategic overall map with counters & decks(more like a random counter draw). Vassal is very handy and a fairly easy learning curve to use. I also created A&A D-Day(not a full version). Plus, I played the AH classics like War at Sea and Victory in the Pacific on Vassal.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/17/2008 6:14:23 AM   
Veldor


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I think i've figured out the key to enjoying Vassal games.... for me anyway.

A sidescrolling mouse wheel.

My old mouse had one... never used it.

My new mouse just has the old up and down scroll.

But dang is there a lot of "move the cursor all the way to the bottom of the screen and scroll left and right and then back again" type stuff. Annoying.

I don't see why you cant just drag the board around on the screen by now... but I don't really see the need for that with a 4way scroll wheel....so

Just heads up if any other vassal n00bs or others out there wants to improve their Vassal interface experience.

Looking at VASL this was my only real complaint especially in larger board configs (since I like to be zoomed in enough to actually see the pieces).. But a little bit of money can solve my only big issue.. .So looks like Im ordering some ASL stuff tonight...

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RE: Vassal. - 8/17/2008 6:55:36 AM   
GJK


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Have a look at ZunTzu - it scrolls and zooms like you suggest. I'd love it if VASSAL would implement the same thing. ZT is a slick looking application, though it's limitations are that it's Windows based only and supports only play (only) at this time.

Another thing that is great for VASSAL is dual-monitors. I have a dual monitor set up (I kept my old 28" CRT to go alongside my 30" flatscreen). With VASSAL, you can uncheck the "use combined <something or another>" and then that way you can put the map on one screen and all the controls, chat window, counters, etc on another. Gives you much more screen realestate for the map.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/17/2008 7:18:55 AM   
Veldor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: GJK

Have a look at ZunTzu - it scrolls and zooms like you suggest. I'd love it if VASSAL would implement the same thing. ZT is a slick looking application, though it's limitations are that it's Windows based only and supports only play (only) at this time.


I'll have to look at that... but does it support ASL?

quote:


Another thing that is great for VASSAL is dual-monitors. I have a dual monitor set up (I kept my old 28" CRT to go alongside my 30" flatscreen). With VASSAL, you can uncheck the "use combined <something or another>" and then that way you can put the map on one screen and all the controls, chat window, counters, etc on another. Gives you much more screen realestate for the map.


Ya know, I was going to ask about that... But figured there was no way in hell....

That would be really nice. Give me an excuse to buy 2 new monitors and give mine to the wife... All this hobby stuff just keeps piling on $$$ wise... :(

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RE: Vassal. - 8/17/2008 7:22:48 AM   
GJK


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There isn't a gamebox for ASL on ZunTzu, but making gameboxes for ZT is very, very easy (especially compared to VASSAL) so it would be a snap to whip one up for the SK's when you get one. I've thought of doing the same, but I'm pleased with the way VASL works and the community behind it. I have 3 pbem games going now - all set up and started within a day after posting a request for opponents.

Oh yeah, VASSAL/VASL supports dual-monitors. You'll love it once you've set it up.

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RE: Vassal. - 8/17/2008 7:30:14 AM   
Veldor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: GJK

Have a look at ZunTzu - it scrolls and zooms like you suggest.


ZunTzu is beyond unreal. In fact I think it has me crying... for PC wargaming..

How on earth can a freaking boardgame program manage to have implemented a far more modern interface like that when next to none of the actual PC wargames have managed that??

That's entirely what I've been talking about. It's like second nature to pan around the map, zoom in/out, etc. Now I'm going to have to seriously think about supporting/buying games that support ZunTzu instead of, or in addition to VASSAL. Too bad there doesn't seem to be very many yet (No ASL to answer my own question, not many wargames... I used Paths of Glory to demo it)

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