Multiplayer definitely changes the game. I have played three PBEM games and each have come out completely different. Each scenario was different and each had its own challenges. Each was its own era. Currently the three I have played are Canary's Cage 2005, Pacific Shootout, Artic Tsunami. I have played each one completely different in terms of the rule set. This brief writing will be me primarily talking about my thoughts on the PBEM time limits and how they effect your game.
The first PBEM game I have played was Canary's Cage 2005 against musurca. This PBEM was the original release of the script and each turn the player controlled their units directly for the entirety of the time. This meant that any unit that was under your command could be commanded any time during the length of your turn. The time length we would choose would be 1.5hr per turn. Now this original PBEM suffered from an issue. In that is that it is like you are fighting a single player for 1.5hours. Hopefully you read my original PBEM thoughts and AAR, but if you haven't I would advise you check it out. In that PBEM play through at one point I intercepted musurca F-18 attack aircraft and destroyed nearly all of them for practically no loses. The long term length allowed me to destroy his entire attack group and get away nearly unscathed while returning all my aircraft back to base avoiding CAP. While the PBEM was fun it allowed full player control which allowed one to quickly micromanage against the AI and take the advantage. Now to some you may want this and that is fine, however I do not believe it works with these large time lengths. The large time lengths allowed for massive micromanaged maneuvers against the AI. In another example from my AAR I took an F-4 from south Morocco flew to Spain took out a radar and engaged in a massive air battle over Spain all in one turn under my command. The combination of long terms which were micromanaged was the biggest issue in the original release of PBEM. While the scenario was long, I believe it was close to 2 days long?, you still had vast amounts of micromanaged times.
My second PBEM is Artic Tsumani against Macharius on the original PBEM, which actually has not even been completed yet! I think we are close to turn 60? (Total), 30 turns per person. This PBEM was completely different then my first PBEM. Everything about this was different from my first PBEM with musurca. The original issue with my PBEM with musurca as I said in the previous paragraph was that there were vast micromanaged turns, to fix this issue I would try 15 minute turns in my playthrough against Macharius. Now this has completely changed how the game is played. So remember how I said the problem was there were vast swaths of time that were micromanaged, in this play through we fixed that by having tiny times that were micromanaged, 15 minutes. It is interesting thinking about it because we both have a foot in the door at all times. What I mean by this is you have an impact on every single combat that happens. The 15 minute play through times meant that most times when combat happens half of it is on the opponents side and the other half is on your side. I believe this fixed the micromanagement entirely. Most combat which we fight are fought in multiple turns. There are several turns where I have microed a TU-22 strike against Bodo, and these turns are inbetween me sending it to him. The very short time periods allow for both players to micromanage. However the one disadvantage with this is that to do this you need very small time increments, in this case it is 15 minutes. To give you an example the scenario starts out at either 2.5 day or 3 day scenario, so yeah thats a lot of turns. However you do not have Micromanagement issues. As I have not finished this PBEM playthrough I have not created an AAR, and these are my thoughts as the turns have played out so far. I may make a AAR on this scenario later or may possibly give more thoughts on this in a further forum post.
Now to talk about my newest PBEM playthrough, Pacific Shootout as WEGO. Now this PBEM playthrough is different then the other two above. The other 2 above allowed for real time combat, this one allows for certain increments to allow for management of your units. To give an example this scenario was 6-7 hours long played in 20 minute turns. Each turn would allow you to edit your units and their missions 3 times during that entire 20 minutes and these would be at 0:00, 7:00, 14:00 once hitting the 20 minute mark the user would have to send the file to the other player. The 3 opportunities in the 20minute turn is all changeable to whatever you would like, however we chose the default settings for Pacific Shootout (Comes with PBEM pack). This scenario was the best PBEM I have played, the combination of the short turns, time, scenario as well as WEGO made it much more enjoyable to play compared to the other games. Now I am not saying the others was bad, but ill go into a little detail of why this one was better put together. The twenty minute turns in the 6-7 turn was a great choice, it makes for a great pickup game. I believe we finished this game in twenty total turns in 3 days while both of us are in different timezones. Along with that the WEGO has gotten reid of the micromanagement advantage in this scenario. The short turn lengths allow for the user to not gain a large advantage over the AI from microing. The WEGO made it so the user could not micro even during the turn by only allowing 3 chances to edit during each turn. While it did reid much of micro it still allowed enough control over your units to make them follow your orders if a mission could not do what you wanted. Together the short turns, short length and WEGO made this scenario a great joy to play!
Now I may not have as much experience in PBEM in CMO as some others but I have played 3 of them so far and here are final thoughts on what makes them enjoyable. (I do not believe you can play Realtime anymore I believe everything is WEGO at this point however I could be wrong. So I will just be going over what is a good WEGO scenario in my opinion). It all comes down to what you want. First thing you need to decide is the scenario scope and scale. This will involve picking out the scenario and how many units it has. In my experience the length of the scenario does not matter but how long the turns are does. The scenario turns need to allow enough time for both players to see equal amounts of action. You do not want a very short scenario and have all of the combat fall on one turn. From my playthrough experience you do not want to go below 5 turns EACH at a bare MINIMUM. Having 5 or more allows players to react to one another's decisions giving a more enjoyable experience. Going below this will mean the combat will either fall all on ones turn or the combat will be one and done. You want to give the player oppurtunites to adapt to the moves the other players have made like chess. Now you do not need very short turns to give these oppurtunies. In my first PBEM the turns were and 1 1/2 long and there were many back and forth moments. You just need to give enough oppurtunites to each players, that is the key to determining turn length. The other factor in determining the length of these turns is going to be your unit count this is very similar to giving enough oppurtunites. The amount of units you have needs to be enough that you will not lose a substainale amount of units in one turn that will leave a side ruined unless in an all out attack or final suicide run or something along those lines. There needs to be enough units in the scenario to take loses. The final thing is finding out how much each time has to play, do you want to be playing the same scenario for a month against the same player or do you want this to be a pick up game? So to conclude these are what you need to make a good WEGO Game:
* More then 5 turns each (10 turns total) to allow for back and forth play
* Action cannot fall all on one turn
* Players need to have small enough turns to be able to react to one of each others decisions (This may vary on scenario size)
* Players need enough units based on their turn length so that one turn will not leave a sustainable amount of units destroyed or incapable of combat unless in an Alpha strike or massive volleys that only happen once or something along those lines.
* Know how much time you have to dedicate and how much time does the other player have to dedicate this should also be a factor in determining how many turns you do
After reading what I wrote earlier I would like to clarify my 3rd point about reacting to one anothers decisions. One scenario is currently coming to mind and it is one of the northern fury scenarios where you are controlling like 5-6 CSGs against the Soviets near Norway. You do not need to react to every point, that means you would have very small turn times in a very long scenario, meaning you would have a very long WEGO game. But the turns need to be long enough to have those back and forth moments. Maybe not if carrier CAP moves to XYZ then Enemy fighter moves to XYZ, but in this scale maybe if SAG moves to XZY then enemy moves to XZY, I hope that makes sense? Basically you need to balance these back and forths based on the scenario size. In a scenario of this size losing 2 aircraft is not a big deal but losing an SAG is, I hope this point 3 is kinda making sense? There should be 3+ times in the game where there are these big decisions that alter the game they should not all fall on the same turn is what I am saying.
I really hope this write up helps you guys who are getting into PBEM and want to know how to set the game up. Please note these are just my thoughts and do not reflects anybody elses. They are not the creator of PBEMs thoughts, they are not the people who played me thoughts these are mine. If you have a problem or thoughts on PBEM let me know I would definately be glad to hear of what you guys think of these opinions and how we can improve upon them thanks!
EDIT: Musurca would confirm that you can edit unlimited / limited orders so if you want you can play with realtime
< Message edited by Redmoose -- 3/1/2021 2:53:38 AM >