Challenging and negotiating a PBEM Game
Challenging another player to a game is more than just sending an email saying Hey lets Play .
A proper challenge, as a minimum will state what version of the game you have (ver4.5 for example) , since for secure play both sides must have the same version of the game with the same OOBs (Orders of Battle). You also should include which PBEM saved game slots you have open since both players must use the same saved game slot in order to exchange game files (PBEM saved game slots are slots 3 thru 12) . The time period and sides to be played should also be included and what league , if any you are wanting to play in . Not all games need be League games ,and even if a League covering the period and forces you wish to play is currently active , You are certainly free to play outside of Leagues or Tournaments , if both sides agree . A basic statement concerning what preference setting you desire , map size , and force size should be included is the Original Challenge .
Hi I am AmmoSgt , I would like to play a Sept 44 random medium map game . Me U S Army You Germany , Meeting engagement 4000 points . I am in the Matrix Campaign in the West 44 League I have version 4.5 and I have slots 3 ,4, 5, 6, open .
I prefer C&C off , weapons and vehicle breakdowns off , reduced squads on , and limited ammo . All other settings at default .
The above example Challenge is very basic and will require an acceptance or modification before acceptance, before the game can be played . It looks innocent enough ..but is it really ?
First thing to consider is that the Challenger will be setting up the game ...this usually means the Challenger moves first the Challenged moves second .... Is this ok with you ???
The Month and Year affects equipment availability ..do you know the enemy forces well enough , do you know your own forces well enough ? What advantage in equipment does the month and year give you ? Give your opponent ? Not sure? Check it out ..Set up a Solitaire Game and at least see what equipment is possible for both sides . Month effects weather ....winter and snows can radically change a game and how your favorite unit moves ..does this Theater of War have a wet season ..a sandstorm season .. do you care ? Weather can be negotiated within certain limits ..it effects visibility and possibly the availability of Air Units . Also day or night, dawn or dusk, moon or no moon , all effect the battlefield conditions. All should be at least considered.... you do not have to pick apart every detail of a challenge , you do not have make a counter suggestion to every setting....but you should consider every detail both the preferences stated and those left unmentioned .
Map size is adjustable ... does the map size fit the points? Do the points fit the map ? Will there be room to maneuver ...or will the map be so crowded all that will be left is a head on collision between two crowded forces with plenty of points left over for massive artillery and Air units ?? JS-2s track to track across the map? Or the opposite.. will you be forced to hold your Vhexes with a scout car so you have points to buy a Flak Gun ? I cant give you hard and fast guidelines because the points it takes to fill a battlefield map vary from Country to Country and year to year . 4000 points on a medium map in Spain circa1937 is NOT the same as 4000 points in the spring of 1945 in Germany .
Maps ??? Random Maps have good points and bad points ..The Player who moves first doesnt get to see the map before he buys his forces, the player moving second can ....this can be an advantage for the person moving second . Vhexes can vary wildly from as little a 80 points end of game to 35 points a turn . Vhexes are often not equally spaced from both sides starting lines .... but random maps are random and easy to use and dont require any special file handling. If you decide to use custom maps , it is only fair to make sure both sides have an opportunity to look the map over before you start ...and if your opponent does not know how to download or install custom maps be prepared to teach him how. Fair is Fair .
Specific Preference Settings ....
C&C ... C&C is either on or off ... but it is more complicated than just that. C&C effects different Nations differently in different years ... either way one side or the other will benefit more than the other side does no matter which you chose ...So find out how this setting can effect your forces as opposed to the other guys....but also be prepared to accept the fact that many players just dont want to be bothered with it.
Weapon and Vehicle breakdown .. again on or off ...but it will effect the move fast shoot every shot player more than a cautious player that moves less than max and saves movement points by not firing every shot possible so they have movement points to duck back in cover after firing.
Limited ammo ... do your forces carry lots of onboard ammo compared to the other guy? JS-2s carry fewer rounds than a King Tiger or a Panther and a 122mm main gun will suffer more than an 88mm from reduced ammo settings . Three possibilities here ...UNLIMITED, LIMITED, and REDUCED ....how does this effect you ? your opponent?
Reduced Squads ..on or off .. hey looks simple but is it ??.. smaller the squad size the less men you lose ..12 man squads can lose 2 , 9 man squads can lose 1 , Recon 4 man squads dont lose anything .. and some folks like reduced squads because it allows them to carry infantry on tanks with less loss when they load , or squeeze an extra bazooka team in a halftrack. Something to think about ....
All other settings at Default .... yeah sure ...like Air ??? Nothing can give one side a bigger advantage than having fair sounding default setting for Aircraft in a time frame when that side has unquestioned air superiority . Basically Default settings are Fair in that they tend towards Historical Norms in availability . And a Default Setting does not guarantee Allied Air in late 44 for example ...it makes it very likely and in all fairness Default is about the only way the Axis can get Air in Late 44 in most negotiations. When you are faced with an overwhelming chance that the other player will have Air try for a night or bad weather game to reduce the probability of anybody getting Air ..or simply ask the player with the biggest chance to get Air to accept a preference setting so he gets an acceptable but assured amount of air . For example asking a Allied Player in late 44 to limit Air to 3-6 sections seems perfectly reasonable...it means you know he will have Air for sure and it means chances are he will want to set your Air to 0 as the Germans .. But thats late 44 early 45 Reality in Europe .
As a general rule the whole reason a setting can be changed is because it effects the game ..and as a general rule you can figure that anybody proposing any specific setting has an Agenda .
It may just be simplicity , it may in fact bestow some significant advantage ..It is your job to know the time and forces involved and how settings can effect things. Just because a Preference Setting gives one side an advantage does NOT make it unfair ...The ONLY way any Preference Setting can be UNFAIR is for you to be UNFAIR to YOURSELF by NOT understanding what it means . If you arent sure, ask another player ,or post a specific question to the Forums , or websites , available that support SPWAW .
As a general rule you should never ask another player to outright not buy or use any available weapon or unit. That said , it is perfectly reasonable to ask a player to limit unusual or rare units .....but not just because they are exceptionally effective or devastating to you. Because they are RARE is fine because they work ... is not... Bazookas are effective and a problem for the Germans but they arent Rare... 8 Self Propelled Howitzers are RARE ....88mm AT guns are effective and a problem for the British but they are not RARE ... Sometimes COMMON things should be limited by the situation ... Mines , common generally speaking ,but RARE in meeting engagements ..it would be reasonable to negotiate only engineer laided mines , for example, in a meeting engagement .... or in a Delay to negotiate that only roads may be mined or barricaded in advance or negotiate a fixed maximum number of mines /dragons teeth/barbed wire... In a defend game , Mines?? well just get used to them . Artillery is another area that benefits from limiting negotiations . Just make very sure that what ever you want the other guy to agree to you are willing to agree to. Expect a concession to inspire a demand ..the object is to play the game ..SPWAW is not Chess ...Armies and national priorities and abilities differ .
Once you get all the little details worked out ..then play to win exploit every advantage you can ..and if you realize you forgot to mention something , or discover that the other guy has a edge in one area or another ...well thats what reinforcements are for. Reinforcements are bound by negotiated settings and limits but can go a long way to fixing small oversights.