Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ACTing up and Friday

Since we're slowly moving towards getting up a wargame or two, I figured I'd mention two invaluable resources -- ACTS and CyberBoard.

CyberBoard is a generic wargaming tool that lets you record a current game state. In fact, you can use to to move your pieces, roll some dice, and then send a game state file to your opponent.

ACTS is the automated card tracking system. As you can imagine, it tracks decks of cards. It also lets people keep a game journal and post.

Both of these are free.

A long time ago, I played a game or two of Paths of Glory via ACTS, using cyberboard. You could just use Cyberboard (it can now handle hidden cards) but this way you have a nice journal of everything, and don't have a zillion emails. Of course, you do sometimes get into the "Where is that Unit?" which emailing files fixes. (We emailed files every turn or so, just to double check everything).

ACTS has a fine range of games (Sword of Rome, Paths of Glory, and some others like Age of Renn, Republic of Rome). It's no substitute for face to face gaming ... but for the longer games that take forever, it's not bad. If you can figure out how to handle cards in Cyberboard, players can play in almost real time using Trillian (or some other IM ... or over the phone).

Personally, I'd rather get together, but after we get a game of Sword of Rome under our belt, a play by web game might be fun....

And... Gaming at our place on Friday! RSVP in the comments

11 Comments:

At 9:20 PM, April 26, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Once the rules get pretty intuitive, this sounds like a good option. One thing I'm seeing in my research is an increasing number of wargames consciously designed to be playable in a single evening (i.e., 3-4 hours) such as Twilight Struggle, Wellington, Kutuzov, etc., so hopefully we'll always be able to get a short term face-to-face fix as well!

 
At 9:41 PM, April 26, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

I've never understood the game by web apps...they already have those and they're called computer games.

Board games are great because they're social and multiplayer.

Maybe I'm missing something...

 
At 9:59 PM, April 26, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Computer games, with the exceptions of a few rare gems, are definitely a lame substitute for board games. I have long since hocked my X-Box, PS2, and most of my PC games to buy good board games. However, when you're tight on time and have a good buddy who can hang with the on-line interface, these PC versions of board games can be a good way to get a 15 minute pseudo-board gaming fix. Unfortunately, real life only allows me to play board games once a week or so, so the PC helps me get through the lean times....

 
At 11:14 PM, April 26, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

I guess if you really really like a wargame in particular, the computer version of it gives you a chance to "play" it when time is tight. The magic of playing face to face and pushing cardboard bits is not there (and will never be surpased by the computer version), but it at least lets you get a taste. It's at least something when you can't have the whole thing. Sure there are regular computer wargames, but they are not computer versions of classics like Sword of ROme, ASL, Hammer of the Scots, etc.

Now, me personally? I prefer the real deal. I've tried to get into Vassal (to try VASL and hammer of the Scots), and keep getting put off.

 
At 8:15 AM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

I'd be willing to give these computer tools a shot. The problem I run into is my attention span. I have trouble keeping up with a game over several days or weeks.

Regarding Simon's comment, I think we all agree FTF is way better than web, but sometimes you gotta take what you can get. Also, for specialized niche games like strategy, turn based wargames what's the AI like? It's been a long time since I've tried computer strategy games (vs RPGS). I assume making AI for small niche games like this would be infeasible. Your only choice for a lot of games is a human opponent.

 
At 8:33 AM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I do keep hoping Days of Wonder will publish at least a web-based version of Memoir '44 like they have for Ticket to Ride...

I agree with Rob... VASSAL (and VASL) leaves me cold.

 
At 1:15 PM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Jeff said...

I've been using Vassal and Lackey (lackeyccg.com) to game with friends from Knoxville recently, but in general F2F beats online hands down.

Online gaming does let you try-before-you-buy and also play difficult to find/OOP/prohibitively expensive games.

RE: Friday I plan to be there, but my Spider-sense tells me that plans could change. I'll try to post more solid info as I get it.

 
At 2:14 PM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Forgot to mention I'll be there.

See ya' soon.

 
At 3:30 AM, April 28, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

I'm 90% that I can make it.

 
At 1:07 PM, April 28, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

Um, when does it start again?

 
At 4:36 PM, April 28, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

It usually is 7pm.

 

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