How to Link Board, Miniatures, and PBEM together

Written by  r6751

Boardgames or miniatures play do not have to be isolated any more. Play your games and link results to a whole war system. Miniature gamers can unite with board gamers and share results. Battle does not even require actual games, since my rules can be used alone to resolve action.

This information discusses boardgames but miniature play will work the same way. The concepts also work for those playing by email, whether my game or not. My game is called Conflict WW2 and is a free set of rules for recreating the war in detail for one or many players.

A single boardgame can depict a battle or a series of battles in a campaign setting. The method to set each into the Conflict WW2 game (or any linked group of games) is the same although the bigger the fight represented by the tabletop play, the more considerations have to be taken into account.

If a game plays out a single battle, there might be a single Tactical commander for each side, more if the game includes air units and/or naval units. There would be an Operational Commander for each side.

The tabletop game has a time-frame within a bigger war. Using my rules, a national leader for either side may have had additional combat units built, transferred, or added to the Front being depicted, before the battle starts. This would alter the force ratios and require an adjustment to the setup units on the table.

Previous to the start of the tabletop game, in game terms, one side or the other may have called for a Storm that would effect the play. Aircraft are grounded in storm. Even if the storm is called in an adjacent Front, it might effect the game being played out.

Either side may have previously been successful in either Research or Intelligence die rolls at Strategic level. These two items cause an advantage for the side for either type of success.

The players setting up to play a boardgame or miniatures battle will determine the number of TAC headquarters and OP commanders need to be involved for each side. He then asks the human player opposing to provide the IDs of enough NPC officers with their individual command values.

(My game uses non-player characters when no human is available.) The end result of a calculation will be that you play the board game with a possible die roll modifier for combat in the board game.

Each Non-Player Character (tactical or operational ) has a number of command points to use in his specific battle(s). The Operational Commander can lend points to his TAC commands to assist. The side with the most such points, in a local battle, earns an advantage for the game play.

It will be noted that I didn’t say they win a die roll modifier. More advantages are earned for conditions, supporting units, force comparison, weather, and so on.  It is the side with the highest “total advantages” that gets the die roll modifier. Each local battle may have different advantage-winning conditions. Command points are used once per game turn.

The above references concepts used in my game but the ideas can be used for players who want to play their own games. For instance, using the board game World in Flames for the overall strategic and others like The Hunters for submarine play, Down in Flames for air battles, and perhaps miniatures for land battle.

The idea of Command & Control points for each player or NPC commander reflects the attention paid by higher command on specific actions or campaigns. Successful officers win points and the losers pay points.

Another concept from my rules is using advantages to win battles. Advantages could be weather, terrain, training, experience, research, supply status, and so on. Before fighting each player adds up the advantages that he can claim. The two sides compare and the high side earns the die roll modifier. (In my game rules the high side wins the battle.)

The rules set for Conflict WW2 can be used to play out the war without any table top games. This means that those who prefer not to play out the naval actions can resolve things quickly. On the other hand, naval players can realistically play out land battle without setting up any units on a map board or table.

Rules can be downloaded for free:

Adjust your character’s spoken language to the situation

How do you speak? What words do you use? Ask yourself these questions and take note of how they change depending on the situation.

If you think about how you speak in different situations you will notice you probably use different words and ways of talking depending on whom you talk to. I am sure you do not speak to your parents the same way you speak to your friends! You probably don’t use the same words in church or in class as you do when watching football with your friends.

It is precisely the same with your character in the PBEM (Play by Email) game. Depending on the situation he or she will use different words and act differently.

Think about who your character is and on what level its language is. The language used in everyday situation without thinking about how to behave or what to say. Then adjust the level to the situation. When talking to a superior or a person of higher status, adjust the language up one or two levels.

Having the character making mistakes and using language inappropriate for the situation makes for great comic effect though. Not all characters know how to, or want, to adjust to a situation and blend in so you will have to think about how your character would react.

Using yourself as an example is a great way to improve the way you portrait your character. Think about how you react to a situation and compare that to how your character would react. That way it is easier to “be” the character, to enter its mind and think like it.

So, think about how your character talks and how you are going to write it. Adjust the language to the situation just like you do in real life, but also think about who the character is – perhaps blending in is not how it would react. You decide!

Let the ideas come to you

Do you, like me, sometimes have problems coming up with great ideas for posts? Often this happens when you just have read the latest post and you have opened your email client to start writing your follow up post. The white background staring back at you, the cursor blinking in the left corner – probably just to annoy you even more!
Once in a while, you manage to squeeze out a post anyway. Needless to say, it probably does not turn out to be your best work. So do not try too hard. Instead, give it a rest and go do something else. It will probably make you feel better and perhaps even you can get inspiration while you are away from the computer. If you can’t write it, don’t!

Let the ideas come to you! Always keep a pen and a pad with you; you never know when you will get that great idea. The mind solves your problems even when you are not actively thinking about them!

If you go for a walk, do the dishes or read a book; the chances are you will get an idea. Be sure to write it down immediately so you do no forget it or distort it too much. Maybe you do not have to write the entire post word for word, but at least write down some basic keywords and out-line your idea.

What I usually do next is to finish up with what you were doing. Not only will it give you satisfaction of getting something done around the house for example, but it will also give you a chance to continue to think about your post.

Perhaps there are things that can be improved in the idea? Take your time. Outline the post in your head so that once you sit down at the keyboard, the post is more or less already written.

Give your game the time it is worth

How much time do you spend in front of the TV? Do you find yourself just sitting there flipping through the channels without anything good to watch? Then you may want to rethink how you spend your time.I am sure you agree with me when I say writing a post is a lot more fun than letting your mind go numb in front of the TV.

Time is not something that there is an infinite amount of. Remember, there are only 86.400 seconds a day. Reading this, you just lost maybe 60 of them already! We are down to 86.340… and counting…Do you really want to spend all his time watching the commercials on TV? Didn’t think so!

If you, instead of flipping through those channels with nothing good on them anyway, boot up your computer, bring out your pen and paper or do whatever you do when you are going to write a post and start writing. I am sure you will find you have used your time in a much more productive way than passively watching TV. Because you do enjoy contributing to your PBEM game, right?

It may sound a bit too harsh, but sometimes you actually have a lot more time than you know.
Try to identify other activities that really do not do you any good. If you can cut those out of your life, you will find it easier to do the things you truly enjoy but have a hard time finding the time for – not just writing for your game.

Working together on a post

Working together with another player is a very good solution if you get stuck on a post. It benefits you and the PBEM (Play By Email) game. Working together is not only more fun it is also more productive!Get help from one of the other players! If you simply do not know how to continue the post, don’t trash it and don’t stick it in the drafts box for weeks only to find its too late to use it!

Turn it into a joint post! A PBEM (Play By Email) game is a collaboratory effort; you work together to form a story. Do the same with a post! If you can not finish it, perhaps you can talk to one of the other players to get his or her input; but I think you should go one step further and ask to write the post together.

What? You think you are too good to ask for help? Well, you got stuck, didn’t you? Get over it and have some fun!

Let the other player read what you have written, give input on the story so far and perhaps suggest some improvements. Then let the other player continue to write on your post, either freely or from ideas you have worked up together.

This collaboration can be done in a couple of ways. One of the fantastic things about the Internet is that you can make friends all over the world and all time zones. The problem with this is that you can probably not meet face to face to write the post.

One way is to find a time you are both available and use a chat client to talk. You can then even play out the post in the chat room if you think that is easier. Otherwise, you can discuss ideas or take turns to write paragraphs.

Another alternative is to use email. If you are in time zones far from each other that can be a better way to communicate. Send the post back and forth and add paragraphs to the post. You can of course also add comments and suggestions.

When you both feel ready to send it in, don’t forget to make sure you both get credit for it. After all, you are both the author of it.

Working together is the very foundation of a PBEM (Play By Email) game! Use it to your advantage. It makes a much more dynamic game, improves communication between players and simply is a lot more fun!

Scheduling your PBEM makes it more enjoyable

Playing a PBEM is a commitment. Your fellow players rely on you to add to the story and to write posts regularly.

If you are going to get the most out of the game for yourself, you have to take the time to read what the others are writing before you can write your own part. Let’s face it – it takes time. Many of us are busy and have our calendars booked with things that need to be done. If you play a team sport, attend a class or have a job; you know you have to allocate time in your schedule for these activities. I am sure no one finds that strange at all. However, do you allocate time to read and write posts?

If you think about it, setting aside a timeslot for writing is actually something quite normal.

Playing a PBEM game is just like any other activity. Some people are interested in sports, some go fishing and we enjoy writing. Isn’t writing for a PBEM game worth just as much as Wednesday night football practise? If you think about it, setting aside a timeslot for writing is actually something quite normal. If the football players can do it, so can we!

You might not actually have to set up a fixed time for, say 6 pm to 9 pm every Friday and Tuesday. But making space in your calendar a few hours a week for reading and writing will help you enjoy the game more.

Save your spare ideas for later posts

There are times when you get a lot of great ideas for your character; only they don’t fit into the story right now. What do you do with them? Do you throw them away? Well, don’t do that!

When you are sitting around brainstorming ideas for your next post, you may come up with ideas or a least some pointers on things you can have your character do. Just because the ideas does no fit into the storyline of your PBEM (Play By Email) game just now doesn’t mean you can not use the ideas.

Even though you can not use an idea in the post you are working on right now, it may come to good use later. Keep notes of good ideas and events that you can write about in other situations.

A simple text file is sufficient. Write just some brief comments about the idea. If you see a scene in your mind, write it down! The more you put down on paper he easier will it be for you to use it later.

Don’t be afraid of writing down things and actions that does not suit your character, you might find it useful when writing for NPCs or for the general storyline.

Once you have built up a good database with ideas you will see how useful it can be when you are sitting there trying to come up with ideas for a post. Just open up your text file or whatever you use to store the ideas and see if you can find an idea to use or to get inspiration from. Even though you may no be able to use an idea exactly how you thought you would use it, it can serve as a foundation to help you get started on a post.