Looking for a PBEM recomendation

My college crowd and I loved playing strategy PBEM games in the 90’s. But when started to get kids, jobs… a life… we dropped out of them altogether. Some of us have discussed restarting a game, but have had trouble figuring out what to play with our limited free time.

Can anyone recommend some PBEM games that:
-Are strategy/grand strategy
-Don’t last forever (hundreds of turns)
-Don’t have overly obscure/complex rules (cough SpaceEmpires)
-Have simultaneous turns (sorry most PBEM games)

I’ve come up with a kind of meager list on my own… is there anything good (or even OK) that I’m missing? Anything from the 1990’s on up is fine…

-Solium Infernum (looks good, but never played - how many turns in a game?)
-Good ol’ VGA Planets 3.x (our old 90s standby -but will it run on xp/vista/win7?).
-Space Empires (trying v5 now - but seems too long and too complex)
-Some online simultaneous turn boardgame (Diplomacy, etc)

One that fits quite a few of those is Age of Wonders - though, the games can be quite lengthy.

Though, a game both being grand strategy cant really be short, can it?

Anyways its a great game, and cheap on GOG.com

True - tough to be grand and short - our old VGAPlanets 3.5 games tended to last 100-150 turns or so… and felt grand - at least to our addled college minds.

Thanks for the recommendation - any idea on # of turns in a game? We’re looking to cap at 100-150 max (a years worth at 2-3/week).

Sorry, its been way too long since I PBM’ed this game, so I really dont know, and I’ve lost my old discs I’m afraid.

Try checking out the forums of GOG and see if anyone writes anything about it - I do seem to remember you can select map sizes, so its reasonable to assume you can make smaller maps which wouldnt last longer than 100-150 turns :)

Neptune’s Pride?

Edit: Never mind, that’s not really play by email. Although it might satisfy your needs. Neptune’s Pride is actually played in pseudo-real-time, although it’s very slow.

Solium Infernum is great. The couple games I’ve done have been around 60-70 turns, though 100 wouldn’t be out of the ordinary.

Thanks for the Neptune’s Pride rec - not sure if its what my group is looking for, but I’ll check it out.

Glad to hear that Solium Infernum games are that short -it looks cool, and I think we’ll have about 6 players. Might be perfect.

Although it doesn’t directly support PBEM, Dominions 3 can be played via email for free using LlamaServer. Granted, it has a steep learning curve, but it really is a very easy game to play with an unlimited number of strategies available to each player. There is no single strategy that is guaranteed to win you the game. I’ve played Solium Infernum, as well, yet much prefer Dominions 3. There isn’t a single game I own with a lower Cost/Hour Played than Dominions 3. Its replay value is insane.

Check out the main Qt3 Dominions 3 thread to see just how popular this game is with the Qt3 TBS players. We’ve had a recent influx of new players, so join the fun!

EDIT: Also check out Dave “Always Kill Man First” Perkins’ Dominions 3 Info Thread created specifically for new Dominions 3 players.

Actually it fully supports PBEM, it’s just that the llamaserver automates the job of the host in collecting and sending out all the turn files.

Interesting. I see that it is simul turn, which is good. Any idea how many turns per game, on average? This isn’t a fantasy version of Space Empires, is it - I already have one overly complex PBEM match, which is enough :P

That’s true. What I should have said was, unlike Solium Infernum, for example, Dominions 3 doesn’t provide an in-game PBEM setup option.

I’ve never played Space Empires, so I can’t compare the two.

The duration of a Dom3 MP game depends on many factors, though mainly on the skill of the players and the size of the map (number of provinces available per player). As the game progresses, the time it takes to complete a turn grows exponentially (at least for me it does!). But it’s very rewarding/deflating to see how your best laid plans succeed/fail miserably after the turn hosts (i.e., the game simultaneously processes all of the players’ turn files). The current Qt3 MP game I’m in and hosting (NewbieRumble2) is on turn 86. It began with 9 players, but only 5 remain (a player was eliminated on turns 30, 47, 61, and 72).

The game’s not overly complex, but there are many, many variables, so no two games are ever the same. There are literally thousands of different units, hundreds of magic sites, and over 60 nations to choose from to play as from one of three eras. Each game will contain a fraction of what’s available in the game’s database, so good luck trying to create two identical games. Check out the game’s wiki for more details.

Thanks for the advice everyone - but I think I’m going to push SI. Looking at the rules, I see that we can set variable lengths - which is perfect. Now just need to convince everyone to shell out 30 bucks…