PBEM (or PBEM-like) Recommendations

A friend and I were talking the other day and we thought it would be cool to play some stuff PBEM (play-by-email)-style, but I have no idea what’s out there currently. A number of years ago I played a good bit of Laser Squad Nemesis, which sadly seems dead. For those who didn’t get the chance to play it, you took turns setting up orders to move your squad members around trying to kill the other team. When you were done with your moves, you’d send the file to the other player and they’d do their moves. It only took about 5-10 minutes per turn for each player, so it was nice for people who are too busy for something as complicated as Civ (which I think has something similar).

So I was hoping to find some recommendations from the community for something that’s a little more recent. I’d prefer something with fairly short turns, but might be open for something longer down the line, so don’t let the hold you back from recommending stuff. We both like board games and strategy games, but would be open to something else as well.

The term that has supplanted PBEM is ‘asynchronous multiplayer’.

Frozen Synapse and Leviathan Warships are the ones that immediately come to mind on PC.

If you expand to look at iOS, there are a bunch of good games with asynchronous play, including a bunch of leagues run right here on this forum (Summoner Wars, Ascension, Penny Arcade, Neuroshima Hex).

Dominions 3 and Solium Infernum are both long time fan favorites.

I wish Email Xcom still worked :-(

Thanks for that. I thought there might be a more modern term for it, but hadn’t heard of AM/AMP.

I have a Frozen Synapse key from the humble bundle that should get you two keys if you want it.

Age of Wonders, with the Age of Wonders email wrapper that automates it all.

I like Frozen Synapse. Works pretty well and it is cheap.

Where’s my turn, by the way? ;)

Yeah, this is fun! I’ve also been enjoying Civ V using Giant Multiplayer Robot.

I do heavily miss Laser Squad Nemesis too…

Has there been any noise about Civ V getting a pitboss mode/server for play?

The following all async, turn-based multiplayer and verified great fun (says me). A turn of each takes less than 5 minutes. If you pick any of them up and welcome another opponent please let me know, I play all of them.

Warbarons(browser based)

Hero Academy (x-platform)

Leviathan: Warships (x-platform)

Battle Academy (x-platform)

SI is so great via PBEM. You could end up hating your friend though ;) At the current price, you cannot go wrong with that game.

VGA Planets online - multiplayer async, simultaneous turn space-war game.

Ohhh, that looks fun, anyone wanna try it?

I have to second (or third) the recommendation of Solium Infernum. It’s one of the best PBEM games I have ever played. It has a similar time commitment per turn as Laser Squad (5-10 minutes) so it may be a good replacement in that sense as well.

I do have to say that Combat Mission is a great PBEM game also. Watching the replays after each turn is resolved is pretty tense. But the turns can take a long time to do.

I recommend Uniwar for iOS and Android. Great team async game. If anyone knows of any better (or just as good) team async games please let me know.

Thanks for all the recommendations everyone. I’ve got a lot to look over.

Thanks corkeh! I’ll take a look and see if it’s something we’re both interested in and get back to you soon. Wouldn’t want to use your keys up if it wasn’t something we’ll play.

Frozen Synapse and Solium Infernum get my votes as well. I’ve been playing Solium for a couple of years now with a handful of folk all over the world and only recently stopped playing. Frozen Synapse is absolutely brilliant too but I burnt out on it because I was over-thinking my moves and second-guessing people too much (I blame Dave Perkins and Blips). One game I’ve been keen on playing with others but have yet to coax someone into joining me is Naked War by the Pickford brothers. From all accounts it’s great. The graphics are a little garish but pffft, if it’s good I couldn’t care less. I think the PC version is free too. An iThing version is currently in development but I’d love to see an Android version get released at some point.

Already there :)
I’m one of the top UI mod developers for the game. I also play… but I can’t brag about anything there :(

Are there Qt3 members actually playing the game in this manner?

I play this, but, boy, do I tend to over think my turns. :-(