I’ve been a big fan of play-by-web (PBW) games for several years now. It fits my busy, interrupt-driven lifestyle by allowing me to submit about a turn a day, sometimes more sometimes less. The three I’ve played the most are Tigris and Euphrates on BGG, Wallenstein on Spiel-by-Web, and Alhambra on Boite Jeaux. There’s a also a fairly inactive Yahoo! group on PBW, though you should check out their great list of PBW sites you can use to find games – join the group to check it out.
Anyhoo… I’ve learned that in most cases I just can’t learn a new game via PBW. I tried it last year with La Citta on Spiel-by-Web during a beta test and it was a miserable failure. More recently, I did the same with Reef Encounter and Torres. Ditto.
Now, I had the rules in hand and gave them a decent try. I even got coaching from the other players (thanks for your patience!). The very nature of PBW games makes it hard for me to learn in-place – fragmented play, short attention span, lack of verbal real-time discussion. I’ve had much better success learning on BSW – that’s where I learned Alhambra (ironically enough with Mikael Sheik who does Spiel-by-Web) and Tongiaki. At least there I can engage in a dialog and see real-time feedback on my decisions.
I head to Germany with the family next Wednesday for some vacation and Essen (woot!). Hopefully I’ll have internet access and will post next Friday, but don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me for a week or two.