Great PBEM games for a time-starved dad?
September 10, 2006 7:41 PM   Subscribe

I need to get back in touch with one of my original loves - gaming - and need some help finding some great play-by-email-games ...

I've loved games all of my life (note: not really talking about electronic/video games here, more the board/dice/paper/etc. variety), but have lost touch with them - as a father of two, working two jobs, I barely have time for any hobbies.

But my heart has lately been crying out for this old hobby of mine ... I used to stay up late playing Advanced Civilization (the AH game, not the Sid Meier one), Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Acquire, even RPGs and the first wave of CCGs. And I totally miss the intellectual stimulation and social interaction they provided.

Given my schedule (too full, hectic), I'm thinking that a play-by-email game might just be the thing. I've tinkered with Diplomacy in the past, but as I'm not a history buff, I just don't find it that interesting.

Are there any great games that are well-suited for someone who cannot commit to logging on at a certain date/time? PBEM appeals to me because I could join in throughout the day, whichever office I happen to be at. Or am I missing something? Is there some other way to get the satisfaction that gaming provides?

(As an aside, I'm also an avid go player, but online go services have been nothing but frustrating. I'm not a great player, not a terrible one, and as such it's hard to find opponents - good ones will abandon matches the minute they see that I don't have a dan rating, absolute beginners are no fun at all to play against.)

Thank you in advance!
posted by jbickers to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by riotgrrl69 at 7:48 PM on September 10, 2006

i'll play you a game on the dragon go server.
posted by paradroid at 7:54 PM on September 10, 2006

A friend of mine runs SpielByWeb, which runs a handful of recent Euro games online. It helps a lot of you're already familiar with the games, but the rules are all online. Everything is run through the site- you get an email when it's your turn.0

Redscape has forums for PBEM games. Mostly Diplomacy, but there's a touch of Advanced Civ and others.
posted by mkultra at 9:23 PM on September 10, 2006

You could try Middle Earth Games and their related company Harlequin Games. They are also developing some new games that will be available soon.
posted by kgn2507 at 11:06 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

For me, nothing beats Diplomacy. It's a total time-suck, of course, but so much fun.
posted by jacobian at 6:26 AM on September 11, 2006

I dont know if you're familiar with If not, you should check it out. BGG is mostly focused on "German" games, but really all genres are well-represented. I'm sure you could search their forums and find out everything you'd care to know about PBEM games.
posted by claytonius maximus at 7:32 AM on September 11, 2006

This is used mostly for wargames, but there are other games here as well:
posted by meta87 at 7:41 AM on September 11, 2006

There is a PBEM forum on boardgamegeek where you can post or find posts seeking opponents. It is here.

Although there are a lot of great tools for playing games online (vassal, cyberboard, spiel-by-web, brettspielwelt), there don't seem to be any good tools for finding opponents.

Good luck!
posted by jlub at 11:45 AM on September 11, 2006

Best answer: jbickers: I feel for you, man. I spent the majority of my life defined by the games I played. I owned a ridiculous amount of source material, miniatures, wargames/boardgames. They all sit in my basement now (those that I haven't eBayed during times of financial trouble) gathering dust.

How old are your kids? My sons are 13 and 10, and I've discovered that they're old enough now to completely embroil themselves in an RPG or a serious board game, and seeing as I raised them, they've got an extra helping of cleverness as well (*grin*). Yesterday, rather than having them spend a rainy day playing on the computer or watching TV, I went down to the basement and broke open my classic Axis & Allies game.

Not only did I spend most of the afternoon enjoying myself as a gamer again, but I spent time with the 2 best boys in my life -- and as some sort of bonus, we spent hours talking about WW2 history.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:23 PM on September 11, 2006

I'll second the recommendation of the Dragon Go Server.

I'm not sure what being a history buff has to do with liking Diplomacy - it's just a strategy game. In any case, you might want to give it another shot, since it's the most perfectly suited for PBEM game that I've come across. The Dipomatic Pouch is the place to start.
posted by dfan at 9:07 AM on September 12, 2006

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