Dooley
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Pbem

Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:45 am

Hello,

Has the mechanics of PBEM changed from the original?

I stopped playing the original because an opponent could redo his turn, including giving orders etc, after executing the turn (if he didn't like what he saw).

Cheers.

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Pocus
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Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:02 pm

This can only happen if your opponent is hosting the game. If he is not, then this can't be.
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Narwhal
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Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:06 pm

What's even better, if you host, you can play that trick on your opponent. Great, isn't it. And you want to change that :(

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Highlandcharge
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Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:54 pm

Of course you could try and get a third party to host the game, send him the orders, he processes the turn and viola no chance of cheating :)

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Durk
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Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:44 am

I host a number of games in which I am not an active player. It makes players feel more secure knowing I have no stake in the game. Why do I do this?
1. It is fun to watch others play and learn from them.
2. Some really good players have had bad experiences and want some neutral boundaries.
3. New players often benefit from a 'host' with whom they can chat.
4. Others return the courtesy when I feel I need a host.

Mostly, players are so very fair. In games which seem to be more immune from corrupt gamers, the lack of transparency really hurts new players who do not know the tricks.
I actually prefer Ageod's system to all others. It is clear and understandable. Sure hosts can be unethical. But they only get away with it once. No other game system I know allows a neutral host. All the other games are simply player to player without options for sending to an independent host. Same abuses, no remedy.

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nemethand
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Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:44 pm

Dooley wrote:Hello,

Has the mechanics of PBEM changed from the original?

I stopped playing the original because an opponent could redo his turn, including giving orders etc, after executing the turn (if he didn't like what he saw).

Cheers.


(S)he indeed might. However, this would take away the essence of gaming: the joy of playing. I have played a dozen PBEMs and have never had the slightest suspicion of my opponent cheating.

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James D Burns
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Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:03 pm

The easiest secure method would be to have the second players PC resolve the turn in secret when the player hits end turn, so he can’t see the results. Then player one gets the turn and can see the results and player 2 can see them after player one ends his next turn orders.

Baring that kind of perfect world, trust is a must in PBEM. Players who need to win at any cost soon reveal themselves and are easy to avoid once known.

Jim

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Ace
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Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:38 pm

Such method could be cheated as well, providing only false feel of security.

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aryaman
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Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:45 pm

Every system can be broken, but the AGEOD system, except for using the services of a third party host, is so easy to take advantage of! I think that 99% of PBEM players would be happy with something that make cheating a bit difficult, a password and a reload counter, for instance.

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Ace
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Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:44 pm

Here is a simple cheat to what you are suggesting, that is if someone wants to cheat even before the first turn played - premeditate cheating. Have a double install of cw, and run the turn in one install, view the orders and execute the turn on another installed game.
So, the opponent would only have a false sense of security.

Your system wouldn't prevent those cheaters. It would however prevent those cheaters that had they sneaky amphibious landing twarted, and facing losing an army, reload the turn and change order cheaters.

EDIT:

Even simpler way. Erase all files in the save game folder, and copy order files from mail again. That way the counter would not know the turn has been replayed. I repeat, the only way is to have a game server or independent host.

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Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:33 pm

Oh my! Shan't sleep tonight!!!
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loki100
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Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:11 pm

I strongly suspect that you'd come to suspect if someone was cheating to be honest. Every now and then, either of you are going to pull off a neat trap or blunder headlong into a mistake. Thats the fun of the 'wego' system. If it happens turn after turn, well its more than just skill and luck.

I've played a fair bit of PBEM with a number of people and never had any cause for concern. I like the trust based system and if I really thought someone was cheating would just surrender and make sure I never played them again.
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Dooley
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Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:16 am

Hello,

I appreciate everyone's responses. I might ask durk if he would mind hosting a game for me in the future (for ACW 2) and i would be happy to reciprocate.

Yeah the last game I played (a long time ago) I attempted to pull off some kind of attack on a most unlikely location. Whilst I forget the exact details, it was quite early in the game
and this was going to give my guys an easy win but not do too much damage to the enemy either militarily, strategically or economically. Thus the reason for the obscure small town location.

Lo and behold I ran into a huge enemy army that basically had no sensible reason I knew of to go there (abandoning far more valuable towns). When I queried my opponent about his motives for moving there he responded it was a favourite town of his wife's and she had made a comment to him to make sure he didn't loose it. That comment coincided with the exact turn I decided to attack it.

My opponent may have been honest, but such an event was always going to make me wonder for the rest of the game about his honesty.

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aryaman
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Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:34 am

Well, maybe a thread for third party hosted games could be launched when the game is out...

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James D Burns
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Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:13 pm

Ace wrote:Here is a simple cheat to what you are suggesting, that is if someone wants to cheat even before the first turn played - premeditate cheating. Have a double install of cw, and run the turn in one install, view the orders and execute the turn on another installed game.
So, the opponent would only have a false sense of security.

Your system wouldn't prevent those cheaters. It would however prevent those cheaters that had they sneaky amphibious landing twarted, and facing losing an army, reload the turn and change order cheaters.

EDIT:

Even simpler way. Erase all files in the save game folder, and copy order files from mail again. That way the counter would not know the turn has been replayed. I repeat, the only way is to have a game server or independent host.


If your turns are password protected, there is no way for a player to view the other side’s turn, so I'm not sure what you mean when you say having two installs breaks my suggestion. The password would prevent you from moving ahead in a parallel install game to see anything.

Jim

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Ace
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Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:37 pm

I was thinking more about turn counter suggestions when I made my post. Your suggestion would require that both players be online at the same moment. Since turn takes a lot of time, it would be too much waiting for the player to receive other one's turn.

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James D Burns
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Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:46 pm

All I’m suggesting is to change when a player can see a turns hosting results, so there is no need for both players to be online. So if player #2 is always the host of a games turns, just prevent him from being able to see the results of a hosted turn until the turn is first opened, orders for the next turn issued and then ended by player 1.

Then when the turn comes back to player 2, he can view the results of the turn just as player 1 did before he too gives orders for the upcoming turn just as player 1 just did. There is no real need for a player to be able to see the host results when it initially occurs, if you hide the results until the turn comes back then there is no way the system can be cheated.

Jim

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Erik Springelkamp
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Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:11 pm

James D Burns wrote:All I’m suggesting is to change when a player can see a turns hosting results, so there is no need for both players to be online. So if player #2 is always the host of a games turns, just prevent him from being able to see the results of a hosted turn until the turn is first opened, orders for the next turn issued and then ended by player 1.

Then when the turn comes back to player 2, he can view the results of the turn just as player 1 did before he too gives orders for the upcoming turn just as player 1 just did. There is no real need for a player to be able to see the host results when it initially occurs, if you hide the results until the turn comes back then there is no way the system can be cheated.

Jim


Yes, Combat Mission 2 uses exactly that system and it works perfectly, no cheating possible and no disruption by extra exchanges of files.

But for more than two players it wouldn't work smoothly.

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Ace
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Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:22 am

Are you sure combat mission 2 does not use independent server. It is good suggestion, but it would require independent server coordinating computers from two players, since they do not need to be online at the same time.

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Ace
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Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:24 am

James D Burns wrote:All I’m suggesting is to change when a player can see a turns hosting results, so there is no need for both players to be online. So if player #2 is always the host of a games turns, just prevent him from being able to see the results of a hosted turn until the turn is first opened, orders for the next turn issued and then ended by player 1.

Then when the turn comes back to player 2, he can view the results of the turn just as player 1 did before he too gives orders for the upcoming turn just as player 1 just did. There is no real need for a player to be able to see the host results when it initially occurs, if you hide the results until the turn comes back then there is no way the system can be cheated.

Jim


Good suggestion as well, but it may slow the game down. Now both players can issue orders at the same time. That way they would not be able to do that.

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Erik Springelkamp
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Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:37 pm

Ace wrote:Are you sure combat mission 2 does not use independent server. It is good suggestion, but it would require independent server coordinating computers from two players, since they do not need to be online at the same time.


Yes, I am totally sure, you just e-mail your turnfile, or use DropBox or similar.
No servers required.

The way it works:

You see turn 1 (or setup), give orders for turn 2, and send.
He sees turn 1, gives orders for turn 2, executes turn 2, and sends. (he does not see the result).

You see results of turn 2, give orders for turn 3, and send.
He sees results of turn 2, gives orders for turn 3, executes turn 3, and sends. (he does not see the result).

etc.

Of course both players have their own password to open the turnfiles they receive, and they can't open the turnfiles they send.

Edit: and there is a prolog sequence where players just enter their password in their turnfiles.

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loki100
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Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:43 pm

Hi

I'm sorry but I find this whole conversation utterly depressing. For a start, one reason I like MP with the AGE system and never do it with real time games, is its easy. And you don't need to be on line at the same time and so on.

Second, I have played quite a lot of PBEM and, esp when I was moderating the Paradox AGEOD forum, seen an awful lot of reports. In that I have encountered only a single instance where one player suspected the host was taking advantage.

If you can't trust the host in the current AGE system don't play with them - concede the game and get out. But my strong belief is such abuse is so rare as for this to be a non-problem. So before there is a head of wind towards complicating the existing system, please, lets be aware that there may well be no problem that needs to be solved.
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Ace
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Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:45 pm

I t would slow PBEM play almost double. It is far more important in PBEM, the games tend to last for months.

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Rafiki
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Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:30 pm

Ace wrote:Are you sure combat mission 2 does not use independent server. It is good suggestion, but it would require independent server coordinating computers from two players, since they do not need to be online at the same time.

That sounds like a pretty good idea :)
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Pocus
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Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:13 am

To Erik: but then we are back to IGO-UGO there, right, sort off... Not in the actual execution of the turn, but on its pace...

I still believe cheating hosts are extremely rare, and if you have a doubt or are not comfortable with a host as a player, the engine allows a third party to host for you. Just do him the returning favor of hosting his game, and you are all set and dandy :)
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Erik Springelkamp
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Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:46 am

Pocus wrote:To Erik: but then we are back to IGO-UGO there, right, sort off... Not in the actual execution of the turn, but on its pace...


In practice I didn't notice much difference in pace between Combat Mission PBEM and AGEOD PBEM, unless you both want to take a lot of time to think about your turn.

It is like when the hosting player plots his moves immediately after processing the turn, and then sends the turn file, instead of sending the turn file and then starts to plot.

In my gaming it is more about finding the time slot to work on a turn. And then I mostly process and plot in one session.

Unless you are at a critical point in the game and want to think everything over carefully before plotting your move.

In Combat Mission, a tactical WWII game with game turns representing one minute, that is not a realistic attitude anyway, but in Ageod it may be more common.

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Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:22 pm

If the engine supported launching with a command line to specify which game to load and immediately run, it would be possible (and maybe not too hard) for a third party to to build/host an independent server that allowed both sides to upload their orders which would then be auto-run.

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Rafiki
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Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:27 pm

AndrewKurtz wrote:If the engine supported launching with a command line to specify which game to load and immediately run, it would be possible (and maybe not too hard) for a third party to to build/host an independent server that allowed both sides to upload their orders which would then be auto-run.

Interesting idea :)
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loki100
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Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:30 pm

Erik Springelkamp wrote:Unless you are at a critical point in the game and want to think everything over carefully before plotting your move.


I think this is pretty common. There are two AGE-games where some turns are quick since not much is going to happen and they are not going to be important in the longer term. Birth of Rome has phases like this (thinking about so are some WiA scenarios in the winter turns), when both armies are disengaged or you only have 1 active stack, and Pride of Nations in peacetime turns when its a case of 'steady as it goes'.

A rule I try to use is that if I am hosting, I try to get my turn saved before any responses arrive. Sort of removes any doubt, and the best time is then do the orders immediately you have sent out the turn resolution files. That is fine, but hugely time related. Also in the more complex games, like RuS, there is just so much to remember and do that its not always feasible to complete an order set in a single sitting.

But to repeat, I do fear you are creating complication where there is little evidence for a real problem.
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Erik Springelkamp
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Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:43 pm

I don't see a big problem with the current method.

But I was explaining how this feature worked in Combat Mission, because there it works fine.

And it could be adapted in a way that gives the same security, but that would allow multi-player and "parallel thinking".

On the other hand, AGEOD is a very open game, and the hosting player has other ways to cheat, by introducing new scripts, doesn't he, so there is not really a point unless the other gates are closed as well.

So I am entirely OK with keeping AGEOD a gentlemen's game.

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