Posted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:54 am Post subject: PROPOSAL: allow for timed turns
Correct me if I am wrong, but this otherwise wonderful site is advertised as play-by-web but it really just seems to cater to the play-by-email crowd. The two are not synonimous as you can play by web in quasi-real time but just paying attention to your monitor and refreshing the page every now and then (and auto-refreshing of the game manager window could be easily implemented by Mabi, I think).
I for one would like to play in "real time". However, there is no real way to make sure a game you start is played by other people with a similar wish. Advertising for "fast game", or similar words to that effect doesn't really work, as people tend to join without reading (or without caring if they revert to playing at a crawling pace later on).
The fact that most people on the forum seem to be happy with this pbem playing style does not seem to me to testify success of this approach but, rather, how any "real time" hopeful is turned off by the system as is and only pbem-ers (or "I like to have a dozen games open for days" kinda players) are left to play and write.
Unless Mabi has anything against "real-timers" then I think Mabiweb is wasting a chance to (greatly?) expand its user basis and make more people happy. My proposal would be the following:
0) add auto-refreshing of the game-manager page;
1) let the game creator set up a maximum time for each turn (with a default of "no timer", I guess), which should be clearly visible at joining time (both on the join-game page and a confirm joining popup button, maybe);
2) when a player takes longer then the set maximum time to move then force a random move for him/her (or no move, depending on the game);
3) optionally allow the game creator to stop the game for set amount of time, which has to be agreed on by all players in chat;
4) optionally allow the game creator to block a player with too many negative fair-play points from joining (with the system giving one negative fair-play point to people who had a random/no move taken for them).
Obviously, (2) is the trickier part, code-wise, and I am not familiar with most games on Mabiweb, but thinking about The Year of the Dragon, for example, a random move should not be too hard to code (either random action - easy - or random person - easy - or random person/building to drop - less easy). On the tech side, I suppose the random/no move would be initiated by the auto-refreshing game manager pages, no need to add server side daemons or such, I guess.
What do you all think? I would much appreciate any feedback.
Sorry to disappoint you barbanera, but nothing of what you propose is going to happen here.
Personally I'm not interested in real-time playing (I gave up on BSW a long time ago) and I specifically designed this site for slow, make-a-move-when-you-have-time playing style, which of course is my own playing style.
Incidentally, I also diasgree on your definitions of play-by-web and pbem. In my opinion play-by-email is when you "play by email": there is no web site involved, an email client is all you need because you send and receive the moves via email (usually with a human coordinating the game). I define this site as play-by-web because the web site keeps track of everything and displays to you a page where you can see the game status and take all your moves. There is no email involved other than turn notification, but that is just for convenience and could just as well be removed (there are pbw sites without this feature and actually I don't use it, I think many other players have the email notification turned off).
But anyway all this is just a matter of terminology and, however you want to name it, the fact is that MaBiWeb is not and will never be a real-time playing site.
I perfectly understand that slow play-by-web gaming is not for everyone (for me too it took some time getting used to), so if you don't like it, no problem. If you can manage a slow game, you are more than welcome to play here, and if you find someone willing to play with you in quasi real-time, you are welcome too.
Otherwise I can only suggest you to try some of the true real-time playing sites out there. You probably already know BSW (brettspielwelt.de, they have a huge selection of games). And another one you may find interesting is yucata.de: it's a play-by-web site like this but they have some features, like auto-refreshing, that allow for a much better semi-real-time experience, and I know that many people there play in this way.
As I said, I'm sorry that this reply will disappoint you, I hope we will still have you here around for some slow gaming from time to time, but I understand that it can't be to everyone's liking.
I could argue that we are talking board games here, i.e. in 99% of the cases turn-based games, and thus BSW could be made to play as slow/erratically as anything here, by someone just leaving the screen open and going shopping.
The reason why BSW ends up playing fast is, I think, a combination of a social/presentation aspect (dynamically refreshing images, people shouting at you if you don't move along..) and powers granted to users (voting for masterresets or just plain leaving the room..).
A plain browser, with or without auto-refresh, is surely leagues behind on giving a sense of urgency to players but for the rest - the social aspect, the users powers - it all depends on how you market and design it.
Obviously from your response yours was a conscious decision to aim it a the slow multiple-concurrent-games community. Again, let me applaud you for the wonderful job you did in that respect. Too bad you have zero interests in the minor tweaks needed to allow for alternative faster games for those so inclined.
Anyway, slow multiple games are interesting in their own right (albeit less than "real time") for me, so I will stick around anyhow, if you don't mind ;)
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