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Play-by-post: the slow option

2 October, 2011

It’s Sunday morning and Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue is on the stereo. In the last couple of weeks I have been re-visiting “forum play”, or play-by-post, roleplaying. I have played in many games in the past, but they often run dry because especially the tempo in play-by-post is excruciatingly slow. Judd Karlman posted some thoughts on forum play, and it was indeed Judd’s ideas to play a 1-on-1 forum game of Burning Empires that rekindled my interest.

Thing is, I don’t know any other gamers near me that are interested in investing the energy and time it takes to play Burning Empires, and I even think it’s worse today than when the game was published in 2006. These days it’s all no-prep instant pickup games that engage people. I think that’s sad, and I hope the gaming equivalent of slow food will become popular again.

The only way I will get to play Burning Empires will be play-by-post. I’ve run a BE game on a forum before with three other players. We made it through world burning and halfway through the first maneuvre and then one of the players bailed. It was slow. Very slow. On the other hand I played a couple of big BE firefights with none other than Iron Empires/Burning Empires artist Chris Moeller on a forum, and that worked very well indeed.

That’s why Londoner John Anderson and I have started a 1-on-1 Burning Empires game on Obsidian Portal, a website dedicated to forum play. Now, Burning Empires is not really designed for 1-on-1 play, so we’ll possibly have to tweak it a little to make each side more GM-like.

Forum play is the slow option, but sometimes it’s the only option.

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