Play By E-Mail.

Hasbro recently started marketing a series of PBEM games including Scrabble and a potentially ubercool X-Com game.

PBEM (often capitalised PBeM) is an acronym meaning Play by E-Mail. It is the electronic variant of PBM (Play by Mail) and rapidly increasing in popularity over its snaily precursor.

Recenlty thePBeM world has gotten a boost from several computer based aids. The one I am keen on is Cyberboard. It allows people to recreate many of the old bookshelf games from the likes of Avalon Hill and SPI as well as the microgames from metagaming and yaquinto. It expands the playability of the games by allowing players to be freed from geographical constraints.

Cyberboard, and the other PBeM aids, allow players to move their pieces, roll dice, send messages, and perfrom other functions of the games sending the resulting move set to the other player or players via email. That player opens the move set in Cyberboard which updates their master game file. The master game file can be used to review the entire game and to make the next move. Round and round it goes, each player reivewing, moving, sending and awaiting their opponents next move file.

Many of the older and some of the newer games are being rendered for Cyberboard. The maps, unit counters, play aids and other items in each game are entered in Cyberboard's Design module. Once made they can be passed around to any willing player who knows the rules to the game. Even the most obscure game's rules can be found on the net, ebay or a dusty old hobby store.

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