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PBEM FAQ and Guide

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  • PBEM FAQ and Guide

    Q) Where did my game game go?

    Chances are, it's in the gap between the pages. Search for it.

    Q) How does PBEM work?

    Read the PBEMGuide.

    Q) What do when someone is taking forever to play their turn?

    Send the tardy person a Personal Message with the URL of the thread as a reminder. If you feel that is too drastic, try replying to the thread with a *BUMP* message.

    Q) We are nearing the triumphant conclusion of a game. What should we do now?


    Whenever you guys wrap up a PBEM game, could you throw together a review for us poor SLeaguers?

    Guide to PBEM’s

    Henrik Lohmander and R.A. Prucknicki


    As the name implies, this is a guide describing how to play and start Civ II PBEM’s, it also tries to cover the basic rules of conduct and ethics of PBEM’s.
    PBEM stands for “Play By Email”, and is basically a way of playing long games of Civ II multiplayer without all the players having to be online several hours at the same time.
    To play a Civilization II PBEM you are going to need the “MGE”, or “Multiplayer Gold Edition” of Civilization II, as well as a good scenario for multiplayer games (it is possible to play normal games of Civ II in PBEM’s but generally a scenario is used), a scenario is suitable for Multiplayer games if it has several playable civs, the reason for this is simple: as many playable civs as there is in the scenario, there can be human players.
    Thus Red Front is not a good scenario for PBEM as the only playable civ is the Russians, while Hellas, with 6 Playable, rather balanced, Greek city-states, is very suitable.

    Getting Started:

    First of all you should start Civ II. ;-)
    Then chose: "Multiplayer Game" in the first dialogue box and "TCP/IP Game" when the game asks for the type of game. In the next dialogue box you should pick either "Load a Saved Multiplayer Game", "Start a New Multiplayer Game" or "Begin Scenario" depending on if you are starting a new game or loading a saved game to play your turn.
    If you are going to start a new PBEM game, select "Begin Scenario" or "Start a New Multiplayer Game" (depending on if you are going to play a Scenario PBEM or a Normal Civilization Game PBEM). After this you select the scenario you want to play and/or the settings you prefer, PBEMs are generally played on the "Prince" difficulty level since it wont give bonuses to the civs which are controlled by AI (this means that units belonging to other civs wont get bonuses when one of the human players is playing his turn). The next dialogue box should be titled: "Select Multiplayer Features",
    as long as the "Kill Civilization on Retirement" option isn’t toggled, you can do pretty much whatever you want here (as long as all players agree to these features).
    Now you should pick the turn Time Limit, which obviously should be set to "Unlimited".
    You can then enter your Net Name, the Game Name and your IP, anything will do here, as this wont affect the game in any way at all (it wont be visible to the other players).
    Don’t wait for anyone to join when the game asks you to do so, as you will in effect be hosting a game by yourself, so just hit the "Start Game" button. You should then select your civ which must be the one that moves first in the scenario, in the WW2 scenario that comes with Civ 2, that would mean that the Axis player would be the one starting the game).

    If you are going to play your turn in a PBEM already started you should select "Load a Saved Multiplayer Game" in the third dialogue box and then load the game that you received from the player moving before you (note: It is imperative that everyone plays their turns in the order their Civ appears in the Civ list! Otherwise players will loose their turn to the AI), as when starting a new PBEM game you fill in the "Net Name", "Game Name" and "IP" as you please, as they have no impact whatsoever on the game. When waiting for other players, you should just Start the game, just as when you are starting a new PBEM. Then you select your Civ and play your turn, making sure to keep in mind the things that follow. Generally the file (which must be a ‘.net’ file by the way, this is especially important for Mac users who need to add this manually to the save name, as Macs don’t need abbreviations to determine which file type a file is) is then zipped up using a program such as WinZip (for PC users) or ZipIt (for Mac users), and then BOTH posted to a forum (usually along with a small report or communiqué about your actions during this turn) as well as sent to the next player’s email address. This helps to avoid problems with people’s email accounts, which can slow down the game.


    In the foreign minister dialogue there is now also an option to set your attitude towards other players, if you want to enter an alliance for example, both you and the player you want to ally with will have to change your attitudes towards each other to ‘Worshipful’ otherwise the AI will not accept an alliance. Sometimes it still won’t, due to your Civs reputation (The AI think you will backstab it later on) or because of the current power balance in the game (due to some unknown reason the AI is programmed to almost always refuse alliances suggested by the strongest or stronger human civs), but as long as you have an agreement with the actual player that wont matter very much.

    Diplomacy is carried out in the game only after you have come to an agreement with the player you want to negotiate with outside of the game, via email, PM, or the like. Conducting negotiations with the AI controlling a player’s nation when it isn't his turn and he hasn’t agreed is considered cheating and will generally result in a declaration of war from that player.

    The Legend of Cntrl-N:

    Firstly, make sure that you have 'Wait at End of Turn' selected under the Game Options menu. This will allow you to manipulate your Civ after all your active pieces have moved. Of most concern here, is the inactive units.

    When you leave units fortified inside cities (inactive units) during a PBEM and play your turn, you MUST use the 'Cntrl-N' (Command or Apple key+N for Mac users) command to cancel their remaining movement allowances (this command is also available in the “Orders” menu, where it is called “End Player Turn”). If Cntrl-N is not pressed, when the file is passed to the next player, the AI will take over your Civ and proceed to move all units with movement points left (i.e.: the fortified ones). They will generally move them outside cities and leave you quite undefended. The AI will also go into your production [queue] and change many of the things being built by your cities. To be sure, the AI will never make moves that would be remotely close to your intentions, so this must be avoided at all costs. It is a shame to have a game interrupted or altered because someone forgot to do this. It is of the utmost importance. If it is discovered that a player forgot to use this command, and more than one player has moved after him, it is the general custom to keep on playing anyway.


    It is best to set a password for your Civ to ensure that attempts at subterfuge are thwarted.
    The option to ‘Set Password’ can be found under the File Menu. The only thing to know here is that if one loses his/her password, there is simply NO WAY to return to controlling your Civ. You will therefore be forced to relinquish command of your Civ to the AI. This is a truly embarrassing thing to have happen to oneself, and it really hurts the game as well for the other players.


    While not really a part of the game, one should really not keep other players waiting without a good excuse and proper notice. Things come up, and Civ is not Real Life, but players enter into a PBEM wanting to move the game along, not to have it stagnate. This is a small, but important aspect and a matter of courtesy in PBEMS.
    This applies especially if you decide to drop out of a PBEM, if you do so, you must tell the other players, so that they can get a substitute player or decide if the AI should be allowed to take over your civ. Dropping out without telling anyone is considered extremely bad form, as it will stagnate the game completely, sometimes even kill it, and players doing this will most likely be boycotted in future PBEMS.
    Last edited by St Leo; July 27, 2003, 04:19.
    Blog | Civ2 Scenario League | leo.petr at

  • #2
    Sample Format

    Overall Score: x/30

    Playability: x/10
    -commencement, map, objective, finances, game balance, governments, etc.

    General Care: x/10
    -commentary, references, theme, extra files, etc.

    Art & Originality: x/10
    -units, icons, events, technology, etc.

    Blog | Civ2 Scenario League | leo.petr at


    • #3
      If a game ended, but it only ended because of a problem in the scenario and not because someone actually won, should we report it?


      • #4
        I think you should review that scenario, it would warn others not to play it in the future.
        "Long live Iraq. Long live Jihad. Long live Palestine. God is great, God is great." - President Saddam Hussein


        • #5
          and/or let the creator fix the bug, especially if its an enjoyable scenario otherwise.

          I still miss the Scenario League. Now that the PBEMs are here, I don't see all the scenario creation stuff, though I still check occassionally.
          Visit My Crappy Site!!!!

          -The Artist Within-


          • #6
            Would this go down in the PBEM CivGroup or in these forums. I really get what the civgroup with special forum and voting etc is for, as we can do all of that here already.?



            • #7
              I don't follow.
              Blog | Civ2 Scenario League | leo.petr at


              • #8
                Ahhh, well just follow me here and then here ... they're civgroups, and I'm not quite sure why we need them. Your idea sounds like something that Markos would have us do in our PBEM civgroup. I have no idea.


                • #9
                  Markos wants us to use them to organise new games
                  'Arguing with anonymous strangers on the internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be - or to be indistinguishable from - self-righteous sixteen year olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.'
                  - Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon


                  • #10
                    Why not discuss the scenario at the end of your PBEM thread and then email to me/post in the SLeague forum your results/conclusions/comments?

                    The whole idea behind this is for me to get free content for Sleague.
                    Blog | Civ2 Scenario League | leo.petr at


                    • #11
                      Is it just me, or did the "Official 2194 Days of War PBEM" game, based on the original one on a large map, is missing?!


                      • #12
                        Civ2 Engine bug i.r.t. Demography screen

                        It is becoming increasingly clear that if a player accesses the Demography screen (either by pressing F11 or via the pull-down menu), the placement of citizens gets messed up by the AI.
                        It appears that the program will check all cities of all civs to get the numbers for the demographics of each civ, but it is not satisfied just 'reading' the information, no: it feels it should set all cities to the most 'productive' squares in the city-radii to allow for a 'fair' comparison. We all know the AI's view on 'productivity

                        So, if anybody feels the need to check the demographics, please use the following method:

                        -save your game
                        -have a look at the demographics
                        -reload the save
                        -play and post

                        Doing this, you won't mess up other players demographics.
                        "post reported"Winston, on the barricades for freedom of speech
                        "I don't like laws all over the world. Doesn't mean I am going to do anything but post about it."Jon Miller