Rules Frequently Asked Questions

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This section answers commonly-asked questions about PBEM.

An attempt has been made to make this page as generic as possible, so that it will be valid for any PBEM game (SFB, FC, etc.). Where that is not possible, the specific game will be listed in a effort to avoid confusion.

Rules for SOPs and Break Conditions

There have been a number of questions about SOPs and break conditions, particularly from new players and moderators. I hope to clear up a few of them here. Consider this a FAQ on Breaks and SOPs.

Q: When a break is generated, who gets the SITREP? Both players, or just the one whose break was met?

A: Break conditions are on a per-player basis. If one player's break condition is met, that player gets the SITREP and a chance to rebid. The other player MAY, at moderator discretion, get a copy of the SITREP, but the SITREP should indicate who got the break, and it should be understood that only the player getting the break gets to rebid. Some breaks are a rebid for both (see Universal Breaks), in which case both players can rebid.

In actuality, it is not even necessary to send a copy of the SITREP to the other player. However, we do recommend that the SITREP go to both players, because it allows players to catch moderator errors more quickly and it keeps both players involved in the game. (They know something is happeneing, even if they can't react to it.)

Of course, if one of the players is trapped in a stasis field, you might consider not sending them any SITREPs until they are released from the field. Just to keep things "realistic", or something. :-)

Q: Can I request a break anytime my opponent gets one?

A: No. Break conditions can only be set on events that occur in the game that are obvious to the player, or which must by rule be announced to all players (such as displacement, raising ESGs, or changing speed). If your opponent launches seeking weapons, that's an obvious event that you can observe, and thus you can break and react. If your opponent requests a break before fire segment of impulse 2, that break has no observable effect on the game, and thus cannot be used as a break condition for you.

Q: Can I break in the fire allocation step of any impulse that my opponent allocates fire?

A (SFB): No. But this is a tricky question, because what you're really asking for is a break that would occur in a face-to-face game. In a FTF game, your opponent might ask for a hold in fire allocation, giving you a chance to fire as well. However, holds for action in a FTF game are, after all, merely a request to stop the game while the player contemplates doing something, not an actual event. The player may go on without taking action. Thus, this also falls under the category outlined above. A hold to think about doing something is not the same as actually doing something, and is not observable. Therefore, it cannot be used as a break condition.
A (FC): Sort of. While rule (1E4) does allow for a "me too" situation, that rule is not included in the FC PBEM rules (2FC1).

However, should all the players agree, they would be allowed to write Conditional Orders that would have the same effect as a "me too" decision (i.e., If the D7 fires, fire the photons on that same impulse).

Q: When a player changes speed, is it the announcement that generates the break, or the actual speed change?

A: It is the announcement.

Rules for Seeking Weapon Movement

Here, you can find rules (and advice) for handling seeking weapon movement.

Q: How do I plot the movement of my seeking weapons?

A: There are several options. You can specify the weapon's movement, hex by hex, or you can leave it up to the moderator completely. You can specify a leading plot, in which case the moderator, when he has the option, will move the weapon tending toward the direction the enemy ship is traveling. Or you can specify a following plot, which is the opposite. You can specify a particular hex to which you want your SW to travel, after which it will be up to the moderator. And if any of the moves you have plotted become illegal, you can either ask for a break, or leave it up to the moderator's discretion.

Q: How do I plot my moves to avoid seeking weapons?

A: If you're trying to avoid seeking weapons, we've found it useful to ask for a break when the weapon gets to close range, like 3 to 5, then plot the possible permutations from there.

Q: What about seeking weapon High Energy Turns (HET)?

A: Most seeking weapons only need to HET in response to a turn or HET by their target, which is almost always a break condition for the SW player. So if the player wants the SW to HET, they usually have the option to make it do so at that point. If you leave SW movement up to the moderator's discretion, he has the option to use the HET if the situation demands it. But we caution the moderators not to use the HET unless doing so would result in a weapon strike on its next move, or in response to the target's HET.

If you have other questions about the PBEM rules that you would like to see posted here, send them to the PBEM Coordinator.

Copyright 2003 Armarillo Design Bureau, All Rights Reserved Updated 15 November 2006