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The person who checks, compiles, collates, and posts the data associated with a PBEM SFB game is known as the Moderator. Moderators are simply Players who volunteer to run the game for fellow Players.

It helps for the prospective Moderator to have PBEM SFB experience, though it is not generally necessary. As long as the Players know about the lack of experience, and accept the Moderator, that is all that is required. (Your PBEM SFB Organization may have specific guidelines regarding Moderator experience.)

(PB9.1) PREREQUISITES: Agreeing to Moderate a PBEM SFB Game is a commitment to the Players of that game to process their turns correctly, in a timely manner, and to remain unbiased toward any of the Players.

Generally, you should only agree to Moderate a PBEM SFB Game if you will have the time to do it right. Helping out your fellow players by volunteering to Moderate is a noble endeavor. BUT, if you don’t have the time, you will likely cause more harm than good. You are the one who will keep the game running, and check the Players documentation for mistakes.

Now, everybody’s human... or... at least fallible beings, so mistakes will be made, but effort should be made to check EAFs and SOPs for errors prior to running the turn. Some will inevitably slip by, but the Moderator should try to minimize these, where possible. It should be noted, however, that it is the PLAYERS’ responsibility if they make an error and the Moderator doesn’t catch it in time.

Check with your PBEM SFB Organization, as they may have specific rules regarding any other Moderating prerequisites.

(PB9.11) EXPERIENCE: At the present time, these PBEM SFB rules have no exact qualifications for a Moderator, though your PBEM SFB Organization may. A simple rule of thumb would be that if you’re comfortable with playing PBEM SFB, then you should have no trouble running a game.

It is possible to Moderate a game without having played it, but this is not advised, (and may not be allowed by your Games Director). If the Moderator has to "learn" the game while Moderating, there will be no one to catch their mistakes, which could cause some serious problems during game play. If all else fails, and a Moderator with experience cannot be found, then the inexperienced volunteer may be able Moderate the game, as long as everyone realizes that this is their first time, and there are no PBEM SFB Organization specific rules forbidding it. (Players should take extra care when submitting EAFs and SOPs in this event.)

(PB9.12) COMMITMENT: When you sign on to Moderate a PBEM SFB Game, you are telling the Players that you will take the time and put forth the effort to Moderate their game to the best of your abilities. If you cannot commit to regularly logging on and processing turns, then you should not volunteer to Moderate a game.

This is not meant to sound draconian. It is simply a courtesy to the Players that you, as a Moderator, don’t waste their time by delaying the game unnecessarily, causing them to log on time and again in a futile attempt to retrieve their Sitreps. If you can only log on once a week, then make sure that the Game Director knows this, and ASK them if this is acceptable.

You are responsible for the game flow, so you must be willing to spend the necessary time to ensure that the game flows smoothly.

(PB9.2) DUTIES / RESPONSIBILITIES: The Moderators duties are outlined below. Please take the time to read them thoroughly before volunteering to Moderate any PBEM SFB Games.

(PB9.21) GAME FLOW: The Moderator is responsible for maintaining the "flow" of the game. This not only means processing the turns in a timely manner, but also means that (s)he must occasionally "prod" delinquent Players, and (if necessary) assign penalties for tardiness.

Now, no one says you must "rule with an iron hand", but being fair to the Players includes the Player who gets their turn in on time.

(PB9.211) DEADLINES: The Time Limits shown in (PB9.22) are the standard limits. These may be different depending on your PBEM SFB Organization’s rules, and what type of game you are playing. They may also be altered prior to or during the game, but only with the approval of all Players.

It is your duty as the Moderator to see that these limits are held to as often as possible. If for some reason they cannot be adhered to, you must let all the Players know about the delay, and when they should expect to be able to download the next Sitrep.

It is expected that should the Players require extra time, or an extension, they will inform you of this fact in advance. If they fail to inform you of a foreseeable delay, then they will be considered delinquent.

By "foreseeable delay", we mean vacations, upcoming heavy work loads, moving, etc. A computer crash would be a valid excuse for not informing the Moderator of a delay, as the Player has no available means of doing so.

(PB9.212) DELINQUENCY: This will most likely be the most uncomfortable aspect of Moderating a game. When Players are delinquent, it is your responsibility to give them a warning, and (if there is no response) to assess a penalty against the late Player. [See (PB9.221).]

This may not be fun, but most Players understand the need, and will accept the penalty without comment. In fact, my experience has been that the Player will likely apologize for delaying the game.

Once a penalty has been assessed, it should not be revoked lightly. A Player’s excuse "after the fact" may sound reasonable, but if it is apparent that the Player just "forgot", rather than something unexpected happening, then the penalty should stand.

However, it is up to YOU, the Moderator, to decide the issue. You are allowed to revoke your own penalties if the Player’s excuse is valid, but you are not required to do so. Should a Player complain about your decision, try to work it out with them. If that fails, then direct them to contact the Games Director for further resolution.

(PB9.22) TIME LIMITS: In order to make the game fun and enjoyable for all Players, certain time limits are imposed. The time limits listed here are suggested time limits. Your Games Director will likely have more specific ones. Games can move slower if it is known by all participants that there will be a time delay. Time limits are imposed on both Players and the Moderator.

The suggested time limits are:

This means that, from the time you are informed that such information is due, you have the stated amount of time to send your reply to the Moderator. For Moderators, there is a two-day delay for getting out a new SOP once you have all the information from both Players.

Note that any players that cannot access the Internet (or their E-Mail) MUST inform the Moderator of such limitations. If you access your E-Mail from work, and don’t log on during weekends, then this information must be shared with your Moderator, so that your time limits can be extended if they fall on a weekend.

(PB9.221) LATE PENALTIES: If a Player is late with a post (either EAF or SOP), the Moderator should issue a warning to that Player, reminding them of the passed deadline, and requesting a reply within 24 hours. If, after 24 hours have passed, the Player still has not posted their form, the Moderator must asses a penalty of one hull or cargo box damage (F-Hull, A-Hull, C-Hull or Cargo, whichever the ship has the most of). If there are no Hull or Cargo boxes left, then the Moderator should assign a random hit using the DAC. (Use the Tournament Dice list, if provided.) They must also send a message to the Player noting the penalty and requesting a reply within 24 hours.

When assigning the random DAC hit, use the 2D6 numbers as if the delinquent Player's opponent had scored ONE internal, (which means that you use the OPPONENT's 2D6 numbers). Also, treat all late penalties assigned in a row as ONE VOLLEY. If the Player submits SOP's, and is then assessed late penalties in the future for a different occurrence, then that would be a new volley.

This cycle continues until the Player responds, or it becomes apparent that the Player will not respond.

(PB9.222) EXTENSIONS: We realize that SFB is (probably) not the most important thing in your life. From time to time, you will need a few days, or even weeks, off. Since a game can last several months in real time, it is not always possible to foresee when you will need an extension. However, extensions for good reason are always granted. Simply ask your Moderator for an extension. If it is reasonable, it will be granted. If it is for an extended period of time (several months) or has impact on the completion of an on-line tournament, the Moderator may decide to end the game at its current point.

(PB9.223) MODERATOR DELAYS: While it is not common, it does occasionally occur that the Moderator is the person who is being delinquent in their posts. If this is the case, the Player should first prod their Moderator with an E-mail. (It may be that the game is progressing, and that your opponent has had six breaks in a row which did not affect you.) If you do not get a response from your Moderator in 48 hours, send E-mail to the Games Director. (S)he will check into the situation and determine what needs to be done. Possible solutions are to call the game, or to assign a new Moderator to finish the game. (This is one reason that good record-keeping by the Players AND the Moderator is so important.)

(PB9.3) RUNNING THE GAME: The following guidelines are provided for Moderators running games.

(PB9.31) SITREPS: The main difference between a Sitrep and an SOP is the nature of the information. In an SOP, the Player tells you EVERYTHING they want to do. When you convert this information over to a Sitrep, you must be sure to exclude (or alter) the information which the other Player would not normally have access to. (i.e., Reserve Power use, Seeking weapon targets, etc.)

Prior to putting the Sitrep together, check over the SOPs and EAFs to make sure that a Player didn’t inadvertently make a mistake. Errors caught after the fact are MUCH more difficult to deal with.

Once the Sitrep is put together, check it over one more time to make sure the YOU didn’t make any mistakes.

If the Sitrep gets run, and a mistake is discovered later, it is difficult to simply "back up" the game to where the mistake was made, as vital information has already been given to the opponent about what a Player’s intended actions will be.

Note, however, that if a Player makes an error on their SOP or EAF that the Moderator doesn’t catch, then it is the PLAYER’S responsibility for that error, and that Player must live with any consequences. (Just as if they had made the mistake while playing face-to-face, without the benefit of a Moderator.) Still, the Moderator should take care to provide as much error checking as possible.

As to the format of a Sitrep, see (PB6.0).

(PB9.32) PLAYER ERRORS: As a Moderator, it is your job to see that as few mistakes as possible make it through you and into the Sitrep. HOWEVER, you are NOT supposed to point out errors to the players until those errors actually occur in the Sitrep. You are not to point out that something that someone want's to do a few impulses from now is not legal until that activity is actually supposed to occur.

For example; Player A submits an SOP that says (s)he wants to launch a Stinger Fighter on IMP 26, and that same SOP has that Stinger firing it's Phaser at something on IMP 32. As an impartial Moderator, you ARE NOT to point out to that player that (s)he needs to launch that fighter earlier in order to be able to fire it that turn and let them resubmit a new SOP launching the fighter earlier.

You would launch the fighter on IMP 26, just as (s)he requested, but when IMP 32 rolled around, you would notify them (privately) that the Stinger did not fire because it had to wait 8 impulses after launch before it was able to fire.

At that point, you have corrected the mistake in the SOP (by NOT firing the Stinger when it was not eligible), but you have not assisted them by pointing out the misinterpretation of the rules until (s)he would normally have found it out. (By the opponent yelling; "HEY! YOU CAN'T DO THAT!")

Obviously, EAF's are a different matter, and PBEM SFB players have the advantage of a Moderator to inform them of incorrect EAF's. While EAF's in Face-to-Face games would only be checked after the game was over, the Moderator cannot allow an improper EAF to be accepted at all, because if (s)he did, the game would be pointless. (The Moderator would know who won because one of the players had an illegal EAF on turn ONE.) If you have ANY questions about this aspect of Moderating, contact the Games Director.

Also, remember that Player errors are the PLAYER'S responsibility. Do everything you can to catch them and prevent them. But if any slip by, it is the PLAYER who made the error, and who must accept the responsibility for it, NOT the Moderator who missed the error. (Now MODERATOR errors are another matter.)

(PB9.33) DISCHARGED WEAPON STATUS: When a ship discharges weapons (whether aiming them at someone or not), the load status of that weapon MUST be announced. (Exception: PPD's do NOT have to be announced.) If a weapon missed it's target, or was discharged into space, the opponent must still be informed as to whether the weapon was standard or overloaded (and the level of overloading, where applicable.)

(PB9.34) SEEKING WEAPON MOVEMENT: Seeking Weapon Default Movment: If a Player does not specify a movement plot (either specific, or general), then the Moderator should move the Seeking Weapon using a Leading Plot. Turns or sideslips are entirely at the discretion of the Moderator in this case. A leading plot is suggested, (though not mandatory), so the Moderator has no dilemmas about moving seeking weapons with the foreknowledge of the opponent's movement plans.

Note that these are GUIDELINES ONLY. If a Player does not specify any SW movement orders, and the Moderator does not move the SW according to these voluntary guidelines, then the Player has NO recourse. (Players should specify SW movement if they wish to control their own SW's.)

(PB9.4) SMALL UNIT DESIGNATIONS (SUDS): Small Unit Designations is the term used for any seeking weapon or shuttle/fighter actually on the board. The Moderator will assign a SUD to a seeking weapon or shuttle/fighter upon launch, using the guidelines below. (Note that all stationary objects are excluded from this rule, as they do not move, and can be referenced by their locations.)

SUDs will be assigned using the following format:

RACE TYPE / ID: Each component will use one letter/number, with no spaces between, and a slash just before the ID.

  • RACE: A one letter race designator will be used to minimize clutter on the Sitrep. Simply use the first letter of that race’s name. (For Kzintis, use the letter Z) In the case of the same race battling each other, use a RACE letter/number designator. i.e., R1 would be Romulan ship 1. (Note that the Race designator can be omitted for those battles in which only one side could possibly have that type of unit.)
  • TYPE: A one letter type designator should go here. Once again, use the first letter of the object for a type designation. (i.e., F=Fighter, S=Shuttle, D=Drone, P=Plasma) Weapons not listed here that require different letters will simply use a suitable designating letter.
  • ID: An ID number (for Drones, Shuttles, and Fighters) or letter (for Plasmas) will be the last part of the SUD.

For Drones, Shuttles, & Fighters, simply use sequential numbers to ID them. (i.e., the 1st launched would be #1, the 2nd; #2, etc.) You can use the first drone in a group to ID a swarm. (i.e., Kzinti Drones 1-4 would be labeled as ZD/1, and described as Kzinti Drones 1-4.) If the swarm splits, you can simply re-designate by actual drone numbers.

For Plasmas, use the letter of the launcher which launched that particular plasma torpedo. If the same launcher launches a second plasma (due to pseudos), then use the letter twice to designate the second torp. (i.e., GP/A & GP/AA) This makes it easier for everyone to keep track of which launcher launched which plasma.

Here are some examples:

  • 1st Romulan Plasma from launcher B: RP/B
  • 2nd Gorn Plasma from launcher B: GP/BB
  • 1st 4 Kzinti Drones: ZD/1 (Unless "swarm" separates)
  • 5th Klingon Drone: KD/5
  • 3rd Federation Shuttle: FS/3
  • 2nd Federation Shuttle from 2nd Federation ship: F2S/2
  • 2nd Hydran Fighter: HF/2

Note that in the case of large numbers of different fighters, this system may become unwieldy. The Moderator can alter this system in those cases, but make sure that you tell your Players what’s going on.

(PB9.5) RECORD KEEPING: You must keep a copy of the EAFs of both Players for the entire game. This is so that any questions that arise, either during or after the game, can be referenced with the EAFs.

You must also keep a copy of your Sitreps the entire game, for the same reason that you’re keeping EAFs.

The Players’ SOPs should be kept until they are resolved. Being "resolved" means that the period covered by the SOPs has been run and posted, and the Players have submitted new SOPs, without any complaints about the interpretations of their old SOPs. Of course, you could keep them longer, if you wished, but it is not required.

(PB9.6) REPORTING: Upon game completion, results of games must be reported to the Games Director (or their designee). It should include at least a final SOP and an analysis of the Level of Victory scored by each Player. Your PBEM SFB Organization may have additional reporting requirements.

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Copyright 1996-1999, 2005 Amarillo Design Bureau, All Rights Reserved Updated 15 November 2006