It’s been a bad week for the campaign.
A couple of weeks ago I lost one player for the usual reason, failed to respond to my mail. Right from the start my only firm rule is that players must respond promptly to my mail. I give them 48 hours, then send a reminder and ask them to reply within 24 hours. If no reply I delete them from the campaign. All are aware of it, all sign up for it, but all too many fail to stick to it.
I am never sure why this is so. Perhaps they have just lost interest in the campaign. Perhaps it has not lived up to their expectations. Perhaps it has proved too difficult. Whatever the reason why not just reply and tell me?
Against my better judgement I decided to give them longer to reply. I have always thought that if anyone cannot answer an email within 72 hours they will find it just as difficult if they have three weeks. And the longer between mails the longer between campaign moves. I feel strongly that the hardest thing to do with a PBEM is to maintain the momentum and interest.
Anyway I changed the reply time from 48 hours to four days. Plus a fifth day for the reminder. In the first week another player failed to reply, and indeed has still not done so more than a week later.
Despite the trials and tribulations of PBEM the campaign is actually going very well. A hectic start with three battles within three moves was followed by a long period of regrouping and reorganising. We have now reached move 12, and at least everyone is ready to take the offensive again.
You might think that the recent loss of players was due to this lack of activity in the campaign. I don’t think so. Just after the series of battles the original objective of the campaign had been achieved. There was a clear winner and a clear loser. I thought perhaps it would be best to declare a winner and move on to the next phase. But all of the players wanted to continue, including the two who have subsequently dropped out.
I find it quite understandable that over a period of four months players will lose interest. But it’s so frustrating that they almost never tell me that they are leaving, let alone why. It’s a shame because with more feedback I could perhaps adjust the campaign to meet them half way.
As it is I have to rely on my instincts and personal prejudice. I try to run it the way I would like it run were I taking part as a player. The trouble is that I suspect I would want to put more into a campaign than many of those who actually take part in the PBEM.
I will keep with the longer response time and aim for one campaign move each week, and see how it works out.
In the meantime I now have two command vacancies. If anyone would like to give it a try let me know.