New Member Orientation

      The ACWGC has been formed to play American Civil War computer simulations. These games are currently the older Talonsoft Battleground games (now "John Tiller's Battleground Civil War" and distributed by Matrix Games), the Civil War Campaign series games produced by John Tiller Software and HPS Simulations, as well as the game "Forge of Freedom" (FoF) by Western Civilization Software, "Gary Grigsby's War Between the States" (WBtS) by 2by3 Games, "American Civil War:The Blue and the Gray" (AACW) by AGEOD, Civil War II (CW2) by AGEOD and Civil War II The Bloody Roads South by AGEOD, all distributed by Matrix Games. The club does not provide these games. Each club member is responsible for providing his own game "arsenal," although it is not necessary to possess every game that is sanctioned. Many players start out with one or two titles only, and then expand their collection as they gain in experience.

      Players of all skill levels are welcome, from novice to expert. All recruits will pass through a training session with the side of their choice, either the CSA's Vicksburg Military Institute (VMI) or the USA's Union Military Academy (UMA), to familiarize them with PBEM and the rules and conventions of the club. A new member's level of expertise will be taken into account when accepted into one of the training institutes. The excellent staff at VMI and the UMA are there to answer questions and to help. Questions are welcome and many members are available to assist.

      The ACWGC endeavors to provide a military and historical flavor to it's members ("officers"), where a friendly atmosphere is the norm. It is not a points ladder club, but a way to participate and enjoy the times portrayed. Promotions are based on quality of play and leadership, not just on the number of games played. The ACWGC is organized upon a General Staff type system with a "civilian" Cabinet administration to balance the pure, military perspective. Participation by members is encouraged to reduce paperwork and administrative duties. Role playing is encouraged to portray the natural rivalries and historical aspects of the CSA and the USA. Friendly banter is welcomed, but rude and antagonistic behavior will not be tolerated. Games are organized by opposing Commanders as well as individual challenges and posting on the PBEM Opponent Finder boards. The Mason-Dixon Tavern is the club's primary, general forum and a fun and informative place to hang out. Each major side also sponsors their own "field army" forums, where Musters and more exacting field army business is conducted.

      Good communication is absolutely critical to your activities within and the proper administration of the club. Virtually all of your communication is conducted from your computer within the Internet. Your e-mail resources and forum access skills will be the primary instruments for your own communications. All of your games will be conducted within the Play-By-E-Mail format. Your computer is your "mount!"

      All club members are obligated by ACWGC Club Rule to make a ďMuster ReportĒ once each month, which serves as a statement that you are still active and want to continue your membership! That's done because we've an excellent, active and functioning roster and automatic game records program that lies at the heart of everything. Beyond that all of us who are here now will someday leave by choice or circumstance. None of us will be here forever. When that happens, it should be known. Sometimes, however, an officer will simply walk away without notification or be unavoidably erased from active participation because of loss of financial support, family emergency, illness or death, or disinterest, etc. Mustering provides us with the possibility of knowing when that is about to happen. The club has suitable and considerate rules in place to deal with an officer who goes Out-of-Communication (OOC) for whatever reason, or who feels that he doesnít have to be responsible.

      Mustering is the individual member's responsibility! Itís your responsibility! Itís not your Division, Corps or Army Commanderís responsibilityÖitís yours! No one has the time to dig through the Department of Records and checking on your game record to see if youíre still active. No one has the time to be contacting your former opponents to find out if youíre there or not. IT'S ALL UP TO YOU!

      We cannot put it any plainer than this: DON'T CHEAT!! It's simply not worth it!

      First of all this club has gone out of it's way to insure that there is no reason to cheat. The point differential between winning and losing is not that great to warrant it, so why do it? Secondly, the personal penalties are far too heavy to make it worth your while. In the past the Cabinet has taken severe action against members who've been found guilty of cheating, stripping them of all of their foremrly accumulated OBD points and rank, in addition to having them make public apology to their opponets and the entire club membership! Unfortunately for them, once that has happened, they all but lose their credibility within the club, suffering from both a lack of willing opponents and any friendly communications for a very long time! The ACWGC is fully capable of policing itself and can easily determine if an officer is cheating. Quite frankly those players who have been caught cheating have little choice, in the end and in consequence of their actions, but to leave the club.

      Our goal here as USA officers is to have FUN. Points and rank come easily enough to any officer who honorably and actively participates. If you want to advance in rank, just play some games. You'll get there whether you win or lose, and you win-loss record is strictly secondary to how you conduct yourself. The club is built upon mutual trust and respect. If you're the kind of player who replays his own moves, or replays his own offensive firing and melee outcomes, or try to break into the actual game files, you don't belong in this club! On the other hand, if you know the value of integrity and regard personal honor as a guiding principle in your life, then you'll find a satisfying home here in the ACWGC!

      After you have graduated from the UMA you will be anxious to get started fighting real BATTLES against the Confederate side of the Club. How do you go about doing this you ask? You'll have to "post for a fight!" Only graduates from the two Club academies may post for a sanctioned fight!

      The most common way to post for a fight is to make use of the club's Opponent Finder portion of the ACWGC Main Forum. There you can chose the particular game sub-forum in which you are interested, log in and make a posted challenge! You'll want to be as specific as you can, making sure to completely identify yourself and in stating the game and scenario you want to play. Let your potential opponents know if you're looking for a single- or multiple-player contest. Sometimes you'll find an opponent already looking for the match in which you're interested! After you've posted, it shouldn't take too long before someone takes you up on your offer. But if not, try posting a series of challenges on games and scenarios you might be interested in playing.

      Another method of posting for a fight is to send a personal e-mail (a "courier") to any opponent of your choice, stating your desire to engage with him in combat. If you've gone to the trouble of securing posting privileges in the specific, enemy forum taverns, you can even make some noise there! Of course you'll have to be selective in the language you're just there to seek a game, not start a war! WE'VE ALREADY GOT A "WAR!"

      Finally, if you're a little shy about drumming about so publically and making a spectacle of yourself, or are concerned that you might be shopping out of your league (always a concern if you're still in the company and field grade ranks), you might ask your commanding officer to see if he can arrange something for you! Most COs are more than happy to oblige, and will help you in filling up your "dance card!"

      Remember that no matter the method of posting for a fight, the main goal is to HAVE SOME FUN!

      Common courtesy suggests that you should be prompt in the return of all game files that you receive. A good rule of thumb for time between turns is 24 to 36 hours, roughly 3 turns per week, for a single player game. If you are going to take longer than that, be sure to let your opponent know! While the above is considered "normal" by club standards, it is perfectly acceptable to specify a desired turn rate for your game when posting a challenge. If players accept your challenge knowing beforehand that the rate of exchange will be less or more than the norm, then it is perfectly acceptable. Some members prefer a very brisk game pace, while others are more comfortable with a relaxed effort.

      The key in all of this is to not over-commit in either the number of games you are playing or in the turn rate! The most common error many new members make is to load up on "everything in sight" as soon as they begin their battle careers and then find out that they can't keep up! It's much more enjoyable to have two games underway and be able to exchange your turns promptly, than to have four games with disgruntled opponents that you've left waiting!

      Be advised that many games start out quickly and may take only a few minutes per turn in the early stages. But as fire and melee phases increase with enemy contact, and reinforcements enter the field and need to be moved to the front, the same games may then take an hour per turn as opposed to the fifteen minutes experienced earlier!

      Multiple-player games always take longer depending on how many "hands" the game file must pass through to complete one turn. In this case promptness is even more critical. Delays can really stack up, especially if several players are not conscientious in the prompt handling their files.

      If you want to make fellow club members really upset, just try taking on a game and then being slow in your file transfers! Besides being rude, it displays a lack of respect for your teammates/opponents that usually results in a bad reputation for you in our club. Please do your part so that it can always be said that USA players are prompt in their file transfers. Don't take on so many games at one time as to make it difficult for yourself and consequently upsetting to your opponents and/or partners. If you should find yourself in an unexpected situation with the pace of your game at a later date, have the grace to tell your opponent of your difficulty and see if you can reach a subsequent adjustment. Once again, common courtesy is the key!

      Every player should be aware of just how games are scored in this club. Everything is automatically done within the Department of Records.

      We talked about "sanctioned" games above. Those are games that are meant to be entered as official scoring contests within the DoR, as opposed to those games that may be electively played by club members outside of the club system. Once a game is entered within the DoR it becomes a sanctioned event; that is, "Engagement Points" will be automatically awarded to the participants depending on the type of game, the number of turns played and the end result! The DoR will also automatically update the players' overall records and will give notice when any point thresholds are reached for a member's advancement in rank! A game may be entered within the DoR as to its type: a "battle," "manuever," or as a "training game." The Engagement Points subsequently awarded will be dependent on the game type.

      Instructions are provided at the DoR as to how exactly register a game's information once chosen and agreed upon, which includes the base computer game package, the exact scenario, the name of the players involved in relation to the side they play, the exact scenario and the game type, all of which is done and selected from pre-ordered, pull-down menus. It then remains only to record the completion of the game and end result into the DoR when the game is completed. That includes the actual number of turns played, which player(s) won the game and the specific level of victory attained. The DoR program will then automatically compute and enter the appropriate points for each player. The manner in which that is done is as displayed within the ACWGC Club Rules and recreated below. - Basic Formula. Normal games (identified as "Battles") will receive base points equal to the sum of the Scenario Length Modifier (SLM), plus the Result Modifier (RM), plus 1 additional point for the winner. If two or more players join forces in a multiple-player game, all involved will earn all points. (Points will not be divided among players of a side.) There is no limit to the number of Engagement Points an officer may earn in any given month.
            a) Scenario Length Modifier (SLM) = Number of Completed Turns divided by Four (# Completed Turns / 4).
            b) Result Modifier (RM) = (Number of Completed Turns times the Win/Loss Result (WLR)) divided by 100.
            c) Win/Loss Result (WLR)
                  1) Draw = 0 points.
                  2) Minor Victory = +1 point.
                  3) Major Victory = +3 points.
                  4) Minor Defeat = -1 point.
                  5) Major Defeat = -3 points.
            d) Example: Calculation for a Major Victory after 30 completed turns.
                  Winnerís total = SLM (30 / 4) + RM ((30 * 3) / 100) + 1, or SLM (7.5) + RM (.9) + 1 = 9.4
                  Loserís total = SLM (30 / 4) + RM ((30 * -3) / 100), or SLM (7.5) + RM (-.9) = 6.6

      As can be seen from the examples given above, both players or sides will be rewarded with Engagement Points relative to the length and outcome of the game. Manuever games, in which two or more members from the same side play each other, utilize the same formula, but have the end result halved. Training games automatically reward the Instructor with 10 Engagement Points and the cadet with 30 points, no matter the outcome!

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