GM Guide

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VASSAL PBF games of TI3 require a Game Master (virtually always abbreviated to GM). GMs are usually experienced PBF players who know the Rules and VASSAL

Responsibilities of a GM

In general, a GM's job is to take care of everything that the players cannot or should not do:

  • Dealing Action and Political Cards
  • Rolling dice for Space Battle and Invasions
  • Handle all other Secrect Information
  • Weigh in and, if necessary, make a ruling on rules-related issues
  • Answer questions about hypothetical scenarios which players send you by Private Message

For everything else, the rule of thumb is "If the players can take care of it themselves, let them." Feel free to take a look at the posting guides that some GMs posted in their GMs. They explain what players should do to keep the game well organize and moving at a good pace.

Futhermore GMs are moderators of their game forum. They should intervene if players are violating code of conduct of this community. If you are not sure about how to handle a situation, feel free to contact the Global Moderators or other GMs. Note that the Global Moderators will read some games in part but cannot be expected to monitor all games at all times.

Setting up a game

To set up a game, take a look at the Game Wanted / Players Wanted forum. If a player is currently requesting a game and you are interested, feel free to step up and offer to GM this game. You can also announce a new game there and invite players.

You are encouraged (but not required) to invite player at the top of the waiting list.

Once you have players for your game, contact a Global Moderator (shaunm or Sunchaser) to set up the forum. If you sent them a list of players (one line per player name, no other characters, names spelt correctly), they can immediately give posting permissions to those players. Otherwise you will have to add the players to game-specific usergroup (the Global Moderator will tell you the group name). You can add users to a group in your User Control Panel under Usergroups > Manage groups. In the row for your game's group, click on "Manage users" and add the players to the group.


As a PBF game takes several months at least, it is likely that several participants (including the GM) will be absent for a while, e.g. due to vacation or work-related travel).

If you know that you will have no VASSAL access for a week or longer, it is a good idea to get a temporary replacement GM. Only little preparation is required. The most important step is to draw a few cards (20 ACs, 20 PCs, 3 Mercs and 2 Public Objectives should suffice) and send your replacement a list of those cards. He can then "deal" those cards to players via Private Message. Once you are back you will have to deal those cards in VASSAL.

Replacing Players

If a player resigns from a game or is absent for an unacceptable period of time, you will have to find a replacement player. Best start a thread in the Games Wanted/Players Wanted forum, so everybody sees it. In that thread you should also summarize the situation and special rules of the game (not giving away too much) and post a snapshot of the map. This will make it easier for possible replacements to decide whether they would to join your game.

Once you found a replacement, you can grant him posting permission for the game by adding him to the game's usergroup. To do so, go to your User Control Panel > Usergroups > Manage groups. In the row for your game's group, click on "Manage users" and add the new player to the group.

Permanent GM replacement

If you cannot continue acting as GM for a game, please start the thread in the Game Wanted / Players Wanted forum looking for a permanent replacement. Please do not just stop checking the forum. You should at least make a vsav file in which you have retired, so your replacement can step in easily. If no replacement is found quickly, you can send that file to a Global Moderator for safe-keeping (but not if he is a player in your game).