These are the full set of house rules for Ab Initio Games. You'll find much of it on other pages as well, sometimes in more detail, but we think it's a good idea to have all the essential information in one place in case you want to find something.
These are the ďhouse rulesĒ for Ab Initio Games. Many of them will be
fairly obvious but theyíre all laid out so you know what to expect from me,
and also how to behave. My general rule of thumb is to treat everyone the same
and be fair to everyone, but inconsiderate players, either towards the GM or to
other players wonít be tolerated. The GMís decision is final and is made in
the best interests of the majority of players and the fair running of the game
concerned. I wonít engage in arguments with players, as profit margins in
play-by-mail (PBM) games are too tight to spend excessive time on an awkward
minority. They find themselves ejected from games and not allowed to rejoin!
As in all PBM games you are required to pay for turns in advance. The
number of turns you have paid ahead is shown on your game report. One turn
credit is deducted for each turn you play. Turns that have not been paid for
will be played but will not usually be mailed (sometimes I may send the first
unpaid turn, as players often forget to send payment - but donít rely on this
- thereís no reason why I should send a turn you havenít paid for). In all
games youíll see tenths of credits (or ďpart-creditsĒ) reported. These are
used to pay for extra listings, faxs, extra email reports, replacement rulebooks
and so forth. Payments should normally be made for full numbers of credits, in
the amounts shown on reports.
should be made by cheque or postal order and made out to "Ab Initio
Games", unless otherwise specified. You cannot send payment by credit card.
If you send an amount that is not an exact multiple of the turnfee (or discount
offer) then part credits will be issued. If you are in more than one game of the
same type then you may split payments between them.
We welcome overseas
players, though youíll usually need to be able to receive results via email
and send them in via email or fax because of the slower postage times involved
in air mail (Europe is usually OK, but North America air mail takes 4-7 days).
Payment in Euros can
be sent but must be made out to "SSI Limited" regardless of whatever
is usual for that game. To convert U.K. turnfee rates into Euros simply multiply
by 1.8 (or double and take off 10%, it's the same result). i.e. for every £1.00
Sterling you need to pay 1.8 Euros). This rate includes our costs for currency
conversion and bank charges. Game results sent by air mail to Europe do incur an
extra 10% charge per turn to cover the extra cost of the postage, but not of
course emailed results.
Payment in U.S.
Dollars can be made with our credit card facility via the active website ().
To use this you'll already need to be registered with us and have a userid. Ask
for more details. To convert U.K. turnfee rates into U.S. Dollars simply
multiply by 1.8 (or double and take off 10%, it's the same result). i.e. for
every £1.00 Sterling you need to pay US $1.80). This rate includes our costs
for currency conversion and bank charges. Game results sent by air mail to the
U.S.A. do incur an extra 40% charge per turn to cover the extra cost of the
postage (as well as typically taking 4-7 days to arrive), but not of course
Canadian Payments Payment in Canadian Dollars should be made direct to me. To convert U.K. turnfee rates into Canadian Dollars simply multiply by 2.7 (or treble and take off 10%, it's the same result). i.e. for every £1.00 Sterling you need to pay CDN $2.70). This rate includes our costs for currency conversion and bank charges. Game results sent by air mail to Canada do incur an extra 40% charge per turn to cover the extra cost of the postage (as well as typically taking 4-7 days to arrive), but not of course emailed results.
you need to pay in other currencies you can do so, but note this will be much
more expensive than paying in sterling. Quite simply I cash your payment, for
which my bank make a deduction for bank charges (usually £4.00) and I simply
allocate you credits according to the Sterling amount they credit me with
(essentially you to pay for the bank charges). It is usually cheaper for you to
convert the money yourself.
I strongly recommend you donít send any cash, particularly coins. If
you send cash and it doesnít arrive you wonít get your credits, and coins
sent through the post frequently fail to arrive.
The cost of each turn depends on how many you pay for at once.
Turnfees are shown on game reports. In some games you cannot buy less than four
turns at a time because of the cost of processing each payment. As a general
rule of thumb the more turns you buy at once the cheaper they are. In addition
if you run two teams in the same game (e.g. two Gameplan teams, two Raceplan
teams) then any time you buy ten or more credits you can claim a free bonus
credit. This does not apply if you are in two different games (e.g. one Gameplan
and one Raceplan).
All games now offer you the option of receiving reports by email. If youíd
like to receive results by email then you can try the printing program and
sample reports at
isnít any difference in the cost of receiving orders by post or email. While
sending emailed results saves us postage and printing costs we do have other
costs to recoup from the development of emailed results, and where we make
savings we generally try to pass these onto players in the form of keeping
turnfees unchanged. Turnfee rises have been few and far between over the last
ten years for these reasons.
Many of our games now offer you the
chance to submit orders via email using our active website (recommended if you
can do it), and weíre adding to the list all of the time. If you want more
information about submitting orders via email, please ask for details. Game
reports normally show whether that game is currently set up for submission of
orders via the active website.
If you introduce someone new to our games then you are entitled to
four free turn credits when they sign up to play. Get the new player to mention
your name on their application (this bonus does not apply to startups under free
offers). This offer applies to new customers (not existing customers playing a
different game) and is restricted to genuine customers who join the game and
keep playing (to stop the of rogue who makes up a bogus mate who pays £5.00 to
join in order to claim a bundle of free credits).
Mistakes cannot usually be corrected, and games cannot be rerun. If you
spot an error then you should inform me immediately,
as there is a free turn credit for spotting an uncorrected error and
compensation may be made for adverse effects on your position. Errors must be
notified as soon as possible (itís much easier to fix something if you tell me
straight away, so I can if necessary notify other players - donít wait until
just before the next turn is due and expect me to be able to sort something
If possible, submit orders via the active website. If you post orders, I
strongly recommend you send orders by first class mail, and allow three days for
orders to arrive. My estimation is that 80% of first class mail is delivered
next day, 98% within two days and 99.5% within three days. If you allow less
than three days for orders to arrive you run the risk of the GPO letting you
down. I strongly recommend you donít use second class mail at all - itís
simply too unreliable and not worth saving a few pence for the risk of your
orders not arriving.
Turns are normally
processed on the day of the deadline and sent out by first class post.
Occasionally turns will be run a day late, usually because of problems in the
office or because I take the odd day off (football or cricket last minute -
which I consider as offsetting the fact I work 51 weeks a year - my week off
being at Christmas when the post dies anyway) but usually Iíll be able to warn
you in advance. If things are running late Iíll normally post a note on the
website Ė click on the Latest News link.
You can normally expect postal results the day after the deadline (if things run on time and the post isnít slow reaching you). However, please wait four days before worrying that results havenít arrived (then call me to find out whatís going on). Please donít call me the day after the deadline ďto see if they ran on timeĒ - the answer is either no (Iím running behind and trying to catch up, so answering such phone calls isnít very helpful) or yes (and the Royal Mail has let you down). Either way calling doesnít help to get the results to you any quicker. Wait the four days then ring me! Emailed results normally come through within hours, but please wait 24 hours before reporting them missing Ė even emails can be delayed.
Please do not send orders by guaranteed/special delivery as I wonít
accept them. First because I work from home guaranteed delivery usually means
the postman wants a signature at 7am in the morning, when Iíd rather be
asleep. Second if he does arrive at a more civilised time and Iím not here to
sign for a letter then heíll take away the letter again and require me to
collect it. Either way it causes much more work and hassle for me
un-necessarily. You ought to be organised enough to be able to send your orders
in plenty of time, and if not you can always fall back on faxing orders in an
emergency (for details see overleaf).
In some games if you miss a deadline then your previous set of orders
(already stored inside the computer) are used instead. In others there is a
computer routine to write orders for you. If your orders arrive late then they
will be set aside and used only if no new instructions arrive before the next
In the case of a major postal strike, any deadlines falling after the
start of the strike will be reset when the strike is over. Any turns due shortly
before the strike will be held back until after the end of the strike.
Unfortunately no special arrangements are made for minor and local strikes,
otherwise weíd never be able to run anything. Hopefully we can cope with local
strikes via fax and email.
If you need a
replacement rulebook for any game then just ask for a copy. The cost is normally
0.2 credits per rulebook sent (for games with more than one rulebook the cost is
Game reports are kept only until the following deadline. If you
miss a turn (by running out of credits or through mail getting lost) then you
will need to act promptly in order to get the missing game report. If your
results havenít turned up four days after the deadline then ring.
and Questions If you arenít sure about
something to do with your game please ask, but please follow a few ground rules.
First make sure youíve checked in the rules - if you ask something thatís
clearly in the rules Iíll simply tell you to read the rules. Second make sure
your question is clear - if I donít know what youíre question is I canít
answer it. The third is please put your question down on a separate sheet of
paper - questions on the backs of turnsheets are easy to miss and itís much
easier for you to read the answer if itís alongside youíre original
In our sports games it is our policy not to publish players' addresses,
but you may send messages to other players via the GM (umpire) to be forwarded
with game reports. Messages should be on postcards or index cards, clearly
labelled with the league name or number, your name and team, and the name and
team of the player you intend the message to go to. Inappropriate messages
(anything likely to cause offence) will not be forwarded. Player newsletters (by
players, for players, one for each league) are encouraged. In other games where
player interaction is important to the game an address list may be provided. It
is common, but entirely optional, in these games to exchange phone numbers or
email addresses in the public messages section.
The phone hotline for problems and questions (please note that you cannot
ring in orders Ė if I let one person do so everyone would want to and this
simply isnít practical) is available from 10am to 7pm Monday to Friday. Please
donít call outside these hours. Whilst I do work from home I like to switch
off from work, so please restrict calls to ďoffice hoursĒ. The number is
020-8325-2448. There is an answerphone on this number if you need to leave a
message, but please donít ask me to call you back - if Iím not here and you
need me youíll need to call again. Alternatively email me on .
Please ensure itís a genuine query Ė if you just want to phone up and moan
because you lost youíll get short shrift! Find a cat or something else to take
out your frustration!
You have the option of sending your orders by fax, and I now have a fax
machine in the office (so please try to ensure you send orders at a sensible
time of day - I donít really want my fax machine chirping away or running out
of paper and wanting attention at 3am in the morning). The fax number is 020-8249-1819.
Use of the fax facilities is open to all players but itís intended to be there
for those playing from abroad and those needing it as a last minute emergency
option. There is a cost for receiving faxes (line rental, printing costs, etc)
and I pass this cost onto you. The charge is 0.1 credit per page received (so
avoid sending cover notes and so forth).
The quality of faxes is often poor, generally because the fax is overused
(mainly by people who have no need to use it at all). Thereís nothing I can do
if I canít read your fax, so my advice is to not use it unless you really have
to. You should take extra care with writing your orders if they are to be faxed,
and use clear bold lettering (black is best, red will be better than blue). Take
extra care to mind your O's and D's.
Faxed orders must be sent by 9am the day of the deadline. If your orders
arenít there at that time then theyíll probably miss the deadline (I start
running games as soon after 9am as possible, to ensure the results are back in
the post to you the same day). Donít ring me to ask if Iíll wait for you to
fax orders in later in the day, I wonít Ė thatís not fair on everyone
else. The bottom line is if you wait until the last minute you arenít being
very smart, and you shouldnít be surprised if something goes wrong.
you stop playing in a particular game/league and wish to return at a later date,
then I normally will only allow you to rejoin your existing team (assuming they
are available). Youíll normally also be charged a credit for being reinstated
(because of the extra work involved). This only applies to players returning Ė
new customers normally get their startup free as part of the startup package.
and Multiple Positions
If we think players
are working together in games where they shouldnít, or one player is operating
more than one position in the same game then weíll eject them. Quickly and
permanently. Itís rare people try and do it, and we deal with them swiftly.
section might look scary, but in our games it rarely happens because we make
sure the games are designed to prevent it, and we monitor them carefully. If you
want a game thatís run properly and fairly then you can rely on us to do so.