Ab Initio Games

Retro Interactive Sports, Historical & Sci-Fi Games

Online & Postal Games since 1986

Free Startups for new players throughout 2023

Costs and Credits

Turn Credits

As in all play-by-mail games you must pay for turns in advance. The number of turns you've paid for (but not yet used) is shown at the top of each game report. One turn credit is deducted for each turn you play. Turns that have not been paid for will be played but not mailed. In many of our games we can now keep track of tenths of turn credits ("part" credits) as well as whole turn credits. This allows us to make extra charges where necessary.

We make no extra charges for things that are relevant to how the game itself is played (other players can't buy and advantage by spending more money than you) but we do charge extra for things relating to extra costs (e.g. fax costs, extra changes of orders, extra copies of game reports). All our turnfees are "flat", which is to say they don't change during play (except when we change our prices generally). You will not be asked to pay for more a game when you're doing well than when you first start.

Costs and Discounts

The cost of each turn depends on how many you pay for at once. Turnfees are given in our catalogue and in game reports. The more turns you buy in a single payment the less they cost (this is mainly because the bank charges are less).


You can start by waiting for a new game or by taking over an existing "standby" position (where the previous player has dropped out). You may have to wait a while for a new game to start, but standby positions are normally available very quickly.

One option is to take a standby position while you learn your way around the game and sit on the waiting list for a new game at the same time. Another that's available in some games is to start in a short-handed game. These start very quickly, and they're good for learning the system and getting to know the rules.

Note that "startup" means being placed in a game, which is distinct from being sent your first turn, so "startup and three turns" means three turns (not four turns).


Payment should be made in U.K. currency, by cheque or postal order if possible and made out as shown in your game reports. Other arrangements are available for payments by overseas players.

If you send an amount that is not an exact multiple of the turnfee then part credits may be assigned. If you are in more than one game with the same GM then you may split payments between games.

Sending Cash

We strongly recommend you don't send cash, especially coins. If you send cash and it doesn't arrive you won't get your credits, and coins sent through the post often don't arrive (mostly they get mangled in the machinery at the sorting office).

Credit Cards

Our credit card facility currently works in Sterling, US dollars and Aussie Dollars. If your card account uses a different currency then the exact amount you get charged depends on the exchange rate offered by your credit card provider at the time your payment is processed.

The credit card facility can be found inside our "active" website at www.softsim.co.uk, which is protected by a login process (for security). You need to ask us to provide you with a user name for you before you can enter.


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. If you introduce someone new under a free trial offer then the bonus is only two turn credits (the new player introduced is using the other two turns).

The bonus for introductions is liable to be reclaimed if the player introduced doesn't play for at least an equal number of turns. This is so that we can deal with the occasional scallywag who introduces imaginary people in order to collect free turns.


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For more information please contact: Danny McConnell

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