Play By Email
All of our games now offer you the opportunity to receive game results via email and most of our games also allow you to submit orders via the internet.
The system for submitting orders via email is very simple. You have a username and password and log onto a website to submit your orders. There’s no cost for submitting orders by email, and they’ll reach us almost instantly.
Receiving results by email is just as easy. We supply you with a printing program and once you receive your games results via email you can print off the reports yourself. We now even have a test facility to enable you to download the printing program along with a sample game report. Click here to get the printing program and a sample game report. This link also includes a link to full details about making the printing program work.
Many of our games are being converted to email game reports as PDF files, so you can use the Adobe Reader utility to view and print your results. It's much simpler to use. You need to be able to receive attachments, but then you need only one click to open it, and can view or print directly from the open file.
do I want to send orders by email?
– How long is a piece of
string? From our point of view your orders are read into the game data straight
from disk. This means no typing for the GM, no risk of GM errors (though these
are rare, and it also eliminates the chance of the GM correcting your errors, so
make sure you enter orders correctly) and no having to try and interpret spidery
writing or unclear faxes.
your point of view there’s no risk of the Royal Mail mangling, losing,
delaying, mis-delivering orders, your orders are sent almost instantly (whilst
email isn’t quite as reliable and instant as some people think, it’s much
better than any alternative).
it free to email my orders?
– Yes. The turns are
quicker for us to process, so it saves us time, which covers our costs of
developing the system. We’ll only pass on a cost if you’re creating
un-necessary work (such as sending the same set
of orders more than once, in which case a 0.1 credit charged will be levied for
each duplicate set).
I have emailed reports as well?
– yes, but note that emailing orders
and emailing results are separate options. If you prefer to continue to receive
reports via the post then that’s fine, you can still submit orders via email.
And vice-versa, you can have reports emailed to you without having to email in
is the “active” website address for sending orders?
have a number of different
websites. This website (
The second, is the “active” website, where you submit your orders, and in some games might find limited game information (such as maps in Empires and Dark Age). Access to this website is restricted so that we know who is sending orders for which team, so it isn’t appropriate for advertising and informational stuff.
A third, www.sidetracks.co.uk gives details of games at Peter Calcraft's Software Simulations, as well as news and discussions about developments of new games.
do I access the “active” website?
– First you’ll need to
request a username from your GM. Usually this will be your normal name (to keep
things simple). Once you’ve got a username you can log onto the active
website. If you’ve already got a username because you use the site for a
different game then you don’t need a new username.
do I register on the “active” website?
– The first time you log
on you’ll need to enter your username and then click on the “Change
Password” option to set a password (don’t forget your password). The system
will automatically take you to the Change Password option when you click the
Once you’ve set your password you’ll need to register your email address (you can’t submit orders without providing an email address for us to send confirmation back to and for the sender details on the email itself). To register your email address click on the “Change Email Address” option and enter it.
you’ve set your password and email address you’ll need to click on “New
Registration” to set your position up for email orders. You’ll be asked for
three bits of information:- the game title (from a drop down menu), the game
number or id (usually a number from 1 to 89, e.g. WE2, GS7, RS20) and the
position name or code (either will do – if in doubt, look on the top of your
turnsheet). The system will tell you if your request is successful.
do I send in my orders?
Once you’ve got yourself registered, password and email address set then each
turn you simply need to log onto the website and submit your orders. Each turn
you’ll be required to fill in the turn number, as well as relevant information
pertaining to the game. Once you send orders they’re emailed to us and a copy
is sent to you. Remember to log out once you’ve finished a session on the
should I write my orders?
– we recommend that you
write your orders on the paper turnsheet as usual, and then when they’re
ready, log on and copy them onto the website. Deciding on and writing your
orders whilst on-line isn’t a good idea – it eats up your phone bill, runs
the risk of you being disconnected while doing so (by your ISP) and slows down
our system if lots of people are logged on for no good reason. Do your planning
and plotting off-line and only log on when the masterplan is complete!
are the deadlines for sending my orders?
– the deadlines for
submission of orders via email will vary from game to game. Generally if your
orders arrive by 9am on the day of the deadline you’ll be OK, though
bear in mind that emails can sometimes take a few hours to propagate via the
networks (note it’s when it arrives with us that matters, not the time your
computer says it sent it – this is far too easy to abuse!). As with all of our
methods of submitting orders, we recommend you don’t wait until the last
minute, or you risk missing out if there’s any sort of delay.
you want feedback?
feedback on the active website is very welcome. It’s a developmental project,
so if you found something confusing, liked something, didn’t like something,
have a suggestion, we’re very happy to receive them. Please address these to
your GM, and don’t be upset if he doesn’t necessarily agree with you!!
the “active” website check for any mistakes I make in my orders?
– the “active” website
is supposed to check for basic mistakes and errors in order submissions. Such as
data missing and so forth. If you do try and send duff information it’ll
probably stop you from doing so and ask you for corrections. Please keep an eye
for this sort of thing and let us know if it isn’t working properly, or
information should I give in my orders?
- Generally the only
information you must fill in is the turn/week number. Otherwise you
should complete the online turnsheet just the same as you would a paper
turnsheet. If there are boxes on the paper turnsheet which are “only fill in
the changes to the existing selections” then you can also leave these blank on
the online turnsheet. If you want to fill them all in that’s up to you, as the
orders are read direct into the game data from your email it doesn’t create
any extra work for us. But it is un-necessary, and does increase the chances of
you making a mistake when you enter your orders!
that when things specific to your team/position (like current team selections)
are shown on paper turnsheets these will not be shown on the active website (whereas they are shown on your paper
turnsheet, but uploading this information to the active website every turn –
they’re not even stored on the same computer for security reasons - would
create a lot of extra work), so take care when filling in your orders.
turnsheets on the active website will be laid out the same as on your paper
turnsheet. Essentially all you need to do is fill in your paper turnsheet as
usual, and then copy over what you’ve written to the active website.
also that in some games there are orders which don’t appear on every turn
(such as draft orders in sports simulations, etc.). These will appear on the
active website as all times, even when they aren’t needed for that particular
turn. Simply ignore them when they aren’t actually relevant. If in doubt, the
paper turnsheet you have will always show the information you should be
do I receive results via email?
– If you are interested in
receiving results via email (these are normally sent out at the same time as
posted results get shoved in the letter box) then just ask your GM (and include
your email address when you do so). The first time we send you email results
we’ll send you an emailed copy and posted copy at no extra charge. If in
future you want emailed and posted
copies there’s an extra 0.2 credit per turn charge, but this isn’t applied
the first time (so you’ve got the paper copy to know what the emailing version
should look like when you print it and can then decide how you want to receive
your results in the future).
We can send you your game report as a PDF file (which requires the free Adobe Reader software to read - see the link to the left) or as a "text format". To print off a text format report you’ll need a copy of our free printer program (a .exe file which is available as a download from the softsim website as well as a sample game report. Click here to get the printing program and a sample game report. This link also includes a link to full details about making the printing program work.