Cyberboard is a free windows based utility for board gamers created by Dale Larson. Cyberboard's goal is make any board game playable using email as the method of exchanging moves. This overcomes one of the most fustrating problems of being an avid gamer, finding oponents. Using email as a transport method of exchanging moves the scope of potential game oponents is boundless.
The utility allows designers to recreate the board game, complete with maps, unit coutners, charts, tables and other items. Once a board game's pieces are collected in a Cyberboard GameBox players can then set up Game Scenerio files to share with each other.
Cyberboard itself has no understanding of the rules that go into the particular game being played. They players themselves are the judge of game rules, much like playing the paper version of the game face to face. In this way Cyberboard is the tool that can play literaly thousands of games.
To begin playing a particular game each player gets a copy of the Game Scenerio file. One player is chossen to go first. They can then deploy and move units. A Dice rolling function is used to resolve conflict and other random elements during the turn. The player can also annotate each part of their move for the other players, and observers, to view. The move is saved in a Game Move file and sent to the next player.
The next player loads in the Game Scenerio file and the Game Move file from the other player. The first player's move is reviewed by the player complete with units moved, dice rolls, and any annotation. Then it's their turn to act. They make their moves, resolve actions, make notes, etc and send the resulting Game Moves file to the first player.
This goes on, back and forth making moves and swapping move files, until the game is over. At any time the Game Move file can be shared with observers so they can watch the game unfold. Watching a well played Cyberboard game is both entertaining and a good way to learn the game being played better.
The Cyberboard homepage is at http://www.execpc.com/~d-larson/cyberboard.html and GameBox files for hundreds of board games can be found at http://pbem.brainiac.com
What type of games are available for Cyberboard? Everything from Chess, microgames such as those from Metagaming Concepts, larger board games such as those from Avalon Hill and many of the DTP games making thier way onto the net. I have seen game replay files for games as massive as Third Reich down to quick games of Ogre.