This is the home of the War at Sea Play by Email (PBEM) ladder. War at Sea is a World War  2 naval strategy boardgame published by Avalon Hill. If interested in playing a game, click on the most current round tab at the top and post a comment on that page.

For more information about the game, see the Boardgamegeek entry here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1431/war-at-sea.

See Resources below for a link to the rules of play. The PBEM ladder matches players for regular play of War at Sea via email or in person. Good sportsmanship is encouraged.  The GM reserves the right to adjudicate any games not completed. All games will be rated for AREA (Avalon Hill Reliability, Experience, and Ability Scoring System). The AREA service tracks game results and provides cumulative rankings for players of many games. For more information on AREA, check https://area.kww.us/area/.




Bidding for sides is recommended. The second player listed in matchups has the first bid. Bids can start at 0 and be in increments of 0.5 POC or higher. A bid is presented in the format of a side and the amount of POC to be forfeited at the end of the game. For example, an opening bid could be 0.5 POC for the Allied side, meaning at the end of the game 0.5 POC will be deducted from the Allied score. If you do not wish to bid, feel free to otherwise mutually agree upon sides. On tied game results, the Axis player will advance on the ladder, but results are treated as a tie for AREA ratings purposes. If you elect to play additional matches to be tracked on the ladder site, feel free to let me know and determine order of bidding by any mutually agreed process.

Tournament Adjustment

For all War at Sea PBEM ladder games, the following tournament adjustment is used: American entry die rolls are modified cumulatively by +1 for every turn after American entry on turn 4, thus American ships enter permanently on individual die rolls of 5-6 on turn 5, die rolls of 4-6 on turn 6, etc. . American ships are still limited to the North Atlantic.

Code of Conduct Timing/Delays

Please discuss how often you plan to move and what time of the day you usually move with your opponent to minimize the delays between responses. Not only will this ensure that your game finishes within the allotted period, but your game will be more energetic and exciting. It is understood that vacations, work, deadlines, family, emergencies, etc. will affect response times. Simply notify your opponent when your response will be excessively delayed (e.g., more than two days longer than normal). Long absences without notification will be strongly considered if a game must be adjudicated.  If “real life” will delay the game too much during a round (e.g., four weeks or more total) to allow completion of the game, a player should apologetically and promptly resign from the game.  Do not sign up for a round if you anticipate such delays.

Long Delays – If it has been a long time since you’ve heard from your opponent, I strongly encourage you to contact him, remind him of the current status of your game and what you perceive as being next, and ask if, for some reason, he’s waiting on you. Email gets lost. People forget or get busy. Inboxes get piled high. Real life happens. I know I appreciate a “check in” from my opponents occasionally. On the other hand, if you moved ten minutes ago, it’s probably best to wait a couple of days before checking in! No one wants to be badgered, but we can all use a little encouragement from time to time!

Errors – We’re all human, and we all make mistakes — especially when we’re in rush.  Unfortunately, some of these will occur during our War at Sea games.  If an illegal move or obvious mistake is made, notify your opponent and allow him to correct his error. In the event that an error is not noticed until after the response, it stands. If an attack is in error, the entire attack for that area must be re-done and re-rolled. (See below for dice errors).  Again, if it is not noticed before the response, the error stands. Failure to take an optional action with a unit is not considered an error, but rather a choice. However, as much as possible, please extend opponents the opportunity to correct such omissions.

Assumptions – If a player makes an assumption about his opponent’s move rather than verifying it directly with his opponent, he becomes subject to whatever his opponent believes he did when the error is discovered later.  Example: Suppose a player doesn’t list a ship during basing and his opponent decides to place it in Germany because that seems most likely.  Later, his opponent moves the ship as if it had been based in France.  If it could have legally based in France, the move must be allowed.  Don’t assume – verify!

Courtesy – Having said this, remember that the point of the PBEM WAS competition is to have fun and improve our skill — not to win on technicalities. Please give your opponent every benefit of the doubt and extend every courtesy you yourself would appreciate. Get to be friends, work together, and have fun!

Play by Email Tools

Many tools exist to support War at Sea including tools for tracking the game and for rolling dice. Common PBEM tools for tracking board position that can be used are:

Vassal http://www.vassalengine.org

Cyberboard http://cyberboard.brainiac.com/

Text files and formatted Microsoft Word files are also available here: http://www.wargameacademy.org/WAS/

Agree with your opponent on the method for tracking the board. If you cannot agree, the default tools are Vassal and dice@finberg.org.

Dice Rolling Players may use any mutually agreeable method of rolling dice. There are four dice servers which have been certified for use in the PBEM tournaments which may be used by any player at his sole discretion.  These dice servers include:

  1. dice@finberg.org
  2. http://dice.kenware.com/
  3. http://www.pbegames.com/roller/
  4. http://www.vwroller.com/

Help for the first can be obtained by emailing a blank message to the address shown.  The second through fourth use a fairly self-explanatory form to request dice.  I recommend trying each by yourself before using it in a game.  Other dice servers may be used only if both players agree beforehand.  The Vassal and Cyberboard internal die rollers are not recommended unless both players are online (for Vassal only) and can witness the results simultaneously. In the case of rolling too many dice errors, if too many dice are rolled for an attack, the extra dice results are ignored.

Dice rolls can be cc’ed to: waratseadice@gmail.com. Dice rolls will be kept there for 60 days.

Rules Clarifications / Common Questions and Answers

A compiled list of rules clarifications and answers to common questions  can be found here: http://www.markevich.com/was/rules00.html

PBEM Sequence of Play

The PBEM sequence of play is the same as the standard sequence of play except in cases where simultaneous decisions are needed. There are two cases where simulatneous reveals may occur 1) Land-based air placement 2) Stay or withdraw decisions at the end of a combat round. Players can simultaneously reveal placement via any mutually agreed upon method. Two methods are presented below, but the players may use any mutually agreed method or reveal sequentially if desired. There is no mandated order for sequential revelation, but in practice decisions on placement are often obvious for one side or the other. 1.E-mail the GM with the air placement or decision,  and the GM can reveal them simultaneously. Note this is dependent upon GM availability. 2. Send password encrypted Word files with the placements and send the passwords separately after both players have received the files.


Previous War at Sea Ladder Site: http://www.markevich.com/was/index.html

Boardgamegeek page http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1431/war-at-sea

Rules File  http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/61708/war-at-sea-rules

Cyberboard Game Box http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/21549/wats-gbx

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Good luck!

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