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Brettspielwelt.de, online community for playing boardgames, now with tutorial

elkataselkatas Registered User regular
edited December 2007 in Critical Failures
[1.] What is Brettspielwelt.de?

Brettspielwelt.de (from here on BSW) is german Java-based online service for playing various popular board games over the net. Service is completely free, and supported mostly by advertisements and donations. Currently BSW supports over 60 different board games ranging from tried and tested classics such as Go and Backgammon to highly popular new wave board games like Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan. With active user base that can be counted on thousands, it is easily best place to play board games on the net.

Unfortunately, Brettspielwelt.de isn't the world's easiest service to use, and many beginners get frustrated while trying to understand its interface. It doesn't help either that many BSW's features have been available only in german until recently. This guide tries to cover most basic actions required to play games on BSW.

Creating your account

BSW can be used anonymously, but most users have account. This gives user multiple benefits, like reserved nickname, ranking, access to your personal statistics, and possibility to save your personal settings. Registration is completely free, and doing it should be relatively straightforward.

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When you open the BSW's homepage, you are greeted with page that should look similar to one that is above. First you need to switch language into something more suitable. By pressing Union Jack flag button, you can switch website's language into English, but as translation process is still unfinished, some sentences are still in german. After switching language, press "log in" button, which should open small pop-up window.

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In the pop-up window, by clicking Noch keinBrettspielWelt-Mitglied link, you are taken into form where you can register your account. Registration form is in English, and all of its fields should be self-explanatory. After you have registered, you are taken into form where you can adjust your personal settings. Most important thing here is the language. By setting English as your language, you will automatically have English interface when you log in.

Web client or home client?

You can use BSW's services in two ways; via client browser or home client. With web client, you can access BSW anywhere from the world so long as your computer supports Java, but the drawback is that your web browser needs to download various scripts always when you want to play game. On the slower connections, this can take 5-15 seconds, which tends to get annoying after a while. Home client, in the other hand, is installed on your own computer, and it caches most important files to your harddisk, resulting in far shorter loading times. Furthermore, home client allows you to edit settings that aren't supported by web client. Interface wise there is no difference between clients, but most seasoned players prefer home client thanks to caching, and possibility to customize your settings more freely.

[2.] Game Manager
When you first log into BSW, you are taken into Game Manager. This is the place where the player's meet and games are arranged. No matter where you are in the BSW, you can always get into Game Manager by typing /manager on the chat window (number 4 on the picture below).

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Picture on the top is taken with English set as a users primary language. If you don’t have English interface for some reason, you can change language by typing /language en on the chat field.

Looks confusing? It really is, but after you grasp the basics, playing games and finding other players will be easy.

1. Control bar

Back: If you are in the game, this button returns you to the game manager. In the manager, this button returns you to your hometown. As this document is meant for beginners, I won’t cover towns or guilds.
News: By clicking this icon, you can see various announcements and news. If you aren’t member of BSW’s many guilds, only page worth watching for is the first one, where administration’s public announcements are made.
Game: This button works only when you are actually playing game.
Gamepartner: This is the place where various members are searching for partners. By clicking it, you can see all games that need more players, and games that are currently seeking for players. By clicking the game’s name, you are instantly moved into room where game is played.
Info: This button shows information about selected user.
Channels: With this button, you can join into various chat channels.
Help: Opens the help page

2. Active games

This area shows gaming rooms that are in the use. First on the box is the played game’s name, then used rules. Room’s physical coordinates and current players are listed next.
  • Rooms with green color are actively searching for new players. You can immediately join the game by doing left click.
  • Rooms with dark green color are actively searching for new players, but you can’t join the game just by doing left click. You need to enter the room, ask that can you join, and only after you get permission, join the game.
  • Rooms with brown color aren’t publicly searching for new players. You can enter these rooms, but it is polite to not do it.
  • Rooms with purple color have game already started.

By doing right click, client opens menu where you can select will you join to the game, or simply watch the game. Join button is disabled on brown and dark green rooms, but watching is always allowed.

3. Mitspieler Gesucht

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With “Mitspieler Gesucht” you can browse various games that BSW supports. Games have been divided into different categories such as classics, family games, single player games, and strategy games. Most important of these categories is “Alle Spiele”, which simply lists all games that BSW supports. By clicking game’s name, client lists all empty and waiting rooms for the game. Although you can’t create your own room, there are always many empty rooms available. By clicking empty room, you can enter into it.

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I have selected Carcassonne from the menu, and client lists all waiting and empty rooms for the game. Notice that empty rooms have same basic color (brown) associated with them as rooms that aren’t publicly searching for players.

If you want to advertise your room, you have two choices. You can press right button on the empty room to open pop-up menu, and select “Open”. You will enter the room, and room’s status will be automaticallly shown as a green to the other users. Other choice is to enter the empty room, and write /gameyell “message” to the chat window. Room will be now shown as green to the other users. To have dark green room, you just need to write /gameyell –“message” (for example /gameyell -2 opponents for Tichu!).

4. Chat Window

Here you can input various commands and chat with other users. You can also input various commands on the text field. On the right part of the window are the channels which user has logged in. Deine Umgebung (roughly translated “Your Enviroment”) is the Game Manager’s room. SPV is BSW’s general channel where discussion happens in german. SPV_en is meant for English discussion. If you haven’t done any changes on the client’s configuration file, you will automatically enter both SPV channels when you log in to the service. Command /who tells which users are currently hanging in the selected room (i.e game manager). Command /chwho tells who are in the selected channel, and /exit leaves the channel.

[3.] Playing the game
Each board game in the BSW has different layout and interface, but fortunately, basic functions are same from game to game. In picture below, I have entered one of the rooms to play Packels am Pol with Salo.

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As you can immediately see, basic interface components are exactly same as in Game Manager. Control bar works exactly in same way as in the Game Manager, and so does the chat window. Only difference is that Deine Umgebung now means room where the game is played instead of Game Manager.

[3.1] Basic commands for playing games
You can manage the played game by inputting various commands on the chat window. List below has the most basic commands.

/join: This command lets you to join the game
/start: Starts the game (only gamemaster* can start the game).
/reset: Resets the game (only gamemaster can reset the game).
/option…: Option is used to start game with different rules. These vary from game to game and can be seen at BSW’s manual. For example, /option fluss adds the river expansion to the Carcassonne.
/option invisible: Makes game completely invisible to Game Manager. However, players can enter room normally (meaning that you friends can locate you with ghook).
/remove username: Removes user from the game. In addition of being used to remove problematic players, it is also commonly used to remove ghosts.
/accept & /refuse: These two commands are used to vote when player wants to join game that is already going on. When voting, votes have value based on user’s experience points.

* User who first entered the room is Gamemaster. After game has finished, user who joins the new game first will be Gamemaster.

You can also access all these commands from Game Wizard. Depending on what OS you are running the BSW client, Wizard’s can be either blue or gray, like on the picture on the below. Unfortunately, due bug in the BSW client, Game Wizard doesn’t always appear, so I personally recommended that you learn all the most common commands. For complete list of game commands , check http://www.brettspielwelt.de/Hilfe/Kommandos/Spiele/

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[4.] Basic commands
These are basic commands that are most useful for beginners. For complete list of commands, check http://www.brettspielwelt.de/Hilfe/Kommandos/Grundlegende/

/language en: Switches client’s language to the English.
/ttell: Opens up a direct chat window with a tutor who can answer your questions about Brettspielwelt. Tutors are members who help beginners, and teach the interface. Only available for beginners.
/thook: Sends you to same room with closest tutor. Only available for beginners.
/manager: Returns you to game manager
/ghook name: Teleports you to same room as specified user is, and loads room’s game.
/hook name: Teleports you to same room as specified user is.
/who: Lists users that are in the same room as you.
/chwho: Lists all users that are in the same chat channel as you.
/wwho: Lists all users that are currently logged to the BSW.
/sound off: Switches the sound off.
/gameyell: Used to advertise your game.

[5.] Rules for the games
Rules for all BSW’s games can be found from the link http://www.brettspielwelt.de/Spiele/.

Hypnotically inclined.
elkatas on
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