Looking for advice on best way to learn and play vassal games like COIN and Combat Commander

I am now an empty nester with more time to play games.(Read, I have lost all my boardgame partners off to college).
So i used Vassal many years ago but cant remember how to get started with games.
My favorite game is Combat Commander but also enjoy the COIN games. I have 4 of them.
Is the best way to ask for games on vassal or on the Discord channel?
Or is there somewhere else like BGG that is the best place?
Also I watched a video by Patrick Pence (Farsol) on youtube about Combat Commander which was excellent.
Might need some coaching like that to get up to speed with the Vassal app but would really like to give it a try.
So any recommendations would be much appreciated.


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The Vassal PBEM server on Discord (Vassal PBEM) is one good place to find opponents – gets a lot of activity. You can also post on here in the Opponents Wanted category but that will take longer to get a response.

The quick version of how you get VASSAL going is:

  • Install the latest version of VASSAL (currently 3.5.8), you can find it on this site from the home page.
  • Download the “module” for the game(s) you want to be able to play, and put them in some folder on your hard drive where you’ll be able to find them. You can find lots and lots of modules (including for CC and COIN) on this site under modules (it’s the “Chess Knight” icon at the top)
  • Start up Vassal
  • Tell it you want to Open a Module (from the file menu)
  • Open the module for the game you want to play
  • Module wizard will walk you through starting a game and picking a side, etc.

You now have a couple options:
(1) You can just fiddle around moving pieces yourself and getting the hang of how to “do things” in the module. Some modules have more documentation than others, and they don’t all use the same interface conventions. (I like to think the interface in the COIN game All Bridges Burning is fairly intuitive, because I made that module, haha!)
(2) If you’re playing an opponent by e-mail (or by dragging files into a Discord window), then you want to “begin a logfile” before you start making moves, and then you “end the log” after you have moved and send the resulting “vlog” file to your opponent who can load it like a saved game, step forward with the arrow button to see all the moves you made animate out, and then start a new log file with their turn, send that to you, etc.
(3) If you’re playing “live” on the Vassal Server, then you open the server controls (a button on the module’s toolbar), connect to the server, start a new “room”, your opponent joins the room, and then one or the other of you can click on the others’ name to “Synchronize” to the position from that person’s currently active game, after which you can just start making moves live.

That’s a quickie course – there’s a User’s Guide available in the app itself. Happy Vassaling!



Thank you Brian for all of that information.
Probably a silly question but can you use the Discord Vassal PBEM to play a live game of combat commander or is it only for PBEM?


Well you could find an opponent there and then both log into the VASSAL Server and play a live game.

I’ve sometimes found a game there and then the guy wanted to play on whatever other service or mode.

Thank you for your help.

You’re welcome to seek opponents for any form of play you want–if seeking a real-time game, then you might only use Discord for voice communication, if you even want that.