I’m not new to gaming, or gaming by mail - or even email, for that matter. I am new to computer aids for gaming. Assuming I have the time, energy, inclination to learn only one system, why should it be VASSAL over, say, CyberBoard?
Please don’t take this as a challenge. I’m essentially asking you why you chose VASSAL, so I can make an informed decision as to where to invest my time.
I’m not new to gaming, or gaming by mail - or even email, for that
matter. I am new to computer aids for gaming. Assuming I have the time,
energy, inclination to learn only one system, why should it be VASSAL
over, say, CyberBoard?
VASSAL runs on all platforms. Cyberboard runs natively only on
Windows. It does not work well to run Cyberboard in WINE on Linux, and
I know of no way to run Cyberboard on Mac OS X.
VASSAL works for both live play and PBEM. Cyberboard works only for
VASSAL is open-source and actively maintained.
VASSAL has a large user community, so it’s easy to get help if you
I would echo the above and add a couple of things.
VASSAL has dramatically superior graphical format support, so from module creators who know what they are doing, you can get a much better looking product to play with. Cyberboard doesn’t support anything but BMP images, so it can only do pseudo-transparency for non-rectangular pieces by assigning null values to a certain color palette entry–in short, crappy fakery. It can only show a game board at one of 3 zoom levels, so that combined with the limited graphics means that even the best modules still end up looking like a bit of a dog’s breakfast. Small pieces with text are especially problematic.
For me, VASSAL has much, much more capability with regard to piece manipulation. With Cyberboard, here’s what you can do with individual game pieces: flip them over, rotate them, bump them up or down in the drawing order (i.e., change whether they display above or beneath something else). That’s it. No stacking, 100% manual dragging of everything, no movement reporting, etc. A lot of people seem to prefer that it’s a “dumb” board and doesn’t pretend to be capable of anything else. For me it’s just a hassle, and I find that doing almost anything is slower and more fiddly than it ought to be.
If you ever get into module creation, Cyberboard’s documentation is woefully incomplete. There is some behemoth 200 page Word document floating around somewhere on the web that is purported to be the best reference if you try to get started designing your own gameboxes.
In fairness, I still consider Cyberboard’s play logging features to be better, though this won’t be the case forever, because as noted above, VASSAL is still being actively developed. If I were a PC-only user, I might even still consider using it for the occasional game. But I split my time roughly 50/50 between Mac at home and PC at work, so it’s a non-starter. I should note that many people have reported using Cyberboard on a Mac using the WINE emulator, but apparently it isn’t 100% glitch-free.
VASSAL is cross platform playable. You can have players in your game all on a mixture of PC, Mac & Linux machines. The same module you download for one is the same one the others download as well. The beauty of Vassal being Java based.