From: [email protected]
Subject: FAQ and intro
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 21:00:47 +0000 (UTC)
Reply-To: [email protected]
Summary: useful information for readers of
Keywords: faq, intro

Archive-name: games/board-games-faq
Last-modified: 2004/01/19
Version: 7.22
Frequency: twice a month
Archive-frequency: once a month

Revisions:  v7.22 : Das Motorsportspiel, Games Workshop links updated,
                    railroad games URL updated.
Revisions:  v7.21 : ASL links updated
Revisions:  v7.20 : Risk link updated
Revisions:  v7.19 : EiA URLs updated
Revisions:  v7.18 : Microgames links updated, German-style boardgames
                    URL added.

An HTML version of this FAQ can be had at :

Also, nearly all usenet FAQ's are archived for anonymous ftp at FAQ and introduction

Welcome to the newsgroup!  This is a group in which
board games of all sorts are discussed (with the exceptions of certain
popular games which have their own groups, see below).  This is a group
with unusually large scope, given the huge number of different board
games.  Games that have popped up in the past seem to come from a few
distinct groups : 1) "Parlor" games like Scrabble, Monopoly, and Risk;
2) Military and Historic simulations of all kinds; and 3) games that
don't fit into any of the above categories, but which are often played
by the same folks as play #2.

Following are different sections of information of interest to those
reading this group.  They are moderately long, but are separated
by "=====" 's, so use the "g=====" command to skip to the next section
if you like.  The topics are :

1) Specific game discussion areas (other newsgroups and mailing lists)
2) netiquitte
3) Network Resources of interest to readers of
4) Game FAQ's
5) Auctions
6) Where to get games and stuff?
7) The "Distribution: " line
8) Threaded News Readers
9) Killfiles and example killfile entries

1) Specific game discussion areas
There are several games which have their own dedicated discussion
forums.  If you have a question or want to discuss these games, you'll
get a much better response from the specific forum than you will from  Also, in general, cross-posting is a waste of
bandwidth - try to avoid it.  Here's a listing of games with their own
home :

Games which have their own newsgroups :
Abstract games		:
Backgammon              :
Battletech et al	:
Chess                   :
Cosmic Encounter	: 
Diplomacy               :
Games For Sale		:
General game design     : 
Go                      :
Magic: The Gathering	:
Miniatures		:
Historical Minis	:
Warhammer Minis		:
Play-by-Mail games      : 
Role-Playing Games	:  
Trivia games            :

Mailing lists (and where to write to be included) :
Note that many of these mailing lists are run by automated mailing
list programs, or "listservs".  Those that are can sign you up with no
need for human intervention.  Lists that can do this have a second line
below, with the string that you need to send in the message body to 
sign up.  For instance, if I was signing up for the Blood Bowl list,
I'd send a message (subject irrelevant) with the message body

	subscribe bbowl-l Alec Habig

and everything would be taken care of.

18xx games		:
Advanced Squad Leader   :
Advanced Third Reich    :	[email protected]
				listserv, "subscribe A3R"
AH Impulse games        :       [email protected]
Air Power		:	[email protected]
Project A-ko            :       [email protected]
Ardennes battles	:
Babylon 5 Wars		:	[email protected]
				"subscribe babylon5-wars"
Blood Bowl		:	[email protected]
				listserv, "subscribe bbowl-l YourName"
				or "subscribe bbowl-digest your name here"
Britannia		:
Car Wars		:	[email protected]
Car Wars newsletter	:
Command Decision        :       [email protected] 
Dune			:
Empires in Arms PBEM	:	[email protected]
				listserv, "subscribe eia"
Europa			:	[email protected]
Europa Universalis      :
Flat Top		:	[email protected]
				listserv, "subscribe YourName"
Formula De		:
The Gamers		:	[email protected]
				listserv, "subscribe gamers-l"
Harpoon (naval mins.)   :       [email protected]
Magic Realm		:	[email protected]
Manowar                 :       [email protected]
Mechwar			:	[email protected]
				listserv, "SUB MechWar YourAddress"
Microgames		:
Modern Era Wargames	:	[email protected]
				listserv, SUBSCRIBE MODMIL-L
ModmiL-L                :       [email protected]
                                "subscribe modmiL-L yourname"
Ogre/GEV		:	[email protected]
Pax Britannica          :       [email protected]
                                "subscribe paxb-l"
PBM List                :       [email protected]
                                send email message
Pre-gunpowder mins.     :       [email protected] 
Renju			:	[email protected]
RoboRally		:
Shogi			:	[email protected]
				listserv, "SUB SHOGI-L YourName"
Settlersof Catan	:
Space Marine		:	[email protected]
				listserv, "subscribe space-marine YourName"
Squad Leader		:	[email protected]
Starfire		:	[email protected]
				"subscribe starfire"
Star Fleet Battles      :	[email protected] (*)
Strat-o-matic baseball	:	[email protected]
				listserv, "subscribe strat-bb"
Strat-o-matic hockey    :
Supremacy		:
Talisman (2nd Ed.)	:
Up Front		:	[email protected]
				listserv, "subscribe"
WarChest		:
Warhammer Fantasy Batt. :	[email protected]
				listserv, "subscribe WarHammerFB"
World In Flames		:

(*) For the SFB mailing lists, put SUBSCRIBE "LISTNAME" in the   
    Subject: header, replacing "LISTNAME" with TACTICS, TOURNAMENT,
    F+E, or PD for the list you want to subscribe to.

Web based discussion forums:

Naval Wargames Forum :
Many Miniatures Forums :
Slashdot-style gaming news & discussion :
Autoduelist's Haven Message Board:
Dueling Debate Message Board:
Pyramid Car Wars Message Board:
Star Fleet Battles:
Motor Sports Games:
Games Workshop Games:

Of the above games, many have a strong PBEM (play By E-Mail) following.
Most notably Diplomacy, ASL, and EiA.  Scrabble even has an internet
server for interactive games (telnet 7777, or look at the
URL, as do Othello (telnet 5000), Go (telnet 9696), Trax
(mail [email protected] with a subject of help), and MahJong
(  Up Front can be played
with the help of the server at The
pbmserv address also supports a wide range of other PBEM games - check
out for the whole scoop!

You can even play against Chinook, the world champion checkers program, 
at  If you are interested in joining 
in in a PBEM game, try the respective group.  Also, Eric Pass,
([email protected]) maintains a PBEM Gamers Directory, to help in finding
opponents.  Contact him if you want to be included in this directory, 
and check out to see who's
already on it.

Also, will roll dice for you, which
is a very handy thing to have for PBEM games, and a shareware PBEM aid
can be had from :

Finally, is a PBEM server for the games Acquire,
Durch Die Wuste, Euphrat and Tigris, Ra, Samurai, Sopwith and Torres.

2) netiquitte
Due to the fact that there are so many different games to talk about,
and few people are interested in every one of them, please keep a few
items of netiquitte in mind to make reading this group easier for all.

1) Put the name of the game in the "Subject :" line of your post.  This
allows uninterested people to quickly skip over your posting to get to
the ones they want, and the interested parties to easily find your
post.  Included below are quick introductions to kill files and
threaded news readers, the use of which can make your usenet life much

Here's a list of some common abbreviations for games or companies to 
use in your subject lines :

18xx	=	18xx series of rail games (1830:,1856: for specific games)
A&A:	=	Axis and Allies
A3R:	=	Advanced Third Reich
ANNOUNCE=	Announcement of a Con or new game
ASL:	=	Advanced Squad Leader
AUCTION:=	This is a game auction posting (should go to .marketplace)
BB:	=	Blood Bowl
EiA:	=	Empires in Arms
SFB:	=	Star Fleet Battles
WiF:	=	World in Flames
GW:	=	Games Workshop
GDW:	=	Game Designers Workshop (a very different company than GW)
RR:	=	Robo Rally
STRAT:	=	Strat-o-matic sports games
Titan:	=	Titan

So, for example, an Axis and Allies post would have a subject line like
"Subject: A&A: - Yahtzee or Craps?"

Note the colons.  Adding the colons makes searching for the strings 
easier.  For instance, someone searching for Blood Bowl articles using 
the string "BB" will pick up all threads containing two B's in the 
subject - searching for "BB:" avoids this.

2) Make use of the "Distribution: " line with your posts.
Announcements of conventions, games for sale, opponents wanted, or
questions about directions to gaming stores are of only limited use to
people outside of a certain geographical area.  The distribution line
prevents, for instance, an announcement of "CAPCON XIX, a gaming
convention at Ohio State University" from tantalizing those in Sweden
who couldn't possibly attend.  See below for a quick description of how
to use this feature.

3) If you make a dumb mistake in a posting, accidentally cross post it,
or accidentally post two copies, cancel the bad/extraneous ones.  Do
this by hitting "C" while reading your own post (in rn/trn - other news
programs have different commands - read your manuals).

3) Network Resources of interest to readers of

ftp sites :
-----------------------------------------------------------------------	- minis related stuff.				- Command Decision archive			- WH40k archives, painting tips                      - Advanced Third Reich archive		- Advanced Squad Leader archive		- Renju, other 5-in-a-row games		- Bone Games (Public Domain games)	- DBM stuff   - Axis and Allies - Starfire

WWW pages :
------------------------------------------------------------------------ 		(CD page)				(Miniatures Wargaming)			(Historical Minis)			(ASL links)    (Blood Bowl)				(non-Wargames)				(FAQs)			(MtG)		(Cosmic Encounter)	(Scrabble)		(PBEM gamer's list)		(CMU Gaming Club)		(Blood Bowl)			(Renju,Gomoku,Pente) in Arms)				        (Wargames)				(Europa)				(Shogi)		(Star Fleet Battles)			(Star Fleet Battles)			(Full Thrust)			(Blue Max)		(Plateau)		(Axis and Allies)			(DBM)			(Up Front)				(Up Front PBEM)			(Tank Games)	(PBEM Gamers Aid)			(Die rolling)   (Silent Death)				(On line Scrabble)	(Die Siedler)		(Mahjong)			(Checkers)				(Trax)			(Crokinole)		(Europe at War)
http://SunSITE.Informatik.RWTH-Aachen.DE/luding/	(Luding games database)					(18xx Railroad games)		(Kreig!)				(Consim discussion)				(Microgames)					(Play-by-EMail games)	(Chess variants)		(Squad Leader)		(Game Reviews)		(The Evolution Game)				(Rail Baron)			(Game parts search)			(Illuminati)				(Slashdot for gamers)			(Totaler Kreig)     (Britannia series)			(Britannia)					(Diplomacy)	(Hispania)					(Titan)			(Titan)				(Titan)		(Car Wars)				(World Autoduel Assoc.)		(Seattle Autoduelers)	(WarChest)		(Alva)			(TwixT)				(Mind Sports Olympiad)				(A gaming magazine)				(Games DB)				(Gamer DB and
							challenge board)					(PBEM server)				(Strat-O-Matic)		(German Boardgames)

A wais database of -
		(type in "miniatures")

A mail server with ~100 game reviews (in German) :
	[email protected]
	Send the message HELP and/or DIR SPIELE:

More game reviews : (The Game Report)

4) Game FAQ's
There are too many games of really wide variety discussed here to try 
to answer FAQ's about specific games in this document.  Some games 
(notably Axis and Allies, Diplomacy, and Scrabble) have their own 
regularly posted FAQ's.  These FAQs can be found in the same places as
this FAQ (news.answers, rec.answers, and via ftp from  
Just spout out your questions, and they'll get answered!

Here's how to reach some other ones :

Axis & Allies :
Blood Bowl :
Crokinole :
Magic Realm :
Microgames :
Miniatures :
Pirateer :* :
Risk :
Starfire :
Scrabble :
Squares :
Talisman, 3rd :
Talisman, 2nd :
WarChest :

A list of gaming companies who are reachable via email is maintained by
Skip Franklin.  Look at:  

Another one, focused on miniatures companies (but of course there's 
a lot of overlap, so be sure to check here) is:

A list of upcoming gaming conventions is kept by Coyt Watters.  Finger
him at [email protected] to see a copy of this list.

5) Auctions
This is a popular forum for people who want to buy and sell old games.
Please use the group "" for this purpose.
Some suggestions about good conventions for auction related posts :

	- Put AUCTION in the subject
	- Information on the game for sales version, condition, etc.
	  are useful to include.
	- the newsgroup may be more 
	  appropriate for somethings, or a crosspost might be useful.
	- Please conduct as much of the auction as possible via email,
	  although a post once a week or so to r.g.b. is useful for
	  attracting new bidders, and informing the rest of us 
	  about what games are worth what.

6) Where to get games and stuff?

Eric Pass has set up a 'Counter Exchange & Swap Shop', to make it easier
for people to exchange game parts.  Email him at [email protected]
or check out for more info.

Fine Games ( is a good place to look for new,
used, and out-of-print games (they'll buy your old games, too).

A URL listing many web-based game shops is at:

and the manufacturers directory at the same site
( lists
helpful info about ordering games in foreign markets.

Speaking of Foreign Markets, here are some suggested vendors who can get 
them to you in the US from our correspondent Brian Bankler
([email protected]) :				(Funagain Games)				(Rio Grande Games)				(Boulder Games)

You might also find leads at The Game Cabinet,

In addition, translations of many German games' rules can also
be found at this site.

Here's a place to order stuff direct from Germany, if you want to take
that route :

Adam spielt OHG
Konigsberger Str. 10
tel: 06031-5029
FAX: 06031-63761
email: [email protected]

Or, email Abacus games at : [email protected], or Peter Wolfgang 
at [email protected].  Both do german game orders via email.

Gaming company URLS :		(A list of addresses)				(Winning Moves)	(Warhorse Sims.)					(Free/Shareware games)				(Bone Games)					(Steve Jackson Games)				(Columbia Games)	(Task Force Games)				(Flying Buffalo)					(GRD - Europa)			(Games Workshop)	(Filip&Carom Inc)				(Deer Valley G.C.)					(Toys-R-Us)				(Mayfair Games)			(Fat Messaih Games)				(Boulder Games)			(Fine Games)					(Wizards of the Coast)				(Crunchy Frog)			(Wingnut Games)
							(Elec. Cardboard)			(Tom Wham games)		(Bruno Faidutti games)				(Winsome Games)					(Sports Games Shop,
							 Lambourne Games)			(Fiendish Games)				(Funagain Games)				(Rio Grande Games)				(ADB, SFB)			(ASL)				(out-of-print stuff)				(Boingo Games)				(for game inventors)				(Lance & Laser Models)				(Prism Games)					(AK Chess)			(Multi-Man Pub.)				(old PC games)

7) How to use the "Distribution :" feature
From: [email protected] (Gene Spafford)
Newsgroups: news.announce.newusers, news.answers
Subject: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

16.  How do I use the "Distribution" feature?

     When your posting software (e.g., Pnews or postnews) prompts you
     for a distribution, it's asking how widely distributed you want
     your article.  The set of possible replies is different,
     depending on where you are, but at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New
     Jersey, possibilities include (for example):
	local	local to this machine
	mh	Bell Labs, Murray Hill Branch
	nj	all sites in New Jersey
	btl	All Bell Labs machines
	att	All AT&T machines
	usa	Everywhere in the USA
	na	Everywhere in North America
	world	Everywhere on USENET in the world 
     Many of the posting programs will provide a list of
     distributions, if your site admin has kept the files up-to-date.

     If you hit return, you'll get the default, which is usually
     "world.".  This default is often not appropriate -- PLEASE take a
     moment to think about how far away people are likely to be
     interested in what you have to say.  Used car ads, housing wanted
     ads, and things for sale other than specialized equipment like
     computers certainly shouldn't be distributed to Europe and Korea,
     or even to the next state.

     It is generally not possible to post an article to a distribution
     that your own machine does not receive.  For instance, if you
     live in Indiana, you can't post an article for distribution only
     in New Jersey or Germany unless your site happens to exchange
     those particular distributions with another site.  Try mailing
     the article to someone in the appropriate area and asking them to
     post it for you.

     If you cannot determine what distributions are valid for your
     site, ask someone locally rather than posting a query to the
     whole network!

8) Threaded News Readers
Threaded news readers are news readers which track down all articles
that are part of the same discussion, making it easier to a) follow the
logical flow of conversation; and b) kill a whole topic ("thread") which
does not interest you.  Try to use and understand one, it makes life
much easier!  An example of this kind of software is "trn" - see your
man pages for more info.  Anyone who wants to write a blurb for this
space describing these suckers please do so - I (the FAQ maintainer)
don't have time at the moment.

9) How to use a Killfile
From: [email protected] (Leanne Phillips)
(Trimmed down for brevity by Alec Habig, see news.answers for the full
Subject: rn KILL file FAQ

Rn and trn, and other varieties of rn, have a very useful feature called
the KILL file, which allows you to kill (skip over) articles that you
don't want to see.  There is some support for killfiles in xrn, but the
support is limited; nothing in here is guaranteed to work for xrn.  See
the xrn man page.

  KILL files come in two forms:
	Global: In your News directory, you will have the file KILL.
	Local: In your News directory, the killfile for group
		will be foo/bar/KILL.
The difference between the two is that there can be one killfile for
each group (the local killfile), and that killfile affects only the
particular newsgroup (foo/bar/KILL affects only; baz/quex/KILL
affects only baz.quex, etc).  The global killfile affects all
newsgroups. (There's a way to change the default names of the killfiles,
but it's more complicated than I want to get into here.  See the rn(1)
man page.)

Killfiles allow you to kill articles based on a number of criteria: a
subject line, a general subject, articles from one poster, articles from
one site, articles cross-posted from any other group, or from one other
group in particular, and articles that are follow-ups to anything at all
(that is, anything with the Re: in the subject line).  You can also kill
articles with a particular string anywhere in the article.

For a complete story on killfiles, look in the group news.answers.  For
the purposes of this newsgroup, the most important thing to know is that
if you don't want to hear about a particular game, you can put it in
your kill file and not worry about it anymore.  In rn/trn, hit k
to edit the killfile for the group you are reading, and add lines
similar to those below.
Some example Rec.Games.Board killfile entries and what they kill :
/1830/:=:j		/* 1830 railroad game */
/a3r/:=:j		/* Advanced 3rd Reich */
/civ/:=:j		/* Civilization */
/diplomacy/:=:j		/* Diplomacy */
/* the group split argument */
/space/:=:j		/* anything with "space" */
/wif/:=:j		/* World in Flames */

See where those handy-dandy standard game subject abbreviations listed
above come in handy?
       Alec Habig, Boston University Particle Astrophysics Group
			   [email protected]