STARTUPS & FREEMAILERS
Medieval Empires is now restricted to online players. It is not available for postal players. Subject to approval from the players involved the game will run with weekly deadlines.
Freemailers can now join the waiting list for Medieval Empires from the start. Email us, or use the Freemailer Startup Form to request a startup. You get one kingdom under the usual freemailer rules. The restrictions for freemailers are you must receive your game reports by email and enter your orders on the website. You don't get a printed rulebook or map - you must use the online versions. You get eight actions per turn.
Using only eight actions isn't a problem at the start of the game when your kingdom is small and most of the other kingdoms will be using the same rules. Later in the game the freemailers will need to band together against the major powers - or anyone can upgrade to an unrestricted position by becoming an online member.
If you sign up for a paid startup (see links to the startup forms at the bottom of the page) then you start with three kingdoms (in different areas) played under the same rules as the freemailers (eight actions, no turnfees, email and online only). You can upgrade any one of your starting kingdoms later (paying turnfees or paying for online membership) but you're not obliged to do so. You can stick with playing for free if you prefer. If you do upgrade you still keep any other starting kingdoms that survive (but they stay under the freemailer rules).
This option might seem like an odd idea, but it was what I intended to do with the game when I first started work on it. You'd have had one turnsheet, with the actions divided between three or four different kingdoms - as the kingdoms get eliminated you'd get more actions to use for the ones that survived, so the first kingdoms would be easy to eliminate and your last one would be tougher (because it'd have more actions).
With people playing online it's no longer necessary to do anything so complicated. We've already seen in European Empires that it's not a problem for people to operate more the one country. At the start in Medieval Empires people are concerned only about their nearest neighbours and I think later in the game players will be much more concerned about who's got eight actions and who's got sixteen, rather than which kingdoms are natural allies because they're run by the same player. But it does make for something else to bring into the diplomacy.
You can upgrade a freemailer position to an unrestricted one (a major power) either by paying turnfees or by becoming an Online Member (the form to sign up for online membership is inside the softsim website, on the same page as turnfee renewals). For online membership the freemailer restrictions don't apply, except you must still play entirely online - the cost is £24.50 per year in the UK (Aus $74.50, US $48.50, Euros 44.50). That's the whole cost: you don't need any of the other things we'd charge extra for and you get an extra freemailer startup (in another game) with each renewal as well. Renewals are not automatic. They only happen if you log on and push the buttons yourself.
HINTS & TIPS, DIPLOMACY
If you take a paid startup and pick three kingdomns that are close together, don't be surprised if your neighbours are suspicious and gang up on you. It's probably better to have three kingdoms far apart and play them separately (but you can make your own choice and live with the consequences).
If you're a member or turnfee player (so that your kingdom has all sixteen actions) you might want to be careful to keep that quiet in case your neighbours feel threatened. Some actions are visible in the roundup each turn and some are not. If you stick to tax and grow actions in actions 9-16 then the other players won't be able to see what you're doing (although they may guess, when they see how well you're doing).
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