It's been a little over two weeks since we started trying out the Giant Multiplayer Robot website and client to try playing turn based games of Civ V. I wasn't sure how it was going to work out with the playing one turn every so often and needing to run an extra client and all that jazz. It turns out to actually be pretty smooth. For the most part the client handles absolutely everything for you. Assuming you run it in the background it'll pop up a notification when it's your turn in a game. It has an easy thing to click on that both downloads the save file and opens Civ V for you. You do need to go into the multiplayer menu and load the save file but it's easily named so you know which one to open. Take your turn, hit save, and the client detects that you saved a new game. It closes Civ V for you and prompts you to upload the new save to the website. Then it goes and notifies the next person. Super easy!
It's got some other neat stuff going on, too. You can set a password on the website that it will auto-include in the save files for you so that only you can play your turns. It encrypts the password on other people's turns so they couldn't easily hack it open to get at your password in their file. (I suspect if they had the file for your turn they totally could, but the site won't give them that.)
The site lets you play 2 games at a time for free but it's been working so well at least 3 of us paid them $5 to upgrade our accounts and now we can play up to 5 games at a time! ($10 gets you 10 games and $15 gets you infinite games.) I'm only in 3 games right now though, so if new people wanted to give it a shot I totally have room for another game!
To give an idea of how fast things are moving I'm in 3 games right now. One of them is a 4 player game with 224 turns submitted so far. That means we're on turn 57 by now which is actually a pretty good pace. We'll be done by the end of summer most likely if we keep this up! It's also on 'quick' settings which speeds things up, and several times all 4 players have been online at the same time and able to get a turn played in less than half an hour.
The second game is a 7 player game including two people who have limited availability on weekends. It's been running for 11 days with 43 turns submitted. At this rate the game will probably go on for another 2 years. 7 players may be too many, normal speed may be too long, foregoing weekends may be a mistake. But it's still fun when the game pops up!
The third game is a 6 player game that's been up for 4 days and already had 60 turns submitted. So it's already ahead of the 2nd game in terms of game turns completed with 10 instead of 6. Even still, at this pace it'll probably take until October to get done.
So these things aren't fast by any stretch of the imagination. I do also have no real idea when a multiplayer game is going to end. Will we be able to keep preventing victories and drag it out to the time limit? Will someone get bitter and collude to spite someone else? At this point I'll be happy to meet another player in one of these games!
The discussions around the game have been pretty interesting, too. I've learned a lot more about Civ V in the last two weeks than at any time in the past. Good times!