Eliminating a player from a MultiPlayer PBEM

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Originally from the The SMAC Academy, by Buster.


When a human (not ai) player in a multiplayer PBEMPlay By Email gets eliminated the game behaves rather odd. A couple of pop-up messages will come where you have to choose close And a message will pop up saying "next player (your name)" and you can choose "save and exit" or "OK" . Logically (if there are several players left) one will choose OK. What will happen then is the game will show the final sequence and shut down giving you no chance to save.

If you reload the game you are back at the beginning of your turn and the eliminated opponent is still there where he was. To continue the game what you need to do instead is as follows:


  1. Once one can demonstrate[1] that the players last city could have been taken one stops short of taking it and orders the opponent to self-destruct.
  2. Opponent self-destructs. To self-destruct he needs a military unit in the city. One activates the unit and presses B. There will be a chance to save the game and it can be sent on. On the next turn the self-destructing player will no longer show and the game can continue without him.

Some players object to being denied their chance of taking the last city - this is a valid objection, however as the game mechanism for handling this situation is basically defunct, I am afraid it is something they will have to live with. If you are smart you ensure that "the big city with all his Secret Projects" is not the one you leave for last. Should you end in a situation where this final city really makes a major difference it is possible (though somewhat lengthy & arduous) to have the player about to be eliminated build a Colony Pod, found a new base, let other base be taken & then self-destruct the new one.

Alternative procedure - (not recommended)

There is another possibility that can be used if a player will not self-destruct or if one for some other reason should wish to use it. It has some side-effects which is why above procedure is the preferred one.

  1. When the the last city is taken and the pop-up message "next player (your name) comes, choose "save and exit" instead of "OK" & save the game (it will exit after saving).
  2. Load up the just saved turn - there will be no multiple reload message. You can now continue the game without the eliminated player.

However, what usually will happen the first time a given player eliminates another player, is that on loading the saved game the eliminating player gets an extra turn - that is all ones cities will make an extra round of production, one turns research points and income will be added and units have full movement even if they were already moved before the opponent was eliminated. One essentially gains an extra turn. This does not always happen but mostly does. There are also various other reports of game elements occasionally getting rearranged. It can therefore not be relied on for general practice, even if one is willing to accept the extra turn. It is mentioned here as it could be tried in case some situation is encountered where the self-destruct solution is not available (say a player won't do it and won't give his password to someone else or just stops answering on his "final turn").


One can resign from a PBEM. If you choose resign the game will display the ending sequence and shut down. There will be a chance to save. Your faction will be run by the AI from next turn. If you did not complete all moves before resigning you however need to reload the game - it will still say next player (your name) - and complete the moves. The AI does not take over until next turn.
There are some annoying side effect to doing this - main one is that the turn of the players after you will be skipped. That is - if you are player 2 out of 5 - players 3-4-5 will have their turn skipped and next player will be player 1 (essentially robbing the players after you of a turn).

A more commonly used solution if you desire to leave - is to self-destroy your bases as above or find a replacement player.


  1. When it is considered to be demonstrated that a city could have been taken can at times be subject to discussion. Usually though it is obvious and the player whose end is coming will agree (who wants to fight on with one city left and ones military obliterated?).

    An indisputable demonstration would be an empty city with a military unit outside that could have moved in. Sometimes however taking out the last unit in a city means that it is necessary to wait some turns before the loosing part completes a new military unit so that he can self-destruct. To avoid this delay it is often agreed that the attacker refrains from killing the last military unit in the last city and the loosing player self-destructs when odds indicate that his last unit could have been killed and the attacker could have moved into the city.

    An alternative method is that the player goes ahead kills the last military unit - makes a screenshot & mails it - then reloads the game (there will be a reload message of course) repeats the moves but without carrying out the attack.

    In case of unsolvable disagreements the CMNCreator-Narrator-Moderator or lacking such one an experienced player should be consulted. In my experience though that has rarely if ever been needed as usually the situation is obvious to all and the loosing part at this time usually just wants to get it over with.