PlayMailer is an automated play-by-email system for Windows 8/7/Vista/XP. Think of it as a multiplayer networking add-on for old turn-based strategy games, or turn-based games that don't possess their own networking functionality. PlayMailer integrates with a supported game (or with a DOS emulator running a game) and simplifies the process of sending a game's save file to other players via email. It also simplifies the process of loading and saving games and setting up new games. PlayMailer allows you to keep track of multiple play-by-email sessions at once through its easy to use graphical interface. PlayMailer provides full player-list management and other features such as integrated in-game chat.

Play-by-email is great for busy people who want to play a leisurely game with friends over several days or longer, without requiring them to continuously monitor their game window. With PlayMailer you can close your game window (or shutdown your computer) following your turn and continue to be alerted the next time it's your turn.

PlayMailer currently supports 5 games:
  • Chess Titans  (Windows Vista/Windows 7 Chess Program)
  • Master of Orion II  (MicroProse 1996)
  • Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire  (Firaxis Games 2000)
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri  (Firaxis Games 1999)
  • Warlords  (SSG 1990)
If there's a particular turn-based strategy that you'd like to see supported by PlayMailer, you can email me with a request at raj@playmailer.net and eventually I'll get around to it. I would prefer if the game met the following criteria 1) turn-based, 2) generally lengthy turns (> 1 min), 3) free or abandonware. 

Feature List

  • Player list management -- The graphical interface allows you to easily create a player-list for your game. The player-list can then be modified by all players, allowing them to add, remove and modify players mid-game (assuming the game itself supports this.)
  • Turn alerts and status updates -- PlayMailer runs discreetly in the background and alerts you when it is your turn in a game. Status updates displayed in the PlayMailer window keep track of whose turn it is, so you know who is being a slow coach!
  • Automatically load, save and send games -- Easily launch games from within PlayMailer. PlayMailer will then automatically import the save file into your game and load the save game for you. When you are finished your turn, a single hot-key can be used to automatically save the game and email it to the next player.  
  • Integrated in-game chat -- PlayMailer allows you to send chat messages from within your game to individual players, groups of players or to broadcast game wide chat messages.
  • All common email protocols and encryption methods supported -- PlayMailer supports the latest version of IMAP with Idle mode, as well as older versions of IMAP and POP3. PlayMailer supports TLS, SSL and plain text encryption. PlayMailer works with Gmail!
  • Unobtrusive mail server access -- PlayMailer will not download or delete any emails from your account except for PlayMailer emails. So you can use your regular email account with PlayMailer without worrying.
  • Intelligent recovery -- PlayMailer responds intelligently to changes to the player list. For example, if you delete the player who is currently having their turn. PlayMailer will automatically roll-forward the game to the next player, so that the game is not disrupted.
  • Relay teams -- PlayMailer allows you to have multiple players on the same team. For example, you could setup a game of chess with 2 white players and 2 black players. The turns of the game would then alternate between the two teams as follows; White Player 1 goes first, then Black Player 1 then White Player 2 then Black Player 2 then back to White Player 1.