I will begin the series of 'Resources for beginners' tutorials by explaining what the most common used acronyms in the world of CMBN stand for.
PBEM- Play by Email.
QB - Quick Battle
ME - Meeting Engagement
Now,i'm perfectly aware you're more than eager to jump in the saddle and start the game,but please indulge with me for a moment... Before actually starting a game against a human opponent please make sure you're running the latest version of the game. You can determine what version of the game you're running by..blimey...starting the game and looking at the bottom at the screen. At the moment of writing the latest version is 1.10. If you're running something different,go to the battlefront.com
site and download the patch that will upgrade your game to the latest version.
When starting a game,you have two choices. Playing a scenario or playing a quick battle. The difference is that quick battles are generated from a set of random/specified parameters while scenarios are battles created by scenario designers.
If you want to start a scenario click on the 'Battle' menu option.
A word about playing scenarios,more exactly about playing it 'blind
'.If someone is looking for an opponent for scenario X and mentions he would like to play it 'blind' it means you should have not played that scenario before nor have opened it in the scenario editor to see what the force selection of your opponent is or where his troops are located.
The next step in playing a scenario,after you decided you want to go ahead with a scenario,is,obviously,picking a scenario... Clicking on the 'Battle' menu option will display a new screen listing the available scenarios along with some brief info.
I suggest you consult the manual for a more in-depth understanding of the different icons shown for each scenarios.Briefly,along with a short description,you will get info about the battle type [Meeting Engagement,Probe,Attack,Assault],the size of the scenario,environment info and the time of the day at which the battle takes place.
After choosing the scenario,you will be presented with the option of choosing your side.Quite straighforward...
The next screen will allow you to decide how the game will be played and the 'skill'.If you're here and reading this,then,most likely you want to play it against a human opponent using email (pbem). So,the option you're looking for is '2 Players - Email'.
One often misleading option is 'skill'. This isn't meant to reflect the perceived level of your ability to play the game.Or your opponent's ability. Your tanks won't fire less accurate if you set a higher skill level,your troops won't tire more quickly,your opponent won't receive a bonus.
What i will still add is that i usually play using the 'Warrior' skill level. The main difference between 'Warrior and 'Iron'-the max level,for example,is that on 'warrior' the icons for armor or MG units are,as expected...the floating icons for armor and MG units.On Iron the generic infantry floating icons is used for all units. You'll still see the enemy tank (assuming it is spotted) but the UI will show the infantry icon.
After choosing how the battle will be played and the skill,you will be prompted for a password. This is the password that you will use to open the turns your opponent will be sending you. You might want to write that password somewhere.If you'll forget it there is no way you'll be able to recover it.
If you got that far,you effort was not in vain....The next screen,which is the last step-will ask you for the name of the generated file. It's a good practice to use the 'xxxx vs yyyy 001' format when naming the file , where xxx is your name and yyyy is your opponent's name.For example 'raz_atoth vs jawsconan 001'. If you keep the default format-as seen below-where the name of the file is the name of the scenario you might have some trouble remembering for whom that turn is meant,especially if you start more than a few games.
A few other considerations that might come handy:
1) Don't panic if you're not presented with the battlefield itself after entering your desired password. Usually the first turn you send (or receive) is a password-only turn. Expect to see the setup zones along with your troops after receiving the first turn from your opponent (if you're starting the game) of the second turn from your opponent if he started the game.
2) The generated files which you are supposed to email to your opponent are stored in folder Game Files->Outgoing Email -found in the folder where the game is installed .Likewise,the files your opponent sends you must be copied int he Game Files->Incoming Email folder. Once copied it will become listed in the 'Saved Game' screen and you will be able to play it.