The Age of Wonders 3 play-by-email feature is, surprisingly, a godsend. The core problem with AoW3 multiplayer is that one player’s turn can take a long, long time if you fight multiple battles, while other turns might be very, very short, resulting in a lot of waiting and sometimes not much playing. Then factor in that one game takes hours to complete, and the whole thing can be a bit problematic.
You can somewhat get around this by using auto-battle against all NPC encounters, and only play a battle out against other players. While this does speed the game up, I feel it removes a lot of the fun from the game, as building up an army is a big part of the game, and auto-battle loses you units too often and too randomly.
PBM is great because it allows everyone to take as long as they need vs the computer, but interestingly enough battles between players are done in auto-battle. I actually don’t mind this as much, as the focus is still about building up and fighting the computer well, and removes the player vs player battle decisions. I still like that aspect mind you, but it is also nice to have an option where it is removed.
If you have AoW3 and want to get a PBM game going, ping me on Steam (Syncaine) and we can give it a go. I’ve got both expansions, so if I host it will use those (though you won’t be able to select the new class or races, but will see the new game systems and map additions).