If you play online, then you can play this game for free. We refer to players who play online for free as "freemailers". There are some restrictions.
To play online you must input your orders for each turn using the website that's provided at www.softsim.co.uk and you must be able to receive your game reports by email. These conditions mean we don't have to pay someone to input your orders (the whole process can be done computer to computer) and we don't have to print and post your game report (as we normally do in a play-by-mail game). That reduces the expenses. A lot.
The only other restriction is that normally you can only play a standby position. There are no rules differences for freemailer positions in Dark Age (if you can win one of these games when you missed the start then good luck to you - the other players would much rather be playing against you than a dropout).
When there are enough people asking for freemailer startups we sometimes offer an all-freemailer game. That way you get to play right from the start and there shouldn't be any experienced players to contend with.
Use the Freemailer Startup Form to request a position in a game. Make sure you give your proper name. You cannot play Dark Age II anonymously. If we allowed you to try then all that would happen is the other players would gang up on you.
We'll email you to check your email address is correct and working (if you don't hear from us within 48 hours email us to check what's happening). Once we've had confirmation we'll allocate your team, send you a game report, and provide you with a username for the www.softsim.co.uk website.
The game report will be the next one AFTER you join (the other players already in the game think it's important to be warned of new coaches being appointed before you start making changes) so there may be a wait of up to a week.