Heh, didn't mean to pile the discussion on Rob but I had a busy weekend (12 Hours spent fixing my home computer yay!).
The surrender bug is "nice" but doesn't come close to addressing the real problem which is people that just "stop playing" when they are losing.
As SliceyDicey just said, forcing a surrender if your opponent stops playing is actually something that we were working on. It only just barely didn't make it in for the last release, so it should be in soon.
The questions i had that were answered by Kandelon had me really excited about the direction fb was heading, ie. the save feature and other bug fixes. If i had known id have to pay to play i wouldn't have been excited at all and as a result i felt very let down and even a little bit misled.
Sorry about that, I didn't mean to mislead you. In my defense we hadn't really decided what to do or when to do it at the time I posted that, though I will admit I knew we were planning to do something eventually.
I'd like to thank everyone for joining this discussion with us. I was a little worried it would all be yelling and flames, but we've got a good level headed community going here. We are open to suggestions and are not fully wedded to the current model. I will say that a fully free situation won't work, though it sound like most of you realize that. We've been running on the "freemium" model where the basic service is free, but there's a charge for premium content. We had planned for a while to have a "save game" feature be a premium item (which is basically what PBE is) but that rose the issue of what to do about our Facebook apps giving the same thing away for free. We decided to make the Facebook app an extension of the site, rather than a separate entity, which meant bringing the Coins concept over as well. (I'll note that ad revenue, though nice, was not proving to be nearly enough.)
Now, from your comments a number of good issues and thoughts have been raised. I always think of the games live as the basic content and then PBE as the premium extra, but to users coming from facebook or dedicated A&A players who are short on time PBE seems like the basic content, which might be the crux of the issue. We'll certainly be discussing ideas, like a limited number of PBE games for free or something like a subscription for "bulk" gaming, internally and welcome your input.
As far as bugs go the game's been pretty good recently I thought, though there's always more. With the "user walking away from the game" issue resolved soon, maybe it's time for another bug fixing pass...though there are still a few generic PBE features I'd like to add.