The next issue of Suspense and Decision will be Issue # 14 Anticipated Publication Date: September 2016



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Separating the Red Herring from the Mines of Solomon in pursuit of Play By Mail

7:30 PM

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A lot of what I write about PBM gaming isn't really for anyone else. Rather, it's for myself. It's part and parcel of the ongoing debate that I have with myself on the topic.

This past time of mine has long since ceased to be just a past time, even as it remains firmly rooted in my life as a past time. It is a hobby, but it is also something more.

Some might view it to be a passion, even though I'm not so sure that that is the right word for it. If it is a passion, then why am I so inconsistent in posting about it. Why don't I post about it here on this blog, every single day?

There are likely trace elements of passion intermixed with everything else that I feel about play by mail gaming. But, it's far from a religion, for me. Accordingly, I don't post religiously about it. Whatever it is that I am crafting, building, or tinkering in the name of PBM, I tend to do it in increments. As a result of this approach, this journey that I am on tends to be one marked by long stretches of inactivity, interrupted by the occasional moments of activity.

For me, there aren't many milestones. Rather, I content myself with nudging the hobby and the industry forward a few inches at a time, at best. The pace is, at times, agonizingly slow.

Part of what I do is akin to archaeology. Not that I know anything about archaeology. But, nonetheless, I sure do seem to spend a lot of time trying to sift through the sands of time. I'm certainly no historian. Even if I were, vast tracts of play by mail's history has long since been lost to the sands of time. It's gone forever, with no discernible way to retrieve it, for posterity's sake.

With increasing frequency, I am reminded of my own mortality. My body talks to me, you see. Right now, it tends to speak to me in whispers. One might think that that would move me to act with a greater sense of urgency. Yet, here I am, plodding along at a snail's pace in a race I can't win.

That said, it's been a productive weekend for me, from a PBM perspective. I uncovered more than one trove of ancient PBM treasures. It's days like these that are akin to stumbling into King Solomon's mines.

Earlier, today, I posted about one of these troves over on the PlayByMail.Net Facebook page. If you don't ever check that aspect of our operations out, then you likely aren't even aware of it. Unless, of course, you already knew about the trove in question, but had forgotten it or maybe you just thought that it wasn't worth mentioning.

Granted, many may view that trove as a red herring, and in a way, they would be right.

No less important to me than that choice find was another one that I happened upon, while following link after link after link, this weekend. The site? A Yahoo! discussion group titled:


On the heels of these great finds, it is also encouraging that others are mentioning us in the course of their online discussions about other things that interest them. Take the case of the Hereticwerks blog site, or of Harry advocating in favor of War of Wizards over on the Gamespot forum.

Especially in light of my own recent remarks made in Issue # 7 of Suspense & Decision magazine, wherein I said, "Of late, though, our magazine seems to have slowed down a bit, as far as generating interest across the blogosphere," it's both nice and reassuring to discover that someone out there in the blogosphere is willing to take time to mention us.

Take my word for it - it helps!

It does more than help the magazine or this site. What it does, these moments of mention, is to increase dialogue about play by mail gaming - and by extension, it creates possibilities and opportunities for the postal genre of gaming to grow roots, anew.

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