PlayByMail.Net is a PBM oriented website, whose aim is to promote play by mail gaming and to give PBM gamers a place to gather. From this website has evolved the PBM Wiki, a blog, and Suspense & Decision magazine, a PBM magazine for the 21st Century. The site contains both a discussion forum and a blog. The site seeks to facilitate PBM gaming by serving as a major modern resource for play by mail.
Progress on Issue #14 of Suspense & Decision magazine continues. It should be arriving in your PBM-craving hands sometime later this month.
Hopefully, each one of you will take a moment out to send in some feedback on what you thought about Issue #13. Praise is good, but so is criticism. Both help to generate and to extend dialogue, which is something that the PBM industry and its communities of players could use more of.
Play by mail gaming, or PBM to those who may not already be familiar with the term, benefits from people engaging in dialogue and discussing in earnest and at length the games and the gaming experience. Silence is the real killer! Oh, sure, PBM players are always talking about the PBM games that they are playing in their respective circles, but the play by mail industry also needs a broader dialogue - one not comprised of just and only various game or game company communities talking between and among themselves.
That's one of the roles that a PBM magazine plays.
One of the things that I have learned over the span of time since I first began publishing Suspense & Decision magazine is that it is awfully hard to make much progress by drilling directly into the existing established communities of players for various specific PBM games or for the lineal descendants of PBM games. It's a lot like herding cats, or like trying to move those giant heads on Easter Island.
They're there, in those specific gathering points that typically take the form of a forum or a discussion group, and they're there to play the game or games that they love and enjoy. Their sense of unique community already exists. Trying to siphon it off or to redirect it is an inherently problematic proposition. It may sound odd, if you're a fan of Suspense & Decision magazine, but the actual community for PBM magazines varies enormously from the communities for specific PBM games.
Thus, growing the magazine's community of readership and participants is its own unique recipe. Oh, sure, some players of various existing PBM or lineal descendant games will be attracted to Suspense & Decision, since it deals with the topic of PBM gaming, but many - perhaps even most - likely won't be. That's my take on it, anyway, for whatever it may be worth, if anything.
The realization of such does not spark despair. It's not a game killer, pardon the pun. What it does is to remove an anchor from around my neck - an anchor of effort that would otherwise go wasted. It also helps to provide greater clarity to the magazine's true sense of purpose.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The image that accompanies this blog posting is a mini-ad created by Davin Church of Talisman Games. Davin wanted me to scatter this one and others similar to it in the pages of various issues of Suspense & Decision magazine. It struck me as a good fit for something to include in a blog posting, also, though. Talisman Games runs Galac-Tac, a single unit level, science fiction war game.