͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ 
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Galac-Tac image ad for Talisman Games
Image ad for PBM Chaos and the Play By Mail Facebook page.

While I wait on Casey Link to get his turn orders in for Rowdy Slim McGraw for PBMville: Wild West Shootout, I might as well go ahead and write this issue's introductory spiel. I hope that this issue of PBM Chaos finds you all in good health and positive spirits! It's the month of November, now, which means that some bodacious holidays are now fast approaching. Are you ready for them, fellow PBMers?

For this particular issue, I decided to place a lot of the visual focus upon Galac-Tac, which is a space warfare game run by Talisman Games. Now, that doesn't mean that I give a free pass to Galac-Tac, but I do think that the PBM community as a whole could do a lot better at giving various different PBM games a try, Galac-Tac being but one of them.

Perhaps one thing that PBM gaming as a whole could really use is a modern day PBM-equivalent of the Varangian Guard. Specifically, what I mean by this is a group of PBM loyalists who sign up for and play in a variety of PBM games as a group, rather than just merely as individuals. Hey, what could it hurt?

But of course, that would require considerable loyalty to the PBM cause, as well as an inner willingness to rise to the occasion to see something like this spring to fruition. In fairness, though, we don't always see PBM companies and GMs set the gold standard on promoting and advertising their own games, so maybe something like a PBM Varangian Guard of elite PBM players steeped in loyalty to the grand PBM cause might be a bridge too far.

Maybe I'm just stuck in a never-ending dream about PBM gaming, and I'm hallucinating in literary form. If I am, someone feel free to wake me up. Some? Anyone?

I heard from Jon Capps a couple of days ago. He brought word about the upcoming reprint of the book titled Games Mastership – How to design and run a Play-By-Mail game. He will be distributing it on Amazon, both in printed and electronic formats. This was a book originally published in 1989 by TimePatterns, and authored by Carol and Ken Mulholland. It shouldn't be too much longer on this reprinting of this book to become a reality. A special thanks to their son, Michael Mulholland, for helping to make this possible.

As this issue goes to print, the previous issue of PBM Chaos, Issue #21, was opened by 82 different recipients a total of 178 times. So, somebody out there is reading it or browsing it. Issue #21 published on 11/04/2023, some five days ago.

Ideally, we would grow the readership of PBM Chaos, but that, too, requires action, as well as sharing word of its existence. Ultimately, we would like for readers to become players, and while some are, most probably aren't. Some seem to think that they have grown too old to play PBM games, anymore. Well, maybe they have.

Everyone who does like and who plays PBM games don't all like the same games, nor even the same kind of games. I know how that is. I'm sure than many of you do, as well. And PBM gamers are frequently loyalists to just one or two PBM games that they have grown accustomed to, and which they've long since fallen in love with. Old habits are hard to break, many times. I just keep trying to get the word about about PBM games. I don't have a magic wand to wave, and to multiply the size of the player base like magic, you know.

I suppose that I could shorten these PBM Chaos mailings. Perhaps if I said less, then maybe that would yield better results. It would definitely probably be quicker, don't ya think?

Let me pick a handful of PBM games to highlight, right now. In no certain order, the lucky winners are Clash of LegendsQuest of the Great JewelsFire on the Suns, Nuclear Destruction, and Atlantis Miskatonic. Be sure to click on their links, and at least give them a look. Surely, you can do that.

If you want me to cover or to write about something specific, then write in and let me know. The e-mail address to write to is: [email protected]

Galac-Tac image ad for Talisman Games

And that is NO Omen. You're the one, holding the flag high and fight for PBM. If you stop this, I guess no one will do it anymore.

- Stefan Graf


Thank you for the vote of confidence!
Its always good to know that somebody out there appreciates what I try to do (successes and failures, aside) for PBM gaming, though I'm more inclined to believe that someone (or perhaps more than just one) will rise to the occasion, when the time is right, just as others in PBM's past have risen to the occasion, whenever particular individuals departed the PBM scene.

Yeah, sure, sometimes there are gaps, and it seems to be a while before someone else comes to the forefront, and begins doing whatever they opt to do in their advocacy of play by mail gaming. But that, I think, is just part of the natural order of things. Not many keep a PBM equivalent of a Batman suit ready on standby, in case something happens to (or with) a particular PBM personality.

Life changes. People change. Even the world changes. And as always, there's never any real guarantees. People get sick. They die. Sometimes, they just get burned out, or something new arises in their lives that draws them further and further away from PBM. Even on the PBM player front, with nothing else considered, people just stop signing up for PBM games.

Me? I'm just some guy who kind of fills in a gap, a gap that I consider to be temporary. There's all kinds of people out there, all kinds of PBMers out there, who possess all kinds of talents and expertise and skill sets. It's not particularly hard to throw a few words down on paper (or the digital equivalent of paper), and intersplice them with photographs and other images.

Why people aren't chomping at the bit to add their own flavor to the PBM scene, I'm not entirely sure. It doesn't have to be a grand undertaking, nor even a very time-consuming undertaking, if they do it in their own way and at their own pace. If a person can write an e-mail, then they are already well-equipped to undertake some kind of PBM advocacy or PBM coverage.  And yes, it really can be that simple!

As far as "holding the flag high and fighting for PBM goes," that "flag" is a proverbial one, though come to think of it, PBM could use an actual flag in physical form. Besides, regardless of whatever any particular flag might represent, ideal-wise, I've always liked flags. Aside from the letters PBM, I'm not really sure what a PBM flag should look like.

If PBM does have a flag that can be held high, then it likely has many such flags. One for PBM gaming, itself, and one for each of the mediums through which PBM games are played - PBeM, PBW (play by web), PBF (play by forum). Likewise, there would also be a flag for each specific PBM game that exists - one for Hyborian War, one for Phoenix: Beyond the Stellar Empire, one for SuperNova, one for Starweb, one for TribeNet, one for Far Horizons, one for Galac-Tac, one for all of the various different turn-based games that have some degree of claim to falling under the overall PBM rubric, which in turn falls under the Turn-Based Gaming rubric.

Then, too, each PBM player that has ever existed, or which exist now, would have their own PBM flag, too. For without PBM players, PBM games would be little more than gaming dead weight. Some would be giant flags, like Wayne Smith, who plays in more games of Duel2 and Hyborian War than I can keep track of, and others would be small, like my own. Somebody like a Raven Zachary would fly one of the biggest PBM flags of all.

Additionally, each PBM company would have its own PBM flag to fly, as would each individual PBM GM. These flags would not be one and the same. And let us not forget those who fly the flag of PBM nostalgia, and each of those flags would look different from all the rest, because one person's PBM nostalgia can be quite different from anyone else's. Shouldn't those who have never played PBM games, but who find mention of such a segment of gaming to be interesting, have their own PBM flags, also?

Me? I had planned to not sign up for any more games of Alamaze, anytime soon. Yet, here I go and sign up for another one, within the last couple of days. Another Alamaze player had invited me to play, and I clearly didn't have better sense.

Charles Mosteller

Where Lies The Power



Hi I played house orbitus that took over Widowa. (A planet in the top

right hand corner of the map). I was a minor house. You gained solars

from your holdings. When you became a great house, you got the revenue of

the worlds + holdings + vote in the house.

It was a fun game, but I ran out of money when I went to university - I hope this helps.

- Steve Black

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Revitalizing this PBM game from Talisman Games

 Let us first look at some discussion from the PlayByMail.Net Discord 

Ok, fine! Let's talk about this...

Back in the old mailing days, it was an important mystery that you did not know how many you were playing against. You'd be thinking that this was the last guy that you were trying to kill, and suddenly, someone you'd never heard of stabs you in the back. It was part of the game strategy, as it was designed. But back then, games were filling up fairly regularly, so you didn't have much of a problem with wait time, anyway, and the player count waiting wasn't published then, either.

Well, times have changed. I can certainly tell you how many players are waiting to start a game, if nobody minds knowing exactly how many opponents they have to kill.

What do you all think?

- Davin Church of Talisman Games

You could always just list how many players are still needed to sign up for a certain game. That approach would allow you to keep the number of players in any given game "secret." The reality is that it is no longer "back then." These days, it's not uncommon for PBM players to sign up for a PBM game, and then end up waiting weeks - or even months - before the game actually starts. This isn't a problem specific to Galac-Tac. And there may be no "perfect solution" (there usually isn't to most problems in life and in gaming). But some approaches are definitely better than other approaches.

Galac-Tac's single biggest issue/problem is, I think, the relatively small size of its player base. Until and unless that is "fixed," I don't think that Talisman Games is likely to ever make much money off of the game, in today's current PBM environment. The small player base situation for Galac-Tac is not really any different than the small player base situation for Alamaze. Back when I first tried a PBM game, back in the 1980s, it took me months (plural) to ever decide to send off for that information pack for Hyborian War.

People will routinely look at an ad (or ads) for a given game for a lengthy period of time, before acting upon such ads.

To get ads (regardless of who designs them, yourself or anyone else) before a LOT of eyes, you either have to spend cash, have a large network of contacts, or someone with a lot of contacts spreads the word for you, or you have a very dedicated player base/fan base that will do the spreading of the word for you.

Galac-Tac suffers from an awareness problem (as does most all of PBM).

- Charles Mosteller

Since I'm already listing how many players are in the game, showing how many remain is equivalent to showing how many have signed up. I don't see how you interpret those as different.

I agree with you about long wait times for PBM in general, and the small size of our player base, but there's not much I can do about either of those if people just don't want to play. I'm offering all the incentives that I can.

Does anyone else have any opinion on the player count issue?

- Davin Church of Talisman Games

While I am hardly the most active player in any of the current games, I would say that a little mystery could be a good thing. Maybe giving some vague idea of the number of players could work, but I see no need for specifics. Of course, in the one public game I'm in, I am certainly not playing to win and a domination victory for me is presently quite out of reach, I'm sure. But maybe, for someone who is playing to win and wants total conquest, knowing the specific number of players may give them a better idea of what they still need to accomplish.

I guess it's personal taste. In the strategy game I play most often, Civilization 4, I wish there were some way to randomize the number of players while keeping a chosen map size the same. In that game, the only way to randomize the number of players is to have a random map size. I would strongly prefer a little mystery in the game. That's just what I like.

And I could be wrong, but I think some of the current obsession about the number of players in Galac-Tac has to do with an overall obsession with the state of the PBM hobby as a whole. I see little separation between the two in the current discourse, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, thanks for being such a good sport about all the attention, Davin. Galac-Tac is one of the easier games to get started in, and the price can't be beat at far as commercial PBEMs go. All nitpicking aside, it's well worth giving it a try if one is at all curious.

- FenrisK

Thank you for your input! I like the mystery aspect of it as well, which is why I've tried to keep that around. But I'm not filling games fast enough for that to be a benefit rather than an impediment, so I'm still soliciting opinions.

- Davin Church of Talisman Games

Yeah, I suppose waiting for games to fill could be frustrating when the number of players is kept secret. Honestly, the indefinite wait times of some other games from other companies have discouraged me from even signing up. Which just exacerbates the problem, of course.

But all criticisms aside, at least you've been very proactive as far as GMs go in recruiting for games that get close to the minimum number of players, and for gathering extra players for games that are already slated to begin. The vast majority of companies with closed-ended games will let a game languish in limbo, just hoping for players to stumble across their site.

Of course, you're one of the few GMs willing to dialogue with PBM publications about your game, and you're going to get an extra dose of critiques since you're almost the only one stepping into the line of fire on a regular basis. If you just disappeared like 99% of other PBM GMs out there, you wouldn't have these problems. Criticism would dry up with an unresponsive target. (But please don't disappear! I'm making an observation, not a recommendation!  If there's any criticism contained in the comment, you're not the one it's directed at. Your ongoing presence in the community is appreciated!)

- FenrisK

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I've been trying to do what I can, even though it doesn't seem to be very effective. But I'm happy to talk with anyone that thinks they have good ideas for me. I just don't want Galac-Tac to disappear into the fog of the past, so I'm trying different things.

- Davin Church of Talisman Games

Can games with more human players still have computer opponents?

- Undeadlord

You are always free to take whatever approach that you want, Davin. I probably observe what you do with Galac-Tac as much as anyone else, and even now, I don't know how many players are already signed up for any Galac-Tac game. When players have no clue, whatsoever, how many more players are needed, before a given game starts, players tend to hesitate, when it comes to signing up. This has manifested itself countless different times with organized games of Hyborian War. If a game of Galac-Tac has between 10 to 15 players in it, that's a range of players, not an actual exact count. So, if one needs 5 more players to sign up, as an example, that still doesn't tell anyone how many players are actually in a given game of Galac-Tac. Your way hasn't seemed to be working all that great, thus far, which is why I think that it might be beneficial to try a different way. It's always up to you, though. I try to mention Galac-Tac. I try to get a few more eyes on it, to consider the possibility of playing. If you think that your way works, then stick with it. That would be my advice to any PBM company.

- Charles Mosteller

That has been disabled, though it was done in the past. The problem was that human players didn't like playing against a mix of computer and human players for a combination of reasons.

Thank you, Charles, and I'm considering changes along those lines. However, when a game is struggling to get enough players to start then as soon as it does you know that you have exactly the minimum number of players required. Although others can still sign up shortly thereafter, the odds are it's just going to stay at the minimum sign-up and players can tend to count on that. I understand that this is a widespread problem, and not just mine, but I'm trying to do something about it. So far I haven't gotten a lot of feedback on that proposed method.

Another option that's possible is to randomly pre-set the number of players required, within the range, and then maybe a "remaining" count would work. Or maybe I could set the limit high and as it goes without filling for longer times, the number actually needed drops. I'm open to suggestions and opinions.

- Davin Church of Talisman Games

With all of the above recent discussion in the Galac-Tac channel of the PlayByMail.Net Discord taken into consideration, let me now weigh in at greater length on the issue at hand - which is how can the fine folks over at Talisman Games succeed at revitalizing their PBM game known as Galac-Tac?

1. Galac-Tac suffers, more than anything else, from a wholesale lack of awareness among and across gamers.
While Galac-Tac may suffer from a lack of, or a shortage of, players, it's not due to there existing a shortage of gamers in the world. Until and unless awareness deficiency is addressed, Talisman games should probably not expect for the number of people signing up for and playing Galac-Tac to improve substantially, anytime soon.

2. Galac-Tac suffers from an energy shortage. Talisman Games' approach to trying to get new people interested in Galac-Tac can be described as tepid. It certainly isn't a high-energy or energetic approach. If you want others to get excited about Galac-Tac, then Talisman Games needs to lead the way, where excitement about the game is concerned.

3. Galac-Tac suffers from massive visual under-representation. Historically and traditionally, Talisman Games has not invested much in the way of time, energy, or effort at building up a visual showcase for Galac-Tac. How, then, does Talisman Games expect Galac-Tac to catch people's eye?

4. Galac-Tac suffers from a lack of focus. Talisman Games only has a single game on offer for the public to play - Galac-Tac. Yet, the About Our Games section of the Talisman Games website mentions no less than twenty-two other games. Talisman Games needs to focus 100% of its attention and its website to the game that it actually has, rather than maintain spit focus on the needless and unproductive distraction that almost two dozen other games pose, both to Talisman Games and to others who visit the Talisman Games website. If Talisman Games can't make progress with a game that's working and ready to be played, then the question begs to be asked how Talisman Games is going to make progress with almost two dozen other games that aren't ready to be played? Narrow the website's focus to Galac-Tac, and to growing the Galac-Tac player base above all else.

5. Galac-Tac suffers from a lack of imagination. This is actually far worse than Galac-Tac having no real budget or resources of note allocated to it. Does Talisman Games publish a newsletter? Does Talisman Games maintain and grow an e-mail list of its own? Does Talisman Games make effective and timely use of individuals in the PBM community who might be willing to assist Talisman Games with a major revamp of its website? Does Talisman Games aggressively exploit opportunities that exist to incorporate free art crafted by artificial intelligence for the benefit and promotion of Galac-Tac? Does Talisman Games think outside the box, or is it stuck in a rut?

It's not as though there is a shortage of gamers who love space warfare games. Yet, if you want Galac-Tac to stand out, you've got to make noise - lots and lots and lots of noise! You've got to raise awareness of your game. When was the last time that Talisman Games extended in-person invitations to individuals that it knows where it is headquartered, to give Galac-Tac a try? What websites do Talisman Games staff routinely visit to talk about and promote Galac-Tac? Does Galac-Tac have a Facebook page? Is Galac-Tac on Twitter? Just having a website located somewhere on a really vast Internet that you drive no traffic to won't actually raise awareness of Galac-Tac to any noticeable degree. What's Talisman Games' plan to grow Galac-Tac's player base? Or is there an actual plan anywhere to be found?

As a general rule of thumb, general appeals do not tend to work nearly as well as personal one-on-one appeals. Just asking people to give Galac-Tac a try will likely tend to fall on deaf ears. Individuals have names - use them! That's one of the ways that you can increase outreach within a given body of people. Furthermore, those who follow along with PBM Chaos and PlayByMail.Net and the Play By Mail Facebook page are, all total, only a relatively minor segment of the current active overall PBM population. What is Galac-Tac doing to reach out to these other PBM communities of players? In the last five years, how much time has Talisman Games invested in getting to know any of these other PBM communities of players?

Galac-Tac's design has certain generic qualities to it. How, then, does Talisman Games propose to make Galac-Tac more unique? Doing so can help make Galac-Tac stand out more, thereby increasing Galac-Tac's chances of attracting people's attention, even if they aren't actively looking for Galac-Tac, specifically?

One of Talisman Games' single greatest resources is those who run it, those who are the closest to it. How about a special game of Galac-Tac, where Davin Church, Genny Carter White, and Douglas Neman take on all comers, with the three of them actually playing in a game of Galac-Tac? So what if they get outnumbered? The idea is to attract new players to the game, and gamers often like the idea of kicking the asses of those who design the games that they are playing in. You could even slap a fancy or colorful sounding name on special games of Galac-Tac, to try and drum up further interest in such concepts.

Something like this may or may not work, but how do you know, if you aren't willing to try it? It would provide a chance to showcase what all is possible in Galac-Tac. It would allow others to off-set their experience disadvantage by working with multiple others to yield a much better chance to compete effectively against three very knowledgeable Galac-Tac experts.

Of the various new ads for Galac-Tac that I have made in recent weeks, which one(s) do Talisman Games like the best, if any? I have no idea. This is an example of how Talisman Games can improve its approach to communication. Other PBM gamers out there have used artificial intelligence to create art, before. Hit them up for some free help on creating new imagery for Galac-Tac and Galac-Tac advertisements. Even some PBMers who aren't interested in Galac-Tac, specifically, or space warfare games, generally, might still be willing to kick in and lend a hand to help Talisman Games out. It's up to Talisman Games, not others, to move their ball down the field.

Do I think that Talisman Games has done all it can to promote Galac-Tac or to grow the Galac-Tac player base? Nope, I sure don't. In fact, I think that they haven't even scratched the surface of possibilities, yet. I believe that real progress can be made growing the number of players who play Galac-Tac. If Galac-Tac is to succeed, then Talisman Games has to provide the leadership to accomplish that.

Invite others to help you to fix whatever shortcomings exist. You don't have to do it all alone. There's likely those out there that will prove willing to aid the cause. Just thinking about it is insufficient, though. Action is required!

Charles Mosteller

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A site for the game of Diplomacy played online

Sign Up For
Stefan Graf's Diplomacy Game
Map image ad for Stefan Graf's game of Diplomacy
Click here to sign up for this game of Diplomacy.

NOTE: This game of Diplomacy needs 5 players to start.

Players signed up so far are:

1. Darrell Lias

2. GMsShadow

3. JimW

4. Available Position

5. Available Position

Can anyone out there beat the infamous Darrell Lias in Diplomacy?

Galac-Tac image ad for Talisman Games
Image ad for Science City

Welcome to Science City, the most incredible metropolis on Earth. Here mad scientists do battle with sorcerers; pterodactyls vie for airspace with flying cars. It's survived aliens dropping rocks on it and extra-dimensional invasions. The town’s been torn apart and stitched back together again and who knows what is coming next? If you can make it as a super hero here, you can make it anywhere. You just wouldn't want to.It's Science City, it’s 2034, weird is the new normal and the populace wouldn’t want it any other way.


(Video best seen in HD)


A larger version of the PBMville town map.

PBMville Characters & Locations
The Living

Doc Dudley Feelpain

Player: NPCWicked Wilbur Whitley Doctor

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 24

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 7.

Current Location: 7

NOTE: Doc Dudley Feelpain gets one order slot per turn.

NOTE: Doctors can occupy any location that the wounded are at. Wounds are treated at the END of a turn. Doctors will always give PRIORITY to treating wounded law enforcement officers over treating outlaws and those disturbing the peace.

Too many people were getting shot. Just the thought of it soured Doc Feelpain's stomach. He was beginning to wish that he had become a cattle rancher, instead. Rushing to Location 7, he began tending to Big Bad Black Bob's gunshot wound. It looked worse than it was, and soon enough, he had Big Bad Black Bob all patched up and raring to go, again.

"Wicked" Wilbur Whitley

Player: Stefan Graf


Last Location = 25

Assignment Last Turn: SHOOT at Mississippi Jane Deadshot in 24

Current Location: 25

This gunfight ain't over until it's over. Wicked Wilbur Whitley cocked his revolver, again. Mississippi Jane Deadshot wasn't a half-bad looking woman, but them teeth of hers, they was something else. That was one woman that needed a bullet out in her - and fast! BANG! He got her! But it turned out to be just a wound, and that wounded Wicked Wilbur's pride.


Frank "Nine Fingers" Chambers

Player: Barry Robertson


$500 REWARD for killing Sheriff "Wild Bill" Hickok


Last Location = 20

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 29.

Current Location: 29

People Killed: 1

Sharpshooter Archibald Tyrrell

Player: Darrell Lias

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 1

Assignment Last Turn: SHOOT Deputy Winslow Kinkaid in 13.

Current Location: 1

Archibald Tyrrell, aka Sharpshooter, lined up his shot, his target wearing a deputy's badge. Winslow Kinkaid was a marked man, and with a pull of the trigger, Archibald also hoped that he would be a dead man. POW! But it missed. How could it miss?! He was so close. He was right there in front of him. Some damned sharpshooter Archibald Tyrell turned out to be.

Deputy Farkus Gurdeen

Player: NPC

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 23

Assignment Last Turn: SHOOT at Mississippi Jane Deadshot in 24.

Current Location: 23

NOTE: Deputy Farkus Gurdeen gets one order slot per turn.

Farkus Gurdeen noticed that Mississippi Jane Deadshot got hit by a bullet from Wicked Wilbur Whitley, and figured this was the time to act. He aimed real careful like. BAM! A hit! He got that bitch. But damn if she didn't have the devil's own luck, because she was still breathing, and cussing like hell! There ain't no killing that damned woman, it seemed.

Big Bad Black Bob

Player: NPC

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 6

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 7.

Current Location: 7

Deputy Winslow Kinkaid

Player: NPC

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 13

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 14.

Current Location: 14

NOTE: Deputy Winslow Kinkaid gets one order slot per turn.


Mississippi Jane Deadshot

Player: Richard Lockwood




Location = 24

Assignment Last Turn: SHOOT at "Wicked" Wilbur Whitley in 25.

Current Location: 24

People Killed: 1

Shit, shit, shit! She had more than one taking aim at her. She had to act fast. BLAM! That bastard, Wicked Wilbur, she got his ass, and she got him good. She didn't kill him, but she reminded him that his ass belonged to her. A wounded man is sometimes as good as a dead man that ain't happened, yet.


Rowdy Slim McGraw

Player: Casey Link




Last Location = 9

Assignment Last Turn: Passed out from the heat. Missed the turn.

Current Location: 9

People Killed: 2


Brendan "The Dirge" Weir



Player: Brendan Weir


Last Location = 15

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE to 16.

Current Location: 16

People Killed: 2

Possession: Ace of Spades [1 Use Only] [Averts Death]

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Middle-earth PBM image ad for Middle-earth Games

Hi Charles,

Only you can say what you want from a PBM game!

But  I do think you see a distinction between 'you' and 'your team', in terms of goals, gameplay, enjoyment, etc., where I do not. When playing a team game you are part of the team, not separate from it. So you don't pay money to let others decide what you do, you pay money to decide with others what to do. That's what being in a team is.

I'm aware that yours is a common position to take. I play a lot of cooperative board games, and there are some players who, having listened to a discussion on what to do, then just go ahead and do whatever they want, often costing us the game. But to my way of thinking, they would be better off playing a competitive game instead.

You say, "Certainly, there are the 'interests of the team' and the 'interests of the individual players' to reconcile." But I do not see it that way. Perhaps it comes from my being a musician long before I was a gamer. If playing in an ensemble, it makes no sense to contrast what an individual musician wants with what the group wants. What each individual musician wants _is_ what the ensemble wants. Or at least, it should be, and if it isn't, what you have is a collection of soloists who would be better off each doing their own thing. I think they call that jazz. ;)

But to try and wrap up a discussion before it becomes endless and bores everyone else too much, I would repeat that if you like being in a team, our team games are for you. But if not, and from what you say it sounds like you do not, I would recommend an individual game instead - in particular, Champions of Middle-earth, which I think has just the flavour you are looking for. (Or indeed, the games of any other company - there are plenty of great ones out there!)

John Davis

Middle-earth Games


Thank you for the extended discussion. We shall bring it to a close, then.

Charles Mosteller

All Middle-earth PBM Games Starting Soon

The following games are currently accepting setups, and due to start soon. Click on any of the links below full details or to sign up.

Champions of Middle-earth
Try a game of our two or four player module, now with rebalanced NPCs, or sign up for our next tournament (just two places left!).

Game 969: 1650 Gunboat
3 nations per player.

Randomised artifact IDs
One champion character per nation.
6 rewards per nation.
Shared results.
4/8 positions available

Game 972: 1650
Pre-aligned neutrals to ensure a balanced game.
Up to 2 nations per player.
One champion character per nation.
15/24 nations available

Game 260: 2950

3 nations per player.
One nation free as long as you have three nations in play!
4/8 positions available

Game 262: 2950 Gunboat

3 nations per player.
Rewards to spend on your starting nations
One nation free as long as you have three nations in play!
4/8 positions available

Game 628: Kin-strife
Up to 2 nations per player.
8/14 positions available

Game 630: Kin-strife 3 nation Gunboat

3 nations per player.
New combos: Loyalists: 2/5/21and 3/4/6, vs. Usurpers 11/14/15 and 12/13/16.
Boosted setups - 30% extra points for nation 1, 15% extra points for nation 2.
One nation free as long as you have three nations in play!
3/4 positions available:

Game 416: Fourth Age

Up to 2 nations per player
7/25 nations available

Game 423: Fourth Age Gunboat

3 nations per player
Shared results among team
6/8 positions available

(Is a game you'd like to play not starting soon? Then get in touch, and if there is enough interest we'll set it up!)

Dropout Positions
None at present.

Grudge Games
We have the following grudge teams looking for opposition:

  • The Old School Spanish team (Ruben Aguayo) are looking for opposition in 1650.

Please get in touch if you and your friends fancy taking them on.Or if you really want a challenge, why not play an entire side on your own – discounts available!

Email: [email protected]

NOTE: This information on which games of Middle-earth PBM are currently taking sign-ups comes from the Middle-earth PBM newsletter, which is published by John Davis of Middle-earth Games.

Middle-earth, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and the characters, items, events, and places therein are trademarks of Middle-earth Enterprises, LLC used under license by Game Systems International t/a Middle-earth Games. All rights reserved.

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Play By Mail Facebook Page PBM Sign-Up List

This list was last changed on: 11/05/2023

Stefan Graf's PBM Chaos Game of Diplomacy

NOTE: This game will be played via PBM Chaos

NOTE: This game needs a total of 5 players to start.

Players Signed Up:

1. Darrell Lias

2. GMsShadow

3. JimW

Transgenerational Starweb Death Match

Starweb Championship Match

NOTE: This game needs a total of 15 players to start.

Players Signed Up:

1. Jim Smith

2. Ian Holden

3. Kevyn Tyler

NOTE: Please consider signing up, so that these games can start sooner, rather than later.

Contact PBM Chaos at
[email protected]

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