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Issue 14
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New Policy Announcement

Davin Church for Talisman Games

It has been brought to my attention that my requirement for paying $5 for your first month of play is an obstacle to new players, even when they then get an additional 12 months of free play after that. Therefore, to allow new players to "try before they buy," I have initiated a new "Free Trial" policy. Effective immediately, anyone who signs up for a new account at Talisman Games and confirms their email address as valid will immediately receive a free month of play time for trying out Galac-Tac!

It is recommended that all new players engage immediately in playing solo games (against computer opponents) during their free trial period so they can see if they like the game before it expires. Solo games can be run as quickly as desired by pressing a button on the web site, so entire practice games might be run to completion during your free trial month. Solo games are useful for learning the game, making beginner mistakes without serious consequences, and formulating effective play strategies.

All those players who are currently paid-up and have validated their email address have been automatically granted their free trial month. Any other current players that later verify their email will receive their free trial then. If some previous players with verified emails would like a free trial month added to their account, please contact me directly. Also, please let me know right away if any problems with this process appear.

Any questions?

* Davin Church of Talisman games can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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Who will catch a bullet or decorate a hangman's noose?



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PBMville Characters & Locations

The Living

Deputy Winslow Kinkaid

Player: NPC

Health: GOOD

Last Location = Entering PBMville

Assignment Last Turn: NONE
Current Location: 5

NOTE: Deputies get one order slot per turn.

Deputy Winslow Kinkaid is a good man, a family man. He and his wife have three kids, two of which are his. Winslow has been a deputy in PBMville for just about two years, now, originally hailing from Akron, Ohio.

Ringo "Fifty Two" Fry

Player: Bryan Ciesielski

Health: GOOD

Last Location = Entering PBMville

Assignment Last Turn: NONE
Current Location: 24

Ringo "Fifty Two" Fry is a hateful son of a bitch. His whole life has been nothing but trouble. He has more bad habits than most ranchers have cattle. Not one you should turn your back on.

Dan "The Loner" Hughes

Player: Stefan Graf

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 13

Assignment Last Turn: Froze in fear! (Missed Turn)

Current Location: 13

He's a loner for a reason. Or should I say for just about a thousand reasons. The only thing that he hates more than people is taking a bath. Believed to be a horse thief in some parts, Dan "The Loner" Hughes is one sorry devil that you would be better off avoiding.

Fastdraw Kid Sammy Hill

Player: Alex Sahm

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 19

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE

Current Location: 20

Born a bastard child to a saloon girl in Dodge City, Kansas, Sammy Hill was abandoned and placed in a violent orphanage at a very young age. He bears a scar on his face from a knife fight that he started, back in his teenage days. He claims to be a fast draw with that big iron on his hip, but whether he has the raw courage to kill in cold blood remains to be seen.

Mississippi Jane Deadshot

Player: Richard Lockwood

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 17

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE

Current Location: 26

The daughter of a mining town whore, Mississippi Jane Deadshot is as handy with a gun as she is with a man. But she's got a mouth on her that just won't stop, though many a man has tried. A real spiteful little bitch, you had best cross to the other side of the street, if you see her coming. You won't have a wallet, if you don't.

Wild Willey Gunn

Player: Rich Deluca

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 12

Assignment Last Turn: Stepped in horseshit! (Missed Turn)

Current Location: 12

They say that every man has a soft spot in his heart for someone. Well, whoever said that had clearly never crossed paths with Wild Willey Gunn. He has a bounty on his head for thirty-five dollars in Abilene, Texas, but it's been quite some time since he last darkened that area with his moody presence.

Rowdy Slim McGraw

Casey Link

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 23

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE

Current Location: 22

In the Wild West, they don't get any wilder than Rowdy Slim McGraw. They don't get any dumber, either. A crossbreed between sinister and clumsy, McGraw scrambles when the situation calls for it. A decent shot, but not a decent man, Rowdy Slim McGraw is itching to give his trigger finger some exercise.

Brendan "The Dirge" Weir

Player: Brendan Weir

Health: GOOD

Last Location = 15

Assignment Last Turn: MOVE

Current Location: 16

Holy hell, where does one even begin? Rumor has it that he killed a fellow in Carson City, Nevada during a card game. This son of a bitch brought his own deck of cards to a card game that was already underway. Brendan "The Dirge" Weir lost the hand, when he got caught red-handed in a real bad cheating situation that either cost another man his life, or got "The Dirge" run out of town on a rail, tar and feathered, whichever you choose to believe.

The Narrator

With a slight breeze blowing in the wind, and with the hot sun beating down like Hell, itself, trouble was brewing in PBMville.

A half-dozen of the meanest varmints known to the Wild West had taken to the streets, and somebody was bound to die. It was a good day to be an undertaker, because business was just about to pick up. Nothing quite like a mixture of whiskey and lead to set business booming!

But even drunk or half-drunk, caution still got the better of some of them. Clearly, no one was eager to line a casket, this day. But how long will caution suffice, when killing is on the mind?

When all was said and done, nobody skinned the first smoke wagon. Maybe they had all begun to repent of their evil ways.

Boot Hill Cemetery

The Dead

Cemetery Empty

Make your reservations, now!

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My musing on the PBM world


Looking at PBM today, it seems to be played lhis; Input orders, Get a turn back, Arrange some diplomacy with allies/adversaries…. Then wash, rinse, repeat. I find this somewhat sad, as during the “Golden Age” of PBM, things were a lot different, making the whole PBM genre more enjoyable and exciting. How so? Read on…..

Having played through the “Golden Age” PBM, the hobby at that time, was much, much different that it is now. There was a thriving community, created by both companies and players alike, that is much different then there is today. Why? Well here, in no particular order, are some reasons as to why.

In-House Game Newsletters.

Almost every game had an “official” in house company newsletter, which was full of news – both in and out of game – interviews with key players, in game rumours, snippets of in-game info, stories, battle reports, news of big events in game and a place for players to boast about their – so called - successes, issue in-game threats, recruit players to their alliances and generally wax lyrical about their position in game.

For example, lets take Crasimoff’s World (CW) Newsletter 22, which is A4 is size and 20 pages long. On page one alone, there's info about the company (How you can get the new rulebook, get back issues of the old newsletters) and players’ competition results. A brief scan through the newsletter reveals a piece by GM Andy Smith about the game, GM generated Rumours (42 of them), News From the Front (GM reports of in-game happenings), pages of player messages, along with cartoons – one two pages long depicting a players clan experiences in game – player artwork, a game related crossword, a trading area – where players trade in game info/goods -a letters page and some info on new rules.

Games such as Saturnalia and The Hunting had similar newsletters, and they were packed with in-game info, details of up and coming games conventions, interviews with in-game players, player ranking tables, explanations of the in-game back history and the gods' background, a breakdown of how many players worshipped what gods and the all important Fame table.

Subscription to these newsletters was optional, as they came at an extra cost, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t have a 99% take up rate by the players: Why? They were a joy to read, full of info you may not know, hints and tips about the game, background lore, details of what the company itself was planning to do, and most crucially, a chance to meet like-minded players.

The in-house newsletters, although somewhat of a bane to put together, also generated a small, but welcome, source of income for the companies that produced them.

More recently, some games I have played have had free news sheets but they are just full of in game info and not much else, to be frank. It would be nice if old style in-house newsletters could make a reappearance, as I feel they give the game a certain “something” that players crave and miss – but that’s up to the companies, themselves.

Player Newsletters and In-Game Material

Another dead or dying art. Most games I played had player-based newsletters. I created one in Saturnalia on a quarterly basis for an alliance I had formed called the Renchu (the Saturnalian god of death) Liberation Army (RLA). Our tag line was “Death to the Living!” In it, we had a Death List of all the characters and NPC’s we wanted dead and some that we had – allegedly – killed. There were also battle reports, cartoons – mainly ripped off from 60/70’s USA horror magazines (because they involved a lot of death and were VERY gory) with the speech in the bubbles changed to reflect a pro-RLA position, insults, details of planned actions, deliberate disinformation and a lot more. These used to be sent to the GM, who sent them out with the appropriate alliance people in their turns, and for pure propaganda purposes, we asked them to “Slip” a few to the opposition!!

When I played CW, there was a group called Black Light and Teminus Est, and they were one of the most feared groups in the game. They had their own newsletter, and getting hold of a copy was a real achievement. I still remember the day I got one – it was a frightening read!

In some games, I had little business cards made up, which I sent to the GM and told them, in my players' actions, that my character was dropping them off at various places around town. I had copied a spy/assassin type looking over a wall (from a RPG book), and on the back of it was written “Are you next?” The GM would then place them in the turns of any player that was looking around town!

Another thing that was commonplace was to drop “Calling Cards” next to a character/group that we had beaten in battle. This was a pure rip off of the English football hooligans tradition, which itself was copied from the Vietnam War. I had one with a skull and “Death to the Living!” around it, which I had professionally printed by a mate who worked in the print industry. That got a lot of players worried!

Unfortunately, these PBM staples seem to be a lost art, and it doesn’t happen any-more.


These were crucial to the development of PBM in the UK and Europe. There were two main types: The Individual Company Pub-Meets and the Communal Pub Meets, the former tending to be arranged by the companies themselves, the latter by players. Companies such as KJC Games, Sloth Enterprises and DMC games used to do both. They’d have a meet for their own players (of all their games), and they would come to the Communal Pub Meet.

Players used to travel far and wide for pub-meets. I have seen people turn up at London based Pub-Meets from Norway, Glasgow, Cardiff and Cornwall. Every game seemed to have at least one pub-meet, even the smaller companies. For example, Professional American Football League, run by Nick Barnett, had an annual face to face “Player Draft” where a lot of the players turned up to do live in-game player trades – just like the real thing!

A pub-meet – of any persuasion – was a great place to pick up info, make in-game alliances, swap stories, brag about your successes, talk down your defeats and generally have a great time. But most of all, the PBM pub-meet was a place to make friends. I have life long friends to this very day that I met at PBM pub-meets decades ago.

Of course. there are many stories that I could regale you about relating to pub-meets, but as the old adage goes, “What happens at the pub-meet stays at the pub-meet!” In conclusion, I understand that it will be different in the USA. The vast distances between the players involved and time zones are just two barriers to having a pub-meet. But in this day and age, with the advent of Skype/Zoom/Teams etc., it should be possible for both players and companies, alike, to arrange some kind of “game chat” at a time that would be suitable for all players?

I have a regular chat with people from all around the globe for another activity of mine – why can’t we have a similar one for PBM games?

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How goes the wars in Alamaze?

Charles Mosteller

Currently, I am playing in seven different games of Alamaze. Recent developments in some of my games of Alamaze have destroyed a large chunk of my interest in playing. Where previously I was combing through my turn results with interest, now it's an entirely different situation that I find myself in.

To help mitigate this growing disinterest in playing, I am seriously pondering abdicating and dropping out of more than one game. My growing disinterest doesn't stem from being in too many games of Alamaze, simultaneously. Rather, it is traceable to two things, primarily.

1. In the course of waging war, I'm not particularly bothered by losing population centers. It's just goes along with the prosecution of campaigns of war. That said, I can't say that I'm really a fan of losing my kingdom's capital, and especially when I don't even know that it is about to be attacked.

2. Wizards in Alamaze, I have come to realize, are the most overpowered part of the game. Oh, I like a powerful wizard as much as the next guy, but what I have come to see and realize over the course of the last 100+ turns of game play is that wizards are designed in such a way that I have soured on them.

As with all things and as with all games, to each their own. There are still numerous things about Alamaze that I like, but I have come to feel that Alamaze needs much more than just a few minor adjustments. In its current form, I won't be signing up for any more games of Alamaze.

Now, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't, because some of the things about Alamaze that I have come to dislike, you might actually form a different opinion about them. In some ways, I feel that Alamaze could benefit from more of a "getting back to the basics" approach.

Currently, I am probably having more fun playing the Demon Princes in Game 5703 than I am in five of the other games of Alamaze that I am in. I have a second game as the Demon Princes that I am currently waiting for Turn #1 to process, so that will provide me an opportunity to compare two different games playing the exact, same kingdom.

I'm playing two different games of Alamaze as the Underworld kingdom, right now. There's definitely things about the Underworld kingdom, design-wise, that I like.

My warlock game continues to be an enormously boring affair. Sure, I could start a war in that game, but I'm not sure that would bring any real excitement to me in that game. I'm not at war with anyone in that game. I have more wizards than I probably have in any of my other games of Alamaze that I am in. Yet, I am bored out of my mind in that particular game of Alamaze. In its current design, I would never play the Warlock kingdom, again.

My game as the Cimmerians, as bad as it has been going for me, recently, is still more interesting of a game than my Warlock game. There's no victory for me to find in this game, and while I don't mind playing the underdog role in a wargame, even if I can be persuaded to sign up for another game of Alamaze in the future, I have really strong doubts that I would pick the Cimmerians kingdom to play.

Setting aside my current war with the Rangers and the Amazons in Game 5712, I still struggle with trying to identify what the inspiration for this kingdom's design is. Is it just a bunch of mountain people? There's nothing about it that reminds me of Conan the Barbarian. In Hyborian War, Cimmeria is a robust kingdom to play. In Alamaze, the Cimmerians are a great mystery to me.

Interestingly enough, while playing the Dwarves in Game 5663 hasn't exactly left me feeling all excited about playing them, and even though four of the starting twelve players have dropped or been dropped from the game, this game is still proving useful as a learning tool, without the baggage of having lost interest in playing, as turned out to be the case in at least a couple of my seven games.

In fairness, Alamaze has a number of experienced players who enjoy it quite a lot in its current form. And while I sometimes make comparisons between Alamaze and Hyborian War, or Alamaze and Middle-earth PBM, I really don't have a desire to try and turn Alamaze into either of those two PBM games.

It wasn't all that long ago that my interest in Alamaze was growing by leaps and bounds, so to now feel as if I've fallen off a cliff, as far as my interest level goes, it's quite a substantial change.

One of the games of Alamaze that I'm in, it's already been more than thirty turns. Maybe that one will soon end, which would give me a little more breathing space. Issuing turn orders for seven different games of Alamaze does take some time to accomplish, but it really isn't an overwhelming sort of thing. It's turned out to be quite manageable, in most ways. But when your interest wanes, especially to the point of just skimming your turn results instead of devouring them whole, the number of turn orders to fill out seems like more than it actually is.

In wargames, I like starting wars, and I actually enjoy losing wars, but winning wars isn't a top consideration for me, personally. Not that I'm in danger of winning any of my wars that my kingdoms are currently involved with in Alamaze, but being on the losing end of conflicts is not what drives my increasing loss of interest in playing more games of Alamaze. Also, the things about Alamaze that are gutting my interest in it would be the same, even if I were only currently playing in just a single game of Alamaze.

Will my interest in Alamaze be renewed? Are there things about the game that I have not yet experienced, which might really give me a boost in the enthusiasm department? Or am I doomed to sink beneath a swamp of ever-growing disinterest? Have I already crossed a Rubicon from which there is no return to the enthusiasm that I previously felt?

Certainly, there may be those who think that Alamaze, at present, is a balanced game. That, however, is not an opinion that I share. Given a choice between a game that is fun and a game that is balanced, I would choose fun over balance each time, every time. The great challenge isn't designing a game that is fun when you're winning, but quite to the contrary, it is designing a game that is fun when you're losing.

Currently, I am spending more time rolling my eyes at what I am encountering in Alamaze, than I am spending experiencing fun. What in the world were they thinking, when some of these game design elements were incorporated into the game? Some of it makes sense. Some of it is very solid. But some of it is a recipe for broken game design.

Not broken programming, but broken game design.

Alamaze is blessed with a very rich assortment of magic. Alamaze is addicted to wizards, though. And while many, if not most, of these wizards start out fairly weak, with a continuing investment of gold, food, and order slots, they become magic-wielding entities that make Gandalf and Thoth-Amon pale by comparison.

Super-powerful wizards are anything but a rarity in Alamaze, over the course of a given game. In Alamaze, magic is doled out like candy. And the risk associated with the use of very powerful magical spells is, at times, non-existent. High power level wizards can instantaneously teleport entire armies - even army groups!

While you're at it, just make your army invisible, too.

Spell #853 – Teleport Army Group
This spell allows the wizard to teleport his army group sized force (any number of brigades) to any area in Alamaze, without range restriction. Use in place of a movement order. You may not designate a sea terrain area as the destination. If this group has been issued a rest directive (Order #745), it is unable to move (be teleported) as it should have received the benefits of the rest order.

*Excerpt from the Alamaze 4th Cycle Rulebook - Pages #262-263

Spell #847 – Invisible Army
This spell allows the wizard's army sized (up to 10 brigades) group to become invisible and so undetected by groups and agents alike. This is of course an excellent way to avoid combat or surprise an unsuspecting foe. Army sized groups are the largest that can be made invisible. Spell lasts for that month (game turn) cast.

*Excerpt from the Alamaze 4th Cycle Rulebook - Page #262

As I sit here writing this, I find myself getting tickled, as I ponder such an unbridled approach to flooding the playing field with magic in such vast and potent quantities. from what I have been able to discern, thus far, wizards engaged in magical research to increase their power from one level to the next is an undertaking that is wholly and utterly without risk. In fact, as long as you have the required quantities of gold and food (and a wizard's tower, once your wizards reach a certain power level), advancement to the next power level is guaranteed. No chance of dying. Not even a chance of your wizard going insane. Hell, wizards apparently don't even get tired from wielding their greatest and most dire of magics. Is that what passes for game balance, these days?

Of course, I could sit here and offer up watered down criticism, or just close my eyes to what I am watching unfold in the games of Alamaze that I am playing in. But what good would that be? Should I only talk about the aspects of Alamaze that I like, and speak no criticisms of the game, at all? Or are there those out there that feel that Alamaze is perfect in its design, implementation, and execution, or very nearly so?

Certainly, others are free to write in and to share their own opinions about Alamaze, its design, its mechanics, it's components, and how they think that it all fits together. No one out there has to share my opinions on Alamaze (I hold multiple different opinions about it, simultaneously), but likewise, I don't have to make my opinion conform to only what others have to say about it.

Me? I very much want Alamaze to succeed, not fail. I don't want Alamaze to die. I would love to see the size of its player base expand enormously. But I don't think that shutting my eyes to what I think are very noticeable shortcomings, deficiencies, and mistakes in Alamaze's design is the path to get there from where Alamaze currently is.

Anyone who feels that I'm wrong about Alamaze, feel free to write in and explain at length and in detail WHY I'm wrong. I'm quite willing to change my mind about things, if you can make a solid case that dispels my doubts.

Maybe some out there reading this feel that there's really not much room for improvement left in Alamaze. Myself? I think that there's still a lot of areas where Alamaze can be refined and improved. Granted, if you mess with one aspect or area of game design, it can end up affecting other aspects or areas of Alamaze's design. But in its current form, is it going to be easy or difficult to maintain and to grow the size of the Alamaze player base?

In addition to Alamaze's built-in gold dependency, it also suffers from a severe addiction to magic taken to the point of excess. Some of that magic needs to be reined in a bit, and delving in the dark arts of magic really shouldn't be risk free. Risk should go hand-in-hand with reward.

Sometimes, less is more and more is less in game design.

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PBM Gaming Back In The Day

At the height of their respective popularity, what was the most number of players that played in Takamo and Galac-Tac?

As I recall, at one time we had over 100 Galac-Tac players going, at once. Turns typically took hours to process on the hardware of the day, and we were processing on those turns nearly every day.

- Davin Church

Just under 3,300 for Takamo. We also ran a U-Boat game and two 2-player WWII naval games, Atlantic Conflict and Pacific Conflict. In addition, we published Threshold Newsletter for Takamo, and we bought out Gaming Universal from Bob McLain. We ran it for a year or so. I don't recall the subscriber base. A few hundred, as I recall.

It was completely automated, so we had 10-12 computers and 4 employees/contract workers and one or two partners during the busiest times. And we had one or two editors for the zines. We weren't the biggest, by any means.

- Randy Ritnour

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And then came my Demon Princes turn!

Charles Mosteller

Just when I feel as if my hopes for Alamaze are all dashed and lying in shattered pieces at my feet, along comes my latest turn for the Demon Princes kingdom in Alamaze Game 5703. Just as my disgust and disdain and disillusionment with certain aspects of Alamaze reaches an apex moment, leave it to the Demon Princes to restore some of the good feelings and previous positive vibes that I was feeling about Alamaze earlier on in my Learning Games that I have been playing in for a few months, now.

If Alamaze is so bad, then why is that particular game continuing to deliver the goods on having fun? Clearly, there's a degree of depth that resides in the overall design of Alamaze. Game 5703 continues to treat me to a lot of back and forth tussles over a number of different population centers in that particular game. Not that my own crude level of game play doesn't factor into my seeming inability to gain the upper hand, but even still, it's a genuinely nice feeling for this game of Alamaze to not feel so predictable.

So, do I feel that perhaps I was too harsh in my criticisms of Alamaze that I belted out in the previous article in this issue of PBM Chaos on Alamaze? No, I really don't. If anything, I've likely only begun to scratch the surface of some of my criticisms about particular aspects or elements of Alamaze's game design that have begun to turn me off from the game. But in spite of that, Game 5703 is the proof in the pudding that there are things about its design that Alamaze has gotten right. If everything about its design is spot on, though, then why has my interest and fun level in Alamaze been plummeting, of late?

If it could be chalked up to me being in so many games of Alamaze, simultaneously, then the "solution" for that would be to drop some of those games, and the magic should restore itself. But I haven't seen nor felt anything that would lead me to conclude that such would yield any kind of solution or answer, at all. If I'm simply in too many games of Alamaze, then why is Game 5703 and my Demon Princes kingdom in that game defying what my other games of Alamaze seem bent on making crystal clear to me?

It certainly can't be chalked up to me currently "winning" in Game 5703. The truth of the matter is, there's no danger, whatsoever, of me winning that particular game of Alamaze. Heck, I don't even care about my kingdom's score in that game, just as I don't care about my kingdoms' scores in any of my games of Alamaze that I am in. I don't want to track scores. I merely want to play to have fun.

In Game 5703 of Alamaze, I've made all kinds of mistakes, and I continue to make the same mistakes - over and over and over, again - in some instances. It's really nice to experience actual back and forth with my kingdom's enemies in that game. Just when it seems that I'm starting to gain the advantage, my enemies demonstrate that I shouldn't be counting my Alamaze chickens before they hatch. But then, at least so far, they don't seem to be starting to just run away with the war, either. This is evidence of the "thinking man's game" that Alamaze creator Rick McDowell aspired to breathe life into, through his game design tweaks.

Analyzing a game's design is measly thirty minute undertaking. Back and forth, back and forth, over and over and over, again. There never really seems to be an end in sight. Drawing conclusions, thinking and rethinking, and lots and lots of wondering, both to myself and aloud. Trying to see Alamaze as it currently is, and for what it could be. Weighing and assessing a slew of different individual components and elements, and trying to figure out how a particular thing would likely be perceived by both winning and losing players, alike. It is an inexact science, at best, and part of the process involves more than a mere comparison of hard numbers. Gut feelings and trying to look beyond the immediate moment, and then comparing those to how a given game is playing out over the short-term, mid-term, and long-term, all play a role in the process.

What am I feeling at any particular moment, and comparing it to how I felt earlier in the game, and how I end up feeling about it in the parts of the game yet to unfold. Finding an approach that I like to a given issue, and then deliberately departing from it, even though I like it, just to see how another way feel and seems and fits into the overall scheme of things.

Sometimes, I feel like Alamaze is an intractable problem, and then other times, I feel like a solution to a particular "problem" lies just around the corner. At least with Alamaze, it's new owner is willing to weigh and to assess input, both praise and criticism alike, in his bid to ultimately come up with a better game, all things considered. For some PBM games, their current ownership fails to display even a fraction of the hope that currently exists for Alamaze in real time.

Are any of my attempts at analysis and explanation of any actual use to Alamaze's new owener? I don't know. Perhaps so, especially if I take his feedback into consideration. I'm not a fan of just "going through the motions" on anything, and when all is eventually said and done, I feel that Alamaze's new owner, John Mulholland, will derive a certain degree of confidence from the fact that Alamaze did not suffer from a lack of willingness to challenge the status quo, that Alamaze was brought under the hard light of scrutiny, and that improvements to the existing game can bubble up and find their way to the top - eventually yielding a better, smoother, and more enjoyable game experience.

More fun. That's the real aim. At the end of the day, nothing that I suggest as changes to Alamaze has to be implemented. So, individual criticisms of various facets of the game and its design do not constitute the final say on what Alamaze will actually evolve to be. In fact, the input of many will ultimately be filtered through John Mulholland's mind, and he will temper what each of us say and feel and think in our feedback and input that we provide to him with his own long, first-hand experience in playing Alamaze, himself.

Together, armed with both criticisms and praise, a path to a more informed decision will be paved, in a bid to ensure that Alamaze survives into the future, and that Alamaze's future can be very bright, indeed!

An Assortment of PBM Stuff

TribeNet — 10/16/2023

TribeNet reboot underway. If you would like a level playing field starting position, please let me know. Cheers, Peter

Contact Peter Rzechorzek at: [email protected]

GMsShadow — 10/14/2023
Yeah Phoenix BSE uses a web interface as does Alamaze, and that's one of the things I liked about them both.

PlagueBearer (S&C GM) — 10/13/2023
Sword and Crown got a bump of 8 new players. Yay!!!!

Editor's Note: I didn't ask where he got the 8 new players from, so it may have nothing to do with PBM Chaos. It was such a nice increase in players, though, that I felt that it warranted wider recognition.

MadMat-UK — 10/01/2023
And the entrance to the super secret mission is near poldoon.

François Henri de Léon-Polignac — 10/11/2023
François Henri Charles de Léon-Polignac, illegitimate scion of a wealthy merchant family, has arrived in Paris, ready to sell some dubious medical cures, waste his money on parties, and regale salon-goers with his execrable poetry.

jbs12o2 — 10/11/2023
Leopold Montagne, first child of an impoverish chevalier, Baptiste Montagne, has arrived in Paris, looking to work his way up as either a soldier for an army or a sailor.

Renáud Desjardins — 10/11/2023
Renáud Desjardins, the hale and hearty second son of wealthy gentlefolk, has arrived in Paris. He hopes that his keen military mind and more than passable horsemanship will make up for his decided lack of skill-at-arms and earn him a position with a regiment.

Rich / Natasha / Ælthric — 10/14/2023
Right, y'no good varmints – Mississippi Jane Deadshot here. Y'all better watch yer backs once this gets goin'!

MaddMattParker — 10/15/2023
The Eridani scientists unlocked deeper secrets of the Eridani DNA. As such, the leaders of the Eridani Enclaves have discussed things and determined the new changes to be made to the Eridani as a race. All changes were submitted to the Genetic Enhancement Division. All citizens are required to report to their nearest Imperial Medical Center for their upgrade. Once they receive their upgrade, their genetic profile is updated in the Cloning Center databases.

ramblurr — 10/08/2023
Back when I played some 10 years ago the only comms channel was the forum and I felt quite "alone" playing SN and didn't want to spam the forum with noob questions.

Aragorn — 10/12/2023
I have found this wonderful riddle in the CMF module, which at first seemed very complex to solve, but then I cracked the nut.
Anyone wants to have a go at it as well ? I will provide the answer if you give up.

My first was a mountain
My second, soft wind;
My third, so dark
My fourth, a fish.
What was my last?

Richard Vogt — 10/16/2023
Anyone mind jogging my memory as to a safe response for this KS encounter as a FP player?

Suddenly, there came on the wind the sound
of hideous laughter, and, moving cautiously in what she thought was the direction of its source, she was forced to duck as a leg
of lamb flew past her into the darkness. And she dropped to a crouch as she saw two trolls ahead, arguing over the most choice
pieces of the meat they were cooking, more of it being thrown in anger than actually consumed by either. “Tom’s mutton not
your mutton,” one cried as he grabbed a piece of meat and swung it at the other’s head.
WAIT for a while and then attack the Trolls at an opportune moment.
Charge and ATTACK the Trolls.
Volunteer to FEED the Trolls if they will help her.
OFFER 5000 gold for them to join her side.
FLEE the scene
HIDE from the Trolls and hope they go away.
Seek to RECRUIT Tom to her cause.

Am I remembering correctly that FLEE should be safe for FP? Thanks!

Retzy — 10/11/2023
One thing I feel I learned is the importance of companies, way more nasty encounters it seems that I expected.

Ruben — 10/05/2023
Hi, I am new to the CMF and I was wondering which are the figthing terrain modifiers of each nation? Does Mordor fights like the Dark Lieutenant? Rivendel like Noldo? Erebor like Dwarfs? I could not find the info, and I would appreciate if somebody can share it. Thanks!

Greybeard — 10/10/2023
Lets start a debate! Its becoming quite vogue nowadays for the 5 Eothraim armies to meet. (Within evasive movement of 3221) Turn 2 Commander loaded with artys (normlally Bains x2) and dependent on Tarondors start (3116 or 2119) he can meet as army or disband and move, perhaps after saving food). Turn 2 Mahrcared loaded with them becomes 150 plus and moves with lot to 3221. Question whats the best way to stop it? Use FK to threaten Ithil? and Gothmog to 840 SE from 3120 turn 2? (Keeping all Dog at home, plus backup troops plus 800HI in metal or 400HC 400HI plus 3 of big weapons plus ALL IK (with summon storms) plus drop taxes to boost loyalty to 90 plus. You are in the realms of holding.

Gothmog loaded as much as possible too.
Rewards games dont count as sack two dog camps and you have a city and laugh at them. (Or give Krusnak the dragons mage artys for 200 plus challenge) Options that immediately come to mind to thwart. Sure the creative amongst us minds, are percolating some cute methods, as i type!

Donkey — 10/16/2023
The original question was how to deal w/Mahrcared and 6000 cav landing on 3221 on T2. I don't believe the CL gets screwed, they can still split leaving 1/2 food home. But that is a player and team discussion matter. My reply was how to counter Mahrcareds 6000 cav when he moves to 3221 on T2. I presented a proposal that ignores Mahrcared evasive move abilities and just defeat him before he could ever threaten or move out evasively a 2nd time. Your now countering by changing the circumstances. I'm in a game right now where the Eo brought 3 cav armies to 3119 T1 and if they had moved their comms toys, they would have succeeded w/evasive moves but lost in the following turn if they had attempted to move into Mordor. As it turned out, they never moved their comm toys so the defense was easier, something our side determined by using intel w/T1 orders. Once intel shows Eo armies, adjustments are made. Once comm staks are located, adjustments are made. It's not hard but it does require multiple nations preparing for a successful Eo move by offering up their spells and adding the necessary troops to accomplish the mission. Intel is key. And for me, it's not a major rewrite, it's a must have.

Corwin — 10/15/2023
If "wooden shield" etc don't need to be PREPARED, can multiple be used at once? Or are they one-per-combatant like weapons & armor (but without a corresponding SHIELD order, like the ARMOR and WEAPON order that specifies use preference)?

Gabriel VanHelsing (TOL #1) — 10/16/2023
It could be a Triband village as well too, and in THAT case we will capture/kill them.
My thought would be to have two clans work together. Have them both fill up with stuff, and then once they reach the region have the one clan land, transfer it's ships to the other clan, then outfit the units with proper armor and weapons and march in and make contact.

Galan — 10/14/2023
-- 340 Excel Turns
-- 9,432 Actions
-- 149 Special Actions, 22 0's; 127 RP
-- 1 Errors from validate
Validate errors - CITY COMMAND action, invalid Position Number
SA Processing started

AndyK — 08/31/2023
Ooh, I killed a dungeon end boss. Gosh. Now to work out how to rescue the maiden to end Rescue The Maiden.

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Welcome to ‘Middle-earth PBM’, the classic confrontation between Good and Evil, inspired by 'The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkien.

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