͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ 
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Welcome back, one and all! I suspect that this issue will seem to come out pretty quick, compared to last issue. The PBM Maze players probably won't all get their turn orders issued, thinking that they have more time than turns out to be the case. But I'm chomping at the bit, raring to go So, the stage is set, as I type this on April 11th, 2024, for this issue to end up being a bit of a bumpy ride for those who aren't paying attention.

But such is life in the PBM fast lane. It's a hectic, chaotic world, as the name of this digital PBM publication implies. PBM Chaos - chaos is in the name, itself. There are no guarantees, no promises. Just chaos, chaos, and more chaos - and hopefully, PBM, PBM, and more PBM, as well.

. . .and that was as far as I got before today, April 17th, 2024. . .

Now, I have decided to cease investing so much of my time and energy and effort in things PBM-related. My postings on the Play By Mail Facebook page are at an end, and there won't be anymore issues of PBM Chaos forthcoming. Feel free to avail yourselves of all other PBM publications out there. Maybe someone else will come along and fire up something new.

Lots of PBM friends have been made along the way. Lots of good PBM memories to cherish. Forge onward, while our paths diverge and I head off to other things. You have your respective lives, and I have mine.

Other issues of PBM Chaos that were in the works are hereby scrapped. I've even stripped some articles out of this issue. There is, however, a rather fabulous PBM interview with Clint Oldridge that lies within the pages of this final issue of PBM Chaos. Icing for the PBM cake!

My spiels on the public domain contained in this issue, rather than the planned start of something new, now become relegated to a sort of fond farewell, instead. That's just how life goes, sometimes. I pondered removing these articles, also, but decided to leave them in. The PBM Interview with Clint is the real meat on the bones of this issue. Feel free to pick the PBM ball up and run with it!

A few days ago, I turned ownership of the PlayByMail Discord over to someone else. I am no longer involved in that project or site. This is in keeping with my general announcement in the pbm-chaos channel from back in February of this year.

Take care of yourselves, and as always, happy reading and happy gaming! Pardon me, if you will, for not proof-reading this issue any more than I previously already did.

Charles Mosteller

Editor of PBM Chaos

PBM Quote

"But I decided to stick out a couple more turns, and by turn eight I was hooked. It began to be fun.

Now I can hardly wait for the next turn to arrive by mail."

Jay Reese
Starweb: a review

The Space Gamer - Issue #11


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PBM and the Public Domain

Charles Mosteller

I suspect that you didn't even notice the robot's (Tin Woodman's) mangled hands in the image above. All of the art on display in this particular image was crafted and slung out by artificial intelligence (good old low level A.I.). A.I. generated art is actual art, though it is frequently art of a very imperfect variety, even if it might simultaneously be art of a creative nature. Artificial intelligence mimics human creativity.

Creativity is not something that human beings hold a monopoly upon. Consider all that you see in nature. Even in far flung regions of deep space, creativity manifests itself, which we humans often perceive to be worthy of calling art of a very elevated kind. One doesn't have to ponder the level of detail that inheres in and across nature. A fly's eyes, for example, or the face of a flea. Lots and lots of really small details - details crafted with more precision than even human beings can replicate.

But because I didn't want you to see the Tin Man's mangled hands that A.I. botched and bungled, I chose to overlay those obvious flaws with other artistic elements. Some additional art pieces of flying monkeys, a scarecrow, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, a wicked with (not sure if it's of the East or of the West), even a lion that is supposed to be cowardly in nature. And the icing o this visual cake? Some text instances which utilize a couple of different fonts. Before long, no one even knows about those mangled Tin Man hands, at all. Suspension of disbelief takes hold, without anyone even realizing it. The imagination relaxes, and just sort of goes with the flow.

It's not even a Tin Woodsman. It's some kind of a robot (I think). But my mind and my imagination both conspired, insisting that it could be a Tin Man, even if it wasn't a Tin man to begin with. Both are fiction, so what does it matter?

From a financial perspective, it cost nothing to generate any or all of those individual art pieces. That strikes me as a cost effective option. But was it worth the expenditure in time spent to nudge the A.I. to get off of it's ass and create some art for me? If artificial intelligence is anything, it's clumsy and ineffective at rigid adherence to a particular look. Depending upon which A.I. that one employs for such art generation purposes, one's visual mileage may vary widely. If you want to stick with the free-to-use A.I., though, then you're not going to end up with a master artist in your digital pocket.

Back in the day, Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo fame, the Father of Commercial PBM Gaming, could just read a book called PBM Companies For Dummies, and use it as a point of origin to create his PBM gaming empire from. Why? Because no such book existed.

Thus, he had to squeeze his own creative juices from his brain and his mind and his imagination. He had to blaze a trail forward into the wildness, into the unknown, itself. Trial and error likely factored prominently into the creation process. At some point along the way, he finally arrived with a PBM company and multiple different PBM games in hand. All hail this conqueror of his time!

Did Rick Loomis invent the very first game playable via mail? Nope. Chess and Diplomacy, among other, came along well before. But what coalesced around Rick Loomis, once he started applying himself and investing time and energy and effort in a sustained way, was the commercial aspect of play by mail gaming. Feel free to prove me wrong.

In today's modern era, PBM gaming and the PBM scene suffer from a number of different things. A lack of a robust imagination is one of those things.Sure, we all have an imagination,and no two of us possess the same imagination nor the exact, same imaginative capacities. Human ingenuity varies widely between members of our species. Ever hear of the saying that two heads are better than one?

The Wizard of Oz is but one example of a widely known and well established and enduring intellectual property that is free to utilize for an infinite number of different purposes. PBM gaming has long been view by many, both within and without PBM circles, as a "niche" gaming product or service or medium of entertainment. It's not that the world suffers from either a lack of people or a lack of gamers. Even today, as is demonstrated on a daily and weekly basis to many, PBM gaming (which is one or more forms of turn-based gaming) continues to retain its ability and its capacity to entertain members of the human species.

How do you get eyes on PBM, though? PBM companies and GMs leaned - and excelled at - the art of that more than half a century ago. Yet, to look around, these days, one would never know it. What gives? Has the realm of PBM gaming fallen and now become curiously reminiscent of the Planet of the Non-Thinking Apes?

Perhaps one of the tricks to getting more eyes on the PBM scene, and to begin growing the size of the current overall PBM player base, is to look anew upon how we look at and think about this particular challenge. Some of the most imaginative minds in human history, the minds of individuals who have long since become legends of imagination in the literary realm, are still out there and waiting to assist PBM with overcoming and conquering its past failures to attract and mobilize hordes of new PBM players.

The minds of such individuals as L. Frank Baum, H.G. Wells, Lewis Carroll, and countless other icons of the human imagination can be freely availed of. Yet, all these many years and decades later, where is PBM gaming mired at? Obscurity. Oblivion. Pardon the pun, but it strikes me that PBM's current situation is right down Orwellian in scope and nature. Talk about a hell of am situation to find one's self in.

In his article titled Retroscope: "The Mighty Fall": Phoenix From The Ashes, Steve Tierney of Madhouse UK fame said back in Issue #95 of Flagship magazine, which was the February/March 2002 Issue:

PBM is littered with the unmarked graves of long-forgotten games, but the Keys Of Medokh must have a marble slab and a brass plaque to its name. What’s written on the plate? “Here lies the very big game that never was.”

Littered with the unmarked graves of long-forgotten games. Is War of the Worlds unforgotten? What about Alice In Wonderland? What about the Wizard of Oz and the Land of Oz? Are these imaginative creations buried in long-forgotten and unmarked graves, like most PBM games that have existed oat different points in time? Or are they remembered, even today?

I point to this small handful of well known intellectual properties to emphasize and to underscore a point. Namely, that if PBM gaming doesn't wish to go down in history as forgotten, then perhaps it should become more willing, as both a hobby and an industry, to learn from those who were and are demonstrated masters of the Art of Being remembered.

What I am aiming at is a way to get one's foot in the door of the modern masses. You don't have to abandon your existing PBM games, if you're a PBM company or GM, just to take advantage of new opportunities or new awareness that comes along.

I mention Steve Tierney of Madhouse UK, from time to time, because this is a fellow who has tried a lot of different things over the years to keep his PBM business going and growing. But something swirling around in the back of my mind reminds me that Steve Tierney, a person well-versed in the design, creation, promotion, and provision of a range of different PBM games over an extended period of time, has past first-hand experience in trying to dabble in more recent intellectual properties of others. Something deep within my scattered memory banks "remembers" a piece of advice that he offered years ago to any who would dare to read it about something to the effect that you're probably better off just designing your own games. Am I just imagining this?

I can probably track down exactly what I am referring to, but it will require a bit of time and effort to hone in on it.

That didn't take long, did it? I refer our readers, now, to Issue #99 of Flagship magazine. Specifically, to Steve Tierney's Retroscope piece on 'A License To print Money.' In the last paragraph on Page #18 of that issue, Steve says:

If you are running a PBM firm, thinking about running a PBM firm, or engaged to the brother of somebody who runs a PBM firm, take some advice from me. Forget licensing. Don’t bother with the latest instalment of Zombie Marauders, the recent Eddie Davings book (which is almost certainly exactly the same as the last seven books by Eddie Davings) or the fifteenth prequel in that galaxy far far away. Avoid dealings with companies that buy companies that buy companies, systems that regularly release new editions that are significantly worse than the edition before, or cartoon characters who appear on the side of plastic disposable nappy bags and vacuum-formed lunch-boxes. You’ve got your own brains, your own imagination and creativity. Don’t throw money at people who won’t even notice your paltry contribution next to their mountains of gold coins. It’s a crutch you have no need for. Throw it away and have a little faith!

Forget licensing, he said. Smart man. Bright fellow. But with intellectual property that's in the public domain, you don't even have to worry about licensing, must less fret and worry yourself to death over it. Mister Tierney reminded people who want to create a PBM game that they have brains of their own. By extension of that fact, you also have an imagination of your own. How how widespread is the name recognition of your game, this PBM game that you haven't even designed, yet, much less built, yet?

Of course, if licensing of well-known intellectual properties is not the way to go, why did Steve Tierney ever look into licensing other intellectual properties for PBM purposes to begin with? If you read his article in Issue #99 of Flagship magazine, then you will find that he also said:

I’ve looked into licensing. It’s boring. It’s expensive. It involves reams of contracts in which you promise royalties until the End Of Time, guarantee that you will still be earning them money when the universe stops expanding and begins to collapse back in upon itself, or that your great, great grandchildren nineteen times removed will be doing so, no matter what form they may have evolved into. Half the problem is that all the licences worth having in turn-based gaming are owned either by big firms, or wannabee big firms. They don’t ‘get’ our hobby. They don’t understand that we don’t make huge sums, but we are worth a lot in advertising and word-of-mouth (maybe it’s me  that doesn’t get their business, and the fact that our combined tiny net wealth wouldn’t pay for the  design of one new Half-Life level). Perhaps they’ve licensed their games to too many MegaPBM Enterprises in the past and don’t plan to waste their time again? 

If you read that article, which is to take a step back in time, you can also read some of Steve Tierney's thoughts about reverse licensing. That sounds like a fun concept, huh? Just imagine, though, if you could have your cake and eat it, too, where availing yourself of the value of well-established intellectual properties that possess vast instant name recognition, but without the headaches of licensing or reverse licensing and other such headache-inducing complications?

One more Steve Tierney quote from that old Flagship article, before I close this PBM Chaos article out and let you get on with your business, elsewhere.

Take a bow, Middle Earth. Before that there was the disastrous TSR AD&D licence by an American company. Centurion, from Pagoda, which was actually a cool game but didn’t ever really take off to the level it probably deserved. Another Yank game, Hyborian War, is based in the world of Conan (and how they got permission for that is one of the great mysteries of PBM). That one’s still running, but it has hardly ever set the world on fire with its commercial success.

Ultimately, each and every individual will have to figure out for themselves whether there's any merit to be found in or derived from the PBM industry and the PBM hobby exploiting intellectual properties that have fallen into the public domain. They're free to use - but only if you use only those elements of intellectual properties that are actually in the public domain. A lot of intellectual stuff that you encounter when watching movie versions of older books is where you can really begin to run into headaches and legal crises.

PBM gaming has some well-established long-existing games available to entertain people with, whether you're an old hand at play by mail games, or whether you're a newcomer to a field of gaming that you may not have any familiarity with. But how many of these old "tried and true" PBM games that exist, today, are "on fire with their current commercial success" with these decades-old PBM games?

One of the beauties of availing one's self of material already in the public domain is that it gives your own imagination a head start. That translates into efficiency. The time that you save getting started in areas of your PBM game design is time that can be better utilized elsewhere.

Twenty-one and a half years ago, Steve Tierney of Madhouse UK and Madhouse Interactive Entertainment told the folks at Middle-earth PBM to take a bow. I now suggest that Steve Tierney take a bow. After all, he was on the right track. I just think that he took a single wrong turn (or perhaps I should say, instead, that he simply missed a single off-ramp in his PBM ponderings a couple of decades or more ago.

PBM gaming suffers from an array of maladies - the vast majority of which are of the self-inflicted variety. Two of these maladies, both of which can be remedied, are failures in attracting people to PBM gaming to begin with, and failures in retaining people after PBM companies and PBM GMs enjoy some degree of success in attracting them to the hobby and industry to begin with.

Celebrities in the modern social media environment enjoy great success in attracting and retaining substantial numbers of followers. Why? Because they possess talent, and because they enjoy widespread name recognition. Celebrities many times, though not always, succeed at leveraging a variety of different assets that they possess. Most people, most games, don't even have a clue what PBM gaming is, much less what PBM gaming's greatest assets are. PBM gaming is stuck in the gravitational pull of a black hole of obscurity of its own creation - one that it doesn't seem to know how to escape from the event horizon of the advent of the Internet that it has fallen into.

Think for just a minute about name recognition. Simultaneously, name recognition is a tool, it is an asset, it is something that can be leveraged, it is a currency all its own (a currency of persuasion), and it is a form of rocket fuel to provide thrust. You are always free to purchase and buy higher visibility. Typically, one purchases such via financial currency. But are there other, viable alternatives, where currency is concerned, to achieve an accelerated acquisition of attention and followership? How much thrust (and by extension, how much rocket fuel to enable you to achieve a higher thrust ratio) does one need, in order to escape the event horizon of a black hole of obscurity?

Imaginative material in the public domain is a waiting, existing repository of rocket fuel. It just needs to be tapped into. And it can be tapped into without all of the bureaucracy and delay that inheres in licensing schemes.

Perhaps you have a better idea. If you do, then by all means, feel free to write in and to share it with one and all. Our readership is waiting to hear from you!

Goat Digest image ad for Issue #11
Readers Writing In

Hey, I'm really sorry to hear about your sister's passing. That's got to be tough. Hang in there.

And, as a follow up to a previous email I sent you a ways back: I'm now on turn 3 of Hyborian War and loving it! I chose Darfar, because I wanted to start small to get to know the rhythm of the game. Actually, I think I'm picking it up pretty quickly (though the guy playing Tombalku, who kicked my butt last turn in an un-planned encounter with his forces, is probably laughing out loud at that comment). Frankly, I was a bit worried about the complexity of the game after looking through the rules, but like anything, the more you play, the less complex the rules seem. So, we'll see what happens with Darfar. If I make a shambles of it, I'll probably try a small kingdom again. If Darfar ends up sinking its cannibalistic teeth into its enemies well enough, maybe I'll graduate to a middle-size kingdom and see where that takes me.

In any case, I am greatly enjoying this journey, and I have you to thank for the inspiration. A few of my friends are asking for updates on how the game is going, so I hope to rope them in before too long. Thank you for providing the inspiration!

Forrest Aguirre

The PBM Maze image ad

Around and round and round they go!

Back so soon for more news from The PBM maze? Well, you're in luck, it would seem, for our maze rats continue to wander about. It's almost as if they're all lost.

It would appear that Jef Tonelli got teleported, this turn. Dear, oh dear, oh dear! Wherever could he be, now? Getting disoriented in this PBM Maze could have consequences. If you don't make it out alive, Jef, it's been nice knowing you.

Poor Lubos Comor! The flood waters are about to catch him. Will he make it? Or will he drown? Perhaps he can hold his breath.

Oh, dear! His life bar is already substantially drained. If only he had kept his wits about him, and turned the water off.

Or is that even possible? I'm gonna miss you, if you die, Lubos. It's a shame that you're running out of places to run.

mhender turned out to be one lucky devil. He got a break, last turn - a very undeserved one - when I inadvertently moved him to the wrong location. But Lady Luck smiled on him, even as Fate cursed him heavily. What his destiny be? Does he even have a clue where he's going?
For Trachyte, up is down and down is up, and left is right and right is left.

His time in the PBM maze, thus far, has been fairly boring, if I had to venture a guess. Something tells me that his luck may just be about to change.

For better? For worse? Only time will tell where and how his story ends.
Whatever is little Stefan doing? Such a nice young lad, but could it be that he's following java? Silly Stefan!

I think that his legs are too short to keep up, if that's his ruse.

Oh, look at that maze devil, Richard Lockwood. I do believe that he's gotten drunk and lost his way.

Of course, what do I know? I know that it's gonna be sad, if Richard gets left behind. Tsk...tsk...tsk...

Confound his luck! Undeadlord seems to have arrived at a dead end - one of many in the PBM Maze.

Might I suggest going a different way? Or is there even any way to go?

Time is running short. Whatever will he do?
java has lots of options, or so it would seem. Nothing quite like having increased maze vision, is there?

Not that any of the rest of you would know anything about that, huh?

Which way, which way, which way? Choose wisely!

Jim Smith and Peter H. missed getting turn orders sent in for this turn. What a shame, huh?

* But with PBM Chaos now being discontinued, what will become of The PBM maze?

Players In The PBM Maze

1 - Stefan

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Starting Position - 1

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Ending Position - 1

2 - Lubos Comor

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Starting Position - 2

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Ending Position - 2

3 - Trachyte

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Starting Position - 3

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Ending Position - 3

4 - Jim Smith

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Starting Position - 4

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Ending Position - 4

5 - Undeadlord

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Starting Position - 5

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Ending Position - 5

6 - java

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Starting Position - 6

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Ending Position - 6

7 - Jef Tonelli

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Starting Position - 7

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Ending Position - 7

8 - mdhender

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Starting Position - 8

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Ending Position - 8

9 - Peter H.

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Starting Position - 9

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Ending Position - 9

10 - Richard Lockwood

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Starting Position - 10

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Ending Position - 10

The Plum Island Horror: More of a Bad Thing image ad for GMT games

* So far, the inhabitants of the PBM maze have had it pretty easy. But can they survive . . . the Minotaur?!

Image descriptionFor The People image ad for GMT Games

4th Printing (25th Anniversary Edition) Note: This reprint is identical to the previous printing, except that are commissioned new map art for the game box and the game's mounted map. Also, this printing comes in a 3" deep box. As usual, any known errata has also been corrected.

For The People image ad for GMT Games

*Click the map above to see a larger version on the GMT Games website.

The Butcher, The Baker, and the Candlestick Maker

Charles Mosteller

PBM Quote

"Continental Rails is a great PBM game to play as a change of pace."

Julia Martin

GDW Challenge magazine - Issue #45 - August/September 1990 Issue

Continental Rails article

PBM Quote

"Like most rats, I decided it was best to accept the maze I was given."

Michael Henderson

E-mail reply from a player of The PBM Maze

April 11, 2024

PBM Quote

"Like most rats, I decided it was best to accept the maze I was given."

Michael Henderson

E-mail reply from a player of The PBM Maze

April 11, 2024

PlayByMail Facebook Page Statistics

04/11/2024 - The Last 28 Days

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04/17/2024 - The Last 28 Days

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Sources Of PBM News From Yesteryear

The Space Gamer - Issue #46

PBM Update

Beyond The Stellar Empire (Adventures by Mail) Jack Everitt

Universe III (Central Texas Computing) David Bolduc

Universe II (Clemens & Associates) John Clemens

The Tribes Of Crane (Schubel & Son) George Schubel

Zorphwar (Zorph Enterprises) Mike Shefler

The Space Gamer - Issue #47

PBM Update

Universe III (Central Texas Computing) David Bolduc

Universe II (Clemens & Associates) John Clemens

The Tribes Of Crane (Schubel & Son) George Schubel

Zorphwar (Zorph Enterprises) Mike Shefler

The Space Gamer - Issue #48

PBM Update

Beyond The Stellar Empire (Adventures by Mail) Bob Cook

Universe II (Clemens & Associates) John Clemens

Crimelords (Gamers Unlimited)

The Tribes Of Crane (Schubel & Son) George Schubel

The Space Gamer - Issue #49

PBM Update

Beyond The Stellar Empire (Adventures by Mail) Robert Cook

Universe III (Central Texas Computing) David Bolduc

Universe II (Clemens & Associates) John Clemens

Warp Force One (Emprise Game Systems) Steve Gray

The Tribes Of Crane (Schubel & Son) George V. Schubel

StarMaster (Schubel & Son) George V. Schubel

The Space Gamer - Issue #50

PBM Update

Beyond The Stellar Empire (Adventures by Mail) Bob Cook

Universe III (Central Texas Computing) David Bolduc

Universe II (Clemens & Associates) John Clemens

Space Battle (Flying Buffalo, Inc.) Rick Loomis

Crimelords (Gamers Unlimited) Trevor Lyre

Catacombs Of Chaos (Schubel & Son) George Schubel

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Game Systems International

Games Starting Soon
1650 2w (Game 980)
24/24 nations available (Up to 2 nations per player, Champions) 12v12 Randomised Items,

1650 2wk GB (Game 981)
7/8 positions available. 3 nation 6 Rewards per nation, Champions. Shared turns. RANDOMISED ID on Items.

2950 2w Normal game (Game 263)
5/8 positions available. (3 nations pay for 2) . Randomised Artefacts

2950 2w GB (Game 264)
2/8 positions available. (3 nations pay for 2) . 25 words per active nation diplo. 6 Rewards per nation. No Shared turns. Randomised artefacts.

CME (Game 834)
1/2 nations available. CMF game available. 2/4

Kinstrife 2w GB (Game 635)
* NEW triplets* 1/4 triplet nations available (3 nation game) (3n pay for 2). New comboes. Of your 3 nations 1st nation gets +30% points to spend, 2nd gets +15% points, last one is normal. Loy: 2/5/21 and 3/4/6....Usu 11/14/15 and 12/1316 (with 1/22 being the nations removed). Shared turns

Kinstrife 1w (1st 5 turns, then 2 wks)
All v All (Game 637): Bidding system. 5/6 available (2 nations). 10 turns set-up fee (get 9 turns added).
Upgrades/downgrades working as in normal games, so no longer automatic success. All transfers permitted. Usurpers start.
Duos: Quendi/Khazad , Southron/Horselords, Rebels/Elendin, Angmar/Rhovanion, Arnor/Tirkhor, Hithlum/Morlaen

Kinstrife 2w (Game 638)
14/14 nations available. (Up to 2ntn) No Neutrals

1000 2w (GB Game 423)
3 nations per player. 4/8 available Shared turns. 10 turns no aggressive actions if players are amenable. Allows nation building more. By turn 10 no agents above 40 rank on turn 10. Troops will be limited to 1500 Cavalry and 2500 Infantry total. PC limit increased by 50. Only one of your nation will be able to have Learn Weakness. Might run with only 6 triplets.

1000 2w Normal (Game 426)
Up to 2 nations per player. Normal game, 21/24 nations available.

John Davis

Posted in the MEPBM Discord

games-starting-soon channel

Talisman Consulting


Testing continues on the new Action centric processor vs. the current Position centric version. It is doing better and I hope to have it ready to implement by Cycle 27 or so. We will discuss more about what you can expect in the next call.


Posted in the Talisman Consulting Discord

kg-general channel

Nukes 'n' Bees

Nukes 'n' Bees

Right. I've actually started work on a new game. A very Crisis! inspired wargame, with added killer bees. Think I've got the basics of the database schema worked out. Now to scaffold the actual code. Wish me luck, I'm firing up Visual Studio...

I realise, after drawing the map, that there are a few obvious links that I've missed, and that the map looks remarkably like the colon of someone with serious gastro-intestinal issues, but hey, it's a work in progress.

Just imagine that there are massive mountain ranges between the obvious missing links.

And I'm not buggering about with ships. You can move units anywhere. Just imagine you have enough transports. (Mainly if you play UKIA).

There will be bees. Lots of bees.

So, map done, silly ideas incorporated, database built, database populated for Playtest game 1... Next - write order parsing code, and then the tricky bits. Actually coding the game!

Data in and out built...

Ooh, this is fun. The first time I've written code in anger in over twelve months!

OK, it's ground to a halt. Probably because I'm slightly pissed. Back on it tomorrow though!

Richard Lockwood

Posted in the PlayByMail.Net Discord server

pbm-programing channel

Nukes 'n' Bees image ad for Richard Lockwood
What PBM company had the best T-shirt?

Pangea T-shirt from Anvil Games

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** Photo courtesy of Sean Dillon **

[ It appeared previously in Issue #29 of PBM Unearthed ]

PBM Interview with Clint Oldridge

Think back and try to recall how you first found out about Play By Mail gaming. How did you discover it, and what was the first PBM game that you were ever involved with?

PBM - started off Role-playing around aged ~ 13, Dragon Warriors with a group of 4 friends. Trips to the local shops soon gave us access to some PBM magazines and on the front was an advert to KJC's Trolls Bottom..... Klegg the Troll as I recall! Hooked from then on in to the World of PBM. I also played PBM Chess at aged 11, I was too poor to afford a stamp so had mine sellotaped that the opposing player sent back to me so that I could use it again.

Which do you enjoy more - playing PBM games or being a PBM GM?

Um, I really enjoy both, I've met so many interesting people all around the world. GMing, even after 3 decades still has a wonderful appeal, I particularly enjoy keen and inciteful players. PBMing wise I only really have time for Middle-earth atm, although over the years I've played at least 10 different games, although not been able to complete a game of Legends!

Whereabouts on the planet, generally speaking, do you call home, and does living there add to or detract from your PBM activities?

Cardiff, Wales. All our activities are now based on-line so our team is spread over the UK with the occasional FTF meeting. We're planning a board-game session in Reading this year, maybe we'll tie it in with a pubmeet?

A couple of years ago we ran a FTF (Face to Face) event in Vegas - with a lot of US customers came and enjoyed a long weekend together. I occasionally visit with a few of them when I'm in the States. We've run a FTF in Copenhagen and Cardiff and one is in the planning for Madrid at some point.

There are several other PBM personalities who together with you collectively form the work staff at Game Systems International. Who are they, and what do they each bring individually to your PBM team?

Our team, Sam Roads and I are the owners of GSIL. We run two games atm Middle-earth and Legends, but in our decads run many other games. Iron and Steam, Premier Football CTF 2187 etc, starting off with a franchise of the role-playing game Saturnalia.

John and Ed have been with us, off and on from the early days. Ed looks after Legends and helps support the development of ME. John runs the day to day operations, the back-end work and ME. Both John and Ed enjoy developing new modules as well and I generally step in to balance/tweak them from a player perspective. Ross and Dave have been with us for years as well, working on the code for Legends and ME respectively. Our new guy Sam T has just joined us from University to help us bring ME into the 21st century. We have a core group of players in our games that support development and we like to reward them with small trinkets and the occasional thank you.

What's up with the recent change from Middle-earth Games to Game Systems International? What's the grand purpose behind this change?

I'm not at liberty to disclose this, but it's a good thing, we're preparing the product-line for the future.

Where Middle-earth PBM is concerned, where do your personal loyalties lie? With the Free Peoples or with the Dark Servants - and why?

Gotta love a Halfling, as a kid no doubt I was more in favour of the Istari, and Elves but time's have changed! Gollum, the "that could be me" and Worm-tongue hold a place in my heart. I'm more than happy to play any position though and over the years have played them all! I'm well known for a very aggressive military stance though!

Middle-earth PBM offers a range of different variants/modules. Of these, which is your personal favorite of the bunch, and what about it, specifically, really distinguishes it and sets it apart from all of the others for you?

Kin-strife was our first real development in the ME gaming world. Howerer, all of our modules have been modified and upgraded in some shape or form. We've mostly left 2950 alone though, just the introduction of Champions and a standard 12v12 module. KS was the first time we brought in some additional flavour in terms of recruiting the major characters in the books to your side. Much fun.

The MEPBM Discord serve seems to be afire with activity. How did your PBM team achieve this?

We listen to our players. We don't always agree with them, but we're able to implement a lot of their feedback and in tandem further push forward developments of the game. Two of us regularly interact on the server (and for Legends two of us there as well). Our attitude has been to always fix our mistakes and be open about our processes, even if we don't fully disclose all the elements of the game. We've never under-valued our product and that's what has kept the game running, and thriving, where many others have fallen.

We all play the game as well so enjoy that aspect so that we see it very much from a player's perspective.

What is the most common complaint that you, personally, hear about Middle-earth PBM?

I'd not say complaint, rather that they'd like to see more developments. Earlier Ages is one request, but at present we've got other modules in planning. Only so much time in the day for this!

And what do you consider to be your company's single biggest achievement to advance and secure the future of your PBM company?

Keeping the licence over decades and bringing all the World's individual licences under one umbrella both for Legends and ME. We've had to let a lot of games go over the years, but each one had run its course. We've brought together individual licences that were spread all over the world and brought them under one umbrella. That's worked very well.

What year did you first get your start with PBM gaming?

1983? Maybe 82?

What are some of the greatest challenges that you perceive about growing the player base of Middle-earth PBM?

Reducing the complexity and learning curve for new customers. The gaming world has changed and we can relatively easily bring in customers but retaining them is the most difficult element as it's not a simple game to learn - the more you put into it the more you get out of it. Our player base is the biggest it's been in over a decade so we're happy with the way things are moving, both in Legends and ME.

What are some of your favorite non-PBM hobbies?

I'm a keen martial artist, enjoying teaching and learning Ninjutsu. I enjoy Poker, played in Vegas (4th year soon to attend) and do reasonably well at it. My wife and I are walking the length and breadth of Wales atm which is very enjoyable. Boardgames are a particular favourite as well, most recently Wingspan has grabbed my attention. Clank and Lords of Water-deep although my

favourite are the new Dune boardgames - Dune Imperium Uprising being the latest incarnation.

I'm a trustee of a local homeless charity, Giving Hope Torfaen and have been active in activism for many years.

Played many CCGs over the years, represented Wales in the European championships at one time but Shadowfist was a favourite game of ours for many years.

Have you seen any good movies or read any good books, lately? If so, what were they, and which of each were your favorites of them all?

I don't watch much tv/films. My time for reading is somewhat curtailed but I have 3,500 books on my shelves that, yes in answer, I have indeed read most of them. Foundation by Asimov is my favourite concept book even after all these years, but I love Dune (read most of the books, inlcuding the various triplets by his son). Too many to say really. Some of my favourite non-fiction... Plato's Republic, Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, some Dawkins etc.

What do you feel that you bring to the PBM scene that helps to promote and advance the PBM hobby and the PBM industry?

Um, that's an interesting question. We've always listened and engaged with our customers. With a different business, Microcosm, we ventured into the bigger gaming world, with over 750k customers, one of our apps having 470k. Ian Livingstone was a non-exec and having dealt with the likes of Warner Brothers, Zynga, Facebook (including a visit to their head office), Nokia, Sony Ericsson to name drop a few companies we've worked with. So we've got a background in the larger world of gaming that we've been able to bring to bear in our smaller, more bespoke, endeavours. Met with Match.com and also the guy who was world-wide licensor for Barbie products... :)

What advice would you offer, based upon your own first-hand experiences amassed over time, to anyone out there who might be thinking about designing or running their own PBM game, in this day and age?

Don't. Easier to make money pretty much anywhere else. However, if you like to be in control (mostly) of your own destiny it's quite an interesting journey. I've been the "poster boy" for Welsh game development in my time, often liaising with companies looking to develop products in Wales.

Also helped run a Mobile game development firtm, Forward For, that had some issues. Things I learn from that is that the product is pretty much secondary or tertiary. Products for today's market need to be targeted at present day playing methods, complexity, depth and commitment levels so any game that you make has to fit that. Having run a gaming business with 12 staff and multiple investors/directors the game is mostly an irrelevancy, the routes to market, reduction on churn, income stream are more key if you want to make money and a successful game.

In what ways is PBM different, now, compared to when you first got involved with it?

Internet? In Uni we still had post and one of my friends had a piece of post in his in-box for Starlord Pheonix or some-such. He knew I played the game and popped it into mine! Gone are the days with the printers under the stairs printing over-night for Serim Ral. I can still hear the whir-whir that sent me to sleep every night. It's a much more polished product and player support environment. Numbers are smaller but we're still well over half the size of when we were at our biggest and growing over the last five years with the likely trend to continue to grow.

What do your friends who are no into the PBM scene think about your involvement with PBM gaming?

My kids never know how to describe what I do... :) Most of my friends are gamers and most of them have played PBM before so they're used to it. We borrowed my (at the time to be Mother-in-laws) Atari to wrtie our first interactive stories in Saturnalia and after many decades they've grown to accept that their son-in-law is a "weird gamer" but pretty sensible. My eldest is now running Mega-games, just about to complete Uni so some of that has passed on.

Thinking back over your time in PBM circles, what was your favorite PBM magazine, and what about it set it apart in your eyes and made it the best of the bunch?

Gotta be Flagship of course. We loved the Mulhollands, we were even offered to run it in later years but declined.

What do you and your fellow Middle-earth PBM staff have to remind players about, over and over and over?

Um, not sure. We're pretty decent with our communication so I'd really say nothing. If there's a problem like that we've coded solutions or systems to make it simpler. We send out reminders of turnaround the day before the game and on the day of processing so we don't get any missed turns nowadays and encoruage players to interact so that takes away a lof of these issues.

Does your PBM company ever intend to utilize its underling gaming engine(s) to offer some non-Middle-earth games or variants for play by PBM gamers?

Maybe, things are in discussion, atm, but they're slow as I've spent the last 5 + years re-developing ME and Legends and that takes up a lot of my time. I'm not short of projects as I'm also a Building Manager with some 10 charitable tenants and organisations as well as many other fingers in pies. I think my most ever was 16 simultaneous projects at any one time.

Of the many colorful and interesting personalities that J.R.R. Tolkien wove into his tales set in Middle-earth, which ones are your favorite, and what about them really captivate your imagination and command your loyalty?

I'd say that I do like Frodo. If you were to ask me as a teenager Radagast and Gandalf would've had my adoration. Galdriel has had some respect for a while, knowing that she too would fade from this world, having passed the test of the One Ring.

Which of the various Middle-earth movies is your personal favorite one, and what about it gets the nod from you above all of the others?

The last of the Trilogy is excellent but I enjoy them all, even the direction some of the Hobbit films have taken.

Does your company plan to ever offer a Silmarillion module/variant using the Middle-earth engine that your company currently runs to offer games of Middle-earth PBM?

Not able to discuss this, atm.

Which fellow PBM GMs from other PBM companies have you met in person over the years, and what do you remember about meeting them?

Steve from Madhouse, the Mulhollands, but post Uni I got into being a GM via Andy from Serim Ral. He moved to Cardiff and was looking for GMs to input his turns and help with the game running. I was fascinated and soon took over some of the games to run myself when he moved out of the city. I touched bases with him recently, just before his unfortunate operation, and we were able to pass on elements of mutual respect and thanking each other for our efforts.

Jeffery Dobberpuhl (our Attorney and life-long friend) came up to us in Indianapolis' gaming con and participating in one of our talks. Slightly weird, quite American, we've visited each other many times over the years - although not a GM he's been instrumental in our gaming life.

Rick Loomis, Flying Buffalo of Tunnels and Trolls fame was lovely to meet. Sam, business partner, was a massive fan, I enjoyed it myself. So meeting one of your mentors was awesome. I think we were offered to buy his company as well!

Same as meeting Ian Livingstone when we was working as Creative Director in Eidos, as well as randomly in an urban street in London with friends, whilst we were on the way to a local park. A car pulled over, window wound down and the guy shouted, "Clint!" I was surprised as anyone, but I got to introduce two of my friends , who were well aware and fans of Ian, to him.

We did some play testing with Reiner Knizier in Reading before he moved back to Germany, and also were early testers of various games, Babylon 5 for example.

Rob Harper ran a local PBM firm and we learnt a lot from him in the early years. The infamous Wayne of Saturnalia deserves a passing nod as well!

What is the most frustrating thing about running a PBM company and processing PBM turns for players?

Having to do so much laborious stuff relative to the return. Much of our time is spent preparing turns, and admin. It's a tad boring but heh-ho.

Do you have a favorite holiday, and if so, which one is it, and what about it makes it your favorite one?

Holiday? Um we have yearly holidays with the family. Friends of ours have a set of cabins and camp site next to Usk River and that's always glroius even when it rains. We also have family holiday with the in-laws that is often adventurous. I generally try to live a life that doesn't need a holiday from work. Even if I go away I'll take my laptop and do some work in the evenings. Joys of an internal server that I can access anywhere in the world.

Food and beverages - what are some of your favorites, and what your some of your least liked?

I'm not much of a foody or drinker. Years ago I wente Vegetarian, (mostly Vegan nowadays) so there's some very nice food that I enjoy. I was never much of a cook, if it takes longer than an album from start to finish (including washing-up) it's too much.

Have you traveled the world broadly, or do you mostly stick close to home? What is the most distant place from home that you have ever traveled, and why did you travel there?

I Inter-railed through lots of Europe, slept rough in Venus Train station and Luxembourg national park. That was fun... all the way to Greece. I recall it being very hot and sitting on the toilet with the shower running (yes same room) to cool off. I'd love to go to Japan. Otherwise I've been to the States a lot (Miami (buying a company) and Cape Canaveral (buying a different company), Minneapolis/Houston (fund raising and staying with my Attroney firend), Pittsburg (anotther company), Oregan (another company) Indianapolis (run a game convention), San Franciso (meet witht the Licensee holders), Vegas (fund raising, convention and meeting customers) a few times. Probably some more.

Do you have any favorite sports teams, and if so, which ones are they?

Not really a watcher, more of a doer. I like cycling (but mostly to do it), Geraint winner of the Tour-de-France is a favourite of mine.

Where were you originally born?

They Valleys, boyo. Moved to Cardiff to do a degree in Astrophysics and stayed ever since.

Think about other PBM companies that you are familiar with. Which of them stand out to you as a strong competitor, and what about them makes them so competitive?

I'd not say competitor, more people in the same field. KJC we went up to Blackpool to meet one time, they were very interesting. Steve from Madhouse has a keen eye for business I find although we have little interaction we occasionally touch bases although Sam liaised with him more than I did. One of the things we've learned from competition is to actually learn from them. What do they do well, how do they do it and can we do it? Rather than be propriety of what we do well, we've learnt to listen to people who are better than us over the years.

Many over the years have said that PBM is dead or dying. What do you think on this subject, and why do you think what you think on the matter?

Well I think it's transformed. Dying well it's not as big, but our demographic of players is mostly: North American 60s, UK 50s, Europer 40s, rest of the World similar to Europe. So we do see Parent and Offspring play together and enjoy their gaming. No doubt it will have run its day but not for a while yet.

What was the hardest part about transitioning away from postal gaming toward what your PBM company offers, now?

Well Postal gaming is in the past as far as we're concerned. We used to have some players play by post but it's too hard to support them and for them to get into the living game with others we find. We've tried now and again but the legal elements are quite prohibitive. I recall, with hatred, the time we went from Postal to creating PDFs that we had to hand attach before we automated that process. Yuk. I still have thousands of envelopes that I've given away from our time when we were solely postal.

How would you rate the overall value, all things considered, of the PBM games that your company brings to the market for gamers all over the world to play?

Very high. We've not changed our prices in multiple decades, gone from £3.50 to £4.50 per turn only before that. We firmly believe that one reason some of the games have died out is that the GMs weren't charging enough for their product. I can spend hours thinking over my turns. When we first bought ME from the guys in Bude, we thought it a very simplistic game with medium to low complexity. (We were used to very complex board-games). I've changed my opinion over the years, it's got as much complexity as you want to put into it and the way that each character/army moves around the map has so many different possibilities and strategies. I'm still developing my game, and keen to see others have upped their game considerably over the years.

What do you think that the future of PBM gaming is, or do you think that it even has a future?

Well I think I've answered that. It's definitely got a bright future. Gaming is bigger than TV and Movies combined as an industry and I've been on many panels over the years and been in or got some in-depth knowledge of many gaming companies as well. Like any product, the more you put into the more you'll get out of it. We won't see the "glory days" of postal gaming but there will continue to be various renaissances of the PBM game over the coming years. Part of the beauty of PBM is it's slow so you can develop games over many years. Consequently it's life-time will be extensive I believe.

How hard is it to get the word out about your company's PBM games, here in the modern era?

We can relatively easily get customers into our games. Keeping them is the hard problem. We're working on that over the next year or so. Sam is not involved in the day-to day operations but is still around. His background is in marketing, having been senior marketeer with Game-maker in his time. We've done over 7 billion adverts in our time so we're used to it.

Do you foresee a price increase for Middle-earth PBM anytime soon?

Um, I don't think so. But if the current economic situation continues then it's something to consider. I doubt it though.

Thanks Charles, hope that's of interest. I've gone off-piste a little where I felt some of the readers might find elements interesting. G'luck.


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Right now, I am only playing Monster Island from KJC games. A game that is one of my favorite memories from my more active PBM days. The thrill of a brand new game with an enormous map to explore, stats to train, weapons to build and loads of secrets to be found. Hundreds of other player Monsters to fight with or group with. Caves to explore, Gods to worship, spells to learn....

I played from the game was starting up in 1989 until some time in the late 1990's I guess. About 10 years or so.

And then I suddenly discovered about 25 years later, that the game still exists, (and are now run with daily turns , by email instead of regular mail).

I decided to start a new Monster position, and am still playing my Monster Earthquake in the game, getting a fun, nostalgic experience , although I see that the feeling will never be quite the same as it was back in the days.

Haakon R. Monsen

And why will the feeling never be quite the same as it was back in the days?

Charles Mosteller

Then, the whole Island was new and undiscovered. The game had hundreds of players to interact with.

Now, most things, maybe everything, have been discovered (I think......I have been away from the game for 25 years) and I don't know how many players there are, now, but I don't think it's too many. I haven't met any others, yet. So the interactive, social part of the game is also not the same.

Still. Pretty fun game to play, anyway.

Haakon R. Monsen

Mainly, I play in Victory! I'm currently in Legends: One Ring Game 10, as well.

Kevin Curnutt

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The PBM Wizard Of Oz:

A Play By Mail Adventure

Charles Mosteller

In Oz, everyone thinks you're crazy. And a PBM game set in L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz, utter madness!

Which existing PBM game engines could be adapted to bring Oz and its many wonders and mysteries to life? Well, DungeonWorld, Hyborian War, Legends, Alamaze, and Middle-earth PBM to name a few. Not that it's ever likely, and not that such "creative blasphemy" would ever get past the front gates of the companies and GMs who run those existing PBM game systems.

But a fellow is still allowed to dream, isn't he?

Stay away from the movie, and concentrate only on the book(s) that are in the public domain, and all of a sudden, PBM gaming could benefit from a huge burst of gaming potential. Why beg and scrape for scraps at the table of the gaming public, fighting against all odds to attract attention and to get eyes upon the PBM scene once more? Why not reach deep into the bottomless bag of public domain holdings, and take one for the PBM team, the PBM hobby, and the PBM industry?

More widespread name recognition than you could shake a stick at. Yet, it's just sitting there collecting dust and going unused for PBM purposes.

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Repopulate existing base data files with Oz-related data. If existing PBM character systems will support a Conan or a Witch-king, then likewise, they will support a Dorothy or a Scarecrow or a Cowardly Lion. Heck, they would even support a Wizard of Oz.

If existing battle systems can support Aquilonians fighting Nemedians or Free Peoples waging war against Dark Servants, then certainly, they could support Munchkin armies clashing with a Wicked Witch's minions. I'm not talking about reinventing the wheel, here. Rather, I'm talking about repurposing the bare bones of what you already have on hand, and which in some instances, you've been using to attract and to entertain the PBM gaming masses for decades on end.

It's not about any one, singular vision. To the contrary, the Land of Oz is big enough for all, for all PBM companies, for all PBM GMs, for all PBM players.

Yeah, you and your PBM company could go it all alone. But simultaneously, you also have the option at your disposal for the PBM industry to actually work together on something. Think for a second and envision, if you will, if you can, the concept of "shared resource piles." Shared resource piles could be amassed and continually grown over time going forward. This would allow for art assets to be available for multiple different PBM efforts, simultaneously, and PBM hobbyists could even chip in and join the effort. A PBM game about Oz set in DungeonWorld would play different than a PBM game about Oz build atop the Hyborian War engine or the Legends engine.

These days, how long does it take for a PBM company to bring a new PBM game to market from the point of inception? How often, or how seldom, does it happen, these days? Me? I'm just trying to open people's eyes to possibilities. I'm just trying to ignite a spark that can grow into a wildfire of energy and enthusiasm and possibilities unleashed.

A.I. art generators can be useful to generate a lot of art at a relatively low cost. Granted, that approach comes with a guarantee of imperfection, tale long, hard look across the PBM landscape, right now, and see how much perfect art created by actual human being that you encounter.

For the most part, Play By Mail gaming's utilization of art in the incorporation of its overall efforts, from a historical and traditional perspective, has taken the form of static advertisements and static art pieces. For these purposes, A.I. generated art can already exceed an awful lot of what all is out there, now, the bulk of which was carried over from decades ago.

And the beauty of A.I.art is that it doesn't have to replace PBM art that PBM companies and GMs have been using for ages and come to rely on as steady visual props. Rather, A.I. generate art can be used to supplement existing art stashes. The A.I. art field is also an area where PBM gamers can aid PBM GMs and PBM companies, by helping to build and to grow A.I. art stockpiles. The enthusiasm of the PBM masses should not be underestimated and casually disregarded out of hand.

Lots of computer games have talented and capable modding communities of players contributing in a variety of different ways to transform their favorite games in a positive, useful, and productive manner, thereby magnifying what game companies have created and brought to market. Count it a holistic approach, if you like, but deep down, there's great merit to bringing additional, outside energy and talent from your PBM player base and fans to your PBM entertainment undertakings.

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Are there pbm-games out there that are no longer run, but which you would like to play again and for which the rules still exist?


FenrisK — 03/22/2024 4:00 PM

Hello all! I'm looking for news on people's projects, the PB(E)M games of the future. There are a few people I'd really like updates from in no particular order: @werewolf_punch , @wraith , @Fungus and @DreamWeaver . If there's anyone I forgot, feel free to chime in. These are just all of the people I can remember at the moment. Thanks for anything you're willing to share!

And of course, any classic games that are undergoing updates would be great to hear more about, too.

Fungus — 03/22/2024 4:24 PM

in all honesty, I've personally (currently?) given up on PBM design because it's harder than I thought to find the sweet spot between effort invested for game design and the coding effort involved with the size of the anticipated audience. As a GM, I've currently found being a D&D DM to perfectly scratch my worldbuilding and game-hosting needs

FenrisK — 03/22/2024 4:34 PM

I totally understand the concern about effort/audience ratio. It's something that I think about often in terms of my own interests in the hobby.

werewolf_punch — 03/22/2024 6:46 PM

I am still plugging along on Dutchman at the same pace, but haven't had time to do more publicity for it. Currently going through some major home renovations and in the process of switching jobs at the same time, which is keeping the time crunch on.

I've cut some things and changed the scope of the game a bit after having some late night revelations, and hope these will avoid what Fungus is talking about but also keep the game more focused. Games Mastership has been helpful here.

Finally apart from coding, I am also building up a collection of custom art assets that will be a big part of the game. My plan is to unveil these in "screenshots" sometime this year.

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Where We're Heading. . .

Well, me? I'm headed out the PBM door. PBM Chaos? It has reached the end of the line, even though a few days ago, things were looking really bright. Life changes.

Don't mourn my departure. I walk my own path. Play By Mail gaming has been a great personal joy of mine for a very long period of time - almost four full decades!

I don't have any big words saved up to mark this occasion. Whatever needed to be said has probably already been said. I depart the PBM realm with a pretty clear conscience. I don't regret this decision, even if some of you perhaps do.

What a crazy world that we live in, sometimes, huh?

Shit happens. Plans change, The old is swept away, and the new is swept in. Change seems to be the only true constant in the realm of mankind.

At least I don't have to worry about those damned spam issues, anymore.

If you want to holler at me, now and again, or just check in to see if I'm still alive and kicking, you can always e-mail me. Who knows? I might even reply. No promises, though.

No point in dragging this last column out. Enjoy your lives, wherever they may take you!

Charles Mosteller

Editor of PBM Chaos

Write to PBM Chaos at
[email protected]

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