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  A world first for The Isles - we now use Watercolours!!
Posted by: Roy Pollard - 04-09-2021, 02:55 PM - Forum: The Isles PBM - No Replies

Yes .. It's true. After feedback and input from our players and the use of technology we're altering our location graphics from boring old photos to (wait for it) Watercolour Pictures.

We've been using graphics we can drop onto a Players Turnsheet for a long time - usually a graphic and an explanation of what a player sees on their travels without the GM hassle of having to type it all out every time for each player

Attached is one of our images we use for a regularly visited place close to the main town of Ilanthor, now amended to a watercolour  Big Grin

Next month? Maybe audio attachments in the PDF...?

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  New Player Enrolment closes in 2 Weeks
Posted by: Roy Pollard - 04-07-2021, 06:29 PM - Forum: The Isles PBM - No Replies

We've just about reached our quota of players so will be closing new player enrolment in two weeks

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  PDF Turnsheets / Found a new stash of old art from way back
Posted by: Roy Pollard - 03-30-2021, 05:04 PM - Forum: The Isles PBM - Replies (6)

Even with dot matrix printers 25 years ago we always tried to make our turns more presentable for players, so they weren't just a computer printout - With PDFs The Isles is able to give pretty good quality turnsheets these days, and I've found a stash of more artwork so we can vary even more what we can put on them - Its all eye-candy, but it looks nice.

BTW - Does anyone struggle to see these PDFs? An ex-player gave the reason for not playing after his short few turns in the game as being that he didn't like PDFs because they always looked funny when viewing on his PC

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.pdf   Results Sheet TemplateGrev54.pdf (Size: 486.14 KB / Downloads: 6)
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  New Player Applications
Posted by: Roy Pollard - 03-28-2021, 03:13 PM - Forum: The Isles PBM - No Replies

I've just posted on The Isles Facebook page asking for anyone who might want to play to browse to where the Game materials are ion Dropbox and have a browse
The Isles Facebook Page

Attached is page 2 and 3 of the latest Islander (19)

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.pdf   Islander pt 2.pdf (Size: 439.68 KB / Downloads: 5)
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  Islander 19
Posted by: Roy Pollard - 03-25-2021, 10:29 PM - Forum: The Isles PBM - No Replies

Front page of the latest game newsletter attached - Its mainly rumours about events happening around the Ilanthor region

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  Website Hosting Suggestions?
Posted by: Roy Pollard - 03-25-2021, 09:13 PM - Forum: The Isles PBM - Replies (6)

I'm looking to setup a small, single-page front end for The Isles - mainly a place where people can see an advert, a few sample turns and click a link to access a Dropbox containing game materials for people to download The Game Guide, Startup Materials and the Newsletter

Does anyone have suggestions for a hosting company? I don't intend spending more than a few $/£ but would like a hosting co with a simple interface to use and no adverts


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Posted by: zedwardson - 03-22-2021, 05:28 PM - Forum: New to the site? Introduce Yourself - Replies (6)

Hello all, complete newbie to Play by mail, with the exception of Chess, which I played for years, but expand my horizons.

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  Double Vision
Posted by: GrimFinger - 03-22-2021, 12:25 AM - Forum: News & Announcements - Replies (1)

Yesterday, I somehow developed a case of double vision.

After a good night's sleep, the problem actually got worse, rather than better. Not exactly the best of timing, but it is what it is.

Hopefully, it won't turn out to be too serious of a problem. My participation  in all things play by mail probably won't be at its maximum.

You, on the other hand, should be increasing your participation, if, when, and where possible.

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  Reducing Wasted Time
Posted by: Roy Pollard - 03-21-2021, 12:35 PM - Forum: The Isles PBM - Replies (3)

Of the past 20 instances where people have started playing The Isles, 19 have not submitted a turn past Turn 3 - a drop off of players of 95% and a huge waste of GMing time. 

To really alleviate the amount of time wasted, I'm now going to send out a standardised Prelude turn to new players which does not require anything but the minimum amount of time required to attach the PDF to an email along with a newsletter. From the prelude, a players actions will then dictate what they do, and each players timeline and life will peel off in various directions from this common start (maybe)

The main cause of this drop-off of players so early in the game isn't clear - Its perfectly feasible that The Isles just 'isn't that good' - No-ones really given me either positive or negative feedback as to why they've stopped playing. 

Anyway, attached is the Prelude I'll be using  Tongue

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.pdf   Starter.pdf (Size: 403.04 KB / Downloads: 7)
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Tongue I wish now was 1987!!
Posted by: Roy Pollard - 03-18-2021, 03:44 PM - Forum: The Isles PBM - Replies (3)

Its amazing, isn't it? In 1987 I started running The Isles in my parents spare bedroom to 1990 when I had 170 regular players and just about enough income to run the game full-time. I was reliant on a dot matrix printer, a terribly under-powered Amstrad word processor and really nothing in the way of resources to make the game more eye-catching or stand-out amongst the other games in the same genre.

What I DID have was a large base of players (believe me, 170 players for a hand-mod RPG was HUGE in those days) and the potential for even more amongst the thousands of regular players in the UK and around the world.

What really 'killed' the RPG PBMs in the 90s were a number of factors including the limited potential income of the game, maintaining an ongoing storyline and new ideas for the players, but more significantly the rise of computer games that allowed players more graphical play combined with the ability to play NOW rather than when the next envelope arrived
For The Isles in particular it was the onset of more technology that put the game into decline,

Surprisingly, its the same technology that killed the game in the 90s which gives PBM or at least PBeM even more potential to be 'good'! And thats what is so infuriating now the big player base is just about gone 

I can produce Newsletters and turnsheets with embedded links, with images and sounds in seconds. Where once I was drawing plans with a felt-tip pen on paper I can now fire up Photoshop or CorelDRAW and in minutes I can produce maps of towns or caves or encounters. I have databases and spreadsheets that can show me who is where and what is happening in every place and every chance for an encounter and I have free software which allows me to write out a players turn without worrying how much this high quality software will impinge on my ability to pay my bills / rent (Wordperfect in the 90s was $100s to purchase, and a simple laser printer to poroiduce attractive turns were in the $100s)

I just wish we had the tech that we had today in the 90s. Big Grin

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