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Issue #18 - Suspense & Decision PBM magazine
#1
This thread is for discussion of Issue #18 of Suspense & Decision magazine.

The Submission Deadline for articles, news, events, etc. for Issue #18 is: 30 September, 2017

The scheduled Publication Deadline for Issue #17 is: 10 October, 2017
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#2
Commencing work on Issue #18, this morning. Folders created. Blank article and image files in place, which I use as starting points for each issue.

So, what are we doing different, this time around?

What I am looking at is not simply the next issue, which is Issue #18, but the next three issues - #18, #19, and #20. The aim? I would describe it as a rapid fire approach to publication. Issues published in rapid succession, with rapid being defined as one month or less between each succeeding issue. That's the aim, anyway, so that frequency of publication takes on a much greater, much more noticeable priority, evident to one and all.

"Three and One," of the hard rule variety, is what will under-gird this approach. If I end up writing three articles, then the next issue gets published, regardless of whether anyone else has submitted anything for that particular issue or not. Not that that is what I desire or prefer, but it will effectively unhinge me from any sense of dependency upon anyone else to generate content for the magazine. Or, if one or more other individuals submit articles, and I haven't had time, yet, to write articles of my own, then the next article gets published without an article from yours truly. That way, it unhinges the magazine from an excess of dependence upon me, even though some degree of basic, fundamental dependence upon me will still remain intact, since I am the one who actually causes the magazine to publish under the auspices of PlayByMail.Net. There's no way of getting around that particular core dependency, at present.

Physical sickness or death, for myself or for someone close to me, are the only "planned" deviations from this new approach. I can guarantee no actual reprieves from those harsh instances of reality imposing itself upon the close inner circle of my life.

That said, I suspect that no one is really prepared from exactly how this is going to pan out in practice. My gut instinct is that it will be well-received, though issues will likely be noticeably shorter in length, page count wise - maybe even a bit too short, for some individuals' taste. As always, though, we all live in an imperfect world, and Suspense & Decision is an imperfect magazine covering imperfect mediums and genres of gaming.

I don't foresee issues with the front cover art not being done in a timely manner, but were that scenario to arise, then I'll go ahead and set a week as the outer time frame for a front cover to be finished. If not ready to go, then the issue(s) so affected will proceed with publication with the cover being entirely at my mercy, in such instances.
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#3
As we head into Issue #18 of Suspense & Decision magazine, I would like to pause long enough to highlight a couple of developments:

1. https://www.facebook.com/Buffalorick/pos...0728663470

2. https://twitter.com/buffalorick/status/9...3161660416

Both were postings by Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo, Inc. fame. Rick has a sizable following, and so these two postings by him, which were done of his own initiative, are especially appreciated by me. Getting the word out is at least half the challenge, and it is also a central pillar of any real hope of substance to breathe vibrant life back into the play by mail gaming scene. I received not one, but two e-mails from Rick Loomis, today. I wasn't expecting them, but I do know that he is a man who values his time, whatever else might be said about him by anyone. So, for him, in particular, to spread the word about an issue which hung on the precipice of a question mark for so many months heartens me. I think that it bodes well for the magazine, and I consider it to be a good omen. Now, if I can only just not stumble over my own clumsy self, and actually get Issue #18 out the door in a relatively short amount of time, maybe we can begin to build upon the momentum of the moment.

The magazine, itself, is always ripe for improvement. I can change a lot of things about Suspense & Decision, and I can try a lot of different things, but one thing that I have no real direct control over is whether the Old Ones of PBM, notably those who comprise the commercial sector of the play by mail gaming industry, come aboard or engage to any degree, at all, on the subject of play by mail, much less over whether any of them, individually, bother to take it upon themselves to spread the word.

One of the things that distinguishes Rick Loom in the PBM sector and as one of PBM's Old Guard is that he enjoys the benefit of being well-networked, both with games and game company figures, and with a number of former and current play by mail gamers. If the object is to get the word out to people who used to play games by mail, but who may no longer do so, then Rick Loomis can probably reach a number of individuals that the magazine might otherwise never even make contact with.

The death of PBM gaming is a subject that has probably had enough written about it to last a lifetime. That said, I don't look at the Internet so much as having killed play by mail gaming, as I look at it as a tide which went out, but which could also come right in, again. After all, many digitally-connected individuals suffer from burn out from being online so much. I challenge anyone to explain to me why old school play by mail gaming couldn't connect with a new audience. I'm not talking about probabilities and likelihoods, rather, just about why it couldn't be possible, in this day and age? Books, in paper form, remain popular in the modern era, after all. And much like books, turn results in paper form are a form of escapism, a form of entertainment, something that requires you to think, engaging players of PBM games on both an intellectual level and an emotional level. Ever get pissed off because someone attacked you or because you botched your turn orders or missed a turn?

So, thanks, Rick Loomis, for the shout outs about Suspense & Decision on social media!
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#4
(09-14-2017, 06:45 PM)GrimFinger Wrote: I challenge anyone to explain to me why old school play by mail gaming couldn't connect with a new audience. I'm not talking about probabilities and likelihoods, rather, just about why it couldn't be possible, in this day and age? Books, in paper form, remain popular in the modern era, after all. And much like books, turn results in paper form are a form of escapism, a form of entertainment, something that requires you to think, engaging players of PBM games on both an intellectual level and an emotional level. Ever get pissed off because someone attacked you or because you botched your turn orders or missed a turn?

I think paper-medium books are also dying off, being replaced by ebooks more and more.  ebooks are cheaper to produce and easier to put into people's hands.

People don't write letters any more.  We only write emails, or we (but not me) IM or tweet our thoughts to our friends or just to the world at large, in hopes that somebody might listen.

PBM, in paper form, is not dissimilar IMO.  People want instant gratification, without thought or effort.  Pick up a game, play for a few minutes, see stuff blow up or people get mauled ... and then move on.

I'm really hoping that the approach the I'm taking to Cohorts helps to bridge that gap.  People can play fast-paced games either solo or with a group of friends - or they can play the traditional sort of PBM game, processing a single turn every 3, 7 or 14 days.

What I find most interesting is, pretty much every adult gamer I've ever talked to *loves* the idea of PBM - but seems unwilling to try and/or commit to joining a game.  Maybe the 1-2 year commitment is more than they can accept.
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#5
UPDATE: OK, so I hope to begin doing some compiling on issue #18 in earnest, either later today or tomorrow. I am having to deal with some assisted care facility/senior issues, currently, and I've pulled my aunt out of a facility, and issues of various size, which include numerous small ones, will simply nibble away at my time - and that's on top of all of the ordinary time gobbling issues that life visits upon me.

I think that I can make a loot of progress by tomorrow night. Maybe not complete it, but make a lot of progress, nonetheless. And, if I can complete it by tomorrow night, then all the better, but no promises on that.
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#6
Looking forward to it Grim. This time I'm gonna click on everything. Wink
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#7
(09-15-2017, 04:04 PM)Angerak Wrote: People don't write letters any more.  We only write emails, or we (but not me) IM or tweet our thoughts to our friends or just to the world at large, in hopes that somebody might listen.

Some people do. If I had to guess, I would venture to say that I've probably written a hundred letters that I've sent through the U.S. Mail in the past year or so.
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#8
The current plan is to try and begin compiling Issue #18 of Suspense & Decision magazine sometime tomorrow (Friday, August 9th, 2019).

Lots of irons in the fire, already. Compiling will just be one more. Since not much was ever sent in for Issue# 18, it will be a thin issue. The main thing for now, though, is to just try and get the whole ball of wax rolling, again.
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#9
For those who have subscribed to the new PlayByMail.Net mailing list, I sent out an e-mail, a couple of minutes ago, providing an update on how the compiling of Issue #18 is going.

Within mere seconds of sending the e-mail out, seven of the mailing list's recipients had already opened the e-mail. I am quickly becoming very fond of MailChimp. I think that it's a wonderful addition to PBM gaming's arsenal.
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#10
I have submitted an article for Issue #18 and have an early draft of an article for Issue #19. Hopefully there are other players out there able to commit to submissions.
Raven Zachary in Portland, Oregon, USA. Currently playing: Middle-earth, SuperNova, TribeNet, Hyborian War, Midgard, Takamo, and Victory.
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