The Altering of Play By Mail Reality: The Dawning of a New Age of PBM


by Charles Mosteller


As I sit here in my Fortress of Solitude, safe from the crazed masses of play by mail gamers who, fortunately for myself, are busy with other pursuits, these days, I find that it is time to reflect upon things PBM, once more.

Whatever the future of postal gaming might or might not be, I cannot help but to question whether there is any substantial point in bothering with trying to renew interest in play by mail gaming with the remaining remnants of commercial play by mail’s Old Guard.

It would certainly be nice to capture their memories of play by mail, both at its Genesis moment and at its high points and low points over the span of time of the genre’s existence. But, I tend to be neither pessimist nor optimist. Rather, I tend to be more of a realist, by nature, and the simple reality is that we, the fans of play by mail, either make the best of what appears to be a bad situation, or we make preparations to abandon the hobby for a life pod to other forms of entertainment.

What play by mail needs is new games. Build them, and they will come. Granted, they might not stay, but they will come. There may not be as many of them as you like, but nonetheless, they will come. This is what I believe.

Fancy computer-programs take time and effort and energy and resources to complete. What play by mail needs is something with a better prospect of actually taking root – even if it is only a single root or three of dozens or hundreds or thousands that actually survive and grow and prosper. This vision, while perhaps somewhat on the meager side, is better than the likely alternatives.

If the first several new PBM games suck, then we build on it, or at least glean lessons of value from it. In the meantime, we might even herald the dawn of a new age of PBM fun for at least a few of us, even if not for mass legions and hordes of PBM gamers all frothing at the mouth and beating down the proverbial doors clamoring to play these new play by mail games.

With that in mind, I honestly feel like things are beginning to look up for the hobby of play by mail gaming. I may not can impact every PBM gamer’s entertainment quotient, but I am certainly more than capable of impacting my own entertainment quotient.

Why will I create new PBM games? Because I can, by God. That’s why!

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