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Facebook Article - 08/17/2022

I'm still sick on this end, but feeling some bit better than I did. All good and well, I can hear you thinking to yourself, but what kind of PBM deal do I have for you, today? A new PBM company? Several new PBM games? A moldy bit tidbit from PBM's past?

You got it!

Today's moldy PBM tidbit features none other than...(wait for it)...Steve Tierney, who was last seen preparing to head off to Turkey Hey, if you can do it, all the more power to you. I hope that you enjoy it, Mister Madhouse!

After posting earlier about Mike Popolizio's passing, I ended up doing a very brief search for PBM company Adventures By Mail.

A link to Galactic View at the bottom of that Wiki article led me to Flagship magazine's Issue #99, which then got me to flipping pages, depositing me at long last on Page #18 - where Steve Tierney had been patiently waiting on me since the year 2002.

Steve Tierney's Retroscope: 'A Licence To Print Money' is an article that I'm sure that I have read before - perhaps more than once, even, though there's no way at this age for me to be sure about that. Nonetheless, that old PBM article in that old PBM magazine got read, again, this morning. Go Steve! And to think, he thinks that he's the one living in a Madhouse.

Steve Tierney was on top of this PBM stuff long before I ever thought about any of it, I reckon. Clearly, he's been nosing around under the hood of all things PBM since well before I even knew that PBM had a hood to nose around under. Yet, we both ended up in the same place (sort of), even if they were different places that we ended up in.

Steve's boundless PBM wisdom in general aside (even though when I started creating this posting, it was basically going to be little more than a link with a smidgen of text to accompany it), what I want to extract from that twenty year old article of Steve Tierney's is the following paragraph:
What's worse than the lack of vision and general greediness of huge corporations? The desperate pretence of tiny designers to be something they are, quite obviously, not, Last year, at Dragoncon, I chatted with a few RPG designers there and was stunned by the level of arrogance displayed. These fledgling RPG systems are a labour of love. Their designers and producers are usually small outfits who have invested quite ‘sum trying to get their dream on the market. A partnership with a reliable PBM firm would do any one of them good, giving them much-needed exposure and possibly helping them avoid that great black pit full of books that is the roleplaying graveyard. Do they see that? Are they savvy enough to realise that exposure to a couple of thousand gamers would be a valuable boost in these early years? Nope. Up goes the nose. ‘Play-By-Mail? Pah! We design real games.’ Give me strength. Most of us PBM GMs who are still around were running commercial games while these ‘icons of imagination’ were still having their heads flushed in high school.

In more recent years, I have found myself advocating in favor of small scale RPG and wargaming materials/intellectual properties being transitioned into new PBM games for the gaming masses. No doubt, Steve Tierney was being a PBM bloodhound, and sniffing down this very same path decades ago. Damn him!

Basically, imagine this - take what amounts to a seemingly unlimited quantity of game worlds and game settings already fleshed out and many which already have a lot of visual and textual content built up, and convert it into a form where far more people would likely play it than likely already play it in the form that it originated in. The game world or setting creator would win, and the PBM company/companies would win. Heck, even the gamers, themselves, would win. This would solve multiple conundrums, including arguably the primary one above all else - The Time Conundrum.

Everyone runs short on time. They're running short on it right now, in fact. There's simply never enough of it to go around. Our minds can transcend time, instantaneously. Our bodies, however? Not so much.

Steve Tierney all those years ago was thinking ahead. Clever devil, this one is! He was trying to get ahead of the curve. He was onto something big. It was right before him, just dangling.
It's still dangling.

Yet, who has time to contact all of those small scale RPG and wargaming fellows? Nobody has time for that. At least, not to do it on a large scale, anyway. It would be horribly time-consuming, and again, The Time Conundrum is the single biggest problem facing PBM gaming. It's not money. It's not even resources in general. It really isn't even a creativity issue, per se. Rather, it all flows back to time.

Creativity is more abundant than grass. It grows freely - everywhere! It's all about you. It's here, it's there, it's everywhere. Which begs the question, then, of why new PBM games come along so few and far between?

Just marry the creativity of one party (RPG or wargame creator) with the creativity of another party (a PBM company), and voila! Problem solved. This is what Steve Tierney was plotting decades ago. Me? I clumsily stumbled upon it much, much later.

The underlying basic premise of he concept is sound. Execution of the concept could be sound, also. It's the in-between, however, that's all squishy. Trying to pair up the two right individuals, one from each party, is where it all gets tricky. Worse than being tricky, though, it could be mind-wrackingly time-consuming. Otherwise, explain why it isn't already done, why it hasn't already been accomplished a zillion times over?

This isn't solving the problem of nuclear fusion, people. It should be quite achievable. It's certainly a feasible concept. But, what the hell, maybe we should just stick with the meager offerings that PBM gaming has been serving up for decades now, huh? I mean, who wants a bunch of new and interesting PBM games, when we can just keep on serving them the exact, same thing - over and over and over, again?

And while we're at it, let's just leave all of our PBM websites the same, too. Yet, why aren't new throngs of PBM gamers not beating down our doors, begging us to let them play the same old thing?

Yeah, I know. I'm the new guy. I don't what the hell that I am talking about.

Maybe what PBM gaming needs are time brokers.

Enjoy your day! Happy PBM gaming!


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