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Full Version: stepping back into the pool...
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Observations at a high level:
 - more posters on this forum (!!)
 - active games are pumping out turns
 - the hidden hand of the market is moving things around, sometimes in plain sight and sometimes veiled in fog
 - did I mention there are people posting about games?

Game stuff I've been mucking about with recently:
 - heavy board games
 - war games (mostly collecting and reading, not so much playing)
 - RPGs (again, mostly collecting and reading, not so much playing)
 - computer games (minecraft with my son, and a ridiculous obsession with Rimworld)

Project-like things in the pipeline:
 - helping one set of friends playtest an impressive set of hybrid board/RPG games
 - helping another set of friends playtest/develop some board game ideas
 - looking at tools for easy app development (for online games)
 - a game zine similar to S&D, but focused on the meatiest game experiences across all channels (not just PBM)

Stuff that has gummed up my presence here in PBM land:
 - real life putting high pressures on my available time/energy
 - we have an embarrassment of riches in game options all around us
 - ADHD
 - awareness of how much actually goes into zine-crafting

Questions?  Comments?  Rotten tomatoes?

I'll be taking vacation soon, and will hopefully have time to push out some work on issue 20...
Random thoughts on your topics...

* Real life (including mine) is overrated!  Rolleyes

* Activity hereabouts encourages activity. (I tried to get open conversations going every turn about Galac-Tac galaxy #122, but only one player has been posting regularly.)

* Tools for developing games seem likely to be crafted towards particular styles of games. There are bound to be many different kinds of such options out there, but I'm more interested in using a programming language that's fast and easy to write anything in and therefore helps a little less in each place but helps for all possible styles.

* Quit playing with quite so many games and you might have more time to write zines.  Tongue

* If we want to resurrect S&D on a regular basis, it might be worth writing some kind of automation programming to help make it easier and less time-consuming.
Automating the zine process? Well, the way Charles does it is unnecessarily labor-intensive, and I aim to smooth that out by using Publisher. It will gracefully stream text in, push pages out by template, and make special tricks like insets and side-bars easy-peasy. But the vast bulk of the work isn't physical layout. (Or maybe it is with Charles, but not with me.)

The big lift is in grooming the writers, curating the articles, maintaining the company/ad contacts, browsing the royalty-free photo archives, figuring out which bits to put in the zine and which to tease out on the forum or on social media, sandbagging stuff for future issues, and just maintaining some sort of vision without imposing editorial fiat. If you get all that stuff right, AND have a good set of writers, then you've got a good zine. Maybe good enough that it doesn't matter whether you use Publisher (like a noob) or grind it out one page at a time in Word (like a zen master).

And whenever I post thoughts like this on here, I have this nagging feeling that I should save it all up for editorializing in the next issue. But I get an idea, it starts rolling, and I end up hitting "post reply" before you know it. There's a magic to being a magazine editor. Charles has it. I'm not sure I do, but I feel I must try. We'll see how it turns out.

I'll end this post with a comment an amateur artist friend of mine posted a while back...

The entire experience surrounding the creative process is more fun than the final product itself. This experience includes: the thought process for being inspired, the decision-making whether to do or not to do the painting, choosing the size of the canvas, selecting the colors, doing the sketches with a pencil/charcoal/etc, doing a color study, staying up late thinking about the subject and obsessing over it, laying the first colors on the canvas and working the piece over and over and over again, abandoning the painting because it is not good enough; then weeks, months, or even years later looking at the painting again and realizing that after all it is worth rescuing... For me, all this is more fun than the final piece. At the end of the day only the creator knows the value of his/her creation.
I sure am glad to hear about Publisher helping you with all the mechanical stuff - I think that's a big improvement (once you understand Publisher, of course) and much of the part I was considering automating elsewise. And yes, I understand about all those other itty-bitty pieces, too, none of which are easy. Browsing photo archives alone could take all your time, and then some, and burn your eyes out as you do. And trying to squeeze articles out of authors seems to be a near-impossible task for some reason. (Should we try a cattle prod??) If you had more contributors then you'd need to spend less time writing your own editorials.

Unfortunately, I don't have much in the way of subjects on which to write articles myself, and little enough time to do what I can, but I try. About all I can encourage from other authors is that they play some Galac-Tac (like they do other games) and write about their experiences. (Say... when ARE you going to turn in some turns yourself??)

I've got an idea... convince Raven that it's his responsibility to turn in 3 articles per issue and it's up to him whether he pens them himself or talks someone else into doing it. He knows how to get things done, right?? <evil grin>
I'll do an article or two if the magazine reboots. I publish the fortnightly TribeNet player magazine. Back issues here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1...sp=sharing -- article solicitation is the hardest part, of course, but it is getting a momentum after 25 issues.

Would love to see even a half-assed reboot of S&D. The community needs cohesion.
"Cohesion" - that's a great concept to promote. S&D is really a place for people to congregate, at least passively for the larger number of people who don't want to do it actively on places like this forum or social media. It gives us the ability to "keep in touch" with what's going on in the PBM world, even if you're doing nothing more than reading about it. Without something pivotal like S&D to hold us together, everyone just drifts further and further apart until we vanish completely. And of course, none of us wants THAT.