Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
The Man in the Mirror of Play By Mail
It has been said that all good things must end.

When you ponder the end of life, itself, then the end of play by mail gaming seems to draw the short straw of interest. As I grow older and older and older (still not old, technically, yet), my thoughts and my gaze shift. Not that play by mail gaming ever suffered from a shortage of distractions. Hell, distractions were the one area that PBM gaming always managed to log a net surplus.

No matter what, I always seem to manage to lose my way. Perhaps that is my true destiny, my ultimate calling - to ever remain lost, to ever personify the concept. Just when the footing seems true, I slip and fall again into the abyss.

All progress halted. All hope abandoned.

Theories have been advanced. Theories have been tested. Yet, all has been for naught - or so it seems. With all light extinguished - the light of desire, a desire to continue on, I have flailed about in what some whisper to themselves in their moments of quietest solitude as "the real world." Even still, I manage to find my way back here.

Not just to this website. not just to this forum. But, to this section, even to the very button which allows me to archive this moment of thought.

Through it all, from beneath the ashes of all that lies in ruin, one things is certain - and that is that of all things that I bring to this contest that is play by mail gaming, the one thing that I do not bear and bring forth is certainty.

One minute, everything is going fine. The next, and all momentum has collapsed. Far from a blessing to play by mail gaming, I am a curse. No doubt, even now, many are they that rise in applause of this one statement.

Just join some games, I told myself. Go on, just give it a try. Invariably, sickness followed. In days gone by, games were a reprieve from the miseries that occasional bouts with sickness would bring. They could even destroy monotony. Boredom dared not go toe to toe with PBM games, for fear it would be swiftly vanquished!

Not so, now.

Publishing a magazine becomes a chore.

Or does it?

Suspense & Decision only works, when there is decision to go long with the suspense. Publication of nothing generates no enthusiasm. It inspires nothing! Yet, what is a fellow to do? What does one do, when that man in the mirror simply won't cooperate?

And, so, now you know. I am lost in my own mirror of thought, a mirror universe where play by mail is no more. Has it ever even existed there, at all? Honestly, I'm just not sure.

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter what we've tried, what we've given a go at. It doesn't matter who has said what, who has thought what, nor even who has done what. The Rubicon materializes, anew.

Taunting me.

Daring me to cross it, once more. Whispering to me that before was only an illusion. Screaming at me that all was for naught!

So much to do. So much that needs to be done. Yet, here I sit, writing. Just jotting down thoughts as they come to me.

Saying nothing. Thinking nothing. Doing nothing.

Like I said, all good things must end.

I'm done.

I no longer care.

I don't care about what we tried, about what succeeded or what failed. I don't care what anyone wanted. I don't even care about what I wanted.

Hell, for that matter, I don't even know what I wanted.

What was I thinking? What was I hoping? What was I reaching for?

I am in a funk from which there is no escape. I should be ashamed of myself, for even polluting this forum with this sorry excuse for a posting. What a wretched excuse for a thread about play by mail gaming!

This is babble, not gaming!

For you, though, it is probably akin to a message in a bottle. You had hoped for a life pod, some sign that I escaped, and that the magazine could go on, anew. Either that or you had hoped - fervently hoped - that I would not be heard from, again.

Or something else.

So much time spent, so much effort expended.


Surely, I didn't just say that. Surely, I didn't just post that.

It doesn't even amount to a mere drop in a bucket.

Who am I trying to kid?

When I stare in a mirror, I get no answers. The mirror that I stare the most frequently into, the mirror that I stare the deepest into, is the one located in my own mind's eye.

After all, you don't need a real mirror, just to stare into one.

Just like you don't need a real game, to be entertained by one.

Honestly, I just sit here with my face in my hands, when I ponder what to do about it all. I can't save PBM. Hell, people, I can't even save myself!

Melodrama. False crisis. Much ado about nothing!

So, I am going to step out of this pile of manure of my own creation, and I am going to go on a journey. Know, that I do sincerely appreciate the time that you have given me, the interest that you have shown, both in this website and in the magazine and in this shared interest that is our hobby of play by mail gaming.

But, the time has come to move on. The time has come for me to head down a new path, for me to take a new route. Destination? Nowhere.

Suspense & Decision is dead.

It always has been.

It was still born.

All this time, we were all simply pretending.

I miss Paper Mayhem. I still miss Flagship. I can't really say that I miss Suspense & Decision.

My thumb began twitching, when I wrote that, just now. Life remains full of irony, it seems, even at this late date, even at this late hour of the night.

By the way, did I mention that we have a solar eclipse coming up? From what little that I understand, it will probably be the best one in my lifetime that remains.

Not sure if I will participate. You might want to check it out, though. I hear that it will be quite the show.

Me? I'll be here, accomplishing nothing. Who knows? If we're lucky, maybe I can get the final issue of Suspense & Decision out the door by then. If so, then it will give you something to read, when the sun goes out.

The final issue.

If you have something that you would like to be included in this issue, then send it to me at my new e-mail address of:

There is no publication date. Just whenever I get around to it.

Take care!

God bless you, one and all!
Grim, if Suspense and Decision brings you no joy, it's not worth it to continue. I for one will be saddened by its departure, but a labour of love with no love, is just labour.

Life is too short to do anything but what makes you happy.

Be happy and be well.
Thank you for those issues of Suspense and Decision that you shared with the PBeM community. In my opinion, your efforts have helped PBeM gaming.

I hope to encounter you in future PBeM games. I think that you would make a loyal ally or an honorable enemy.
I agree with what everyone has said. I'll miss reading Suspense and Decision, but I couldn't enjoy it knowing that you're suffering to publish it. We've all got plenty to keep us busy...too busy.

Life's too short. Go do what you enjoy!
Publishing, per se, shouldn't be equated with suffering. When I get sick, though, it tends to act as an interest killer, and not just for the magazine. Then, I begin to drift.

Getting back to it seems to be a long slow boat ride to China.

There's other things that impact it, too. I did renew the domain name for this website recently, so I suspect that I'm not quite done with all things PBM-related - not yet, anyway. The problem isn't PBM. The problem is me. I've tried replacing me, before, but even that didn't work out. Part of it probably just comes with age. Personal life tends to take priority, and there's no real way around that, simply because I won't allow there to be. Also, I sometimes feel as though I am fighting the wind. There is still much resistance within the industry to change, and even beyond that, people in the industry have others things, other priorities, and there's a cumulative effect to it all, I suppose. Not trying to point the finger of blame so much as just trying to give a degree of insight.

It isn't hard to reignite my spark of interest, where play by mail is concerned. The hard part lies in maintaining momentum, once a spark occurs. I just figure that there's got to be a better way, and while there are numerous individual things - individual concepts - that I think have panned out, some key ingredient is still missing. There's a gap, a void, and I honestly don't know if I can fill it.

The whole publication process reminds me of a roller coaster ride. Lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. Somehow or other, though, I manage to keep steering the ride off the tracks. There has to be a better way. Obviously, staying focused and keeping one's head out of one's ass has all of the makings of a good start, but while there is certainly some interest in the magazine being published on the part of our readership, it seems to come more from people that I don't know and have never interacted with than with people already in established PBM circles playing currently. That latter part is neither here nor there, and I could simply be reading the signs all wrong. Maybe I simply haven't been patient enough, or maybe with all of the lurching from publishing to not publishing, the clock keeps getting reset back to zero, which doesn't allow much in the way of real progress to be made.

These days, everyone's on their phones, it seems. Maybe a PDF magazine was the wrong route to go. I don't even use a smart phone, so maybe I have fallen off the techno bridge and am simply behind the times too much to make the magazine relevant. Or maybe it's just me that isn't relevant, and it has nothing to do with the magazine, at all.

Maybe the magazine is simply too slow paced. The slowest part of the equation is me, though. I'm not looking for sympathy nor praise. Feel free to offer up some guidance - or even some criticism. These days, if the magazine doesn't publish, or any magazine for that matter, what of it? I am still inclined to think that having a PBM magazine of some kind out there is beneficial to play by mail as a whole. It doesn't have to be Suspense & Decision, though, but there isn't really another one around currently, unless I'm in the dark on that. But, that's a separate issue from whether people need - or even want - a PBM magazine in the first place.

Having a PBM magazine in PDF format allows for people to print a copy and pass it along to someone who isn't really into the online realm, but realistically speaking, an awful lot of people are online, now. No one passes it out at conventions, even when it does publish. Most PBM companies don't even mention it on their websites. Some do, some don't. Of course, PBM company websites are exactly enduring blistering site visitation rates, as far as I am aware, so does that aspect of the whole raising awareness mantra even really matter?

When others lose interest, it probably negatively impacts my own interest, and when I lose interest, it probably negatively impacts other people's interest. It's not PBM in which I lose interest, though. It's various things associated with the magazine that my interest wanes in, at times. And trying to even play in a PBM game - the amount of time in a day has never changed, and yet if I try to play in games, it cuts into my free time available to tinkering with publication duties. But, playing some PBM games seems to me to be the most likely way for me to cause my own interest in the hobby to surge.

The magazine is an extension of my hobby interest in play by mail gaming. There really isn't any likely way for me to make it more than that - and that, I think, is a crucial matter. Yet, publishing a magazine about PBM gaming while continually fore going playing in any PBM games really makes me question my sanity, at times.

Or maybe I'm not fully persuaded that the magazine is making a real difference. Am I clueless, in this regard?

Somebody out there clue me in, or cuss me out, or give me some guidance, or digitally assess things and point me in the right direction.

If we've all got plenty to keep us busy - too busy, then why publish? If the magazine has helped PBM or PBeM gaming, then tell me how it has helped. If you will be saddened by Suspense & Decision's departure, then tell me why that is so.

Enlighten me.
Hi Grim,

I'm not one who is full of wisdom, or sage advice, but I am mostly saddened by the passing of a project that once brought you joy but no longer does.

I enjoyed the opportunity to write a few articles for the publication and I enjoyed reading the general ramblings of others that enjoy the past time.

It's not madness, at least I hope not, that you perform a task for a gaming genre you love while not playing any of the games.  I love games of all sorts, but I haven't played a computer/video game in the last two years (if not more) because I'm completely consumed by building Cohorts.

The best piece of wisdom I have is find the things in life that bring you joy - and pursue those things with everything you have.


Angerak...Cohorts? Is this a reference to a PBeM game?
I am aware of many active PBeM games because of the articles/ads in S & D. When the time comes for me to join another PBeM, I will refer to the back (and hopefully, future) issues of S&D for guidance.
(07-18-2017, 01:46 AM)Bozimus Wrote: Angerak...Cohorts?  Is this a reference to a PBeM game?

Yes (and no). Cohorts is the game that I've been working on for a very long time.  For the last 2 years, I've been working on it full time.

It is, at its roots, a PBeM game but it's current incarnation is a standalone game.  The multiplayer/PBeM versions will follow shortly thereafter.

The game is in Alpha Test right now.  I'm expecting it to be in Beta before the end of September.  You can see some of the details about the game in my Facebook group called "Cohorts Game System".
(07-18-2017, 10:00 AM)Angerak Wrote: Yes (and no). Cohorts is the game that I've been working on for a very long time.  For the last 2 years, I've been working on it full time.

It is, at its roots, a PBeM game but it's current incarnation is a standalone game.  The multiplayer/PBeM versions will follow shortly thereafter.

The game is in Alpha Test right now.  I'm expecting it to be in Beta before the end of September.  You can see some of the details about the game in my Facebook group called "Cohorts Game System".

"Cohorts" looks very interesting...

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)