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Ordering by the Number from the Musty Menu of Play By Mail
Between writing articles for Suspense & Decision magazine, pieces for the blog here on the front page of this site, and morsels for the PlayByMail.Net's Facebook page, I don't tend to wander these halls much, anymore, here in the Editorials section of the PlayByMail.Net forum.

Such a pity, too! But, reality is a harsh beast to ride, sometimes, and with the Clockmaster of Time always whacking me in the head with ticks and tocks from his Arsenal of Aging, what's a fellow to do, I ask you?

Tonight, as I sit here stuffed with cornbread and a slab of ham, I find myself to be in a mood, of sorts. And, in case you hadn't guessed, yet, it's a PBM mood that I find myself in.

I have to sort it all out, you see. The magazine. This site. The fate of PBM, itself!

OK, so maybe that last one is a bit of a stretch, but what can I say? I was on a roll.

I wasn't really thinking about comic books, today, but somehow or other, I did manage to end up lurking over on the JLA Satellite blog site, tonight. Apparently, it was just what the doctor ordered (Dr. Fate, perhaps??), and I find my resolve strengthened.

These editorials are (for me, anyway) a chance to just sit and talk about pretty much whatever comes to mind on the subject of play by mail gaming. Tonight, I was scrolling back through some of the previous editorials that I've authored, and reading through a few of them to see what I was saying at intermittent points in time.

I've got to find some time to author something for Issue # 7 of Suspense & Decision magazine, but is there really anything left for me to say on the subject of PBM gaming?

In Issue # 6 of Suspense & Decision, I said the following, "Beginning with the next issue, Issue # 7, I will begin the process of analyzing where I think that we stand, how I think that we are faring, and whether or even if I should extend the publication run of this magazine past Issue # 12."

And, so, I suspect that I have already begun that process, even now, as I sit at this desk surrounded by darkness and light. No music. No television. Just the whir of the fan in my computer to keep me company. I'm not sure how much inspiration that the CPU fan can muster, though, and particularly on the spur of the moment.

Did I mention that I am building a Kirby machine? Well, I am. I did mention it, previously, although you may have missed that quip, which I posted in a previous editorial here in the PlayByMail.Net forum.

How's that coming along, you ask?

Well, to be quite frank with you, I honestly don't know. I don't know when it will be finished, nor what it will look like, once it is complete, nor even what it will do, if anything, once I activate it.

Or, maybe that's just it - maybe I'm not the one who will activate it.

A fellow by the name of Quentin Ball is trying to track down information on a game called Swords of the Gods, and he would like to be put into contact with those who own it or who used to run it. I mention that, here, because it is on my mind, having exchanged a few e-mails with Quentin, today, on that very subject.

On the one hand, I could easily justify shutting the magazine down, once Issue # 12 is published. On the other hand, I could just as easily justify continuing publication of the same. Why, then, conduct any analysis, at all? Why not just make a decision, and be done with it?

Why? Why? Why, indeed!

I think that I just want to play it by ear, and have a conversation with myself about it - one that may take quite a while to finish.

Part of the problem, of course, lies in what to include and what to exclude from the analysis. It may well be that there is no right answer.

If the magazine is to continue, then it has to do a better job.

Or does it?

Is what it is doing now, whatever that might be, sufficient to warrant continuation of more of the same?

For that matter, how much do I elaborate here, as opposed to elaborating within the pages of the magazine, itself? Or, does that even matter?

I'm not looking for a reason to quit, nor am I looking for reasons to continue. I'm just trying to sort through it all. It's too bad that Carol Mulholland isn't here with us. I would just ask her what to do, perhaps.

Or, I could just ask you, or I could ask any of the magazine's current readership. But, what if nobody bothered to respond?

You know, I just now thought about it - I made brownies a couple of days ago. What happened to them? I didn't get any of them, as I recall. Something is amiss!

For the most part, tracking down and contacting PBM personalities from the days of old tends to yield a mixed bag of results. If I am trying to tap into a deep well of nostalgia by taking that approach, then I'm pretty sure that at least some of us are going to go thirsty.

I look at numbers, a lot. Quite often, in fact. But, trying to glean useful information from raw numbers is often akin to an exercise in reading tea leaves.

I've concluded that I need a better set of numbers.

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