Issue #17 is out!

Though it took what seems like forever, Issue #17 of Suspense & Decision magazine is finally out the publishing door and available as a free download for your enjoyment!

We hope that you enjoy this issue, and we would love to receive feedback from you about it. Write to us at: PlayByMail.Net@gmail.com

Also, be sure to send us something in – an article, a photograph, some artwork, a letter to the editor, etc. – for our next issue.

As always, happy gaming! Help promote PBM gaming to a larger audience.

Dark Age II, Alamaze, and Takamo

At the risk of upsetting the apple cart of publication, I have decided to try my had at playing a few games. In the order that they contacted me, after Issue #15 had published, they are:

Dark Age II
http://www.darkage2.co.uk/

Dark Age is a game of power and conflict in Dark Age Britain.

According to the Waiting List, I will be playing the kingdom of the Vikings. That was my first choice out of the top three preferences that I listed, as part of the sign-up process for the game.

Recently, I watched the eight episodes of The Last Kingdom on Netflix, and I really enjoyed watching this series. So, with Uhtred of Bebbanburg, also known as Uhtred the Godless, fresh in my mind, I chose to sign up to play Dark Ages II, following an invitation from Game Moderator Steven Coombs seeking to know if I knew anybody that might like to play this game. I did – namely, myself!

If you think that you might like to give Dark Age II a try, then contact the Game Moderator at: info@pyrahosting.net

Alamaze
https://www.alamaze.co/

Alamaze is the multi-award winning fantasy war game set in the fantastic realm of Alamaze.

Rick McDowell, the Game Designer of Alamaze, had previously invited me to give his modern remake of the classic play by mail game of the same name at try. So, I will be putting the game through the paces (and I’m sure that the game will be putting me through my paces, as well), by playing it via a house account at no charge (in the interest of disclosure). I’ll be giving him some feedback on the game along the way, and I suspect that I shall also write an article or three about Alamaze for Suspense & Decision magazine, from time to time.

If you think that you might like to give Alamaze a try, then contact Rick and crew at: Support@Alamaze.co

Takamo
http://www.takamouniverse.com/takamo/

Takamo is a strategic level game of interstellar exploration, expansion and conquest.

Randy Ritnour, Game Designer of Takamo, contacted me, recently, and informed me that he had heard that I was wanting to regain access to the Takamo forum, and that Takamo was currently by invitation only. I wasn’t aware that it had become by invitation only, but I did tell him to have Vanessa to restore my access to the Takamo forum.

I tried playing Takamo a couple of years or so ago, but the rules kicked my ass. Nonetheless, publishing a PBM magazine for the 21st Century, Suspense & Decision, while it does tend to consume a good bit of my free time compiling issues, I want to take it one step further and become more actively involved in playing games that we’re talking about in the magazine.

I’ll be the very first to admit that game rulebooks is not my strong point. Honestly, I hate reading them, and it’s even worse when I read one and still can’t quite seem to wrap my head around it. Nonetheless, the Cybernetics in the Takamo gaming universe really appeal to me, and I suspect that this is due to a combination of three different influences:

(1) Galaxy: Alpha – an old play by mail game from Intergalactic Games, which featured a race called Death Globes.

(2) The Terminator series of movies.

(3) Cylons from the Battlestar Galactica television series.

Hopefully, I will be able to successfully juggle continuing to compile and publish future issues of Suspense & Decision magazine, while simultaneously undertaking to learn and to play multiple different games.

At worst, I will fail. At best, I’ll have a lot of fun, plus I’ll have lots of material and inspiration to write articles for the magazine.

For more information about Takamo, visit the Takamo website, or contact the Takamo folks at: randy@takamouniverse.com

Issue #15 is out!

Whew! I’m glad that this one is done. After I uploaded the initial file for Issue #15 to this website, I noticed that a few pages had some issues with them, which I seem to have gotten fixed. If you downloaded a copy with some of the pages rendered in really small size, then just download the issue, again. I’ve checked and re-checked it, and the current file appears to be fine. Let me know if you encounter any problems, though.

Issue #15 was an important issue for me, personally, because I wanted to get the magazine back to the point where it was publishing with a degree of regularity, following some rather lengthy gaps in some of the previous issues. Issues 14 and 15 seem to have gotten us back on track.

Even still, we need YOUR help to keep things on track. Both readers and game moderators play big roles in Suspense & Decision having material of interest to include each issue. If you’ve been thinking about writing an article or a letter to the editor, then fire away! Keep stuff coming in to us, folks – the more, the better, as far as I am concerned. Game companies need to keep in mind that we offer free advertising, so create a few new ads and send them in to us. Readers tire of seeing the same old ads, many times, issue in and issue out. One way to grab their eyes and to regain their attention is through the crafting of some new advertisements that promote your company and its gaming products.

I hope that you enjoy reading Issue #15, but whether you do or do not, be sure to send us in some comments. It always helps to know what we are doing right, and it is no less helpful to also know what we are screwing up.

As always, happy reading!

 

Charles – Editor of Suspense & Decision magazine

Work on Issue #15 is progressing well

To the readers of Suspense & Decision magazine, and to those few souls who even bother to frequent this site, yet, I wanted to give an update on the status of Issue #15.

Issue #15 of Suspense & Decision magazine is progressing well. Several articles have been compiled into the draft of Issue #15, already, and it should soon be ready for publishing. As I write this posting, today (January 21st, 2017), things look like a go for publishing Issue #15 on February 1st, 2017 – or perhaps even sooner. It mainly depends on how quickly or how slow a few responses come to some e-mails that I sent out, today, regarding some of the articles to be included in Issue #15.

I still need to begin filling in gaps on pages of other articles already compiled into Issue #15. But that always tends to be one of the last steps prior to publishing an issue of the magazine, anyway.

All in all, I feel strongly that 2017 holds very bright prospects for being this magazine’s best year, ever. I don’t say that lightly, either.

Also, here’s a look at the cover art for the front cover of Issue #15. Enjoy!

 

As always, thank you for your interest, from Suspense & Decision magazine, a PBM magazine for the 21st Century!

Another update for the PBM faithful!

I posted this over on the PlayByMail.Net Facebook page. I thought that I would post a copy of it, here, as well.

Another update for the PBM faithful – Issue #14 is largely done. It’s pretty much ready to go. I probably won’t publish it until sometime late, tonight, though, as I will continue to tweak it and I will probably incorporate an article from myself in it – or an editorial or a whatever, some thoughts and what not, even though I know that some out there in PBM Land don’t really care for what they term ‘navel gazing.’ If I didn’t bother with my ‘thinking out loud’ in the magazine, then I probably would never have bothered publishing even the first issue, much less all that have ensued – regardless of how unreliably published the last several issues have been.

My sister took my Mama back to the hospital, this morning. That may or may not impact Issue #14 publishing tonight – hopefully not! Just a heads-up, in case it does, though.

I’m already pondering Issue #15, and in spite of the seemingly never-ending abyss that the latter issues of Suspense & Decision have fallen into, I do hold at least some hope for improvement going forward.

For one thing, I’m going to go back to utilizing deadlines. Dispensing with deadlines certainly didn’t help matters any. Ultimately, though, there are issues/problems that go far deeper than whether I utilize deadlines or not.

Everyone has their own respective set of theories about why issues of Suspense & Decision have not been forthcoming, as they should have been. While I do enjoy reading people’s thoughts and gaining some insight into their theories and thought processes, the simple reality is that no one is closer to the publication process, itself, than myself.

Some hold a theory that the core problem is burnout. Honestly, though, I think that burnout is probably the last thing that myself or the magazine suffers from. Sure, it may come across that way to some, but my interest in the topic of play by mail gaming and the lineal descendants of the same never really wavers. If anything, my interest in such topic matters is probably the one true constant in the whole equation.

Clearly, some what the magazine to continue be published – and to be published regularly, at that. Others, by this point in time, probably couldn’t care less, either way. Those are just the facts, just the actual reality of the situation.

Just handing the magazine off to someone else doesn’t work. I’ve tried that, before – and more than once, in fact. So, whatever the ‘solution’ to this ‘ongoing problem’ is, either I figure out how to make it work, or the problem just plain won’t get fixed.

If my interest in the topic that the magazine has at its core isn’t the problem, then where does the remedy lie? Or is it even possible to get things back on track? Sometimes, I wonder whether the magazine was ever even on track to begin with, at all, even when issues were being published with regularity.

While my interest in the TOPICS at hand never really wavers, what has wavered – and substantially so – are two core, fundamental things:

(1) The amount of time that I have proven to be willing to commit to each issue.

(2) The amount of focus that I have been wiling to commit to, not the issues, but the publication process, itself.

A third, but separate, issue also lies at the heart of the overall problem:

(3) The magazine is published within the reality that Suspense & Decision is, for me, an extension of my interest in the play by mail gaming hobby.

For that last one, I don’t really have a solution at hand, nor do I conceive of one, for while it would not be unduly problematic for me to take more of a business approach to the magazine, this is not something that I am fundamentally likely to embrace anytime soon.

To try and address the first of the three problem areas outlined above, what I have decided to do is to reallocate my time spent online. Toward this end and in pursuit of this goal, one step that I have taken which I think should aid me greatly in making a real positive difference here is two-fold:

(a) I deleted every living soul from my Facebook friends list back in December of 2016.

(b) I intend to make a deliberate effort to spend less time on Facebook – which has a way of becoming a time sink.

Being silly, sharing my thoughts on personal matters and on politics, and just browsing what others have to say and to share all just chip away at what I refer to as my sense of time discipline. All of these things have their own innate value, of course, but collectively, they have a dreadful tendency to just plain add up. Time gets away from you (or it does from me, anyway).

With regard to the second of the three items outlined above, what my intention (the road to Hell is paved with good intentions) is, is that I am going to impose some discipline into the publication process, itself. What I am going to be aiming for will be a ‘Three and Go!’ rule. By this, what I mean is that I will be looking to publish future issues of Suspense & Decision magazine, once I have three articles by other people ready to go.

This will have the side effect of future issues of Suspense & Decision magazine being shorter. Some may consider that to be a bad thing. I know that I do, in at least one sense, but I do think that it might be a useful tool in regaining momentum in the publication process.

It’s not so much about being a way to reduce the likelihood of burnout, but rather, about being a way to help me to maintain a sharper degree of focus. Time away from the magazine is a real killer – not of interest, but of focus!

We’ve talked about changes, before. We’ve even tried implementing a variety of different changes, some visible and some not. Nonetheless, we either try again to find a better way, or the magazine fades permanently into oblivion. That, to me, is the stark reality that we face – you as the reader, and me as the publisher.

Over the last few years, even before the first issue of Suspense & Decision was ever published, even before the magazine had a name, there have been those who have shown interest in this project, and who have loaned their support and rendered their patronage. While my own failures have been both many and frequent, know that I have always appreciated the support and the patronage.

Whatever debate that there has been over time, both past and present, both in private quarters and in public discussions, know that I fully intend to try and render the debate irrelevant. I intend to do so, by lighting a fire under my own ass, and to continually stoke that fire.

From the shipwrecks of the last several issues publishing so infrequently as to demonstrate a catastrophe in the making, I intend to kindle and to stoke that fire of improvement.

Two thousand and seventeen will yet prove to be a great year for Suspense & Decision magazine! Of that, I am certain, already.

You, as always, are free to believe whatsoever you will.

God bless Suspense & Decision magazine! God bless us, one and all!