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October 24, 2009

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Mission From God Issue 24

The directory of magazines that run games by post


(The) Abyssinian Prince aka TAP

Jim Burgess, 664 Smith Street, Providence, RI 02908-4327, USA

E-mail: burgess@theworld.com

http://devel.diplom.org/DipPouch/Postal/Zines/TAP/

Issue 265, 8.5" x 11" corner stapled, 3 weekly, 50 pages, $1.50 per issue to US & Canada, $3 per issue elsewhere - including postage

Runs:

Diplomacy (5), Modern Diplomacy (Diplomacy variant), Nuclear Yuppie Evil Empire Diplomacy (Diplomacy variant) plus many more in the subzines

Waiting Lists:

Diplomacy, Railway Rivals, Spy Diplomacy, Breaking Away, Office Politics, Colonia (Diplomacy variant), Aberration Diplomacy (Diplomacy variant), Modern Diplomacy (Diplomacy variant)

The long-time flagship of the North American Diplomacy hobby (admittedly even when Maniac's Paradise was still around). Jim is deeply involved in all things dipdom, from f-t-f events, new and old zines, or (sadly) hobby news such as the numerous deaths in the hobby this year. There is no other zine with so much commentary on eclectic music, sports, movies, and anything else you can think of. Some hobby old timers can only be found here these days. And on top of that TAP has subzines (with games) by people like Michael Lowrey, Dave Partridge, Pete Sullivan (sometimes). If you receive no other North American zine, Ab Prince is the one you must subscribe to. Oh, and Jim is a nice guy too.

(Douglas Kent, December 2002)

I love this zine. It crackles with life. The letter column is full of opinions, banter and insults. Come to think of it, so is The Press in most of the games; not since I was a hobby newcomer have I bothered reading Press as much of it reads like out-takes from a Terry Pratchett novel, but tucked away in the back pages of The Abyssinian Prince you find some fairly high quality blackening of other people’s character. All good fun when it is not directed at you, and probably still fun even if it is.

The subject matter is fairly eclectic. Politics, north American sport plus a smattering of association football, music and some movie review capsules that are usually on the money. Mix in a fairly serious dose of Diplomacy hobby news, including Jim’s doomed attempt to lure back to the hobby everyone who ever participated in it, and you get an excellent read. It’s not a bad place to play games either, being just about the swiftest Diplomacy zine around these days. Other games are also offered and are generally run by external GM’s, including the likes of Rip Gooch, who was an influential figure in the British hobby in the eighties.

(John Harrington, December 2001)

Please note that Jim runs the US end of the International Subscription Exchange


A League Of Our Own aka ALOOO

John Harrington, 1 Churchbury Close, Enfield, Middlesex, EN1 3UW

E-mail: alooo@fbgames.co.uk

Issue 39, 14 pages, 5 weekly, A4 corner-stapled or electronic, 5 per season

http://www.smartgroups.com/groups/alooo

Runs:

A League Of Our Own, Premiership Almanac

Waiting Lists:

A League Of Our Own, Premiership Almanac

It is somewhat embarrassing to note that in issue 23 of Mission From God I forgot to list my own zine. It’s a modest affair running a fantasy football game featuring monthly auctions, team changes, transfers between teams and club finances. The zine also features some chat, usually inspired by pathetic excuses for why the zine is late.

(John Harrington, December 2002)


Are You Blind Ref ? aka Rubber

Dave Carter, "Injebreck",13  Liverpool Road South, Burscough, Lancashire, L40 7SU.

E-mail: dtc@clara.net

Folded


Armistice Day

Stephen Agar, 47 Preston Drove, Brighton, BN1 6LA 

Issue 18, A5 (or PDF off the web), 24 pages, 5-weekly, 80p

http://www.armisticeday.com

Runs:

Diplomacy (2), Diplomacy variants: Abstraction (2), Gunboat, Railway Rivals (4)

Waiting Lists:

Diplomacy, Somewhat Demiurgic Diplomacy, Diadochi IV, Renaissance, Gunboat, Railway Rivals

What’s this? Armistice Day, the Railway Rivals zine? Gone are the days when Steve used to run umpteen games of Dip between the pages of his oft resurrected zine. Is this because the demand for postal Diplomacy is in serious decline? Or is he secretly running several games by e-mail that aren’t featured in the zine? Or has he finally realised that running a heavy duty zine in conjunction with raising a family and doing a stress-filled job is a young man’s game (and the young men of today are too sensible to attempt it?)

I don’t know the answer to the above but I suspect Steve still harbours ambitions to run lots of Diplomacy games in his zine and establish it as the pre-eminent postal/e-mail Diplomacy zine; the real test will come when a number of games come up for rehousing when a major Dip zine folds. Will Steve step forward and volunteer to rehouse them or will he settle for organic growth.

Either way, Steve’s enthusiasm for the game of Diplomacy remains strong, with the usual selection of strategy articles from the archives each issue. The games seem to be adjudicated to a high standard and the turnaround, whilst it may not approach the metronomic - some would say obsessively so - reliability of Cut & Thrust - is pretty decent for this day and age.

There is not a lot of original material in the zine but the little that there is rings lots of bells with the baby-boom generation. Like me, Steve seems to be buying up all the stuff he could not afford as a teenager which means his house is probably full of Mott the Hoople albums, Ben Sherman shirts, 2000AD annuals and 412 Diplomacy sets.

As alluded to above, you are as likely to find a game of Railway Rivals within its pages as a game of Diplomacy these days, thanks to the resurfacing of another hobby dinosaur, Rip Gooch, creator of many Railway Rivals maps, who edits the subzine Diversions. Rip is now based in North America and also contributes to the US zine The Abyssinian Prince, where he can occasionally be found commenting on the differences between Britain and North America, whereas in Armistice Day he can occasionally be found commenting on the differences between North America and Britain....

(John Harrington, November 2002)

A tight (almost Teutonic) and deeply Dippy zine. If you want to play Diplomacy by post, this is probably the best place to do it. Each issue is also sprinkled with Dip articles and plenty of historical material as well. The letter page is expansive but has thinned a little in recent issues. There are plenty of plugs for other zines (cheers Stephen) and despite his efforts to ring the death knell for the hobby, he promotes it and cares for it deeply. There's even a Railway Rivals subzine to keep the non-Dippers happy.

(Howard Bishop, November 2002)

Stephen Agar's zine for Diplomacy purists, produced to his usual high standard, and published with his usual efficiency. There is a lot to admire in the zine, and the inclusion of Rip Gooch's subzine has brought Railway Rivals games to expand the choice of games on offer. Armistice Day is a worthy zine, well- produced, but I do have concerns that the potential audience for this Diplomacy-oriented zine has dwindled over the years.

(Allan Stagg, December 2002)

Only semi-postal, since most copies are distributed by e-mail and often the games seem to have had intervening e-mail seasons (which is most frustrating for the statistician trying to keep track!) Despite a busy life Stephen remains fascinated by the hobby and its past, and this is the place to read articles dredged from the archives, and e-mails from people who were leading figures twenty years ago and more! Always a good read, but the games have more than their share of dropouts.

(John Marsden, November 2002)

Definitely me numbers two(s) (titter), this zine is pretty typical of the high quality and good reliability Stephen has applied to all the many incarnations of his various zines. Loads of ed’s stuff, letters and articles to get your teeth into. The only (slightly) adverse observation is that Stephen is so much more casual than in days of yore; no more of the savage broadsides against hobby folk. I guess that parenthood has mellowed the fellow.

(Neil Duncan, December 2002)


Astradyne

Ian Lee, 13 Isis Drive, Upminster, Essex RM14 1LJ (Tel: 01708 640145)

Issue 206, 18 pages, 6 weekly, 10 per season.

Runs: Soccerleague
Waiting Lists: Soccerleague

Well, I know it is still going because someone has voted for it in the Zine Poll, but can I get anyone to review it? Can I heck as like.

(John Harrington, November 2002)


Backstabbers United Monthly aka BUM

Malcolm Cornelius, 3 Greton Close, Longsight, Manchester M13 0YR

Folded


Bloodstock

Mick Haytack, 43 Swanmore Road, Littleover, Derby DE23 7SD

E-mail: mickhaytack@aol.com

Issue 155, A5 booklet, 6 weekly, 28 pages, 60p including postage

Runs: Connections, Alphabet Auction, Choice. Sporting Superstars, Spread Betting, Acquire (5), Outpost (4), Railway Rivals , Intimate Diplomacy (Diplomacy variant) (3), Lancashire Railways, United, Fantasy Football
Waiting Lists: Spread Betting, Outpost, Daily Star Soccer Super League, Sporting Superstars, United, Acquire

This zine seems impervious to the apparent decline of the postal hobby. If anything it is running slightly more games than it was this time last year. Allied to Mick having a bit more time to include some chat these days the zine is achieving the unlikely feat of still improving after 150 issues. The zine has always run a wide variety of games but without having any evidence to back this up I get the sense it is veering more towards running quiz and prediction games these days rather than conversions of existing board games.

(John Harrington, November 2002)


Blue Nose Special

John Colledge, "Dunorroch", 24 Brunstane Bank, Edinburgh, EH15 2NR

E-mail: dunorroch@pop.dial.pipex.com

Runs: Acquire, Fictionary Dictionary, Railway Rivals, Scrabble
Lists: Acquire, By Popular Demand, Cluedo, Take Five, Pass The Pigs, Railway Rivals

A most excellent tartan e-zine with a long and very chatty letter column, plus a much more trustworthy film review section than any professional film review magazine that I've ever seen. John mixes the traditional with games of his own invention (the latest being a tiddlywinks simulation). There's RR action from the Turbo subzine and the whole thing comes unreservedly recommended.

(Howard Bishop, November 2002)

John Colledge's revered and poll-topping subzine that has metamorphosed into a successful e-zine. The zine is usually 40% chat and letters, 40% games and 20% film reviews, with the added bonus of Nick Parish's subzine Turbo. The games are interesting, but this is primarily a zine you read for the pleasure of finding out what John - a teenager of uncertain age - has been up to since the last issue.

(Allan Stagg, December 2002)


Borealis

Ian Harris, 36 Brecon Place, Perkinsville, Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham DH2 1HY

Issue 51, A5, quarterly, 16 pages, 62p including postage

Runs: The California Contract, Catch me if you can, Sorcerer’s Cave, Paranoid Sorcerer, The Final Frontier, Backgammon
Waiting Lists: Diplomacy, Vain Arts, Cluedo, Quizzle, One over the Eight, Flutter, Dallas

Could be a great little zine but way, way, far and away too slow to suit any but the most brain dead postal player.

(Neil Duncan, December 2002)

 

WORDS

Postal gaming

Published in January 2003

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