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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

Canadian Diplomat

Cal White

E-mail: diplomat@idirect.com

Issue 72, letter (free by e-mail)

Runs: Diplomacy, Gunboat Diplomacy, Anarchy
Waiting Lists: Diplomacy, Gunboat Diplomacy, Anarchy, Stonehenge, Team Diplomacy

The original editor of this zine was one of far too many hobby personalities who died in 2002 and Cal White has picked up the reins to complete the games.

(John Harrington, November 2002)


Alan How, 3 Lynsted Close, Bromley, Kent, BR1 3UE

E-mail: Alan.How@which.net

Issue 18, A5 booklet, 88 pages, quarterly, 12 or $25 a year (North American subscribers may pay by dollar cheque through David Kuznick, 38 Lyme Street, Apartment 308, Malden, MA02148, USA)

Runs: Nothing
Waiting lists: Nothing

This is a fat booklet produced by a small editorial team and a lot of writers. The strapline is "Boardgames Reviewed and Discussed" and it does just what it says on the tin. The magazine was set up in 1998 by Mike Clifford, Stuart Dagger and Alan How. All three had been involved in Mike Siggins’s legendary Sumo and their aim was to continue the style of that publication. Thus, Counter is stuffed with words in a small typeface without a single illustration - except for the occasional advert.

This makes Counter something I don’t attempt to read in one go. After skimming through for news, it sits in my briefcase for a few weeks while I dip into it. And there is plenty to dip into. At the heart of the magazine are reviews of recent games - 22 of them in the latest issue. The reviewers are all enthusiastic games players with plenty of experience: British, American, European. The same crew - and many others - contribute to the letters page - commenting on the reviews and articles and discussing aspects of board games. The other articles can be about older games or general games related topics, such as an analysis of physical mechanisms in games.

(Paul Evans, writing in Flagship, October 2002)


Tom Higgins, countermoves@wsmf.org

Issue 3, PDF download from the net, 22 pages


Over here in Europe, in the postal gaming hobby at least, we have been spoiled by the discovery, circa 1990, of the German board games industry. Consequently, we are all playing games which take about half an hour to learn, 90 minutes to play, and which in the main have dice-free mechanics which eschew the tables and dice roll modifiers characteristic of the American games we generally played in the seventies, eighties and nineties.

In some parts of the USA, at least, it is still 1975 and a game is not a game unless it has cardboard die-cut counters, random result tables and die-roll modifiers, and if they are happy playing those sorts of games then good luck to them. I, myself, hanker occasionally for a real meaty long game in which the purpose is to grind your opponent into the dust rather than a friendly German-style exercise where the result is sometimes inconsequential. If you have a similar hankering then CounterMoves is for you. The zine has no relation to the other general purpose games zine, Counter, but it has been perfectly named, in that it covers the sorts of games (war games, collectible card games, miniatures, role play) that Counter typically avoids.

The zine is a lot better laid out than Counter too but you get nowhere near as much reading material. Nonetheless it is free, so it is hard to argue with it, unless you are on a metered internet account, in which case the unzipped 9 meg download might irritate you. The latest issue contains articles on Illuminati, Chess, a game design competition and a free game, complete with board and bits (which you will have to print and paste to cardboard).

(John Harrington, November 2002)

(The) Cunning Plan aka TCP

Neil "Speccy" Duncan, 25 Sarum Hill, Basingstoke, Hants. RG21 8SS

E-mail: neil.duncan@theaa.com

Issue number 109, A4, 6 weekly, 20 pages, 1p including postage

Runs: Diplomacy (6), Gunboat Diplomacy (2), Colonial Diplomacy, Time Warp Diplomacy
Waiting Lists: Diplomacy, Colonial Diplomacy, United Nations, Pax Britannia, Machiavelli, Gunboat Diplomacy

A good zine for games, especially with Shaun Derrick and James Hardy as guest GMs, and one I enjoy playing in. Not as frequent as it could be, and the (often lengthy) letters section is marred by too much from the noxious Alan Frost.

(John Marsden, November 2002)

Cut & Thrust aka C&T

Derek Wilson, 1 Juniper Road, Horndean, Waterlooville, Hants., PO8 0DY.

E-mail: cut.thrust@ntlworld.com

Issue 213, A5 booklet, litho, 5 weekly, 32 pages, 80p plus postage

Runs: Word Puzzle, Where Is My Mind?, By Popular Demand, Outpost (3), Battle, Maneater (3), Cosmic Encounter, 1862, 1841, Railway Rivals, Bus Boss, Ironmaster, Horse Racing, En Garde!
Waiting Lists: Cosmic Encounter, Pushball, En Garde!

Throughout its history Cut & Thrust has been beset by more tragedy than most and yet through it all Derek Wilson has soldiered on providing an exceptionally broad range of games within the pages of a stupendously reliable zine. Even by Cut & Thrust’s standards the last year has been very tough on the editor and this time round Derek has, very understandably, opted to run the zine down to a fold. Throughout its twenty year career Cut & Thrust has never won the Zine Poll which, along with NMR!, must make it the best zine never to do so. Probably only the lack of a substantial chat element has prevented the zine from winning the poll but if the hobby had a "Hall of Fame" this zine would be elected to it without too much trouble.

Although I would not normally recommend zines running down to a fold there is still life in this zine as some of the current games will take a while to complete and in the meantime openings are still available for the games listed above plus some David Watts games.

(John Harrington, November 2002)

Damn The Consequences

Brendan Whyte, 448 Suriyat Road, Ubon Ratchathani 34000, THAILAND

E-mail: obiwonfive of hotmail.com  

Issue 133, A5 booklet, 6 weekly, 24 pages, 50THB to Europe & US

Runs: By Popular Demand, Banbury Merton Street, Bonnie Brae (Banbury Merton Street 
variant), Britannia, Breaking Away, Sopwith, Railway Rivals (4), Bus Boss, 
RoboRally, Gunboat (Diplomacy variant)
Waiting Lists: Diplomacy, Caribbean Diplomacy 3, Maharajah Diplomacy,  Railway Rivals, Golden Strider, Maharaja, Wooden Ships & Iron Men, Sopwith, 
Origins of WWI, Nomic

A zine published since 1987 comes to rest in Thailand, the land of the 

(John Harrington, 20/2/07)

Dangerous Liaisons

Jerry Spencer, 51 Elm Vale, Liverpool L6 8NY

E-mail: italia@gryphon33.fsnet.co.uk

Issue 10 at least, A5, 5 weekly, 12 pages, 80p including postage

Runs: En Garde!
Waiting Lists: En Garde!

A free-form En Garde! set in France in the 1560's with about 20 subscribers and room for more. As everyone mentions when reviewing this, it is unusual in that players may portray female characters.

(Perhaps they always mention it because I reprint the same review every year. The web site is no longer there but I think this zine is still going).

John Harrington (November 2002)


Tony Robbins, Lincoln House, Creaton Rd, Hollowell, Northants. NN6 8RP

E-mail: tony@hollowell.plus.com

Issue 39, 6 weekly, free by e-mail, one long continuous page ...

Runs: 18xx (2), Railway Rivals (19), Bus Boss (3)
Waiting Lists: Railway Rivals, Bus Boss, 1830

In the long and continuous tradition of Railway Rivals flagship zines, from the days of David Watts’ own Rostherne Games Review, presentation has never been a factor, and so it remains. A plain text zine, mostly distributed by e-mail except to awkward sods like me, there’s no chat but lots and lots of well-run games. Still the best place for fans of David’s games.

(John Marsden, November 2002)

Pops into my Inbox with welcome regularity. It’s about as low-tech as you can get for an e-mail zine: just plain text, with the small chat bit sent as one e-mail and the game reports sent as another. This is one of those zines that you have to play in to appreciate, and given that it is free there is no excuse to if you like railway games.

(John Harrington, November 2002)


Richard Sharp, Norton House, Whielden Street, Amersham, Bucks, HP7 0HU.

Stop press: Richard Sharp died of cancer in the early part of March, 2003. He will be sadly missed.


I am not sure if this has actually folded yet but if it has not then a fold is certainly imminent, owing to the editor’s ill-health. Dolchsto will be genuinely missed by those who enjoyed highly competitive games of Diplomacy and Richard’s trenchant right-wing views. You have to admire a man who spent decades carping about the anti-smoking brigade who, when he learns he has cancer, concedes "Perhaps the health fascists have a point after all." It is the use of "perhaps" which epitomises that peculiarly British combination of understatement and bloody-mindedness.

(John Harrington, November 2002)



Postal gaming

Published in January 2003

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