by Charles Mosteller

On the big map that charts the entirety of play-by-mail gaming, there exists a Rubicon that many a brave soul has never yet dared to cross.

Indeed, both the signs and the evidence all point to a common convergence. There is Diplomacy, with its die-hard cadre of Diplomacy purists, and then there is all the rest of play-by-mail. Between them lies the infamous Rubicon, the point of no return.

The line, itself, is intangible — but, that doesn't make it any the less real. It is a boundary. It serves as a border. The question that I would pose, though, is: What does it divide?

The bare truth be known, I have no vested interest in persuading any Diplomacy player to enjoy Diplomacy less than they already do. My interest in writing this article, in authoring this opinion piece, is a very narrow one, and I constrain it to the splitting of a single hair.

If anyone can appreciate perspective, then unquestionably, it is the Diplomacy player. The Rubicon that runs between us runs long, to be certain, yet at its narrowest point, it is but a hair's breadth wide. By this, I simply mean that I think that crossing this Rubicon is possible. In fact, I think that it's more than possible. I think that it's feasible. And, at the risk of being called a heretic by both camps, I dare say that not only should this Rubicon be crossed, but that it is imperative that it be crossed with frequent regularity.

I need not remind Diplomacy veterans of Diplomacy's role in exploring the concept of gaming by mail. Indeed, was it not the stalwart souls of Diplomacy that led fervent expeditions across countless zip codes long before Rick Loomis ever tried to fly a buffalo? Flying Buffalo! Why, who had ever heard of such a thing?! The dawn of commercial play-by-mail gaming transpired well after the sun first rose on Diplomacy enthusiasts using the postal service as their beast of burden to facilitate that which they loved.

The Internet casts a long shadow, and it is all too easy to get lost or distracted by it. Many are the fingers that point to the Internet as a threat to our mutual existence — a bane to both Diplomacy and PBM.

I grow weary of attending the funeral of play-by-mail gaming. I cannot even begin to count the number of times that I have heard the tired refrain of its death march. Hell, I, myself, have preached its funeral on more than one occasion. After all, if it's a funeral that they are a hankerin' fer, then by God, it's a funeral that they shall have!

Into the eye of the Internet, myself and a few others have spit. With the 21st Century already well under way, and with the Internet increasingly permeating everyday life of the masses, we decided to launch, of all things, a new PBM magazine. Why, who's ever heard of such a thing, in this day and age?!

Over the years, staring across the Rubicon has proven to be an exercise akin to watching grass grow. Rest assured, I have no desire to disturb the comfortable. What I'm looking for are a few lads and lasses that might be itching to try their luck on an expedition of a new sort. What I'm needing are a few daring souls well-versed in intricacies of Diplomacy. What I'm after is a Rubicon Brigade!

We have a new PBM magazine. I entreat you, one and all, to form a Diplomacy honor guard for this publication still in a state of relative infancy.

Both Diplomacy and PBM gaming share a common legacy. I believe that we can share a common destiny, as well.

Suspense & Decision is the name of this PBM magazine. One only has to cross the Rubicon to find it.

Charles Mosteller,
Editor of Suspense & Decision magazine

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