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PBM Inquiry for 2024 for PBM Companies & PBM GMs
I started sending the following e-mail letter to PBM companies and PBM GMs, yesterday. I sent it to about a dozen different ones, and I'll continue to send it out to other PBM companies and PBM GMs in the coming days. I'll probably scatter this task out over a couple of weeks or so, and then wait to see who all responds or doesn't respond:


I hope that you're doing well. In the coming days, I will be sending a copy of this e-mail to all PBM companies and GMs. Basically, it's a new year, and I have decided to reach out and to take a pulse, so to speak, on whether you and your PBM company or PBM game(s) prefers that we continue to try and run free ads for the PBM game(s) that you offer to the public for play. It's perfectly fine, whatever you decide.

There's no charge for the PBM ads. Nor do I have any plans to begin charging for the PBM ads. Basically, free ads is a concept that I introduced in Suspense & Decision magazine, originally, and later it was carried forward to PBM Unearthed, and then even later, it was carried forward to PBM Chaos. PBM Chaos publishes more than once per month, and yesterday, issue #31 of PBM Chaos was published.

Everyone in and across PBM has their own opinions on everything, but I thought that the dawn of a new year would be a good time to try and gather some current feedback, if you're interested in providing any.

If you prefer that I continue to include PBM ads for your PBM games, just let me know that. If you prefer that I not run PBM ads for your games, then let me know that. It's easy to adjust. I don't know what people prefer, and from time to time, people change their minds on all kinds of different things.

Separate and apart from that, for some, I create new PBM ads. I don't charge anything for that service, either. If you like this, then let me know, and I can create new ads for your PBM game(s). Or if you want me to run free PBM ads for your game(s), but you prefer to just send me ads that you or your company make, just let me know that. You can feel free to send them at your leisure and convenience. I just try to promote PBM gaming as a whole. I create new PBM ads, at times, because I know that not everyone has the time to make new ads. Again, whichever route that you prefer is fine with me.


I try not to pester PBM companies and PBM GMs too much, by e-mailing them constantly. However, in the process of trying to figure out how to best make progress in growing the overall PBM player base, I have come to the conclusion that some degree of recurring contact with PBM companies and PBM GMs could be beneficial in achieving that PBM growth objective. But I don't have any desire to overdo it, and to make such recurring contact excessive.

Thus, one thing that I would like to try and focus on in this new year of 2024 is to create some kind of low impact PBM networking. For example, I would like to create/come up with a better way to get the word out about new games forming and openings in PBM games that become open, such as when players drop out.

It isn't something that I think needs to involving time-consuming discussions, but rather, what I was thinking about was a two-pronged approach.

(1) Since all PBM games do not process at the same frequency, but the desire is to provide to the public a list of games forming and openings that become available that is fairly current, I could send, say, a once-a-week reminder e-mail. After all, we all get busy, and sometimes we get distracted or just plain forget. I think that some kind of reminder system could be beneficial.

(2) Someone on your end would simply receive the reminder e-mails, and there would be no need for discussion, but rather, someone on your end would just send the bare information necessary (games forming, positions open, frequency of turn processing for the games in question). And sometimes, you might not have any new games forming or open positions that become available, and at most, you could just send NONE. I think that this would be a time-conscious and a time-savings approach.

When you e-mail me any openings or games forming and such, I would compile them into a list on my end, and publish it so that the public could access it. I think that if something like this were done regularly and reliably, it could make a positive difference to growing the size of the overall PBM player base.

Of course, you would always be free to send other information, if you wanted to.  For example, if you wanted to provide a company news update for inclusion into PBM Chaos, kind of like used to happen in Paper Mayhem and Flagship magazines, that would be fine.

The very fact that such a list of games forming and open positions in existing PBM games would exist would be one way to visibly demonstrate that PBM isn't dead. After all, it would be a visible sign of life in the PBM industry.

I know that over the years, the PBM industry and individual PBM companies and PBM GMs have tried all kinds of stuff, in a bid to get the word out and to drum up business. But I also think that the PBM industry has kind of let some of their past efforts taper off. We all grow older, and our priorities change, and sometimes even things that are important and which matter end up falling between the cracks of everyday life. So, this is an effort to try and refocus, you might say.

I enjoy talking about PBM gaming, but to create a better or improved form of broader PBM networking can, I think, be accomplished, without it becoming talk-intensive. Any industry is better off, I think, when it gets the word out, compared to if it doesn't.

Information such as new PBM games forming and positions that become open in existing PBM games is basic information. The longer that positions in PBM games go unfilled, the more that the positions, themselves, tend to deteriorate. A list that contains games forming and positions available from a lot of different PBM companies would, I think, be more likely to draw the eye of the PBM interested more than a similar list with the same information from just one or two PBM companies.

At any rate, let me know what you think or what you prefer, where these matters are concerned, and then we'll go from there, whatever you decide. Again, it;s entirely your choice as to whether you want to participate or not. For those who do want to work together on these items, maybe we can make some progress in this new year.

Thank you for your time and your consideration,

Charles Mosteller
Editor of PBM Chaos

We don't all live in the same time zone, and we all have different personal or business schedules, so some will reply quickly, some slowly, and some likely won't even bother to respond, at all. Generally speaking, That's the norm. Nothing unusual about it.

The responses that I receive (or don't receive, as each respective case may be) should help me to know how to shift my own activities, as they relate to PBM gaming and PBM advocacy. There's no real point in pouring time and energy and effort into certain things or areas where it's pointless. If some PBM companies don't care about PBM ads, as an example, then I can concentrate more on those that do, and less on those that don't. Ultimately, I can publish PBM Chaos with no ads of any kind, but that's certainly not my personal preference.

Some PBM companies have already responded. Others haven't yet even received a copy of this e-mail letter by e-mail. So, I won't really know a lot for probably several weeks, if I had to venture a guess. After all, if I'm still sending this out a couple of weeks from now, I'm not gonna get responses from those who haven't even received it, yet.

Now, will this e-mail letter do any good? Who knows? I figure that it's worth a try. What does PBM have to lose, huh? If nothing else, maybe we can get rid of another excuse from why PBM gaming isn't doing better than it is, or that it's been doing in recent years. Of course, it's quick and easy to blame/scapegoat the Internet. How many current PBM gamers don't use the Internet, though? Hell, even Wayne Smith uses the Internet. He could tell you, if his wife would let him, that the Internet facilitates his ability to enjoy the PBM games that he plays in more fully. If it wasn't for the Internet, then he and I would likely have never becomes friends in the first place.

Separate from that, just as a side note before I click on that Post Thread button to post this message, it is really interest how the modern Internet has affected communication between players in PBM games. Davin Church, the GM of Talisman Games and Galac-Tac, recently suggested in the Galac-Tac Discord channel the possibility of sending a "diplomatic message to open negotiations of some form" - referring, of course, to the built-in Galac-Tac messaging system. These days, other alternatives to using that messaging system exists, compared to when that built-in in-game messaging system was first create years ago. That message system probably works, just fine, but PBMer Pax and I had just automatically started discussing that particular game of Galac-Tac that we were both in (Galaxy #113) via the Galac-Tac Discord channel (which is located in the PlayerByMail.Net Discord server). Now, our two empires aren't working together in that game, but the opportunity to communicate about that game presented itself outside of Galac-Tac's built-in message system.

The Internet is a force-multiplier, but it's not a handyman that just goes around automatically doing all of the grunt work for PBM companies for them. It can be a time-saver or a time-consumer, just depending on how you approach it. Trying to make the Internet adapt to PBM isn't ever likely to work as good or as smoothly as making PBM adapt to the Internet. The vast bulk of opportunities that the Internet can offer to PBM gaming, PBM gaming doesn't even bother with. Yet, the Internet killed (or is killing) PBM?

Such utter nonsense!

I criticize the PBM industry a lot, but I don't hate the PBM industry. There's a huge difference in the two. Think about this, if you get a chance. What is Amazon? I'm talking about the company, and not the river in South America.

It's lots of things, actually, but for an awful lot of people, Amazon is basically "one stop shopping." Malls have lost a lot of the popularity that they once had. Amazon is a modern-day souped-up version of the old Sears catalog. If you wanted to do "one stop shopping" for PBM stuff, where would you go?

I can tell you, already - one stop shopping doesn't exist anywhere within the PBM realm. Yet, the Internet killed PBM? Be careful what propaganda you swallow, people. Before the onset of the Internet, what did PBM companies blame their failures on? Do the epitaphs on all of the tombstones of PBM games and PBM companies read, "Killed by the Internet?"

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