PBM Mailbox

Hello again. This issue I have some good offers for a few lucky readers, and some great reading for the rest of you — I hope. Read on and write in!


As some of you will already know, Jade Games have just stopped running their very popular game, Arcadia, following a legal clash with KJC over Earthwood and a certain copyright law. KJC accused Jade of infringement of copyright and Jade, not having the finance to fight, have conceded to KJC’s demand: to close Arcadia down. This done, Jade now hope to rise from the ashes by launching a new computer moderated game — Shattered World.


Shattered World is a sci-fi strategy game, spiced with fantasy and governed by a yellow rulebook. The game is set upon the world of Flindar, a once sentient planet which is now being torn apart by gravitational forces. These have been induced by a rogue planetoid now orbiting as a moon. As ever, sillyvisation has collapsed, leaving a radioactive and mutant-infested landscape behind. Into this you are hurled, as commander of a Tentralith (a big machine created to cope with the changing environment). You must fight for survival, and plot to maintain a regular income of energy crystals by mining the surface. The need for power is great. You gotta fight to win, or else you don’t. If you know what I mean.


Shattered World is a deadline game, played on the ever-popular hexagonal map. Many types of giant machines exist to be found or captured — or even destroyed, and movement is not quite so limited as it was in Arcadia; these beasties have quite respectable ranges of movement for each turn. The game works on a point system: the obvious way to win is to hit a secret score and wham bam — you win a doomed planet. Not much use, eh? Jade report that there’s another way... something to do with a plateau and a cure of the world’s troubles. Nice touch, if you ask me.


Not a lot. Turn costs are £1.50 each, for which you receive a well laid out and informative computer printout. For details of set up, write to Jade Games.


I’ve just heard from K G Pack of a new PBM magazine, recently launched by himself and Bob Patteson. The magazine costs £1.00 from FIRST POST.

The first issue is quite impressive (although most of the articles are by the dynamic duo themselves), containing pieces on AES, Kings of Steel, Where Lies the Power and Starglobe among others. Worth a look.



Dear Brendon,
Please can you get me involved in any of the soccer games?
S Eede

Aaargh! Soccer again... mutter mutter. Try writing to all but one of the addresses mentioned in earlier issues — and while you’re at it, have a go at a ‘normal’ PBM game (Vorcon Wars, Conquest and Crime for instance) to get the most from the hobby. PBM is more than a medium for football management games!


Dear Brendon,
I’ve been reading your column for some time now and find it very interesting. I’d like to join Vorcon Wars, but I am worried whether or not my order would reach England in time. Is there a special international version? Also, are games with open deadlines more difficult to play for players outside of the UK? Finally — do international games cost more? I wish you luck with your column and hope that it will expand quickly!
R van Alteren, Holland

Most deadline games offer what is termed a ‘slow turnaround’ version to accommodate Europeans (and even beyond). These games tend to cost a bit more to play where heavier letters are concerned, although small letters (up to 60g) can be posted to EEC countries at the same charge as for inland first class mail, so this is not necessarily the common case: write and find out!

Extra UK players can suffer in open-ended games which operate in a form of realtime. This need not hamper your enjoyment of a game, however. In fact, if you wish to play the game properly, StarGlobe is more realistic for international players than for us Brits (simulated time delays, etc...).


Dear Brendon,
Please do not print my name and address in the next issue of the Diplomatic Directory as I had previously asked, the reason being that I have received a letter from Time Patterns threatening to throw me out of StarGlobe Four if it is printed. I hope you see the importance of this and act on this letter accordingly.

Time Patterns have informed me of the action they are taking against certain members of the directory — I believe it to be just. It appears that some members have been ruining the game for others (and themselves) by giving away coveted secrets and information modules away willy-nilly. This is not the way to play a game; the object is to learn by your mistakes, not by joining some half-baked alliance created solely for information swapping rather than for strategic strength. StarGlobe players mentioned in the directory who have not been engaged in such goings on need not worry, and to help the GMs of all games the format of the directory will be changed from the next issue: to get in touch with members, a note will have to be passed via the game control (if the facility exists) as no more addresses will be given. Sorry, but those who spoil it for some spoil it for all.


Dear Brendon,
I read the letter from G Williams in the March issue with some interest — I too have lost money to Mr Whitty. Might it be an idea to draw up a table of ‘Goodie’ and ‘Baddie’ PBM addresses?

Good luck with your letter to Mr Whitty,
S Edwards

Readers who have fallen foul of Mr Whitty’s tidy little trick may be interested to know that after having a recorded delivery ‘reminder’ I sent returned to my address by the Post Office, inscribed with the magic words ‘Gone Away’, I have passed the problem on to the Maidstone Cops (the police).


Dear Brendon,
I’m just writing to give you an idea. I think that some room should be devoted to Reader’s Reviews of various PBM games: big and small. Why not try for some more space to accommodate such a section!
Patrick Walsh

Good idea Patrick, I have been considering doing this for some time now, and you will be pleased to hear that I have just received the go-ahead from the Ed! Over the next few months! shall be offering reviewer positions in any game which I can gain them, preferably two per game. Come on now GMs — send those offers to our editorial address! This month I have two places in Crisis, a game of world destruction/domination by M.A.G, and Shattered World (a game which could well be set in the aftermath of Crisis) by Jade Games. All I need from my reviewers is a 500 word review after two months, and a final report at the end of the game. If you’re interested, write to: CRASH PBM REVIEWERS.


Dear Brandon,
I thought that I’d write and let you know of a computer program I have written for the 48K Spectrum aimed at players of It’s a Crime! The program is a turf mapper, which I am selling for just £1 including postage. If any CRASH readers are interested then I will send them their copy as soon as possible after I receive their request.
A Bosey

Seems a fair enough offer; Andrew appears genuine (he sent me a copy of the program) — why not try it?


Dear Brendon,
Although I enjoy playing It’s A Crime, much of my pleasure is removed by the constant presence of input errors: at the moment, KJC are averaging an error per turn! These errors are costing me (and probably others) time, money and wasted moves... believe it or not. I am not too happy.

Besides this problem, I feel a fallacy exists over the supposed cost of this game — 62.5 pence? No way, Jose! To play the game properly one must pay at least £1.30 per turn. Cheap? Not really.

All said and done, I’d just like to point out that I do enjoy reading your column, which has introduced me to an enjoyable hobby.
A Watson

I quite agree with your comments about the cost of playing IAC — it is not really such a cheap game to play is it? As for the input errors; well maybe some are GM orientated, but are you certain that your order sheet is legible? KJC may not be entirely to blame, you know. Has any one else had trouble with IAC input errors?