About The Diplomatic Pouch

Manus Hand, Publisher

Here We Are Again...

Welcome back once more to The Pouch. We're now entering our second dozen issues, as strong as or stronger than ever. Let's see what we have in the way of news.

First off, the Fall Retreat issue (which you now behold) has traditionally been the lightest issue in terms of contributions. (Indeed, recall that last year, The Pouch skipped its first -- and so far, only -- issue due to a lack of articles.) Up until only a couple days before the 31 October publication date this time, I was looking at spending a paragraph or two in this "About" column lamenting the dearth of contributions. For a long time, all this issue sported was my own Sherlock Holmes article (which I hope you enjoy -- I enjoyed writing it so much that even if no other articles were submitted, this issue would have been published just to puzzle you with Holmes and Watson's latest adventure).

Luckily, the public lament proved to be unnecessary, since these last weeks (and especially the last few days!) have seen a number of sudden contributions, with the result being that this issue is quite respectable indeed, especially for a Retreat issue. Not that a proper (and oft-repeated) begging for articles can't be stated anyway -- remember, the year's big finale, the W1997A issue, is due out in less than two months -- and, of course, I'm just the man to state it. So consider it stated.

As I was saying, though, this article is nicely filled out with what I consider to be a very good mix of articles. With this issue, The Pouch sets a landmark: for the first time, an article appears that was authored by someone with a Y-chromosome deficiency. Yes, a female contributor -- Caitlin Glasson of the Cat23 crowd -- finally graces these pages!

DP Council News

It has recently become an essential part of the "About" column to devote some space to the goings-on in the other (non-Zine) sections of The Pouch, and this time is no different, because there have been a fair number of worthy accomplishments.

Perhaps the most important news is that Ry4an ("the guy with the '4' in his name") Brase has joined the DP Council to take charge of the Showcase section. If you haven't checked it out yet, you should do so. The Showcase is finally on its way to fulfilling the charter we set for it so long ago, and credit is due to Ry4an. He is always looking for game ideas and actual games to feature in the Showcase, so please get in touch with him to assist in the establishment of the definitive site for educating and entertaining games.

In other news, Tim ("Unkindest Cut") Richardson is stepping up his efforts with the Face to Face section. Spurred on by such impressive names as Buz Eddy, Tim is intent on providing the results of all World and Continental Championship tournaments.

Speaking of the FTF championships, The Pouch has promised to make big and repeated pushes for attendance at the next World Dip Con (May 22-24, 1998 at Chapel Hill, North Carolina). Although this little mention here isn't much of a push, expect that event to get a lot of ink as it approaches. I enjoyed myself so immensely at World DipCons VI and VII -- as the faithful reader knows -- that I will definitely be at the next one and I hope to see as many Pouch readers as possible there. So please start making your plans to attend!

One final point about the most recent championship. Larry Peery took a whole host of excellent photographs -- all of which came out much better than those I took and which I presented in the last issue to accompany my own ramblings about the event. He sent them to me soon after his return to the States, and I promptly changed jobs and misplaced them, even going so far as to forget that I ever got them. Well, I recently came across them and with apologies to the readership and especially to Larry, I plan to scan them in and put them up retroactively in the appropriate spots. Hopefully by the time you read the next "About" column, visions of Goteborg will adorn these pages, and I'll be sure to let you all know....

Additionally, work has been furthered to make the American Diplomacy Rating system available through The Pouch. You'll be able to get your player rating, just like in chess. Watch it go up or -- God forbid -- down when sanctioned events are reported through the Website. Note that although this work will begin in the FTF section, separate ratings will be provided for PBM and PBEM play as well!

As the Year Nears Its End...

The online player ratings will probably not make it to The Pouch until the new year dawns. As the long-time reader knows, the new year has traditionally been a time of great change for The Pouch, so this fits right in. However, we're breaking tradition just a bit by letting some of the plans out of the bag. Now that we've tipped our hand with the plans for the rating system, why stop there? In fact, are two good reasons to spill the beans a little more.

First among these reasons is that for one thing, we are not sure what all the readership would like to see, so if you have any ideas for what you would like to see at The Pouch next year, this is your chance to let us know. We obviously can't make any promises, except to do all we can to make The Pouch all it can be for every player. So it you have a particular interest in seeing, for example, the Openings Library made to come alive so that you can use a Web form to select the Spring 1901 movements of each of a power's units and be told all about that opening (an example I bring up because it is something I have wanted myself to implement for a long time now), drop us a line and make your feelings known.

Now for the Other Bean-Spilling Reason...

As you probably know, I and others have long been advocates of the creation of a set of Internet Diplomacy Awards. The pioneers who created the Hobby from nothing deserve to be remembered and those who further it each year deserve to be rewarded. After promising in repeated issues to get around to creating such a set of awards, I am now proud to announce the forthcoming institution of The Diplomatic Pouch Internet Diplomacy Awards.

Simon Szykman, Jamie McQuinn, and I have been working on the awards procedure and have come up with the following:

Why spill the beans early on this one, though? Simple. Because the awards have not been named yet. We have some fairly solid ideas of the categories, and even in whose honor they should be named, but the voting this year (1997) will be to name the awards and the categories to be awarded.

The awards set, then, will be announced in the Winter Adjustment issue of this year, so if you have any idea on the awards set and who should be permanently enshrined by naming an award in their honor, send your suggestions now to the DP Council. Decision of the Council is final on this one, but we may choose to actually grant the awards ex post facto to those who have served the hobby in years past and who would have deserved the award had it existed.

To those readers who may be concerned that the Internet Diplomacy Awards discussed here are in any way meant to "snub" the existing set of Hobby Awards (on whose committee I myself sit, as a matter of fact), I hope that I can assure you that this is as far from the truth as possible. The Internet game does indeed have need for singularly unique award categories, and it is mainly to serve these interests that the awards are being created.


And here I thought that this "About" column would be one of the shorter ones I've written! It wasn't at all, was it? But well, it's finished now, and so you are now finally freed to peruse the latest collection of articles that is The Pouch Zine. As always, I hope you enjoy each and every word.

Manus Hand

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