About The Diplomatic Pouch

Manus Hand, Publisher

Another Late Issue!

Yeah, I know, I'm a slacker. There are a number of reasons why this issue is so very late getting to you. But the good thing is, I'm not going to spend any more of your time by telling you what they are.

Let's Get Right To It

Yes, that's right. I'm going to make this the shortest "About The Pouch" ever, and get out of your way so you can get to the issue. I only have a couple of things to say....

What's Up With the Ratings?

Having sparked the liveliest debate in a long time on the rec.games.diplomacy newsgroup with the PBEM Player Ratings system announced in the last issue (a debate I've started many times before, always to kind of throw up my hands that no solution could be decided on), the PBEM system is now out of commission! Why? Well, not (as some might think) because the YARS rating system fell out of favor with me and not even because I was getting sick of all the messages about it. No, unfortunately, the system is currently down because when Doug Massey (to whom I am very grateful) sent in 1100 games culled from the Hall of Fame, the rating system code I wrote couldn't handle the load. It is a relatively simple thing to do to re-code it so it can handle the load, but I haven't done it. I put getting the Zine out at a higher priority, and we all see how quickly that got done!

In the meantime, as you will read in this issue, some consensus was reached by those involving themselves in the ratings system discussion, and a chessish ("Elo-like") rating system has been devised. Two intrepid coders are hard at work (right, guys?) getting this ready, and it will be put up here at The Pouch as soon as it is.

Anything Else?

Not much. I'm about to turn you loose on the articles. I just wanted to say that this issue is the largest retreat issue ever, so don't complain about the tardiness too much. In it I have packed all the articles sent for the too-full S1998M issue, and all those sent for this issue. I've decided not to hold any back (except an article on Stephen Koehler's "Migraine" variant, which is sadly now twice-delayed, this time because I'm waiting on a new map for it). Oh, and I'm also holding back on all the cool articles I myself have authored (because I haven't authored them yet, dang it!). With just this little held back, though, guess what? I'm going to need articles for the next issue, so gentlemen, start your fingers.

I would be remiss if I ended even this brief article without mentioning that this issue of The Pouch owes itself to a team of no less than ten different volunteers who labored to pre-edit the articles for me. Thanks, you guys!

Okay, that's it from the publisher's desk. (A publisher who can humbly say he is a member of the World Championship Team and who individually came fifth at the world championships. Oh wait; I guess I can't say that very humbly. No matter.)

Enjoy The Pouch!

Manus Hand

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