Hi, my name is Heath Gardner, and I love to play Diplomacy. I also love to read about Diplomacy, which is why I've been a fan of this zine since I joined the hobby a decade ago. Edi sounded the call for assistance as he was stepping down, so I offered to assist in whatever way I could... and got the editorship in return. Go figure, right? I wasn't really expecting that to happen, anyway. Unfortunately, I can't enjoy the post for very long — with grad school on the horizon, I'm not sure I want to commit past August — but I want to do all I can in this brief period to A) produce quality issues of the Zine and B) if possible, figure out who is going to succeed me as Editor and make sure he (or she) comfortably understands the task and how to go about completing it. And, you know, I'll still try to be involved in the Zine as much as time permits after I start grad school, be it through editorial assistance or writing articles, but I'm just not sure how much time is going to permit.
But that's getting ahead of ourselves... so here it is, the first issue compiled entirely by the new DipPouch team! We hope that you'll find it entertaining and informative. I've had a lot of fun working on this so far, and have learned a heck of a lot in the process. Hopefully it'll be comparably fun to read...
Since this issue is one of "beginnings" — not only is it the Spring issue, the first issue of 2007, but also the first issue produced by this editorial team — we decided on a mini-theme of "First Games" for a few of our articles this time. Charles Roburn even designed a new index icon for First Game stories, so there's no getting around making it a recurring feature now! If you'd like to share the story of your first game, send it on our way and we'll find a place for it. We also have several fascinating variant articles, including a continuation of Baron Powell's Gamer's Guide to 1900!
Fun fact: of the First Game stories we're running in this issue, all three prominently feature Edi Birsan in one way or another. Granted, one of them is by the man himself, but his role in the other two stories demonstrate a little bit of the scope of his presence in this hobby. Edi, I've said it before and I'll say it again: it is a real honor to be succeeding you as Editor, and big thanks from all of us for the work you put in last year.
In addition to the guidance provided by Edi, several other people have offered invaluable assistance and advice as we've tried to learn the ins and outs of the formatting, accessing the server, networking with as many hobbyists as possible, and all the other good stuff that goes into making the Zine work. Right off the bat I must thank Assistant Editor Charles Roburn for his great effort, which began months ago, in working with me to bring this together. Charles has taken the lead on a number of things that have turned out to be wonderfully productive. He is a huge asset to the Zine and I hope you'll take a minute to help me thank him for all he's done. I don't know if he wants it, but he'd be a great pick for the next Editor-in-Chief. Big thanks also due to David Norman for taking quite a bit of time to walk me through several tricky issues, like accessing the DipPouch server to upload articles and other technical concerns. David has offered helpful advice on a number of other issues from formatting to subject matter. And of course, I'd like to thank the Editor emeritus, founder of the Diplomatic Pouch and spiritual leader of the shadowy group known as the Dip Council, Manus Hand. Not only does he have arguably the best name in the Diplomacy hobby, none of this would be here without all the work he did. Thanks, Manus!
Yes, the Diplomatic Pouch has come a long way since Manus first started it. The addition of the DPJudge guaranteed this site a long future as one of the most, if not the most vital site to the Diplomacy hobby. The other resources offered by the Pouch are as useful as ever. It is the goal of the incoming editors to keep the Zine section of the site as, well, alive as the rest of it.
To be completely honest, the future of this wonderful Zine of ours is, to employ a well-worn cliche, "only what we (the readers) make it." This resource has been and can still be great, it can encourage new participants in the hobby, it can provide those of us already in the hobby with nice reading material and some new strategic ideas. But this is all dependent upon your help. So please, send us your articles on anything Diplomacy-related. I will repeat this plea all over the place — prepare yourselves!
If you want to write an article but don't know where to get started, Charles or I would be more than happy to help jumpstart your creative process with some possible topics. Sometimes even just an e-mail dialogue discussing the merits or shortfalls of a recently-published article is all it takes to begin a new one! So don't hesitate to e-mail us for either of those reasons.
Enjoy The Pouch — there should be plenty here for a couple months' worth of leisurely reading — and after you do, check back here promptly on May 31st for the S2007R issue!
If you wish to e-mail feedback on this article to the author, and clicking on the envelope above does not work for you, feel free to use the "Dear DP..." mail interface.