PBEM COMMUNITIES IN 2007:
THE YEAR IN REVIEW

by Chris Dziedzic


Last year, I wrote a column for the Diplomatic Pouch tracking the game starts in three prominent PBEM communities in 2006. Why? First, I remain a big fan of old fashioned PBEM diplomacy games. I have always preferred them to the play on various automated judges. I think play by e-mail allows for much more creativity and flexibility by both the game masters and the players involved. PBEM games allow for all sorts of press, analysis and commentary to come out simultaneously with an adjudication. This is a great addition to any gaming experience. There are also reduced reliability or accessibility issues with PBEM games. All anyone is needs is a private e-mail account, and there is no judge program to go down.

In this increasingly automated world, games on the various judges are often easier to find and join than games in a non-judge PBEM community. What kinds of opportunities are available to play PBEM diplomacy games? I again perused the records of three different English language PBEM communities that I am familiar with: Cat23, the Diplomatic Corp, and DipWorld. Each has a navigable archive of game results. I compiled data on all 2007 game starts in those three communities.


Cat23

I am proud to say that I got my first dipping experience in the Cat23 community back in 2000 and 2001 when I first started playing games of Diplomacy on line. Because of that personal history, I still have a strong affinity for this forum, despite the gradual decline in the number of games and players within it. This community uses a number of list serves, one for new game announcements, and others for season by season result postings. Looking over the twenty one game starts from 2007 in the Cat23 community, this is what we have…

Game NumberVariantStarted… Game NumberVariantStarted…
CAT 1252StandardMarch 2007 CAT 1263StandardJune 2007
CAT 1253StandardMarch 2007 CAT 1264ImperialJune 2007
CAT 1254ChromaticMarch 2007 CAT 1265StandardJune 2007
CAT 1255ChromaticMarch 2007 CAT 1266ColonialJuly 2007
CAT 1256StandardApril 2007 CAT 1267StandardJuly 2007
CAT 1257GunboatApril 2007 CAT 1268StandardJuly 2007
CAT 1258Crystal BallApril 2007 CAT 1269StandardJuly 2007
CAT 1259ModernApril 2007 CAT 1270StandardAugust 2007
CAT 1260StandardMay 2007 CAT 1271StandardOctober 2007
CAT 1261GunboatMay 2007 CAT 1272StandardOctober 2007
CAT 1262StandardJune 2007 



Diplomatic Corp

The Diplomatic Corp is a slightly newer PBEM community. It is also one of the most active communities in 2007. Forty seven games were started in this community last year. The Diplomatic Corp has a well maintained, user friendly and attractive website. It is quite easy to scour the results of archived games. I would recommend this community to any Dip Pouch author who likes to research and write 'zine articles, because the information to be mined there is extensive. There is no better place to start such a project than by looking at the archived results to get some statistics. Reviewing those forty seven game starts from 2007 in the Diplomatic Corp community, we see…

Game NumberVariantStarted… Game NumberVariantStarted…
DC99SeismicMay 2007 DC123SengokuAugust 2007
DC100StandardFebruary 2007 DC124StandardSeptember 2007
DC1011900May 2007 DC125JihadOctober 2007
DC102StandardMay 2007 DC126StandardOctober 2007
DC103StandardMay 2007 DC127StandardOctober 2007
DC104StandardMay 2007 DC128StandardOctober 2007
DC105Ancient MedJune 2007 DC129StandardOctober 2007
DC106AberrationJune 2007 DC130Imperial 1840October 2007
DC107StandardJune 2007 DC131South AmericaNovember 2007
DC108Crystal BallJune 2007 DC132StandardNovember 2007
DC109Ancient WorldJune 2007 DC133StandardNovember 2007
DC110ImperialJune 2007 DC134Wheel of TimeNovember 2007
DC111StandardJune 2007 DC135StandardNovember 2007
DC112StandardJuly 2007 DC136StandardNovember 2007
DC113StandardJuly 2007 DC137GunboatNovember 2007
DC114StandardJuly 2007 DC138Fallen American EmpireDecember 2007
DC115Double DiplomacyJuly 2007 DC139Ancient MedDecember 2007
DC116StandardJuly 2007 DC140StandardDecember 2007
DC117StandardAugust 2007 DC141StandardDecember 2007
DC118Fog of WarAugust 2007 DC142StandardDecember 2007
DC119StandardAugust 2007 DC143EngineerDecember 2007
DC120StandardAugust 2007 DC144StandardDecember 2007
DC121StandardAugust 2007 DC145StandardDecember 2007
DC122Fog of WarAugust 2007 



DipWorld

DipWorld is another one of the classic PBEM communities I researched for this study. Thirty four games were started in this community in 2006. Similar to the Diplomatic Corp, DipWorld also has an attractive and easily navigable website. Here are the twenty three DipWorld community game starts in 2007…

Game NumberVariantStarted… Game NumberVariantStarted…
DW409GunboatJanuary 2007 DW421Ancient MedMay 2007
DW410GunboatJanuary 2007 DW422Standard 7 year maxMay 2007
DW411StandardFebruary 2007 DW423Standard 7 year maxMay 2007
DW412StandardMarch 2007 DW424Standard 7 year maxMay 2007
DW413Standard 7 year maxMarch 2007 DW425Standard 7 year maxMay 2007
DW414Standard 7 year maxMarch 2007 DW426Standard 7 year maxMay 2007
DW415Standard 7 year maxMarch 2007 DW427Standard 7 year maxMay 2007
DW416Standard 7 year maxMarch 2007 DW428Standard 7 year maxMay 2007
DW417Standard 7 year maxMarch 2007 DW429WorldOctober 2007
DW418Standard 7 year maxMarch 2007 DW430StandardAugust 2007
DW419Standard 7 year maxMarch 2007 DW431Standard???
DW420StandardMay 2007 

So what are players in our hobby choosing for their gaming experience? It appears that standard Diplomacy is still the "standard" for most players. Over 60% of the games in the three PBEM communities studied above were games of standard Diplomacy. As far as map variants are concerned, the ones that were played multiple times within these three communities in the year 2007 were Ancient Mediterranean, Chromatic, and Imperial.

Letís also take a moment and the timing of game starts in each of the three communities throughout the year 2007…

 
 Jan FebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Cat23004424410200
Diplomatic Corp010057571677
DipWorld118090010100
Total111241611991977
 
Game starts by month in the Cat23, Diplomatic Corp and DipWorld communities

Generally, new game starts are pretty consistent throughout the year in each of the three communities. The only real decline appears to be in January and February to start off the year. This is a bit surprising. I would have expected that after the Holiday Season and with a long cold winter ahead, that there would have been a flurry of game starts in those first couple of calendar months.

Admittedly, this is just a small sample of the numerous PBEM communities out there in our hobby. I have chosen these three communities for study each of the last two years because they are all Anglophone communities with which I am familiar and could easily navigate within their websites and listserves to obtain the relevant information. Iím certain there are French and German and Spanish (etc.) language PBEM communities, as well as other English language communities. I would ask other readers of and contributors to the Pouch, who are familiar with these other communities, to prepare a similar treatment about opportunities and trends in PBEM play.

Chris Dziedzic
(dipping_chris@yahoo.com)

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