If you have played Dip for as long as I have (admittedly, on and off) then there wonít be much that surprises you. Someone actually trying the Yorkshire Pudding, perhaps, but not much else. Finding a fleet in Paris doesnít even surprise me any more — but Iíll explain why later.
In this case, however, A Fleet in Paris! isnít an improbable situation but the title of my new eZine. Does the Hobby need a new zine? Possibly not, although of the various lists of zines Iíve found in different places I found only three where the link actually worked or the zine seemed to be running, and I already look at two of those three semi-regularly. Also, there were other reasons for starting a new zine.
To cut a long story short, I have been thinking about running a zine for a while and finally got around to doing it. But cutting things short isnít my style so a little about what I do with regard to Dip first.
Having been around the Hobby for a while (in my early 20s I purchased a new Dip game and found a flyer in it for a postal zine with no name; I sent my details off and found myself subscribing to the zine that would become Danny Collmanís ďSpringboardĒ from issue #1) I came across a site a few years back that offered Dip on the internet. I am now an Administrator on PlayDiplomacy.com... I can hear the sharp intakes of breath from here: web-based Dip! Just hold off from sending the exorcist after me for a minute.
Having played Dip on the site for a number of years, having hunted cheaters for slightly shorter and having administered the siteís Forum (I think some of you might be surprised by the depth on the Forum, by the way) for over a year now I was aware of the fact that players on the site are pretty much insulated from other sections of the Hobby. Edi Birsan has played Dip there (a fair while ago now, admittedly) and we have some members who have experience of other Dip-playing media, but in general many members have found PlayDip and simply stuck with it. Of course, thereís nothing wrong with that but — as religion proves — when a group develops in isolation, problems occur.
One of the aims I have for the new zine is that it brings a little exposure to the wider Hobby for members of PlayDip. That doesnít mean the zine is a PlayDip zine, it isnít. Initially the articles in A Fleet in Paris! will be from PlayDip members, simply because it is easier for me to hassle them to do something than to hassle anyone else. What I hope for, however, is that the zine will attract a wider audience and that Dip players from other media — whether judges or PBEM, FTF or convention players — will get involved. I want to show that there is a wider hobby out there (as well as trying to do away with the demonization of Dip websites).
So, on to the practical bits. As I write this (Sunday 7 April) the zine is weeks away from being published. As you are reading this (if you still are) it should be out there. It can be downloaded from http://playdipcomnotice.wix.com/afleetinparis or I can send a copy by email from email@example.com — just email and ask. The site is really just a publishing tool. The zine can be downloaded from the front page. It will also store back issues, and there are information pages with links to Dip sites and zines. Oh, just go and take a look.
And thatís it. Give the zine a try. You might not like it, you might not want to contribute to it, but give it a look. You may also want to give it a try for a few issues (see how optimistic I am?) and even suggest bits I could add to it. Donít expect any games — thatís what PlayDiplomacy.com is for! Ah, yes — why A Fleet in Paris! as a name? On PlayDip, when a unit is dislodged from Picardy, the coordinates for placing the unit waiting to receive a retreat order seem to place it in Paris. When this was discovered (it happens on the siteís standard map) it caused a lot of confusion, especially when the dislodged unit was a fleet. We did consider changing this but have grown quite fond of the in-Seine-ity of it.
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