PBM Mailbox

Here’s another extra large portion of PBM news ’n’ views. This month Brendon Kavanagh gets wind of the next PBM convention, samples some Arcadian delights, and still manages to talk diplomatically!


Arcadia is a computer moderated PBM wargame with strong fantasy and roleplaying features. Run by Jade Games on an Atari ST, Arcadia’s flexible software can hold up to 30 players who roleplay as tribe leaders in the land of Arcadia.

At the start of the game, you receive a large wall map of the Arcadian landscape. You must design your character and your tribe, and then choose your preferred starting place from any of the map’s 1575 locations. Here the GMs will place your home city, which you must use and defend. The aim is to use diplomacy and your armies to capture the other players’ cities, as well as the non player cities. No easy task, believe me!


Existing in the game environment are 90 player armies (three per player), 30 player cities, several computer-controlled cities, many computer-controlled characters and armies (to befriend, if you can trust them!), wozums (friendly but rare birds used for spying and scouting), and the Rocs. Hmmm, the Rocs. Rocs are not very nice birds at all. Rocs are dim. Rocs are mean. Rocs read BANG. And when Rocs are hungry, Rocs eat wozums.


Magic exists in Arcadia in the form of ancient spells located in secret places about the land. Magic is a mysterious feature: it is very dangerous, powerful and rare. So be warned.


Being a fantasy wargame, combat is a major feature of Arcadia. Combat resolution is no simple task since the GM takes several things into account, such as your army design, magic and the season.

The army movement system is neat and efficient, allowing your armies to make detailed manoeuvres during any one turn. This makes multi-army battles very tactical indeed.


As in most good PBM games, the clever use of trade can strengthen your armies and it can also help you gain alliances. If you make a weaker player than yourself reliant upon you for food, then there is little immediate danger of him suddenly stabbing you in the back. Trading is done by using your armies, which makes them rather handy.


Arcadia is a fairly low-priced PBM game to play and is proving quite popular in the UK. The startup package is very good by PBM standards and the game itself is great value: a Freepost address (no stamps needed for UK players), long printouts (later in the game being as long as 20 A4 sheets or more), and no hidden costs!

The four GMs of Jade Games are real enthusiasts who appears at many of the British FRP Games Days with their PBM and FRP service offerings. They ensure that Arcadia is a well run, fast moving and well thought out game which encourages diplomacy as well as strong tactics. If you are thinking of joining another PBM game, why not try it?

A startup in Arcadia costs £5.00, but CRASH readers who send Jade Games the voucher printed on this page can startup for only £3.50. This fee includes the rulebook, first move, poster, a 20x30 wall map, and two free turns. Turns cost £1.50 (including Freepost) thereafter. Write to Jade Games to take advantage of this offer.


Yes, folks, its here again (cue fanfare): the British PBM Convention. Loyal CRASH readers will remember that back in February of this year, John ‘where’s the bar?’ Minson visited the First British PBM Convention in the Socialist Republic of Islington to learn all about the extraordinary world of Play By Mail gaming.

Mike McGarry has just dropped me a line to inform us all of the Second British PBM Convention, to be held at the Porchester Hall, London WE2 (near Paddington Station) on Saturday February 7, 1987. All of the major, and most of the minor, PBM companies will be there to chat with their punters, and other features will include demonstration games, contact boards and — yes, John — a bar.

The last convention was a great day out for PBMers young and old and I am certain that this will be just as enjoyable — I hope to see you there!