About The Diplomatic Pouch

Manus Hand, Publisher

Well, here we are again. Before turning you loose to dive into the fine assortment of articles we have this issue, there are a few things to report in the way of progress. So let's get right to them and dispense with the preliminaries as quickly as possible, shall we?

Here at The Pouch...

As you may have noticed, the Pouch has changed just a little bit. Starting with the front page, a few little graphic changes were made here and there. Just a mini-facelift. Not a lot, but we hope you like the new look.

We've also started to put some serious effort into the other sections of The Pouch. For example, look for the unveiling of World and Continental championship tournament results from past years -- coming soon. We're also looking to finally get the Showcase section moving. Anyone who wishes to volunteer to be the councillor for the Showcase section is welcome to apply. We can provide you with instant fame, fortune, and editing tasks. Well, okay, no fortune, but two out of three ain't bad, right?


Between issues, I was able to spend some time putting together what I call "Payola Central" (I'm not crazy about the name), the Website for information on and for the players of the Payola variant. If you get a chance, check it out. It completely automates the play of the variant, which not only took a load of work off my (and other Master's) shoulders, but, well, makes me feel real good. I spend a lot of time at the site (for no particular reason), and it proved a valuable resource for the first article in Frank Mayer's new column series, which you can find in this issue of The Zine.

Hobby Awards

I was honored earlier this year to be put onto the Hobby Awards committee. (As if that wasn't honor enough, I can now say that I've received mail from hobby legend Melinda Holley, the chairperson of the committee.) The first order of business after I joined was the taking of a number of votes, some of which concerned how the awards committee should consider the PBEM hobby.

The hobby awards had always been PBM-centric (until last year, when I was completely shocked to be nominated for and then actually to receive the Don Miller Memorial Award). I found that the other committee members were still very much in the dark when it came to PBEM Diplomacy. In fact, this was one reason I was asked to sit on the committee. I had to correct an unfortunate misapprehension that there is no literary contribution by electronic Zines. I like to think that the Zine you see before you is a very strong counter-example.

The result of the votes was that PBEM hobby activity will be eligible for certain of the awards (most notably, the Rod Walker award for literary work) beginning next year. In the meantime, the nominations for the current year came out and all the Rod Walker nominees were for articles in Diplomacy World.

Personally, I still feel that both hobbies would be served well by the addition of some new PBEM-only awards, and I hope to create such a set soon. Not to distance the PBEM hobby from the PBM hobby, but to ensure that those who contribute to the hobby at large have ample chance for recognition.

I've been over this once before, in a previous "About The Pouch" article, so at least the thought is still alive. Someday, hopefully soon, you'll see some action from me on this point. Anyone who is interested in helping is invited to drop me a line.

On a related note, I confess that I don't understand the Runestone Poll, since The Pouch made a respectable debut appearance last year (surprising me by even being on the list) but doesn't show up anywhere this year. Perhaps there is a nomination process I don't know about, or perhaps the Runestone Poll has decided to concentrate only on all the fine work being done in the Postal 'zines.

The Pouch's World Champ

A couple weeks ago, DipCon XXXI was held in Seattle (look for the results, to be posted in the Face-to-Face section soon). A new North American Champion, Chris Mazza, was crowned there, meaning that Pitt Crandlemire, The Pouch's "Big Dipper," no longer holds that title. (His hold on the World Championship expired in Goteborg -- read about my own experiences there elsewhere in this issue).

Pitt would have been on-hand to defend his North American Championship in Seattle had he not been laid up by ill health. At the time of this writing, Pitt is still recovering with some difficulty (you will notice that there is no "Big Dipper" column in the current issue).

What I would like to ask is that each and every Pouch reader -- and there are thousands of you -- flood Pitt's e-mail account with your best wishes for his speedy return to health. Let the past World and North American Champion know that the hobby's thoughts are with him. Pitt's e-mail address is pittc@syncon.com, and I would greatly appreciate your sending him a note. I know he will too.

And Finally, the Usual

Thanks once again to Simon! I found myself overly busy last time around, and the best I could do for the last issue was hunt down a pack of volunteer editors and mail Simon every so often while he published the issue. I know you've all heard many times that I honestly couldn't do what I do without Simon's help, and this is proven once again by the fact that he often does it all and I do very little. This was the case last time and I truly can't thank him (and the volunteer editors) enough.

I'm glad to be able to climb back in the publisher's chair that he kept so warm for me last time, and, as always, I hope you enjoy the latest issue of the Pouch Zine.

Manus Hand

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