by Stephen Agar
[This is an incomplete project – but as time allows it will be extended]
Abode Of The Abnormal Abbott
Editor: Jan Niechwiadowicz (Shrewbury, Shropshire)
Issues: 1-19. (Jan 88 – Dec 89)
Zine Poll: (88)49th; (89)46th
Started life as Everything you ever wanted to know about the British Postal gaming hobby etc. but was soon re-launched as AAA. This zine was a hobby news zine, with listings of zines, events, etc. and the odd hobby history article thrown in. No games. In its middle issues it was quite presentable, thanks mainly to the inclusion of Blue Smarties as a sub-zine (which soon went solo). Although AAA‘s impact on the hobby was not substantial, it is of interest to hobby historians thanks to the interesting zine stats that Jan published.
Editor: Adrian Zawierka (Telford, Shropshire)
Issues: 1-7 (Mar 85 – Dec 85)
Zine Poll: N/A
Difficult to say much about this zine as there are only 3 issues in the Archive and I suspect that it folded after issue 7 (or issue -267, as Adrian started at -273 and counted backwards). Mimeo, A4 and a little odd for a Dip zine in that it has a bit of fiction, poetry etc. in it, but no editorial, letters etc. or any general discussion at all. A zine out of Warwick University. The Archive is missing issues 4-7.
Editor: Gordon McDonald (Limavardy, Co. Londonderry)
Issues: 1-50 (Mar 87 – Apr 93)
Zine Poll: (87)30th; (88)33rd; (89)22nd; (90)16th; (91)29th; (92)23rd
Started life as a sub-zine in Lost Cause which folded itself after only 8 issues, so Ac-Mong went solo at issue 8. Gordon took on the Walamalaysia Gazette orphans early on, but what distinguished the zine was Gordon’s articles on all aspects of history and his tendency to run several historical variants. Ac-Mong also took on the Veni Vidi Vici subbers after the Blue Smarties fiasco and even briefly had Smodnoc within its pages. Gordon announced the fold a few issues in advance, and the remains of the zine became a sub-zine in Borealis. Tragically, Gordon’s wife Pho died soon after the fold leaving Gordon to care for their small children.
Action Not Words
Editor: David Hewitt (Nelson, Lancs.)
I know very little about this zine, as it was primarily concerned with live RPGs and I only have a copy of issue 0, but it did intend to have a Diplomacy section to be run by Phil Ralph. Anyone know anything?
Editor: Andy Hain (Kingston upon Thames, Surrey)
Zine Poll: N/A
Basically a soccerleague zine which happened to run the odd game of Diplomacy and occasionally a variant.
Editor: Pete Tamlyn (Aylesbury, Bucks)
Issues 1-60 (Jan 80 – Aug 85)
Zine Poll: (80)12th; (81)13th; (82)4th; (83)3rd; (84)7th
Originally a Southampton Univ. zine conceived to keep the players in Pete’s FRP campaign together (and called Apocalypse for its first 5 issues), The Acolyte turned into a mainstream Dip zine which for a time helped to bring together the PBM and FRP hobbies. The good Zine Poll results speak for themselves. A big A4 mimeo zine which ran a wide mix of games, with lots of articles (mainly FRP) and letters, The Acolyte folded when Pete got pissed off with all the work and the perceived hostile attitude of a few others in the hobby (especially Brian Dolton), though to be fair Pete could give as good as he took. Towards the end carried John Norris’s Heimskringla as a sub-zine.
Editor: Steve Pratt (Twickenham, Middlesex)
Issues: 1-33 (Nov 75 – Mar 78)
Zine Poll: (76)6th; (77)8th; (78)17th
Steve started out running Fireblight, a Mercator sub-zine in Yggdarsil, but branched out after 5 issues. Soon picked up most of the Rocinante games and re-started the long dormant Bolshevik Star and Our ‘Enry orphans. Laurence Parrott’s Nitehawk became a sub-zine in issue 4 (to carry Soccerboss) and went independent after AN No.22. Towards the end Ad Nauseam got less reliable, so Steve announced an intention to fold after issue 31 and did so two issues later.
Age Of Reason
Editor: Andrew Moss (Ormskirk, Lancashire)
Issues: 1-25 (Sep 91 – Mar 94)
Zine Poll: (91)33rd; (92)7th, (93)10th
Originally this zine was a joint enterprise between Andrew (editor) and Garry Lea (publisher). It was printed as an A4 booklet to a high standard, but Garry became disenchanted and dropped out of the zine after issue 14. To begin with the zine was laid out like a newspaper with fake stories based on the games etc., but this proved too original and in time the zine reverted to something more conventional. Andrew did a lot to help advertise the hobby in 1991-92 and was responsible for bringing many people into the hobby. Neil Duncan’s The Cunning Plan was a variant subszine from issue 11 and Neil took over the games when Andrew folded.
Aide De Camp
Editor: Douglas Mills (Stockport, Cheshire)
Issues: 1-10 (Jul 77 – Sep 78)
Zine Poll: N/A
This zine was the “official publication of the International Co-Sim Group”, being produced by ex-pat Douglas Mills from Brussels for the first 6 issues. The ICG was a wargames and Diplomacy organisation founded in Brussels, by the merger of the Gettysburg wargames club and the International Wargames Group. Once Douglas returned to the UK he made some tentative contact with the mainstream UK hobby, but the zine slowed down and only just made its first birthday folding after issue 10.
Albatross / Comorant / Astradyne
Editor: Paul Humphreys, Ian Lee (Basildon, Essex)
Issues: 1 – 105+ (Jul 76 – Mar 89+)
Zine Poll: (77)38th; (78)28th; (79)=25th
A mimeo Diplomacy zine founded by schoolboy Paul Humphreys (Paul had previously edited a school diplomacy zine called The Stab in the Back). His school friend Ian Lee took over from issue 12 and started to concentrate more and more on soccerleague (which first appeared in issue 14 and dominated the zine almost immediately). Paul Humphreys continued to have a sub-zine in Albatross called Child in Time. Ian renamed the zine Comorant at issue 13, but reverted to Albatross at issue 17, going A5 litho the following issue. Albatross was always a bit on the fringes of the hobby and the butt of many jokes, partly due to the dominance of the soccerleague and partly for inefficiency. The first 13 issues of Dave Thorby’s Walamalyasia Gazette first appeared as an Albatross sub-zine starting at issue 3, and was accompanied the following issue by a sub-zine from Richard Nash called UKDA PF. From issue 35 Albatross carried no Diplomacy at all and at issue 41 the name of the zine was changed to Astradyne. The last issue I have a copy of is Astradyne 105 (March 1989).
Editor: Don Turnbull (Coton, Cambs.)
Issues: 1 – 50 (July 1969 – Jan 75)
Zine Poll: N/A
Famous as the first ever Diplomacy zine published in the UK, issue 1 appearing on 2nd July 1969. Don had contacts with the US hobby through his wargaming interests as so started Albion with a small readership taken from the Avalon Hill International Kriegspiel Society (AHIKS). The zine too quite a while to really get going and for some time circulation stayed in the 20’s. After issue 21 Don put all the Diplomacy games into a separate zine called Courier and issue 23 carried the news that Don had finally discovered War Bulletin, the second Dip zine in the UK. As time went on Albion had a longer and longer turnaround and the contents become more wargames orientated (Diplomacy being confined to Courier). Don planned the fold at issue 50, the final issue being 109 pages long with 17 separate articles and three complete games in separate supplements.
Editor: Der Garvey (Cork City, Eire)
Issues: 1-30 (Jan 77 – Nov 79)
Zine Poll: (79)18th
Started life as a Sauce of the Nile sub-zine, but went independent at issue 15. Always small, low circulation and badly laid out, but friendly nevertheless. Dermot was a variant freak and compiler of the World Variants list which attempted to list all known variants at the time. Der also achieved a certain notoriety for some dubious GM decisions. Suffered badly from the 1979 19 week postal strike in Eire.
Arfle Barfle Gloop
Editors: Kris & Michelle Morris (Harlow, Essex)
Issues: 1 – 63 (May 88 – Nov 94)
Zine Poll: (89)29th; (90)13th; (91)5th; (92)13th; (93)20th; (94)25th
Another zine to start life as a sub-zine, this time in issue 48 of Andy Mansfield’s Will It Lead To Trouble?. After 12 issues in WILtT, issue 12b was the first independent issue. Husband and wife teams are very rare when it comes to running a Diplomacy zine and for a long time Chris and Michele pulled it off well, sharing the GMing and admin. Had a bit of a reputation for being a little lightweight, but was a reliable zine until its last year in production when Kris had both health and personal problems which eventually lead to the zine folding. Games re-housed in Spring Offensive.
Argle Bargle / Brothers Grim
Editor: Simon Lindsay and Pete Lindsay (East Grinstead, West Sussex)
Issues: 1 – 50 (Oct 87 – June 95)
Zine Poll: (89)15th; (91)14th
Started out as a subzine in the Lankhmar Star Daily and soon became a fringe Diplomacy zine edited by Simon alone, with a lot of non-hobby chat, and soon settled down to a mix of SF, weird articles and an esoteric letters column. Sometime in the 30’s (the issues are not in the Archive) Simon was joined by his brother Pete who ran an En Garde campaign, so the name of the zine changed to the Brothers Grim (Pete had run his own Dip zine in the 70’s, called Bron Yr Aur). Often failed to qualify for the Zine Poll, but did well when it did. A good read if distinctly non-mainstream.
See Life, the Universe and A(Par)
Editor: John Morgan (Sutton, Surrey)
Issues: 1-15 (Sep 92 – Apr 95)
Zine Poll: (93)27th; (94)32nd; (95)26th
A zine which never really took off. John didn’t promote the zine very much when it started up, it took six issues to get a game of Diplomacy up and running and the game was promptly spoiled when two of the players dropped out in A02 and a third resigned. Any chance the zine had was killed off by very long turnarounds as John devoted his spare time to local politics. A promised final issue never turned up.
Editor: Trevor Mendham (Petts Wood, Kent)
Issues: 1-19+ (Jan 83 -Sep 88)
Zine Poll: (83)38th; (84)27th
A very strange Warwick University zine which although had a Diplomacy waiting list, I am not sure it ever filled. Originally the zine was intended to run primarily Superhero, but in fact it just turned into an irregular discussion zine, mainly on politics, religion and FRP. The last issue I have is No.19 which appeared after a 2 year gap. Trevor also edited the Hobby News zine School for Scandal.
Aut Vincere Aut Mori
Editor: Paul Harper and Steve Hill (Hatfield, Herts)
Issues: 1 – 18 (Aug 76 – Apr 78)
Zine Poll: (77)46th; (78)32nd
The first five issues of AVAM were spirit duplicated, but thereafter AVAM was a rather untidy mimeo. Had a few ugly feuds in its letter column (as Victor Logan a local member of the NF was an enthusiastic subber and letter writer), and didn’t generate many subscribers or gamestarts. Paul and Steve folded suddenly citing boredom and disenchantment.
Back To The Dark Ages
Editor: Richard Downes
Issues: 1-43 (Sept 84 – May 86); 44-50 (Feb 87 – Mar 88); 51-105+ (Jan 89 -)
Zine Poll: (85) 14th; (86) 27th; (94) 6th; (95) 11th (96) 9th
Started life as a computer printout zine running Diplomacy to fortnightly deadlines. Upgraded to photocopy at issue 10 and ran reliably right up to issue 32 when Richard’s duplicator broke down and the zine limped along for a while with singe-side issues.
Issue 40 also went by the name RAG (which became a monthly games zine) while the BttDA games continued fortnightly. Richard became Ryk sometime between issue 41 and issue 42. RAG continued for three issues then disappeared. After a break of 9 months Ryk reappeared with BttDA No.44, but the zine appeared haphazardly and folded after issue 50 (becoming a sub-zine in In Between Days in which Ryk ran a United League called Shadowplay). IBD only lasted another four issues before it folded itself. In due course Shadowplay became an independent zine, with BttDA being re-launched as a sub-zine some time later. This zine kept the name Shadowplay up to issue 50, but at issue 51 it promptly became BttDA No.95 (making Ryk the first person to celebrate a 50th issue and a 100th issue with the same zine only 6 issues apart).
Backstabbers United Monthly
Editor: Malcolm Cornelius
Issues: 16-84+ (Oct 88 – onwards)
Zine Poll: (93) 23rd; (94) 17th; (95) 20th (96) 10th
Chunky reliable zine which started life as a weekly game of En Garde! at Keele University (circa 1981) becoming a zine some time (85-86) after Malcolm graduated. The zine ran down slowly and after a couple of years gap, BUM was re-launched in Oct 88 at issue 16, though it didn’t really move into the hobby mainstream for a couple of years. Since then Malcolm has taken on more and more Dip and variants, to go with the other RPG in the zine, while putting the original En Garde! into a separate zine.
Editor: Dominic de Berchi
Issues: 1-12+ (July 86 – early 88)
Zine Poll: (88) 50th
Started as the games sub-zine in Dominic’s chat zine, Eliminator and became an independent zine at issue 11. Don’t think it lasted more than a handful of issues as a separate publication.
Editor: Micheal Heaton
Issues: 1-25 (June 80 – Oct 83)
Zine Poll: (81) 31st; (82) 32nd;
Possible the first word-processed zine in this Encyclopedia, but definitely not the better for it. Bats (that’s “stab” backwards, by the way) was produced at work on a mainframe using an early dot matrix printer and printed on computer paper. Intended as a Diplomacy and variants zine, Bats never really took off and was only ever a few pages long.
Editor: Don Turnbull
Issues: 1-169 (June 72 – June 74)
Zine Poll: (74) 23rd
A newsletter designed to run the first British Diplomacy Club games, Don produced a separate single page issue for every game report, hence the 169 issues in two years. After seven games got underway, it was clear that Don couldn’t keep taking new gamestarts, so other NGC zines took over.
The Beeston Beadle
Editor: Greg Hawes
Issues: 1-8 (Oct 77 – May 79)
Zine Poll: (78) 35th
Just game reports of a couple of games left over from Turn of the Screw. There was a gap of a year between issue 7 and 8.
Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Editor: Brian Dolton
Zine Poll: (89) 17th; (90) 28th
Came into being to run to completion the games from Brian’s previous zine, Lokasenna. Games only.
Editor: Will Haven
Issues: 1-50 (Mar 72-Dec 77)
Zine Poll: (74) =25th; (75) 12; (76) 27th; (77) =20th
The plan to start a zine with John Piggott having failed (Will contributed only the title, Ethil the Frog) Will started Bellicus to run games of the SPI game system Strategy 1, but it became dominated by Diplomacy and variants from issue 8. After issue 11
Bellicus split into two zines – Son of Bellicus running three-weekly Diplomacy and Bellicus proper, running other games such as S1 to six weekly deadlines. The two zines were reunited a year later in the shape of Bellicus 17. The Golden Age of Bellicus was from issue 18 to about issue 40 – large issues, lots of letters, articles, variants etc. Will had an acid style and enjoyed feuding (especially with Richard Sharp) immensely – especially during the time of Will’s anti-NGC hobby organisation the Diplomacy Federation. Declined from issue 38 onwards (when the waiting lists were closed) and folded into The Tinamou after issue 50.
Editor: Greg Hawes
Issues: 1-18 (Sept 75 – July 76)
Zine Poll: (75) =24th
A NGC Intimate Diplomacy zine which only ever carried a handful of games, it was a true carbon copy zine with a tiny circulation. Greg folded Betelgeuse into his new zine, Turn of the Screw.
Editor: Mike Woodhouse
Issues: 1-19 (Mar 81 – Feb 83)
Zine Poll: (81) 24th; (82) =22nd; (83) 46th
Got off to a good start with two gamestarts in issue 2, but always kept a low profile and never became a high circulation zine. A nice balance of chat, reviews and games in 12-14 sides per issue. After a messy fold the games went into a new zine, Newspeak.
Editor: Les Pimley
Issues: -1-17 (Feb 73 – Jan 75)
Zine Poll: (74) 14th; (75) 15th
Started life at issue -1 and was hand-written until issue 2. A mimeo zine, often poorly duplicated, not much chat (but plenty of press), it still exuded the personality of its editor. Les and Pat were famous for the Pimilicon House Cons and Pat was also a player in the first all-female postal Diplomacy game (73IL) which started in BS. Les simultaneously edited a NGC zine, Shelob’s Lair and an orphans zine, The Ultimate Chaotic Act. Les died suddenly in 1976 at the age of 31 and the Pimley Award to services to the postal hobby has been awarded more or less annually ever since.
Editor: Jeremy Snelling and others
Zine Poll: N/A
Originally a GPO House zine for the Games Club, dominated more by BT after the split. Not really part of the amateur hobby, I believe the club still exists, though only a shadow of its former glory. Don’t know if the zine survives. Does anyone know more?
Editor: Mick Haytack
Issues: 1-102+ (Aug 87 – onwards)
Zine Poll: (88) 15th; (89) 23rd; (90) 12th; (91) 11th; (92) 8th; (93) 14th; (94) 14th; (95) 19th (96) 17th
A zine which has changed very little from its first issue. Reliable multi-games zine, though mainly taken up by game reports, so there’s little time for chat. Renowned for popular music quizzes. Alan Harvey has assisted since the beginning and Paul Holgate’s sub-zine has reached 70+ issues. Bloodstock, like Hopscotch has become part of the bedrock of the postal games hobby in the 90’s.
Editor: Martin Hansen
Issues: 0, 13-14 (Dec 88 – April 90)
Zine Poll: (89) 52nd
Blue Smarties started life as a small subzine in Veni Vidi Vici No. 39 offering blue paper, gunboat Diplomacy and lots of graphics. From issue 4 it was also a subzine in the Abode of the Abominal Abbott – same material, two homes. In issue 50 of VVV Brian Frew announced that he was calling it a day and Martin was going to take on the role of editor. VVV No.51 and Blue Smarties No.13 arrived in the same envelope. In Blue Smarties No.14 Martin properly absorbed VVV as a sub-zine. And then, out of the blue, having just taken on the commitment and produced a single issue, he folded. Bravely Brian salvaged what he could passing the VVV games on the Home of the Brave, but no more was heard from Martin.
Editor: Malcolm Smith
Issues: 1 – 11 (July 1981 – December 1982); 12 – 48 (February 85 – June 89 (?))
Zine Poll: (82) =24th; (85) =72nd; (86) 41st
This is a difficult zine history to put together, as Malcolm folded at least twice and didn’t use conventional numbering. In its first incarnation BR seems to have used a straight linear numbering, but in its second run BR used the dreaded Volume system, and Malcolm seems to have changed the Volume No. each calendar year, irrespective of how many issue he had produced. Hence, the number of issue figures above should be treated with caution.
Malcolm gave up editing The Diplomat (an internal Civil Service zine) to start Bohemian Rhapsody which got off to a good start, with a more than average interest in variants (indeed, for a while BR housed Andrew Poole’s variant zine, Outposts). The zine format seemed to change practically every issue – litho, photocopy, stencil etc. Lots of non-games material, letters, reviews, hobby chat etc. made BR a popular zine, although turnaround was a little slow. By expanding his international readership Malcolm’s circulation exceeded 200, though some doubted this at the time without good reason. At this point BR‘s sub-zine, Certa Cito edited by Chiz Chisholm (with whom he shared a house), did a reverse take-over of BR, with Malcolm writing a sub-zine, and then promptly folded. The remains of the two zines ended up in Ripping Yarns.
Then in February 85 Malcolm, now resident in Antwerp, returned with No.1 Volume 2 of BR. The zine continued much as before, a bit better produced, a bit more international, far fewer games and a bit slower. By March 1986 Malcolm was on to Volume 3 and living in Norway. In the 1986 Zine Poll results, BR came third from bottom, which really pissed Malcolm off (and to be fair he does seem to have suffered from grudge voting), so he cut trades with nearly the whole of the UK, but maintained his international links. Malcolm was up to Vol. 4 by 1987 by when the zine was considerably thinner and the emphasis had shifted to En Garde! 1988 was Volume 5, though Malcolm only managed seven issues that year and at the end of 1988 he passed the En Garde! to Eoghan Barry to GM. The last issue in the Archive is Volume 6, Issue 2 from June 1989 in which Malcolm was talking about splitting the zine into different sections to go to different readers. I think there were some later issues, so more information would be gratefully received.
Editor; John Lettice and Gordon Neilson
Issues: 1-12 (June 73 – April 74)
Zine Poll: (74) 16th
Possibly the messiest and most illegible zine of all time, it was also the first Scottish Diplomacy zine. John even forgot to number it from issue 2 to issue 11, and often he even forgot to include the name of the zine. The first 7 issues were spirit duplicated and have faded badly. Non-games content was small, but quite a few games were started, several variants. Although Bolshevik Star is usually credited to John Lettice, Gordon Neilson appears to have been a co-editor – they were both based in Dundee, but Lettice took over most of the running when he started at St. Andrews. When the first variant-only zine, Variety, folded it joined BS as a sub-zine from issue 8. BS did not fold neatly.
Editor: Richard Morris
Issues: 1-26 (Aug 83 – July 86)
Zine Poll: (84) 23rd; (85) 12th; (86) 38th
When Richard Morris (the editor of Sopwith Stats) was planning the launch of Boojum, Clive Booth phoned him and suggested he took over Chimaera in the process, so one of the greatest zines ever disappeared, though Clive continued to GM some games in Boojum. Steve Howe (later to edit A Step Further Out) and Brian Moore (later to edit Pheonix) were also external GMs. Despite having high production values for a mimeo zine and a fashionable multi-games content, Boojum never seemed to sparkle. A good resource for postal rules for all sorts of boardgames, Boojum never achieved a high circulation, though it was very reliable for the first 22 issue, after which it became irregular, chat disappeared and the zine folded after issue 26, most games going to Bruce.
Editor: Ian Harris
Issues: 0-33+ (July 1991 – onwards)
Zine Poll: (91) 19th; (92) 14th; (93) 24th; (94) 18th; (95) 24th (96) 18th
After a bit of a false start when the zine was called Blood & Iron, but then changed to Borealis when it was pointed out that Lew Pulsipher had already used that name, Borealis soon settled down to the “small, friendly and irregular” label which has dogged it ever since. The “Toolbox” section of the zine, where people discuss odd ideas for variants or even new concepts for whole games is an original touch. It’s remained a small circulation zine, but with an intimate feel to it and Ian has a talent for writing entertainingly about everyday life.
Editor: Edmund Morgan
Issues: 1-4 (April 1993 – November 1993)
Zine Poll: N/A
Never got a game started (unless you count postal I-Spy). Never reliable. Born loser.
Editor: Chris Robey / Paul Clayson
Issues: 1-51+ (March 1993 – onwards)
In the beginning this mini Diplomacy and variants zine was edited by Chris Robey, and although it consisted mainly of game reports, it was run very efficiently. Paul Clayson took over the reins from issue 21 and has maintained the clockwork reliability and given the zine slightly more varied content. Has featured some excellent Diplomacy puzzles from David Norman.
Editor: Martin Draper
Issues: 1 – 27 (Oct 91 – Sept 93?)
Zine Poll: N/A
Multi-games warehouse zine – absolutely no chat whatsoever. Not sure if there were any issues after No.27. Can anyone help?
Bron Yr Aur
Editor: Pete Lindsay
Issues: 1-46 (Feb 77 – Mar 81)
Zine Poll: (77) 33rd; (78) 27th; (79) =14th; (80) =13th; (81) 11th
Anarchic and slightly weird, a zine which fore-shadowed what was to come in the shape of NERTZ, in that it was often difficult to tell which zine or which issue it was. Once it even appeared under the name Conic Sections (a journal or recreational mathematics). Multi-coloured foolscap mimeo with lots of elaborate press and drawings on stencils, Bron Yr Aur started out as a purist Dip zine when Pete was a student at St. Andrews, picked up a couple of orphans from Trojan Horse, but never really took off in a big way. It remained an unpredictable, but undeniably charming Dip zine with a couple of SF games until its fold, by which time Pete was getting more and more into RPG. Pete later co-edited The Brothers Grimm with his brother Simon.
Editor: Paul Simpkins
Issues: 1- 39 (Oct 75 – Jan 79); 40-94 (Sep 84 – Aug 89)
Zine Poll: (76) 19th; (77) 16th; (78) 13th; (85) 46th; (86) 25th; (87) 21st; (88) 30th; (89) 45th
Started off as a purist Dip zine, mimeo with a spirit duplicated cover, but introduced Soccerboss from issue 9 (run by an external GM). Built up a large number of Diplomacy players early on, and took on orphans, but was muttering about folding by issue 25 onwards, though expressing a desire to reach issue 50 in issue 38 before folding at issue 39! Paul and Karen were an avid housecon organisers and often associated with the Hardcore. Relaunched in Sept 84, keeping to a purist Dip formula. Niall Litton’s Fellow Traveller joined as a subzine at issue 54, Boojum joined as a subzine at issue 63 (and disappeared after issue 64…), John Webley’s Serendipity joined at issue 74. Stayed a reliable purist Dip zine, never making the big time (or the Top Ten in the Zine Poll, to Paul’s disappointment). Thoughts of folding were made public when Serendipity folded at issue 90, but despite saying he would soldier on to 100, Paul called it a day 6 issues short of the century. Folded into Home of the Brave. Paul is also remembered for his contribution as a MidCon Committee member, organiser of the NDC and CGS / Novice co-ordinator.
Editor: Norman Williams
Issues: 1-6 (Aug 76 – Feb 77)
Zine Poll: (77) 35th
Norman launched Caissa while looking after Paul Simpkin’s Bruce games for a season while Paul was on holiday. Never really broke the 4 sides barrier, although Norman did start 2 games. Lack of material and subscribers meant that Caissa never really got going. Norman kept involved on the periphery of the Diplomacy hobby but sadly died a few years back.
Editor: Gihan Bandaranaike
Issues 1 (Feb 97 )
An excellent first issue which was unfortunately destined never to be followed by No.2. Lots of gossip and chat, Carpe Diem then agreed to take the games from Spring Offensive when that zine folded after issue 50. Issue 2 was delayed and before it finally came out Gihan had been given the sack by his employers for using their photocopying facilities without proper permission. The zine promptly folded and the games returned to a relaunched Spring Offensive.
Editors: Anthony Bourke and Damien Maddalena (Belfast, N. Ireland)
Issues: 1-8 (Sept 85 – Oct 86)
Zine Poll: (86) 11th
Basically a RPG chat zine with Diplomacy waiting lists, the idea being to run to 6 weekly deadlines with interim games-only supplements (under the title The Wooden Horse). As the zine matured it had more and more Diplomacy chat in it and even managed a Diplomacy and an Abstraction gamestart. The zine had a lot of reading material, with articles on RPGs, history, Diplomacy etc. Both editors were at university, which probably explains its short life. Damien had previously edited The Guilder and had a short-lived sub-zine in Coolnacran.
Editor: Mark Strangward
Issues: 1-3 (May 81 – Sept 81)
I only have a copy of issue 1, which was a rather unremarkable first issue. Strange sense of humour.
Editor: Chiz Chisholm
Issues: 1-4 (Dec 82 – Feb 83)
Zine Poll: (83) 47th
Started life as a Dip zine run to 2-weekly (!) deadlines. Certa Cito No.3 took on the BR games when Malcolm Smith couldn’t cope with BR anymore, and allowed Malcolm some space to himself in a sub-zine. The pair of them managed two issues on this basis and then they both folded their contributions into Richard Gooch’s zine Ripping Yarns, only for RY to fold two issues later. Not one of the hobby’s success stories.
Editor: Peter Sullivan
Issues: 1-142 (Mar 85 – Aug 94)
Zine Poll: (85) 49th; (86) 34th; (87) 25th; (88) 38th; (89) 6th; (90) 8th; (91) 8th; (92) 6th; (93) 13th; (94) 22nd
Peter started C’Mag when he was a tender youth of 17, a schoolboy editor. Soon established itself as an efficient traditional mimeo Dip and variants zine, run to 3-week deadlines. Peter quickly became involved with the variants scene, reviving Miller Numbers as well as becoming the OGRe. Pete intended to fold at 50 (Jan 1988) and handed his games and subbers over to Will it Lead to Trouble?, carrying on C’Mag as a restricted circulation zine to finish off the Rather Silly Diplomacy. However, instead of folding, Pete restarted the zine at issue 70 (July 1989). It was if it had never been away and went from strength to strength. In the latter half of 1993 C’Mag became a sub-zine of YdDG while Pete took accountancy exams, and though it reappeared as an independent zine at the beginning of 94, Pete was not happy with the zine and folded suddenly in August 1994. Pete’s international games were completed in US zine The Abyssininan Prince. Pete continued as a ManorCon Committee Member until 1997.
Editor: Clive Booth
Issues: 1-102 (May 75 – July 83)
Zine Poll: (76) 1st; (77) 1st; (78) 3rd; (79) =3rd; (80) =5th; (81) 4th; (82) 10th; (83) 23rd
Straight in at No.1 in the Zine Poll, from the modest beginnings of a small spirit duplicated zine, Chimaera soon took the hobby by storm. Clive always intended to run more games than just Diplomacy, though it took a few months for games other than Dip to get started. In issue 6 Clive published rules for postal Soccerboss and by issue 9 the zine included a 9 page Soccerboss report. Since then football gameszines have developed a lot, but Clive got there first. Within a year of starting up, Chimaera was a massive mimeo zine, with lots of different games on offer and plenty of chat, including a postal D&D subzine. Clive could be pretty sharp in print and enjoyed mixing in with all the hobby politics of the time (often revolving around the NGC and Richard Sharp). The fact that the zine was run very efficiently put the seal on its success, wining the Zine Poll twice, and staying in the Top 5 for a further four years. For nearly all of its life Chimaera was a very successful zine indeed, though towards the end Clive’s enthusiasm was on the wane. Clive folded the zine very tidily, passing it all on, lock, stock and barrel, to Richard Morris to run under the name Boojum. Very much a ground-breaker.
Editor: Andrew Knowles
Issues 1-19 (Mid 90 – Apr 92)
A one-game zine, two sides of A4 straight off a dot matrix printer. When the game finished, the zine died.
The Church Mouse
Editor: Dave Thomas
Issues: 1-25 (Mar 82 – Feb 85)
Zine Poll: (83) 19th; (84) 8th
Dave’s first zine was called The Diplomatic News but was only for colleagues at work. Bitten by the editing bug he started TCM soon after, though it was still a local zine until issue 6, which was the first to be widely promoted. A very entertaining and witty zine, Dave used cuttings from other sources in an anarchic and amusing way, rather like Men Behaving Badly ten years too early. Throughout 1984 Dave spent more and more time on amateur dramatics, so he folded the zine suddenly, but tidily. Dave was out of the hobby for quite a while, but made a welcome return at MidCon 95. Sadly Dave died on 27th August 1996.
Editor: Ken Jones
Issues: 1-29 (Feb 74 – Mar 86)
Zine Poll: (74) =7th; (75) 11th
One of the earlier NGC Dippy zines, Comet was always a mainly games warehouse zine, little chat apart from the odd Diplomacy article, with distinctive blue ink on white paper. Unusually for the time, Ken gradually ran the zine down to a fold, passing on no orphans.
Editor: Nicholas Whyte
Issues: 1-5 (Jan 85 – June 85)
Zine Poll: (85) 9th
17 year-old Nicholas started Coolnacran while studying for his ‘A’levels, probably inspired by his brother’s new zine NERTZ. Issue 1 was a pretty solid start some silly variants (Hitch-Hikers Diplomacy and Disney Sopwith), but with some serious Diplomacy articles by Geoff Tonks and general science content as well. Issues 2 and 3 had lots of chat, book reviews, zine reviews etc. but no gamestarts despite acquiring a sub-zine from Damien Maddalena (ex-editor of The Guilder). Issue 5 was shared with NERTZ No.58, but it proved to be the last. No games were ever started as far as I am aware.
Editor: Don Turnbull
Issues: 1-241+ (Oct 70 – Feb 87)
Zine Poll: (73) =13th; (74) 11th; (75) 14th; (76) 17th; (78) 24th; (79) =21st; (80) 20th; (81) 28th
Started as a companion zine to Albion No.22 onwards to run Albion’s Diplomacy games. Although in time games other than Diplomacy were run, Courier was only ever games reports, no chat at all. Courier continued even after Albion was long gone, though it became less reliable towards the end. As I type this Courier holds the record for the most number of issues published by a UK Diplomacy zine, though you should remember that many issues of Courier were only 2 sides long, so they don’t really compare to a more conventional zine. The last issue I have is No. 241 from February 1987, by which time there were no games of Diplomacy running, only a couple of games of Rail Baron. I would love to know if there were any more issues after that.
Editors: Gordon Beck, Merf Adamson, Ken Brown and others.
Issues: -6-20.25 (Jan 74 – Nov 76)
Zine Poll: (74) 10th; (75) 23rd
Unconventional numbering, Court Circular commenced with issue “-6” as a weekly internal Durham University Games Society Diplomacy zine, though external players appear in the zine by issue “-2” in Feb 1974. Never as regular as it promised, CC had difficulty using the University Reprographic Dept. and then had the vacations to contend with. Being a club, the Committee kept changing, as did the editor. A bit of a shambles really.
Editor: Steve Jilks
Issues: 1-100+ (Dec 84 – Oct 97)
Zine Poll: (88) 24th; (89) 33rd
Steve started this zine soon after entering the hobby – an interesting mix of pythonesque humour, Diplomacy, film reviews. Coyote stayed a relatively small low circulation zine. (and often didn’t get enough votes to qualify for the Zine Poll). Steve took a bit of a break around issue 50 to get past his exams. These days the zine is still entertaining with a good use of graphics, but only appears 6-7 times a year. In its later years Coyote no longer ran Diplomacy, but was a good place to play Speed Circuit.
Editor: Iain Bowen
Issues: 1-5 (Nov 89 – Sept 93)
A one page occasional newsletter put together by Iain Bowen for publicising the Zine Poll.
The Cunning Plan
Editor: Neil Duncan
Issues: 1-54+ (Nov 92 – )
Zine Poll: (93) 7th; (94) 5th; (95) 14th; (96) 1st
Started life as the variant sub-zine of Age of Reason, though Neil always produced some separate independent issues of his subzine right from the beginning (leading to a dispute with Iain Bowen over whether TCP could qualify as a zine for the Zine Poll). When AoR folded Neil took over the games from issue 16 (April 1993) establishing TCP as a fullly-fledged zine beyond any doubt. A reputation for being very reliable has meant that TCP has retained a solid Diplomacy base, while the zine itself has always had a lively lettercol. A poor showing in the 1995 Zine Poll was more than made up by a deserved clear victory in 1996. Neil is also a MidCon Committee Member and does his bit for the National Diplomacy Championships.
Cut & Thrust
Editors: Derek Wilson and Glyn Roberts.
Issues: 9-158+ (Nov 82 – )
Zine Poll: (83)16th; (84) 6th; (85) 10th; (86) 16th; (87) 3rd; (88) 4th; (89) 11th; (90) 6th; (91) 10th; (92) 12th; (93) 3rd; (94) 8th; (95) 10th; (96) 16th
Started life as an En Garde game in The Tinamou, was then a subzine in Ripping Yarns and went independent when RY disappeared (hence issue 9 was the first independent issue). Broadened its appeal by running various boardgames apart from En Garde, and established an early reputation for game reviews. Early issues of C&T were a true partnership with Glyn writing the editorials and game reviews, while Derek managed the zine. Tragedy struck in March 1988 with Glyn’s sudden death. Cut & Thrust continued much as before, the use of reliable external GMs and other contributors together with the fact that it was a visually attractive zine has made a notable success. For a time Dane Maslen co-edited C&T with Derek (Nos. 132 – 153).