I recently purchased several copies of Dragon magazine from the early-to-mid 1980s. They contain several references to fairly large play-by-mail games that I haven't heard of before. How were these kinds of games played?
Two notable examples:
- Dragon #72 has an article called "The PBM scene: Facts you can use when YOU choose what game to play". The article categorizes games based on whether they have finite or infinite length and how many players, but otherwise doesn't discuss the mechanics of the game (which I assume would have been well known to readers at the time).
- Pages 34-35 of the same issue has several ads for play-by-mail games. My inference from those ads is that players were charged for entering and participating in games. They say things like "registration fee still only $10 ... first two turns free."
"How are these games played" is pretty broad. In particular, I'm interested in the logistics of the game:
- How did the revenue model work (how did people pay and what were they buying?)?
- What were people sending in?
- Did they send things to each other (like when I play chess by mail) or did they send it to some kind of "server"?