Edited by Ian Harris
By Stephen Agar
enjoy receiving Borealis as a trade. When
you receive a zine you receive a slice of the personality of the person
publishing it. In some cases you
will only perceive a part of the editor which is quite distinct from his/her's
everyday personality, a zine caricature which has as much to do with the real
editor as Mr Hyde does to Mr Jekyll. Sometimes
the editor deliberately limits the amount of themselves which comes through the
zine due to uncharacteristic (for this hobby) modesty or shyness.
Borealis is none of these. If
you read Borealis you do get a picture of what Ian is really like - an all-round
nice bloke with a witty turn of phrase.
appearance of Borealis is distinctive. Although
there are many zines which have adopted an A5 reduced photocopying booklet
format with a coloured cover, Borealis manages to capture a shambolic appearance
that none of the others can quite equal. The
whole zine give the impression that it has been typed up on lots of bits of
paper and then cut up and arranged on single sheets on the kitchen table.
Which of course it has. But
therein lies some genuine charm - publishing a zine is an amateur affair and
each editor soon develops a methodology of his own, fake professionalism is more
often than not a product of computer software these days rather than anything
else. It is far harder to produce a
zine using cut and paste techniques (and I mean scissors, glue and sno-pake -
not DTP jargon), then just sitting down and bashing it out on Word Perfect like
can go wrong with old-fashioned methods - Ian coloured in lots of small paper
circles produced by using a hole punch so that he could stick them on his
drawing of a backgammon board to represent the counters.
Unfortunately the glue was not strong enough and two of them dropped off!
I wonder how many of the payers will notice.
Still, anyone who has put together a zine in the old-fashioned way can
immediately appreciate the fact that Borealis is a labour of love.
I have just mentioned postal Backgammon it must be obvious that Borealis is not
a purist zine. At the moment Ian
also runs games of Sopwith, Golden Strider and Okey Dokey Diplomacy (?), with
lots of variants on offer. Ian's
weak spot is turnaround and frequency, Borealis does not run like a German
railway timetable. However, you pay
your money and make your choice - provided a clockwork zine schedule is not a
priority you may succumb to Borealis.
regular feature in Borealis worthy of comment is the Toolbox section, where
subscribers discuss ideas for new variants and games, though it does suffer from
the virtual impossibility of thinking up Diplomacy rule variants that have not
already been thought up before.
the moment Borealis does have a relatively small circulation (36 after 8
issues), though this is set to rocket with the future acquisition of Ac-Mong.
I suppose if I was 100% honest, I do have some doubts about the
forthcoming merger if only because the tone of the two zines is so totally
different. Still, let's wait and
see how things develop.
from Spring Offensive 4