Fall of Eagles
Story in Extracts, Compiled by Stephen Agar
of Eagles No.1)
ANOTHER NEW ZINE - WHY ?
For some time now Iíve nurtured the idea of running a Dippy zine and I
think the time is now ripe for me to take on this new task.
Over the past 3 years I have taken so much pleasure from postal Diplomacy
that I feel that I owe the hobby something, hence this publication.
WHAT KIND OF A ZINE WILL IT BE ?
Very definitely games orientated and almost certainly standard Diplomacy
only. I donít intend getting
deeply involved in hobby politics and merely wish to run games as efficiently as
WHAT CAN FALL OF
EAGLES OFFER THAT OTHER ZINES DO NOT ?
Nothing! I know I cannot
match the literary ability of Dolchstoss , the statistical prowess of 1901aat
or the readability of Jigsaw, Gummiballs or Leviathan.
What I can offer is a reliable, 3 week turn round zine, competently
GMíd, for standard Diplomacy addicts.
of Eagles No.5)
This is issue five of the 19th best Dip. zine according to the fifth Mad
Policy zine poll. Yes folks,
19th out of 53 (37 if you exclude sub-zines) with an average vote of 6.1 from a
total of 10 voters. If you
havenít already seen the results, the poll was won for the second year running
by Chimaera with the next four places being filled by 1901aat, Jigsaw,
DolchstoŖ and Rats live on no evil staR.
I have never seen Chimaera but it must be a bloody good zine to
beat such strong opposition. I must
admit that I was quite flattered to see FoE as high as 19th after just a
few issues, finishing above such established zines as Tots, Gummiballs
and Courier. However the
real test will come next year when I hope to have a few issues under my belt.
of Eagles No.18)
As you are no doubt aware, the 1978 zine poll results have been published
in the latest edition of Mick Bullockís New Statsman. I was just
backing the care out to go to work that morning that the postman appeared
bearing New Statsman. recognising
what it was I feverishly ripped open the envelope and opened the zine and there
were the poll results on page 2. A
very quick glance showed FOE in 8th place which was just about what I
expected. Driving to the office I
started to wake up and tried to recall what I had read during my cursory glance!
What was the zine at No.1? Surely
it was Rhubovia!! RHUBOVIA!!! How the hell did that happen - it must be a fix.
Come to think of it there was no mention of Dolchstoss, Chimaera
or Ethil the Frog above FOE.
At each set of red traffic lights I groped about in my briefcase trying
to find New Statsman without success and it was not until I arrived at
the office that I was able to read that I had come 8th in the zine frequency
survey. But where on earth were the
zine poll results? Page upon page
of explanations (and excuses!) from Mick, and table upon table of figures
relating to the results. BUT WHERE WAS THE NICE SIMPLE TABLE SHOWING THE
RESULTS? Then it dawned on me. In
true Mick Bullock style he had jettisoned the old simple table of results that
Richard Walkerdine used to show in Mad Policy and had substituted it with
numerous other charts all giving different results.
Some 24 hours later I had digested the information and Iím fairly happy
to report that FOE finished 6th, 11th, 10th, 9th and 10th place depending
on which table you consult. Well Iím a traditionalist and prefer Richard
Warkerdineís old system which by a happy coincidence happens to give FOE
the highest placing - 6th.
No.14 - Stephen Agar)
Fall of Eagles has
proved to be the most successful traditional mimeo Dippy zine around - indeed
Richardís just closed his lists, and states his intention never to exceed
fifteen games. The balance of FoE
seems about right - the last issue has 18 sides, 11 were game reports - but
thereís little of Richardís own writing which is a pity.
Every issue boasts a Diplomacy article (mostly stating the obvious) and
the saga of Oswald P. Turnberry, which youíd either love or hate, but
couldnít ignore. This zine got
hammered by Mick Bullockís positional system in the Zine Poll, coming 11th,
the 6th which it got in the Actual Votes system seems about right to me. This is probably one of the best zines to play in, but I
wouldnít sub for the non-games content if I were you.
of Eagles No.25)
Back in February 1977, FOE arrived onto the unsuspecting Dip. scene
in the shape of a hideous free issue one. Looking back on that first issue Iím amazed that issue two
ever saw the light of day let alone issue 25.
Hell, it was BAD. In fact some months later I was a so embarrassed by it
that I destroyed all spare copies. If
such an issue one was produced today it would stand no chance in comparisons
with the zines of today. Despite
this poor issue I was suitably encouraged.
Other zine editors made encouraging noises and subscriptions began to
roll in much to my satisfaction. In
retrospect, FOE was launched at the right time; several of the more
established zines were folding and there had been no newcomers for some time.
The only competition I had was from the revamped Ethil the Frog
and that was aiming for a slightly different readership.
With the help of a couple of orphaned games the mailing list reached
about 40 after 2 or 3 issues and everything appeared rosy.
Between issues 10 and 20 it grew in all directions.
Size, games, contents and subscribers, and eventually reached 20+ sides,
15 games with a circulation approaching 100.
Clearly this rapid expansion could not continue if I hoped to keep my
sanity. So I decided too keep a
max. of 15 games and not to openly seek new members.
New players and subscribers were, and still are welcome as long as I am
not inundated with them.
FOE was conceived as a
purist Dip. zine with the emphasis on regularity, reliability and good GMíing
but there is one point on which my attitude has changed.
Piggottís law of fanzines states that a zine is published solely for
the benefit and satisfaction of the publisher and 25 issues ago I disagreed with
this. Although I still maintain
that I am providing a service to the hobby, 18 months of publishing have
convinced me that the main reason I sit down and produce FOE every four
weeks is because I enjoy it. When
I donít enjoy it anymore that I shall fold.
A responsible fold I hasten to add.
Mistakes? There have been
plenty. Perhaps the worst one was a
stupid house rule regarding 1901 NMRís which ruined game 3 to a large extent.
Still we learn from our mistakes donít we.
I prefer to look on the brighter side and to review the successes.
Apart from the regular gamestarts and the pleasant things that players
have said about the way the games have been run, there have been my series of
opening strategy articles for novices which to my surprise proved so popular
that all back issues are sold out. Virgil
Quyll (who still remains anonymous) had a mixed reception with his Oswald P.
Turnberry saga, and Jotto and Intimate Diplomacy have both proved successful and
well worth running.
Where do I go from here? Presumably
on to issue 50 if I can last that long! The
way I feel at the moment I have no doubts that about late 1980 I shall reach
that target. Issue 100?
Well itís a long way off isnít it and very few zines have reached
For the statisticians, 16 regular Diplomacy games have been started (17 if
FOE 19 starts this issue) and two orphans have been adopted.
Of these, five have been seen through to their conclusion resulting in
two outright wins (for Russia in both cases) and three multi-player draws.
No.15 - Chris Tringham)
In Fall of Eagles No.30 Richard Hucknall is obsessed by its own
survival and ďseniorityĒ. Well,
not obsessed perhaps, but he appears to have just realised that FOE is
now well on the way to the half-century and truly established.
The last few issues have been more chatty and hence enjoyable, and have
pushed it up in my estimation to my fifth favourite.
Hits No.66 - Pete Birks)
Since I always vote FOE higher than it appears in the Zine Poll, I
must be prejudiced by the exemplary way in which the game in which Iím playing
has been run. FOE has hardly
ever been late, the games has never suffered a misadjudication or needed to be
held over, and no ďemergencyĒ games-only issue has been produced within my
memory. Richard has the advantage,
of course, of a steady job, but such an achievement is nevertheless staggering
to me, and probably to all other zine editors.
So far as I know, no other zine of ďnormalĒ size has managed this
level of efficiency since Fifth Column (even The Tinamou has its ups and
downs) and with 15 games this is very impressive. There are also long (and readable) editorials, letters and a
bit of chat. No shortage of press
either. I am always amazed that it
isnít in the top three of the Zine Poll.
What am I missing which can be criticised?
of Eagles No.48)
Oh joy - second place in the Zine Poll! Quite honestly it was higher than
Iíd expected. I had estimated a
position about 5th and would have been disappointed to finish much lower, but
2nd really did exceed my expectations. Despite
all this euphoria Iím fully aware that FOE is not the second
best UK zine of the moment. It may
well be the second-most efficient, or second-most reliable, or second-most best
GMíd. But second best zine it certainly isnít. What the poll does show is
that you like a regular, reliable and well GMíd zines and not a lot more.
Youíll find a complete summary elsewhere within this issue and if you
donít already know it was won by Pete Birks with Greatest Hits.
of Eagles No.50)
Issue 50 of FoE and as good a time as any to take a look at the
state of the hobby and compare it with how it used to be 3Ĺ years ago.
Itís a fast changing hobby and zines generally have a fairly short
life; indeed only Greatest Hits, Chimaera, Puppet Theatre News,
The Tinamou and Courier survive from that day to this.
Courier Iíve never seen but I think itís fair to say that the
other four form the back bone of the hobby as I see it.
Back in 1977 when FOE was launched, the hobby was still very much
dominated by the NGC, Dolchstoss and
Richard Sharp. Leading zines of
that time that are no more were 1901 and all that, Jigsaw, Mad
Policy, and Leviathan. The
second series of Ethil the Frog was just beginning.
Diplomacy was still very much the dominating factor although other games
(D&D in particular) were starting to make their impact.
Since then many of the old personalities have disappeared from the scene
or taken a much lower profile and games other than Dip. have taken a much
greater part in the hobby. Zines
have come and gone; new ďnamesĒ have emerged, many of them vanishing into
obscurity as quickly as they appeared. The
overall effect of these changes is that we have a very different hobby today.
II still miss DolchstoŖ very much - undoubtedly the best UK zine
ever. I miss the bygone
personalities, the disagreements and the feuds.
The hobby is comparatively dull without the likes of Sharp, Willis,
Taylor, Haven et al. to entertain us. Piggott,
a master of the art of annoying people with his vitriolic outbursts, is now
taking a very low profile indeed, while Booth & Bullock have great
difficulty in drumming up a good mud-slinging feud. Quite frankly the hobby is not as interesting as it used to
be. Or am I growing old?
What of the future? Will
there be 50 more issues of FoE? I
confess I donít know. One thing
is fairly certain - with spare time in the future likely to be much less than in
the past there will certainly be a change of schedule in 1981. Itís probably an even money bet that FoE will see
issue 75, but odds on issue 100 appearing I anticipate to be much higher.
This issue will be a big one and I donít promise to produce anything as
large again until about issue 100.
of Eagles No.57)
Iíve now been in this hobby for over seven years and have been
publishing for more than four. During
this time the hobby has changed a lot and I no longer find it as enjoyable as I
used to do. This is due to many
reasons and I could fill many pages explaining why but I donít intend to.
Suffice it to say that I became involved because I wanted to play postal
Diplomacy, and I started publishing because I wanted to run games of Diplomacy.
Although I still enjoy playing the game, and the Diplomacy aspect of this
zine, I am finding the surrounding hobby to be less and less of an interest.
In effect I donít want to publish pages and pages of editorial,
letters, chat and hobby news unconnected with the game of Diplomacy just to tie
in with the expected hobby norm. So
from here on FOE takes on an even narrower profile.
In future it will be come even more of a vehicle for running Diplomacy
games. Any additional content will
be limited to letters and articles on Diplomacy itself, with hobby news and chat
being very restricted indeed. In
effect I intend taking the zine away from the mainstream and onto the periphery
of the hobby.
Before anyone starts saying that my decision is the prelude to a fold, let
me say that this is very unlikely indeed. In
fact I would wager that Iíll still be playing in and running Diplomacy games
when the majority of zines that are around today are dead and gone.
It is the hobby I am losing interest in - not the game.
So, after some 12 months of considering the future of FOE, I
believe I have made the right decision. To
those of you who donít like my new ideas I can only apologise and suggest you
find other zines to suit your taste. To those who wish to play Diplomacy the way I wish to run it,
and who enjoy reading about and discussing the game, then I think youíll find FOE
of the future to your taste.
Dib Dib No.19 - Tom Tweedy)
Fall of Eagles: Edited
by Richard Hucknall. Without any
doubt one of the best Diplomacy zines in the hobby. Richard has the (well deserved) reputation of also being the
hobbyís best GM. If you take your
game of Diplomacy seriously and youíre not particularly interested in other
postal games, then this is the zine to get and play in.
Dib Dib No.20 - Tom Tweedy)
This has certainly been a depressing month and a depressing issue for me.
nothing I do, or try to touch, seems to work out right.
Didnít I do a nice review of Fall of Eagles last issue? Didnít I happen to mention that Richard Hucknall would take
some beating as a Diplomacy GM? Didnít I? DIDNíT I?
And what happens? Richard decides to tell the world that heís folding
the zine! Bloody diabolical I call
it. Every zine that I put up
above the rest, that I always enjoy receiving, seems to do this to me.
Iíve said before, it really is depressing when a zine, never mind a
major one, is seen to fold. Blast that Hucknall!
Mind you, when all said and done, Richard is going to fold FOE
down slowly. Probably taking about
two years (more than the life of some zines). And will probably see Dib and maybe some other zines
out! But thatís not the point;
itís his springing it on me that I object to..
There, now that Iíve got that bit off my chest, I can sit back and
watch Richardís interest pick up again when he finds his games dwindling down
to one or two.
Hits No.99 - Pete Birks)
Well, itís been running down for some time now, but Richard has finally
cancelled most trades and taken that long sad and finally depressing sink into
obscurity and death. At its best
one of the best. Still well
produced to a reduced time-schedule, and one of the finest folds since 1901aat.
But, in terms of comparison with ďliveĒ zines only worth 4 out of 10.
of Eagles No.82)
It is now a year since I decided to fold FOE, and I suppose that
games permitting it will last for approaching another year.
So how do I feel about it now? Well,
Iím glad I made the decision when I did as my interest in the hobby has waned
a hell of a lot during the last year. My interest in playing Diplomacy has also
decreased drastically resulting in a definite lack of success in my games;
although Iím not entirely certain as I suspect that my lack of success may
have led to my decreasing interest!
But it is the way the hobby has developed over the last few years that
convinces me that I no longer belong. When
I see the proliferation of the ďgameĒ Finchley Central around many zines
today, I shudder to think that I am associated with the same hobby.
Fantasy role-playing games I can tolerate, and even appreciate what
attracts people to play them, but I fail to understand the attraction of the
utter silliness of Finchley central. If
youíve never heard of the game then I certainly donít intend to enlighten
you. Once upon a time I would
recommend the hobby to my friends, but now I feel that should they come across
the stupidity that seems to prevail nowadays I would be acutely embarrassed.
Another thing to note in the change in the old order is that the UK
Diplomacy Zine Poll has now changed so much that a European zine that doesnít
run a game of Diplomacy could win! What
For nearly 10 years I have been involved with this hobby, but over the
last three or four I have seen it deteriorate fast. I dread to think what it will be like by 1987, but by that
date I may well not be around to see the infantile element saturating the hobby.
of Eagles No.91)
It was back in February 1977 that issue 1 of FOE hit the streets.
At the time I was happily married to Carole, Jonathan was two years old,
Nellie was a three year old Old English Sheepdog, and we had a goldfish called
Tomsk. Seven and a bit years later and Tomsk has long since departed to that
great aquarium in the sky, Nellie is a ten year old lady with arthritis,
Jonathan is nine, and somewhere along the way Jane (now aged six) turned up.
Oh, and Iím still happily married.
During those seven and a bit years I have churned out 91 issues of Fall
of Eagles, and quite frankly Iím glad that this will be the last.
I apologise to you for the fact that this final issue is on the small
side but quite honestly I just canít summon up the enthusiasm any more.
Unfortunately my enthusiasm for both playing postal Diplomacy and the
hobby in general is at a very low ebb, and so I shall only be maintaining links
through Ode and DolchstoŖ.
To all of you Iíd like to say a big thank-you; and Iíll send you all a
copy of Fall of Eagles issue 92 when I restart in about five years time!!
This is the last few lines of the last issue of Fall of Eagles and
I feel I should say something monumental! But
what? It is a chapter in my life
that I have enjoyed and wouldnít have missed it for the world, but I am glad
it is now over. So I think I shall
end with a big thank-you from myself, from Carole, from Jonathan and Jane, not
forgetting Nellie the dog.
Think of me when you read of Notts Countyís latest result!!
Dreams No.43 - John Dodds)
Richard Hucknallís zine, Fall of Eagles recently folded after 91
issues. The fold was not widely
commented upon for the zine had been slowly running down for two years and had
been little more than game reports for most of that time.
But to those of us who joined the hobby in 1978 and 1979 the passing of
this zine is of particular significance, for with it goes a major part of the
hobby of that time.
Fall of Eagles
was always a playersí zine. It
had no pretensions to be anything but the most reliable Diplomacy zine in the
British hobby with the best GMing. It
was never a particularly attractive zine, being poorly printed and with no real
efforts made in its layout, but to its subscribers that didnít matter - as
long as FoE (as it was affectionately called) kept to its schedule, all
was well with the hobby. And FoE
did keep to its schedule. For most
of its life it was produced four-weekly; for its last months it appeared every
five weeks, but it was never late. Whilst
other zines had the occasional hiccough, FoE stuck relentlessly to its
timetable; from 1977 to 1984.
Fall of Eagles was
perhaps at its peek between issues 25 and 50.
For two years its issues were of a uniformly high standard.
A typical issue in that period might be about twenty pages long and
consist of game reports from around fifteen Diplomacy games, a letter column
discussing aspects of the hobby, an article or two based on the game of
Diplomacy - often written by the editor - and a short editorial.
Occasionally there would be a quiz; one of the most popular topics for
this was a set of hypothetical GMing problems where particularly confused
One feature of Fall of Eagles which seems strange today, but was
quite usual five years ago, was its single minded concentration on Diplomacy.
True there was the occasional game of Jotto, and a brief flirtation with
a game called Company Boss in its early days, but from 1979 onwards hardly
anything found its way into the zine which wasnít connected in some way with
Diplomacy. Film reviews were
unheard of; politics only crept into the zine once - in the month of the 1979
general election - and the only major book review was that of Richard Sharpís
ďThe Game of DiplomacyĒ.
You may think that this preoccupation with a single aspect of our now
multi-faceted hobby would have made FoE seem dull, but far from it.
Richard Hucknall could spread light on the most obscure aspects of the
game in a most interesting way. He
also was a great expositor of less original features of Diplomacy.
I donít think that even Richard himself would claim to have contributed
much to Opening Theory, but his series of articles identifying and justifying
each countryís early options has rightly been regarded as a classic, and is
But it was the games which were the primary feature of Fall of Eagles
and it was in these that Richard took the greatest pride.
Each game was excellently run and mistakes were almost unknown.
Occasionally a demonstration game would be set up with seven well known
players who would permit Richard to comment on the game as it progressed.
Richardís GMing was famed for its accuracy and he won many awards as
ďBest GMĒ, however one aspect of the zine which remained controversial
throughout its life was its houserules. FoE
had the strictest houserules I have ever seen.
they were always rigidly adhered to, to the letter and any loophole in
them could be exploited to the full. Richard
enjoyed and encouraged dirty tricks in Diplomacy.
He was not of the school that thought that the game was essentially one
of persuasion by gentlemanly debate; he encouraged players to cheat each other,
to engage in deceit and never to miss an opportunity - whenever it arose - to
get one up on a rival. This was not
a philosophy which won favour with everyone, and those opposed to it were often
fiercely critical, but Richard stuck to his beliefs and they were generally