The Nuts & Bolts of PBM

The Nuts & Bolts of PBM was a magazine dedicated to play-by-mail games, first published in June 1980 by Bolt Publications, and edited by Richard J. Buda. Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo Games stated in 1985 that the Nuts & Bolts of PBM (first called Nuts & Bolts of Starweb) was the first PBM magazine not published by a PBM company.[1] He stated that "It was a fun magazine, but somewhat ahead of its time, and it had no financial backing."[2] Afterward, the name changed to Nuts & Bolts of Gaming.[2]

Nuts & Bolts of PBM
EditorRichard Buda
Assistant editorAl Liszka
Page Games/InterviewsNate Orzoff
ArtLarry Brenza
Magazine layoutMrs. Brenza
CategoriesPlay-by-mail game magazine
PublisherBolt Publications
First issue1980
Final issue1984
CountryUnited States
Cover of a 1984 issue with cover art by Larry Brenza.


The editors of Flagship Magazine stated that the Nuts & Bolts of Gaming was "the oldest PBM magazine".[3] According to Rick Buda, the initial issues were a fanzine for Starweb and were made of a "Xeroxed copied sheet folded in half … that made four, crude pages".[4] Buda explains how the publication was named as follows:

I was enamored with The Berserker character [from Starweb], and really [started] the zine to discuss strategies for playing that part to the hilt. That is actually the source of the name, twofold in its reference. One – The robotic image of machinery (Nuts & Bolts), and; Two – Getting down to particulars within the characters (get down to the nuts and bolts of something).[4]

Buda stated that, after demand increased, he and Rick Loomis increased the size of the publication, changed the publication rate to bi-monthly, and renamed it to the Nuts & Bolts of PBM.[4] Buda incorporated the magazine as Bolt Publications after the load became unmanageable, changing the name once again to Nuts & Bolts of Gaming.[4]

In 1984, Bob McLain from Gaming Universal offered to acquire the publication, but Gaming Universal ceased publication before the deal went through, after a run of three issues. As the publication had been preparing for the transition versus the next issue, it then "collapsed" and published no further issues.[2]


The Nuts & Bolts of PBM was a review, tactics, and news magazine about play-by-mail games.[5]


W.G. Armintrout reviewed The Nuts & Bolts of PBM in The Space Gamer No. 48.[5] Armintrout commented that "This magazine is a disappointment. Nuts & Bolts needs contributors who have something to say and know how to say it. I can't recommend this magazine until it shapes up."[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Loomis, Rick (1985). "Rick Loomis on Play-By-Mail: Magazines". Space Gamer: The Magazine of Adventure Gaming. July/August 1985 (#75): 36.
  2. ^ a b c Loomis, Rick (1985). "Rick Loomis on Play-By-Mail". Space Gamer: The Magazine of Adventure Gaming. July/August 1985 (#75): 36.
  3. ^ Flagship editors (Spring 1984). "The World Beyond Flagship". Flagship magazine. No. 2. p. 26.
  4. ^ a b c d Buda, Rick (August 2014). "The Nuts & Bolts of Gaming: Recollections of a Mad Publisher" (PDF). Suspense and Decision. No. 10. p. 91. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Armintrout, W.G. (February 1982). "Capsule Reviews". The Space Gamer. Steve Jackson Games (48): 38.