White Dwarf 368 in Review


I’m aware that most people probably think of me as some kind of Games Workshop hate machine, fuelled by rage and loathing for the venerable establishment that got me into wargaming. Let me just preface this by saying that’s not how I want to be, but the Sherriff et al are making it damn hard for me to be positive about the things they do.

I returned another Finecast model (my second every model) to the store recently as it was not in a fit state to be used. The face was not filled properly, there was mould in the mouth and both arms had casting issues.but that’s an aside. What I wanted to make comment on today is the latest edition of White Dwarf.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a planet being attacked by Tyranids you can’t have failed to notice that GW are celebrating a whopping 25 years of 40k this year. Now, I’m not a regular purchaser of White Dwarf, I’m one of those hate filled detractors that thinks the magazine has gone downhill massively since the glory days of the early nineties. I bought January’s issue for the new Vampire Counts stuff (which included possibly the worst battle report that I’ve ever seen in my life) and it advertised this month as a special 25th anniversary 40k issue. I thought that was an awesome thing so grabbed a copy from my local game store and went home to enjoy it.

So, imagine if you will my amazement that at least 80% of the issue is dedicated to crap for the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game…. some new models and new army books… no 40k releases, no articles, nothing. At the back are a few pages that show how things have progressed since the days of Rogue Trader and what has been in the various editions. That’s it… no army showcases, nothing that anyone with a pen and a beermat could have come up with to make the issue something special. To say that I was horrified about how little 40k content there was in an issue billed as the 25th anniversary special is something of an understatement. I feel more cheated out of my money than I usually am. Maybe I should have twigged when the cover art was Gandalf but I bought it for one reason and feel like I was baited. That I was expected to go “ooooooooohh, look at all that nice new LOTR stuff, I think I’ll have to go out and get me some of those” and sadly, I am not fooled by the obvious, in your face, marketing at work here. It’s like being shanghaied without the mugger having the decency to cosh you from behind. they just marched right up to you, face to face and *bonk* you wake up at sea press-ganged.

So if you’re thinking of getting this month’s issue, save yourself a fiver or, if you absolutely need to get rid of your money, give it to a homeless person. It’ll do far more good than losing brain cells in an issue of White Dwarf you probably won’t read any of the articles from.

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3 thoughts on “White Dwarf 368 in Review”

  1. White Dwarf has gone down a long, steep hill since the days when I was an avid reader (*cough* 20+ years ago *cough*). It used to have multiple battle reports where the players would talk about their armies, why they chose them, and the strategies they intended to employ. Then you’d get a turn-by-turn account with photos and/or illustrations demonstrating the moves each unit made, followed by a debriefing where the players would summarize the battle from thei PoV, and say what worked for them, what went wrong for them, and why. And you’d get two or three of these in each issue.

    You would also get modeling and painting tips, photos of Golden Demon winners, maybe a diorama article (made by an in-house artist), and yes, pictures of newly released models plus the “catalog” at the back of the magazine.

    I think it used to cost me Au$10 back then, but I never had a problem forking over that much money each month and as soon as I had finished reading it (usually I read it a few times) I eagerly waited for the next month’s issue.

    My only gripe with it back then was that (IIRC) each issue cost $10 while a subscription cost something like $110. This when almost every magazine I knew offered subs at half cover price or less.

    Now the battle reports (previously a great place to learn tactics) are very sparse and you’re lucky to get any modeling or painting tips. You’ve always been buying a catalog, it just used to be a catalog you actually wanted to read, and had no qualms paying ten bucks for. Never more.

  2. A magazine I have never bought, but for the dreadfleet paint guidelines – I just cannot bring myself to spend so much on something that is bereft of value for content to be almost pointless- and this is coming from a miniature models painter here! IT is one long advertisement, and aimed at who precisely? Younger gamers aren’t always in a position to afford the mag, and older gamers see through the gloss and sheen to a fairly bare offering. This is not how to maintain or meaningfully boost a community. GW.

    PS – now that the dust has settled since you r original posts, do you feel the same about Dreadfleet as a failure, or have you come around to the…quirky offbeat charm I find in it as a (admitedly flawed) stand-alone? This is a game that has won me around, but not for the reasons that GW would have hoped to base their sales on, I’m pretty sure.

    1. In order for me to change my opinion I’d probably have to buy it. No-one I know has it and while I am certain people do enjoy it (I’ve read as much online) I have to stand by the fact that I am not going to pay down £70 for something like that. I spent money on Space Hulk and even that we’ve played through only the first five missions or so and then it’s sat in the study. Death Angel I think actually does a better job of it, quick to play and can be pretty intense, especially if the players cease working as a team.

      I saw a two page spread in the last White Dwarf about Dreadfleet, in it is a quote saying (and I paraphrase here) that “we started playing the mission with all ten ships at 2130 and finally finished due to a lucky shot at 3am.” They are using this to PROMOTE the game. Five and a half hours for one game that only finished when a LUCKY shot finished it? I don’t mind epic games but almost 6 hours for one mission… I don’t find that to be a quote I’d want to be using to advertise my game.

      Again, I don’t want to come across as just taking a crap on anything that GW does (a few of us are going to be running a GW project later this year) but they really do make it hard for me, as a veteran gamer of over twenty years, to stand by them.

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