A wargaming piece of history has been revamped. Ladies and gentlemen, the new White Dwarf!
Nearly every wargamer has heard of Games Workshops’ monthly Hobby offering called White Dwarf and this month the White Dwarf has been reborn……apparently ‘to better suit these thrilling times’.
So, is it all that we hoped for……..at a glance, maybe….under closer scrutiny….. A swing and a miss. (In my opinion, don’t go reaching for the Dwarven Axes just yet!)
It was no secret that it had a falling readership and this was due to a number of reasons including lack of hobby content, raising price and an image of just being a big advertising vehicle as opposed to what it used to be, a publication that every Games Workshop customer looked forward to on a monthly basis. Now some of this article may seem quite harsh, but the majority of the information has come from gamers new and old, who were only too willing to talk about something they love and feel strongly about.
Initially, the magazine looks like it has had a bit of life breathed into it. Its new glossy, heavier gauge covers, new ‘White Dwarf’ graphic and new layout. This keeps up the excitement as you start to read through it, the new team being mentioned, including the new editor GW brought in to get things moving again. But then you realise the first 52 pages (yes 52!) are exactly like the previous incarnation….just complete advertising.
So moving past this and realising that the first third of this new shiny offering isn’t that new, we get into the meat of the publication. GW has been very clever on when to make this change to White Dwarf, they have twinned it with possibly the biggest launch they are ever going to have. It is a week after Games Day and everyone is talking about the adaptation of Horus Heresy into the tabletop game of Warhammer 40K. Now I do apologise if you are not a gamer because that last sentence probably didn’t make much sense, but if you do play GW, this is quite big. So the change in the magazine, and it’s price…..£5.50 (ouch, but I have heard rumours that this is just for this issue..but lets wait and see!) Coincides with the huge announcement that 40K is going ‘Historical’
Moving on, the Battle Report is very good, it is between the army currently being revamped, Chaos Space Marines, pitted against the loyalist Marines from the White Scars Chapter. I won’t say what the outcome was so I do not spoil it if anyone out there wants to pick up a copy and have a read, but the Battle Report is the first part of the magazine that actually feels as if there has been some thought put into it. Albeit, it feels quite ‘matter of fact’ and not the raging dice throwing event that most people like about gaming, but it did include some nice little touches. Once I got through the Battle report, the rest of this issue just flew by, there are some old favourites carried over from the previous issues such as Jervis Jonson and his monthly offerings and the Miniatures Hall of Fame, where a classic model gets nominated into greatness. Then we move onto the parts that seem to be ‘new and fresh’, such as kit bash, advice on how to model some changes on your vehicle kits, Battle Ground (showing off one of the studios battle boards), Parade Ground which has some lovely units and models displayed and a section called ‘The Rivals’ where two gamers talk about the relative merits of their chosen armies and then talk about which one is superior. (There was a surprisingly low amount of trash talk that usually goes with this type of discussion, but that might just be my local gaming club!) Now, all this does look new on face value, but this is all stuff that used to be done before and without all the pomp and grandeur of re-launching a publication. This is the some of the content that was missing over the last couple of years, but it is the way it has been done in this issue that takes the edge of it.
Next we move onto 15 pages of store listings and details, listing every GW and independent retailer on the planet, what to do in the stores, when they are open etc….but this is where my enthusiasm was sorely tested. It did not feel like a new publication anymore, but when I turned the page to the final section called ‘This Month in White Dwarf’ I actually enjoyed reading that section. It was superb; this is what the whole magazine should have been dedicated to. This condensed section is what White Dwarf used to be. It was personal, letting you know what the actual people driving the magazine was up to in there working month, not what the dreaded overseers (board of directors) want them to print. There was more interesting information in that last 14 pages than the rest of the magazine that numbered 152 pages. This is what the magazine should be, just do this and expand on it; you would be back to a winner!
I will make a quick couple of points before I sign off……..
Along with the new price comes a new sort of subscription, it costs £44 for twelve editions, but it does not get posted to your door, you can go in the shop ad pick up a copy. You are provided with a little book that the store marks when you have picked up a copy. This means you spend more time in store, but it does mean you can pick and choose which issues you have.
There is no mention of the actual White Dwarf……Grombrindal! Now I may have missed it, but there is no picture, no mention or indeed any hint at where the Old Bearded one has gone. There is also no subscription miniature after last years Pirate version, so where has he gone? Is he coming back? Or his he the latest in a long line of established GW icons left for dead.
I do not think that this output warranted a new Editor, I do feel sorry for the now deputy editor and fellow Cheltonian, Mr Andrew Kenrick because I know that this and so much more is within his capabilities.
I wanted so much to sing the praises of this new incarnation. I just cannot. What I can do, as a loyal customer, is to tell them to just do what they did in the ‘This Month Section’ but just go big with it. Let’s have a look at next months and see where we go from there.