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View Full Version : Looking back in time at White Dwarf: Rose tinted goggles or genuinely better?



BigRob
29-03-2014, 22:26
So…..today I thought I would have a look back at White Dwarf. It’s so terrible these last few years has been the cry of the internet and although the White Dwarf Weekly seems to be winning back a few people ,the monthly Visions magazine is languishing on shelves.

On my desk next to me is White Dwarf 160. So let’s peek back at the “Golden Ages” shall we. Our editor of the time is Robin Dews and looking at the magazine, first off, it has a big chunky title “Games Workshop presents their monthly gaming magazine” and then “White Dwarf” and the respectable price of £2.25. I’m not an accountant but what’s the inflation adjustment on that from April 1993 to now?

The cover is a fantastic art piece with Dwarves and Orcs facing off in boats while a sea battle rages in the background. This is taken from the box art of the big game release of this month, Man’o’War, a lovely little game with some cracking rules and models. The back cover has a warhammer battle scene, Dwarves vs Orcs and Goblins. Handmade scenery and painted back boards with lots of miniatures and not a Photoshop in sight.

Popping it open, we have two photos of miniatures displayed in battle with handmade, scratch built scenery and a painted display back board. Goblins raid an Imperial Village and Space Wolves Long Fangs and Grey Hunters. Looking at the contents I am told we have the GW and Citadel News and 7 other articles. Below this, in a separate contents page we have the Adverts list. This tells me we have 15 adverts and the pages numbers they are on. The magazine weighs in at 88 pages and 31 of these are the ads. So 35%ish of the mag is the adverts but that includes the mail order pages where you can see how the metal kits break down.

Citadel news is one page. This is a little less than we have had the last few years. It is also sensible and to the point, not treating the reader like a child that modern WD has had. Highlights include the signing of British rock legends SAXON to the Warhammer Records label and that Woolworths now stock GW products. A Big shout out to Mark Irwin from Nottingham who won the readers survey prize draw which consisted of a tour of the studio and “One of every single publication, box set, game and blister pack currently in production”. Can you imagine such a prize today, just from entering a raffle?

Next up, it’s a four page article with the background and rules for Thorgrim Grudgebearer on his Throne of Power. A nice article, rules and a page of Eavy Metal pictures. All good stuff and means you can add the new model to your dwarf army for only 400 points. We are in 4th edition Fantasy at the moment, not sure if the Dwarf Armybook was out yet.

After a two page ad, it’s the introduction to Man’O’War with 4 pages of text and a double spread of the box contents. Good, solid designer’s notes talk about how the game went from concept to completion and end with a hint of things to come. This is exactly the kind of good quality designers notes that have been missed in modern times. No overblown waffle, no "Buy the models Noob" but a "This is how it started, this is how we designed it, this is why it happened" article.

Next article is a warhammer books special, focusing on the move to publisher Boxtree and which books are being reprinted. The two page article has short excerpts but really it is more of an advert that a proper article and should probably have been in the ads section. Add two more pages to the Advert counter!

Now we hit page 24 and the most important part of the magazine if you believe the old beards. The battle report! “The Assault on Barbarius” is a battle report pitching Eldar against the Imperial Guard in a game of “Space Marine” (Epic for the youngsters reading this) Mark Watts takes on Richard Helliwell in a 4000 point conflict which has a ¾ page of fiction and a ¾ page of game background to set things up.

Army selection is two pages per army with a third dedicated to pictures and card formation layout. This means we are 8 pages in before the fight even starts and its all good stuff. Tactics, reasons for choosing units and even a little bit highlighting a clever combo with wave serpents. Then we get a whole page of map before the fight starts.
The battle runs over 6 pages, plus another 3 for the conclusions and a double page spread of the contents of the Space Marine box. Only two turns, as they rolled low and got an early end result but entertaining, well written, tactical and no sign of the fix you got in later WD battles. Very enjoyable.

Moving along we have a 9 page Eavy Metal article, of which two pages are painting advice and the remainder are pictures of models. This is followed by a Man’O’War painting article of 10 pages including sails and pennants to cut out. Lots more good advice here for dealing with the new miniatures as well as a two page spread of pictures.
The final piece is a two page spread about Talisman, celebrating the release of the Dragons expansion. I’d not heard of it, it was simply a new pack of cards to add to second edition and they look back at the history of the game and how far it has come. Like the earlier warhammer books piece, it reads more like an advert than anything else.

So that was it for White Dwarf 160. It read well, took me about 40 mins to go over, most of which was the battle report. Out of its articles, only 3 had any real wordy substance and only two of them were more than 2 pages worth (Battle Rep and MOW designer’s notes). To be honest, page for page and pound for pound, if this was released today it would probably have the same panning that modern Dwarf gets, with the exception of the battle rep possibly. I was a little surprised re-reading after so long, just how many ads it had and how little content there actually was. I think we are all a little guilty of rose tinted spectacles and certainly this shows older WD could be just as bad as the newer ones.

I still maintain Paul Sawyers tenure as editor saw some of the best of the magazine when it was large, full, well informed and something you could guarantee not to finish in one visit to the Lav :)

Lord Damocles
29-03-2014, 22:33
Proper (or better) designers' notes, a proper battle report with background, 'Eavy Metal, not 50 pages of New Releases, and a lower price than Weekly is rose tinted spectacles?

That seems... harsh.

ObiWayneKenobi
29-03-2014, 22:47
Inflation would make it $6.09 today or 3.88 pounds.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Mozzamanx
29-03-2014, 22:54
On my bedroom floor, I have White Dwarves 309 - 311. They were printed 9 years ago and yet I brought them out because I still consider them to have relevant background and modelling material for me today. This is because I am looking at concepts for a Tomb Kings army, remembered the 'Lichemaster' campaign they put out, and dug up an old box to find them. And I was most definitely rewarded for that search because they are outstanding.

No. 309:
First off, we see the re-release of the Fellowship boxed set because of the new all-plastic Moria kit. There's a 10-page Battle Report as the Fellowship flees through a custom-built board of Dwarrowdelf across the stone bridges. Then, a 6-page Tactica focussed purely on Heroic actions. Finally, LotR concludes with 2 separate scenarios and a scenery workshop for making bridges.
Warhammer introduces the Return of the Lichemaster with 8 pages of fluff and full rules for both the Necromancer and Krell. Another modelling workshop tells you how to make cairns and paint Wood Elves. Then, we move over to a fluff piece about Skeggi and the introduction of Marauder Heroes for a Chaos army. Then, another article on Ogre Rhinox cavalry, a new special character, and a modelling workshop on how to make your own.
40k kicks off with a big old terrain Tactica, then a wholly-separate 6-page Tactica on how to fight 'Nids, and then a 'Nid-themed terrain workshop and scenarios. A hobbyist shows you 9 pages of his custom Howling Griffons Marines.
We then finish with the usual pages of store locations and events and another modelling article on gladiatorial pits.

No. 310:
Starts off with 15 pages of Moria introductions, battle reports and a terrain workshop. Another Tactica on Heroic actions. Then a modelling workshop on converting Heroes, a second terrain article on making ruins, and a completely unrelated scenario involving Radagast and Eagles.
40k puts up a preview of the incoming Templars a month early and details of the most stunning Land Raider conversion I've ever seen. We then see conversion masterclasses for both a Crimson Fists Captain and a kitbashed Huron Blackheart based only on a novel. Then a Kill-Team article that introduces 'bosses' that you could fight as a suitable end-game baddy, providing a spectrum of different styles and conversions tailored for each army. Then an Ork Klan guide, Imperial Guard painting guide, and a sneak preview of Dawn of War: Winter Assault.
Fantasy pulls a Gnoblar Army List out of nowhere, including fluff and artwork. The Lichemaster campaign continues with new Bretonnia and Treeman special characters and scenarios, then a nice little compendium of terrain rules for fighting in the wilderness, and finally rules to represent different Knightly Orders (Or make your own!).

No. 311:
Black Templars are released with a series of mini-battles leading up to an actual Report against a combined force of Dark Eldar and the Lost & the Damned. Then a Bitz overview of the new Templar kits and a painting guide to go along with them, before a guide to represent battle-damage on your terrain and vehicles. We get a nice little fluff piece on Dark Eldar Kabalites and a kitbased Archon.
Lord of the Rings introduces a small-scale Warband game including an experience system to grow your Heroes and updated rules for Wargs and Rohan. Finally we get another 2 scenarios and a painting guide for Elrond's Elves.
The Lichemaster concludes itself by introducing an entire Army List for the Barrow Kings, and then a *second* Army List to represent the Skaven of Hell Pit.


I can't say if these 3 represent a particularly generous amount of content for WHFB but there are 3 full Army Lists here, 2 new units, 3 new special characters, buckets of Scenarios and terrain workshops. I haven't bought White Dwarf for a number of years so I'm not in a state to compare, but I have kept these magazines for nearly a decade and still pull them out to inspire.

shelfunit.
29-03-2014, 23:19
The fact that we can happily read WDs of the past in the present and gain just as much enjoyment of them still renders the first part of the OPs question obsolete. Rose tinted goggles are for memories, things for which time can make seem better, not things which can easily be picked off a shelf and examined in the same light as if they had been printed today. Genuinely better in every department is the only possible answer compared to the rubbish of the last few WDs.


To be honest, page for page and pound for pound, if this was released today it would probably have the same panning that modern Dwarf gets, with the exception of the battle rep possibly.

If you think that for a second then... well. The articles you have described in that WD could be found - if you were lucky - over the course of the last 6 months to a year combined of the previous iteration of WD, and probably across two months at best of the current weekly version.

ObiWayneKenobi
29-03-2014, 23:24
The fact that we can happily read WDs of the past in the present and gain just as much enjoyment of them still renders the first part of the OPs question obsolete. Rose tinted goggles are for memories, things for which time can make seem better, not things which can easily be picked off a shelf and examined in the same light as if they had been printed today. Genuinely better in every department is the only possible answer compared to the rubbish of the last few WDs.

That's because the old WDs were about the HOBBY, when they considered their customers people who played their games, not just people who buy their products. Since they think like that and actually consider their customer base "people who buy our products" it's no wonder that WD has been garbage since they changed that mindset. Look around at some old issues (you can easily find them online) and you can see that things change right around when they changed the format of the magazine and brought out the now-previous paint range. Around that time something just changes in the tone and layout of the articles, and it becomes less of "Here's how to make something cool for your games" and more "Buy this new thing for your games".

To quote from the Where did it all go wrong thread, this is actually what GW considers its business model, taken from their Investor Relations page (emphasis mine):


"we will recruit lots of customers into our Hobby and they will enjoy spending their money on the products we make."

If that doesn't make you a bit sick to your stomach, I don't know what will. That's why everything now is sales, because they actually believe that what their customers want is to spend money on GW products.

BigRob
30-03-2014, 00:17
Proper (or better) designers' notes, a proper battle report with background, 'Eavy Metal, not 50 pages of New Releases, and a lower price than Weekly is rose tinted spectacles?

That seems... harsh.

Harsh maybe but is it any different to todays magazine when out of the whole thing, less than a quarter of the pages have substance? Re-reading for the second time, I would flick straight to the 2-3 good articles, quick glim at the pretty pictures and done.

Avian
30-03-2014, 00:29
If you spent 40 minutes going through it, it has eight times more reading material than the current one. Surely that's significant.

Bob Arctor
30-03-2014, 02:30
Its interesting that the OP picked that particular issue of WD, as it was the first one I ever bought at the age of 14. Since it started me off on a 20+ year love-affair with this hobby I guess if anyone could be accused of having rose-tinted it would be me.

You could easily argue it actually had less content than the OP stated, as the Thorgrim rules and background were just reprints of what was in the army book the month before with maybe a few additions (WD did that a lot back then, but it did prove inspirational for newbies), and the comprehensive MoW painting guide was actually included in the boxed game. Issue 160 was probably a little content-light compared to some of the issues that came immediately before and after.

The Epic battle report was excellent, and easy to follow even though I didn't play the game and had only just started collecting 40k (I didn't even have any rulebooks at that stage). It was written in the style of a story rather than "I shot my guys at those Eldar and X number died" that were probably more used to seeing. This also meant it rewarded repeated readings more than many other battle reports.

Obviously as someone new to the hobby back then (in well pre-internet days) I had very little GW reading material, so I reread most of that issue several times. Maybe it was 'Noob excitement' or whatever but I found it just as entertaining each time I went back to it. I don't think that can really be said of most issues from the last 5 years at least. I also think if you were back reading it as a teenager or a newbie you would probably spend a lot more than 40 minutes going through it in detail the first time around, that makes it sound like you were applying a lot of prior knowledge you have now but didn't then about how GW write things and what you were expecting to read on the page.

Anyway for me, thanks to that issue and the next 5 that came after I ended up owning a copy of MoW and 40k 2nd ed within 6 months of picking up my first issue of White Dwarf, so in that respect the magazine did its job well.

Abaraxas
30-03-2014, 02:33
I have a small collection of WD's from the 150's to 190's (the period that interests me the most) and yes, there is a lot of ads, catalouges etc in there.

But remember this is pre internet, you couldn't just get online to look at the colour scheme for the latest mini or what have you.
I'm leafing through 166 as I type, you can order the forces used in the Angels Of Death battle report as army deals- with considerable savings.
All the (4) grand openings advertised have coupons for 10% (x4) and 25% (x2) off on opening day.

The battle report is outstanding, there are rules for Kraag the Grim and Burlock Damninson, a complete lowdown on Space Marines from the 2nd edition release and rules for Norse ships in Man O War.

I got hours and hours out of them back in the 90's- in fact I'm such a tragic I still have a flick through them every now and then :chrome:

Athelassan
30-03-2014, 03:02
I remember I did a page-for-page analysis between WD from different eras a couple of years ago: I think there was one from the Robin Dews era (176 iirc), a Jake Thornton post-fattening one, and then one from 2011 (not coincidentally, the last WD I ever bought). I came to the conclusion that while the Dews/Thornton magazines were hardly bargains and did contain a lot of adverts, they were much better value than the then-current one, and even inflation-adjusted were still cheaper.

ObiWayneKenobi
30-03-2014, 03:11
For me at least the problem is the old WDs had substance. Like I would get them and even if I wasn't interested in the army release, I'd find myself reading it because it was a well-written article. The newer issues had none of that, it was just filler with a veiled "Everything is great" or "Buy our new stuff" thrown in. The battle reports had gotten worse and worse, there were no more conversion/modeling articles.

lbecks
30-03-2014, 05:05
I liked EM Masterclass, parts layouts, and index astartes/index xenos from issue 200 and beyond.

carlisimo
31-03-2014, 00:42
I have an old Spanish WD with an article on how to play WHFB armies against 40k armies. This was back in 2nd edition 40k. I couldn't see modern GW publishing something as unusual as that.

Herzlos
31-03-2014, 08:57
Harsh maybe but is it any different to todays magazine when out of the whole thing, less than a quarter of the pages have substance? Re-reading for the second time, I would flick straight to the 2-3 good articles, quick glim at the pretty pictures and done.

It's pretty different to the rest of the hobby's magazines. The current Wargames Illustrated featured battles with Roman Legions against Phalanxes, which had about 3 fully detailed battle reports, several background articles including tactica that contains more reading than a months worth of WD, and several other articles and reports that put WD to shame. And decent reviews on new stuff that don't just repeat how cinematic and detailed things are. There's also rules for a mechanised infantry campaign in FOW. All for under half the price of a months worth of WD. Yes it's got a lot of adverts, but they aren't particularly offensive and there's a lot of actual content too.

Then there's the other monthly wargaming magazines that all utterly embarrass WD.

But back on topic, since I read old WD's and still have some; the difference between the old ones and new is unreal. There's probably more content in a single old article than a whole weekly magazine. Pages on hobby, fluff, tactics, and even army lists and games. And whilst it's full of ads the content doesn't feel like an advert in itself.

Zenithfleet
31-03-2014, 10:16
I suspect this thread is not long for this world, but while it's here I'll just say that I've kept every issue I've ever owned, and reread them regularly to this day... at least those before the infamous 'Buy The Giant' issue. I've even bought back issues on eBay to fill the gaps. (As with the OP, my favourite era is Paul Sawyer's run, although it had a shaky start.)

Most of my issues after the Giant Event Horizon (and I didn't buy many) have been stripped of their useful articles for a ring-binder compilation and the rest chucked out. Though I've still got a couple of decent ones intact, like the Dark Eldar release issue.

After the 'Eavy Metal Masterclass painting guides stopped, I don't think I kept anything at all, or even bought another WD.

Jim30
31-03-2014, 13:26
Interesting article - I'd agree it used to be better, but that said, having gone back to my first ever issue (131), and my faves (180-200) I would say a lot of the material that we today regard as content better than that you find in the current Dwarf, is actually just stuff that you can now find on the internet. Much of the magazine then was about taking tactics and discussions that happen all the time here and turning it into print format. Its not that this isnt done anymore, its just that when you can ge your fix instantly on the web, why bother printing it too?

Herzlos
31-03-2014, 13:38
Because lots of people value concise, coherent edited content along a theme over internet board discussions. You can get some good information from the internet, but it's sometimes nice to sit down and read something that's been planned and reviewed by an editor so all the research and filtering is done for you.

Fear Ghoul
31-03-2014, 16:34
I have always fondly remembered the first White Dwarf magazine I ever bought from the mid 90's (the one that featured the Sister of Battle on the cover). I don't have that magazine anymore so I can't go back to see if it's really as good as I remember, but I found an article on Tale of Painters from someone who had same-era White Dwarfs:

http://taleofpainters.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/review-white-dwarf-february-2013-vs.html

In summary, the old magazines apparently weren't very good. That that for what you will.

One thing I will say, is that the older White Dwarfs tended to have extremely cool covers reminiscent of hard rock/heavy metal art. By contrast the era of the white background cover is totally devoid of artistic soul and creativity (it is literally blank in large areas).

EDIT: More than anything else, I think the two things that White Dwarf needs to stay afloat, and which many of the older versions (mostly pre-Sawyer) did better, were the inclusion of extra rules and other games like Epic. Just having variations on the same articles for WFB and 40k leads to stagnation and decline. LOTR helped rekindle things for a while, but anyone with a brain could figure out that it would not (and could not) last.

shelfunit.
31-03-2014, 18:04
http://taleofpainters.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/review-white-dwarf-february-2013-vs.html

In summary, the old magazines apparently weren't very good. That that for what you will.

That review is, at best, a joke.

Athelassan
31-03-2014, 18:25
It's always going to depend what era you pick for your old White Dwarf, too (as well as being variable by issue). I'm not sure if that one's a Paul Sawyer or a Jake Thornton issue (I think Thornton) but there are many people who'd tell you it's all been downhill since Robin Dews.

Additionally, that review is indeed a joke.

Sephillion
31-03-2014, 18:45
Since I have not played GW games for as long as some of you, I have limited experience when it comes to older WD. However, I managed to grab a set of French-language older numbers, and they definitely had more content and, more importantly, BETTER content than the recent WD. So for me, it’s not nostalgia – the older numbers I own ARE better, IMO, than the newer ones.

Edit: that review is a joke, right??

Fear Ghoul
31-03-2014, 18:59
That review is, at best, a joke.

I don't necessarily agree with everything the reviewer says either, but I would hardly characterize it as a joke.

Lord Damocles
31-03-2014, 19:05
That review is, at best, a joke.
'Generally, it's terrible when compared to the new issue'

Ha!

EmperorNorton
31-03-2014, 22:31
Edit: that review is a joke, right??
It wasn't intended as one, but that does not stop it from being one.


I don't necessarily agree with everything the reviewer says either, but I would hardly characterize it as a joke.
The reviewer states that the news section of the newer White Dwarf is better because the models presented are prettier than their fifteen year old counterparts. For a review of a magazine that is just mind-blowing.

Athelassan
31-03-2014, 23:44
The reviewer states that the news section of the newer White Dwarf is better because the models presented are prettier than their fifteen year old counterparts. For a review of a magazine that is just mind-blowing.
Precisely.

The approach he takes is fairly reasonable - analysing each feature of the magazine side-by-side and declaring which is better - although I think also fundamentally flawed, since he doesn't weight them, and the features he chooses to analyse are slightly skewed. But his actual analysis is terrible. Not only the model thing (which was indeed jaw-dropping), but the double standard of arbitrarily calling large sections of the older magazine adverts in disguise, while ignoring the fact that the mammoth releases section in the new magazine is also to all intents and purposes an advert, and so on in a similar fashion.

MusingWarboss
01-04-2014, 00:12
That review is, at best, a joke.

Sadly not. I've read a few things by Garfy and he seems militantly pro-GW. That's his prerogative but it also means he is a poor choice to be writing an un-biased view on the old VS new (so good they scrapped it) White Dwarf. Perhaps he should compare a Weekly or Visions to an old White Dwarf?? I can guarantee he'd find a way to make the new one win.

In fact here is a genuine quote (http://taleofpainters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/review-warhammer-visions-issue-2.html) from him about Visions:

Hobbyists love to reminisce about scouring their old issues of White Dwarf for inspiration. The problem with that is most of the content is out of date. None of the rules articles/battle reports are viable because the game editions have moved on. Warhammer: Visions doesn't include any of the information. It's akin to a ready made scrapbook in that regard. I'm quite excited by the prospect of having a row of these on my shelf in my painting room where I can, grab one and have a quick flick at the Golden Demon entries or kit bash to inspire me. I can't see them going out of date.

:rolleyes:

A better review would have come from someone who'd never seen a WD at all. Then we'd see which one they found of the most interest.

ObiWayneKenobi
01-04-2014, 03:03
People use Visions for inspiration? I thought that was what the internet was for?

Anyways, I like some of the articles and reviews on that site but yeah the author seems to be completely drunk on the GW Kool-aid and is very pro-GW with everything he writes (I believe he's had something featured in a White Dwarf though so maybe that's why). Like he slams the old magazine because the "How to paint Chaos Warriors" article was beginner-level at best, which it certainly was, but the new painting tutorials feel way too much like "paint by numbers", while the old ones were meant to be basic level so you could build your painting skills.

MiyamatoMusashi
01-04-2014, 08:15
The saddest thing about all this is people still giving that "review" page-clicks.

Herzlos
01-04-2014, 09:45
I haven't looked at it recently, but this is the one he's comparing against the issue with the free Necron, but doesn't even mention it?

It looks like a spoof review, but makes more sense when you realise the author has been featured in WD a couple of times and that biased is an understatement.

No unbiased review would have a modern WD rating better than an old one.

Athelassan
01-04-2014, 12:02
In fact here is a genuine quote (http://taleofpainters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/review-warhammer-visions-issue-2.html) from him about Visions:

"...Warhammer: Visions doesn't include any of the information..."
Yeah, all that information has always really annoyed me. If only more companies offered the option to pay more not to have it!

Zenithfleet
01-04-2014, 12:32
I will say one thing for the Garfy review: The issue he chose (217) was, in my opinion, at the tail end of a brief dip in magazine quality.

For a few issues (starting around 211/212, which I think is the Sisters of Battle cover issue referred to above), the content of White Dwarf got a bit wobbly.

The battle reports turned into 'before and after' snapshots rather than blow-by-blow accounts, with 3D photos of the board rather than top-down maps. There were several articles that were just splashy captions over pictures, or scattered all over the page in a confusing way, like the stuff about the Storm of Vengeance scenario pack. In fact, the general layout became garish, with funky box-outs everywhere, and over-colourful backgrounds that made it hard to read the text printed on them.

The nadir was reached with WD 216 (Eldar Falcon cover), which showed off all of the problems above while also being crammed with typos and printing errors.

Overall, that short run had a sudden 'we must appeal to hyperactive children!' thing going on.

Fortunately, things improved after a few issues with Sawyer in charge. (In fact it's possible the dip in quality was partly caused by the editorial changeover making everyone rushed for time - 216 was Sawyer's first credited issue IIRC.)

For instance, if Garfy had picked the very next issue, 218, he'd have found THREE battle reports (in full detail again, with proper maps) - a Gorkamorka game, a WFB game, and the infamous Sanctuary 101 battle featuring Sisters vs Necrons.

Senbei
01-04-2014, 22:33
By coincidence I have issue 94 sat by me here... It's difficult to tell just how many of its 86 pages are adverts because some of them actually have the background, painted examples, order numbers and rules for the unit... all on one page, but It works out at roughly 17 pages of ads. It also contains:

A Rough Night in the Three Feathers: Probably the best reason to pick this issue up. Its a mini WFRP adventure, in an Inn. Lots of stuff going on. About 5 different plots all going on at the same time. Definitely worth a look if you like WFRP 1 or 2.

To Live and Die in Mega City One: First half of a Judge Dredd RPG campaign. Pretty in-depth.

Situations Vacant: Call of Cthulhu careers. I have the GW published version of CoC somewhere, if I haven't given it away, and should probably read this.

Additional Block War rules... It's a Judge Dredd board game. There are tokens to cut out and stick to a cereal box (Photocopiers weren't that common in the 80s).

The Battle for Jadeberry Hill: Warhammer 40k scenario
for the newly released 1st edition. A follow on to "the Battle at the Farm", and just as un-balanced as its predecessor. (Edit: I actually love "TBatF" and this, but there's no real way for the Orks to win. Of course there's no real way for the Marines to win either. Kinda like real war, I guess. :P)

Coliseums in Runequest III (More rules for an RPG I've never played, but you hear the name about a lot, in some circles... might be a classic one)

Bloodbowl: Pit Traps and Chainsaws

It's been a while since any issue of WD has contained that much content... or rules for that many systems.

MarcoSkoll
02-04-2014, 05:04
In fact here is a genuine quote (http://taleofpainters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/review-warhammer-visions-issue-2.html) from him about Visions.
That is pretty fanboi-ish. Personally, I love going back over the old fluff articles.

For something of a personal favourite, I love the "Famous Regiments of the Imperial Guard" article from WD 284 (relatively recent by the standards of the issues other people are looking at, but still slightly more than a decade old) - which was just fluff and art. No over-expensive kitbashing suggestions or the like here.

I'd go back to the article nearly nine years later, equipped with massively improved modelling skills, to finally realise some of that lovely art and fluff as a character for Inquisitor.

BFalcon
03-04-2014, 19:35
I've been watching for a while now and I think it's important, however much we love the old magazines, to bear a few things in mind.

1) Printing and sculpting have come a LONG way since then - printing they pretty much had to have the thing done 2 months before release, ready for final editing, at the printing press around a month and a half before release to get them printed and to the distributors ready for them to be sorted and sent out in time to their customers... nowadays, with electronic printing, that's a whole lot less. Sculpts are also far better, so are the artists who paint them, so of course the photos are going to be better too. Also, don't forget that they're now using digital cameras and not scanning photos in, as they once had to.

2) GW used to cater to a wider audience, so had to keep them all entertained or they'd not buy the magazine. I've not bought WD in a while now, since I never used to collect Fantasy or LoTR, so got fed up with months without anything of interest. I've since started to collect Fantasy, so might have carried on, had I done so back then. Would I do so now? Not a chance - far too expensive.

3) All printed publications have felt the squeeze since the internet's rise. GW need to be consolidating and not spreading things out - they need to put a bit of it online again, but have the magazine where they hear of things first, despite the long (in modern terms) delays in getting the information out. Keeping the price down, keeping the printed version relevant and user friendly is more important too - perhaps investigating spiral bound instead of the more traditional format to allow it to be read while eating lunch or painting. Free stuff is also good - a free mini or transfer sheet would probably help once in a while.

4) Frequency. We used to look forward to our magazines and comics when I was younger - nowadays you can just go online and look at stuff instead - and GW needs to bear that in mind... they need to really raise the bar and make the magazine worth the wait - this is one reason I think the weekly format isn't that bad a thing - provided they can keep the same standards of content and keep the pricing competitive.

Of course, I still look back at my WD90 and my early 100's with joy in my heart as I play Blood Bowl online and remember all the rules they handed out for free (and then, later, compiled into books you could buy)... those were the good days. :)

Abaraxas
03-04-2014, 21:59
While I agree sculpting has come a long way, I strongly disagree that the sculpts are better these days- the painting is subjective too, I'm a fan of "the old style" personally.

I pretty much agree with everything else you said though :chrome:

MT Bucket
03-04-2014, 22:57
My first WD was WD102 - the Eavy Metal section gave you a detailed guide to painting faces. More useful information in that single three page article than I have seen in WD for quite some time and a timeless resource for figure painters. And you didn't have to buy an extra book or download to get that useful info, it came as standard!

As for the 'pages of adverts' for their products: it's not really comparing like with like - they needed them back then! They weren't releasing only three or four boxes of figures per month and showing 50 pages of photos of them: they had several systems that they were providing multiple blister packs of figures for each month. For instance I remember WD102 had two pages of Bloodbowl figures featuring about 80 individual painted models (counting as Ads), that would have constituted 16x5 figure £2.50 blister packs; whereas later WDs would have 16 pages dedicated to 2 models that would cost £40 each.

Oh, and of course back in the day it also had plenty of actual articles (not just undercover sales ads) including new rules, scenarios and actual content.

WD RIP... but a long, long time ago. :cries:

Karak Norn Clansman
03-04-2014, 23:17
Better, of course. It's easy to prove empirically.

MarcoSkoll
04-04-2014, 02:24
Sculpts are also far better, so are the artists who paint them, so of course the photos are going to be better too.
While the technology has certainly improved, I can't help but feel the average sculpt is actually a lot blander.

And as for the painting... I really don't like the modern starkly highlighted style. No matter how dull an edge actually is, almost every last one is painted to be (to borrow a line from Meat Loaf) glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife. Hell, even the hems and rumples in cloaks are often lit up like a neon sign.
It's a very neatly done starkly highlighted style, but it feels like a choice to make the painting style seem more accessible, rather than showcasing the best painting possible.

But, in whichever case, I can't see the quality of the models being a valid point relating to the quality of the magazine - that'd be like rating a newspaper based on what happened that day, rather than how well it covered what happened.

While good photography would be a fair point, I can't say I found the old photography to be noticeably lacking - and even if so, I'd consider the occasional duff picture to be made up for by the plentiful fluff, conversion and painting articles.

Autumn Leaves
04-04-2014, 06:35
Sculpting was better in the 90's, WD was better in the 90's, paint jobs and photography are better now.
Game was ok in the 90's, Game is ok now.
There was a bigger team of people contributing more content to WD in the 90's and it shows in the variety and depth of the topics.
The current offerings are slightly dull advertorial montages.

BigbyWolf
08-04-2014, 19:53
Genuinely better. I've been through a few of my old ones (circa 1993/94) and they are great in comparison.

duffybear1988
09-04-2014, 20:39
Ok, my turn for a review. I chose WD274 as it's the one I'm re reading now. This one features a cool demon prince on the cover.

Inside from pages 2-9 you have the normal intro and new releases. Mr Sawyer informs us that chaos black paint is their biggest seller!

Next up are 8 pages of designer notes from Pete Haines and Andy Chambers on the 3.5 Chaos Marine codex. All good stuff with clear reasoning and decisions.

This is followed by a double page Eavy Metal masterclass on Abaddon and Ahriman which is brilliant.

Then we take a look at Pete Haines' Iron Warriors and the changes his army is undergoing with the new codex. He has come up with some fun original fluff for them and talks about how he makes his army choices. There are also little story snippets and a shot of his BFG fleet which accompanies his marines. In essence it's a hobby, fluff an tactica article combined into 6 pages. Great.

This is followed by 2 pages showcasing the flexibility of the new chaos marine box set. Includes some good ideas for combining kits and adding mutations. Nice for anybody getting started with chaos.

2 pages of metal chaos marine bits from mail order follow. I don't mind these as back when you could order small parts these were useful for identifying bits without needing internet access which wasn't available everywhere.

A double page painting workshop follows. This covers black legion and is better than the current painting guides. Useful for new gamers and those who want a basic painted army but don't have the skills or time for Eavy Metal.

6 pages of fluff on daemons in 40k follows this in an index malleus article. Better than fluff today.

Then there's a Black Library new releases spread. One page of books and one page of artwork from the Harlequin novel cover. Art is nice and back in the day WD was my main source of ginding out whst was newly released, so personally for me this was good.

An article with rules for 40k in 40 minutes is next. 2 pages of rules and some writer armies as examples.

4 pages of chaos daemon adverts follow.

This leads to a story about a chaos hero and his rise to power, and some notes on the GW studio chaos warrior army. 8 pages and plenty of stuff to read if you want to know more about life in a warrior tribe.

Another painting workshop follows. 2 more pages covering horrors and flamers.

Then there are 4 pages of fluff and rules for Galrauch the dragon. Fluff was interesting as I didn't know about him.

4 pages of Eavy Metal guides comes next. Teaching us how to paint greater daemons.

Paul Sawyer features in his chaos warrior army tale. He adds tips on wargaming safety and converting a chaos chariot and a couple of quick battle reports with his growing horde. 4 pages long in total.

2 pages of chaos warriors bits and kits adverts.

4 pages covering GW store locations.

1 page showcasing some Inquisitor figures - a ravenwing biker and bike! And a DE wych. Both are beautiful conversions.

1 page advert for games day.

Double page spread focusing on a battle bunker and what goes on at the local club on club nights. Not that interesting as it's very brief but it showcases a local club which is good.

8 page index astartes on salamanders with army list and rules. Excellent content and still worth a read today. These articles were and still are some of the finest examples of what GW can do when they truly want to.

This is followed by another painting guide for salamanders. It's a bit more technical than the black legion one but is not Eavy Metal challenging.

2 pages introducing the GT in Holland and Sweden. Buy a ticket!

Another Eavy Metal masterclass with conversion and painting tips for a Dark Elf dark rider noble. Tips on sculpting a sea dragon cloak. Good.

This leads nicely onto an 18 page battle report featuring Dark Elves and Warriors of Chaos and is titled the Battle of Blood Pass. It introduces some new rules that I believe featured in the precious WD. These were rules for a watchtower patrol DE army and a new mission. The report is well done with clear maps and pictures and lots of text.

2 pages that follow are titled Call to Arms and cover a Warmaster and Mordheim tournament. Very little real content in this and it's more of a congrats to the winners.

1 page introducing a new Total War campaign weekend which sounds interesting as it features intrigue, espionage and battles. Buy a ticket!

Finally we hit the LOTR content which starts with 4 pages showcasing the figures. Some nice conversions and paint jobs on display.

2 pages follow which are adverts.

Next are 4 pages of new scenarios for LOTR. I have played them all before and they are good fun.

2 more pages of adverts.

4 pages giving us a glimpse of the new Two Towers set being released next month and some info on new rules and figures.


So there you have it. Sorry if it's all a bit vague but I'm doing this on a phone. Personally I think it shows just how far things have fallen now even with WDW. This mag alone had multiple painting guides for people of differing abilities, conversion tips, fluff, a story, new rules, an in depth battle report, some good photos of other peoples minis. All that for £3.50.

Athelassan
10-04-2014, 10:48
Mr Sawyer informs us that chaos black paint is their biggest seller!
Don't you mean Vortex Emodark?

Spiney Norman
17-04-2014, 15:04
Harsh maybe but is it any different to todays magazine when out of the whole thing, less than a quarter of the pages have substance? Re-reading for the second time, I would flick straight to the 2-3 good articles, quick glim at the pretty pictures and done.

I have failed to find any substance in the last three monthly magazines GW has put out. Warhammer visions is just one horrible example of new re,Alsace promotion gone crazy, several hundred pages of pictures of new models with no substance, no context to the photographs and a price tag that is nothing short of insane.

zoggin-eck
18-04-2014, 00:13
So there you have it. Sorry if it's all a bit vague but I'm doing this on a phone. Personally I think it shows just how far things have fallen now even with WDW. This mag alone had multiple painting guides for people of differing abilities, conversion tips, fluff, a story, new rules, an in depth battle report, some good photos of other peoples minis. All that for £3.50.

I think that issue and those from around the same time were really good.People still complained at the time about content, advertising and that Lotr took up space! Man, I just wanted to slap people at the time. It was certainly worth the money each month.