Monday, 30 November 2015

A review of sorts


It's about time I posted something to the blog again. Sadly no real painting work has taken place yet, I am preparing stuff for the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge and doing some work for terrain. More on that later.

Last month I had the chance to get 3 different wargaming magazines and thought I'd compare them here rather than do an issue review. Both WSS and WI are in my possession due to the fact that I am a subscriber and I was lucky enough to buy the Miniature Wargames at a W.H. Smith's in Oxford while visiting with school.

Let's start with WSS. I have been a subscriber ever since I met it's managing director mister Oorthuys. He's passionate for the hobby and all the Karawansaray publications and his enthusiasm is catching. Mr Oorthuys is also one of the main organisers behind the new Dutch convention Poldercon which I will be attending in February. What I specially like about WSS is the diversity of the subjects in the articles.
The magazine covers a huge lot of periods and conflicts including quite a lot of the smaller wars and skirmishes as well as about all and any rulesets known under the stars. Another great feature are the miniature reviews. There is a section on new figures and a separate one on figures to go with the magazines monthly theme. That said, quite a lot of it's content is also dedicated to articles written by leading figures of the hobby community. And while I like to read the ideas of these great men and women, but what I am a bit weary of is all the talk about "the state of the hobby".
Why do I not like these kind of articles? Well for me a magazine is pretty much a source of inspiration for my own painting, modelling and gaming. I like to see what other people have made, what games they play and most importantly: HOW they have played them. There are far too few battle reports in any of the magazines nowadays if you ask me. I do like reading one's take on how the hobby has evolved, but I like to talk to others about it more than to read about it. An article about how brick and mortar stores are closing down due to the growth of online shops or something similar is far less useful to me when it's a one sided written word compared to a conversation with flesh and bone people. Anyway some more of the great existing articles like batreps and modelling features and less babbling would be great.

Now on to WI. I have been reading Wargames Illustrated for about 7 years now I guess. I have seen the big change of publisher come and go and was just as worried as everyone else that Battlefront was going to turn WI into their version of White Dwarf: a FoW propaganda mag. This did seem to be the case for the first few issues but I think they became wiser and have now found a decent mix of Flames of War (and all it's offspins) and other games. When comparing all 3 magazines, WI is the most trend or hype sensitive. They work closely with some of the "big boys" of the hobby and as a result some of the smaller firms and games are a bit under represented. Yet this is not that big an issue to me, I buy the magazine specially for these kind of articles to keep me updated of all kind of stuff from the mainstream hobby. Just like WSS every month a theme is picked to be covered by a large portion of the magazine's articles. These can sometimes be a bit repetitive, meaning that the bigger conflicts get more and recurring coverage.

Now Miniature Wargames is the last to be reviewed here and possibly the hardest to get my mind round. It has everything a good wargames magazine should have, loads of nice eye-candy, great names writing good articles and quite a lot of diversity in subjects handled. Yet even so it alludes me why I do not like the "feel" of the magazine as much as the other two. Possibly it's because a lot of the content is primarily "British" oriented. But that shouldn't be a problem to me since I am every bit the Anglophile...hmm so what is it? I really like mister Hyde's writing style and the other contributors are pretty good as well. I really cannot put my finger on it.

So what is the conclusion of this review of sorts? Well I have re-subscribed to WI at the last Crisis convention so will be doing that in the foreseeable future anyway, yet will I remain with WSS or try MW to give it a try? I have no idea really. Time will tell.

Cheers Sander

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