Monday, September 24, 2012

Review - White Dwarf [October Relaunch]

Games Workshop have done a re-launch of White Dwarf magazine, apparently bringing in specialist magazine designers. At the same time – for everyone but NZ and Finland – they have launched an electronic version (iPad).

I received my UK copy on Saturday – I understand the local is just re-patched for local prices and stockists – all 150+ pages of it.
So how does it look?
Firstly, it has a much more professional feel about it. It is published on far higher quality paper with a satin rather than gloss finish. Secondly, its design and layout is far stronger than it has been in the past. It feels more like a professional magazine rather than the advertising brochure it had become (last 3-4 years) or the slightly chaotic hobbyist feel of ten years ago. As always though, the important thing is the content. Have things changed? Well, yes and no.
Although the issue is 150+ pages, the first 48 pages are dedicated to new releases. That’s not articles about the new releases, it’s just adverts. The adverts are more hi-brow than they have been in the past, the photo shoots are good and text seems more thoughtful – but they are adverts nonetheless.
The remaining content is very good though:
  • Showcase on Ben Johnson’s Skaven Army – very nice
  • Battle Report between Chaos Space Marines and White Scars where the focus is on the new special CSM rules [Spoiler Alert: CSM lose 0-4]
  • Terrain Feature – table built by Dave Andrews
  • Painting Feature – various models and techniques
  • Painting Showcase – Necrons and Orks
  • Kitbash Feature – Ork Bomma Variants
  • Warhammer Adversaries Feature – two players (Dark Elves and Vampires) discuss their list construction , tactics and then fight a game 
  • Horus Heresy Feature – eight pages on the evolution of the Heresy as a cornerstone of 40k lore
  • Forgeworld Heresy Feature – looking at Forgeworld’s new (and exquisite) Angron model
  • Jervios Rant – “You should create special rules but not if these are restrictive”
  • Jeremy Vetock - I have absolutely no idea what he was saying or what the point of the article was
  • John Blanche – his design approach to drawings and figures
On top of this there were design notes from Jes Goodwin and Phil Kelly on Chaos, what the White Dwarf team had been up to etc.
My overall impressions are that this is a significant improvement on the past few years. The magazine looks better and for the first time in a long time I sat down and read it from cover to cover because it interested me. For the last twenty issues I’ve struggled to do more than look at the pictures because the written content was so dire.
However I would couch the improvement with a caveat. This month they had a lot to work with. A new Chaos Codex (probably their #2 behind Space Marines), Forgeworld launch of the Horus Heresy miniatures and rules as well as a smattering of good recent kits. It will be interesting to see whether they can maintain the improvement – or dare I say it, further improve.
All in all, I would urge you to buy this month’s White Dwarf as it is a significant change from what it has been in the past. I think it is worth the purchase price and that is a major improvement on recent issues.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the latest WD for all the above reasons (in fact, I am reading it for a second time to see if I missed much), but was left with a couple of lingering questions - namely, are Christian Dunn and Jeremy Vetock related to you, because they both look a bit too similar for it to be coincidence (Christian more so).

    Not that it's a bad thing of course.