Friday, January 31, 2014

Warhammer Visions - Marvin Gaye Edition

So tomorrow is the big day for the re-launch of Games Workshop’s magazine offering.
Prepare to be disappointed.
Effectively we are getting a new weekly White Dwarf that will cost $7.00. That means that effectively monthly outlay will likely double – assuming you take the magazine each week. This will have the New Releases, painting articles, Jervois’ insight, Battle Reports and even rules. Don’t get excited about the rules though I’m guessing this won’t be additional material rather it will be a reprint from the latest Army Book/Codex/Supplement to pad out material supporting the models on sale that week. Given the level of gravitas evident in the past 3-4 years, I’m not expecting anything more than a 5-10 minute read. Fun fact: It does have a return of the “Ask White Dwarf” column. I’m guessing that a lot of my questions wouldn’t make the cut.
The real problem, though, is the new monthly offering “Warhammer Visions”. It is in a new format – the smaller A5 rather than A4. This publication has pictures of miniatures taken in a gaming setting. The first issue has a battle report of sorts and a pseudo-WIP on a 40K Ork vehicle. The paper is good quality but it is really just a series of battle pictures.
Now there are a lot of problems with this magazine. The first is that by design it is retro. As it comes out the first week of the month, it conflicts with GW’s new release schedule. Therefore it will always be looking backwards. Secondly, it is almost totally devoid of narrative. The pictures are accompanied by a short paragraph or sentence “The Sternguard’s surprise attack rattles the Tau Fire Warriors” repeated in German and Spanish.
So what do I think is going on? And how will “Warhammer Visions” play out?
Well I don’t think it will be here in 18 months with the possibility to be gone in 12 months. Why? Well I don’t understand its niche. It is just a series of unrelated photos. I’m pretty convinced people don’t have a pressing need for this. There’s this wonderful invention called the internet and I’m told if you go into “The Google” you can search for images all by yourself.
So why do I think GW are releasing it? Well first it is not coming out in digital form, it is purely a print offering. You’d think that if there was a long term commitment there would be some buy-in to what is becoming the industry norm. They did this for the old White Dwarf, why not Warhammer Visions?
I’ll tell you why. This is purely a contractual release. Games Workshop are going to transfer existing White Dwarf subscriptions across to Warhammer Visions so they have to refund less money paid upfront. They are banking on the fact that if there is a monthly “product” less subscribers will request refunds given the change in offering. It is pure and simple a cynical financial measure. As subscriptions roll off it will reach a point where it is not economical to produce vis a vis contingent liability that they can call it a day.
In the meantime efforts will go into developing a digital weekly White Dwarf and a subscriber copy that would get physical copy delivered in time. The physical delivery service over the past 16 months – since last relaunch – has been abysmal. Issues have been arriving 2-3 weeks after release day or in some cases not at all – requiring them to send replacements. I have no confidence that GW would be able to deliver to a weekly release date and believe that is the reason why it is currently shop only. I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid that it is purely to get people physically into the stores(I’m sure the White Knights will fly to the rescue and say that I wrong – not buying it).
So in my view Warhammer Visions has all the hallmarks of being a monumental clusterfuck.
Time will tell if I am correct.


  1. It doesn't sound promising. Seems their efforts could have been better placed elsewhere. If it does close after a short run (and sounding by the content - I too cannot see a market for it) then it will leave a bad memory for those that paid for it and be a waste of resources for the company itself.

  2. Having seen it and flicked through it for myself, I can say I really don’t see it either. The pictures are nice, don’t get me wrong. But there is almost zero actual content that would interest me that I couldn’t get through, google, twitter, flicker etc. If there were articles on techniques on how they painted Golden Daemon figs etc. maybe. If it added any value. I just can’t see any reason to buy it and it does seem a curious decision.

  3. Well our versions have Chinese & Japanese plus english. Since I'm probably moving to China some time in the future I can see a practical use for me for Visions.

    Dave G

  4. Couldn't agree more with what you've said Pete. Got hold of a copy of each last night, may well throw them in the bin tonight. All told, the actual written content of Warhammer: Visions probably doesn't even fill a page of A5. Waste of time, waste of money...