Wednesday, December 3, 2014

White Dwarf Weekly

Being a bit of a GW fanboy, I have religiously bought White Dwarf for the past 15 years. In fact, when there were separate UK and Oz versions I had subs to both of them.

Speak to any veteran of the hobby and their eyes glaze over when they start to reminisce about the glory times when "Fat Bloke" Paul Sawyer ran the mag - rules, conversions, tactica, fluff etc. Now I accept people always look back with rose coloured glasses but I think 99% of people would say that White Dwarf was very good under his editorship. The Oz version built on this - Dave Taylor especially - and introduced some excellent local content.

Over the intervening time, in a lot of people's eyes White Dwarf deteriorated. Less gaming and hobby content was included and more "Paint Spatter" type articles. Things like "Tale of 4 Gamers" disappeared. GW copped a lot of flak and in late 2012 they did a global reboot of the magazine. The initial months seemed to signal a return to old ways but very quickly it start to feel as though the content was phoned in. The claims of it being no more than a catalogue returned. Certainly I spent less than 10 minutes on some of the later issues and readability was non-existent.

Early in 2014 everything was thrown up in the air again. Changing their model release schedule White Dwarf was moved to weekly. The content was very much tied to the week's releases but with a heavy bias on pictures rather than words. Any writing seemed very superficial.

Over the course of the year I decided that I would give it an extended chance. This was in the hope that the content would improve once they got into their groove. So dutifully each weekend I would go into my local GW, lay down my $7 and pick up a copy. The hope - I believe - from Lenton is that once in the shop I would be dazzled by all the new releases and would fill my boots with new purchases. This hasn't happened. I think I have purchased a pot of paint on one occasion and some static grass on another.

Despite an extended trial - I have the first 42 issues - I've now decided that I'm not the target market and that I can't define any value that I am getting from the magazine. Most of the pics in the magazine find their way onto the net ahead of release and the content doesn't appeared aimed at me (I accept I'm not their target demographic).

So it's quite disappointing for me that something that has been a staple of my Wargaming hobby (certainly the GW aspect) no longer fulfils that need and as a consequence will no longer be a regular purchase. I'm sure that I'll still pick up the odd issue - especially if the rumoured Skaven release eventuates - but for now....."I'm out".



  1. My interest has gone the same way, Peter. Even more so when I gave away 40K when the last ed rules came out, so 50% of the publication now useles to me. (Anyone want to buy some left-over Tau? Some fire warriors NIB, along w Kroot painted to reasonable table standard) Piqued a bit with the End-Times releases, but no longer worth a subscription. I have recently started buying the bi-monthly Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy, a historical wargaming mag with useful articles, including occasionally some WHFB. A meatier read, and worth the investment. The ran a great series by Rick Priestly on wargame rules design

    1. They recently ran a great series by Rick Priestley on wargame mechanics and design, I meant to say.

  2. I think the dwarf is really just for people who want to get a little extra info /paint tutorials or rules for the stuff they like. I only buy WD's with Imperial knights or Blood angels in them and I'm happy with my purchases.

    It would be a rare thing to warrant a subscription though.

  3. I have been collecting White Dwarf since around issue 100.
    Things have improves in the quality of the painting articles and the photography is out of this world better than the stuff from back then.

    I remember someone highlighting a series the GW AUS mag ran about an inquisitor and some guard vs some plague zombies and nurgle marines. People raved about this as a great article. Apparently it generated zero sales of the illustrated product. So the whole series was a total fail.

    I also enjoy Wargames Soldiers and Strategy and Wargames Illustrated. I have heard that Warlord games are allying with WS&S to become Warlords Soldiers and Strategy and focus a bit more on Warlord products.

    I didn't buy any of the new WDs when they changed because it mean going into the store and that's totally the wrong end of town. Warhammer visions which my subscription morphed into contains some great photos of GW models and some nice ideas for paint schemes but I won't bother when they stop sending it to me.

    1. I collected the GW AUS mag at the time you mention and have very fond memories of that article series. In fact, to cut down on space, I frequently shred my White Dwarfs and keep things that interest me. That article series I have kept, for well over a decade now. In fact, over time I noticed that I kept less and less and didn't even have to look through the first third or so of the magazine to see if there was anything I wanted to keep, because it was just advertising.

      That article series may not have sold any models, but if WD had similar articles and series' now it would sell me WD, which I stopped buying after about 4 issues of the new version. If it was selling me WD, then I would be seeing all the other advertising stuff they wanted me to see, plus actually buying WD in the first place.

      While I appreciate that GW sees WD as a means of pushing their product, as it currently stands I can see what their product is from their website for free. I don't need to pay to see it. I would pay for a magazine which showed me some creative uses of their product beyond the basic stats, assembly, paint in mandated scheme and play with it within the confines of the basic game structure already published.

    2. Yep those articles were written around the 2004 to 2005 period in conjunction post the Eye of Terror campaign.

      I have all my old White Dwarfs but actually also bought additional copies and put together a collation of the Index Astartes articles covering the First Founding Legions.

      Of course Gav Thorpe then drove his bulldozer all over that with his bastard child 4th Ed Codex: Chaos Allsorts

  4. I really enjoy WD weekly and pick up any issue that looks interesting, although I miss the longer battle reports of old WD. Visions holds very little value to me. I can't see any scenario where I would be tempted to shall out the outrageous price tag on the cover.