May 7, 2006

U.K. White Dwarf 317: A modest review

After Paul Sawyer got promoted away from the White Dwarf team, White Dwarf, Games Workshop's esteemed (?) games magazine, started its steady decent into the pits of boredom, poor writing and overall lack of quality (and content). Not that Mr. Sawyer's WD was without its faults (especially at the beginning), but at least it was more than an overpriced advertising brochure, with admittedly nice pictures. Being the cheap gnome I am, I eventually stopped paying 7 euros every month. I ignored the bloody thing. Then, fate and a freak stroll at the hobby store struck. I picked up a couple of White Dwarfs I had missed (issues 314, 316) and they were ... er ... okay, I guess. So, being the cheap, but consumerist, gnome I am, I started buying the mag again. This time though for a noble cause. I'll review each and every issue (unless of course I don't), hopefully helping you avoid the pointless ones, or the ones that don't quite interest you.

The first review will be that of the UK White Dwarf 317 (May 2006).

A decent issue, infested with 30+ pages of pure advertisements (out of 126 pages, that is). Some of the ads are indeed the new and forthcoming releases, which are quite interesting and include info on Warhammer 7th edition (it will be out Autumn 2006 and you will get to get a free Rulebook when buying the boxed set), but still that's to much advertising. Then you have Jervis Johnson's (the Great's) Standard Bearer dealing with summer campaigns (a rather nice read), information on the 2006 Golden Demon competition, an interesting article on the Gobstyks gaming club and the usual info on stores etc. Nothing on any Specialist Game, no Convershun Clinic, and the naff mail pages are still there. Fortunately, so is this month's excellent Miniature Showcase. Oh, and the mag is apparently no longer organized in nice and tidy sections. Why? Ask Owen Rees. On second thought though, don't, he'll just answer something preposterous.

Anyway, on to the main content, starting with...

Lord of the Rings: Not my cup of tea, tequila or whatever, but seems people are actually playing this. There are quite a few LOTR new releases and more importantly 20 pages on the new expansion: Fall of the Necromancer. Designer's notes, nice minis, sample forces and a brief battle report included. To be honest, even I enjoyed the rather brief LOTR parts.

Warhammer: Quite a variety of articles, but not all of adequate standard. Let me begin with the dreadful Skaven article, a pointless waste of ink and publishing space, that might be useful or worth reading only to those who've never heard of Skaven before. Then there is a very nice, comprehensive and easy to follow 6-page Giant painting guide, and then there's the Battle Report. Ah, the Battle of the Beasts battle report, featuring -after quite some time- normal decent armies: Kuh'Tathor's quite famous and beautiful beast herd versus Gareth Hamilton's excellent and quirky Clan Moulder Skaven, in a Capture scenario. A fine read, but with glitches (very brief text, silly army strength and weaknesses list, confusing battle photos), and a new unit. The Skaven Rat Riders, whose rules are provided on page 92 and not 102 as the WD editors seem to believe.

Warhammer 40k: Well, issue 317, is a WH40k player's wet dream. The Vostroyan Imperial Guard is thoroughly and through decent writing introduced, the Cities of Death expansion and plastic buildings are previewed (mostly in the New Releases and Ads sections though), the Tau get their Heavy Metal painting and converting treatment (spanning 7 pages), Golden Demon winning 40k miniatures are showcased and so are Alex Cairn's amazing and original conversions. The important stuff though, comes in the guise of The Fall of Medusa V free 32 page booklet. A great, fluffy (sorry kitty) and richly illustrated introduction to this summer's WH40k campaign. The writing might not be above GW average standards, but it's quite interesting and makes a nice 1 hour read. One of the better freebies of recent White Dwarfs.

Well, that's it. It's up to you now dear reader. If, on the other hand, you'd like to read something GW related for free, let me suggest a review of the Space Hulk 2nd ed. board game, pretty recent Warhammer news or a WHFB tactics article.

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  1. Its always bad to see great magazines go down in quality. I've never read (or seen) an issue of White Dwarf before though so I wouldent be able to tell the old from the new...

  2. You could Google "Black Gobbo" and get a feel...

  3. I agree, I think White dwarf has got worse. THe battle reports are not as exciting and the other reports are not as good as they used to be. Wish they would get better

  4. At least they could try and get decent players to play the Battles and cut a bit on the ads thing...

  5. I agree there are too many ads shown and there are no good armies plating. It is allways Empire, Dwarvs,orks and ogres

  6. The first WD I ever bought as a kid was the classic one back in the 80s that launched Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader, think it had the Crimson Fists on the front. Now that WAS a gaming magazine, there was enough reading there for at least half the month! As ross says there I don't think that this is limited to WD - many mags are now little more than glossy advertising machines, its just that WD is only advertising one company.


  7. Well, aptly named Abaddon, White Dwarf was indeed a great mag, that -let's not forgert- was guided in its first step by a great gaming genious, and is still moderately enjoyable, if not a tad too expensive. And yes, ross, tends to be right. from time to time at elast...

  8. Correction: All the time!

  9. As someone who has regularly bought (though I don't own every issue) White Dwarf since I started in 1993, all I will say is that the magazine is one simple thing now.

    It is a glorified brochure. The magazine used to be much better value. Anyone who has played since 2nd Ed 40K etc will remember the magazine being thicker, with more articles, which were more absorbing and much more content. Now it is just showing you models with a watered down battle report and then prices, prices and more prices. I only took out my latest subscription for the Space Marine model, which fits in with my extensive Rogue Trader and modern MK VI Space Marine army.

    But the mag is a total yawnfest now - just got issue 339 (Mar 08) and read it inside 5 minutes.


  10. I absolutely agree anonymous dear, and that's the reason I haven't bought an issue for -I guess- a year or so. A shame really...

  11. Thank you gnome. This is the same anonymous.

    What it comes down to is the fact that GW is screwed.. They haven't got any proper gamers running the company (which has been the case since the early to mid nineties). Instead it is suits ruining it... sorry I meant running it *cough cough*.

    The White Dwarf team, since all the old chaps left, have no idea how to put a mag together - I reckon the people who put the Big Issue could take it on and do better. It has lost all its zest.

    Just recently, I have actually started to feel that GW doesn't hold my heart the way it did when I started. I'm feeling a little cheesed off with the way they treat veteren players such as myself. The price gouging of customers has stopped so many people from stating - it will cost a new customer around £150 to start an army, which is virtually always blooming Space Marines. You need the game, a paint set, some brushes, a codex and some other models to round off the inital army from the box set which is usually another tactical/troop choice and a heavy or fast attack option.

    GW are total n*bs and WD is for kids who all have short attention spans.

  12. Quite agree. Again. And learning that Gav is rumoured to have left the company doesn't make things any better really.

    And the prices, the prices... Plain ridiculous especially when compared to the "expensive" wargaming miniature companies that usually sell at a fraction of GW's prices.

    Shame really. And Chronopia and Warzone are still dead.

    Oh, and when suits are running games companies you know it's over, don't you? Same thing happened far too many times. Take Lucasarts for example...

  13. Damn right - oh yes, I have now registered with Blogger - my blog site will be about all the miniatures I have collected over the years + junk I keep buying on Ebay, such as a second Imperator Titan.

    The link is

  14. Great news! I'll check it out asap!