Saturday, 12 November 2011

White Dwarf Issue 181 - January 1995

I had been gaming for a couple of years when this issue came out. Mainly Blood Bowl but a I had started a small 40k army too. I'd bought a few issues prior to this one, but this was to be the beginning of a 16 year era.

From this issue on, I have not missed a single issue, and indeed there was a couple of time where I had multiple copies!

That is, until this month. I've now cancelled my subscription, and I don't intend to purchase another issue for the foreseeable. Personally I think this is incredibly sad and it is not a decision I have made lightly. Now don't get me wrong, I still enjoy playing both 40k and (sadly to a lesser extent at the moment) Fantasy, but I think that it would be hard to argue against what seems to be a widely held consensus that the magazine is a poor quality publication in comparison to how it used to be.

Maybe that is because we remember the old issues with nostalgic fondness, or simply youthful eagerness, but even if that is the case, then surely the company should recognise this? I've now been gaming longer than some of the people at our local club have been alive. i'd say that 90% of all people at that club are old enough to legally drink. When I was a child, most of the people that went to the store were about my own age. Now, whilst a saturday game at the store is heavily weighted towards the younger gamer, there are a lot more people of adult age than there used to be. All this withought going into the almost entirely adult attendence at tournements at Lenton. In essence, the gamer has grown up. Physically, if not always mentally.

Because of this, we see beyond the razzle dazzle of the current White Dwarf format. We don't need the newest released army to win in a battle, we just want to read a decent, honest report. We don't need almost an entire magazine to be one long, long, long advert for as many different things as possible, we just want insightful articles on different builds to the norm or perhaps different scenarios. There is no reason whatsoever why the company can't use that as a much subtler method to encourage sales on a weaker selling product by showing the best way to use it with a different setup.

I don't have a great deal of experience outside of White Dwarf of reading wargaming magazines, but due to starting playing Hoardes/Warmachine, I have begun reading No Quarter. Now, I would like to make this clear: I haven't given up White Dwarf because of No Quarter, I had simply begun to read it in conjunction with learning more of the Privateer Press systems.

Now there are two major differences between the two. The first being that there treat armies fairly - new models perform in a balanced manner during there battle reports, even if they perhaps get a bit more attention. Now I appreciate that the way that they release products differs to GW's, in that they release multiple army products each month as opposed to GW's method of focussing by and large on a different army each month and releasing armies in batches (or waves) but that doesn't mean that if the model looks good and the rules work, we won't buy it unless it does a 'since sliced bread' performance in the magazine!

The second is that No Quarter features much more fan generated material. GW has more fans than Privateer Press. It hits a wider audience and it's resources are more available. Making the most of that wouldn't be quite so hard as it is for PP. Obviously postal/email submission is better than ever, but GW has literally hundreds of stores throughout the world. There are independent stockists that outnumber the stores by dozens. Most of all, GW is a major supporter of the GCN. It isn't that hard to draw upon the public in order to maximise their input. Indeed, the vast majority of gamers I know (and having attended many tournements over the last few years, I've met people from all over the country and a few from round the world!) would give a limb to be in White Dwarf!

So now, directly to Games Workshop, and particularly to the White Dwarf Team, I would say this: You are the voice of the company. Use that voice well. It is true that the internet has given a very vocal group of us gamers the ability, sometime rightly, sometimes wrongly to influence others, but given that you as a company have a very limited set of platforms to give your own right to reply, then you must make the very most of that opportunity!