Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

White Dwarf

There was a time, when GW was snugly ensconced in Sumbeam Rd, that WD was a good buy. Critical Mass, the book review by (I think) Dave Langford, was always good; even then I used to wonder how he read so many books in a month ('cause he did it full time - doh !). We had Treasure Chest and the Fiend Factory to feed our D&D addiction. There were regular features for RuneQuest and Traveller. Heavy Metal reviewed ALL of the miniatures available on the market* There articles about Carwars, Judge Dredd, Star Trek, Paranoia and a host of others. I don't remember seeing one for 'Toons' but that's by the by.

WD's letters page (a function now superseeded by the internet) was a useful gauge of opinion and forum for debate. And unlike the interweb, was edited down to provide the reader with the salient points. Moreover, WD itself was not above critical criticism of GW games, at least at first.

Even when the first accusations of becoming a 'house magazine' appeared on the letters page, the content was still largely relevant and worth the money. But the readership did not appear to want to loose the editorial independance that WD had previously enjoyed. It wasn't that change was not accepted, but that WD had been a platform of editorial independance since it began and so the creeping 'house magazine' maisma that began after the purchase of Citadel Miniatures and the relocation to Nottingham left a gap. The RPG players had lost their voice. I stopped buying it at about WD 130ish.

"Returning to the hobby" a couple of years ago and WD had changed out of all recognition. There is no coverage of non-GW stuff and GW itself appears to support only WH,WH40K and LotR in its comic. They still do Space Marine (now called 'Epic'. A much better name - they should have called it epic in the first place), Necromundia, Mordhiem, and the 40K space fleet thingy as well as something called WH Historical. They have ceased to cover any of what they now call 'specialist games' in the pages of WD. Fair enough, most of the material can cross over easily, given the imagination of the players. It appears to be the players of these games that are keeping them alive, without their constant pressure and input, I'm quite sure that GW would let them slip into the darkness along with the JDRPG, Rouge Trooper board game and that one about saving New York in 60 minutes (why bother ?), Dark Future and all the rest.

I know that I'm harking back to an age when the incredible plethora of games that GW produced were better than frogger and pac man and that games these days are played on 'puters, not on boards. I know that GW is no longer run by a 'hey, what if...' attitude, but according to a business plan - to stay in the market and feed its employees. Fair enough, we've all got to eat. The world has changed a little bit since the Falklands War. But. And I think it's a valid but - I've just handed over the thick end of £5 for something that is mostly adverts. There are pages and pages of DPS that are either use nor ornament, being mostly 'buy me !' pages of unashamed advertising aimed at kids who are going to badger their parents with it.

GW, your monthly house mag is not worth the money to me. And is likely to either bankrupt parents or break some kid's heart on Christmas day when he gets what they could afford.

*and in a good way, not just the "he's wearing a hat and waving a sword in his left hand with his other hand down his trousers" type descriptions that some hobby magazines feel the need to produce.

NB Dragon always was a house mag. No quarter - house mag. If WD hadn't started out as it did, perhaps I wouldn't feel quite so cheesed off. But those first ten years of AD&D, Traveller and RM. Pure magic, at times - thank you. I'm not heartbroken that WD is what it is today. But I am dissappointed, it could be better. It could have a bit of depth, it could look beyond its self imposed horizon, stick it's neck out a bit and so on - Jervis writes thousands of words on that very theme nearly every month and then they fill it up with adverts !


  1. I can't agree more. With everyting you said, it really annoys me the withdrawl of support for such awesome games as necromunda, mordheim and even WHFRP.

    even if the parent corporation stops, you'd think the mag would continue. but no, as you say it's a house magazine. essentially an advert.

    one of my favourite things in the old WD was the adventures for WHFRP and D&D, i still have use. hell i still use some of them.

    notably two particularly amusing ones - a D&D one off where the pc's are warped to "thee see syde" and a WHFRP one with a curious night spent at an inn.

    Man I miss WD.

  2. There's (what I think is) a great article about Vanc-ian magic in the same edition as the sea-side adventure one. Which is a sort of corner stone of my current RM campaign.

    But yeah, all of those old things were excellent. I remember a much younger me being impressed and interested in that the adventures in WD seemed to have characterful and worldly motivation for the PCs and NPCs and a sort of cause and effect thing going on. Unlike the TSR dungeon crawls of the time.

    Oh well.

    OBTW, Welcome aboard.

  3. Yup. It's an easy dog to kick, but you're entirely right, sadly. I still have some old copies knocking around and there's no comparison.

    I subscribed a few of years ago, and I think it was extended through an admin error, because they've kept on sending it out...but now it finally draws to a close, and I shall not be renewing. Especially with the new sprog, it's just a waste of funds.

    A pity.

    I often wonder quite why GW keeps stiching themselves up like this...