Just some thoughts on the traditional form of getting your wargames related info...
This past week I picked up this month's Wargames Illustrated (WI) in WHS after flicking through the pages to check it was worth shelling out for (plenty on A.C.W. - so an emphatic yes) and of course had a cursory trawl through the various other contenders. I don't buy WI every month - but more often than not (perhaps 8-10 per year) as it really depends on content. If it is geared towards modern warfare (and they do tend to be themed) then I give it a wide berth. If it is aimed at ancients I may well head for the counter to pay without even opening it first! More often than not there is a good balance for all tastes.
It is an interesting thing to consider how all these periodicals sell in the marketplace - especially in these economically tight times. Of the others I have occasionally bought Miniature Wargames (MW) and back in the day I used to get Military Modelling (before there was much in the way of targeted wargames mags). I have looked at Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy but never actually bought it, and I used to be quite baffled at Battlegames (B) - which for a fiver seemed very thin and insubstantial.
I really wondered how long the latter would survive for - and sure enough - this month it has merged with its sister mag MW. I bought the very last version of the solitary red-top and have to admit that it did have the strength of not being stuffed with all the same adverts as all the others (just a few at the back); did have the novelty of a wargamer's wife chipping in (check out pictures of hands with long varnished finger nails ... very weird!) but was possibly scraping the barrel with a two-page article on dice-throwing... Anyway, I also bought the first version of the combined MW&B with its new look image - and still featuring female hands for any fetishists out there! It's not a bad mag with a slightly different flavour than WI, and of course if it is stuffed full of subject matter you want - then well worth the price too.
And I guess that is about it from what I have seen (I don't do White Dwarf/sci-fi/fantasy stuff).
I wonder what others think about this and what else is out there. WI is published in key places around the globe so I guess most people have seen it - but there must be specific local mags to each country. I'd be interested in any and all views on this - how the market is now and where it is going (with many also having related web sites and/or download purchase options for the monthly offering/variable subscriptions etc.)
I subscribe to WSS, just renewed for the two year sub as I like it by far the best. WI... used to subscribe, one of the people there really let me down with a failed customer service issue, and only resolved it when I emailed every person with a WI address. Hm. Imagine that. Public shaming does work! Also, since BF took over, WI is HARD to find - couldn't get it all in Red Deer, Chapters stopped carrying it.
But then ... WSS was carried at Chapters! So I bought a few of those before subscribing. I'm a lifer now.
Anyway, WSS is every other month, so I'm not bombarded with new project ideas, it's paper is pleasing to the touch (odd, I know), and always has terrific articles to go along with awesome eye candy. One of my favourites is the "how to" build the cover shot. Almost always pull a neat trick or two out of that piece, even if it's not completely relevant to what I'm interested in.
WI I quite like, but perhaps not as much as I used to. Too much FoW, too many adverts for me most of the time but occasionally there'll be an couple of articles I'll be interested in. It's still very glossy, with great photos and has decent content. I didn't enjoy the whole 'theme' issue thing, because all that did was ensure that if I wasn't all that keen on the theme (more often than not) I knew there wasn't much point buying it.
WSS I've only recently started reading but I really enjoy the format and style of the articles. There were some superbly painted gunslingers in there recently and a great article about the Warlord Wee Wullie.
"You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job." – Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.
I can't stand WI. I used to like Miniature Wargames after Andrew Hubback took over. It was good for scenarios and OOBs and had a nice little Sci-Fi/Fantasy section that covered non mainstream games and figures. Now Andrew has been replaced by Henry Hyde, I am not sure. It looks better and more glossy and has a couple of good articles, but I am just not sure. For example, using Neil Shuck for a lot of the reviews is interesting, but restrictive. No disrespect to him, but with his own podcast for that sort of thing (Meeples and Miniatures) just reduces the possibility of gaining a second opinion to help you make an informed decision. WSS is a very good magazine with some good articles. However, because of the themes that they feature in each issue and the fact that it is produced bi-monthly, you can be waiting a long time for an issue you might be interested in.
Like Mikeland said, all three are available from WH Smiths, which allows you to be selective on which one you buy. I wouldn't subscribe because of the reasons I have mentioned and the incentives that they give to entice you to subscribe just aren't very enticing.
Hmmmmm.. I like pictures over content. But do enjoy a stash of REALLY old white dwarf mags which are pretty much all in black and white apart from the cover. Lots of text and line drawings. The military modelling magazines depress me when I look at the standard of painting...I wonder if their readers despair of the wargamers. Like ancient content over much else...but if somebody did something on Malta I'd buy it I would pay a touch more for something more coffee table with a clean cover. Pretty sells in my head.
I know this subject is not meant to be funny but it made me laugh.
We used to sell all of the magazines mentioned in the model shop I worked in and we sold most of them every month but we had this one man that came in and bought all the gaming magazines and that included white dwarf, this was not unusual in its self but he would come in following week later and by all the same magazines he just purchased the week before, this went on for until we closed our doors and even then he offered to buy up the stocks we had left, at this point I asked him why was he buying up magazines he had already owned, his reply was brilliant, he told me that he ran one of the dental practices in the town and that his most difficult customers were teenager boys and 30 - 50 years old men, I was still confused and asked what that had to do with the magazines he said apart from putting the magazines in the waiting room he put a copy of each in the toilet, so that way the unsettled men would feel more comfortable about going into the surgery and have something to talk about, so I asked why so many, his reply cause the buggers keep pinching them So i finally asked was he a wargamer he said no but he had noticed a lot of the people that had a fear of dentists came in to the practice with said magazines and if he could seem to enjoy there hobby they would trust him