It’s a full-blown week since the release of Warhammer 40,000’s Sixth Edition rules…and two weeks since White Dwarf #390 hit the shelves. For some reason, I still feel compelled to (a) keep getting the magazine every month; and (b) keep reviewing the magazine every month—despite the fact that it’s often a chore to find content that feels satisfactory to a long-time GW hobbyist™ such as myself. (Admittedly—though I’m sure White Dwarf doesn’t admit it—the magazine is really only geared towards those who have been playing/hobbying for less than two years…and, I guess, those whose recollection capability tends to max out around the two year mark.)
Clearly, my decision to go forth and still review what is close to becoming last month’s issue of White Dwarf has to be because I’m trying to lay some sort of sad claim to being a GW-internet-hobbyist “maverick” by actively avoiding talking about 40k Sixth Edition. (I mean, seriously, everyone is talking about the new 40k and the ramifications of its new rules and whether they should pull apart all their old models for the new rules and how they can use Rhinos to limit the field of fire of their missile launchers so they can snipe individual models…everyone but me, that is).
It’s no surprise that, with new edition of 40k being unleashed upon us, this month’s issue focuses on Warhammer 40,000. And I’m okay with that and am not going to harp on about equal coverage or any such garbage. I’m really just curious to see if the magazine’s editor, Andrew Kenrick, decided to allocate the information regarding the new releases as though they were Easter eggs like he did in last month’s issue …because nothings better than flipping through 100 pages of their magazine trying to figure out if there are any new novels or Warhammer models coming out this month.
All that complaining aside, I am kind of enamored by the thought that the layout of each month’s magazine is kind of like the FOX Network and how they go through their roster of mid-season replacement shows: each one holds so much promise but is really there just to be thrown away to make room for the next replacement next month. But I digress; on to the magazine!
White Dwarf #390
Well, White Dwarf #389 is out…and this is the first chance I’ve had since opening the store to do one of my White Dwarf reviews. The last two issues were forgettable blurs for me; apart from some wave two Necron release pictures and information, I can’t remember much about the last two issues of the magazine. I guess that must mean that they were forgettable in their mundanity (far better that that than being noteworthy due to exceptional awfulness).
Issue 389 is almost noteworthy for awfulness…almost. I lay full blame on the Space Marine Stormtalon for this—not that the Stormtalon is truly terrible….I just think it will be one of Games Workshop’s more …polarizing model kits. That, and why anyone would choose to release this kit—and show it off—right beside the AWESOME Ork Bommer and Necron Night/Doom Scythe models is beyond me. The Stormtalon just doesn’t compare to those two kits. As a Space Marine player, opening up this issue and seeing the Stormtalon alongside the other two kits, I’d be feeling like GW was giving me—and all Marine players—the short end of the stick.
I mean, what, with something like EIGHTY percent of all the armies being played right now being Space marine armies, hasn’t GW firmly established that only red-headed step children play armies that aren’t Space Marines? But I digress…
So it’s a week after the White Dwarf was released, and I’ve had plenty of opportunities this week to flip through it (many times even). The extra time I’ve taken has meant that I’ve had the opportunity to flip through the book several times; which is good thing: in many ways this is actually a really good issue of White Dwarf. I’m not sure how much of a passing grade I’d give this issue, but it does have its strengths–which is exceptional considering how many past issues over the last few years have been nothing more than a conglomerate of weaknesses and failures.
This issue is a little different compared to the last…two years of White Dwarf—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The first thing that struck me was that the table of contents (which, for my format for reviewing the magazine, is practically the most important part of the rag) was shifted forward a little.
More interestingly, the month’s editorial moved as well: no longer relegated to the backside of the front cover, it’s been given its own proper page. More significantly, the editorial is presented less as a footnote and more as an introduction to the month’s issue, due mostly to the mug shots at the bottom of the page of this month’s contributors to the magazine.
I think this may be the first signal that GW knows there is something wrong with their magazine: to me, this feels like a first step to making real changes. I’m hesitant to attribute the changes to the editor, as it has always felt to me he lacks the personal initiative to really try and improve the book. No, Andrew “Cut-and-Paste” Kenrick’s efforts seem to be more about perpetuating the “just good enough” culture that has permeated the magazine for the last few years.
—Indeed, as I was writing that last paragraph, I had to double check the spelling of the editor’s last name; at the top of his editorial page, the editorial header says this is White Dwarf #387 (which it is in the UK)…even though the front cover of the North American edition clearly shows it to be #386! Come on, White Dwarf: either change the numbering system to all the White Dwarfs across the world, or perhaps make sure your editor is able to know what issue number he’s working on! Sloppy.
File this one under: The Imaginary Wars Lease Continues to Capitalize My Time.
I bought the newest issue of White Dwarf the day it came out, had started on the review by the next morning…and then BAM! Monday hit and I was left scrambling trying to do five different things (including taking care of my daughter) so that this review had no other choice but to be set on the back burner until all the final bits of getting the lease could be completed.
So after all the drama that Monday and Tuesday held, I’m finally able to say that I have a store location (no more of that “things are almost 100% confirmed” garbage that I’ve been saying for almost a month now!) and I also have the time to finish my review of the newest White Dwarf issue.
Probably best I do it correctly, now that it’s time to roll up my sleeves and REALLY get to work.
Okay, so first off, I’m only doing a White Dwarf review this late in the schedule because I wrote most of it up within the first couple days following its release–and then store set-up tasks went into overdrive, forcing me to abandon most things in my life except the items I’m eBaying to help keep food on the table (as it were) until the new store is set up…and running…and giving me a pay cheque.
Plus there’s all the stuff that comes with being a parent…suffice it to say that when “something’s gotta’ give” hobby time and blog duties will likely always be the first to suffer when being a parent and opening a business are on the table.
That said, I have a friend who’s giving me some help with the formative part of the store and it just so happens that I’ve gotten him into Flames of War. Anyway, he and I have had several late-evening bull-pit sessions where we’ve talked about elements of the new store, setting up the new business…and the rules in playing Flames of War. Needless to say, a lot of good ideas have been developed–and we’ve also begun to learn how Flames of War works! At the moment, my mid-war Loyal Eddies (Canadian Infantry) are undefeated in their struggles against the Hun….not that we’ve been playing proper missions or anything like that. (At first I was terrified of his Tiger…up until the thing got into the sites of my 17-pounder anti-tank guns!)
Despite Games Workshop’s never really making an honest go with their White Dwarf magazine, I’m still trying to make an honest go with my idea of reviewing each new White Dwarf issue upon its release.
I think the back cover of this month's issue is more compelling than the front cover (but I have minimal patience for minimalist covers).
(For those keeping score, I only managed to review #381—the October 2011 issue—after half the month went by, I entirely missed reviewing #380, and my review of #379 came about solely because I couldn’t believe it didn’t suck …so that review was about five days after the magazine hit the shelves). Continue reading
I came up with this brainchild of an idea a couple months ago: doing monthly White Dwarf reviews. I came to this nugget of an idea as I’ve wanted to incorporate something into this blog to help it stand out a little bit. Sure, it stands apart already, thanks to my decided focus on Games Workshop’s two Lord of the Rings miniatures games; but I also noticed I haven’t come across many regular White Dwarf reviews in the blogs I frequent—or on any blogs I’ve stumbled across throughout my forays onto the internet (not that sites doing so don’t exist…it’s just that you don’t see very many of them).
My understanding is that most people feel GW’s monthly magazine is never worth buying—though some do consider it rarely worth buying!