Brent: So If I Ran White Dwarf…

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As you all know, begging the question why I need repeat it, White Dwarf has changed formats this month, so February heralded a weekly and monthly magazine.  So here’s the most important question…

…just how bad do you want to like it?

Brent here, your host for this Terrible Tuesday BoLS article.  Let’s take a bit different tack today; while I’m going to write an article about White Dwarf today, my hope is to avoid what I see as wrong with the direction and discuss instead what I would like to have seen.

Fair warning; I’m honest enough to know what I wanted from February’s changing format was a pipe dream at best.  Regardless, I’m going to write this article as if Games Workshop had hired a middle-aged clinician from North Texas, plucking him from relative obscurity after a Terrible Tuesday article made Jervis Johnson cry, and gifted him with the first chair at the editorial helm of his favorite magazine.

I guess I’m assuming White Dwarf is Mr. Johnson’s favorite magazine.  Anyway, here’s what I would have tried.

1)  Sell Actual Ad Space.

Yes, I’m sure Privateer Press would purchase space, but I don’t see that as an issue.  If a magazine is exciting, it sells.  If an industry grows, models sell.

If ads sell, magazines sell!

For that matter, I also believe that Internet concerns such as Bell of Lost Souls, Dakka Dakka, and others across the world I don’t even know about would have to shell out some cash to rent some space.  If WD was – you know – informative, it would be money well spent, driving curious readers to websites they may not have frequented previously.

2)  Paid Reader Submissions.

Science fiction and fantasy magazines accept user submissions and pay so much per word.  If White Dwarf did the same, except expanding that to word and published picture, tell me it wouldn’t draw in the world’s talent?

Off the top of my head, expert painters could benefit from the exposure; fledgling designers could create background, suggest rules changes, or design scenarios for Dark Heresy.  More than that, what about interesting articles covering other parts of the industry?  I’d like to read about the design and molding process.  It would interest me to read about games and the worldwide impact.

That’s in just a few minutes – clever readers from across the world would no doubt find innovative and interesting ways of attracting submission dollars.

3)  Expand the Scope (of existing articles).

Airbrushing

Professional modeling
Expert techniques
Batch painting
Specialty products
Useful tools

And the list goes on.  Hobbyists are crazy inventive and just won’t run out of things to try out.

4)  Print Official Rules.

That, you know, aren’t from a book we already have or won’t appear in next month’s Army Book or Codex.  Forge World fluff or army lists comes to mind.  I think we’d see some interesting armies start developing around the local gaming hubs as people realized just how cool and different Forge World’s take on Warhammer and Warhammer 40K is.

More than that, people like to see there favorite army injected with a bit of life from time to time.  I really don’t get why we have to wait so many years for official additions to our favorite projects.

(Speaking for myself, I’d get them off the shelf and back on the work bench!)

5)  Paint with Words as Much as Pictures.

There has been a plunge toward excessive pictures.  The Internet does this better; presumably, a professional magazine’s advantage is through a combination of beautiful pictures and interesting words forming more than the sum of the parts.

And I don’t mean the ‘editorial flavor’ descriptions you find in the first twenty pages of new models.  I’m waiting for one of them – just one! – to write, “Yeah, that model still sucks.  I wouldn’t buy it.”

But I digress!

6)  Quit the ‘Flavor of the Month.’  

Is Saturation Marketing viable or does it just make you sick to death of the same freaking Tyranid pictures cropped slightly differently?

White Dwarf could be more than just unsubtle marketing for the latest release wave.  It’s nice to see the new models, but it’s gone from three or four pages to three or four multi-page spreads.  The book could use a bit more diversity; surprise us!

7)  Let the White Dwarf Staff go CRAZY.

Here, I couldn’t be more serious.  Expand the staffers and let them go nuts on crazy hobby projects and battles of all sorts.  It’s hard not to imagine it wouldn’t be entertaining  Hobbyists being hobbyists has always been the best part of White Dwarf, from the days of Paul Taylor to Dave Taylor to John Schaffer, it’s what we want to read.
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That’s my take on it, more or less.  Currently, White Dwarf is a vehicle for promoting one company’s releases.  I believe it’s worth acknowledging there are other company’s and models out there, even if it’s only by selling them ad space.
Is White Dwarf a magazine or a catelogue?  
As always, your take is appreciated.  What would you do if you had the reins of the best-loved wargaming magazine out there?  If you don’t want to play pretend, then feel free to share what you like and dislike about the new direction WD and Visions have taken.
Thoughts?  Comments?  Magazine hugs or burnings?

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