White Dwarf Relaunch Review

wdsept2016

It’s hard to have issue with a magazine that gives you a free plastic miniature on the front of it. I guess I’ll have to try really hard.

Spoilers: It’s still very much based on selling GW products. Managing the difficult job of promoting Deathwatch, the Start Collecting boxes, Nagash, Warhammer World in Nottingham (I wonder if they will rename it), Imperial Knights, Kill Team and nine different board games within its pages.

It looks like the best bits of Warhammer Visions have remained intact and it has merged Blanchitsu, Parade Ground and the Golden Demon section within it which is nice to see. Army of the Month has a nice fold out section and some clean airbrush work and the painting and converting corner was nice as well. The standout part to me was the designers notes on the Deathwatch codex and the illustrations which gave me insights into their conception that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get.

The worst part is sadly the battle report in which the designers thought running a huge group of Khornate models towards another group of Stormcast Eternals would be compelling, oh dear. Interestingly Age of Sigmar has graduated from skirmish style games and is looking more and more like Warhammer Fantasy only with round bases, I wonder if the whole thing is just clever reboot of the exact same game.

insides

On the whole It’s not bad at 148 pages, obviously it’s more valuable to you if you a) want to learn more about the latest release or b) want more rules for the nine board games they have released.

Here’s the thing: All these articles have come about by an editor telling their staff to write about the latest product which is good if the product is good but sucks if you’re getting force fed Stormcast Eternals, The Hobbit or anything else that you don’t personally like.

It also means you miss out on people writing articles because they genuinely care. Things like the WFRP choose your own adventure, the “On the Waterfront” Warhammer Quest articles, Stillmania, Index Astartes (the second version sorry for people who remember the first run in 1988), Realm of Chaos, the time that GW gave away the whole Space Wolves codex in one issue, or ironically the article on how to make a crashed spaceship out of hardware store products in issue 202 (Ignored by Temporal Distort in this issue).

better

The problem is that I can show you some pictures of something featured 20 years ago in White Dwarf and it still looks cool, I mean that skeleton had a fire extinguisher in its hands, how dark is that? Its 100 times more evocative than the Age of Sigmar Realmgate stuff. But I can tell you now that I will forget all about the content featured this issue or in any of the previous attempts to relaunch White Dwarf either monthly or weekly.

back

If you want a rating I’d give it a 4/5, good but not outstanding, of course if you managed to find a copy with that model attached then buy it straight away. You can subscribe quarterly at nearly half price which is not bad but obviously a magazine focusing largely on shortform content will live or die based on the quality of that content. When the content is popular like Space Marines it’ll look good but as soon as the content drops off so does your interest. If you can’t get hold of a copy because your local GW or FLGS has sold out try a newsagents, my local WH Smiths had three copies still in stock a week after it sold out in store.

~ What would you give it out of 5?

Chilvers Industries

Weekly White Dwarf vol 1 round up and top quality hobby content

  • crcovar

    Next article, review of the latest issue of No Quarter. “Unfortunately it’s filled with nothing but articles on Warmachine and Hordes.” 😐

    • Dennis Finan Jr

      I agree, I wish this issue had more privateer press models

      • Hawt Dawg

        Ha ha ha…

  • Shinnentai

    Talking about terrain you can’t buy from Games Workshop? HERESY! I did enjoy the gorgeous shots of the Biel-tan army and interview of ‘army of the month’ – that kind of thing can be really inspiring.

    As a WFB fan, battle report would have had to be pretty enthralling to turn me around on AoS. What we got was absolutely laughable, if anything entrenching my opinion on the game.

    Hopefully we’ll be getting some proper games this year for White Dwarf to cover alongside the main 2/3 (Adeptus titanicus plz) – I thought GW realised the boxed mini-games were mainly there for the minis in them? Why would I be interested in more material for the games themselves? XD

  • Neal Laxman

    In other words you want a 40k only mag.

    • Benderisgreat

      Does GW have another game? 😉

      • Talos2

        Bloodbowl?

        • Horus84cmd

          Did someone say Bloodbowl?

      • Iconoc1ast

        necromunda you say?

        • Benderisgreat

          Mmmm…… I’ll allow it. 🙂

      • Neal Laxman

        Hey I know it’s not out yet, but don’t dismiss blood bowl so hastily!

        • Benderisgreat

          Oh yeah, Blood Bowl. Alright, 2! 2 games!

  • Benderisgreat

    And yet, memorable narrative-based things like the Pilgrym (the models are amazing; Google “Iron Sleet” for details) are happening in their own backyard, even getting exhibitions at Warhammer World, and there is NOTHING of the sort getting press in their house organ.

    • Minitrol

      The first issue was written in May though Pilgrym wasn’t completed then. It is planned to have coverage in White Dwarf according to Mr Blanche and others who were there

      • Benderisgreat

        I retract my criticism.

        But I’ll extend it again if I don’t see some non-standard, non-sales-mag stuff. HARD.

        • Minitrol

          lol fair dues man

    • amaximus167

      Pilgrym and Iron Sleet basically reanimated the miniature hobbyist in me that I thought was long dead. So damned inspiring.

      • Benderisgreat

        I did feel inspired to try and spec out what it would take to do a similar sort of thing on this side of the pond. There remains a lot of promise, I think, in a narrative based campaign between like-minded people.

        • amaximus167

          right, I have already started making a little narrative group for fun. i would love to be involved in a game like that.

          • Benderisgreat

            Are you thinking about just small games, or movement around a macro board?

          • amaximus167

            I jest re-read my comment and realized it was probably not very clear. I started making a narrative based warband. At the moment, I have do not have a gaming group though living in Austin it should be easy for me to find one.

            I would love to do both small games and movement around macro boards. I narrative style games on any sized table really.

    • Frank O’Donnell

      I agree with you there’s lot’s of great stuff going on out there but a lot of those thing’s are not 100% GW stuff so they won’t get highlighted, imo GW would up their sales if they relaxed the only show what we sell crap.

  • luke snell

    4 out of 5 is really not too bad for a review that reads much more negative. But, valid points. I enjoyed the whole thing (for those of us who do like and own some of the boxed games, the added rules are encouraging, which means that GW actually put the effort into trying to make sustainable games, not just another vehicle for getting minis out there) though I admit that the battle report was a bit of a let down. and yes, I get it GW, Khorne and Stormcast are the founding armies in the starter set…but yes, more variety in your armies please! So Khorned out…
    Regardless of where it may be weak, I am more than happy to have a month’s worth of my favorite hobby content to sit down and spend time with.

    • amaximus167

      I don’t own any of the boxed games however, I did find it encouraging that they had added rules/scenarios in the WD for those games. A little bit of support and variety makes me a little more interested in maybe picking them up.

  • dave long island

    The reviewers of the White Dwarf mag 20 years ago were so much better. Of course, the quality of the review is dependant on the quality of the material being reviewed. I give the review a 4 out of 5…. lol..

    • Horus84cmd

      and the ability to not look through the world in magic past-times rose-tinted glasses…..

  • Arthfael

    “I can tell you now that I will forget all about the content featured
    this issue or in any of the previous attempts to relaunch White Dwarf
    either monthly or weekly.”

    Perfectly sums up the problem.

  • benn grimm

    Sounds pretty awful, but then what do you expect when you turn a gaming mag into a 148 page advert? They don’t run decent bat reps or tactica articles any more because no one they employ nowadays actually plays the game for fun. The models may be nicer nowadays, but as you’ve intimated, the substance, character and creativity is somewhat lacking.

    • Badgerboy1977

      Completely disagree with that myself. The new WD is as good as anything back in the day and the most recent models are just as characterful and inventive along with being vastly improved in terms of quality. For me anyway.

      • benn grimm

        Like I said; the models are better than ever, I’d never dispute it, the difference is the guys presenting the models; back in the day they were gamers just like (I assume) you and me, now they’re a bunch of youthful Saturday morning presenter types who don’t play the games. I don’t want hip, cool or trendy, I want sweaty leather wearing, motorbike riding, long haired nerd-men who have something interesting to say about the game they created because they also still play said game.

        • amaximus167

          ‘…I want sweaty leather wearing, motorbike riding, long haired nerd-men…’

          so I can use you as a reference if I ever apply for a job with GW?

          • benn grimm

            Lol, you may indeed, though I’m not sure it would be very helpful 😉

      • Richard Mitchell

        IT is the best issue of WD ever produced. Period

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          what nonsense.

    • Ross Allan

      New rules for board games. Painting articles. It’s a good bit more than a glorified advert. And, GW are soliciting feedback on FB.
      I’ve suggested Konvershun Korner returns. The models and ranges have seriously come a long way, but there’s still room for kitbashing – and that includes scenery.
      I mean, their gaming boards in the mag feature modified and heavily converted terrain – so articles showing how and with what aren’t beyond the realms of possibility.

      • benn grimm

        That sounds like a positive suggestion, conversion/terrain building articles were usually worth a look back in the day.

      • Dain Q. Gore

        Especially since there was a good deal of articles on Kill Teams and their unique kits/abilities/themes, the next few months would be perfect for that.

    • Dain Q. Gore

      Really doesn’t read as an advert anymore–by comparison to the weeklies–especially since there are supplements/scenarios for 9 games, substantial fluff on 40k Imperial Knights, etc. I never felt as pushed for product as with the weeklies.

      • benn grimm

        It does seem a bit better than the weakly, il give you that. Extra rules n fluff is cool n all, but like the guy above said, it reads very much as a top down push for promo than an organic creation by people who care about the game.

  • Horus84cmd

    Has the meaning of the word ‘review’ changed in the past 24hrs? As their a seemingly lacking of ‘re’ and ‘view’ in this.

    Is going to sound harsh, but the above article is complete drivel and fails entirely to critique in any meaningful way that a review should. It glosses over any explanation to what each article in the WD is actually about. It barely examines the content quality or relevance of why each section maybe of interest to a reader. It spends half the time lamenting about issues past, produced in a different era of wargaming and a hugely different marketing/communication environment.

    The cherry on the cake is the regular complaint that the WD is still fundamentally a marketing magazine. Well shock and horror! I am aghast and surprised! Except for, you know, the single starkingly obvious fact that that IS wholly what the WD has always been for; in every incarnation – PERIOD. Advertising GW products and the hobby as a whole.

    • Chilversindustries

      I think your projecting your own thoughts on this subject. My point was that focusing on shortform content in this way is an unsustainable way to produce a regular magazine due to the variable nature of that content. Check out the links to the longform content the magazine used to feature which helped balance out the sometimes questionable monthly releases.

      • Horus84cmd

        Projecting my own thoughts? Is that not pot, kettle black? In that, you’ve projected your own thoughts on the ‘ideal’ notion that the older ‘long-format’ articles are wholly better that ‘short-format’ content. Speaking of which, if that was you point, it wasn’t well made. By what barge pole does one distinguish between long and short format? Word count, paragraph count or size, text size, continual pro’s, articles spanning several issues? Please let me know, as I’m sure the rational will be a paper thin barge pole, like ‘balancing out the sometimes questionable monthly releases’

        Have you read a modern comparable magazine? Just look at computer games magazines, film magazines and sport magazines they all have content presented in a similar manner to WD – this the modern industry style (the language is a little different in some case but then that usually means they are catering to a older core audience than the WD).

        • Chilversindustries

          Yeap, I’ve know the rerelease was coming up for a while so I read everything on the market in this sector:

          Wargames Illustrated
          Miniature Wargames with Battlegames
          Wargames Soldiers and Strategy
          Warhammer Visions
          Initiative Magazine
          The Golden D6

          Ultimately if you prefer shortform content then you should love it, however I don’t think you can criticise longform content and then ask me what it is.

          • Horus84cmd

            I didn’t criticism anything to do with ‘long-form’ content. I queried the parameters by which you define it.

  • Randy Randalman

    “…but sucks if you’re getting force fed Stormcast Eternals, The Hobbit or anything else that you don’t personally like.”

    To you. What if people like that stuff?

    “When the content is popular like Space Marines it’ll look good…”

    Except that not everyone wants Marines all the time.

    GW is trying to offer a little something for everybody. Not just focus on the model-of-the-week.

    • Chilversindustries

      I think you’ve missed the point. If your focus is too much on shortform content you will lose the interest of the readership when the quality of that content wavers.

      • amaximus167

        I think you may have done something really really wrong when you have me upvoting a comment by Randy Randalman… Hahahaha.

        I don’t think he missed your point. I think he just doesn’t agree with your point. One of the major complaints I see in these forums is ‘GW only focuses on (insert GW pet project here.)’ If the WD is cutting it’s word count per article a little in order to appeal to greater audience by having more articles, then they are doing something right. As much as l love some of those older issues of WD, I distinctly remember months and months of me picking up the mag, flipping through it, not finding a single thing that grabbed my interest and then putting it back on the shelf since the focus was too narrow and not in my wheelhouse. The last couple of years I basically laughed at WD weeklies/monthlies. Only buying an issue if I knew for a fact something i needed was in it. I can say, that this new issue, even though it had things I don’t care about, like the hobbit or stormcast eternals, still had plenty of content I was interested in. Also, showing a desire to support the boxed games piqued my interest in looking at further issues as well as looking at the games. Not saying the issue is perfect, but it was certainly a right step forward. If they continue printing the WD like this, and listen to feedback on the FB page, I will likely keep picking it up.

  • Iconoc1ast
    • Iconoc1ast

      need some blood though…. maybe skulls too

      • mikemc2

        You can never have enough skulls. Skulls with blood on them. The Wrath-hammer should probably just be a bloody skull with spikes sticking out of it.

        • Iconoc1ast

          they certainly missed a trick there!!
          if i pick up Gorechosen i will try out some skullification…. and blood.

  • dreamwarder

    Tangent.

    There are some great terrain kits being sold these days, and I’m grateful for them, but I really really miss old ‘make this awesome scenery out of household items’ articles. Even if you never attempted it yourself, it was inspiring to see awesome terrain being made out of cardboard tubes and pva.

    Terrain making is turning into a lost art. For me it’s by far the most enjoyable aspect of the hobby, but I learned the terrain making craft back in the late ’80s out of necessity, and with thirty years of practice I know I can turn out decent tabletop terrain using around £20 of materials from a DIY store. But it’s getting harder and harder to find decent terrain making porn, even on the interweb, as hobbyists with real decent skills are slowly dying off.

  • Countdiscount

    I think this would have gone over better if you called this a commentary instead of a review.

    Also this comes off as being awfully negative for a magazine you scored 4/5.

    • amaximus167

      I fully agree. The content of the review/commentary certainly projected a level of dissatisfaction that would be a 2/5 rating. I was shocked to see the 4/5. I wonder if they wrote a few positive paragraphs and accidentally deleted them before hitting submit? Or was it just a platform to whine about the glories of the past?

  • Gustav

    I’ve been reading White Dwarf since the early 80s, and I am very fond of some of those old issues. That said, this is easily the best issue since the mid 90s in my opinion. It had great diversity (Within the GW context), articles for a variety of skill levels, a hint of fun, and getting a mini of that quality at that price…yep, the skink we got back in the day pales in comparison!

    • amaximus167

      Ugh, I think I didn’t buy that issue because I didn’t want that skink in my bitz box!

  • thomforever

    This was the first White Dwarf I had picked up since 2nd edition. Well over 15 years. Recently getting back into the game.
    Thought it was very good and very similar to the magazine from back then.

    To be honest for the battle reports I hope they just start going to tournaments and writing reviews on the top tables.

  • Andy Wise

    Gotta look at this in context. There was no internet when the last ‘golden era’ of White Dwarf was around. If you want fan modeling projects, bet reps, tourney reviews etc they’re available in real time online (here on BOLS specifically).

    I agree that what I loved about the issue was the insight that only White Dwarf can provide (e.g. design notes on Deathwatch).

    Good to see that they’re not now charging us for two distinct glossy ads as they were before more or less with Visions and the weekly WD but I don’t expect them not to promote new products in the new format.

    I for one would have voted it a 5 without the mini on the front. With it it’s a no brainer.

  • Dain Q. Gore

    I give it a 5 with model, 3 without. I was happy with it, but since I’m primarily a painter I still miss ‘Eavy Metal, especially in its Masterclass iteration. But hey, can’t please every segment of the hobby all the time,. as we can see with the comments 😉

    Either way, still better than just about any 4 weeks of the previous iteration than I can recall.

  • Knight

    The big problem with this is it is ultimately forgettable. Looking back at my old white dwarfs I go back to read the index astartes (fluff), the scenery building guide, the chapter approved (like feral orks or kroot mercinaries), short stories (I really loved Dan Abnett short story The fall of Malvolion in issue 253) and the battle reports were written as cinematic experience. ( In issues 253 battle report. The Carnifex’s deafening roar echoed across the battlefield as a plasma bolt from the last remaining member of the squad Redann impacted on its reinforce carapace, only serving to enrage it further)

    Comparing it to this new issue, there is the “ultimate guide to” however there is only 1.5~ pages of actual writing for fluff the rest is photographs of the model, a far cry from the 7~ of index astartes.

    There were no scenery guide but only a pose modifying and kit mixing for the new Tau and space marine. The big problem is that in 10 years, the models will be replaced making this guide absolutely useless.

    They did include rules for the board games which is comparable to chapter approved, lets see if they continue! This is good.

    There was no short stories at all. There is a distinction between fluff and story. There were no story.

    At least we have a battle report finally! However the writing was extremely dull. I understand some people want more facts of what happened but why not add a box somewhere on the page that has a narrative experience of pivotal moments! Like when the gates were opening.
    “The blood thirsters hearing the battle cries through the air, they were loosing control.The cries of war calling to them but were denied. If they did not wet their blades soon they would start to kill the nearest breathing creature. The commander couldn’t lose anymore to infighting. He gave the order to abandon the defensive position and opened the gate yelling ‘Make the rivers run red!’ ”

    The good things about the new White dwarf
    +Pictures of the miniatures and the best they have ever been.
    +Plaint splatter is still amazing
    +Army of the month
    +New rules for board games
    +Illumination
    +Battleground showcase
    +Blanchitsu
    +Tale of four warlord
    +Golden demon

    The things that idea is good but needs tweaking
    ~The battle report needs more narrative, currently it is too bland, too much facts.

    The bad.
    – There is virtually no art, the concentrations of pictures was in Illuminations. In the past images were added next to relevant text. Now its only models, it feels very much like “Buy this”
    -Need narrative, there were no short stories even the battle report was just facts.
    -No terrain articles or battlefield.
    -The ultimate guide to; has very little actual content. 8 pages only to contain 2 pages of information, rest was pictures of the model (again very buy this)

  • faker

    They give out a free mini? For real? Like old times? And you say Games Workshop is behind it?

    No, seriously: Do they really give a free mini?