Friday, January 24, 2014

To be, or not to be..

I've just had a letter from Atlantic Publishing telling me that I only have two issues of my Miniature Wargames subscription remaining...

Now the question is, can I be bothered to re-new given I haven't read any further than the contents of the last issue, never mind the current one...


It doesn't help that the only option I've been given is for two years at a mighty £90 - though I'm sure other options are available....



What do others think of the post Battlegames experience??

47 comments:

  1. I suppose it is because I have been in the hobby for so long but I find there are insufficient articles of interest to make MW/BG worth buying. My BG sub lapsed and it seems that the magazine is now more MW than BG. I have only bought a couple of the former over several years and would rather put the money towards a book or rule set than read articles which are mostly what I know already. Useful scanario ideas/battle reports are few and far between. Wargames Soldiers and Strategy is often worth buying even where the theme is not of interest as the comments are thought provoking.

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    1. Jim - you are not alone in recommending WS&S - I may have to give it a try....

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  2. I buy all the wargames magazines. If I had to drop one it would be WI because of all the tedious tank battles. Like all of them some have articles of interest and some don't. WSS is now the best though, I think.

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    1. Legatus - you're the second to recommend WS&S

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  3. I agree that WSS is now the best of the bunch. My copy of MW arrived this week and it was saved by the article by my gaming friends Rob and Paul's article and interview with Charles Wesencraft ( had I not been taking my daughter back to Uni I would have been playing in the wargame!). 370 marginally better than 369 but I too will not be renewing my subscription of either Miniature Wargames or Flames of War, er , Wargames Ilustrated.

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    1. Colin - in my heart I know I won't be renewing either - the magazine is just not hitting the sweet spot for me....

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  4. See my own thoughts on 370 on my blog it was the best for a good few months. It actually had stuff to read.
    One wonders- somewhat facetiously if WSS is the best because its the least frequent and you are less likely to get overload from it.
    Now as a rule I tend to agree but this particular issue of MW was pretty dammned good

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    1. Big Andy - pithy as ever - for which thanks! There's food for thought their.... back in the day I used to read wargames magazines voraciously... cover to cover... even the articles/periods I wasn't interested in.... the difference of course is the new fangled interweb thing (TM) - I don't have to anymore as I can just go off to the PC and read as much as I want on any subject that comes to mind.... to quote you from your own blog... in that environment I wouldn't want to be a wargame magazine editor either!

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  5. Do they offer digital as that's the only way I'll purchase magazines these days. I currently I only subscribe to WSS which I enjoy.

    Christopher

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    1. Yep the do a digital sub, which is the only way I buy magazines these days. Would agree that WSS is the best of the bunch, being bi-monthly may well be part of then reason!

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    2. Axebreaker - digital is an option, but only if it is realistically priced... what irritates is when they charge the same or more for digital as for the paper copy... yes I know VAT applies, but even so...

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  6. I buy WSS without thinking about it as the magazine is quality through and through, I also buy MW/BG on a regular basis as I like the new version and enjoy many of the articles although some editions dont fit the periods I play so dont buy them.

    The only rag I no longer buy at all is flames of war Illustrated, because its full of crap and adverts and its been a couple of years since my last purchase, I do have a cursory flick through in WHSmith on occasion but have never been tempted to part with scheckles for it.

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    1. Andrew - well done - an alternative view... got to agree with you on WI - used to be my favourite magazine back then when we only had WI and MW...

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  7. @axebreaker: I get digital copies, so yes, they are available .

    @Andy: funny, I like the issues that you pan and when you like an issue like this one, I find that I didn't like it as much. LOL!

    I have been a bit disappointed with the content of MW over the past several issues, probably because there was not much in my wheelhouse of historical interests. I guess that is the risk when you subscribe to any magazine. Other than Mrs Sutherland's useful article on terrain making, which I always find interesting, the rest of the stories were a pass by for me.

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    1. Thanks, I might need to take a look.

      Christopher

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    2. Alte Fritz - good - another alternative view - have to disagree about the terrain making articles though... but only because I've been in the hobby long enough now that I've seen most of it before.....

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  8. Underwhelmed once again by MWBG. Issue 370 did little to lift my hopes that the magazines are dull. Admittedly it was better than the previous one but if you remove the regular articles (and I include the Wargame Widow here because she seems to be an institution for Henry) there was very little content. And is it me or are the photographs getting worse?
    The solution to this downward spiral would be for us to write articles for the magazines and stop whining.
    But whinings easy!

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    1. Paul - you're absolutely correct.. but most of us scratch our creative urges on our blogs, and I've never managed to get beyond the perception that no-one in their right mind would want to read the bo**ox I write... :o)

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  9. Paul et al I often wonder what chaps expect from a mag. Often you get" this issue was crap, it didn't interest me " Now merely becauise it doesn't interest one chap or another doesn't mean that its actually bad . The mag was thicker than past issues so the was content simply not content that you liked.
    You of course have the solution right.
    But then I'd probably hate it- and yes I have written a few articles myself and have some in the "partly written" stage..
    We do seem to be good at saying what we don't want which is why when Henry does a good issue like this one I'll say so as well as having a whine when he does a bad one.
    As for WSS its more consistant but I do find some of the columns a bit wearing sometimes

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    1. Big Andy - "one mans meat is another mans poison" but the main problem is that as I said above there's little incentive to subscribe to a magazine that varies so much issue to issue, as even you comment on... better to pick up a copy as and when......??

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  10. IMO far too many opinion pieces or state of the hobby addresses rather than game articles. Even if it's not my preferred period a well written article/scenario/ruleset should have elements you can translated to your own area of interest. It's not just MW that is guilty of this to be honest, as a result I have never subscribed and only buy the very occasional issue.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    1. Pete- I might agree if I knew what a "game article" was- I'd have thought 370 had plenty - even if not your preferred period1 campaign game/ rules and another set of rules/army lists. Personally I tend to baulk at scenarios for Kieths "been there done that" reasons. After all creating a scenario is frankly dead easy if you read the books- hence Conrad Kinch piece on disguised scenarios- not new - but a reminder

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    2. Apologies I should have been more specific. What I meant was a scenario, rule set or history piece with notes applicable to gamers for a specific era. Rather than an article on generalities or a review of what's been released recently.

      Cheers,

      Pete.

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    3. Pete - the best article in MW/BG in ages was the one that set the same scenario fought with a number of similar sets of rules - an absolute cracker...

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  11. I think for wargamers who've 'been there, done that', it's better to look up what each issue contains and buy selectively, rather than subscribe. As someone mentioned, the only reason I'll be buying issue 370 is the Wesencraft article. And how I hate those Diane Sutherland pieces! I think it was way back in the 70s when Donald Featherstone concluded that you might as well buy most of your terrain and stop wasting time making it, because good stuff was available at reasonable prices. How much more true now. (Sorry Fritz).

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    1. Keith - I think you're right - what worries is remembering back in the day when Stuart Asquith had to fold Practical Wargamer because he didn't have enough subscribers to plan for a financial future.....

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  12. I looked at Phil's copy during a break in yesterday's game. Nothing stood out for me, yet again I have to say, so I won;t be buying a copy this month. What is the point of those awful 'Blue Peteresque' terrain making pieces in this day and age? Can;t stand WSS, just does n't float my boat. I'll stick with WI myself.

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    1. Interesting David. Could you elaborate more on why you can't stand WSS? It its one thing I've learnt is critical feedback is by far the most useful to us. Guy.

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    2. David - kind of interested in why you don't like WSS as well - though I accpet I can make my own mind up with a trip to WHSmith! :o)

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    3. Its a matter of personal preference really and the sort of magazine I like. For me, and I accept I'm not totally unbiased having contributed dozens of pieces over the past 15 years or so, WI is what I want to see in a magazine for the hobby, wonderful figures and terrain expertly photographed on a wide range of areas supported by articles that I enjoy. MW/MWwB to me seems to be harping back to some imagined lost 'golden Age' ~ which of course was not really Golden at all ~ while WSS is just wide of the mark in most issues ~ themes/articles/vignettes which are modelling not wargaming pieces/figure comparisons which I saw on the web months before usually, and so on.
      But, as in all things, its just my opinion and worth no more, nor any less, than any of yours. I would 't expect to change anyone's opinion by this and nor will any response change mine.

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    4. Cheers David,

      I should say I've read and enjoyed your articles in Wargames Illustrated over the years. Thank you also for the honest feedback. I like to keep an open mind to the future shape of WSS - comments and critique like this are always welcome. Blogs, along with the regular feedback I receive via email from our readers, all help shape and change WSS for the better.

      I will correct you on one thing. Our Front Covers are indeed all practical wargames pieces - ever since I had an email from an Australian gentlemen about two years ago. He pointed out (quite rightly) pretty much word for word what you said - we change our policy there and then. Incidentally it makes transporting the vignettes to shows much easier with individually based miniatures.

      Guy

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  13. Decided not to buy any magazines this year at all for all of the above reasons. No new figures either if at all possible. I want to game and finish my existing stuff. I so wanted these magazines to succeed but they all fall woefully short for me, sad.I find far more inspiration from you bloggers, better pictures of better figures, more thought provoking articles, scenarios I want to read and immediate feedback/interaction. For all of that WSS is my fave since BG was swallowed whole never to be seen again - really.

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    1. Warpaintjj - the immediate feedback/interaction is a fun part of the whole process I agree... I seem to be unusual in that I don't have a lead pile to speak of either - never have.. I paint hat I need then buy the next lot... never have more spare figures than I need for a couple of units..

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  14. I must to confess that I dropped all subscriptions of glossy magazines because I never readed beyond the index. Usually none of the articles were interesting to me. Actually I am only subscribed to Lone Warrior electronic version
    Regards
    Rafa

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    1. Rafa - ahh... Lone Warrior, I used to subscribe - I must check it out again..!

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  15. On current performance, I can't see MW/BG lasting to the end of a 2-year subscription period! It's just so DULL- the layout, the photos, the adverts and the articles. The only item of even marginal interest in this month's issue was about a bloke building a shed? I'm a simple soul and would just like to see a few pieces on (preferably) historical games with a lot of nice photos that tempt me to buy yet more books, figures, terrain, etc. from the nice advertisers?

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    1. Jeremy - have to say that I agree... it looks to me like Henry, who is a one man show after all, is over stretched...

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    2. Postscript to the discussion above - anyone seen the new edition of the much derided Wargames Illustrated? Only 8 pages of "tanks" in 120+ pages with the rest filled with Medieval, Sci-Fi, Stuart Pirates(!), Zulu War, ACW, WW2 AFV modelling, Boxer Rebellion and a visually stunning 14 pages of Napoleonic Naval. All superbly illustrated and hardly an esoteric "think-piece" in sight. None of it related to my specific areas of wargaming interest but a great read!

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    3. Jeremy - thanks for that - I must check it out...

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  16. I've been gaming for a lifetime now and have issue one of most of the popular magazines. It's easy to forget that we loved those early mags because anything they printed was new to us. If you reread them now the only thing original is the enthusiasm. With respect to todays mags, of which I subscribe to the big three, part of the problem is we the gamers. Our hobby is spoilt for choice of periods , scale and genre. It must be bloody hard for an editor to find articles that will be appeal even to a small selection the potential readers. When we play everything and can obtain figurers for games from the Paraguayan wars of independance to battles between stone age warriors and that's ignoring sci-fi and fantasy how an earth do we expect a magazine to cater for all tastes? So I subscribe to the big three and take from them what i can but any criticism I have on content or subjects is very subjective and not a reflection on the magazine. @jeremy Ramsey I thoroughly enjoyed the latest WI as well despite the fact It's normally the one i enjoy least.

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    1. I take your point about the early mags Robert and mentioned something along these lines on Pauls "Grimsby Gamer". Are we the grumbling few, are we all of similar age and time spent in the hobby? Is this ho hum attitude to the present mix of wargames mags simply to do with our demogrphic...? Are we just grumpy old gamers?

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  17. Further to my last post I too feel that the mags are being replaced by the blogging community. I only recently got into the act and I find the effort of blogging very satisfying. maybe its writing it down that concentrates the effort. I'm also amazed by the sheer amount of talent and info I find on the blog sites.

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    1. Robert.. your comment re. the blogging community is very pertinent... there's everything out there, all standards/periods/rules... there are even people who play on hex gridded tables for heavens sake.. :o)

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  18. These opinion pieces on war game magazines are starting to go a bit viral I had to seriously examine if I'm getting value for money from my magazine subs in my year ending wrap up rant, I concluded I wasn't for all except one WS&S. I inadvertently put the current crop of magazines to the test while flicking through some old WI's, WM's, PW's and ancient Mil Mod's over Xmas. More often than not I read a previously well thumbed magazine from cover to cover not every time mind, that is something I cant say about any of the new WI's and MW+BG's.

    My period focus is somewhat narrow yet the old mags had me reading articles well outside of my areas of interest just as they did back in the day, I honestly cant pinpoint exactly why but those old magazines just seemed to pull me in with their articles. I suspect the authors had a better knowledge of what they were writing about than they do now and the writing style more fluid, who knows?

    regards
    dave

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    1. Cheers Dave - viral?? That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me... :o)

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  19. To be fair, I should say that I have just bought MWBG 370 which had a couple of articles relating to periods of interest to me and others which looked as if they would give me something to think about. Should brighten up another rainy day!

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    1. Jim - entirely fair - to be honest this was the best edition in ages - worth buying for the Charlie Wessencraft interview alone.....

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