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Offline Alienscar

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White Dwarf May 2017
« on: May 26, 2017, 10:01:01 AM »
White Dwarf May 2017




TL:DR You will like this issue if you like reading about Grombrindal, the history of White Dwarf and looking at pictures of models.

So this issue celebrates forty years of White Dwarf publication and to be honest I have no idea how to score this issue. On the one hand it suffers by comparison to all the previous issues because of its mostly focused content and I wouldn’t score it higher than 1.2 out of 5. On the other hand some of the articles make for interesting reading.
 
It seems that my early summary that White Dwarf is nothing but a reimaging of the Visions magazine is partly true. There is a bit of information in this issue that explains that this iteration of White Dwarf is meant to combine the best bits of previous White Dwarf and the best of the Visions magazine.

Personally speaking I think that there is too much influence from Visions to make this a truly great White Dwarf.

Including the front cover and backside of the back cover the magazine has 156 pages. Interestingly I notice that in one of the articles they refer to this run of White Dwarf as containing 148 pages instead of the normal 156 that they claim.

One page of meet the team, one editorial page, two contents pages, twelve pages of adverts and fifteen pages of stuff that you can buy or pre-order now. That is 20% of the mag.

The magazine is split into twenty one sections and they are:-
Latest News, Latest Releases, 40 Years: 40 Years of White Dwarf, Contact, Interview: The Dark Baroque(John Blanche on his 40 year career), 40 Years: Blanchitsu (a 40 year retrospective of Blanchitsu) , 40 Years:Illuminations, 40 Years: Golden Demon, 40 Years:’Eavy Metal, Battle Report (4 players, three linked battles, five days to play), Paint Splatter (how to paint the new Grombindal), Battleground (An Astra Militarum display), 40 Years: A Tale of Four Warlords, Shadow War Kill Teams, The Master of Fate ( Jervis talks about GM’s in Warhammer Quest), That Still Only Counts As One (A Middle-earth minigame), Spike! Magazine, New Rules ( Grombindal & The Black Gobbo rules for Blood Bowl), The Blood Bowl Playbook (Tactics article), Readers’ Models, In the Bunker.

Including the adverts (but not the latest releases) and counting two half pages of pictures as one this issue has forty six pages that are nothing but pictures/photographs. That’s 29.5%.

The main point of interest in this issue is that they show the front cover of every White Dwarf that has been published.  What I learned from this is that I like the artistic covers more than I like covers that just show a picture of a model. From one of the articles you learn that the photographic front cover started in 2012.
 
This month’s Battle Report was yet another narrative effort featuring the Kharadron. To be honest I could have been reading last month’s report. The narrative approach, for me, makes every Battle Report read pretty much the same. It will be interesting to read a 40k Battle Report to compare to all of the previous AoS ones to see if I like them any better.
 
I am not sure if the Battle Reports are popular but I am beginning to really dislike the narrative approach with the little box-outs of information and the large, two page, picture of the gaming board approach.
 
I was all set to skip reading A Tale of Four Warlords as once again it is an article on how the Warlords painted their recent acquisitions. This month was saved though as each of the Warlords had to write a background story for their army. There was also a short (one page) Battle Report. As you can imagine a four player battle covered by one page wasn’t that good but its inclusion along with the very short stories made Warlords a bit more bearable than usual.
 
Once again Blanchitsu is beyond description and similar to last month covers a warband for the narrative campaign called the Pilgrym. Fittingly enough the warband for this month was John Blanche’s. His Centaurmebrideapede has got to be seen to be believed as it is one creepy looking model.

I also liked the Blood Bowl strategy article. Never played the game and mostly likely never will but I really like informative articles such as this. It had a small background piece on the strengths of each team, how to maximise the potential of each turn and information on how to use and break cages. I really wish they would produce a similar article for AoS and I hope we see an article like this for the new 40k.

Readers’ Models was more of a let down than usual due, surprisingly, to the pictures. Compared to every other picture in this magazine the photos in this article look “odd”. They aren’t as bright and crisp as the other photos in the magazine for one thing and there is a hint of a low resolution look to them. 

12 pages on the history of White Dwarf, 4 pages of letters from readers reminiscing on their favourite issue, 8 pages discussing John Blanche’s career, 2 pages regarding the history of Blanchitsu, 6 pages of John Blanche’s favourite art work, 2 pages on the history of Golden Demon, 4 pages on the history of ‘Eavy Metal, 2 pages on Battle Report history and 2 pages on the history of A Tale Of Four Warlords. That’s a lot of history and 27% of the magazine.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 01:01:31 PM by Alienscar »
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Offline Irisado

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Re: White Dwarf May 2017
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2017, 10:38:00 AM »
Some of that history will, no doubt, have been taken from the previous article about the White Dwarf too ;).

That Blood Bowl article sounds like the best of the bunch to me.  I haven't played the game for years, but it was always good for a bit of fun, and quite a bit of the specialist games material is often written to a higher standard in terms of the articles and guides.

Narrative battle reports are not my favourite way of writing up a game either.  Hopefully, they will at least add some variety in the future.
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Offline Alienscar

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Re: White Dwarf May 2017
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2017, 11:17:02 AM »
You are right Irisado there is a certain amount of deja vu about some of the article. I have lost count of the times they have told us that Tycho originated in a White Dwarf Battle Report. Actually part of the reason that a lot of the information feels familiar is the excellent Temporal Distort article they include in the magazine every month.

In my opinion the Blood Bowl article was the best thing in the magazine this month. To be honest I don't think there has been a poor Blood Bowl article yet.

I would have agreed with you about the Specialist games being written to a better standard in the past but nowadays I am not so sure. If Shadow Wars is counted as a Specialist game for instance then the content we have seen so far this game has just been a narrative Battle Report, a painting guide and instructions on how to assemble terrain. 
« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 11:22:40 AM by Alienscar »
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Offline Saim-Dann

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Re: White Dwarf May 2017
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 09:52:39 PM »
Thanks for the heads up, Alienscar!
Do we know why WD has stopped adding photos with the batreps? Can see how each written one can sound repetitive. Going through page percentages as well as the critiques is above and beyond. Keep it up, mate!

Offline Alienscar

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Re: White Dwarf May 2017
« Reply #4 on: June 1, 2017, 12:05:04 PM »
Narrative just refers to the written style of the Report. They still add photos the issue for me is that the narrative style just isn't that interesting. The WD writers have mentioned a few times that there is more than one way of writing Battle Reports and everyone has their own favoured style. This being the case it annoys me that they seem to have chosen the narrative style as the default style.

Reading between the lines I think the issue is time. The WD writers have informed us more than once that producing a Battle Report is one of the hardest and time consuming aspects of the magazine to produce. This makes me think that maybe the style they have chosen is the least time consuming.
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: White Dwarf May 2017
« Reply #5 on: June 1, 2017, 02:03:18 PM »
Quote
Reading between the lines I think the issue is time. The WD writers have informed us more than once that producing a Battle Report is one of the hardest and time consuming aspects of the magazine to produce. This makes me think that maybe the style they have chosen is the least time consuming.

I find this hilarious (not that I disagree). It takes me 3 hours to do the maps, arrange the photos, and write up a game. Give me access to GWs stuff/tables, a pro photographer, and an editor and there's no reason it couldn't all be done in a day or two.

I suppose this just goes to show how little actual *writing* is in WD these days.

Offline Alienscar

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Re: White Dwarf May 2017
« Reply #6 on: June 2, 2017, 04:14:10 PM »
You think that's hilarious their actual words were that a Battle Report takes several days of intense work from a writer, photographer and designer, not to mention the people playing the game.

I am genuinely surprised that you can write up one of your reports in just three hours.
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Offline Looshkin

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Re: White Dwarf May 2017
« Reply #7 on: June 3, 2017, 10:17:49 AM »
You think that's hilarious their actual words were that a Battle Report takes several days of intense work from a writer, photographer and designer, not to mention the people playing the game.

I am genuinely surprised that you can write up one of your reports in just three hours.

I think the trouble is that pretty much all of the Dwarfers are frustrated authors. In all likelihood they end up writing sweeping epics about the battle...and then get told by their editor that it needs to be 20% of the size.

I think that the narrative style can be done well. I remember a BatRep from way back in issue 138 or so, between Brettonians and Dwarves. It was the first narrative style that they had done, and it was a wall of very well written text, backed up by a couple of photos. It really did evoke the setting and feel of Warhammer for me.

Trouble is, nowadays, the powers that be want flashy photo to do some more selling and as such, any BatRep feels as though you're missing out on a lot of detail. And you are. There's no way to squeeze a 3000 point battle into 16 or so pages when 6 pages are taken by the army selection and post match summaries, while the other 10 pages are 60% pictures. It leads to a bad BatRep.

Give me a load of text, with boxed out strategy points (The whys of what they did). Give me an easy to understand map for each turn, or better, player turn. Give me 1 key photo for every page or 2 pages. Ideal BatRep, whether it's narrative or gamer written.
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: White Dwarf May 2017
« Reply #8 on: June 3, 2017, 10:55:30 AM »
You think that's hilarious their actual words were that a Battle Report takes several days of intense work from a writer, photographer and designer, not to mention the people playing the game.

I am genuinely surprised that you can write up one of your reports in just three hours.

Well, 3 hours, give or take a bit, depending on complexity.

Important to note I'm a professional author. I write a lot faster than your average person and with greater ease.

Edit: reading back that last makes me look like an arrogant SOB. I just mean to say that I spend a *lot* of time doing stuff like that, and it takes me less time therefore as I'm accustomed to it.
« Last Edit: June 3, 2017, 03:52:44 PM by Wyddr »

Offline TheEldarGuy

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Re: White Dwarf May 2017
« Reply #9 on: July 3, 2017, 09:16:46 AM »
Out of curiosity, does the White Dwarf history tell of how it was designed to support D&D, Runequest and Elfquest? I'm sure I remember a Battletech article to two.

Even in the DMs Guide, they mention White Dwarf as a source of reference.

Offline Alienscar

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Re: White Dwarf May 2017
« Reply #10 on: July 4, 2017, 09:29:03 AM »
There is very little mention of its RPG roots to be honest. The article states that When it was first issued in Jun/Jul of 1977 the purpose of the magazine was to provide new characters, adventures, spells and monsters for the roleplaying games sold by Jackson and Livingstone's mail order business. At this time it points out that Games Workshop was just an importer and mail order retailer that offered roleplaying games, board games and wargames.

There is also a brief mention that Gotrek and Felix first appeared as characters in 1989 for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. That is all the content that I can find that relates to roleplaying.   
Quote from: Starrakatt
"Russ, get your work done or you won't see your damn console for the next month!"
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Honestly Alienscar, we get it... you dont like painting!

 


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