It has been a while since I looked at the various magazines on offer. This has been mostly because of simple time pressure. It has been pretty busy here for a showless September. No complaints though! It simply means that I don't have much time for extraneous activities such as reading the magazines.
However the hubbub has slowed to its normal dull roar so I can find enough time to take at least some notice of the rest of the wargaming world .
So first off Miniature Wargames
This one is no414 so it has been a year since John Treadaway took over.
Now if you are a Sci-fant dude this is a good issue indeed. Not only does it have the Darker Horizons section which has some readable reviews but also in the body of the mag a nice piece by Roger Dixon on building a "Customs Office" since this was a follow up from the previous issues"Landing Pad" there is a definite Sci-fi vibe. Yet it is not in "Darker Horizons" The creeping insidious anti- history crusade continues?
Nevertheless Mr Dixon knows what he is about and it would not take a great brain to simply miss out the obvious sci-fi elements and make this a scruffy border post for any era from say 1914 onwards.
Now as regular readers will know I'm not really a sci-fant chap. I do have a small sci-fi collection and yes they may come out of their boxes once in a while for the odd silly lightweight game but Fantasy is another matter. I admire the sheer artistry of some fantasy miniatures-see those on page 37 of this issue-but my problem with Fantasy is twofold,
1/, It is so much more expensive than historical stuff. Sometimes massively so. Therefore beginning from scratch is going to cost a good wedge of bunce.
2/, The killer- I'd not want to simply copy someone else's fantasy but have one of my own as it were- in much the same way as the fictional countries afficianardos do . The idea of simply pulling another fantasy skirmish-a -like out of the box and being merely a rules slave just knocks the whole idea of Fantasy Wargaming on the head for me. (As an aside my preference would be more Hyborian than Middle Earth with perhaps a few shades of Cabot of Gor... but it is not going to happen despite the plethora of splendid figures about.)
Anyway back to the mags
Despite the foregoing there are a couple of decent historically based pieces here Jon Sutherland continues with his revamping of old Ancients rules. I actually played "Hoplite Warfare" back in the day and recall enjoying it simply because it WASN'T W.R.G..
Dave Tuck's piece on "Wargaming my Way- or rather as he puts it "our way" for his group had me nodding in agreement.
The show report on Claymore was very useful. I was there but too busy to see most of the games- never for instance saw the Nordlingen game at all .
A second part to his Solo Colonial by Chris Jarvis also appeared but solo just does not float my boat- does NOT mean that this was not- like it's first part- a useful piece.
Back this up with a good slew of reviews- including some Old Glory and Blue Moon product- even if the Editor did have bother navigating the OGUK site ( Sorry John that is the problem when you have almost 5000 different products most of which are not your thing .... ) and you have a pretty rounded issue.
Included with this was the Show Guide for the Derby Worlds- which is of course nowhere near Derby this year, It is pretty obvious that the new owners want to turn this show into a Fantasy heavy competition heavy event. Most of the infomercials are from fantasy outfits as are most of the adverts. Yet to counter that I'm happy to see that SSAFA have a stand. This is a charity worth supporting so I will again.
Only a couple of weeks to this event now so we'll see. Just a reminder that OGUK will only be taking 15mm to the show- so All the Blue moon we have plus Command Decision. If we have any room left we will add some 10mm but no 28mm (except maybe Drabant) and no 40mm will be coming to the show. Pre-orders are welcome- see the Old Glory Newsdeak on www.oldgloryuk.com
As usual a very slick issue concentrating on"Revolution- wargaming revolts and uprisings"- or so the cover says. In practice this means the AWI and the Russian Civil War. However there is a good selection of other articles tow including the rather bizarre idea of using the "Rampant" system for Bronze age warfare- another bloody skirmish-a - like then . Yes another skirmish -a- like appears in the form of a "game" called "Forager" in which - so we are told "the deeds straight out of a Sharpe novel can come to life"- what again!! Been there done that. I wonder who actually buys all these neverending revamps of yet another skirmish game. There are so so many about. Does the tedium never end.
Now none of that is the fault of the magazine but the massive number of similar skirmish games really is becoming so samey- can't the games designers find another bandwagon to jump on for next month?
The rest of the articles are actually not half bad if a bit samey to look at- though the James II article was a bit of a stand out for me. Historicon looked good. I must get over there again as it has been a few years now. Indeed I got a bit of a shock on page 15 of the mag was a picture of Todd Fishers celebrated "Storming the Tuilleries "game . I hadn't seen that for years. And yes it brought back memories as I was involved more than a little.Now as it says Ian Weekly built the palace itself but the 36 square feet of Revolutionary Paris was built by your Gentle Author.
The only other pictures I have of this massive game appear in the now defunct US magazine "Historical Gamer" from October 1992 where unlike WI I do get a mention. Mind you the WI staffers simply may not have known who built what if was over a quarter of a century ago....
Other articles cover the Helder campaign of 1799 - interesting this - one I've looked at myself in the past as well as a visit/interview with Sarissa Precision- another of those lazer cut building outfits- with some nice looking gear.
Its is a full magazine and I've missed stuff out- a wonderful looking "Camrai" game at Partizan for instance- again I was too busy to see the bloody thing at the show so photos have to do.
Ah C'est la Guerre!
I'm still not that keen on the layout of WI to be honest but this issue was a good bit less "in yer face" than some previously so perhaps it is getting better.