Sunday, 21 February 2016

Wargames Illustrated no 341

On Saturday morning the latest issue dropped on my doormat.  Now I don't subscribe and I don't - currently - advertise in this mag Some of the reasons will become apparent.
 The "Special subject" for this issue is the Duke of Marlborough so I expected to find  info on John Churchill and his campaigns- well I did , sort of ,but very diluted and lightweight even by magazine standards- now I don't expect a full detailed biography but I do tend to expect -in a magazine for  a supposedly literate audience- more space given over to actual text than pictures. A bit less obvious product placement might be nice too.
Once past the Marlborough articles- which were all pretty short and two almost identical Flames of War pieces on  the Pacificwe had more than enough fantasy - Oh dearie me a long article on various takes on Mad Max- and violent car racing games- how is that a "wargame"?? - but of its type well done and some stuff on Frostgrave - which is yet another identikit skirmish game. However that is not to the point . My problem with this mag is not what is contains- thats a matter of taste but how it is presented. WI does not speak to its audience it shouts at them. Its style is very White Dwarf- though perhaps not quite as loud- a couple of WW1 articles were in there too but once again had the same "corporate look" as all the other pieces- even down to the presentation of the models. Though the piece on the Siege of Kut wasn't bad at all . Its getting harder and harder to tell one Mafia outfit from another. Once you get past the eye candy and product placement  there IS some readable stuff there. Most notably a piece on Ospreys "En Garde" - which being a one time  fencing enthusiast- still have my  17th century swords- repros of course -interests me rather more than somewhat. One I'll have to pick up - the lad had read the manuals  but again I  had to get past the samey -gamey look of the piece to get to the rather useful meat within.
 Perhaps WI just needs to turn the amp down a bit so you can hear what they are saying above the white noise of the eye candy .....


  1. It is certainly true that the days of finding Prof Guy Halsal's articles on Sub Roman Britain are long gone! (He must have been a teenager at the time?)


    1. Darrell I might also have mentioned Barry Hiltons piece- I tend to agree with his views on Marlborough- Wellington was Britians best he did more with less for longer- but again it was product placement though in itself not a bad piece.
      Now the mags need to sell copies so they have to respond to demand - up to a point. So are they saying (or are WE saying to them) that most "gamers" need shouting at because they are lazy and or thick?
      How does this dumbing down square with the perceived ageing of the hobby?

  2. The problem I have with WI is that due of my eyesight problem I have to hold magazines (and books for that matter)in my hand rather on a flat or sloping surface and since WI is so heavy it needs both hands - which I cannot maintain for too long. I thus only read the articles that really interest me and then one at a time. MW and WSS are much easier to read and contain more interesting articles for me. I agree with your comments about product placement - perhaps WI should be retitled Flames of War Illustrated!