Saturday, 20 May 2017

Miniature Wargames Issue 410

The May issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES magazine was delivered a few days ago, but I have been so busy that I have only just managed to read through it.


The articles included in this issue are:
  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: 'Get to the chopper!': A chat and a game with Brian Kenny, AvP (Alien vs. Predator) Unleashed Team by Conrad Kinch
  • Rules of Engagement: Asymmetric Warfare on the North West Frontier and modern conflicts by Andy Copestake
  • Some you win, some Zulus: A card-based system for producing the element of surprise in late nineteenth century colonial wargames by Andrew Rolph
  • Recce!: An Airfix Battles scenario by Alan Paull
  • Darker Horizons
    • Fantasy Facts
    • The Army of Gondolin: Painting a realistic Elven army (Part One) by Graham Green
    • Designing ulterior motives: A chat with the author of the latest add-on to Frostgrave by John Treadaway and Joe McCullough
  • Salute 2017: Show report by John Treadaway
  • Recce
  • Big Boys' Toys: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Club Spotlight: Falkirk District Wargames Club by Douglas Thompson
  • Club Directory
I was rather disappointed with this issue, and it pretty well confirmed my decision to cancel my subscription when it is next due. The only two articles I really enjoyed reading were those written by Andrew Rolph and Alan Paul (both of whom I have met at recent COWs) ... and when I saw that one article in the Darker Horizons section was subtitled 'Painting a realistic Eleven army', I nearly fell off my chair!

24 comments:

  1. I stopped subscribing some years ago to wargames magazines. The fact is, so many articles are repetitious, year after year it's the same battles described and re-fought.
    But I still buy them occasionally for the content which interests me at the time. Currently it is Frostgrave and Ronin.
    The article on the Elven army was actually quite good. The reasons why he chose the colour scheme and its links to Tolkien's descriptions.
    I fear, though, that MiniWargs has too limited a writer base. The same authors and, occasionally, the same themes. Aging of the hobby, baggage trains etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peter Holland,

      I certainly agree about the repetitiousness of some off the content. What might be new and interesting to some will be rather old hat to others ... particularly old codgers like me!

      You are right about the Elven army article being quite good; what I found odd was the use of the term 'realistic'. It was certainly well researched and in keeping with the information in the books ... but how can you describe something so fictional as being realistic?

      I used to write for wargame magazines, but gave up after having to wait so long to be paid. In fact I am still owed money by one magazine from nearly twenty years ago. In the end I confined myself to writing for THE NUGGET (where no one gets paid) or - more recently - self-published books.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    2. Out of curiosity what does a 'realistic Elf' look like?

      Delete
    3. James James,

      A very good question ... for which I have no answer!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. Bob,
    Sad to say that Wargaming Magazines make little dollars from me. If I see a single article that appears to appeal and interests me I will purchase the magazine. I stopped subscribing to Wargames Illustrated when it became full of 'Flames of War' ages ago- commensurate with going onto the Internet where private Blogs and Websites provide the information I am after. I can see magazines such as 'Strategy & Tactics' being of value to the Historical Gamer. Cheers. KEV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kev Robertson,

      I suspect that I will be following your example in future, and only buying a magazine if there is something in it that interests me.

      I wonder how much longer the hobby can sustain three colour magazines, especially when there is so much competition on the Internet.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. The editorial put me off at the very start of the issue. I don't appreciate being lectured about not wanting to read about SF and fantasy in a magazine that was originally TWO historical magazines. The magazine has so little historical content other than reviews and show reviews that it is nearly worthless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brent,

      I feared that MW would become more and more orientated towards fantasy and sci-fi under the new editor, and it looks as if my concerns were well-founded.

      Without the presence of the two articles I mentioned in my blog entry, I don't think that I would have bought this magazine if I'd seen it on the shelves of WHSmith.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  4. I have to agree reading the above. I stopped buying magazines a long time ago. I very occasionally buy one if it has an interest for me like Congo at the moment . Again it's all the same stuff rehashed again and again.
    I like people's blogs, which are more entertaining and informative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Simon Jones,

      I am seriously thinking of doing something similar myself, and just buying magazines as and when they contain articles that interest me.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  5. Hurrah! I'm in step for once. I thought this was a very poor issue - seemed very light on content. AND I really couldn't agree with the Editor's views on Salute - if it ain't broke.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeremy Ramsey,

      I wonder how long the magazine will continue to flourish if it doesn't find its feet and achieve a level of consistency in the very near future.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  6. I still buy all the main magazines because it keeps me enthused about the Hobby and makes me get back to painting. MW is getting less and less interesting and the pictures are small and very poorly printed. There was a piece on painting some African figures last month where they looked like silhouettes against a bright background. Sort out the brightness and contrast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Legatus Hedlius,

      I used to buy all three of the wargame magazines, but over the years I stopped ... until Henry Hyde took over the helm at MW. Now that he has gone, his expertise has been lost. I'm sure that he would have photographed the figures you mention so that it was possible to clearly see the detail.

      All the best,

      Bob

      PS. I was once told by a school photographer that they always used a light blue background rather than a white one so that darker skin tones did not appear quite so stark in photographs.

      Delete
  7. Bob, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of this issue - very little that was even vaguely interesting. I doubt I'll resubscribe - just pick up the odd issue if there's something I can definitely use.
    Perhaps we older wargamers are no longer the target audience?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arthur Harman,

      We don't seem to be alone in thinking this was not a particularly good issue. My re-subscription to MW is due soon ... and I don't think that I'll be renewing it.

      Perhaps we could see if THE OLDIE might consider publishing a regular column about wargaming?

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  8. Agree completely Bob...I still subscribe but I think I'll be letting my subscription lapse...too many similar articles to previous issues. I'm not worried about the SF/F content but each issue now has fewer and fewer articles that interest me. As someone else mentioned earlier there seem to be a lot of articles about the ageing of the hobby and endless articles about "how I started wargaming" etc. Of course if the problem is a limited pool of writers of articles then one solution would be for us critics to offer to write about what *does* interest us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alastair,

      Your suggestion that writing something that interests us and submitting it for publication in MW is actually a very good one. I for one will give it some serious consideration over the next few weeks, and perhaps others of my regular blog readers will do likewise. If the editor choose not to publish our submissions, then I am sure that at least one free, online wargame magazine will!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  9. Quality of articles in wargaming magazines have fluctuated over the years. I think I mentioned before that currently, wargaming magazines cater more for the wargamer-consumer rather than the wargamer-tinkerer. These are very different beasts. They used to be the same beast, but no longer. The success of a wargaming mag lies now in the wargamer-cosnumer market: articles about how to use commercial products, not articles about how to make your own product.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phil Dutré,

      I think that you have summed up the situation very well indeed. I am definitely in the wargamer-tinkerer camp rather than the wargamer-consumer one ... and I suspect that quite a few of my regular blog readers are as well.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  10. Four pages of Club Directory AGAIN !!!!!! when will this stop, this stuff should be on the website by now.

    I nearly broke my keyboard hammering out those exclamation marks (bad use of punctuation too).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Norm,

      It is four pages of filling that costs little to produce ... hence its attractiveness.

      You are right; it should be on the website now not in every issue.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  11. Bob
    Late to the party on this one - been away in Spain doing some SCW research. Thanks for the - what I believe in radio terminology - is known as a 'shout out' for my article.

    I think this edition was a step backwards after a stuttering improvement over the first half dozen issues. Not much real content I felt, lots of typos again and some very poor photos (over exposed?) Additionally, whilst of only a marginal impact, the version of my article used was an older one which missed some streamlining and corrections. Just a bit disappointing.

    However the payment issues from magazines to which you refer have never occurred with this magazine. Although it is really a token payment only, I have never been arrears with the magazine.

    Cheers

    Andrew

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      Credit where credit is due; it was a very good article in a very poor magazine. I'm sorry to read that they did not manage to publish the correct version, and failed to avoid typos and poor images.

      I have been told that the current glossy wargame magazines are much more professional when it comes to paying for what they publish; I was referring to the bad old days when most on them were run as one-man bands!

      All the best,

      Bob

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