Thursday, 20 July 2017

Miniature Wargames Issue 412

After June's rather disappointing issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES magazine I decided not to review any further copies of this publication unless there something of particular interest inside. My subscription still has several issues to run before it is due for renewal, and the August magazine had been delivered to me ... but until yesterday this issue had remained unread. It was an email from an old friend that made me read decided to read it ... and I was very please when I had!


The articles included in this issue are:
  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: 'This is ground control to Major Tom ...': Using technology for remote gaming by Conrad Kinch
  • Imagine-Nations and the Second World War: Gaming this tricky 'period' at a suitable scale by Jim Webster
  • Spanish Main: A pirate scenario set in the Indies for 'Yo Ho Ho!' by Jon Sutherland
  • Staying the course: Setting up a campaign that will not fizzle out by Simon Hall
  • Darker Horizons
    • Fantasy Facts
    • Express Elevator to Hell: Building and painting the Prodos Games Alien Dropship by Graham Green
  • A Temple to Cake: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Martello: A 'step by step' description of how to build a simple model Martello Tower by Jeff Brown
  • Broadside 2017: Show report by John Treadaway
  • Recce
  • Hypocrisy in Wargaming: Issues about painting, basing miniatures, and following trends byRob Wyness
  • Club Spotlight: Maidstone Wargames Society by John Treadaway
  • Club Directory
I found Conrad Kinch's article very informative, although I'm not sure if I will ever use technology for remote gaming. (One has to keep an open mind about such things, but I like to either see my opponent face-to-face or to wargame solo.) The first part of Jim Webster's Imagine-Nations and the Second World War seemed to propose a similar 'island in the sun' venue for World War II that Eric Knowles used many, many years ago for his First World War MADASAHATTA campaign. As to the rest of the articles ... well they were interesting but none of them struck me as outstanding.

So why was I so pleased to read this particular issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES?

The answer is simple ... it was Arthur Harman's two-page review THE PORTABLE WARGAME and DEVELOPING THE PORTABLE WARGAME books in the Recce section!



It was extensive and informative ... and did my ego no end of good to read! (I try to be modest about what I do, but sometimes it is nice to have people compliment ones work.) I am hoping that this review will open a few more wargamers' eyes to the possibility of wargaming using grids and simple rules ... and it might just enhance the sales of my books as well!

18 comments:

  1. Bob,

    I bought both your books some weeks ago, and enjoyed them. Perhaps not to use the rules as-is, but rather to steal some good ideas for my own wargaming designs ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phil Dutré,

      Thanks very much for buying my books ... and for using them as a source of ideas. That is one of the objectives that I had in mind when I write them.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. Bob
    The review of your books has been the only thing I've read so far - it was an extremely positive one. Well done!

    My subscription reminder has come up and I have this issue and one or two more to decide whether to get another one. Very much in the balance. I am unconcerned about the 16 pages of fantasy, slightly disgruntled at the clubs directory's continued appearance (and on the best quality paper of the magazine) but mainly unenthused about the majority of articles. I will have to do an analysis of why that is because I can't quite put my finger on it at the moment.

    The magazine also seems to have fallen off the online radar somewhat since Henry's departure. In retrospect he did an excellent job of giving it a strong online profile in a variety of places, which I think built some anticipation around each issue. Not sure John's doing much of that.

    Cheers

    Andrew

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      To be honest, I would not have bought this issue if Arthur Harman's review of my book had not been in it. That said, reading the magazine did give me a couple of hours of enjoyment.

      I think that the new editor is doing the best he can under the new owners. The trouble is that I don't think that the new owners have much idea about which section of the wargames market they are trying to serve. Like you I find the continual publication of club listings not only pointless but a waste of space as well ... and the fact that the magazine's online presence is now so weak is a contributory factor to its apparent decline in quality.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. A good review by Arthur. Kudos to both of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ross Mac,

      Arthur's reviews were excellent, and with luck they will encourage more wargamers to try gridded wargames ... and possibly buy my books as well!

      All the best,

      Bon

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Conrad Kinch,

      It was an excellent review.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  5. Two page spread. That is almost an article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen Briddon,

      When you take into account the fact that there are only two accompanying images, it is probably longer than some of the articles!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
    2. I was intrigued by the WW2 imaginations article but can I really justify the expense?

      Delete
    3. Stephen Briddon,

      The article is interesting, but only in the sense that it is so similar in concept to what Eric Knowles was doing in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  6. Just picked mine up in WH Smith's. the content suits me better than WI, but having once again found the Club Directory to be still annoyingly in the magazine and not on the website (I think by now I must have bought a magazines worth of Club Directory pages), I am going to drop the magazine until such times as this space is given over to something article based. A shame really!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Norm,

      Having looked at the most recent WI on the shelves of WHSmith, I agree that this month there is more to interest me in MW than there is in WI.

      If the Club Directory was included in MW once a year (or even once a quarter) it would be just about acceptable, but like you I cannot see the point of it being in every issue when it could be on the website.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  7. You forget how much experience you have, not just as a wargamer but as a communicator too. Teaching and blogging ;) I comes as no surprise to me, you have been helping out Phil Sabin and the Connections UK was much better for your contribution and control (along with the other hobby wargamers) in the mega game! Go tell the wife to get some butter from the fridge as your head may rightfully swell ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      I suppose you are right. I just don't think of myself as being any more experienced than the next person ... just lucky.

      By rights I should never have been much good as a teacher (I have a stutter that took years of hard work to overcome when I was a child) but the job seemed to suit my personality ... although an aptitude test that I did in my 40s predicted that a career as a barrister would have been a better choice for me! That way I could have become a real wargame rules lawyer!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  8. It;s probably not the same for you, but for me I'm very unlikely to read in any wargame magazine an article on a game I'm interested in, so magazines have to have that extra zing to appeal. Henry usually managed to bring that extra something to the magazines he edited. John seems hamstrung by the current owners, which is of course one of the reasons Henry left. Assuming I'm remembering what I've read and been told correctly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ashley,

      I know what you mean about the absence of 'zing' in the current range of mainstream wargame magazines. Henry did bring something a bit different, as did people like Dick Bryant of the now defunct COURIER.

      I think that John Treadaway is doing his best in difficult circumstances, and one can but hope that the new owners will allow him a bit more freedom in time.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete