I happen to remember the days when there were only two mainstream wargames magazines available, Wargames Illustrated (WI) and Miniature Wargames (MW), and after buying both from the local newsagents each month, I went over to a monthly subscription, and kept all my old editions periodically thumbing through them looking for a remembered article. I even got to the "sad" stage of card indexing particular articles for easy looking up. As time went on and more resources became available in the form of the Internet, specialist book publishers, etc. I found myself becoming more and more dissatisfied with the hobby press and went back to impulse purchasing instead of subscription.
Since those early heady days of the 80s and early 90s, I find myself now picking up a copy of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy (WSS) or even occasionally Wargames Illustrated only when I see an article that I'm interested in or if the theme of that months edition chimes with a period of interest to me. When it comes to the former, WI that has become even less so as the initially highly attractive glossy, heavily pictured new format gave way to a feeling of being let down mainly by the quality of the content. I am not fooled by what I call "Wargamers Pornography". Yes I want to be inspired by other peoples great painting and modelling skills brought to the table, but that's only half the equation. I also want to be stimulated by great articles about periods I am or could be interested in wargaming and how I could go about doing that.
This being said, I can't remember the last time I picked up a copy of Miniature Wargames. I often found the content to be superficial history often on obscure periods that held little interest for me, or on very familiar themes I had seen covered before but a lot better. This with those poor quality photos of mixed scale figures and vehicles to suggest depth to the picture, often liberally sprinkled with model railway coloured ballast and flock, it just drove me mad. It was not how I wanted to see the hobby portrayed. I remember the change heralding the last editor suggesting a new era for MW, but frankly I couldn't detect any significant change other than more Fantasy/SciFi articles at the back which were not to my taste anyway.
In today's magazine market, WSS is my preferred choice if I am looking for a good read, and I have picked up the back issues themed on subjects of interest to me. In addition I did like Battlegames and again picked up copies of the magazine with articles that were of particular interest e.g. see my 23/2/13 post looking at combining Maurice with We the People for campaigns.
|Battlefields Magazine, I would still buy this today if it were available|
However I came to thinking, after yesterdays listen, what it is that would become a compulsive read for me. I then remembered a comment made by Henry about the kind of content he was looking for. He said something about not just getting descriptions of battles and campaigns, but was looking for the ideas that went with those descriptions about how to translate those details to a wargames table. That comment pretty well sums up what I want to see in my wargames press when it comes to content. The kind of magazine I and I think many of us are crying out for is simply that. I then got to thinking about magazines from the past that got close to that ideal for me, and the best example I could think of, that I still have all the back copies of on my shelf, is the old "Battlefields" magazine that I had on subscription from Dave Brown at Caliver Books . Each issue was jammed packed with great scenarios, campaign ideas and set ups ready to go, with a smattering of news and product reviews to cap it off. I guess WSS comes close to it in that sense, but if the two magazines were side by side on the shelf I know which one I would leaf through first.
Having listened to Henry on Meeples and View from the Veranda, I find him a very likable chap and often giving voice to a lot of my own thoughts on the hobby. I for one am very happy to see him take the helm of the new magazine and from what I heard him say about the plans for it, am very happy to wait and see, and will certainly take a look at the new look Miniature Wargames incorporating Battlegames.