Okay, so first off, I’m only doing a White Dwarf review this late in the schedule because I wrote most of it up within the first couple days following its release–and then store set-up tasks went into overdrive, forcing me to abandon most things in my life except the items I’m eBaying to help keep food on the table (as it were) until the new store is set up…and running…and giving me a pay cheque.

Plus there’s all the stuff that comes with being a parent…suffice it to say that when “something’s gotta’ give”  hobby time and blog duties will likely always be the first to suffer when being a parent and opening a business are on the table.

That said, I have a friend who’s giving me some help with the formative part of the store  and it just so happens that I’ve gotten him into Flames of War. Anyway, he and I have had several late-evening bull-pit sessions where we’ve talked about elements of the new store,  setting up the  new business…and the rules in playing Flames of War. Needless to say, a lot of good ideas have been developed–and we’ve also begun to learn how Flames of War works! At the moment, my mid-war Loyal Eddies (Canadian Infantry) are undefeated in their struggles against the Hun….not that we’ve been playing proper missions or anything like that. (At first I was terrified of his Tiger…up until the thing got into the sites of my 17-pounder anti-tank guns!)

Anyway, without further ado here’s the break down of  White Dwarf #384 …mere days before #385 hits the shelves.

Page 0: Message from the Editor: This issue is all about the undead–Vampire Counts, more precisely.

Page  1:    Table of Contents

Pgs 2-15: New Releases: Chock full of Vampire Counts releases, and all of them have plenty of Magpie-attracting shininess.

Pgs 16-17: Dreadfleet: The vaguely-limited-edition Blood on the Badlands source book sold out in a matter of weeks, but SUPER limited Dreadfleet game is still present….everywhere and in good quantities. Better put out another two-page ad slick for the game–oh wait, it says this is my last chance to buy the game. I’ll get right on that.

Pgs 18-19: New Releases: Black Library and Fantasy Flight Games releases. Of note: the Ultramarines DVD is still available for purchase (I think the DVD may be almost as limited as Dreadfleet!)

Also of note: I’m assuming these tidbits wouldn’t fit anywhere else; so, shoehorned in amongst the new releases are an add telling us that the 25th Anniversary of Warhammer 40,000 has now begun…so we should all  buy next month’s White Dwarf so we can read the first articles supporting the anniversary. Also, GW is looking for new store managers–I guess that sort of fitting for the new release section…maybe?

Pgs 20-21: Warhammer: “The Lords of Undeath”  ….um I think this is just serving as some kind of a title page for the next few articles in the magazine. Nice picture though.

Pgs 22-41: Warhammer: Models, rules, army lists and excerpts from the new Vampire Counts Army Book. But it’s presented in a manner where every two pages.  Is a brand. New article. (When it doesn’t necessarily require that.)

Pgs 42-56: Warhammer: “War in the Border Princes” background story (and excerpt from the new Army Book) plus a special scenario to replay that story–and replayed for our enjoyment as this month’s battle report. Undead lose.

Page 57: Advert: Games Workshop Hobby Centre Grand Openings.

Pgs 58-59: Standard Bearer: Jervis is back! I guess this column wasn’t put out to pasture last month! Essentially Jervis talks about how GW’s games designers don’t think about how to win with the armies they write…? It could also be read as Jervis being an apologist about how GW doesn’t try to hard to ensure armies are better balanced against each other.

Pgs 60-67: Warhammer 40k: (Yet) another installment of the Tactica: Necrons. I think it’s the third one…but this feels like it’s the seventh one I’m expected to read.

Pgs 68-69: Advert: 40k Necrons range focussing on the Lord’s Paddle Boat, the Norse-Necron  Longboat, the Immortals/Deathmarks and, of course, the warriors box.

Pgs 70-75: Painting Workshop: Beastmen Ghogon, with a focus on painting Beastmen flesh.

Page 76: Advert: Beastmen plastics box sets.

Pgs 77-85: Warhammer: Civil War – An official ‘expansion’ which is very much of the same flavour as the old 40k Chapter Approved article-expansions from back in the day–which is kinda’ good! Civil War presents us with tables to roll on that will provide us with special rules, battlefield conditions and objectives to bring into games when two of the same army types face each other.  This will be an ongoing series of articles and this month covers just the Vampire Counts, Beastmen, Ogre Kingdoms and Lizardmen “civil wars.”

Applicability: meh.   Coolness: HELL yes!

Pgs 86-87: Advert:  Forge World. A two-page centerfold spread of the Reaver titan.

Pgs 88-91: Warhammer: Sorcerous Pact – how to include some Vampire Counts into your own army when playing Storm of Magic games.

Pgs 92-93: Advert: B Games Day and the big reveal for the Games Day model: a Finecast(TM) model of the Space Marine who graced the cover of the 40k 2nd Ed. starter box.

Pgs 94-95: Armies on Parade: GW’s blog writerm Dan Harden’s Harad force.

Pgs 96-97:  Advert: Battlefield terrain.

Pgs 98-105: Painting Workshop: Painting the (beautiful) Vampire Counts Mortis Engine.

Page 106: Advert: GW Hobby Centre birthday celebrations.

Pgs 107-119: The Augury: This month is not only the usual fare (adverts & independent stores’ event info), but GW gets hit by a CTRL+C/CTRL+V bomb! Underneath the header saying The Augury is–and I quote:

A Directory of everything you need to get involved in the Games Workshop hobby community! A Directory of everything you need to get involved in the Games Workshop hobby

…then it gets cut off there.

Pg 120: Citadel Hall of Fame: You know, I really don’t mind the Hall of Fame as an article when it’s ONE page long…and the last page of the magazine. Far better to have a one-page filler “article” than a one-page filler advertisement.

Thoughts on This Issue

Right now, as an editor, Andrew Kenrick seems to be using the ‘shotgun’ approach for aiming content at potential readers: the scope of the rag’s articles–just because there’s so many of them–do have a wide scatter, so he’s bound to be able to make the magazine have wider appeal. I just get the feeling that any good content comes about by a fluke; and while at the end of the day, good content is good content, I feel if I’m going to pay someone to do something for me (be it fix a sink or entertain me with their writing), I’d prefer they didn’t accomplish the goal of why I “hired” them by some fortunate accident.

Still, that said, issue 384 is NOT a bad issue per se…at least not when you’re flipping through it (it’s almost impressive!); however, it’s when you go back to really read any of the articles that you realise just how light this issue is. 

–Mind you, my wife is running into the same problem with her Chatelaine magazine: the publication seems to think that people buying magazines really just want the articles in the publication to be limited to six paragraphs or less–much the same sparse way as news sites post their articles that appear on your email logout page. My wife argues (and I think she’s on to something here) that if we wanted to read internet articles, we wouldn’t be buying magazines…we’d just go surf the ‘net.

Still, the Civil War article, though not really pertinent to me, was a good read!

My “Street Beef”

I already mentioned the lack of depth put into their articles, so I’d prefer to not restate that fact. But really, apart from the paste bomb that blew up in the Augury’s title page (who reads the Augury anyway???); the issue was pretty inoffensive–chock full of Warhammer Vampires, but pretty inoffensive all the same.

I think the only thing I can moan about is how on the cover the magazine mentions that THIS month White Dwarf “kicks off” the 25th anniversary year of Warhammer 40,000.

Soooo….with that on the cover I was thinking there might be an article in this month’s magazine, nothing gargantuan, mind you–perhaps a 2-4 page piece perhaps talking about how this year is the 25th anniversary of 40k..and maybe said piece would also show some of the early ads that first turned up around White Dwarf #95 (or so) to promote the “new” Warhammer in Space game. Instead we get this:

It turns out that when they say “We kick off the 25th Anniversary Year of Warhammer 40,000” this is what they mean:

Yup, that’s the extent of ‘kicking off’ a year-long celebration of the game that pays all the bills. I’m not going to get too worked up about this; it just highlights how GW regards the people that keep them in business. You know, GW, you can conduct your business any way you like, but it seems to me when you constantly tell the people that hand over their money to you that they’re all morons, sooner or later they’ll realise it and cut you off from the money faucet.

And then where will you be?

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I wasn’t really meaning to get all that sour about this review; so I’m going to make a mention of what’s on the horizon that has me SUPER  excited: new Lord of the Rings models are coming next month!!!

They’re SO cool that even the fact that many are being done in Finecast(TM) doesn’t bother me (although the prices of the 4-man command packs seem to be a little on the ‘not worth it’ end of things, the monsters seem to be about on par with everything else GW does. 

My favourites so far are the Dweller in the Dark–which comes in 10 components (including two different heads!! …perhaps a few other optional pieces?) and is supplied on its own  detailed 60mm round base.

Despite it’s ungainly lunge over that rock, I’m also really liking the goblin Warg Marauder…even if every Goblin paint job I’m seeing with the new releases are completely uninspired (just look into their soul-less eyes!).

Well, that’s it for me with this update!

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