First off:

I admit it: yes, I missed reviewing last month’s White Dwarf–though thanks to Games Workshop getting rid of printing the issue number on each month’s magazine, had I not bothered mentioning it here, it’s likely no one would have been any the wiser!

I have to admit, I was working on more important (dare I say exciting?) things when last month’s issue came out–as I talked about a little in my last post …not to mention that when I wasn’t too busy building a weekend 40k tournament or preparing for a bunch of Black Library authors coming to visit my store, I’ve also been busy trying to stay on top of the (at times) mountainous pile of paperwork that comes with running one’s own business. And I do have to admit it: once I’ve dragged my feet for a couple of weeks on a review, it becomes very difficult to motivate myself to get the thing done–I mean what’s the point of “reviewing” an issue that’s been out for several weeks and is on the cusp of being replaced by the newer issue?

Being that I haven’t had much chance to fully go through last month’s issue, I didn’t realise until I was well past the half-way mark of doing this month’s review (or whatever it is that you want to call my coverage of the magazine) that the magazine has undergone a subtle, yet fundamental change in the manner it’s organised: it has moved away from being a conglomeration of “articles” about each game system and moved towards being a publication comprised of  themed, regularly occurring columns, with each column then focusing on a different game system (or what-have-you) each month. I think this is a change for the better.

This subtle change has had me rethink how I present my review; before I used to label which system each listed article was for–and colour code it accordingly–but I’ve decided with this review to colour code each article’s title according to the system it’s covering (white is used to show that article isn’t geared to any single system). I do feel a bit silly writing about how I’m going about doing things, but I thought I should try to explain why my page-by-page rundown of the magazine is so multi-coloured.

And now, without further ado…

WHITE DWARF: NOVEMBER 2012

Inside Cover:  The White Dwarf Team.

Page 1: Opening Salvo: Jes Bickham’s editorial…and a possible spoiler as to how well the Warriors of Chaos do in this month’s issue.

Pgs 2-3: Table of Contents:  For some reason this feels like a really new feature–listing all the magazine’s contents, page by page. This feeling’s probably just a side effect of my not having reviewed last month’s issue.

Pgs 4-5: New Releases:  Let the ever-expanding ‘New Releases’ section begin!

Pgs 6-8: New Releases:  War Shrine of Chaos and Gate-fold pages depicting a Warriors of Chaos army with several War Shrines.

Pgs 9-11: New Releases:  Skullcrushers of Khorne rundown & photos.

Pgs 12-13: New Releases:  Hellstriders of Slaanesh rundown & photos.

Pgs 14-15: New Releases:  Scyla Anfingrimm rundown & photos.

Pgs 16-17: New Releases:  Valkia the Bloody & Festus the Leechlord rundown & photos–I think these models outshine the first four featured models significantly!

Pgs 18-12: New RE-Releases:  Older models recast in FINECAST(TM); if you haven’t seen these before, they’re pretty cool…otherwise, move along…move along.

Pgs 24-25: New Releases:  The new White Dwarf subscription miniature (Grombrindal is in 1920s movie-director gear), chaos weapon upgrade packs and 40k plastic Cultists (as seen in Dark Vengeance).

Pgs 26-27: New Releases:  40k Megaforces – Space Marines & Necrons.

Pgs 28-29: New Releases:  Warhammer army boxes: Vampire Counts & Empire.

Pgs 30-31: New Releases:  ‘Eavy Metal Edge Paint Set (new colours that look like established “Layer” colours but with White added to them) & the new ‘Ultimate Paint Set’ kit …which is a cardboard box-and-drawers container with one of each Citadel colour in the current line–a great idea but by the looks of it, the storage container is essentially made of pizza boxes, so my level of excitement can only achieve so much altitude before my enthusiasm eventually stalls.

Pgs 32-33: New Releases:  Red Paint Station & Large Carrying case–and new basing materials sets! I’m definitely looking forward to these; the Under-Empire one even comes with green crystals! But the Northern Wastes one looks more like a Northern-Waste of time to me…unless you love Space Wolves…..which I totally do not.

Pgs 34-37: New Releases:  40k Defence Network: Wall of Martyrs. I’m more a fan of trenches that look like they’ve been dug into the ground rather than ones that look like a series of armoured picket fences. Still the Wall of Martyrs looks pretty awesome.

Pgs 38-40: New Releases:  What’s new with Forge World this month? Magma Dragon, Fire Elemental Bull Centaurs and a WH30k Marine Jetbike, that’s what.

Page 41: Advert:  Games Workshop’s Digital products.

Pgs 42-45: New Releases:  Black Library …odd that my trade sales rep at GW didn’t bother telling me that Pariah was now available…or trying to sell it to me either …yet here it is this month, proudly displayed as being “out now.”

Pgs 46-47: New Releases:  Fantasy Flight Games  their new 40k RPG, Only War, focuses on playing Imperial Guardsmen. Interesting.

Pgs 48-49: New Releases:  Full listing of this month’s extensive releases–with (gasp) prices listed!! While this may not seem like a big deal, it is; it’s simply nice to be able to see all the new stuff coming out along with how much it will cost …something that the White Dwarf in North America hasn’t done for several years now.

Pgs 50-51: Advert: GW Online Store.

Pgs 52-57: Army of the Month: Rich Packer’s stunning Empire army.

Pgs 58-59: Standard Bearer:  GW This month Jervis talks about composition in tournaments and does his best in the allotted three columns to describe the motivations behind those wishing for some form of composition and those wanting none. (I’ve always tended to side with significant composition that aims on leveling the playing field so that generalship can prevail.) But where Jervis rings truest is in his saying that many many tournaments should be run regularly–and all of them done differently so as to satisfy every different taste.

Pgs 60-71: Battle Report – Warhammer:  Warriors of Chaos versus Ogre Kingdoms–and all the new Chaos goodies are present! How do the Ogre Kingdoms fare against a 3,000-point host comprised of Skullcrushers, Hellstriders, a Chaos Warshrine, Valkia, Festus, Scyla Anfingrimm, 10 Chaos Knights and 60 Warriors of Chaos? Lets just say Khorne now has an ottoman built of Ogre skulls to supplement his  skull throne. Surprised? Not me.

Pgs 72-75: Blanchitsu:  John shows off some converted plastic models–all of which are FANTASTIC in that very Blanche-y way …meaning a lot of players will hate them. Good call on his part to not mention the golden days, back when you could order individual bits. Still, stunning work all around, as Mr. Blanche shows just what’s possible with the newer plastic “hero” models that GW has been releasing for the last year or so.

Pgs 76-77: Hall of Fame:  Generally, I contend that the Hall of Fame “articles” are nothing more floor-sweepings filler for the White Dwarf to keep up its page count. This month’s article has done nothing to change that sentiment.

Pgs 78-83: Parade Ground:  The theme of this month is “Imperial Battle Tanks,” and the next few pages are filled full of different 40k tanks from Marine and Imperial Guard armies. Ph how I wish this were more Iron Chef-like, and that a theme were chosen and hobbyists had to show examples of that theme pushed to the limits…but maybe that kind of idea would be better served by the next article:

Pgs 84-89: Kit Bash:  The focus this month is on Warhammer 40,000 Warlords. Very cool, but very safe. Like I said about the Parade Ground article, it would be really neat to have something as creative as kit bashing be handled in a more Iron Chef kind of way; such as, say, introducing one sprue and then seeing how much accomplished hobbyists can push the envelope on that one set of parts (ingredient). But the whole time-limit angle of Iron Chef should be left out; while grey plastic is completely acceptable for works in progress pictures, what truly makes the Kit Bash article a fun read is that all the conversions are presented as expertly painted creations foremost and the W.I.P. shots are there as an addendum.

Pgs 90-95: Battleground:  Valley of the Skulls. Five pages filled with close-up shots of a Warhammer Fantasy Battles table. Feels like a bit too many pages were dedicated to this–but the table presented is pretty inspirational; the temple of skulls conversion itself is pretty awesome.

Pgs 96-101: Paint Splatter:  This article’s header touts itself as “a wealth of hobby painting tips and ideas to inspire your own hobby,” and I have to admit, they deliver as advertised! Sure, the second page of the article mentions how the terms used in the writing will make more sense if you buy the How to Paint Citadel Miniatures book, but it’s hard to hold that against the magazine when there’s already a good deal of information present (including how to weather your vehicles using nothing more than table salt!) in the article’s five pages.

Pgs 102-103: Jeremy Vetock:  Over the two pages of this column, all this amounts to, really, is Jeremy saying, “Go out and game against strangers at a games store.” I think I really like Jeremy Vetock; he’s had a solid hand in my favourite game system, War of the Ring, but this column was utterly forgettable.

Page 104: Advert: “Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!”

Page 105: Advert: GW Hobby Centre “birthday” celebrations.

Page 106: Advert: GW advertises that their products are carried by independent stores.

Page 107: Advert: GW is opening up a Hobby Centre attached to their Memphis HQ.

Page 108: Advert: GW Hobby Centre grand openings in November.

Pgs 109-119: Advert: Mat Listings of GW Hobby Centres (worldwide) and GW Independent Stockists (North America).

Page 120: Advert: White Dwarf subscriptions.

Pgs 121-135: This Month In…

-White Dwarf:  The ‘Dwarf team have a new (and very sterile looking) hobby room. Also, what each ‘Dwarfer is currently working on.

-The Design Studio:  GW design staff talk about what went into making the Chaos Warshrine and Wall of Martyrs model sets.

-Forge World:  Intriguing shots of an urban board being designed by Forge World–as a stand alone type of thing or an add-on to the Realm of Battle boards, the article simply says it’s for Isstvan III…so your guess is as good as mine.

-Black Library:  Adam Troke interviews Graham McNeill and Dan Abnett.’Dwarf team have a new (and very sterile looking) hobby room.

Page 136 & Inside Back Cover:  Page 136 is nothing more than a promo shot from the Hobbit (if I was watching all the previews stuff, I’d be able to give something better than a guess that it’s a shot of Thorin Oakenshield) …so I guess that means we’ll see plenty of Hobbit info in next month’s White Dwarf. The actual inside cover is a calendar covering all the important dates from October 27th through to December 3rd–product release dates, store openings etcetera.

…Oddly enough, no mention is made of the upcoming Hobbit game, due to be released in early December.

This month’s magazine extras are a Christmas gift guide and a greeting card cunningly disguised as a Warriors of Chaos update!

Thoughts on the Issue

So I’ve been saying for more than a little while how it’s felt like White Dwarf has been trying to make some changes to the magazine …ostensibly to increase its readership–though who knows if increased readership is actually one of the magazine’s goals. By the sounds of it, GW may have found the panacea to what ails the magazine’s circulation numbers: exclusive content (ie: new rules) and bonus materials.

I can’t remember if it was said in last month’s issue (the first “new” White Dwarf) or elsewhere right when the new issue came out, but ‘Workshop pretty much said flat-out that each month’s issue of White Dwarf from then onward would now always include some sort of bonus material–thereby justifying poly bagging each issue. The cynic in me has decided that each issue is being poly bagged so that  consumers must buy the book before knowing what’s inside each issue (which is a stupid thought because the internet is extremely good at dancing around obstacles like that), but I’m pretty sure GW’s motives are fairly pure and they genuinely are striving to add value to each issue to help sell them better / help promote new releases better.

This month’s add-on is a mini pamphlet detailing new units for the Warriors of Chaos army–and I quite consciously chose the word pamphlet: this update has fewer pages in it than does the average hymn program on a Sunday! Still, it’s nice to see new rules entering the fray without burdening players with having to carry multiple White Dwarf issues around with them just to play some Warhammer (or rather, at least all the Warhammer players with weak Tyranosaurus arms will be thankful for the pamphlet update).

STREET BEEF…?

Maybe it’s because I barely had a chance to flip through the “new’ White Dwarf last month enough to get a better sense of what I liked and didn’t like about the new layout and changes made to the magazine. Maybe it’s because the White Dwarf–historically anyway–always sees an increase in quality during the first few months of a new editor’s tenure. Regardless of the actual reason (and beyond the few things I already commented on in the issue’s rundown) I don’t have any real beefs with this month’s issue.

GASP!

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