Saturday, 11 January 2014

White Dwarf No More

The news is humming across the webway: after 37 years and nearly 400 issues, the monthly White Dwarf is to end.

All remaining copies will be gathered up and pulped by a Cave Troll.

If the scuttlebutt is true, it will be replaced by a weekly magazine with the latest releases and articles (a bit like a website, it you printed it out and updated it once a week); and a monthly catalogue-type publication called 'Warhammer Visions' (because why would you keep an established and beloved name like 'White Dwarf', when you could replace it with something from a corporate mission statement).

The total costs of the 4 x weekly edition are said to be double that of the current magazine, but I really can't see Games Workshop jacking up the price by 100% for a near-identical product...

Anyway, let us remember the good times...

For the purists, I'm sure the heyday of White Dwarf was when it was a hobbyist's magazine, packed with role-play material, new rules and other random assortments. For me, my favourite part of the run was during the editorship of Paul 'Fat Bloke' Sawyer - more focussed on shifting the product, to be sure, but full of great articles, battle reports and serial features like 'A Tale of Four Gamers'.

In fact the time I regularly read the magazine was the late '90s (when a copy could be easily borrowed from Leofa). Since then, all the stuff I valued from it - hobby showcases, tactica and battle reports - became more readily available on this thing called the internet.

My Very First Time

It was March 1991, on a family trip to London. We made a diversion to Windsor for lunch, and something caught my eye in a newsagent's shop.

The cover had no relevance to the contents, but was no less awesome for that.

I'd already got (and systematically ruined) my Heroquest and Space Crusade box sets, and I'd flicked through a borrowed rulebook for Epic Space Marine, but this was the real beginning. Issue #135 was very well thumbed by the time I'd got home, and for long afterwards (my pocket money not stretching to a monthly subscription, at the princely sum of £1.95).

Let's look at some of the contents:
  • Latest news: "Regrettably we have to announce price rises for all our games and miniatures"
    (well, okay Games Workshop, as long as it's just this once)
  • Rules for agents in Mighty Empires
  • A dwarf regiment showcase
  • A guide on how to build a ruined temple
  • A Chaos Warband modelling workshop (must be for Lost & Damned - I love the look, but still don't understand how it would play)
  • 22 pages (!) of army lists and special rules for 40k Ork Freebooterz
  • Rules for 40K vehicles
  • A two-page advert for a 2,000pt Marauder Miniatures army deal
    (Chaos Knight on Griffon, Mounted Chaos Champion, Beastmaster & two hounds, 20 x Beastmen, 10 x Chaos Marauders, 5 x Chaos Knights, 20 x Chaos Dwarves - all metal, all for an exorbitant £57!)
  • A Space Hulk scenario
  • 9 pages of WHFP rules for Marienburg
Clearly this issue had an impact on me...

The doughty Imperial Dwarves...

The first Warhammer army I ever collected.

The 40K Orks had an even more immediate impact on me. I was down my local hobby store at the first opportunity, spending my carefully-hoarded 50ps on 'Ere We Go rulebook and the 36-piece plastic Space Ork box.

There was something about the Flash Gitz that just looked like fun. 

In hindsight, it's possible that having to manage 9 basic orks, each with their own unique bioniks and kustom weapons, may have slowed down the gameplay a little.

Another 50 or so sheets like this, and you're set for a 1,000pt battle.

Scary to think that, had I bought another issue, and my collection would be totally different.

(My spending decisions are very susceptible to a snazzy image and engaging piece of text. In many ways, I was the perfect demographic for the magazine).

Farewell, White Dwarf. Off to the halls of your ancestors.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the worst irony is that (if the rumours turn out to be true) White Dwarf is bein canned in the same month that they bring out the new Dwarf army list and models.

    To play Devil's Advocate, it does feel like about time someone put good old WD out of its misery, though. The modern one, little more than a corporate sales statement in all honesty, is basically tarnish on the glory days of its past.

    I do feel sorry to see it go, but I can't help but think that blogs (like this one) are a much better replacement for the spirit of those lost issues in the 90s than anything Tool Workshed has printed in the last decade. Perhaps excluding the work of Dan Abnett, which is actually pretty good.