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    I miss them.

    Badly typed, with a thicker paper cover.
    Amateurish black ink artwork.
    Some typos and obvious errors.
    Wonky staples and misaligned text.

    Sure there is a reason they went away, blogs the main reason I guess.

    But I miss them, I miss their enthusiasm.
    I miss the passion they had.
    I miss the anticipation of waiting for the next one.

    Is there space in the world still for old school fanzines anymore?
    A PDF that gets e-mailed to you every 3 months and you print it off and read it over dinner?

    Norm S

    Peter Pig has recently started one for the 15mm scale.


    Three months and the typical gamer nowadays has gone through 6 new titles until they are of no interest. Usually after viewing a dozen you tube vids on how to win.


    Is there space in the world still for old school fanzines anymore?

    If you want to finance and produce one, no one will stop you. I don’t know how many will pay for a copy.

    Once upon a very long time ago I helped to produce and distribute an offset printed, stapled hippie fanzine. I remember the romance and the struggle: scraping up money for paper and ink, typing up the masters, running that cranky old press all night long for a week, chain smoking, slamming espresso and stapling, trying to hawk enough copies to afford another issue. Really, today’s tech is much better cheaper faster.

    My HMGS-Great Lakes chapter has a committed editor who still publishes every month an off-set printed stapled digest club newsletter. I could get it as a pdf, but I like the printed digest, even if the ink sometimes smears and the Post Office mutilates the covers. When The Herald comes in the mail, I sit down and read it.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Thorsten Frank

    Mike, you just hit a soft spot in my heart….
    Well, I loved them too. And I loved all this early RPG stuff that looked exactly like this (Space Gamer? Even the GDW´s Challenge had, despite being professional products, had this “feel”). Or the Battletechnology? Semi-professional – but my younger self thought it was a true pro product.
    A couple of months ago I wanted to throw away some of my old stuff and sumbled over an German language BT fanzine called Heavy Mech. Exactly what you describe. Photo copied, staple bounding, a hell of typos, missing text and all the other things you describe…. and a lot of interesting content (I noticed that I wasn´t the only one dissatisfied with the original CityTech infantry rules) – and just running for a few issues. Has no value today besides my memories (and there they get a lot of value – I couldn´t throw them away).

    Today? You could be lucky if some anarchist groups still do such things (stumbled over one which looked like a pro publication lately)
    Or, well PDFs… and there we have some interesting examples. Like this one:


    which looks pretty good and it´s free….

    So, earning money? No. Or at least not much. But cleverly promoted and/or produced it could be for sure a good way to spread word around.
    However, if done a bit system agnostic, with some clever ideas, it can get something interestng. Especially considering the fact that sword&sorcery doesn´t get much love in modern fantasy. And I´ve looked in many many sources over the last couples of months. Or certain sci-fi themes.
    There may be still a place for something like that today.
    And I hope there are some people here making suggestions.

    "In strange grammar this one writes" - Master Yoda


    Haha. I had to laugh when I read your “amateurish black ink artwork”.

    When I was young and naive I sent some of my really crappy pen and ink artwork to the early White Dwarf. I cringe when I think about it now.

    They were very diplomatic though, and replied with the name and address of a fanzine they thought I should try. I duly sent the awful pictures off to them and was pleased when they said they would use them and send me a copy. I never got the copy and can’t for the life of me remember which fanzine it was!

    I agree with you though, I still have a bunch and the enthusiasm shines through.

    Norm S

    Perhaps the ‘charm’ is remembered and appreciated by a generation who enjoyed them (Featherstone’s Newsletter), A new generation would probably choose a quality looking PDF over them – though of course it would likely need to be free as there is so much free internet content in competition for people’s time.

    What we have available now is amazing for a niche hobby, but we seem to have lost something along the way perhaps it is amateurism or things now are more professional by default because of our self publishing capability or maybe expectations are just higher.

    Darkest Star Games

    I duly sent the awful pictures off to them and was pleased when they said they would use them and send me a copy.

      I did the same for a Traveller fanzine called “Jump Space” that apparently only circulated through game shops in southern California in the late 80’s.  I was in middle school and though the drawings weren’t good they weren’t too bad either.  I tried my best to emulate Kieth and some of the stuff from Judges Guild.  Actually made into 3 issues!  Wish I had copies of it all still.  Seemed I peaked early! ha!

    What we have available now is amazing for a niche hobby, but we seem to have lost something along the way perhaps it is amateurism or things now are more professional by default because of our self publishing capability or maybe expectations are just higher.

    I agree completely.  I think another thing lost is both the true passion and the collaboration.  So much now, especially blogs, as an individual effort.  Magazines seem work because they are group efforts and usually have diverse topics and very pretty pictures, and nowadays pretty does indeed sell.  I have read some horrible rules that were great sellers just due to the pictures, and as said above, though nostalgia can be a big draw it just doesn’t pay the bills like flashy stuff can.  So is there room?  Yes.  Is the amateurish fanzine likely to be popular and profitable?  Unfortunately probably not.


    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."


    I miss them.  Actually, I miss just about everything from those days with respect to the hobby.

    I also find that I have to force myself to read something in PDF format, that I readily enjoy reading in paper format. One way is work, the other pleasure.

    With respect to what is often referred to as professional quality, well, I think “over produced” might be a better phrase.  Technology has given a tremendous number of people the ability to produce “professional quality” products.  Most strike me as visually dynamic, but lacking soul.

    I think that if you produce it today, you could do it as a labor of love, and might gain a small following, but it would be a lot more work to share it, than to produce it.  You won’t gain the casual reader that you once might have, as there is a constant avalanche of digital content consuming them, so you are only going to gain readership among the old-schoolers, and the occasional younger enthusiast, who might have become an old-schooler in an earlier time.


    I have been tempted, on occasion, to put together something ‘old school’ like MWAN or the Classic Wargaming Quarterly that was produced for a while.

    I think that they offer something you don’t find in blogs – a sense of community and ownership.

    In my experience of running fanzines in the 1980s, you got a bunch of people around you who all fed off each other to produce ideas.

    And no, it won’t make money but we didn’t back then either!


    Black Hat Miniatures -

    Phil Dutré

    Specifically for miniature wargaming, and the two most recent ones I remember:

    There was the “Classic Wargamer’s Journal”, a hardcopy/pdf fanzine that ran for 5 issues during 2010-2011, and produced by Phil Olley. If you do a google search you can still find some traces.

    There was also “Wargamer’s Notes”, a pdf fanzine published during 2017.

    You can see a list of articles in both at http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/p/wargames-magazine-database.html

    The reason such magazines fold usually come down to:
    – difficulty in finding enough contributors
    – efforts involved in producing such a magazine

    As has been said, blogs have largely filled the hobby-space that was once occupied by fanzines.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/


    I must sadly go against the grain here and admit to not really feeling the nostalgia that is evident in this thread. I didn’t grow up with publications like that. Yet at the same time, I don’t feel that makes me deprived of some aspect of the hobby that others have a connection to. The way I see it, all the enthusiasm and community spirit is still very much there, just manifested in other forms – YouTube channels for instance. I also feel that pretty artwork and sleek production values are signs of enthusiasm. Graphic design and visual style are fun and interesting parts of the content.

    In particular, the part about “the anticipation of waiting for the next issue” doesn’t chime much with me. The fun is not in the content, but in the dead space between new installments of it? I can own up to feeling a smidgen of positive anticipation waiting for the next video on some favourite YouTube channel or something such, but that’s a matter of a few days at a time, not months.

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