Home Forums General Books and Magazines What do like to see in a wargames magazine article?

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  • #6136

    So in a wargames magazine what do you look for in a good article?

    Do you want detailed historical background or should the author assume a working knowledge of the period and just give a brief overview?

    Do you want to see rules – fast play easy to pick up free to use rules?

    Do you want to see suggested scenarios and scenario ideas including maps of terrain and suggested deployments?

    Do you want to see general orbats for the period in question as well as suggested orbats for the any of thesuggested scenarios?

    Do you want to see advice about cost of entry into the period and a few ideas on how to best achieve this with fast to table troops compatible with the suggested rules and or scenarios?

    Do you want to see reviews of ranges available across the scales?

    Do you mind multi-part articles I.e. published across several issues or do you find this somewhat irksome?

    Does a good article need to contain just lots of pretty pictures with minimal text or do you feel you can already see that on any manufacturers website and prefer a more detailed text approach or a happy medium of the two?

    Interested to know if anyone has the time 🙂

    Gun Dog Miniature Painting Services
    https://m.facebook.com/gundogminiatures/
    Sniffing out unpainted armies!

    #6150
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I like advice on entering periods, scales and so forth. Beginners advice I suppose. One can be a hardened veteran of WW2 gaming and a complete newbie when it comes to Napoleonics.

    Not too worried about the pictures, especially online. If it’s in print, I guess it needs to look a little snazzier.

    Scenarios are fine provided they do something interesting and fun, and aren’t tied to a specific game system.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #6160

    Thanks Ivan – much appreciated!

    Gun Dog Miniature Painting Services
    https://m.facebook.com/gundogminiatures/
    Sniffing out unpainted armies!

    #6161
    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    Hi Rhys

    You saw my answer in The Other Place, so I won’t repeat it here. I now await the string of lectures as to why print magazines are A Bad Idea.  

    Editor, Battlegames
    http://battlegames.co.uk
    Battlegames on Patreon
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    Author, The Wargaming Compendium
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    #6166

    Ha ha yeah but I’m gonna present an argument as to why it is still very relevant 😉

    Otherwise why would you bother collecting books to wargame the periods you are passionate about!? Why not just rely on Wikipedia and Google Images!?

    For me print in war gaming is important in all it’s mediums and to have something about wargames, by wargamers for wargamers should be embraced.

    Also the article is now a full concept with a good title.

    Although I wasn’t a big fan of the previous choppy who edited MW.

    Gun Dog Miniature Painting Services
    https://m.facebook.com/gundogminiatures/
    Sniffing out unpainted armies!

    #6180
    fairoaks024
    Participant

    I like discursive articles, not necessarily related to any particular period, the sort of  ‘chat with a club mate’ style e.g.

    mike siggins articles in WI, rick priestleys rambles in WSS or the more recent Conrad Kinch articles in MWwBG.  I’m also a fan of ‘how to’ articles whether they are scenery,

    painting, converting etc.

    hope that helps

     

    regards

     

    jim

    #6194

    Thanks – it does very much 🙂

    Gun Dog Miniature Painting Services
    https://m.facebook.com/gundogminiatures/
    Sniffing out unpainted armies!

    #6278
    Shandy
    Participant

    I love magazines (some more than others) and I like to read the paper version (same with books). What I am looking for is pretty much covered by MW/BG, I have to say: Great ideas for scenarios and rules mechanisms, covering other scales than 28mm, terrain building tutorials, reviews of new products…. History is fine, but better something that is outside the trodden path and gets me to think about doing something I haven’t thought of before. And that has a connection to gaming.

    What I really like is to see images of actual games, I don’t like dioramas just done for the photoshooting. I don’t mind home made terrain & figures, mine certainly won’t look better.

    Most of all, I want to be inspired by a magazine and get new ideas to think outside the box!

    #6368

    Thanks Shandy, appreciated.

    Gun Dog Miniature Painting Services
    https://m.facebook.com/gundogminiatures/
    Sniffing out unpainted armies!

    #6521
    Steve Johnson
    Participant

    I think the latest issue of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy (issue 74) is the best I’ve seen for a long, long time. A good mix of reviews, thoughts on the game, scenarios etc. Just what I want in a magazine. This is one I will come back to in years to come I’m sure.

    #6557

    Thanks Steve, much appreciated!

    Gun Dog Miniature Painting Services
    https://m.facebook.com/gundogminiatures/
    Sniffing out unpainted armies!

    #6970
    Michael Campbell
    Participant

    In this modern digital era the role of the wargaming magazine has changed from that of a ‘source’ to that of a ‘resource’: After all, what’s the point of devoting a half-dozen pages to photographic porn of the latest show when it’s possible to get almost live twitter feed on the day of the event?

    When it comes to rescource articles my personal favorite types are:

    –How-to’s: Tips for making things that improve your gaming experience, usually with resources available from the hardware store (in my case literally) across the street. This usually involves terrain or basic painting techniques. A lot of you may stare down your nose at this sort of thing, but as Stan The Man said once ‘EVERY issue is someone’s first issue’

    –Appetite whetter historical articles. These are potted little histories about less-than-wellknown periods that could make for fun wargames (a personal fave of mine in this being an article in Battlegames about the brawls between paramilitary factions in Germany during the interim.) just enough to make you say ‘ooh, that could be fun!’ and point you in the direction of further resources…

     

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 4 months ago by Michael Campbell. Reason: Noticed a typo
    #7674
    Tony Harwood
    Participant

    First and foremost the magazine must capture your attention with a great cover and a mixture of article styles and content. I find single themed magazines less interesting than magazines that cover many styles periods and genre’s.

    I also like to see great ‘eye-candy’, well painted miniatures or terrain in well set out images.

    Finally for this short response. I want to see something that is going to be of practical use to me, an interesting article which I can use, a fun scenario that can be converted to my preferred game system or a tutorial that I think is worth the cover price.

    I hope that this helps.

    Tony

    #7676
    Mike
    Keymaster

    One thing I would like to see, which was featured in a historical magazine I read for a bit was a failed ideas article.
    It was a half page or maybe a quarter page devoted to some hair brained bonkers idea that never got off the ground.

    Bicycles with MGs attached, Missiles with pilots inside.
    All genuine things that were made but for obvious reasons never got into widespread use.

    The articles were mostly ‘what on earth were they thinking’ type things but some were not bad ideas, just badly executed.

    Memory is a bit hazy, but pretty sure it was in here:

    http://www.military-history.org/

    #7677
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    I think wargaming is for the most part a social activity.
    It is also a small community.

    You can go to a show or even a club and meet the guy that makes your favourite soldiers; you can have a drink with them and influence their next release.
    Unlike so many hobbies, this hobby has a very close and personal relationship with the manufacturers and the end users.

    I would like to see a column devoted to manufacturers and each month hear from a different one.
    Hear about why they started what they started, what makes their own range so personal to them.

    The ins and outs about running a games company.

    There is a lot of mystery around casting and sculpting and costs and printing and laser cutting and so on.
    Why not hear straight from the others mouth about what it means to run a games company, both part time and full time.

    Oh, and more sci-fi and fantasy in the magazines too.

    #8856
    Spurious
    Participant

    I rather like articles discussing a certain point of wargaming such as the use of a particular scale, style of force selection or game design; as long as they’re not attacking their opposition. I’d rather not read a grumpy article when I could read a reasonable, balanced one presenting both good and bad points, how to mitigate problems whilst trying things out and so forth.

    I also like general use articles. Scenarios not limited to a single period or specific composition of forces (since I am not a gamer who collects X force to fight Y battle), or How To articles on not just painting and terrain building but such things as going about the process of translating a historical or imagined battle to a game-able scenario, or how to make use of odd bits of troops and terrain that we all end up with ‘because it looked good/seemed like a good idea at the time’.

    Oh, and more sci-fi and fantasy in the magazines too.

    Seconded. Salute this past year very visibly had an increased amount of representation by companies on the more fantastical side of things, it’d be awesome to see more coverage of that in the same way we get scenarios and ideas to implement with historical rule sets. Encouraging people to branch out and try things isn’t just for historical eras after all.

    #9589
    John D Salt
    Participant

    I don’t much care for lightweight straight history, nor for photos of painted miniatures (when used for decoration — if they illustrate a particular paint scheme or techniqe, or are part of a tabletop battle narrative, then fine).

    I dislike cliched writing, and I powerfully dislike spelling and grammatical errors.

    What I could stand an almost unlimited amount of is “designer’s notes” — how a rules-writer or game designer did ther research, what they found in play-testing, why they wrote the rules the way they are, what they think went well and what didn’t.

    I would also like to see hard information — performance data, orbats, precise timelines of actions, accurate maps — provided that it is well-researched and properly referenced. I am especially pleased if  original research from primary sources is involved.

    Though some people dislike them, I am also quite fond of accounts of tabletop encounters, provided they are well written, and go beyond “On turn 6 the Podwanglian Hussars charged, the defending Nibloc Imperial Guards passed their reaction test to stand with a magnificent 11 and then rolled 6, 6, 5 and 4 for their defensive musket volleys, inflicting five figures of casualties and obliging the Podwanglians to take a morale test. Mutteringly darkly, the Podwanglian player shook the dice furiously, and great was the gnashing of teeth when they came up with a miserable 3…”  Deadly, yawn-provoking stuff. Fortunately it’s not hard to do better.

    The most utterly uninteresting things I have ever seen in wargaming magazines, though, are running bitch-fights on the letters page about the organisation of wargames shows by pompous  bastions of the local club who refer to the people they are complaining about as “Mr.” So-and-so. Why editors never seemed to think it right to cut this sort of guff I will never understand.

    I am not generally interested in non-historical gaming, so anything on that will have to be of a pretty high standard to get me interested. Most SF&F game writing I have seen is, I think it is fair to say, not up to much.

    All the best,

    John.

    #9601
    willz
    Participant

    Just lots of figure eye candy, preferably the current period / rules I am into, (but then if war-games magazines do not have these I don’t buy them) so bit of a catch 22 for magazine editors.

    Figure eye candy will do.

    #9749
    Derek H
    Participant

    Just lots of figure eye candy, preferably the current period / rules I am into, (but then if war-games magazines do not have these I don’t buy them) so bit of a catch 22 for magazine editors. Figure eye candy will do.

    There’s more free wargaming eye-candy on the Internet than I can even begin to keep track of.  I just can’t understand why anyone would buy a magazine for more.

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 3 months ago by Derek H.
    #9758
    piers brand
    Participant

    I stopped all my wargames mag subscriptions this year as none of them seem to have anything that appeals to my personal view of my hobby.

    Not really the fault of the magazine, more my tastes and how I go about my hobby.

    The articles I did like are those that present a scenario, one that can actual be gamed by most people with an average collection, and provides a chance to play an actual game.

    I have no real use for opinion pieces as I have my own opinions, on what for me is a very personal hobby. I suspect I fall into a minority for whom the current magazine offerings are of little relevance to their hobby, but out of my club of ten historical gamers, I was the only one who ever bought a wargames magazine. So there may be an untapped source of hobbyists who do not know about, or have no need for, a magazine about their hobby. How you appeal to that cohort is beyond me…

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 3 months ago by piers brand.
    #9763
    willz
    Participant

    “Derek H wrote” There’s more free wargaming eye-candy on the Internet than I can even begin to keep track of.  I just can’t understand why anyone would buy a magazine for more.

    That’s true Derek I used to subscribe to Military Modeling, Wargames Illustrated, Miniature Wargames, Battle games and buy other magazines that took my interest.  Mainly used to buy them to take to sea to have something to read but apart from battle games I stopped buying Magazines about 8 years ago.  It was costing about £25 a month, so I reasoned I could buy more figures for that money.  I do not subscribe to any war-game magazine now, its not that I do not think they do a good job I occasionally buy a magazine I like if there is something I am currently interested in.  It must be hard for editors as you state Derek there’s lots of free eye candy on “tinternet” but I mainly buy war-game related magazine for reference material.

    War-games are fussy and fickle, well this one can be.

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