This Sunday I’m thankful for a trio of Wargames Magazines you may or may not have heard of.
This threesome are the Neapolitan Ice Cream of lead-pusher porn.
Wargames Illustrated seems to be the one you can find everywhere. It has the highest physical production value (square-bound, glossy, 108 pages*) and publishes some really good work. That said, they do publish a slightly higher rate of adverticles than the other two. That said, I’ve learned those are a good way to find out about what’s going on in the world.
Miniature Wargames (Incorporating Battlegames) I learned about online around a year and-a-half ago. I think I found out about it in a forum convo, so I’ll hazard to suggest their adpro could use some improvement. It has good production value (staple-bound, glossy, 72 pages) and great content.
Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy I discovered — curiously — from a recent Wargames Illustrated subscriber survey. First time I’d ever heard of it. When I then came across a reference to it on Lead Adventure Forum (again, in a thread convo; adpro people, adpro!) a week later, I decided to take it for a spin. I’m really glad I did. It’s production value is about the same as the mag above (staple-bound, matte, 84 pages) and it’s content is easily as good as the other two.
Wargames Illustrated and Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy do theme issues. Upon my first encounter with such a thing I was a bit put off because my interest in whatever the theme of the month happened to be was not consistent; one issue was on-point for me, another was meh topic-wise.
What I have come to appreciate about the themes is how much I learn from them. I’ve read some very entertaining and informative material on subjects I previously had no interest in. By way of example, I’ll say that, while the actual Thirty Years War is a topic I’ve long been into, gaming it never was. Theme issues changed my mind on that score. I’ve since become a bit of a pike and shot spaz.
Miniature Wargames doesn’t do theme issues and I love them for it. Of the three magazines, it’s the one that reminds me most of early (late-70s to early-80s) White Dwarf, Dragon, Challenge and Pegasus, back when they all still published articles for every roleplaying game under the sun.
I’m now subscribed to all three of these wargames magazines and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. That’s 264 pages! I think it’s fair to say I thoroughly enjoy at least one third of that page count and quite enjoy another third every month. I accept the final third as being material someone else probably enjoys and move on. That’s pretty good ROI for me. I might have to pare back at some point, but that’s going to be tough times on the decision front.
Oh, and they sometimes send out frames of plastic figs (or rule or terrain booklets) with the issues. I recently received some 28mm greatcoated WWII German infantry from Wargames Illustrated (YES!) and some Abbysal Dwarves from Miniature Wargames.
Since my home game uni-/multi-/omni-/metaverse allows for anything and everything I get a lot out of these freebies. The ones I don’t want — like little ships, for example — I pass along to someone else who will enjoy them. Everybody wins.
There is a drive now with all three magazines to want you to subscribe digitally. And there are very good reasons to do so (back issue libraries, for instance). But I prefer the hardcopy. I love mail for one thing. Part of it though is that, when I’ve finished with an issue I decide not to keep, I like to pass it along. Again, winning.
[*: A curiosity about these magazines is that they all include the front — and therefore, I assume — the back cover in their page count. It’s possible other magazines do so as well; I’ve just never taken the time to notice such a thing before.]