Sunday, 29 July 2012

Review: White Dwarf - August 2012

The Good Stuff:
New rules and rules updates for Chaos Daemons; Blanchitsu with a showcase of a couple different plastic Nurgle heroes - some awesome conversions and paintjobs in here.

What's In There For Painters and Modellers?
After the last couple of issues which had lots of painting guides to promote Citadel's new line of paints, this issue is quite thin on hobby content. There is the aforementioned Blanchitsu showcase, four pages with some of the new Chaos Daemon models painted and converted by various studio people, a double page Armies on Parade showcase of a wickedly converted Bad Moonz army and a four page "working with Finecast" tutorial - these air bubbles and bad casts don't fix themselves after all.

About this issue:
When you open the magazine you are greeted by the filler screaming double-page picture spreads you know from the last couple of issues. As usually it's the never-ending new releases section after that. There is also a double page teaser for The Hobbit, the only LotR content in this ssue. Then there are twelve pages dedicated to Chaos Daemons, basically each god gets a double page showing off the god-specific models and talking about how they work on the tabletop. Unspectacular. Then there are four pages of "The Warpforge", basically guys from the studio took some of the new models and this is what they've done with them. Could have been cool, but all in all it's just 11 models and most of them are pretty stock, which makes the article pretty bland and short. Then there are two battle reports, Eldar allied with Dark Eldar against Daemons and High Elves against Daemons. The reports suffer from combined turns and being pretty short as usual. In between is an eight page long article about allies in 40k which consists basically of double page photo spreads with a marginal amount of description. The three presented armies are pretty bland and have been shown numerous times before. Only Phil Kelly's Space Wolves and Imperial Guard show some exerted modelling efforts to tie the two armies together, so all in all a pretty disappointing article. Next are two forgettable pages about the Blue Scribes and the dreadful "Arena of Death" series. This time they took the latest Fantasy plastic characters and pitch them against each other in combat. Maybe such kind of articles appeal to the twelve year olds who walk into GW stores? Finally there are the Blanchitsu, working with Finecast and Army on Parade articles I talked about before.

Let's not forget the rules update for Chaos Daemons. This is a seperate 16 page booklet which contains new rules for the new Slaanesh chariots, updated rules for Flamers and Screamers as well as Soul Grinder rules for Fantasy. Indeed, Soul Grinders are coming to Fantasy... The booklet contains both bestiary entries (which are a nice read) and army list entries.What I don't like is the paper, it is pretty thin and the cover of the booklet is made of the same thin paper, making it pretty flimsy. It shouldn't last long if you take it out for gaming regularly.

The Verdict:
The blandness and uninspiring articles in White Dwarf continue. What I also really didn't liked in this issue was the obtrusive amount of ads. This is really reaching new heights in this issue, after almost every article is a two page ads spread. Article about Daemons - two page ads for Daemons, check. 40k battle report - two page ads for the 40k rulebook and gaming materials, check. Fantasy battle report - two page ads for the Fantasy book and gaming materials, check. Arena of Death - double page ads or plastic Fantasy character models, check. Finecast tutorial - two page ads for Citadel tools, check.

I'm also a bit disappointed as this is issue number 200 in Germany and we Germans were promised something special on the back cover of last month. In the past, anniversary issues of German WD had special posters, special covers and special coverage, this time we get the Chaos Daemons booklet (like every other foreign White Dwarf) and a short two page article in the back of the magazine.

Of course, what's really nice in this issue is the rules update. I heard GW wants to do this more often from now on, apart from the obvious sales pitch I think it's a nice idea to support wave releases and to keep things fresh, especially for armies which haven't had a new book in years.

All in all, I give this issue a 3/10 with a bonus point for the update, so a 4/10 from me.

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  1. Great review mate. Pretty much spot on. I'm wondering if it feels thrown together at the last minute because they brought the Daemon release forward and it caught WD off guard?

  2. Interesting writeup, Stahly!

    I'm really a bit torn about WD these days. What I really love is the overall tendency to feature the armies of specific GW studio members with their individual conversions and paintjobs instead of relying on the same tired studio models time and again. And there can never be enough pictures of Wayde Pryce's spectacular World Eaters (although his daemons do indeed look a little uninspired in comparison). I also love the fact that there are Blanchitsu articles from time to time, adding a pleasantly different perspective (that indeed even seems to run against some of the more extreme GW sales policy from time to time).

    But the amount of filler is simply atrocious, like you pointed out. The worst offenders are the aforementioned spreads following nearly every article. And the language is so rife with PR-speak that I sometimes don't even read the stuff but content myself with looking at the pretty pictures.

    All in all, WD continues to be a mixed bag for the time being. Which is somehow even worse than if it completely sucked, because it's kinda tragic how the right ideas are actually hidden somewhere in there. Stop producing a catalogue, GW! Do some quality content instead, that'll be interesting for all of the customers!

  3. Thanks for this review.. am liking these from you guys cause it is making it an easier decision NOT to buy them most times than not.

    I am really actually disappointed that they are throwing the changes of the rules in the WDs instead of in the FAQs or re-writing the books as it were. Means we HAVE to buy the books to get the rule updates in order to play, and more importantly to play competitively. Which is basically the only time I get to bring the models out these days.

    Another money grab, but speaking of money grabs.. we get Daemons sooner! So will be interesting to see how much this cuts into my latest commission profits :(

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  5. I've been reading White Dwarf since issue 186. The review above is spot on. This is the last issue I will ever buy.