Saturday, 11 July 2015

Tabletop Gaming Magazine Review: Issue 1

Even in today's burgeoning digital age, there are still a great many printed publications covering a multitude of subjects, competition is rife with up to a dozen titles jostling for shelf space on nearly every imaginable subject from computer games to Men's Fitness and rather unbelievably 'colouring therapy' (and thus my respect for the general public goes down another notch). One department that has always been somewhat sparse however is wargaming. There are a few scale modelling, historical wargaming and military model mags but nothing that really focuses upon the games themselves. Until now, with Tabletop Gaming Magazine: a new quarterly publication from Warner Publishing nestled in among the above mentioned mags.

The Painting guide is a little half hearted but then so is Paint Splatter in WD 

At first glance the magazine resembles most of the other publications on the shelves. Certainly there is not much to make it stand out and it was actually quite hard to find. With a modern look and a bold (if slightly chromatically challenged) cover it doesn't even look much like Warnergroups other magazines (a portfolio that is largely dominated by other collectors mags and caravan titles as it happens) Promising '101 games you have to play' and interviews galore it makes some bold claims too. So lets see what it delivers.

This takes up the majority of the mag. 
Reading the editorial it appears that this was originally intended as a one off rather than a continued publication, therefore ill cut it a little slack for the '101 games you must play' taking up 70% of the page count. In fact they really do dominate the magazine, being broken up by the other articles. They are not ranked in anyway, each game garnering a column or two of text. I have to add that these are NOT reviews. They are overviews, generally gushing and giving you an overview of the rules mechanics and a general impression of what it is like to play. The variety of games featured is pretty wide, from card and deck building games to dungeon crawlers and skirmish games. I would have liked the content of these overviews to have been a little less passive as hardly any drawbacks or deficiency are mentioned at all, making many of these read like mini advertisements. Still, i enjoyed reading about them and old and new games that i have played and have yet to play are all featured. Just don't expect an in depth review.

The Articles on the other hand are much better. Interesting and informative 
Elsewhere, the articles are actually quite engaging and interesting. Again featuring a wide variety of games from Lords of War to Guild Ball to Rick Priestly's Gates of Antares. These are where the real value of the mag comes in and its a shame they are so few in number as they make good reading. There are real in depth reviews here too although once again they don't really commit. Elsewhere the interviews and features are the meat of the mag. There is even a battle report and a painting article although these are somewhat minimal and simple in nature. Once again i was impressed by the variety of games that were featured.

Thanks to GW id forgotten what a real Bat Rep looks like in print. This example is a little staid though 
One other thing that i really should mention is the errors in the magazine, although some typos are to be expected in the small text, to repeat them in a subheadline without spotting it is pretty poor. In addition one of the 101 games is repeated! It's a bit shoddy and amateurish from a professional publication, hopefully future issues will have more stringent quality control. It is also worth mentioning that this is not a cheap magazine, costing £5.25.

Spot the Error! 
So overall not too bad, there is certainly potential here but the magazine doesn't really have any critical identity, no opinion and therefore the personal aspect is gone. It reads like one of the Fantasy Flight catalogues. The articles on the other hand, are fairly well written and rather insightful and informative, i look forward to reading more of them. It's a little pricey and i am glad that it is to be a quarterly publication, i think this is certainly the appropriate frequency for it. Certainly i think Table Top Gaming is worthy of another chance so ill pick up the next issue in September. Hopefully it starts to live up to its potential.

No comments:

Post a Comment