Monday 17 January 2011

Wargames Illustrated 280

Saturday morning and I heard the gentle plop of the post hitting the doormat. My copy of Wargames Illustrated had arrived and I had a clear afternoon to sit down and read through it for a change. This months theme is the Sudan 1881-1885 and the Mahdist uprising of 84-85. This is one of those periods that I know little about beyond what I 'learned' from classic films like the 1939 version of  The Four Feathers staring Ralph Richardson and John Clements or the 1966 film Khartoum staring Charlton Heston. (i.e. Not a lot at all!)

More Moments in History - Battlefront are expanding their range of historical vignettes with three new sets including Washington & the Continental Army Standard; Conference at Yalta; Black Hawk Down; and The Death of Nelson. I've not collected any of these yet but I have to say I am tempted. I resisted last year because I was focusing on only buying miniatures to game with but I may treat myself to a set to paint for display.
Give Them Volleys! - A good overview of the situation that lead the British into the Sudan in 1883-5 and background to the events that lead to the death of General Gordon at Khartoum in January 1885.
Bunker Down - An interesting look at the use of Fortifications in Flames of War, focusing on the Atlantic Wall defences facing the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. This follows on from last months Theme and provides some interesting ideas and tactical suggestions for using fortifications in FoW.  
Circling the Square - Continuing this months Theme this article looks at the Campaign to save General Gordon and the Battle of Abu Klea on 17th January 1885. Contains some stunning examples of the new Perry Range of figures for the Sudan Wars.
The Tribes of Germania - Changing period dramatically this article looks at the long and protracted struggle of the German Tribes to resist Roman conquest.
A Good Dusting -An article by David Bickley on writing rules to wargame the Sudan War of 1883.
Back to Bases - An interesting article that discusses alternative ways of basing figures for gaming.
Unfinished Business - The last of the Theme articles in this issue looks at what happened after the death of General Gordon. In particular this article looks at the weapons and tactics of both sides and provides details for re fighting the Battle of Tofrek.
Second to None - Another follow up from last months theme this article looks at the US 2nd Infantry Division in northern France in 1944.
Fall in! 2010 - A Pictorial review of the HMGS East Convention.
Research and Imagination - An interesting article looking at the alternative history that is A Very British Civil War. This 'period' is proving very popular and has resulted in a wide range of miniatures from several manufacturers.
Mapping out the Peninsular War - A review of a new body of research that has been published as The Peninsular War Atlas by Colonel Nick Lipscombe.

As always a well put together issue and an enjoyable read with plenty of beautiful photographs and illustrations.


  1. The basing article really bugged me - I want to base all my irregular ancients and fantasy on round bases but no one else seems to do this.

    The WI staff painter made a cock up though, nice chainmail mini skirt on that celt swordsmen! :-)

  2. Nothing jumps out at me this month but I will still buy it

  3. Afraid I agree with the Lurker, (for a change), sounds like a waste of my money. The only thing that catches my eye, is the basing article. I find the Sudan period pointless on a gaming table. I think they might as well change the name of the mag while there at it. Just call it Flames of War fan club. Moan moan moan!!!

  4. This Issue is more Battlefront heavy than previous issues so I decided to see just how 'bad' it really is. Here’s my take on the “WI is a Battlefront/FoW catalogue” debate...

    Issue 280 is 124 Pages of which 35 pages (28%) include some BF content.

    Advertising takes up 27 pages of which 6 pages (22%) are for BF products or WI subscriptions.

    There are 90 pages of articles in this issue, 26 pages (29%) are for BF products. If you count only FoW content this drops to 22%.

    So, yes there is a significant BF element to the Magazine, but by any definition its not swamping the other content. Compared to the likes of White Dwarf which went from being a good hobby magazine to 100% GW content I think were getting a good deal with the revamped WI.

    Other manufacturers/publishers regularly get good coverage and dedicated articles, including companies in direct competition with BF.

    Would I prefer WI to be completely independent?...Of course I would.
    Would it have survived without the intervention of BF?...I honestly doubt it.
    Is WI still a quality Wargaming Magazine for the whole hobby?...I think it still is.

    I think BF are enjoying the privileges of ownership but are a long way from abusing that position. Certainly the doomsayers who predicted that WI would become another White Dwarf have been proved wrong. In short, if FoW offends your eyes so much, turn away. The rest of us will continue to enjoy a good magazine that is surviving in print while many other publications die or go to pdf only formats.

  5. I don't mind the FoW coverage at all, the only thing I don't like is a second follow up piece to the previous issues main piece (the Hungarian StuG scenario struck me as particularly pointless). However it's a small gripe and I thought the bunkers article very interesting beyond FoW.


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