Its battle of the magazines time again as both my Wargames Illustrated and Miniature Wargames subscriptions arrive within days of each other. In the case of the former it came through the letter box and landed with a hefty "Thump" on the carpet, while the other announced itself available to read on my Tablet with a gentle "Bing!". Anyone that has been reading BLMA for some time will know I enjoy both these publications for different reasons. Between these two and Wargames Soldiers and Strategy I get all the gaming news and updates I need as well as plenty of ideas and inspiration for a myriad of battles and campaigns that I'll probably never get round to playing. So what differentiates these two magazines from each other this month, aside from the sound they make when they arrive?
It has to be said that this months Wargames Illustrated
really is a vehicle for Battlefronts latest release, the Rising Sun Handbook. Having said that I really enjoyed it because its a theatre of WWII that doesn't seem to get much attention. This handbook introduces the Japanese to FOW but focuses on the pre war conflicts between Soviet Russia and Imperial Japan. Later releases will focus on Japan's involvement in the Pacific and Southeast Asia and I suspect this will prove a very popular Theatre for FOW players who have been asking for this for years.
As usual the Theme is carried throughout the magazine with several related articles including two articles that appealed to the Treadhead in me. The first article looks at the development of Japanese tanks between 1919 and 1939 and the other reviews the Red Army tank force, which in 1939 was arguably the most powerful in the world materially, if not in leadership and employment.
Aside from the Themed articles there are also several others that look beyond Battlefront's games (one thing that clearly differentiates this magazine from GW's White Dwarf
which it is constantly and unfairly being compared to). San Tarzgarotto
is about a fictional Carlist Wars battle created by Chris Thompson. By Fire and Sword
looks at a new pike & shot-era game set in and around the Polish Commonwealth in the late 17th Century. The Battle of Snowshoes
looks at the research and construction of a French and Indian Wars Battle set in 1758. Elope to Archangel
reviews the British involvement in the Russian Civil War against the Bolsheviks. And there is a stunning photo essay about recreating Rorke's Drift
1879 by Pat Smith, a follow on from his iSandlwana article last month.
is a completely different kind of beast to Wargames Illustrated and panders to a different set of needs and desires. While I would describe WI as wargaming porn, Miniature Wargames is definitely the thinking persons wargaming magazine. I can honestly say, without a hint of irony, that I buy Miniature Wargames for the articles. I devour the regular columns by the likes of Neil Shuck and Mike Siggins and now MW had added the great John Treadaway to its stable of regular contributors.
Henry Hyde begins the magazine with his usual editorial and its clear his move from a 50 page bi-monthly publication to an 80 page monthly magazine has been quite a shock to the system and a very steep learning curve for him. But as a reader I have to say I think he's doing a grand job and if he's encountered any difficulty with the move, it doesn't show in the quality of the magazine he is captaining.
This months issue includes several articles that have caught my attention and were very enjoyable to read. John Treadaway's inaugural piece in particular was great to see as it is a welcome return of his old column Fantasy Facts
from the days of Battle for Wargames
. This month he's looking at a range of Sci Fi APC's that bear an uncanny resemblance to a certain James Cameron film back in the 80's. Next No Messiens About
caught my attention because it features a rather nice first world war British tank (a Mk IV I think) and a German A7V. The pictures accompanying the article are excellent and are reminiscent of the game the Rejects put on at Broadside last year
. Conrad Kinch's column Send three and Fourpence
offers some advise for those considering blogging about their activities.
One of the things I like about Miniature Wargames is that it is very much Game focused. That's not to say that the history and setting isn't given some attention but in every article the game is central. One of my favourite articles from this months issue Whispering Death
is all about the game as it is an entirely self contained fast-play set of rules for recreating a convoy bombing mission. I'm not sure I'd have the patience to draw my own hex mat like he has but the miniatures and the rules are very intriguing.
There's plenty more inside the covers of both magazines but if you want to find out more you'll just have to go out and buy them! I'm know there are plenty of detractors - for both magazines - but despite their vast and obvious differences in style and content I have enjoyed them very much this month.