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Subject: Wargame Magazines rss

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Tom Swider
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What magazines are people getting these days? I looked at the GMT house magazine because a fellow gamer said it was "indispensable." However, I perused the articles listed for each and couldn't get too excited because so many were for combat commander or command and colors. I need to have a good chunk of content relevant to me to get an issue, and if there's a good batting average then it's worth considering a subscription.

The one that may get my money is ATO because it seems like the articles are well written and their games have a decent batting average. Some of the Decision Games pubs seem to vary with consistency but some really good titles seem to surface (like American Revolution). Just don't know enough about the other publications out there that may be game vendor neutral, so I thought I'd create a thread to get a pulse.
 
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Many of the wargame magazines are "house organs", dedicated to the games of a particular manufacturer. A few will include reviews from other magazines, for example, Lock 'n' Load's "Line of Fire" magazine reviews other company's games, but most of the content is about their own.

Battle's Magazine is one you might look into. http://www.battlesmagazine.com/eshop/our_magazines.php

Paper Wars, from Compass Games, says that they specialize in game reviews plus include a game in each issue. If that interests you, you might check them out. http://compassgames.com/show/magazine

Strategy and Tactics is still worth reading.
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I absolutely love Armchair General. It more of a history magazine with a war game flavor. My impression is that the editors feel you'll enjoy a game more if you understand the history.
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Eric Lai
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You have to love the repetition with remain on this forum.

I currently subscribe to:

Modern War //Surprisingly good read, I like the Cold War stuff a lot more than WWII, I am so so about their articles about the hardware though. Game is usually interesting and I like the what-if topics in the games.
World at War //Just WWII, but still a good read, but I like the other 2 magazines better. Games for me tend to be hit and miss compared to the other two mags.
S&T //Covers a lot of periods, usually an interesting read, games can be good.
Battles Magazine //For the great game reviews, not usually for the game.
Against the Odds //Both historical content and game. Games can be great about 1 in 10 can be a real DOG (which isn't such a bad rate!) Great read almost always.
Paper Wars //Great for its game reviews, a lot more reviews than the other games, but the presentation is very 80s.
C3i //Primarily for its expansion supplements and gameplay advice.
Special Ops //For the game.

I buy these for both their history content and game and in some cases their wargame reviews. I read all these magazines cover to cover, so good for the money.

In the past:

Ares (I really enjoyed this magazine in its day, funny read now because the future it predicts is usually totally wrong!)
The Art of War
Battleplan
Command (Great magazine, one of my favorites)
Conflict
Counterattack
Europa Magazine (Must have for Europa freaks like me, total confusion for anyone else though.)
Fire & Movement (Great reviews of games)
Game News Magazine
Gamefix Magazine (Crap)
Grenadier Wargaming Quarterly
General (Avalon Hill's House Organ, Amazing magazine, tonnes of content in every issue. I have every issue.)
Journal of 20th Century Wargaming
Line of Fire //Don't get this any more, boring read, very in house which is not great because they have quite a few games I've no interest in.
Moves Magazine (SPI's house organ, also a great read with tonnes of contents)
Operations (Lots of American centric content from the Gamers in this)
Panzerfaust (Great read still, mostly a review magazine)
Campaign Magazine (Same magazine as Panzerfaust.)
Panzerschreck
Phoenix Magazine (UK version of Moves Magazine)
Schewerpunkt
The Space Gamer Magazine (Also Sci Fi goodness)
Task Force Games - Nexus (Sci Fi Steve Jackson goodness)
Vae Victis (Get the occasional issue for the game, the magazine looks great, too bad I don't read French!)
Wargamer (Also one of my favorites, great mag, great games)
Wargamer II
ZOC (Short lived but the reviews are phenomenal.)

Still have them all on the shelves behind me. They are timeless as the boardgames they review. I can still pick one off the shelf and read them cover to cover (minus the outdated ads of course!) and enjoy them.
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Eric Walters
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I subscribe to nearly all of the historical board wargaming magazines, with some exceptions. As my collection of these is starting to rival shelf space with boardgames, I am considering buying some on an issue by issue basis, depending on what people say about them. But here's my take on what I subscribe to:

BATTLES Magazine. Game review publication. Very expensive--perhaps too much so for most people. However, it is packed with game review content and powerhouse graphics, plus a game. The games have been a mixed bag, much as you'd expect for magazine games, but for me this subscription has been worth the steep price paid for it. Consider this one to purchase on an issue by issue basis versus a subscription.

PAPER WARS Magazine. Game review publication. Probably the best rival to BATTLES as it now contains a game in it. Since Compass games has only recently taken this from Omega Games, it's difficult to judge where the publication is going, but initial signs are good. Does one need both this and BATTLES? Probably not, unless you want to be a bit extravagant (have plenty of disposable income). Another to consider issue by issue instead of subscription.

AGAINST THE ODDS Magazine. Military History and Game Design publication. This is my favorite of them all. I find the content quite interesting and read it cover-to-cover the day I get it in the mail. The majority of the articles deal with the topic covered in the game provided. Covers some VERY esoteric subjects! Some issues will have a small mini-game included (and not the ATO "postcard" games!). Appreciate the "deluxe" edition that comes in a plastic tray to hold game components with the issue (indeed, I order extra sets for my other game magazine issues). Some will point out the "dogs" that occasionally get published, but the good games are actually quite good for a magazine; most are just okay and worth a couple of playings to learn the history. My personal recommendation is that it's worth a subscription more than others.

STRATEGY AND TACTICS Magazine. Now that Decision Games has a separate periodical line for WWII and Modern War, a lot more esoteric subject matter is seeing print. The article quality tends to be a notch below that of ATO in the main, but given the variety of coverage, for me its worth it. If you love seeing Joe Miranda's design approach at work for any and all periods of history, subscribe. If not and you aren't a sponge for any period of military history, consider either passing this by or getting it on a per-issue basis. DG does have back issue sales to clear out inventory so you can pick up some issues at good prices (provided they aren't popular and all been snapped up, but this is rare).

MODERN WARFARE Magazine. Pretty much the S&T treatment applied to post-WWII conflict. If this is your bag, you might want to subscribe. Those of us gamers involved in the Department of Defense, Department of State, or the intelligence community will likely be attracted to it. You can learn a lot about recent military history/current events from this publication. The hypothetical conflict games are a real draw for those interested in that kind of thing (I confess that's me!)

WORLD AT WAR Magazine. S&T does World War II. It's had a fair amount of longevity, despite doing "uprades/redesigns" of old SPI/S&T titles from time to time. There's also some alternate history games that are worth a couple playings, even if some turn out to be a bit formulaic. Definitely not for everybody but enjoyed such a significant following that DG was encouraged to launch MODERN WAR (and currently consider more narrow focus/topical game magazines, such as on the 19th Century).

SPECIAL OPERATIONS Magazine. MMP House Organ with a game in it. If you are an MMP fan, it's worth getting, but do check the content if you don't have most of their games. They are reliant on player-submitted articles and materials for the most part--whatever is hot is what gets published. The games are also mixed bags as you'd expect. No subscription possible and the intent is to publish this annually.

C3I Magazine. GMT House Organ, sometimes with a game in it but typically additional scenarios, variants, and game pieces for those and errata updates. Irregularly published and well worth the price if you buy/play a lot of GMT games. Like the MMP publication, it's worth seeing what the content is before you purchase.

LINE OF FIRE. Lock 'N Load House Organ. For years this has been Mark Walker's house organ--if you enjoyed his company's games, this was a must as it was crammed full of scenario material if nothing else. Best of all, you could get either the print version or a PDF version (at a reduced price). These days it comes with extra maps and pieces for scenarios/variants of his games and so the print version is more and more the way to go. But even this publication is starting to put out small stand-alone games such as Line of Fire #13: Blood on the Alma. You can't subscribe to it but must order on an issue by issue basis. Still, I'd only recommend it if you are a LNL fanboy--if you are, you likely already buy it and love it.

COUNTERFACT Magazine (to be published). Jon Compton, the last editor of FIRE AND MOVEMENT, will be putting this out sometime in the near future. For me, this is highly anticipated as I expect it will be focused on game design theory and contemporary warfare topics, with perhaps some reviews of modern warfare games. One to watch out for if this sounds like it's your thing. Am sure there will be a big splash about it here in BGG and on CONSIMWORLD Forum/News/Social when it comes out.

Not covering some of the amateur publications here, some of which are quite good, since it doesn't appear that the OP is enquiring about those.

Hope this is useful.
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I subscribe to VaeVictis and would tout its awesomeness, but it's in French, so if you can read French you likely already know about it, and if you don't, you probably haven't finished this sentence.
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Martyn Smith
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On the C3I website is this pic:




Can someone PLEASE tell me where I can buy these card-holders???????
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Tom Swider
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That was all very helpful. Thanks! Very close to pulling out my credit card for ATO but will have to give Modern War a look as well. I've mainly interested in OSG's The Library of Napoleonic Battles and a variety of WWII games so either of the above would help round out my interests.

When they were originally published, I liked Moves and F&M so I'll be sure to keep an eye out for Counterfact.

Will have to try a VaeVictis game through GMT with a translation ... liked reviews of Bellum Gallicum II.

As far as card holders are concerned, I would recommend trying a general game store that sells Bridge supplies. Some Bridge players use these; you can try sites associated with the American Contract Bridge League or similar organizations in other countries.
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Garfink wrote:

I currently subscribe to:

Modern War //Surprisingly good read, I like the Cold War stuff a lot more than WWII, I am so so about their articles about the hardware though. Game is usually interesting and I like the what-if topics in the games.
World at War //Just WWII, but still a good read, but I like the other 2 magazines better. Games for me tend to be hit and miss compared to the other two mags.
S&T //Covers a lot of periods, usually an interesting read, games can be good.
Battles Magazine //For the great game reviews, not usually for the game.
Against the Odds //Both historical content and game. Games can be great about 1 in 10 can be a real DOG (which isn't such a bad rate!) Great read almost always.
Paper Wars //Great for its game reviews, a lot more reviews than the other games, but the presentation is very 80s.
C3i //Primarily for its expansion supplements and gameplay advice.
Special Ops //For the game.

I buy these for both their history content and game and in some cases their wargame reviews. I read all these magazines cover to cover, go good for the money.

In the past:

Ares (I really enjoyed this magazine in its day, funny read now because the future it predicts is usually totally wrong!)
The Art of War
Battleplan
Command (Great magazine, one of my favorites)
Conflict
Counterattack
Europa Magazine (Must have for Europa freaks like me, total confusion for anyone else though.)
Fire & Movement (Great reviews of games)
Game News Magazine
Gamefix Magazine (Crap)
Grenadier Wargaming Quarterly
General (Avalon Hill's House Organ, Amazing magazine, tonnes of content in every issue. I have every issue.)
Journal of 20th Century Wargaming
Line of Fire //Don't get this any more, boring read, very in house which is not great because they have quite a few games I've no interest in.
Moves Magazine (SPI's house organ, also a great read with tonnes of contents)
Operations (Lots of American centric content from the Gamers in this)
Panzerfaust (Great read still, mostly a review magazine)
Campaign Magazine (Same magazine as Panzerfaust.)
Panzerschreck
Phoenix Magazine (UK version of Moves Magazine)
Schewerpunkt
The Space Gamer Magazine (Also Sci Fi goodness)
Task Force Games - Nexus (Sci Fi Steve Jackson goodness)
Vae Victis (Get the occasional issue for the game, the magazine looks great, too bad I don't read French!)
Wargamer (Also one of my favorites, great mag, great games)
Wargamer II
ZOC (Short lived but the reviews are phenomenal.)

Still have them all on the shelves behind me. They are timeless as the boardgames they review. I can still pick one off the shelf and read them cover to cover (minus the outdated ads of course!) and enjoy them.


And in your spare time, you do what?

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Eric Lai
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tanik wrote:

And in your spare time, you do what?


You can read the answer to that in my profile here: http://boardgamegeek.com/user/Garfink
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In spanish Alea, but the date of publication for every issue is always a mystery.
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Martyn Smith
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tswider wrote:
As far as card holders are concerned, I would recommend trying a general game store that sells Bridge supplies. Some Bridge players use these; you can try sites associated with the American Contract Bridge League or similar organizations in other countries.


Thanks for the advice - I've looked at appropriate sites but there really isn't anything even vaguely as nice or useful as these ones.

Any help/advice gratefully received...
 
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Tom Swider
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Card holder
Another alternative is to have a friend or aspiring wood shop student make a set for you. You can go to a home construction supply store or lumber yard and pick out the type of wood and stain you want. Maybe some scrape wood to test the depth of the groove that somebody would need to make to hod your cards. You could then stain, paint or otherwise customize the board however you want (possibly a different primary color so it also serves to identify player color).

I think if you ask somebody with some carpentry skills, they're usually anxious to take on a small project and may even offer some other suggestions (maybe add cribbage holes and pegs for score keeping as well? Maybe make a magazine stand while you're at it (and to bring us back onto topic).
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Panzer Digest is a review magazine with a game. It's not as fancy as the others, but I enjoy it.

http://minden_games.homestead.com/PanzerDigest8.html
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thanks Eric, that is an awesome review of what's out there, all the more interesting as you state your opinion (which is an approach I personally find useful).

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Garfink wrote:
tanik wrote:

And in your spare time, you do what?


You can read the answer to that in my profile here: http://boardgamegeek.com/user/Garfink


!!
I guess I was wondering what you, yourself, did with all your down time--not what all your staff get up to!

Some day--when I have time--maybe I'll get you to teach me both ASL and Magic Realm.

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ericmwalters wrote:

COUNTERFACT Magazine (to be published). Jon Compton, the last editor of FIRE AND MOVEMENT, will be putting this out sometime in the near future. For me, this is highly anticipated as I expect it will be focused on game design theory and contemporary warfare topics, with perhaps some reviews of modern warfare games. One to watch out for if this sounds like it's your thing. Am sure there will be a big splash about it here in BGG and on CONSIMWORLD Forum/News/Social when it comes out.



When Jon was asking for articles, he mentioned that he wouldn't be covering anything later than Vietnam, iirc.

Could have changed his mind, of course.
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Note: I subscribe to magazines basically for the games. It's true of pretty much all of them that they will do "obscure" topics by the standards of boxed games - that's pretty much the raison d'etre for most magazines. None of them really stand out in that regard.

For my money Battles is the best at this point with regard to the games - only a single dud in the run so far, the others are ok to very good. The magazine content is mostly reviews.

Paper Wars is supposedly the same but seems to beat Battles in irregularity and it's really too early to tell. I used to subscribe to PW for the reviews but the last bunch of reviews in the non-game version were terrible in their blandness.

ATO started out ok but with rare exceptions (e.g., Buffalo Wings) has settled on a stable of designers that (perhaps with the possible exception of Prados - who on the other hand tends to make games that are more complex than ATO's development staff can safely handle) tend to produce games which are at best mediocre, often with glaring historical and/or research gaps. Usually OK if you don't know about the topic or don't want to learn about it, painful otherwise.

Strategy & Tactics: I used to be a subscriber for years and years. Dropped out because the quality just became too bad to pay for. Someone else posted about American Revolution being one of their recent good titles - true, but that was two years ago!

World at War: Subscribed for a year. Generally terrible development, terrible history. Obviously skates along on the call that the topic has for wargamers.

Vae Victis: The only one I'll subscribe to at this point apart from Battles. Focus on small games with short rules; the magazine is in French but virtually every game gets an english translation.

Special Operations: Pretty good from what I've seen so far though, since they often do reprints of other games, there's a bit of a risk that you already have what they'll print.

Alea: Visually nice and often interesting. Do tend to have lots of errata, and with the last game I played (Kursk 1943: End of the Blitzkrieg, The Northern Pincer) I had to enlarge the map as the hexes were too small. Good system though
and I'm planning to buy the sister game with that system.
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Eric Lai
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tanik wrote:
Garfink wrote:
tanik wrote:

And in your spare time, you do what?


You can read the answer to that in my profile here: http://boardgamegeek.com/user/Garfink


!!
I guess I was wondering what you, yourself, did with all your down time--not what all your staff get up to!

Some day--when I have time--maybe I'll get you to teach me both ASL and Magic Realm.



I've found both those games are easier learn via teaching than reading the rule book. (Magic Realm more so than ASL)
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Hey, since we are talking game magazines, there was a mid 90s fanzine for Microgames called Vanguard. I am really looking for issues, but no one seems to know what happened to it.
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Garfink wrote:

Paper Wars //Great for its game reviews, a lot more reviews than the other games, but the presentation is very 80s.

I don't think that is fair to the 80s, really. I often go back to old magazines to reread them (old F&M's for example), and that includes the "Wargame Collector's Journal" which turned into PW, but with the shift of PW there was a change in formatting to extreme blandness that just puts me asleep. I kept subscribing to it anyway for years, but eventually dropped out.
 
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Quote:
What magazines are people getting these days?


I am getting:
Magazine: Strategy & Tactics - the long tradition is one thing that I cannot spare with. The magazine has been improved a lot in terms of the graphics and maps. The counters are still thin. I bought it mostly because of my own habit. Decision Games has developed a system to maintain the standard of publications and so the quality of the games maybe uneven, the magazine itself has always been readable. When I tried to stop the subscription for a while, people would always say that the issue(s) I miss is one of the best in recent years. So heck, I continue the subscription no matter what.
Magazine: World at War - I bought it because it is purely related to World War II. Reading the materials about that war is always entertaining to me. I always learn more from the magazines. The games are getting better too.
Magazine: Modern War - Again, from the same publisher. My collection of magazines is exploding with the subscriptions of all three DG publication. The magazine has also released some very hot topics games and they bring the current issues more closer to heart, e.g. North Korean aggression, terrorist attacks, insurgent and counter-insurgent operations etc.
Magazine: Battles - Probably in terms of both quality of the magazines and games, this magazine should be way better than DG's publications. But the articles are more on reviews so I always find I couldn't have read them all in an age of internet when any BGGer can be a critic. The game itself is better than the articles in general. I think Oliver has been trying hard to differentiate the reviews from those in the internet by deepening the quality and scope of the reviews. The Serial Gamer is one that I always enjoy.
Magazine: Against The Odds - Well, the quality of the articles might be the best among the lot but the games are even more uneven than those of DG. Innovations abound, the system of the games seems not to work as well as those of tried and true Joseph Miranda's philosophy. They do release some gems once in a while but of the games I played, the magazine games seem to be a testing bed for their more advanced line of Annuals and Decisive Battles series. I dropped the subscription once in a while, skipping those subjects less I am interested in and then I resubscribe when the upcoming four sound good enough. Usually, I don't hear the same comment from others that I miss anything for those I skipped.
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thechangingman wrote:
On the C3I website is this pic:




Can someone PLEASE tell me where I can buy these card-holders???????


Doesn't look like the same product, but we use these similar boards frequently and find them very helpful.

Card-boards

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Vae Victis is really good. It gives very fair reviews of games from all the well known publishers and it also keeps you informed about what's going on in other magazines. The topics it covers are very varied and very well researched. The games in it are very good too.
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Timeliness
One factor I haven't seen in responses is some idea of publishing schedules. It seems like a lot of these guys are behind schedule. Although sympathetic to the problem, I'd hate to subscribe and then get plagued with continual delays.

Any particularly good or bad publishers in this regard?
 
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