Tuesday, February 24, 2009

White Dwarf & Army Books/Codices

Anytime a discussion appears about White Dwarf (WD), the internet is divided by those defending it and those bashing it. I find it rare to read someone who is actually on the fence with regards to the magazine. Personally, I still read every issue of the magazine while hanging at the store, but rarely do I purchase it. Along these lines, I like to read the various comments about the magazine, but rarely do I become actively involved in them.

The thing about WD for me is that I want to purchase a magazine that contains three types of content. The first type of content is actual reflections upon the hobby and individual approaches to it. I remember fondly the original Tale of Four Gamers and love that style of articles. The next kind of content is painting guides. I like to read detailed information on how a model was painted.

The last kind of content I like is rules updates. Bringing home the first WD with the expanded necron rules was like finding a beauty naked woman under my bed that was interested in me. (Okay, maybe not that good) My point is that it was content that I could use and was excited to read. The same was true for the recent blood angel’s list. Even though I don’t play marines, I was eager to purchase the issues containing the update.

It is my desire for this last kind of content that got me to thinking about the other often debated topic related to the hobby; the release of codices. There is always the question of when will codex “x” be released. Often the answer is vague at best and usually doesn’t include any justification for when it will be available.

It was this unpredictability that got me to thinking about how to combine my desire for more rules content with a more structured release schedule for codices. My solution, start publishing army lists in White Dwarf.

If army lists were moved to White Dwarf, GW could make a number of simple changes that would help the community and resolve a lot of the current debates across the internet.

First, army lists could be routinely updated (~16 months for 40K, ~24 months for WFB), thus allowing for “issues” with an army list to be addressed in a more timely fashion. If unit A is undercost, you know in the next two years that it will be fixed. This would also mean that players know that their army will see an update sooner than later.

Another advantage of this approach would be that armies will likely see smaller, but more frequent updates to their model range. I applaud the new approach of releasing models in waves instead of all at once, but it seems the approach only benefits certain armies at a time. How much nicer would it be to know every army will get 1-2 plastic kits approximately each year?

This idea doesn’t come without some potential concerns, but I think I may have answers to them. The first concern is with regards to people who miss a certain WD. Most stores that carry it usually have more issues than they can sale. If not, I am certain they can increase their order to account for the increased sales. Also, GW could make the army list available online a few months after it has been released. Or for those that prefer a hard copy, they can purchase that WD from GW direct (bonus for them).

The next concern is with regards to the fluff. My solution would be a series of books like Xenology that focuses on one race/army. The advantage of this approach would be that the fluff shouldn’t change as often as the army lists, so the books would have a longer shelf life. Also, do you need to bring the fluff with you when playing a game?

The last concern that I will address is with regards to the cost of WD. GW has been quoted as saying that they make their money off the models, not the rules, so why not raise the cost of the magazine to $10.00. The elevated cost should offset the increased page count. Also, there should be a noticeable increase in sales, which would also help to offset the cost of the magazine.

Keep in mind that this is just a rough draft of my idea. I post this to share my thought and encourage others to post their own on the topic and ideas written.

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