The New February White Dwarf

New White Dwarf Review

When I picked up the January 2014 White Dwarf, I had no idea it would be the last of its kind.

Now, just four weeks later, the new, slimmer, weekly White Dwarf is here. The editorial team purged most of the picture-stuffing and shifted it into the monthly Warhammer Visions companion magazine. What’s left in the weekly 32 page White Dwarf?

#1 – White Dwarf with new Dwarves

New Dwarves in the White Dwarf

Size aside, the new White Dwarf is surprisingly similar to the old White Dwarf. The first ~10 pages are all about this weeks (!) new releases, notably Dwarf Hammerers / Longbeards and 2 new Dwarf Characters, Belegar Ironhammer (from the cover) and the Dragon Slayer.

With less space (and no fold-outs), the White Dwarf team appears to have opted for less white space and slightly smaller pictures, giving them a bit more room to write about the new miniatures and units.

A very welcome change, if not a huge one. Presumably (and teased at), there will be more new Dwarf releases next week.

#2 – White Dwarf Ads

New White Dwarf Ads

Claims of an “ad-free” White Dwarf notwithstanding, there are some products that even the White Dwarf team cannot present in ways that don’t look like straight-up ads. These include not one but two full pages (the second on the inside of the back-cover) advertising the companion Warhammer Visions magazine.

It’s all about getting the word out about these new magazines, admittedly, but I sure hope those don’t show up in every weekly issue of the weekly White Dwarf.

#3 – The Old Ways of the New White Dwarf

The White Dwarf Old Ways

On page 14 (from 32 pages), the non-new-miniatures-contents starts with…

  • … a Jervis Johnson column on a Yahtzee-style dice-game to replace the single 1st-turn-dice-roll of a game of Warhammer 40K.
  • A dwarf-themed paint splatter.
  • A hobby-column on using glue.
  • Designers Notes on the new Dwarves.
  • Etc… .

There is nothing that couldn’t have been found in the old White Dwarf. Some of it feels a bit quaint (how to use glue!), but still feels more compressed, more “like a magazine”, as you don’t have to trudge through a triple-feature of Parade Ground.

One new (but really kinda old) feature I saw was a “Ask Grombrindal” box in the back of the magazine. Granted, this one was a bit pointless (Q: Which bits can I use to show Tau support systems? A: Whatever bits you like!). I would love to see this one making a comeback with more edgy questions (not going to hold my breath though).

Overall, I like it.

#4 – The New Ways of the White Dwarf

The new White Dwarf Rules Previews

The stand-out new feature in many ways is the rules-preview, in this case of the Dwarven Lord Belegar Ironhammer.

It’s less the rules themselves that are interesting (admittedly, I am not on top of Fantasy these days), but the “tactica” columns of different people from the studio giving their opinion. With the stats and abilities right there, it feels more tangible than “tactical talk” in previous White Dwarfs.

Granted, it’s still probably very basic stuff for serious Warhammer Fantasy players, but it worked for me, as a non-Fantasy-Player,  as a Fantasy-teaser.

#5 – Thoughts?

Overall, I am surprisingly happy with the re-launch.

The new White Dwarf is far from a perfect magazine, and it could still benefit hugely by making the content of the articles have a bit more bite. It’s also immensely expensive, of course, costing 7.5 pence a page (ad-pages included), where the old White Dwarf adds up to about 3.66 pence per page. The price-per-page more than doubled.

However, the pages that took the fall were almost exactly the pages I found tiresome in the old White Dwarf. What is left has, at least, potential.

I doubt GW will ever drop the price (a pound would’ve been about right, IMO), but I’d love to see some scheme where they give you the new Weekly White Dwarf for free, if you spend … say … 30 quid in one of their stores (Getting people into the stores was the point, no?).

Either way, I am going to ignore the price-point for once, hoping this re-launch takes the White Dwarf further into the right direction. This issue certainly isn’t a bad start. Games Workshop’s Weekly White Dwarf 01 February 2014: 3.5 / 5 stars      

Did you have a chance to look at the new White Dwarf? What do you think about the relaunch?