Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gaming on a Budget: Wasting Money to Save Money

Holy Crap!  Its been two weeks since I last posted.  So here's something kinda dumb.

The Gaming on a Budget stuff over on the HoP is one of my most favorite blog series of all time.  Its chock full of great tips (some are a surprise) , it increases out traffic and Dethtron is one of the funniest writers out there.  Its the pinnacle of the infotainment arts.  Get your lips offa Dethtron's e-peen, Lauby! 

Plus, I get to write for it as well from time to time. Always a bonus when you get to put all those research skills to use for something you actually enjoy.

Anywho, my last post for the series got me thinking about all kinds of ways that you can actually save money by spending money up front - pointing out false economies and the like.  There's a post on airbrush purchasing floating around my brain and there's a post out there about the pitfalls of ebay that I want to rip off (incidentally:  Brent, add a goddamn search function to your blog!).

Which brings us to my recent purchase of a White Dwarf issue and my issues with White Dwarf.  Lame, dude.  Lame.

Now I know taking a shit on the current state of White Dwarf is about the easiest thing to do... but what can I say, nostalgia gets the better of me from time to time and the reality of the situation seems to always surprises me. 

Basically, I picked up the most recent issue because it had a bunch of stuff in it that seemed relevant to my interests at the time and as a precursor to maybe getting a subscription again ( I do love those masterclasses).  The whole thing was crap - perhaps the single most worthless issue I own.  But it did save me $75 as it was a reminder on why I didn't resubscribe last year. Like I said - spend money to save money.

 Here's the feature by feature breakdown:

11 pages of new releases:  This is why you have a website!  Plus, this is like the first of 4 places in the issue where the same damn kits are pimped.  The reason other magazine have ads in them is to defray the cost of printing.  By running your own ads you are actually costing yourselves money.  Good job.  ATTN Business people: feel free to correct me and then mock me

The Masters of Titan:  Some interviews with the model designers and Matt Ward about the new codex. Kinda cool, actually.  But basically a puff piece.  Surprise!  Though it's not like I expected any hard hitting questions from conversations between people who all work at the same damn place.
Interviewer:  Hello Fellow GW employee!
Person being interviewed:   Right back at you!
Interviewer:  Those Grey Knights sure are bad ass and cool.
Person being interviewed:   they sure are!
Interviewer: That's all for today, folks!
Green Invasion:  A shitty fluff article with the following suggestions for themed armies:
  • things you had already figured out from the book
  • themes entirely dependent on running a specific scenario
  • themes entirely dependent on terrible house rules
Then there was the Gorbad bit.  No suggestions for an army per se, but they did blather on about how hard it would be to make a themed army.

A New Alliance:  LotR stuff.  For this to be useful to you must:
  • actually play this game
  • be entirely unclear on the simple rules for allies as outlined in the rule books
  • have never seen any of the movies or read any of the books
  • completely and utterly lack imagination
Gamesday and Golden Daemon 2010:  A basic report of the event that Americans just plain don't go to. The GD winners part was fun though.

A Light in the Grim Darkness GW to Daemone players:  fuck you.  Ah, the 'wonderful' battle report between the new Grey Knights and some Daemons.  One one hand, I like the fact that you get to see the models in cool scenes and you get to see some of the GW employees who aren't the game designers.  On the other hand, everything that makes medical waste seem pleasant by comparison.

The quote of the article:"When preparing to fight an army that is designed on every conceivable level to kill yours, you certainly have to think long and hard before making any decisions.

The Daemon player then goes on to ignore his own advice and make the worst Daemon army possible.  He even goes so far as to buy his troops units in multiples of the sacred numbers. Including the changeling was about his only good choice.

Here's a list of everything else that's awful:
  • List tailoring on a previously unseen level on the part of the Grey Knight player.  Sanctuary on the Librarian?   Fuck you, buddy.
  • A battle missions scenario that makes everyone stubborn.  So we can add mission tailoring to the list as well since Daemons are already fearless and pretty much have to fight in hand to hand.
  • Some of the worst play decisions I think I've ever had explained to me.  The worst being the Daemon player's - a conscious decision to feed almost a quarter of his army to the dreadknight one unit at a time and to go well out of his way to allow as in: on purpose Draigo to get into hand to hand with Fateweaver. 
  • To be fair, the GK player thought it might be smart to disembark a 10 man purifier squad directly in front of a functional Soul Grinder.
Spoiler alert:  Grey Knights win. 

Standard Bearer:  I've always said that JJ's been around the block too many times to be the idiot people think he is and I find that this comes out in the series Idiot?  No.  Out of touch? Yes.  It's always interesting (even if I disagree with it) and its usually the best written thing in the magazine. 

'Eavy Metal - Grey Knights:  Some cool close ups of the new models.  Plus a bunch of painting ideas and the like.  Really makes the first 11 pages of adds seem even more worthless.

Citadel Hall of Fame:  Nothing like another meeting report from GW's Mutual Appreciation and Free Hand Jobs Society.

Modelling Workshop - Grey Knights:  If you've ever had problems following simple instructions or using your imagination to actually make use of all the parts that come with a stock kit then here ya go. A real missed opportunity to promote some kits outside the GK range.

Army Workshop - Flesh Tearers:  This was actually the big driver for me spending the 9 bux.  I've always secretly loved the Flesh Tearers and I was hoping to get a good highlighting recipe for the red.  Instead I got bitter disappointment.  The article was little more than a detailed description from two yokels on how you too can waste $300 on one of the worst army lists I've seen since the battle report.  Zing!

Actually, there was a silver lining here - I learned exactly how stupid the ancient metal chapter pads from GW look on the modern kits.

All That Crap in the Back:  That nobody reads.

So there we are.  Another impotent rant against the worthlessness of a magazine we already know is worthless .


  1. "Actually, there was a silver lining here - I learned exactly how stupid the ancient metal chapter pads from GW look on the modern kits."

    AGREED! I ordered two packs and after they arrived and I had mocked up 1 (yes ONE!) model I was on the phone to customer service demanding a return. They charge $1 each for these crappy old pads.

    On the plus side, you make me laugh.

  2. yeah , essentially 5 quid for glorified emergency shit tickets, GW NEEDS an independent mag, or at least 50 percent articles done out of house.

    I reccon the blogosphere hard hitters could produce an amazing GW hobby zene and probably sell more models for GW than WD does in the process.

    it's a project I would love to do

  3. Ugh...White Dwarf continues to disappoint.
    It's a shame, I don't understand how GW continually seems to have their fingers in their ears when it comes to listening to their customer base, and every year other companies continue to gain ground.

    Warmachine/Hordes and now Malifaux, along with a handful of others (Dystopian Wars seems popular, for instance), are now regularly discussed on websites that were staunch bastions of all things GW.

    GW killed their Forums, Black Gobbo disappeared, and they continue to make odd business decisions- no Thunderwolf Cavalry was a facepalm moment, truly.

    White Dwarf is kinda painful, now. The batreps are awful. In the Dark Eldar issue, the DE faced off against an IG foot-based force conveniently featuring a ton of 10 man squads for easy chopping and pain tokens to distribute.

    Don't wanna see the day where I save money on 40k buy spending it on another game, but GW is getting silly with the Space Marines now, and Malifaux looks so cool....

  4. re: the thunder wolves.

    at the time the codex came out, I got why they weren't made. the word on the street is that they were a late addition to the book and GW didn't exactly have a lot of sales data from other 40k cavalry kits to go on.

    But here we are, over 1 and a half years past release. The unit is so popular that giant wolves have become a staple of the custom resin kit companies. *Face palm*

  5. I do buy the WD consistantly every month. I do wonder why though since it seems that I read less than 20% of the articles these days. I guess I like looking at the pretty pictures while in the loo.

    But was it ever different? I do like the painting guides and masterclasses and I think for this kind of thing you'd better have a hard copy. I also remember when the specialist games where features and that was something I liked (although I am not sure how popular this was with others). Apart from these, was there ever a time when WD was anything more than a glorified monthly GW product catalog? Might have to check some of my old issues.

  6. to an extent, yeah - it's always been a marketing tool. But it used to be a FUN marketing tool.

    But back in the day, you got rules and scenarios on a regular basis as well as the occasional original story. Not to mention that you would see ACTUAL strategy articles.

    The big thing that everyone remembers is how the battle reports used to be - now days, you automatically know which army is going to win (the new release). Not so in ye olden times.

    Fewer adds and more content. There was a real sense that GW cared about you as a customer and wanted to improve your gaming experience.
    Something more along the line of No Quarter these days. Still a sales driver but you never feel like you're being ripped off.

    Sadly, all the above stuff went away and seems to have been replaced with a thinly veiled ploy to get you to buy models - be a consumer not a gamer.

    I think what pisses people off so much is how the magazine has become the exact kind of marketing ploy the 18-30 crowd hates the shit out of.


  7. I could have saved you the $$, dude... I would have told you not to buy it... and it's my JOB to sell that stuff.

    Buy a copy of No Quarter and compare... though NQ has gotten a little "new release" heavy.

  8. @Lo:

    sad truth of the matter is sad.


  9. Have a subscription for reasons that are still a mystery even to me. Of the last four issues I've picked up, two are still in their shrink wrap. I think that says it all right there.

  10. Old battle reports were just as predictable as new ones. Jervis always lost, even when Andy Chambers was trying to throw the game. You're right about Standard Bearer, though - he's the same astute commentator on the gaming scene of the mid-to-late 90s as he was during the mid-to-late 90s. :p Personally I thought that feature was more fun when they trolleyed Rick Priestly in...

    White Dwarf was good for a few years when it was edited by proper journalists (Paul Sawyer to an extent, but I'm mainly thinking of Guy Haley) and absorbed the best of the fan contributions that would have ended up in the Citadel Journal (great idea, occasionally dubious quality control). Sadly, the pros moved on and the contributions died out.

    Mind you, I remember when Owen Rees was some skinny twelve-year-old with a sweet Dark Angels army who'd done unexpectedly well at a Grand Tournament. Imagine my surprise when he showed up as editor. I feel old.