Friday, 19 February 2010
White Dwarf 75 March 1986
In my earlier post, I reviewed issue 362 of White Dwarf, the most up to date release. The comments in reply and my own memories of how great a magazine WD used to be got me thinking! How would I review a pre-Games Workshop only White Dwarf, compared to a modern edition? Here is the result.
White Dwarf issue 75 March 1986 - 95p
I choose this issue, purely at random - having climbed in to my attic and picked up a box file of old White Dwarf magazines. At first I was tempted to change it for another - but that wouldn't be right or give a true representation of how good (or bad) these earlier editions were.
The cover illustration is not one of the best I have come across, in fact I would say it was poorly executed, but does hint at the Call of Cthulhu themed edition.
68 pages,a full colour cover and some 12 full colour inside pages with a few more showing spot colour, the rest are black and white. What I found most surprising was that a full 28 pages were adverts, thats 40% of the magazine taken up with adverts! But onto the review -
There are six main feature articles and eleven further departments, they consist of;
A full page of thoughts on the (new) Runequest 3. Not a great start as I found the comments vague and much too general.
Superhero Gaming (or how to save the universe)
Three pages of gaming notes on how to roleplay Comic-book Superheros. OK, but again very simplistic and the very personal views of the author.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (gamesmanship or gaining experience)
Posibly the best article in the whole magazine - three pages by Martin Hytch giving views and tips on 'putting the mystery back into AD&D. I really enjoyed this discourse and thought the points that Martin put across were well written and as relevant today as they were back in 1986.
An article on communication breakdowns in the game Traveller.
Nightmare in the Green
An AD&D adventure - five pages of a very well written fantasy adventure for AD&D. Very good.
The Heart of the Dark
A Call of Cthulhu scenario adventure story that was very well written by Andy Bradbury. More of a story thread than a full blown story, but enjoyable and offering alternative endings to a very detailed scenario.
In addition there was two pages of painting - however this issue was detailing the equipment needed for painting with oil paints and given the developments in acrylic paint, the article was not relevant to me. There were product reviews, two pages of letters and two pages of 'small ads'. In addition there were three very well drawn cartoons - Thrud the Barbarian, Gobbledigook and The Travellers.
So what have I learnt? Firstly that the 'old style' WD had loads of adverts and as a percentage maybe more than the modern issue (although the modern issue hides these adverts, as new releases or short reviews of GW produced or owned products).
The six main articles or features were a 'mixed bag', with three of the six entertaining me, while the remainder were OK - to poorly written. The letters pages and small ads, were a waste and the painting article was not of any real interest to me.
In summary the best part was the (rose-tinted) reminiscing, checking through old adverts for figures and games I once owned or longed for. It was also very disappointing to see how many great stores no longer exist and most disappointing of all, that I am not sure I have come to the right conclusion - that The Modern or New edition of White Dwarf, maybe a glorified catalogue, but in value-for-money terms it may win against the older style magazine! I will leave it to someone else to work out what 95p in 1986 is worth in 2010!
What do you think? And NO not through nostalgia filled memory - go back and try an older issue of White Dwarf as I have to see if your memory of how great these magazines were, holds true today!