During the Christmas shopping frenzy I happened to pass by the International Magazine Store in Leuven (which caters for a very diverse range of magazines) and as usual I couldn’t resist the urge of having a quick look (it was cold outside). I tend to glance at the recent Wargames Illustrated issue but I rarely find the content within appealing enough to actually spend a reasonable amount of cash on it and if I do, the chances of becoming a tad disappointed afterwards are fairly large. So over time I have trained myself to resist the urge of the impulse buy. The huge source of information available on the internet these days (such as on Wargames Journal) helps in this respect. This time however I spotted a mag I hadn’t seen before called Wargames Soldiers & Strategy (nr 12) so I succumbed to the ‘little wargame devil’* and opened up my wallet.
I was not disappointed. The overall layout is tidy, the pictures are appealing and the content turned out to be interesting and useful. When first glancing through the pages you get this strange feeling that something is odd, until you realise that the thing isn’t swamped with advertisements! There is actual content inside! Not all of it applying to my specific gaming interests but still, content!
Apart from the general gaming content they also feature one core theme (or dossier as they call it). This issue had Trafalgar as the central theme and featured an interview with Rod Langton, an article on the history of and the events leading to the battle (pretty general introduction, but then again going in too much detail would require a book, not a magazine) and an article on painting and rigging ships from the age of sail. Having already read a few articles on the rigging subject, this one was by far the clearest. This is a considerable achievement since it is very hard not to get bogged down into an incomprehensible mess of nautical jargon which would give an admiral a headache, let alone be any way near comprehensible to your average land lugger.
The magazine turns out to be made by a bunch of Spaniards but this only shows to a small degree in their book reviews which feature Spanish publications next to the more international ones, in a schematic/map left and right and in the abbreviations used in the Trafalgar board game that came with the magazine; Nothing too disturbing. All in all this is a serious contender in the published wargames magazine market.
*The same one that insists that you “need” Gallic allies to go with the recently acquired Roman army (which is on number 358 of your painting list to start with). You probably know him all too well.
Update (Robartes): fixed two links which exhibited very weird behaviour