Tabletop Review: White Dwarf, Issue #58

White Dwarf, Issue #58
Publisher: Games Workshop
Cost: $3.99
Page Count: 32
Release Date: 03/07/2015
Get it Here: The Black Library (Or your local Games Workshop store)

It’s been a while since I’ve picked up an issue of White Dwarf. Thanquol took a lot of wind out of my sails for Warhammer Fantasy. I’d already lost my Tomb Kings with Nagash and my Bretonnians in Glottkin. Now I’ve lost my Lizardmen as well. So Ninth Edition is going to have to be pretty damn amazing for me to stick with the game, as I have no desire to purchase a fourth army. I’ll probably have to stick to older editions of the game (probably 5/6e). Depending on how Archaon turns out next week and what 9e offers me, I may be done with the modern version of the game. Hey, at least I’ll be able to sit down and get everything painted, right? I guess I can always move to Mantic’s KoW too. I’ve got a Kickstarter army or two coming for that game anyway. Still, just because The End Times has hurt me as bad as a Warhammer player can be, doesn’t mean the books haven’t been fantastic. I just happened to be a player of ALL the armies Games Workshop murdered. Issue #58 of White Dwarf gives us a look at the fifth and final installment of The End Times, so I decided to see what was in it. The issue is pretty much all Fantasy, with no real 40K or Hobbit commentary, so if you’re a player of one of those two games, you can easily skip this issue. For everyone else, let’s see what this week’s White Dwarf had to offer.

Like all issues of White Dwarf, this one starts with the releases that come out this Saturday (March 14th). This is a huge release week, so don’t be surprised when a full quarter of the magazine is devoted to models and books. As always, the attempt of these articles is to sell you on buying things, but White Dwarf has been far more of a soft sell since the switchover, containing far more actual content and information about items, rather than feelings like a used car commercial.

New models this month are the Khorne Warthmongers and Khorne Skullreapers. I have to admit, I’ve never been interested in the Fantasy version of Chaos (I have a 40K Chaos Space Marine army though), so I wouldn’t be interested in these models anyway. That said, these are some pretty ugly pieces. I just didn’t care for any of the sculpts, and the paint jobs on these pieces don’t sell me on the minis at all. I did appreciate the paragraphs of background information about each set (technically it’s the same set, but you can build them in two different ways) and the many pictures of the piece, which highlighted the detail and sculpts from multiple angels, but in the end, these did nothing for me. At least there’s a lot of substance in addition to the attempt to sell you on these figures.

Next up are the books. Of course, the crown jewel is Archaon, the fifth and final End Times book. Of course, this being Games Workshop, there is not one, but FIVE different versions of the book. You have the hardcover slipcase version (which I have preordered). It contains two books – one which is 256 pages of fiction and a second (80 pages) which is all rules and mechanics for actually playing the game. There is also a softcover version, an iPad version, an ebook version and a $250 special limited edition version. The SE (which is already sold out) only had 250 copies printed, and it was the same as the regular hardcover, but with a special magnetically-sealed slipcase and a 280 page art book. I can’t say the artbook and special slipcase is worth $200 more dollars than the regular version, but obviously enough people did to sell the thing out. Yeesh. Regardless though, this is going to be THE big release for Warhammer Fantasy until 9e and its special boxed set come out. Finally, we have the piece I’m most interested in – a novel entitled The Lord of the End Times. Written by Josh Reynolds (winner of our 2014 “Best Gaming Fiction” award with his novel The Return of Nagash, The Lord of the End Times is a 464 page fictionalization of Archaon. It’s a far cheaper way to read how The End Times ends ($60 cheaper to be exact), and while you don’t get art or high quality production materials, you do get a quality read well worth its cover price.

After the sales pitches end, we get on to the meat of the magazine. First up is “Lord of the End Times” section which gives an amazing amount of information about the Everchosen and his army. You get a truncated history of Archaon and the six Chaos Artefacts he wields. Be’lakor, the Demon Prince and Dorghar, the Steed of the Apocalypse also get pieces dedicated to their back story. Again, I’m not at all interested in the Fantasy version of Chaos, but I appreciated the in-depth read in these articles. After that, we get an interview with someone who took second place in the 2014 Golden Demon Open Competition. Boring filler. This would be better off in Warhammer: Visions. There’s no quality advice or help for less experienced painters. It’s just wasted space.

Next is a series of several mini-battle reports where large End Times models were pitted against each other. First was a Wrath of Khrone Bloodthirster vs. Verminlord Skreech Verminking. Second was a Bloodthirster vs the Glottkin, followed by a Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage vs the Glottkin. After that was two different Bloodthirsters Vs. Nagash. Not only were the Battle Reports poorly done and far from informative, with what little was written for each you could tell that the players were actively trying to make the Bloodthirsters look strong at the expense of the other pieces (ala Roman Reigns, I suppose). Either that or the people playing the non-Bloodthirsters had no idea how to play Warhammer. The Nagash battle alone was so laughable, I couldn’t believe these tactics were chosen by a GW employee. I get they are trying to sell people on Bloodthirsters, but this was like old style White Dwarf bad. I was really disappointed here. After that, the quality goes way up thanks to this week’s “Codex: Apocrypha.” This time we get a nice piece of fiction starring Thanquol. Six pages of foreshadowing everything from the final events of Archaon to giving credence to the rumours about 9e being Pokehammer. Uh-oh. I guess we will have to wait and see, but while well written, this piece did NOT give me hope for 9e’s fluff/setting.

The next article is “The Rules” where we get stats, mechanics and point values for the Skullreapers and Wrathmongers. They seem interesting, but very expensive. After that comes “Paint Splatter,” which, to no surprise, looks at the Skullreapers. You are shown how to do armor, weapons, flesh, tabards, weapons and brass for the Skullreapers, although the armour is just “Abaddon Black” with the edges of the armour highlighted. I liked the three stages of metal painting though. The flesh didn’t look right to me, nor did the brass, which is probably part of why I don’t like the look of the new minis. Bad sculpt plus a paint job I didn’t care for leaves me definitely cold to these models. The Tabard is pretty awesome though. Simple tricks that really make that come alive to me.

The last fourth of the magazine is the usual “This Week in White Dwarf,” which is mostly filler. Hype for Archaon without any substance to back it up. A badly done description of the Incarnates. A paint Splatter Extra of “blood red flesh,” which the new Khorne minis bear. It’s really ugly to me, and it is not at all what I think of with blood red or a skinless person ala a Cenobite victim. It just looks gaudy and like a paint job I would do if I just was speeding through a figure. I’m not a very good painter, so for me to say, “This looks like my work,” is NOT a compliment. Then we have the usual useless model/bit/weapon of the week bits and some more filler to end the magazine. Honestly, this was a pretty terrible issue, save for the Thanquol fiction, and I wish I hadn’t picked it up. I was hoping for some quality articles about The End Times and got only filler. You can easily skip this one. Here’s hoping this isn’t a sign to come for the books I have coming later this week. Yeesh.


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