This set me off thinking[ Andy, I do most of my thinking in bed, not the toilet, that's the place for reading]
Anyway I have to admit I am a sucker for the printed word. From early in my wargaming life I would buy anything that was the least bit connected to the hobby. At that time finding information was difficult to say the least. This was the 1970's one should remember.
One of my first magazine purchases was Miniature Warfare, which I found to be a bit sparse on information and tended to be about the wargamers in the London area. I still bought it when I could afford to. Why? because I wanted to be a part and learn about the hobby.
I wasn't aware of the Waragmers Newsletter until after it had folded, which has always been a regret of mine, but that was the nature of the 1970's there was very little communication in the wargaming world, it was almost like joining the Freemasons but much more difficult.
I managed to buy the odd copy of Battle, and I can still remember being envious of the renaissance set up of the South London Warlords and the wonderful figures painted by the late great Bill Brewer.
Of course that went the way of the Newsletter. Not enough subscriber interest.
By this time I was regularly buying Military Modelling/ Battle, which for a short while was a pretty good magazine, Stuart Asquith wrote some excellent pieces on the English Civil war, and Terry Wise never pulled his punches in his observations page.
Obviously things did evolve and change, and when Duncan Macfarlane produced Miniature Wargames well as a wargamer I was in hog heaven. I sometimes think Duncan never got the plaudits he justly deserved for producing the magazine that set the standard for the future. Great photographs, some really inspiring articles, Wally Hearl, Andy Callan, and even Paddy Griffith, who at the time caused a storm.
Now it is very easy to criticise, and it seems that 21st century man is prepared to whine and carp about anything, but no one ever seems to offer a solution or even an opinion which may be of use.
Being someone who is of an age where he recognises that he is out of kilter with modern living I am going to offer up a few suggestions about what I would like in a wargames magazine which would make me want not only to buy it, but also collect it.
1] I personally enjoy well written articles that encourage wargamers to want to 'do' the battle or even the period. So for me a clear and concise unit list, and an explanation of how the number of units were arrived at. A good map is always a boon. A decent list of references is also to be encouraged, a reader might want to buy the reference book.The odd photograph of the set up is also a help.
2] Before the demise of the last editor of Miniature Wargames, the product reviews were very well written and helpful. So they would be of interest, to me anyway.
3] A 'how do' article is of use, as long as it doesnt drag into several months worth of magazine.
4] I enjoy discussion/ argument. Wargamers have opinions, maybe some have too many, but what better way to generate some energy than a writer who plays devils advocate. The editorials of Donald Featherstone were always feisty, and in the current mad age of blandness and fear of offending they would be a blessing.
5] The odd well photographed set up still has its place in a wargames magazine for me, its always nice to have something to aspire to. I do resent however where the photographs ARE the article and there seems very little reason for its existence.
6] As regards wargames rules. Fair enough if its a review, or even a playtest set against other similar rules, but does it have to be an obvious advertisement for the latest £30.00 tome.
7] Some people don't like reviews of shows, personally I do. Especially if I am looking to attend a new show. A scoring system as long as it is consistent also helps, well it helps me anyway.
8] Finally, there are many wargamers around the country who deserve a little bit of acknowledgement. The odd interview/ feature with them would be nice. I dont just mean traders, but wargamers who regularly produce a good game, paint a mean figure or just are generally helping wargaming along. One that immediately springs to mind is John Tuckey who seemed to have a large game on at most shows. I would find it interesting to see how John wargamed.
Anyway, these are just my opinions.............