Thursday, 16 February 2012

Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy: faintly disappointed

So, I picked up this month's WS&S for some hobby reading on holiday. I had high hopes as at first glance it has a nice finish. But I must admit I was a little disappointed. Firstly, there were typos on many pages, including mis-naming an interviewee on either the introduction or throughout the interview text (Nick/Neil). Also, pretty much every shot of painted Napoleonic figures (adverts excepted) seemed to be Victrix miniatures - making the Napoleonic special seem a bit like a Victrix advert! Even to me, relatively new to Napoleonics there seems to be many amazing Napoleonics manufacturers just as worthy of showcasing. The miniatures reviews weren't particularly insightful and consistently positive and the introduction to Napoleonic gaming was incredibly brief.

There were a good number of redeeming articles: I'll probably re-work 'catch the pigeon' for Peninsular Napoleonics, the Zulu skirmish game is inspiring (though I should be able to resist) and the front-page diorama is a great use of Victrix plastics - I almost wish I'd done grubby Napoleonics rather than my virtually-pristine Redcoats! I also enjoyed Rick Priestley's article, having an opportunity to regularly read the thoughts of such a long-time wargaming stalwart is great.

I accept many of the articles may not be written by native English speakers (it seems to be a Netherlands-published mag) but typos did rile me as almost all could be eliminated by a good proof-read. There was even a comment in one article about not being able to get away with typos, the irony!
So, probably not worth a subscription: I've yet to find a Wargames mag I want to buy every month.

EDIT: For clarity, I did enjoy much of the issue and would definitely consider buying WS&S again, especially if the theme appealed to eras I'm interested in gaming.



  1. I buy this only if it has a period I'm actually doing now.....

  2. Thank you for the feedback. Most useful.

    All the pieces were written by Brits with the exception of the 'Austria Infelix' article. Personally its much improved on the Spanglish I had to endure previously.

    Victrix did supply us with a few photos for the one article, they were taken specifically for us and the piece. Did you like the pictures of Steve's Baccus 6mm?

    The Neil/Nick bit being my fault as I did the interview. Would love to know where the others were...

    I am always interested in comments and especially critique, please have a good look through the issue and email me at


  3. Guy,

    Many thanks for commenting, I feel honoured my little blog has been found and is worthy of comment.

    I don't have my issue at hand so can't respond with specifics today, but am happy to do so - it is great that you appreciate feedback so much. On consideration, my post may have unintentionally come across as unduly harsh, apologies for that. I'm happy to admit that I did enjoy lots of WS&S 58 and would consider buying future issues. Some of my original post may have been overstated - to balance the critique and for clarity I have made a few edits above.

    Glad you mentioned Steve's 6mm Baccus, although not my scale I do think they looked amazing. Reminded me of seeing similar for ACW at Triples last year - inspiring stuff for any gamer.

    Not sure what you refer to as Spanglish - was this from previous work on a wargames magazine?

    All the best with WS&S - I appreciate it must be difficult to make a consistent, quality product which appeals to all.

    1. All feedback is useful Phyllion, especially critique, so your blog's been most useful to us. Thanks.

      I see Jasper's answered your query on Spanglish. Please do forward any feedback you have to me to my email, particularly on the style of articles ect.


      PS: Am liking the pulp stuff on the blog!

  4. By 'Spanglish' Guy means the English produced by the former (Spanish) publishers of WSS. Karwansaray Publishers (in the Netherlands) bought the magazine in 2011 and rebooted it from issue 54. We've worked hard to raise the quality of the magazine in all its aspects, and yes, the language, grammar and spelling have been part of that effort. Having noticed that it was still not good enough some time ago, we've enlisted the help of a professional, and in my experience eagle-eyed, proofreader. His influence should be visible in issue 59. Excising each and every typo is a near-impossible job, but it should be another step up.

    Angry Lurker: if you're hinting at the fact that WSS is themed, do you think the themes dominate the issue too much? If so, please do let us know. If it wasn't clear yet, we are very determined to make sure we're not creating a magazine in a 'vacuum'. It can only get better if we hear from our readers what they do and do not like.


    Jasper (a.k.a. Guy's boss)

  5. Good post, Phil, and I agree, its great to get direct response from the publishers. That's just shows class and a dedication to their product.

    As for myself, on the whole, I really like the magazine. I like it to the extent that it has become my 'print' indulgence of choice for the past year (supplanting WI in many instances). I actually like the 'themed' approach as I think it gives hobbyists a clear indication of that issue's contents so they can pass or purchase based on their particular interests.

    I find the reviews to be honest and forthright. They may seem a bit 'glowing' but for the most part many of the products they've reviewed are quite good. That being said I don't think they're blindly positive. For example, in this issue they gave a positive review of Warlord's Russian Napoleonic infantry but did point out the weakness of their earlier Prussian plastics.

    I particularly like the opinion pieces by Rick Priestly and Richard Clarke. I don't always agree (IGOUGO IS a blight to gaming rules IMHO) but I very much enjoy reading the opinions of others who are designers and long-term gamers.

    Granted, spelling gaffs are annoying but I assume they will improve and to me they do not significantly diminish the overall effort and quality of the publication. Will I get a subscription? Perhaps, we'll see. Will I give each issue my consideration for purchase? Definitely. This is more than I can say for most other publications on the newsstand today.

    My apologies for the long-winded 'comment'!



  6. I found the photography, or the printing of the photos at least, to be very poor throughout the magazine. Compared to the work done under the prior Spanish publisher, this was a big disappointment. I tried to point this out to the new publisher who denied there was any problem. I think the printing techniques they are using must be part of the problem. Anyway, I have stopped subscribing as they have made no progress in improving anything.


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