It’s hard to ignore that boardgames are hot at the moment. If you’re reading this column then you probably already understand the thrill of playing great games with good friends. Now the rest of the world is catching up. Much of this renaissance has been driven by the internet. Its power to connect like minded people, through sites like GeekDad, Boardgame Geek and Kickstarter have fueled a gaming revolution. There’s never been a better time to create games, nor a better time to consume them.
The same could not be said of print media. If the internet has made information easy to get a hold of, who needs a newspaper? Print news is old before it even arrives on the doorstep. Newspapers are closing across the globe, and all of my favorite magazines have gone; either electronic, or just plain gone.
So a new print venture at this time might seem like folly, yet, in the UK, Warners Group Publications, have done exactly that with Tabletop Gaming magazine. That a print media company is prepared to invest time and money in a new title, devoted to the hobby, shows just how good a position the gaming industry is in.
The results of that investment are excellent. Flicking through Tabletop Gaming took me back 25 years to when I used to read White Dwarf. Just about every page has something interesting on it, and I read the two issues the publisher sent me from cover to cover.
I’ll be honest and say I am something of traditionalist when it comes to consuming words. I like my reading matter to have heft. I don’t have an e-reader and I take no magazines or newspapers electronically. I focus much better on words on a page.
Since discovering GeekDad, long before I started writing here, I loved its games reviews. Jonathan and the rest of the team have introduced me to many new games that have become family favorites. The problem I had (and still have) was keeping up with them all. I love the internet for dipping in and out, but find it difficult to retain everything I’ve read about.
What Tabletop Gaming magazine does for me is collate information about lots of wonderful games all in one place. It does so with some great pictures, solid reviews, and interesting opinion pieces too.
A quick summary of the latest issue (No. 4), that came out at the beginning of March.
- A few pages of future releases, including Sushi Go Party, which I can’t wait for.
- An interesting commentary from a games designer on gender equality in gaming.
- Upcoming RPG releases.
- A new column “All the Jahres” which will chart the winners of each year’s Spiel des Jahres, starting with first ever winner – 1979’s Hare and Tortoise.
- Features on Modiphius Entertainment, The Marvel Miniatures Game, and a barnstorming article on the Making of Pandemic Legacy.
- A coming soon section of yet-to-be-released games featuring Back to the Future and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Shadows of the Past
- 34 pages of games reviews including Betrayal at Calth, Mysterium and Ticket to Ride: Digital
- A feature on the UK Games Expo, and many of the smaller British games makers who will be in attendance.
- And a whole lot more!
The writing is very good. It’s clear and informative and helpful for deciding where to spend your precious gaming budget. I’m told issue 5 will contain a Top 10 games to play with children and, from that issue, all games reviews will carry a recommended age indicator.
The magazine is published quarterly, which I think is just about the right amount of time between issues. It gives enough time to cover plenty of new releases and keep the pages filled with material that feels fresh. Tabletop Gaming is a welcome addition to the field. One that will support and inspire gamers, young and old, casual and experienced
Tabletop Gaming is published in the UK, where the cover price is £5.25 ( $7.50). Overseas postage is available (Europe €6.5. Rest of the World (including the US) $10)). Subscriptions are available too. An annual subscription to the US (4 issues) is $72.
Despite my Luddite tendencies, I know most of you will have embraced the 21st Century. For you, a digital magazine is available, priced at £5. Digital subscriptions are also possible, which will certainly prove the cheapest option for non-UK based readers. For four magazines, an annual subscription is $28 (All prices quoted using exchange rates at the time of writing.)
Disclosure: I received two issues of Tabletop Gaming magazine in order to write this review.