Today I’m going to review White Dwarf issue 457. Taking a look at the contents and sharing some of my favourite bits. More after the jump.
As with last month, there are a total of 21 articles spread over 144 pages in this issue. Unlike last month this issue has a wider variety of articles for Age of Sigmar, Golden Demon, Warhammer 40,000, Underworlds, Warhammer Quest Blackstone Fortress, Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game and Necromunda. The articles are well presented, detailed and supported with great photography and illustrations. There is one feature that didn’t quite hit the spot and that’s the Worlds of Warhammer article by Jordan Green, where he writes about the humour in Warhammer. It was a nice read but ironically it wasn’t very funny.
Warhammer 40,000 is well represented. We get a short horror story called Terminus and part 7 of 9 of the Black Library novel Faith & Fury. A painting and modelling article all about Forgeworlds and Elliot Hamer talks about trial and trial and error in gaming.
However, the big news is the launch of a new feature called Warhammer 40,000 Flashpoint. Flashpoint is White Dwarf’s collective term for a group of articles that relate to each other. In this case, it’s the Argovon Campaign, a war zone within the Pariah Nexus. This is a gaming feature and gives you background for the setting, campaign rules including treacherous traits, effect tables and agendas and finally it includes a short story.
This is a nice feature that helps move the story along in an official capacity and puts you in the action with your own force but I felt something was missing and I think it was painted models. For 22 whole pages, there wasn’t a single example of models fighting the campaign. This might be because of the pandemic, maybe White Dwarf couldn’t access the studio during the lockdown. I’d love to see more Flashpoints but with some models included.
Age of Sigmar, Underworlds and Warcry
This month, there are 3 Age of Sigmar and 3 Underworlds articles and no Warcry articles. Two of the Age of Sigmar pieces are about Troggoths. Tome Celestial gives us detailed background and new official rules for Glogg’s Megamob Troggherd, the Army Showcase is Jes Bickham’s gorgeous purple Troggherd. Interestingly, we find out it’s Jes’ army that inspired the Tome Celestial article and rules. That’s really cool because you know the faction has been playtested by Jes. There is a short piece on how Jes paints his Troggs as well. Jervis Johnson is back in the Rules of Engagement article and he’s talking about how he comes up with points values. He’s talked about this before, but this time he’s using Excel that he calls Points Calculator, I knew I should have trademarked my April Fools’ joke. He explains it broadly which is interesting but Jervis never actually shares the formula.
The Underworld articles are really good. John Bracken explains how Arena Mortis works and after reading it got me hyped for it. Phil Kelly writes a short story about a quest that Morgwaeth leads her Daughters of Khaine on. This is a superb addition and I really want to see more background for more warbands. The third article sees Dave Sanders explain how to get the best out of Morgok’s Krushas and Morgwaeth’s Blade-coven, it’s a must-read article if you play Warhammer Underworld.
Specialist Games: Necromunda, Warhammer Quest Blackstone Fortress
We get treated to some very nice Necromunda gangs in a piece about a campaign played at Warhammer World by some of the staff and their friends, there’s some nice insights and some tips on running your own campaign. We also get a new quest for Blackstone Fortress that uses the Ad Mec from the Escalation set, the Spindle Drones from the Ascension set and UR-025 from the core set. It’s fantastic to see extra playable content like this.
Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game
The Hobbit coverage returns this month after being missed last month. Jay Clare gives some insightful tactics on using Azog the Defiler in your games. Some lovely cinematic photos really set the mood for the article. Sadly, no extra rules of missions and it’s only 4 pages long. I did enjoy the read though.
The large amounts of insightful information from Game Workshop Studio employees, as well as official rules and missions and short stories, make this issue worth the cover price. Something for everyone, but if you’re like me who dabbles in everything you’ll definitely get more value out of it. You never feel like you’re being sold to anymore as there are no adverts and no new release pages. It’s all hobby content.
The extra variety from the specialist games’ features is very welcome this month. Paint Splatter guides were a bit thin on the ground this month but the Golden Demon article more than made up for it as it was a superb insight into the godly talents of Maxime Penaud. I really recommend this if you’ve ever wondered the lengths a professional painter goes to win a slayer sword. No Tale of Four Warlords was a shame. Flashpoint is interesting, it was a good read and I can see a lot of love and effort poured into it but it just needed some beautiful miniatures to look at to break it up a bit. No battle report this month but I’m only just noticing that after two days of reading the magazine, I guess I didn’t miss it.
There’s also a rather dodgy feature on some bloke who takes pictures with a smoke machine… yeah, so erm, I’m in this issue as well and I supplied all photography and wrote the captions. It’s my first ever fully published article in a magazine with my words and my photos (previously, White Dwarf photographed my armies, asked me questions and then wrote it up). It was truly an honour to be a part of my favourite magazine.
Overall it’s another solid showing from White Dwarf and the studio. I do appreciate that this issue was probably produced during the beginning of lockdown in the Spring (around the time I sent in my article) and with people working from home, I think everyone who worked on the magazine should be applauded for their hard work.