Wednesday, February 13, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #52

White Dwarf #52 is a big issue. Not just in terms of size; it's now 56 pages, or price; it's now 85p, but there are color pages now inside.  Not all are full color, but we are getting there.

Let's start with the cover.  Pretty cool stuff, alien spaceship lands in front of a couple of barbarians. That's everything you need to know about gaming in April of 1984.
We start out with more ads with the editorial starting on page 11.
Ian Livingstone talks about the new changes, welcoming old and new readers. He discusses one of the new features, The Name of the Game, and some of the regular content.

The aforementioned Name of the The Game is a Beginner's Guide to Role-Playing Games by Marcus Rowland.  There are the basic basics. These are dice, this is what you do.  Then he covers "The Big One" D&D.  Reading him cover how AC works though makes me wonder why we didn't see the 3e way of doing things sooner.  This article also features one on the new, nifty full color pages. Looking forward to future installments of this one.

Speaking of 3e an predecessor of the Clerical Domain spells appears next.  Out of the Blue covers specific spell lists for various types of gods.  It is Clerical Domains is all but name really.

Open Box gets the full color treatment too.  Good place of it really.  Reviewed this issue are Talisman (a game I always wanted to try out) and Battlecars, both by Games Workshop.  Alan E. Paull only gives Talisman a 6/10  noting that it would be better if it were shorter. Ian Waddelow gives Battle Cars an 8/10.
Dragon Riders of Pern from Mayfair  gets a dismal 4/10 (Enjoyment 2/10!) from Nic Grecas siting rotten art work, unclear rules and complex and unwieldy game mechanics.  Ian Waddelow is back with the Lost Worlds books from Nova Games.  He gives them 6/10.  I liked the idea of a character book with all the rules you needed to play.  I later adopted the idea after getting 1 (and only 1) Lost Worlds book and realizing I couldn't play it but really liking the concept.

Machines and Magic is the subject of this issue's Critical Mass.  One book covered is Vonda McIntyre's Superluminal.  I read this book about this time and I enjoyed it, but it left me feeling like there should have been more.  The article also mentions something I was certainly feeling in 1984.  The Xanth joke had gone on long enough.

Thurd is up next with the beginning of a cycle of adventures.

Fiend Factory has some low level monsters for D&D.  The Spider Dragon looks neat, the rest I am not thrilled about.  FF seems to have lost some of it's spark if you ask me.

Microview gets expanded.  Now it also reviews software ala Open Box and still has some BASIC code for you to enter.  Software is rated on terms of Graphics, Instructions, Long-Term Interest, Playabilty, and Value for money.

Andy Slack discusses living forever in Traveller.  So make your own 40K Emperor now.  The long article also includes some methods of staying alive beyond your years and some associated scenarios.

Castle of Lost Souls is the first part of a Choose Your Adventure.  You have a basic character sheet and plenty of scripted options. You just need a single d6.   There are 104 entries, not sure how many combinations.

Liz Fletcher gives us The Serpent's Venom for 1st to 3rd level AD&D characters. Three pages and some better than average art work.

Letters covers some the style changes of WD, with most happy with the changes.  In a nice touch that would have amused me then as much as it does now, the letter image has a Dalek stamp.

RuneRites covers Magic Rings. Most are adaptable back to D&D.

Travellers is next.  I wasn't into it then, can't get into it now I am afraid. I hate to say it, but when it comes to comics Dragon was the superior magazine here.

Treasure Chest has a bunch of random magic items. The amusing one is "Troll Dust" which is basically an instant troll, just add water.

The News section is now  "The Midgardian". Of interest is coverage of Mayfair releasing the Role-Aids line.

Tabletop Heroes covers fighter figures. Some nice full color images to go with it.  Certainly a shade of things to come.

We follow with a number of ads and classifieds.

This was a big issue.  8 more pages and full color ones at that.  I felt there were some more ads (maybe four pages) and four pages of new content, but I have not counted to be sure.  I never owned this issue back in the day.  It was one of the ones I picked up much later. Again also at this time my purchase of White Dwarf was waning in favor of Dragon.  I also hate to admit it, but I am kinda on a "death watch" now.  How much longer with Livingstone stay on as editor? When do the comics disappear? What happens to Fiend Factory? When is the last of the D&D, RuneQuest and Traveller content? These will be answered soon I feel.


Simon said...

#52's cover is right up there with #44 in terms of sheer stripperificness. >:D They also used that image for the (UK?) cover of Harry Harrison's 'The Technicolor Time Mansion', concerning time-travellig movie-makers, for which it's slightly inaccurate - there is a viking barbarian in it, but the blonde bimbo playing his love interest is a movie actress from the future.

Still, I've always wanted to run something based on that pic...

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Stripperific? I thought it was Asstastic myself! ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi I am Yvonne one of Lee's Ambassador's for the A to Z Challenge.Thought I'd introduce myself.


Simon said...

Yes, it is one fine ass. >:)

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Yvonne, great to meet you!

Unknown said...

52 issues at one a week must meant hat you've been doing this for a year now. Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

I wouldn't write the Dwarf off just yet. In my opinion the 50s contain some really good material. Fiend Factory and Treausre Chest have lost their spark, sure, but it's a long time yet before AD&D, RQ and Traveller vanish completely.