White Dwarf Vol 1. This is the unofficial name for the monthly magazine published by Games Workshop from 1977 until issue #409 in 2014 and I’m going to review it.
Well most of it.
Only the good parts until it gets depressingly bad.
Wait, what, that’s impossible and / or pointless I hear my singular reader crying and you may be right but hear me out first.
The plan is to start from around issue 90 which is when the first appearance of 1st edition 40k, also known as Rogue Trader. From this point I plan on disassembling the myth of Rogue Trader and smashing the rose tinted spectacles that you view it with. From then I plan on picking up those spectacles, apologising, repairing them and then placing them back on your face and explaining that it wasn’t the dawn of 40k during that time that kicked off the modern Games Workshop, it was actually Epic. Once you are left reeling by that major development I’m going to be drawing brackets round the exact issues that start and end “The First Golden Age of Miniature Gaming” which will probably also be referred to by me as “The Golden Age of Games Workshop” or just “The Golden Age”. This will open the doors to a review of the major hits and misses of the era.”Well that’s just your opinion, man”. Yes that’s correct Lebowski, however unlike most opinion pieces I am going to be referring to Marketing and Psychology books to try and explain why people feel so much happy nostalgia towards it, why GW made so much money, why they are unlikely to go away and why they burned white hot during this period. The last part is particularly important as the games and models that were produced during this time are exactly what the company is currently (as of 2016) raiding for inspiration, and they are a large part of the reason why there are so many other high quality miniature companies around who have based their releases on the games templates put under the banner of the specialist games range before being discontinued during the later “Silver Age”.
If there was a “Golden Age of Games Workshop” then that age had to come to an end at some point. I would call the end in late 2001 when the Lord of the Rings miniature game was released under the smothering licence of New Line Cinema and the Tolkien Estate. It’s possible that you liked this game, it’s even possible that this might be the time that many players entered the hobby and huge profits were made by the company, however “The Golden Age” ended then. The many small games produced were cut back and “The Big Three”; 40k, Fantasy and LotRs were promoted in their place. This you might have guessed was “The Silver Age”.
Next came “The Bronze Age”, the discontinuing of Warhammer Fantasy the end of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit licence and the eventual end of the monthly White Dwarf. My reviews will probably end before I reach this point because a) The Golden Age is the most interesting to write about and b) It is widely known that the quality of White Dwarf declined from “writing about a hobby that you love that you want to show to other people” to “writing copy about a company you work for” and then on to “taking pictures of things you want to sell”.
So there you have it, if you want to really see how things were back in 1987. Want to see what makes an interesting article. How to write a good battle report and what influence the band D-rok had on the 40k universe then let’s begin here.