I like wargame magazines. It figures that I would, after all I am a wargamer. I have favourite magazines by way of content and others I like because of the eye-candy inside them. I also like technology such as smartphones, tablets and the like. So, you would think a marrying of the two – wargame magazines and technology – would be a perfect match for me.
Well, I would have thought so.
I used to get the paper versions of Wargames Illustrated, Miniature Wargames (now including Battlegames which was also a favoured paper publication) and Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. When electronic versions of these came out I adopted them fairly quickly, after all, given my lifestyle of moving from place to place, electronic versions I can either carry with me in a device or park somewhere up in the cloud for access and reference later is a positive boon. It is the same with e-books. I have then in both my Kindle and my iPad.
So, “what’s the beef” I hear you say?
“Format and trying to be overly clever and sexy’ says I!
Yes, it is possible to be too sexy. Let’s look at this one at a time.
Wargames Illustrated was the second of the truly glossy colour wargaming magazines and has been running for 322 issues now (at around 12 per year, that is nearly 27 years). Calculating that figure just now made me think about my start in wargaming but I will come to that in another post.
There are some truly exceptional pieces of eye-candy in this magazine – and you can see some of them at the Wargames Illustrated Website.
Wargames illustrated does note, however that their
original plan for the launch for WI digital focused solely on an iPad version of the magazine, however after listening to your feedback we decided to slightly delay release and launch on all available formats – iPad, Kindle and Android. This means you can now access WI Digital from ANY TABLET device.
They also noted that
from WI316 the digital magazine will include a range of dynamic content, including: videos, 360-degree figure spins, image galleries, web links and more.
Here is the problem. Actually, here is two problems. The dynamic content is the magazine showing how clever they are technically. 360-degree views of figures, for example, or scrolling images within the article you’re reading. The problem with the scrolling images however is that it actually distracts from what you are reading. As you read, images are changing further down the page which drags your eyes away from the words and to the images. It takes longer to read an article and is much harder work.
The other problem is that I have subscribed in the past, and then purchased issues as well as archive issues on my iPad. No where can I see an option in the the Wargames Illustrated website to move the content I’ve purchased over to a different (but supported) operating system tablet. My iPad is over three years old now. I will want to replace it in the next few months and I was thinking of an Android tablet, which will fit better with my overall technology landscape here. My books (ePubs, PDFs and mobis) I can carry over. My Wargames Illustrated I can’t. So I either throw out a few hundred dollars worth of purchases and replace them with the Android version by spending another few hundred dollars, or buy another iPad which I don’t want to, or just stop buying Wargames Illustrated altogether which I also do not want to!
Miniature Wargames with Battlegames is a similar but with a slightly different problem. There was originally two magazines. Miniature Wargames was the first of the glossies and has now been running in one form or another for over 31 years. It was originally offered in electronic form on iPad’s Newstand. Battlegames is not nearly so old and was offered electronically through Exact Editions. Exact Editions is a reading app that is available on Apple and Android devices. Battlegames was therefore, arguably, portable. Miniature Wargames and Battlegames merged and those of us who had a Newstand subscription for Miniature Wargames and a separate Exact Editions subscription for Battlegames had our subscription extended for the Newstand version. Those who subscribed only to an Exact Editions Battlegames had the new combined magazine available in Exact Editions and as I understand, downloadable PDF versions as well.
Again, should I buy an Android tablet, I will lose my iPad content as there is no way for me to take that magazine across to another tablet operating system.
This brings me to the last Wargames magazine I read regularly – Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. Karwansaray Publishers have done the decent thing and producted their magazine as a downloadable PDF. What does this mean? First off, there is no clever moving bits to distract my reading as there is in Wargames Illustrated. Secondly, I do not need to use a specific app to read it across multiple platforms like Miniature Wargames and Battlegames. Most importantly, I have flexibility. I do not have a magazine publisher telling me which operating system and tablet I should use.
It is time for me to replace my laptop as it is getting somewhat old and dated. It has served well over the last four years and continues to work as designed but it is starting to show it’s age. I was thinking of replacing it with a Microsoft Surface 3 or similar, in part because I need to use it for business and that still means Microsoft applications in most cases and partly because the surface acts like a tablet. I use my tablet mostly for reading books and magazines, watching the odd video or YouTube, doing a little mind mapping and the like and these days, rarely playing games (except Words with Friends and Chess which I can continue to play on my phone).
If I step in that direction then I will no longer read Wargames Illustrated or Miniature Wargames and only read Wargames Soldiers and Strategy as that is the only magazine that is both digital AND portable.
The other benefit that Wargames Soldiers and Strategy provides is that as it is a PDF, it adjusts to screen size and fits the viewing window, unlike the other two which are A4 sized magazines trying to fit into an American Quarto world.
So, well done Wargames Soldiers and Strategy and “boo, hiss” to the other magazines. Links to all magazines Facebook Pages are below.
WargamesIllustrated – http://www.facebook.com/WargamesIllustrated
MiniatureWargames – http://www.facebook.com/MiniatureWargames
Wargames Soldiers & Strategy Magazine – http://www.facebook.com/WSSMagazine