First Glance: White Dwarf #344 September 2008

We bring you another article in our First Glance series.  This time we’re covering White Dwarf #344 for September 2008.

Talk about an incredible issue, seriously.  Before I get into the usual content I need to say that a friend of mine discovered something truly amazing about this particular issue.  I will discuss it in more depth under Value but this issue gives us so much for its MSRP of $6 that I expect it to disappear from store shelves faster than air disinfectant at a gaming convention.

White Dwarf #344

Cover: The cover is really enticing.  It has a strong action scene of Space Marines fighting Space Orks.  The focus is on 40k with all text referencing the new Assault on Black Reach kit.

Editorial: This month’s editorial is quite decent.  The title is annoying with its juvenile alliteration.  How many times can I use the letter h in a sentence…only one way to find out.  Let’s see “..hotbed of high-octane hobby…” looks like three in close proximity.  Bow before my 31337 writing skillz (for those who don’t speak hacker that says elite writing skills).  Yes Mark we understand that you’re young and “hip” and “with it.”  You know how to sling a phrase and parse a sentence.  Whoopity-doo.  That said there’s some interesting bits of information such as it takes several (3? 5?) months to bring a single issue of the magazine from writing to publication.  Mark is spot on when he said “…The things they can do with plastic these days.”  I thought the very same thing.  It truly is amazing.

New Releases: The focus is on the Assault of Black Reach of course.  Why should it be anything different?  40k is GW’s flagship game and at $60 the box is a great deal.  Yay for plastic deffkoptas and they even included some new LoTR figures.  But what I most like is the Vanguard Veteran model in the Space Marines Spearhead selling for $239…yikes!

40k: The 40k coverage is extensive but not the only content.  They learned from their mistakes and spread the wealth without skimping on 40k.  The focus is on Assault of Black Reach in every 40k article and it is artfully done.  The batrep alone is so incredible to almost be cause enough to purchase the issue.  Did I mention the FREE Assault of Black Reach Space Marine Terminator and Space Ork Nob?  But more on that in my scoring.

WFB: Although little in quantity the quality is solid.  Fantasy fans may look at the cover and opt out of the purchase but those who scan the content will be pleased with the ‘Eavy Metal Masterclass and the article on raiding.

Toolbox: Maybe GW read our previous article and thought “Wow this guy in Massachusetts is dead on.  What were we thinking doing a Toolbox article on a battle mat?”  That probably isn’t the case but something happened resulting in them renaming the Toolbox article Citadel Hobby Essentials and honestly they’re better off with the new name.  Covering modular movement trays is a worthwhile topic.  Gamers may not spend much time thinking on something as basic as movement trays but for the Fantasy player they are a necessity.

LoTR: The Council of Elrond is incredible reading and a great value.  I can’t say enough how awesome this is and the quality of it makes up for the inclusion of only a single LoTR article.

Battlezones: This section has been sent to pasture and replaced with an article on Apocalypse.  Apocalypse is a great system but I’m saddened by the loss of Battlezones.  The Apocalypse article is interesting and serves to cover the distance traveled in 365 days and two Apocalypse rule books.  There’s solace in that…I suppose.

Event Calendar: Looks like all’s quiet in the northeast save for a series of 40k events at Game Castle in Londonderry NH.  They had a 3k “Son of ‘Ard Boyz” Fantasy tourney on the 6th but have some great 40k events on the 13th, 27th, and on October 11th (2,500pt Fantasy Mega-Battle) and 18th.  Be sure to call 603-423-7400 about the events.

Back Cover: Take cover!  Incoming drop pods.  That’s right new Space Marines codex is en route and the October 2008 issue will spend more time on 40k.

Preparation: 8/10 The magazine is much improved from previous months.  Errors are hard to spot, if they exist at all, and the binding is snug.  All told the magazine is in good shape and looks like care was taken in publishing this month’s dose of GW.

Visuals: 9/10 This is a stunningly beautiful issue. Wonderful photos adorn almost every single page. The visual beauty is enhanced by the 40k artwork.

Content: 9/10 There is a ton of content for 40k giving high marks to that. Every major game has at least one solid article.  Assault of Black Reach puts the spotlight on 40k, which is a detriment to some gamers.  Plus, some beloved features are gone and replaced with untested articles.  Only time will tell.

Value: 11/10 Whether you play 40k or think it the bane of existence you have to admit the value of this issue skyrockets above any other issue this entire year.  Here’s why.  It comes with a FREE Assault of Black Reach Space Marines Terminator and Ork Nob.  Sold separately the box of Terminators include 5 models, with bitz to make a sergeant, and costs $50.  The Ork Nob box includes 5 models and costs $45.  Purchasing 5 copies of this issue will get you a complete, basically, Ork Nob and Terminator unit at the cost of $30.  That saves you $65 when compared to the actual boxes.  No you won’t have all the bitz but even spending the cash to get the extra bitz you are still saving over $50 and can sell or trade the actual magazine for other things you need.  GW gave us all a major present this time.

Total: 30/40 A- or 94% for the average of the four categories. The value caused the overall score to skyrocket into the stratosphere.  Don’t let this issue elude your grasp.