Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Ancible Magazine - issue 2

Issue 2 of the Ancible arrived through the Pulp Citizen's letterbox (I am a subscriber now), after a Royal Mail-caused delay. The delay appears solely to lie in the hands of the Royal Mail, so I don't blame the Ancible guys at all for it.

In the previous post I made about the Ancible I commented that it was pleasing to me to see a truly independent tabletop gaming magazine emerge, which is why I have chosen to support the magazine through subscribing and through mentioning it here on the blog. The magazine heralds itself as a "portal to Sci-fi and Fantasy Wargaming", which is something I'll return to when I give my thoughts about issue 2's content.

So my thoughts - overall, both better and worse than the first issue. The cover was an improvement. Both issues featured very well painted models, yet issue two had a better designed cover (issue 1 was simply overwhelmed with blue, which didn't help it stand out). So that was good. Interior page design seems to be improving, another good thing.

On to the articles. I found the Martian Empires and Malifaux reviews to be good, as well as the product review for Filla-Glue. The latter may be a dry subject, but critical review of products is always good. There were two miniatures reviews included, which is of interest to me. My only quibble here is that I would have liked more critical commentary about the sculpting, casting and assembly of the miniatures reviewed, especially the Infinity models which are the more complex of the two ranges discussed. I also enjoyed the Malifaux battle report and the interview with painter Hedley Coppock.

Now on to my dislikes for the issue. The Ancible describes itself as a portal to Sci-fi and Fantasy Wargaming, yet three features (Conan RPG adventure part 1; Space Station Z - a sci-fi RPG; Joel - a prose story) are nothing specifically to do with wargaming. 33% (28 pages) of the content is effectively not what I was buying into. If the magazine was advertised as being RPG/wargaming I'd have no problem with this, however I subscribed to a Sci-fi and Fantasy wargaming magazine so it is not what I want to see included. Add to that an article described as an introduction the Exillis, which was no more than a glorified advert (possibly produced by games manufacturers I suspect), with no critical commentary, then there are a few areas that need to be addressed in my view. I have subscribed, but the next four issues will determine whether that subscription continues.

I want as many people as possible to buy into the Ancible so it can grow and develop into a useful and entertaining wargaming magazine, but in that regard those responsible for the magazine have responsibilities to create a recognisable voice for their publication. I felt issue 2 didn't have that. Nonetheless my support will continue, as it is early in the life of the publication.

As for the forthcoming issue 3, it has an article promised on paper-crafting. I will read that with close interest given my previous post about paper-craft resources.

Cover image copyright © AKR Productions.

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