If you can’t play games, then the next best thing is to read about games! How else do we know what to spend our hard earned cash on.
There’s no shortage of web sites and blogs dedicated to reviewing games (this very one!). And of course there’s no shortage of opinion on the internet. You can get comment from professional level reviewers and journalists, and regular amateur gamers. And if you want to know what’s in the box and maybe a run through of how the game plays, then there’s YouTube.
I’m old enough to remember the days before the internet. When your news was at least a day old from newspapers, and magazines were published monthly, not hourly on a web page. As a teenager, poring over a magazine or a catalog was one of my favourite pastimes, early issues of White Dwarf when they covered all manner of gaming springs to mind.
It was therefore refreshing to see a real, tactile, paper magazine dedicated to tabletop gaming launch in the UK around 18 months ago. As it’s also available digitally, that means it has a global reach too.
Originally the magazine was published every 3 months, but as of earlier this year, is now available every 2 months. I started buying from issue 3 and now have a subscription to the printed copy, so look forward to it landing on my doormat every 60 days.
So what does the magazine cover?
All manner of tabletop games. Board games from all categories – strategy, family, children’s, co-operative, Euro, traditional and party. Card games, collectible and living. Role playing games. And even miniature games.
Basically there’s something for everyone.
Along with reviewing and previewing upcoming games, there are interviews, articles on the games industry, coverage of gaming conventions and events, details of gaming groups and venues. There are even battle reports and miniature painting sections. And not just us our standard wargaming painting, but how about painting the models that may come in your latest board game?
One thing I partiullarly like about the magazine is the amount of reading in it. There’s very little advertising. A couple of pages for games companies, then some pages covering gaming stores. Yes, there’s photo’s as well, but they don’t take away from the sheer volume of writing. All 130 pages of it.
The quality of the magazine is high. Paper, image and text quality is all very good. Easily read and clear. The layout, in particular the reviews, is clear, with every review including a strap line covering the number of players, play time, recommended price, type of game, age range, company website, and in most cases, a list of the contents of the box.
Reviews appear fair and balanced. Each game review also comes with a small box-out saying “if you like X, try this game” to give you more suggestions for similar games, and there’s a handy conclusion paragraph at the end of each review.
Although I do enjoy doing a bit of research online before parting with a chunk of change on a new game, I also enjoying reading offline, so Tabletop Gaming Magazine has become an additional guide for me. It’s pointed me to games I would never have heard of, and also triggered other internet searches based on reviews and similar games.
So if you’re looking for some inspiration for your next game purchase, then Tabletop Gaming Magazine comes recommended.