Monday, March 11, 2013
Review: Gygax Magazine #1
Gygax Magazine #1
I ordered Gygax Magazine the day it came out. It took a few weeks to arrive - hopefully a problem experienced by few others. So forgive the lateness of this commentary.
I have to say, I have mixed feelings about this magazine.
On the upside it's attractive, it's well put together, and it looks exactly like Dragon used to look. It's got both new Order of the Stick comics and new What's New? The articles were all pretty fun to read, even if every single one was for game systems I don't play anymore, or never played. It's fun looking at ads for stuff that is actually available, not long gone decades ago. And the broad scope of the discussion means it's not just a bunch of new stuff for one version of D&D I've never played.
On the downside, there isn't a whole there for my $8.95. A lot of the articles, well, a majority it feels like, bank more on nostalgia and vague suggestions ("Try mixing fantasy and sci-fi!" "Try making magic different!" "Remember the old days? I do!"). Others coast on some light analysis I find all over the OSR community.
Honestly, as I read, I was thinking, "This should have been a blog post." If I'm going to pay money for a print magazine, I'd like it to be more meaty. Sure, these articles might have flown in the old days, but in the old days we had Dragon and Space Gamer and a few other magazines - in my parts White Dwarf was a legend, not a potential purchase. Now we have the internet, and I can find more blog posts and articles and campaign writeups and ideas than I'd have time to digest. All for free or nearly so.
For money, on a physical product, I feel like I need to get more use out of it. As it stands, only a few articles are really "pick this up and use this!" and a lot are not.
I think the magazine is a good idea. It gives new authors and established authors a chance to put out materials to the world of gamers without having to rely purely on word of mouth and website hits to get it out. And they accept submissions, although right now the page doesn't say how much they pay.
It's also, again, very attractive and I really enjoyed reading it.
But this issue feels heavy on nostalgia and light on gaming materials, and it's not a cheap hit of nostalgia, either. I find myself wanting to give it one more try mostly on the strength of its great cover art, it's resemblance to Dragon, and OOTS and WN? I haven't decided yet, I might have to wait and see. If it gets meatier, I might keep getting some issues. If not, well, it was nice to get reminded of how exciting a new issue of Dragon in the mail used to be.