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White Dwarf is a magazine published by British games manufacturer Games Workshop (GW). Initially dedicated to a variety of role-playing games, the magazine is now dedicated exclusively to the miniature war-games produced by Games Workshop, mainly the core systems of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Warhammer 40,000 and The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.
History[edit | edit source]
First published in 1977 and focused on war-gaming and role-playing, it received a strong boost when the first editions of the RPG Dungeons & Dragons, published in the UK by Games Workshop, referred to White Dwarf on its back page. This allowed people who had bought this game to order the magazine directly from Games Workshop, establishing its circulation.
The magazine was hugely influential in the 1980s when it helped to popularise RPGs, including those American RPGs for which Games Workshop had the UK licence. In addition to this a generation of writers passed through its offices and onto other RPG projects in the next decade, such as Phil Masters and Marcus L. Rowland.
The magazine changed over the years, making a move from being a general magazine on all aspects of role-playing, tabletop and board games to one that focussed almost exclusively on Games Workshop's own products and publications - the changeover being obvious by issue 100. In this respect it took over some of the aspects of the Citadel Journal, an intermittent publication that supported the Warhammer Fantasy Battle game. The magazine has always been a means for GW to publish new rules and ideas for their games as well as a means to showcase developments. It often includes articles on rules updates, scenarios, campaigns, hobby news, photos of recently released miniatures and tips on building terrain and constructing or converting miniatures.
Today the magazine focuses exclusively on miniature wargames and thoroughly covers the models, miniatures and hobby stuff created by Games Workshop and White Dwarf has carried the tagline "Games Workshop's monthly gaming supplement & Citadel miniatures catalogue" for a long period.
"Grombrindal the White Dwarf" is also a special character for the Dwarf army, whose rules are published only in certain issues of White Dwarf (being revamped for the most recent edition of the rules). It is never stated who exactly the White Dwarf is, but it is implied that he is the spirit of Snorri Whitebeard, the last king of the Dwarfs to receive respect from an Elf. The image of the White Dwarf has graced the covers of many issues of the magazine, and is regularly featured in the interior artwork as well. The image was also used on the character sheet for the Dwarf character in Hero Quest.
Fighting Fantasy[edit | edit source]
In its early years, White Dwarf published some Fighting Fantasy related content. Most notably:
- Beyond the Shadow of a Dream, a module for Fighting Fantasy - The Introductory Role-Playing Game in White Dwarf 61 (Jan 1985)
- The Dark Usurper, a single player mini-adventure published in three parts in White Dwarf 61, 62 and 63 (Jan, Feb and March 1985)
- Fighting Fantasy reviews:
- 36: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain
- 42: The Citadel of Chaos
- 42: The Forest of Doom
- 49: Starship Traveller
- 49: City of Thieves
- 50: The Shamutanti Hills
- 53: Deathtrap Dungeon
- 53: Island of the Lizard King
- 54: Kharé - Cityport of Traps
- 66: House of Hell
- 66: Talisman of Death
- 83: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain boardgame
- 84: Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World
White Dwarf Today[edit | edit source]
In December 2004, White Dwarf published its 300th issue in the United Kingdom and North America. Each issue contained many special "freebies" as well as articles on the history of the magazine and the founding of Games Workshop.
The magazine's content is divided between the three core games (Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Warhammer 40,000 and The Lord of the Rings SBG), with roughly equal amounts of page space devoted to each.
Older issues of the magazine (in the 80s) included features such as the satirical comic strip Thrud the Barbarian and David Langford's "Critical Mass" book review column, as well as the more rough and informal editorial style.
The monthly battle reports have arguably been White Dwarf's most popular feature for many years, as acknowledged during various White Dwarf editorials. Battle reports used to be blow-by-blow accounts of a battle between two or more forces, usually with their own specific victory conditions. The reports followed the gamers through their army selection, tactics and deployment, through the battle to their respective conclusions. The format has gone through several changes in recent years - ranging from a simplified, generalized style in the 2006-7 editions, to a return to a more detailed and visual style in October 2007.
Since the extremely popular Battle Games in Middle Earth magazine finished its series, two members of its team (Mark Latham and Glenn More) have joined the White Dwarf team; Mark Latham later became the editor of White Dwarf in July 2007. It was hoped that White Dwarf's future articles would be improved to the Battle Games in Middle-earth standard, as the then moderator of the Games Workshop official forum, Steve Hammatt, said: "Hopefully this will mean good things for future LOTR content in White Dwarf." 
On the 26th of May 2007 White Dwarf celebrated its 30th birthday with celebrations in Games Workshops around the world.
Spin-Offs[edit | edit source]
There is also a biweekly online supplemental free e-zine Black Gobbo that is produced by Games Workshop's US studio. It includes two regular columns, "Rules of Engagement" and "Ask the Scenery Guy," to help answer gamers' questions. Similar to its printed counterpart, it is devoted to the games and hobbies created by GW. Just like its printed counterpart, Black Gobbo also has its own character, published on the web with its own article, rules, and modelling tips. The name is a pun. Gobbo stands for Goblin, which is hated by the Dwarfs. Dwarfs are, likewise, hated by Goblins. Black is also the opposite of white, hence Black Gobbo is the exact opposite of White Dwarf; one being free, electronic, short, weekly, black and a Goblin while the other one cost something, printed, comparatively long, monthly, white, and a Dwarf.
In the late 1980s, mail-order subscriber copies of White Dwarf also received a small companion magazine Black Sun, written, illustrated and produced by Tim Pollard (with occasional contributions from other GW authors such as Andy Chambers). It contained very informal 'inside' information from the Citadel Mail Order Department, news, game reviews, articles and competitions as well as a short lived cartoon serial. Some new rules for then current GW products also debuted in 'Black Sun'.
UK White Dwarf Editors[edit | edit source]
- Ian Livingstone: Issues 1 (June/July 1977) - 74 (February 1986)
- Ian Marsh: Issues 75 (March 1986) - 77 (May 1986)
- Paul Cockburn: Issues 78 (June 1986; contents page erroneously headed "April 1986") - 83 (November 1986)
- Mike Brunton: Issues 84 (December 1986) - 93 (September 1987)
- Sean Masterson: Issues 94 (October 1987) - 107 (November 1988)
- Phil Gallagher: Issues 109 (January 1989; there is no Editor credited in issue 108) - 116 (August 1989)
- Simon Forrest: Issues 117 (September 1989) - 139 (July 1991)
- Robin Dews: Issues 140 (August 1991) - 189 (September 1995); third longest-serving Editor
- Jake Thornton: Issues 190 (October 1995) - 214 ("Orktober": October 1997); the card section in the magazine comes and goes
- Paul Sawyer: Issues 215 (December 1997) - 301 (January 2005); occasionally called "Fat Bloke"
- Guy Haley (UK Editor from issues 302 to 310, International Editor to 331): Issues 302 (February 2005) - 330 (June 2007)
- Owen Rees (UK Editor): Issue 311 (November 2005) - 333 (September 2007)
- Mark Latham: Issues 331 (July 2007) - 365 (May 2010)
- Andrew Kenrick: Issues 366 (June 2010) - present
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Haley, Guy (December 2004). "The History of White Dwarf". White Dwarf (300): 6-11. Games Workshop.
- firstname.lastname@example.org. A Brief History of White Dwarf. Retrieved on 2007-03-31.
See Also[edit | edit source]
- ウォーロック Chronicle
- Fighting Fantasy: The Newsletter
- Fighting Fantazine
- Games Workshop
- Kaland Játék Kockázat
- La Saltarelle
- The Salamonis Gazette
- The Warlock Returns
External Links[edit | edit source]
- UK White Dwarf official website
- White Dwarf Database — searchable official UK index of all articles after #100
- Neokaw: White Dwarf Article Index Database — searchable US index covering #317-254 (excluding Golden Demon & Lord of the Rings)
- Critical Hit: White Dwarf Index — searchable UK index #100-288 (April 1988 to December 2003)
- The Improved and Expanded Exodite's White Dwarf and Fanatic Press Index — searchable and browsable (by game), covers #1-322 (mixture of UK and US editions)
- Index to White Dwarf — browsable index by topic, covers #1-237
References[edit | edit source]
- UK White Dwarf Issue 331
- Post from Games Workshop forum