At loose ends one lunch time in the city I wondered into a newsagent's that I hadn't been inside before to scan their 'hobby' section of magazines. Imagine my surprise when I found a copy of 'Strategy and Tactics' for sale! I haven't seen this magazine for decades (!) and, when I last did, it always seemed to be more S&M than gaming fun, what with its concentration on the design, backstory and rules of the hardcore game which was contained in every bimonthly addition. Never-the-less, and realising that I've allegedly 'grown up' a bit in the intervening years, I purchased it. It was edition #270 from Sept/Oct this year, featuring analysis of the American Revolution and the game of that name.
I must say, I was a little disappointed. Firstly, no game. I know, I knew that before I purchased it, but it was still disappointing. And secondly, I felt the articles were less 'meaty' than my memory was telling me the old ones used to be. Larger font, more pictures, dumber diagrams, more filler, less content. Still a good read, but ... well ... disappointing.
It can't have been too bad, however, because when the next edition came in the following week, I bought that too (this one, looking at the Second Battle of Kharkov)! Edition #272 is going to be about the Battle of Lepanto (might give it a miss) but the following one will feature a game called 'Reischwer'. Which, of course, I am already excited about. I might even order the game itself...
Imagine my further surprise this morning when I'm visiting Miltary Hobbies for my bi-annual visit and, while I'm there, the storekeeper pulls out some newly arrived bundles totaling about a hundred copies of old S&T's and plonks them on the counter to show an old customer of his. Unable to help myself, I mosey on over and browse through. These were all old editions, complete with game maps and pieces (still unpressed). Gold!
Restraining myself, I ended up choosing #120 from July 1988 (the 'Nicaragua!' edition, the whole magazine being dedicated to the game, analysis and design notes for the game and background articles examining later 20th century Latin American revolutions) and #156 from December 1992 (concentrating on the Russo-Polish War of 1920 and 'White Eagle Eastward', the included game). At $10 each I considered them a bargain, and nearly got another but had blown my budget rather badly already. Might need to make a return visit!
I'll have a closer look at my purchases and report back here as to whether the inclusion of the games was as wonderful an idea as I thought at the time, and whether the content of the magazines themselves was indeed more substantial than the modern day equivalents.
9 hours ago