Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Review: Ravage 1 (English edition)
There was a bit of a buzz at my FLGS, particularly amongst the french crowd (as in those from France, not the local francophones per se) over the upcoming release of the 1st English edition of Ravage Magazine. This buzz convinced me to pick up a copy and have a leaf through. I wanted to like it, as there,s a distinct lack of magazines that cater to the range of mini games in the fantasy/sci fi bracket, at least magazines that are not tied to one particular company. Not only for the fans, but also to give these companies a published outlet for their own scenarios, backgrounds, etc.
Okay, so on first impressions, this is a nice looking mag. Maybe a bit thin for the $10 Canadian I had to put on the counter, but the but the artwork, design and layouts are top notch. The quantity of games covered, as you can see on the cover above, is also impressive. All the big names are there. Most of which I play, and the others I have an interest in, if ever I have the spare cash and time to pick up another game. So colour me interested.
The Bad and the Ugly.
As I said, I want to have a mag that allows me an insight into the other games, to see what people are saying, and to inform me as to what else I might like, to this end, the first article I read was an introduction to Malifaux's Puppet Wars. A game that I want to know more about. The article was unreadable.
In what I can only assume was a rush to get the magazine out on time, they took a bunch of articles from the original French mag, and translated them. This is not a bad thing in itself, this is after all the English edition of a French magazine, in fact, I would expect them to do this. What I would not expect them to do, however, is to translate them using Google translate, and not even have an anglophone read the article through before printing it. This really is unacceptable.
The worst article for this was the Puppet Wars article, but the others that had been translated. Indeed, I suspect most of them, except for an interview with Raphael Guiton on the new edition of Confrontation fall into this category, and even there, one could say he didn't understand all the questions being asked of him.
But it's not all about the articles, it's about the painting! yes, I agree, there are some wonderful painting and modelling guides in there too. Only 2 of which I had previously seen online, and even here, the written English that accompanies the articles was badly translated. And here, we find the rub. I want this magazine to succeed. I really like the idea of having a magazine that caters to multiple fantasy and sci fi games and settings, with scenarios and the like, the problem is, in its current form, Ravage is not that magazine. For it to be able to survive in this internet age, where people skip from Blogs to forums to seek out painting and modelling 'how-to' articles. Where anyone can post their scenarios and reviews for multiple game systems. For any magazine to survive in this climate, it has to be flawless. Ravage US edition is far from flawless.
Is there anything this magazine can give us that was can't get in a better form from the internet? I hope so, and I for one want it to survive, but this edition had the air of a badly written local gaming fanzine, not a professionally published international magazine.
One last point is the article on Privateer Press's release of Wrath. As reviews go, it was fine, if not again badly edited, but with a cover date of April-May 2012 on the magazine, is it really all that pertinent to have a review of a 'new' book, who's actual release was July 2011?
I give this magazine (or at least this edition of the magazine) 2 stars out of 5. Only because I want it to succeed otherwise I would be tempted to give it 1 star. But for it to succeed in the internet age, it really has to do much better than this.
Putting my money where my mouth is.
"But Derek," I hear you say, "whining on the internet changes nothing!" I agree wholeheartedly with this, and I also believe, if you want to change something, you have to be proactive. So, instead of just leaving this article to float free on the internet to be read by some 20 or so followers, I will be sending an email to the editors, with a link to this post, and a sincere offer of help. If they require someone to read through their articles before print, I am more than happy to offer my services as freelance editor. Heck, I won't even charge them. At first.
I hear that the editorial team was changed for edition 2, and things have improved. I'll wait off sending that email just yet.