Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: Ravage 4 (English Edition)

I have taken the time to read through this, the 4th edition of the English language edition of Ravage magazine. After I had given the 1st issue what can only be described as a lambasting, I thought it only just that I give this issue a once over, to see if, as I had been told, the issues had been fixed.

I have only recently got my hands on issue 4, as there have been distribution problems that have not allowed my FLGS to get issues 2, 3 or 5 in stock as yet. This in itself seems to be a strike against Ravage, as to make it with a paper magazine in this day and age, you really need to get it out on the shelves. However, since this may be a local issue, I'll leave it out of my consideration. So, with that aside, on with the meat of the review.

The production values for this magazine are top notch. The glossy look is great to show the wealth of images the pages contain to their best advantage.

Game Articles.

The first and largest article is an 8 page reworking of a review of the new edition of GW's 40K, I say reworking, as this is obviously a translation of an article written for the original French language version. The translation is superior to that by google translate in the 1st magazine, it has obviously been done by a human, but it has not been edited by a fluent English speaker, as there are quite a few slips where the writing doesn't flow well in English, and indeed some parts that just don't make sense.  As to the rest of the article, it give a thorough overview of the new edition, and how it varies from older editions, going into detail where needed. The only thing I would say, is that it is written for 40K players, it's not for those who are new to the system as throughout, there is an assumption that you know more about 40K and its universe than may be the case (I for one have never played it, but I know fine I am in the minority).

The attention given to the new release, Zombicide runs to 6 pages,containing 4 articles (one of which is a scenario) great introduction to the game, and of course, since Ravage is being published by Cool mini or not, who also edit and make the English version of the game, they are going to use the space to launch their products.

There's a nice overview of the Zombies! box game, which goes well with the theme of the mag (pushing Zombiecide), but again, it suffers in the translation/editing, as does the article on Dust Warfare, which is an otherwise good introduction to this game, and comparison to Dust Tactics.
I'll skip the rest, for fear of sounding like a broken record, but the wealth of games covered by the mag should be congratulated, as there are few magazines who cover this range of fantasy/non-historical games, be they board games or tabletop miniatures games.

Hobby articles.

These were fun, if a little wacky. The first is a Space Wolves, carry case. This was a diorama for 4 minis, that was made to be carried , and the minis taken out for use. However, this 'carry case' consisted of a cake box with 2 bloody great logs in it! For 4 minis in what is likely to be a rather much larger army? Really? I don't think it's all that practical. 9 out of 10 for imagination, 2 out of 10 for practicality. A nice diorama, but in no way portable.

The second was a painting guide, for a Nurgle axe. Nice, but as I noted in my previous review, better suited to a web environment. It seemed a little rushed on 1 page.

Overall, I wish Ravage well, but it's still coming up rather short of my expectations. It looks good, but the quality of the writing  is lacking. There are some fine bloggers out there who write better, and should be prodded to submit some articles for the mag. (In fact I think I should suggest that to some of them). The editing for the articles that were taken from the original French language magazine is also non existent. The translation is much improved (in that it is now done by a person, and not a machine), but it still needs to be given the once over by someone who's first language is English. I may be being harsh, and some may not even notice, but these are obvious to me, and may be accentuated by the fact I live in bilingual Montreal, where I face English and French daily, but if these guys want to make it in North America, they need to tighten up the ship.

There is definitely a niche to be filled by the range of games this magazine covers, as there is no other paper magazine out there right now, who is not house owned (although CMoN seems to be becoming a distribution house with their own agenda, if not focused solely on their own products), or focused on historical gaming, so please guys, take heed.

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