As the cover shouts out in no particular order they list 101 games that you need to play. I'm not going to comment on the list too much, these sort of things are always contentious, everyone will have some games that they think should be on the list and there will be others on the list that they think shouldn't be.
Each game has a small but reasonable bit written about it, that summarises the game nicely. But I would have liked to know why the game made the list, what made them stand out as a must play.
It's because of this list of 101 games that I feel it's unfair to really judge the magazine as a whole. The list takes up the majority of the first issue, space that I'm hoping in future issues will be taken up by other features and reviews.
I will comment on the features and interviews that the magazine manages to squeeze into its pages.
For me in both the features and interviews way too much space is spent describing the game itself. In the case of the features that is the majority of them. The first looks were more the style of writing that I was expecting in the features. The best example of this is the Guild Ball first look. My ideal feature tells me about the game, the ideas behind it, influences, what makes the game unique. I want a bit of the writers personality to come through.
I grew up reading the video game magazines like Crash! And Zzap64. What I liked about the reviews in these two magazines (both by the same publisher) was that you had little talking heads for each of the reviewers on each review giving their personal view of the game. You got to know what the reviewer liked and didn't. It was then possible to judge a review by the preferences of the reviewer. If that reviewer had similar tastes to yourself and they liked a game, then you knew there was a good chance you too would enjoy it.
I would like to see something like this come through in the reviews for this magazine. It is sadly missing from magazines these days, very few credit who is writing the review. Hopefully when proper reviews start appearing in the magazine they will be in the Crash,/Zzap64 style.
Another thing missing from the magazine were columnists. It would be cool to see regular columns on various aspects of gaming, such as maybe a Netrunner column, or Magic the Gathering. I'd love to see Leigh Alexander write one of these columns. Her writings in Edge were always a joy to read, and her pieces on Shut Up, Sit Down continue to be a joy to read
In this modern digital age with so much content being free and more up to date it has been a rocky time for established magazines. So for a new publication to start up they are facing an up hill struggle in a shrinking market place. However there is hardly any competition for Tabletop Gaming magazine, especially as a general gaming magazine on the newsstand, but it is the online stuff they have to compete against.
Tabletop Gaming needs to offer something that stands out from the online competition, and there are glimpses within the magazine that they are able to do that. It's early days, the first edition so it's hard to be too judgemental. I think a truer indication of the type of magazine this will be will come in the second edition.
For the duration of the show those that purchased the magazine also got three plastic figures for the soon to be released miniatures game Terminator Genisys. I wasn't really impressed with the figures, especially that they required some assembly, and seemed really delicate. These figures were an opportunity to sell me on the upcoming game. They just didn't grab me.
There was a photo of the game in the magazine, that showed the game being played on a war torn landscape with the odd semi destroyed building, very reminiscent of a post apocalyptic future showing the aftermath of the war between man and robots. No boards or game tiles, looking more like something a war gamer would be playing with.
I already have miniature based games like X-Wing, Imperial Assault, Zombicide, and the just added Krosmaster Arena, and they are all pretty heavy on the collectable side. So despite liking the first two Terminator movies a lot (the remaining films were watchable at best) and being predisposed to wanting to play a Terminator themed game, this game is not the game for me.
Tabletop Gaming will be available from a local newsagents/supermarket magazine shelf from the 19th June.