1. If you were referring to the dispelling of Dragon and Dungeon, they were not really dispelled so much as their licenses were terminated and brought back under the influence of their owner. Paizo’s print run was brought to an end, but Wizards has the license back. Wizards of the Coast is going to continue on primarily as electronic subscription services BUT they will have print compendiums periodically under the Wizards of the Coast banner.

    If you were talking about another magazine getting dispelled, remind me.

  2. I’ve got to admit, I’m a bit disappointed. While neither Inquest or Scrye are great magazines, they did cover a decent range of the hobby (more so than Dragon, which trounced both in terms of quality). To be honest, all of these announcements are causing me to miss Paizo’s Undefeated quite a bit – covered the breadth of the hobby and did so fairly well. Is there just not a market for hobby gaming magazines?

  3. To be honest, all of these announcements are causing me to miss Paizo’s Undefeated quite a bit – covered the breadth of the hobby and did so fairly well. Is there just not a market for hobby gaming magazines?

    There indeed is not a market for a generalist magazine. The number of true generalist gamers is too few to support one, and even if there were, the current trend with publishers is to concentrate advertising online (for both current fans and gamers who do not know about their product) or toward non-gamers in non-gaming periodicals (such as comic books). This is when the company even has an advertising budget, which is fairly rare these days. Without advertising, magazines die.

    Compare the number of ads in a Dragon magazine from its heyday in the mid-’80s compared to the Paizo era. Compare the number of ads in Scrye or Inquest from the height of Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh compared to today.

    The only magazine that gets decent advertising today is Game Trade Monthly, which is the catalog of the leading game distributor. Not only does it get in the hands of every retailer that uses Alliance, it is also read by thousands of consumers. Plus, the advertising rates half or less that of any other magazine (after all, it is the Alliance catalog… they have to publish it anyway, any ads are gravy). So what few ad dollars remain in the industry are being sucked up by the leading distributor to support their catalog…

    That said, I think a small “garage shop” magazine might be able to make it, if they are able to charge a decent price and get by with black and white interiors. Dragon, Dungeon, and Inquest all suffered from common problems: editor bloat (Paizo had what, 30-some people working on two magazines?), heavy graphic work (always lots of new, expensive one-shot art in every Dragon and Dungeon), and high rents (Seattle and Congers respectively). Scrye and Knucklebones are both based in Iola, Wisconsin (Krause/F+W and Jones Publishing, respectively), and each has an average of one and 3/4 editors and a half a graphic artist. Someone working out of their spare bedroom, like Jolly Blackburn did during the early days of Shadis, might succeed today where others fail… “success” being measured by print runs in the high 100’s, exclusive use of POD, and a positive cash flow through direct-to-consumer subscriptions…

  4. “Is there just not a market for hobby gaming magazines?”

    I asked myself that with the demise of Shadis years ago and I think the answer is that there is a market for them just not enough of one to make it profitable enough to make it a long-term venture especially with the economy as it is. But, then again, a LOT of magazines (not just hobby-oriented ones) are feeling the crunch nowadays.

    I think thats why you’re going to see more and more hobby publications go online. Its cheaper and can afford to cater to more niche markets rather than appeal to a generalist without fear of losing their shirts on it.

  5. I too miss Paizo’s UNDEFEATED very much as well. Is the internet the reason for the death of these fine magazines? If they’d just post the occasional UFO sighting with Michael Jackson aboard and put ’em near the checkout counters at the grocery stores, they’d sell like hot-cakes!

  6. Lee: I’m familiar with what happened to Dragon and Dungeon, as per my story on it back in April, and numerous mentions of the situation in our podcast over the last few months. Occasional print compendiums, while admirable and a great idea to get that soon-to-be-online-only content in front of more eyes, aren’t a newsstand periodical. The fact is that multiple magazines will no longer be showing up on store shelves the way they have for years. That was both the joke and point of my post.

  7. You can’t stop progress. We’re heading toward a paperless society, starting with the small fries (as opposed to big-wigs like COSMOPOLITAN and VOGUE).

  8. Now you’ve got me trying to equate Vogue to the game industry. That uber-magazine would be like publishing a new Ptolus every month, but with 95% of it advertising. 🙂

  9. Sorry, Allan. Chalk me up as a fatigued humorless oaf on the night of the 24th. Apologies for raining on the joke 🙂

    Dispel Magazine is humorous.

    To James, et. al., I haven’t read Polymancer in ages. Any idea of content breadth and readership figures? Aldo Ghiozzi’s house magazine “Game Buyer” goes out primarily to retailers and distributors but also has lower advertising rates. I agree that high advertising rates is a disincentive to advertise in some zines, particularly for indie game companies.

  10. I was browsing game and rpg related sites and came across this one, I started reading and found something I could comment on. Yay!

    I am subscriber to Polymancer Magazine; amongst other mags, and have found it to be the most enjoyable of the ones I read.

    1) – It is in print, not an e-zine which strains my eyes when reading too long.
    2) – It has content, not a pile of ads and advertorials.
    3) – It has content, not like an e-zine which come across as sound bytes of content.
    4) – It is generic, not like most magazines that are house organs that cater to one company’s bottom line and the party line that hypes up inferior games and systems. I like the truth Polymancer brings back to the table and to gaming.
    5) – New refreshing articles, that seem to be written by gamers and GMs, not people who make a career our of writing content for games companies.
    6) – Artwork from gamers for gamers, not art masterpieces.
    7) – A thoroughly good read that I go through in a weekend.

    As to breadth of content, it is generic and covers everything under the sun. No genre or taste seems to be left out in favor of another. You want fantasy it is there, you want science fiction its there, you want minis its there, etc. You get the picture.

    Since I do have a business in computer games (Torrential Games produces in-game animation, advanced dynamic AI, and GUIs) and am always looking for new venues to promote my small business I inquired about ads and readership levels and was pleasantly surprised to find that their ad rates were far lower than any other gaming magazine including the Game Buyer publication; I mean I was offered 12 lug ads for $20, WOW!. My second question after picking myself up off the floor was how many readers would my ad reach since I do watch my pennies … again I was pleased by the response to find over 8000 plus readers. cool!.

    I am so glad I could finally post to a forum with something constructive I could add, thanks.


  11. Paperless, eh? Like the paperless office, perhaps? I’m still waiting for that one. The company I work for just rolled out a new purchasing system in the paperless vein, so that instead of filling out a form and walking it downstairs, I go online and spend 20 minutes punching keys, then fill out that same old form and walk it downstairs, during which time the purchasing people are emailing me to tell me that I need to bring them the form for the order I placed 2 seconds ago. Bah!

    My view, which is very much from the outside of the industry, is that the root of the death of these magazines is the quality creep. Goodbye newsprint, hello gloss, goodbye black and white, hello full color. Hey, wait, where’d all the profit go?!

  12. Pete – Great feedback – I’ll have to check out Polymancer based on your feedback.
    Jim – I’m not sure about this, maybe its an age thing, but the last black & white newsprint I thought was worth some was the old Comic Buyer’s Guide newspaper, but I was also very young and lived in a rural area and any gaming/comic media was welcome.

    Is the problem with electronic forms of gaming media the fact that its just reprinting the same content on screen? Would we have a different opinion if they tried something more interactive? For example – I am an absolute sucker for miniature gaming battle reports. What if these are conveyed in movie form rather than written prose (actual shots of the battlefield, with Monday Night Football style movement indication and voice narration)? Is the problem that the gaming media just isn’t creative enough?

  13. I went and looked at Polymancer… except I can’t find any kind of information anywhere either on their site or on their MySpace page about how to get a subscription!

    I can find a link for a sample issue but not if you want to just forgo that and just go in whole hog.

    Anyone can give me a direct link on where to go to subscribe?

  14. James – I sent an email to the folks at Polymancer Studios explaining the lack of any subscription info on their site. Their web guy emailed me back in 10 minutes saying thanks and he would take care of it.

    I checked back around 11 PM and it was fixed. Thought I should post.


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