Many magazines have tried in the past to make an impact in the gaming market for many many years. Most of them have perished either for lack of readership (though I doubt that very much) or lack of revenue (getting hotter!) or simply because the owner wanted to make sure they had complete control over the contents and wanted to go fully digital (no prizes for guessing here!).
That has left the market for those of us who like to read on paper as well as on screen very starved!
Enter Kobold Quarterly. And what an entrance it is!
I was desperate to like this magazine and I was hoping it would be good, but I really didn’t expect the high level of production and the fantastic content that populates it.
Physically, the magazine is nearly as good as you could want from any publication. It is perfect bound rather than a staple and the covers are printed on thick paper with vivid and sharp artwork and advertising. The paper inside is durable and of very good quality with sharp typo and a three columns format that makes articles easy to read and offers the publisher a great deal of scope for artwork insertion. Half of the magazine is published in colour and the last few pages at the back in black and white. Although this is not ideal, it does mean the production costs of the magazine come down significantly, which helps ensure it will continue to be published. They also have the design expertise to make sure the monochrome pages start at the same time as an article.
Something that I really loved was to see the selection of quirky adverts for small shops and unusual products, that otherwise are never seen, or require a lot of effort to find online. It did very much reminded me of the old Dragon and Dungeon magazines and it immediately made me bond with Kobold Quarterly. Although the design of the advertising is most of the times amateurish at best, it does have certain charm that makes it very endearing. Also, the fact that small, independent retailers and manufacturers have an affordable way to reach the readers is fantastic news in a gaming industry where only the strongest or the best survive.
Kobold Quarterly describes itself as “The Switzerland of the Edition Wars”, and they do a great job at that, being neutral. Although most of the content is D20 orientated, they also feature general gaming articles, book reviews and contributions from the readers. To give you an idea of the quality of the writing, one of the contributors is Monte Cook. You can hardly come any better recommended.
Articles on new creatures, adventures for various games, review of books and novels, interviews, rules question and answers… all written and edited to great standards. An absolute joy!
Kobold Quarterly is not easy to obtain in the UK, which is a shame because makes subscribing more expensive that it would be otherwise. Although it can be purchased from various retailers and online shops, the posting costs add to the price even more, which is a bummer.
Don’t get me wrong.. the magazine is not perfect. Being a quarterly magazine, I would love to see more reviews and more interviews with gaming people. Also articles on games history would be amazing to have. However, this would bring the magazine from a 9 to a perfect 10. Yep, the magazine is that good as it is!
Get out there and get the magazine. Even with the extra posting costs, it’s still a great addition to any gamers’ reading material.