(I also have a few more classic White Dwarf issues. Plus I want to review a couple of the new weekly ones. And my very first issue I ever bought.)
In between the 17th issue and this one, the final issue a BAD THING happened.
Warhammer 40,000 Third Edition.
Like Epic 40,000 before it, this ruleset involved Andy Chambers simplifying everything, making your old rules and armies completely irrelevant, and removing Squats entirely, only to replace them with the largely disliked Dark Eldar faction.
This changeover also involved my local 40K group effectively all quitting over the space of 2-3 months.
I was one of the few players who actually was ok with Third Edition, though the store owner basically told me I wasn't ALLOWED to tell the group if I disliked it.
Not surprisingly this store ceased to exist within a year, exacerbated by his employee who may or may not have killed their expansion store via using tax money for a vacation instead.
(Given the owner came back with a new store about 7 years later and taxes yet AGAIN took him out I no longer know what to believe there.)
This employee basically started using GW style rules and marketing for play at the store while in the Second edition era we pretty much played how we wanted, with house rules, campaigns, and massive team games.
(The latter actually had one guy hate my guts passive/agressively feeling as if I was some ringmaster preventing him from playing the one on one shorter games he only had time for. In spite of the majority of us always wanting to play big team games, with a ton of nerd talk and the like. I guess that time on my birthday when I splurged for pizza and breadsticks for everyone gaming meant I was really Super Space Hitler. Oh wait. I NEVER KNEW HE HAD AN ISSUE AND HE NEVER EVEN TALKED TO ME ABOUT IT. I found out from someone he did tell. Even though I tried to make sure everyone got games in every week.)
One week I decided to not show up and sleep as this was frustrating me. Everyone else quickly quit after this week as the employee started saying how much better it was that I wasn't there.
He got fired shortly thereafter, but the damage he and Third Edition did to the community was well done.
(The fact a LOT of people from this timeframe are still happy to see me when we run into one another, and in some cases ask me to play or just what's up. So maybe I was not a douche so much? Hell, the weekly Second edition games was a really important thing to help me deal with my mother passing away a few months before we started playing 40K there.)
The only upside about Third was so many players sold off their miniatures cheaply, which netted me quite a few goodies.
Anyhow, let us get on to the magazine.
It is still Four Dollars. Printed in May 1999, with Third Edition having come out in October 1998. So roughly six months.
(We all know the deal. Click for larger images.)
This issue is 28 pages including covers and ads. The majority of the issue is for the Third Edition playtest rules, with only slightly less for the Second Edition articles.
Opening Shots is mostly mentioning the release of Third edition, and talk about how plenty of people were still playing Second. In my region? NO, NO THEY WERE NOT.
Any mention of future issues was a laugh as this was the final issue. Meaning any of us who subscribed to the magazine got burned.
There are playtest rules for both Superheavy and Titan units. Being Third edition tanks were VERY easy to kill over later editions, especially the current one with its' added Hull Point system.
For the era the rules seemed.. OK. About a year or so later some of these models would be redone by Games Workshop's Forge World division, costing 2-3 times as much.
Initially, the books were inexpensive softbacks. Later on GW would turn them into a bunch of very expensive hardback books that would be far less useful as anything other than a coffee table book, and a number of units would eventually even get more "official" rules to be used in normal pickup games. (Originally the main 40K ruleset got the Apocalypse coffee table book for silly big games where such machines would be, later on selected units would become part of the regular game with Escalation. Also a second Apocalypse rulebook for the 6th edition era.)
Here is the Imperial Armor softback version of Superheavy rules. An odd year between when Inquisitor had it's rules and when Forge World was up and running. Given the age of Third edition I don't want to confuse myself with the massive changes so if you wish, just click the images to see what they did different.
I have looked at the current Escalation points for the Baneblade. It has now shrunk to 525 points plus a few tiny point upgrade items. Now we have the stupidly powerful D weapons which go beyond even the AP 0 or other kludges these older rules had.
Without getting too deep, pages 5-11 are all Third edition rules and vehicle stats. Given how different Sixth edition's vehicle rules are compared to back then, the few units from that day that still haven't had GW or Forge World redo them would still really not be that useful outside of giving one a ROUGH idea of how you could possibly remake and transplant them.
(And given Sixth edition being replaced next month already it could be even more complicated even if it is more or less supposed to be a cleaned up version of Sixth with some tweaks!)
Also at this point most armies did not even have codexes so Inquisitor was really just guessing. Look at the images above and compare yourself!
We get a conversion/creation points guide for making your own Second edition units which I suppose has some utility even now. Actually for those of us nutters who prefer the older days this article is very helpful! It is just not helpful ENOUGH overall. Needed info for vehicles, wargear, weaponry, and maybe even creating entirely new army lists really.
Then is the other BIG article this issue. Codex Harlequin! These 12 pages give Harlequins their own full Second edition list. It is kind of nifty but honestly? Mostly useless outside of bringing a handful of Rogue Trader Harlequin players into Second edition. Seven months into Third. Yeah.
Harlequin Psyker powers are sometimes useful, sometimes junk. Much like their vehicle choices which seem more like Ork Looted Vehicles than what an elite group like Harlequins would use.
Also Harlequin Psykers don't get to really choose a power. They get what they draw first off. And most of the above kind of.. stink.
We get most of a page covering Q&A from previous issues but not really referring to what question is for what thing from what issue which could lead to some confusion if you didn't have the last few years of issues.
We end the era of Inquisitor with the Second edition Datafax for the Eldar Knight, which would now be known as the Wraithknight. As of this writing, only 115 US Dollars for a plastic model kit costing treble the price yet a third the quality of a Gundam Master Grade model kit.
The Knight seems decent though. So the current Eldar players with their small army of Wraithlords can now bring big robot cheese to 2nd ed games!
A tiny Hot Lead section just covers plastic minis in the starter set Sci Fi games of the day. A subscription section that probably screwed a few dozen people over (including me if I am remembering correctly), and that is it.
The back page is an ad for the miniatures gaming disaster of Clan War and Inquisitor is done!
This issue wasn't too hot. For a current 40K player it isn't really useful at all outside as a bit of historical interest. For 2nd ed folks it mostly is only useful to Eldar players with Wraithknights, and Rogue Trader fans who want to bring their Harlequin lists over to Second even though they probably stuck with Rogue Trader anyhow.
It is just an.. OK issue. It is full of melancholy for the changeover.
Given the age and multiple ruleset changes (albeit not to the level that 2nd to 3rd was mind you...) it just doesn't have a lot of utility. If for some odd reason you play Third or "Three Point Five" edition still (why would you?) this issue has a LOT of use and would get a GOOD rating.
For the rest of us? Its just... Ok. An end of an era. Not awful, but a step backwards.
Much like Third edition itself.