I've read about the Art of War on various blogs, and even had a quick look at Stu's copy. This and the relatively low cover price helped me make up my mind: I needed a copy. Fortunatley my Birthday was coming up so I told my wife about it and where she could pick up copy.
Now that I've had time to digest the contents I've come to a few conclusions. All of the reviews I've read had only good things to say about it, and whilst I agree with what they say, there are a few points worth bringing up (imho).
Let me first say however, that it is a great piece of gamer porn, with some great tutorials that make it something that anyone new to Flames of War should own. Even myself with some painting experience under my belt found it useful. It's a testament to Battlefront's commitment to the gaming community that they would put out something of this standard at such an affordable price.
And yes, it makes me proud that Battlefront is a kiwi company.
So now on to the criticisms, which could make me unpopular!
The use of metallic inks might make the publication look more polished, but they don't help showcase the models being pictured. It's a distraction. I'm guessing most people want to see the models, not the shiny background colour of the page, with this in mind, all the models should be on a white, or very light coloured background.
When it comes to seeing the models, I also want to see them close up. Whilst the size of some of Tom Wise's armies are impressive, photographing whole collections doesn't allow us to see any detail. These large pictures might be fine for Tom's ego, but I'd rather see some close up pictures alongside so I can see the detail and maybe learn something from his style. I'm a visual guy. I'll see something and then wonder how the guy did it, maybe figure out a way to do it myself.
So other that those minor grumbles, I'm very happy with my copy of The Art of War.
Battlefront have announced that they are going to be doing another Art of War, this time exclusively focusing on German armies, which leads one to the assumption that they will also do American, British and Russian focussed editions in the future. Which is an interesting move. For myself, I'm never going to have an American or Russian army, so those editions would be of no interest to me. I've finished my German army and am now working on my British Airborne, so the German issue will be of little interest to me. Which got me thinking...
What would encourage me to purchase The Art of War 2: The German Army?
A painting challenge. Just a small one. A very model specific one. What would make the next Art of War a must buy is to have it come with an exclusive, Hero command team and small base. The challenge would be to see who could do the best painting and original basing for this exclusive team, with photos of the best one appearing in the next issue.
It could either be a German themed team, or a team from the same nationality to be featured in the following Art of War edition.
Of course, Battlefront wouldn't be making any money, but it would certainly cement their status as one of the best gaming companies in the world :o)