Like lots of gamers I'm a regular reader of the monthly magazines...particularly the 'big 3' : Miniature Wargames, Wargames Illustrated and Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. In fact I've been a pretty consistent reader of MW since I picked up issue #1 in Mr Rutherford's Newsagents opposite my High School sometime in the early 1980s (I'm guessing at the year but I left school in '83 so it must have been before then). Same with WI which I'm guessing was still in the 80s but a bit later...86/87?
I first came across WSS in a newsagents in Ewell while waiting on my son who was at a drama group...this was actually a good excuse on a Saturday for my wife and I to go for an all-day breakfast and spend and hour or 2 in the cafe reading the paper/magazine and chilling out. This was when it was a translated Spanish magazine with occasional odd mistranslations.
In the last year I've taken out subscriptions to MW and WI in an effort to save money. MW were offering a good deal for the first few issues of the subscription which of course quickly reverts to near full price. I decided to embrace the modern age and try a digital subscription to WI and read it on the Kindle and/or iPad. But in the last week I've cancelled subscriptions to both. I've recently found both magazines have very little that I actually want to read.
I know there was a lot of grumbling when MW recently changed hands and introduced an SF/F section in the middle...I actually quite like this although a lot of it is either reviews (which can be ok) or interviews, often about games in which I have little interest. The rest of the magazine seems very sparse or repetitive: another feature on a club night at the Little Snivelling games club or somewhere (all of which sound very similar), one of the never-ending articles on building a terrain feature from coffee stirrers and PVA etc. I'm sure these are very useful to some people but they leave me cold and they are in every issues. More recently they've added a club listing over several pages which again doesn't change from issue to issue...something that could have gone on a website perhaps? There are occasional good articles, especially the ones by Conrad Kinch, but otherwise it's all a bit 'meh' (as the young people probably don't say anymore)
My experiment with WI and the Kindle wasn't a success...I think this is largely down to my reading style of randomly flicking through magazines in a very haphazard manner which doesn't really suite the kindle. I also often read them in the bath which really doesn't suit the Kindle (I'll leave you to get that thought out of your head...). I find WI suffers a bit from the same kind of issues as MW although it's more variable and probably has more on balance that I find interesting.
WSS is probably the best of the bunch with a pretty high strike rate of interesting articles and good columnists (or at least ones that make me think, even if I don't agree with them). The only jarring note recently has been the series of articles by Henry Hyde who I normally like reading...these seem an odd, entry-level series of articles (how to use infantry etc)...I would guess most readers aren't going to gain a lot from these.
So I've now cancelled my subscriptions and will do what I suspect lots of readers do...check out the issues in WH Smiths and either buy a copy if it interests me (or just read it in the shop!) or leave it on the shelf. Annoyingly the one that is hardest to track down locally is WSS without making a trip to our local High Street, which I usually try and avoid if I can.