OnLine of Departure

Anyone publishing a magazine is presented with an interesting dilemma: how do you use the Web? One can simply put the entire print issue up on a web site, rationalizing that it is in a form different enough so that it does not compete with the hard copy version. Others, like The Game Report Online, do this, but wait for a year or so before posting. Some publications, such as Pyramid, appear online only and are available by subscription. Another model is using the Web to advertise the product. Some periodicals offer only parts of an issue, hoping to entice readers with their samples. Finally, the web site can be used to complement the print edition. James Werbaneth’s OnLine of Departure follows this path.

Werbaneth designed Inchon and Britain Stands Alone, developed games for Spearhead Games, and has written extensively on wargaming and military history. He may be best known for his Firepower series in the General. He also publishes Line of Departure, a board and computer wargaming review and analysis publication. LOD features game reviews which usually have more depth and context than normal in the genre. It also provides industry news, scenarios, variants, and strategy articles. In print since 1991, LOD is available from Werbaneth for $20 for four issues (POBox 508, Gibsonia, PA 15044).

OnLine of Departure supplements his print offerings. There is a comprehensive article index, the current issue’s editorial, a subscription form and information, and the obligatory links. He also includes errata for games he has designed and developed. Finally, Werbaneth uses the site to expand his computer coverage. While LOD does review computer games, it is difficult to offer scenarios for them in a paper format. Hence, he publishes scenarios for computer simulations in downloadable form on the web site, after discussing them in the magazine. Right now, there are scenarios for the Wargame Construction Set II: Tanks, Age of Sail, Steel Panthers, Harpoon Classic, and Harpoon Classic 97. Since his interests range over most periods and forms of wargaming, it is safe to guess that more will follow. Recently, Werbaneth has opened a second site at The Gamers Net offering military history articles, computer scenarios, and player's aids. Overall, Werbaneth has found a good way to publicize his interesting publication, and to give added value to his subscribers.

Peter L. de Rosa

Note: The original version of this review appeared in Strategist 29 (October 1998):10. The Strategist is the newsletter of the Strategy Gaming Society.




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