State of the Watch: 2014-2015

IW_Mast_300dpi_blueIn light of Mantic’s new announcement of Hobby Time, I’d like to outline some thoughts on Ironwatch, both our evolution over time as well as our plans moving forward as a hobby magazine.

Looking Behind…

The Ironwatch fan magazine was spun off of a handful of dedicated Mantic fans, and has rapidly blossomed to be a consistently jam-packed magazine that regularly gets thousands of viewers a month. We’ve had just a staggering amount of support from all you fans out there, and without your reams of stories, battle reports, rule supplements, and pictures, what we’ve accomplished thus far wouldn’t have been possible.

Thank you.

You’ve helped us create a strong backbone for the magazine, and your continued support has meant the world to all of us contributors. This publication relies on you, the viewers, and your aid has ensured that the magazine has thrived.

Looking Forward…

That said, the Ironwatch magazine still has a lot of potential it can fulfill. We fully believe it can be a leading example of what a free gaming magazine can be, but will need elbow grease in order to get there.

To that effect, we’re going to begin announcing these States of the Watch as a sort of yearly update, both a reflection on the past year and goals, as well as setting new goals for the future. Symbolic of these changes is the new bannerhead for the name Ironwatch, as seen above, but that is just the first of many changes to come.

We are shooting to accomplish the following goals by the time of our three-year anniversary, Issue 36 in August 2015:

Improved Internal Layout

Currently, the Ironwatch is created in Microsoft Publisher 2007, which while robust, is still a limited environment to create as large of a publication as a magazine in. To that end, we will be pushing to change the drafting of the magazine into a more advanced program, likely either Adobe InDesign or Scribus. This will allow us to create much more detailed and engaging layouts than the two-column static format we currently have. Furthermore, this should aid us greatly in…

Releasing the Ironwatch Annuals

While we had previously attempted to create an Annual for the first year of the Ironwatch, unfortunately MS Publisher doesn’t not have a native function to allow doing this, and other methods were infeasible or limited by the horsepower of our computers in importing and combining the files. However, with the upgrade of one of our computers, we should be able to combine the Publisher files in order to release the first three years of Ironwatch Annuals, and the shift to a better drafting program will enable easier combining for future Annuals as well.

Repairing the Lulu Print-on-Demand Options

A few months back, we made the switch away from The Book Patch over to Lulu for our hard-copy offerings for the book. This both slightly reduced the cost for ordering a book, but more importantly led to significant price reductions for international shipping. Despite our optimism, though, Lulu proceeded to throw errors when attempting to print due to embedded hyperlinks, and so we are going to comb through all of our offered Lulu copies and ensure that they can print without errors.

Branded Merchandise

We’ve had numerous amazing logos and designs submitted for t-shirts, mugs, and such, but have stalled in getting them available to you, the consumer. Well, wait no longer: We will be opening a Zazzle store (Or something similar if Zazzle doesn’t work for our purposes) with all kinds of fun stuff, and as with our hard-copy printing, we will be offering it to you at as close to at-cost as the store will physically let us.

So, these are our immediate short-term goals for improving the Ironwatch magazine. Be sure to let us know in the comments what you think, and if you have any suggested goals you would like to see us accomplish. You can also email us your suggestions and comments at

Thanks for reading, and if you’re a newcomer to the magazine, welcome to the Watch!



5 thoughts on “State of the Watch: 2014-2015

  1. I cannot recommend Scribus enough, not only is it totally free I’m yet to find something it cannot do that publisher can, also for image editing I recommend gimp a free version of photo shop. With the free ware on the market now days I feel most publishing production requirements can be handled without the use very expensive software as long as time is taken to learn how to use what is available fully.

    • I’d tinkered around with it shortly after publishing the first couple issues, but got waylaid with events at work and home and never dove very deep into it. However, unless InDesign drops by a few hundred in price, I think Scribus will be what we will be using from here on out.

      • If there is an school teacher in your group, they can get InDesign at huge discount. And ID has Photoshop image editing in the program. I haven’t tried Scribus and have heard Gimp is okay AND free. I tried MS Publisher back in early 2000 but it couldn’t do what I was used to using in PageMaker. I use ID exclusively for all of my personal and commercial publishing projects. Looking forward to the future of IW!

      • Well, I work at a University so I’ll look into seeing if I can get a discounted copy that way! I think we’re looking at getting an older copy of Adobe Suite, from before they went to the cloud subscription model; It won’t be quite as new, but it should easily cover all of our needs in terms of the Ironwatch. I’ve tried using Gimp in the past, but for whatever reason the user interface and format was completely alien to me compared to Photoshop and other programs I’ve used, but I may see about giving it another go. Thanks for the feedback!

  2. Pingback: State of the Watch: 2015-2016 | Ironwatch Magazine

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