MWAN – an appreciation

By Rob Morgan

Thanks to George Arnold’s generosity, I’ve been reading a journal I’d heard of in the past few months, but never seen — the MidWest Wargamers Association Newsletter, known as MWAN. I’d never heard of the association either, but to produce a journal of this size and quality, it must have been something! This isn’t in any sense a review, rather it’s my impression of the publication, which is very, very positive.  I can see why it is, or was, a force in American wargaming, but find it hard to understand why MWAN didn’t seem to cross the Atlantic in any more than an apparent trickle?

Almost 200(!) pages of articles, comment, reviews, and modelling. Sets of rules and a vast selection of adverts for everything under the sun in wargames, many from businesses that came as a surprise to me. A bigger surprise was to find a single issue of anything to do with wargaming which had three articles by Don Featherstone in it! In this case, the articles were also new to me, and dealt with medieval warfare, as usual brilliantly written.

The only issue I’ve now seen, No. 126, dates from Winter 2003, and it reveals a rich seam in wargaming history of which I knew nothing at all, but would very much like to learn more.  Is there an archive? An index? There was only one small disappointment for me, where was naval wargaming to be found?

Thanks, George.

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6 Responses to MWAN – an appreciation

  1. Peter R. Barkworth says:

    Hello Rob

    Go to Wargames Vault. There you can buy e-copies of MWAN for $3 upwards.
    LINK: https://www.wargamevault.com

    They do other magazines too, including some navals too, I think.
    You only need PayPal
    Regards

  2. Rich Barbuto says:

    Rob, Peter, I’m glad you brought up MWAN. I had subscribed for years and even sent in an article or two. Then, I asked Hal Thinglum, editor, if he thought his readers would be interested in a solo column. Hal agreed and I started a column entitled “Going It Alone”. Hal published 19 solo wargaming articles of mine between issue 87 (Jan-Feb 1997) and issue 122 (Mar-Apr 2003). At that time, I was already editing and publishing the North American Edition of Lone Warrior (started Jan-Mar 1995). During that period, MWAN had transitioned from a black and white untrimmed, stapled edition to a quality bound and trimmed edition with excellent color covers. Hal sold it for $7 a copy, a bargain considering the enormous content. He published 6 issues annually. Hal was a wonderful person to deal with and his contribution to the hobby was boundless.

  3. George Arnold says:

    Rob, I’m glad you found that issue of MWAN of interest. As Peter Barkworth mentions, there are lots of old issues available for download at Wargames Vault.

    I discovered MWAN fairly late. Someone at a gaming convention mentioned it to me as the “best bargain in wargaming.” He was right. It was a treasure trove of gaming information.

  4. JAird says:

    MWAN was a wonderful magazine – and I agree with Rich that Hal Thinglum was one of those lesser known forces in the Hobby who really did have a huge impact.

    I think I started with MWAN issue 63, subscribing via Caliver Books if I recall correctly and then maybe direct from Hal later on. I also picked up old copies whenever I came across them. MWAN, alongside Lone Warrior, were my main wargaming magazines for quite a while. Hal’s monthly totals of figures painted regularly listed in the Editorial was always a mixture of amazement and envy!

  5. John Yorio says:

    Hi Rob,
    You may have seen this already when searching for MWAN on wargamevault.com, but for those who have not, you can also include naval (or whatever term you want) as a search term. This returns a list of available issues with naval related articles, at least as revealed by the titles in the table of contents. https://www.wargamevault.com/browse.php?keywords=MWAN++naval It seems to work well enough.

    Given that it was an amateur publication, albeit a great looking one, I’d be surprised if there was a proper index made. Unfortunately that means finding articles about a specific topic that isn’t included explicitly in the article titles becomes nearly impossible.

    The tables of contents are probably all we have to go by and without the physical issues, we are limited to the product listings on wargamevault.com or the occasional eBay seller who takes the time to type out the contents for their product listing. If someone has compiled these into a single document, they’ve done a good job of hiding it from search engines or I am not using the correct terms to find it.

    I imagine such a document could be built from the wargamevault product listings as a starting point, but those tables are incomplete. They include entries such as “(Some content has been removed by the author’s request.)” in place of an article’s title, so it becomes anybody’s guess which article that was without a copy of the print edition in hand, which is a shame, understandable though it may be.

  6. JohnY says:

    For anyone interested in print copies, I just saw this over on The Miniatures Page. I haven’t contacted the seller to see if they are still available: http://theminiaturespage.com/market/msg.mv?id=104769

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