Golden Journal:
The New Model
By Mike Bennighof, Ph.D.
June 2018

Publishing a magazine is really hard. Way harder than making books and games, which is pretty hard in its own right. Yet I always wanted Avalanche Press to have a magazine. That was a foolish desire, but over the years we’ve managed to splice together the good parts of publishing a magazine without taking on many of the negatives. We have our web magazine (Daily Content), and for Gold Club members we have the Golden Journal to deliver physical game parts, and we have Gold Club Premium Content to deliver bigger stuff via download. It’s a pretty sweet combination.

We’ve revised the Golden Journal to look more like a real magazine: it has a full-color cover, and sixteen pages of stuff inside, plus some real, silky-smooth die-cut playing pieces and/or a map or other game part.

It’s still free to the Gold Club, but only for a limited time. Then the price goes to $9.99. That encourages early adoption, but makes it possible for new members to get the old issues without our having to handle large orders for only free stuff (when you have to put it in a box, then it’s gotten too large). We won’t reprint them, but we will print plenty of them so no one will miss out.

There are no subscriptions; members do have to pay the shipping cost. The Golden Journal has no schedule: we publish one when I damn well feel like it. It’s not sold in any stores, and we’ve made these changes in part to make the Journal unprofitable for online discount vultures.

It’s still a lightweight little thing. But I think it’s the thing we make here that I enjoy the most, because it’s based solely on my own whim and what I think would be cool. After spending two decades running this firm to feed other peoples’ egos while driving myself into poverty, it’s about damned time I did something to feed my own.

As for the old-style Journals, we’ll bring back a handful of topics that were really popular, like Sherman tanks or maybe Luxembourg. Others (like the Polish fantasy fleet, the Turkish Black Sea Fleet or America’s Depression-fighting battleships) will get folded into upcoming games.

Here’s what we’ve done:

Number 25: Land Battleships
Our first new-model Journal is all about the Soviet T-35 and Fire in the Steppe.

Number 26: Armored Cruisers
And our second has armored cruisers for Great War at Sea: Cruiser Warfare. Some “long” pieces for ships that appear on “small” pieces in the game, a few with adjusted values, and some ships that never existed but should have, because they look really cool.

And here’s what we’re planning to do, all of it subject to change pretty much on a whim.

Number 27: Sherman Tanks
A reprise of the Moon Day Golden Journal, with more text but the same pieces (die-cut and silky-smooth this time). The first version had laser-cut pieces and we had to toss out a huge number of them for poor printing or cutting (curiously, almost none suffered from both). That meant that some who wanted them missed out, so we brought it back.

Number 28: The Kaiser’s High Seas Fleet
Some of the ships from High Seas Fleet and Jutland 1919, modernized for the Imperial German Navy of 1940 (and The Cruel Sea).

Number 29: Serene Empire
Venice as a major power in Soldier Emperor, because reasons.

Number 30: Juan Perón’s Fleet
The Argentine dictator spends some of his massive post-war foreign exchange on his fleet instead of his cronies. This almost really happened.

Number 31: The Boshin War
This is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time: a complete game in the Golden Journal, in this case for the upcoming Ironclads system and based on the 1868-69 Japanese Civil War.

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Mike Bennighof is president of Avalanche Press and holds a doctorate in history from Emory University. A Fulbright Scholar and award-winning journalist, he has published over 100 books, games and articles on historical subjects. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, three children and his dog, Leopold.