I've been a subscriber to various magazines and journals over the years though, ironically enough, never Dragon or Dungeon. I still bought them and I mainly collected them in the late 80's through till the early 90's but I tended to buy them right off the rack. I enjoyed them for the most part and they hold some great articles that keep a dedicated gamer coming back to them years later. Up to a few years ago, most of my magazine subscriptions were dedicated to computers and video gaming. However, when I rekindled my interests in Dungeons & Dragons back in 2000 with 3rd Edition, I still didn't bother with the mags. Part of it was a cost issue I suppose... part of it was content. The content didn't seem to match the joy and mystery I had when reading through an older copy of Dragon or Dungeon.
Crusader Magazine changed this trend for the most part. At first I grabbed a couple of back-issues when I first got into Castles & Crusades about 4 years ago. I had picked up issues 2, 3, and 4. The first issue was no longer available. It was with these 3 issues that I decided to keep following the magazine. This was an easy task since TLG was anything but regular with the release of these magazines. It practically became an embarassment (or maybe a running joke) when a 6-issue subscription seemed to span a couple of years. The subscribers mostly didn't seem to mind because the content (despite being a short read) was good. You could also tell that they were still trying to work things out with the magazine and, while issue 4 is one of my favorites in terms of content and theme, it was also the most cheaply produced. The quality of covers and paper used differed was so much inferior to the issues 2 and 3.
Over the course of a couple of years, TLG went to great strides and effort to bring a better focus to the magazine and 2009 was the best year for the magazine. They had brought in Jim Ward as managing editor and had increased the page count. The price for the magazine remained immensely affordable too. More importantly, they got two-thirds of the magazines out (8 as opposed to 12). While that may not sound too good, this was stellar compared to previous years.
Some of the fans weren't simply idling awaiting for the next issue either. The Castles & Crusades Society had also been putting out a free e-zine of material. Deadlines and release schedules were no better but it was free and it was a very small group of people doing all the work on their spare time.
Things have begun to slip again though. The last issue of Crusader (number 22) was received by suscribers in early January and the previous issue was the October issue (received well after the month). As for the Domesday, it seems to be on hold. TLG has brought the Society closer to the fold and the idea was to release a final issue of the Domesday and then move on to a much shorter monthly newsletter format. Due to various challenges, the last issue of Domesday which should have been released back in October has yet to be released and there has been no start to the newsletter.
Instead, TLG has an email newsletter it now sends out to those who sign up for it and the 2nd one was sent out just a few days ago. March is just around the corner and there is no sign of the next issue of the Crusader though TLG does have a few products recently released and a few others that are just about to come out.
As for the Domesday / Newsletter ... I'm wondering if the "Troll's Tusk" (the title of TLG's newsletter) is in response to the inactivity from the Society on this front or simply coincidental. In any case, it doesn't look good for the Domesday and future periodicals from the Society. I doubt that TLG will be succeeding at releasing the Crusader on a monthly schedule anytime soon too. In terms of the Crusader, I suppose economics and resources are largely the issue here.
More later today...