David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Safely Back from 'The South'!

I am safely back from 'The South' and am none the worse for it! Phil, Di, Sue and I have been down to Reading over the weekend: the ladies for a shopping fest and us chaps to take in the Warfare show. It must be four or five years since Phil and I have been down for the show, which once used to be a regular on our calendar. We had a good time I think, though our plans for today's trip home were somewhat  scuppered by the tail end of Storm Angus ~ bl**dy Jocks even stealing our storms now! To be serious though for a moment, I enjoyed my day at the show. I met some good chums, who I'd not seen for a time, chatted with some new folk about their games, saw several fine games too (pictures in a minute, patience please) and, naturally spent some money on toys and sundry bits and bobs! But the real highlight was chatting with Martin and Diane from Warbases and seeing my Roman Villa prototype in the round, and watching others' reactions to the pieces. I'm really looking forward to the first one wending it's way to me in December, I have great plans for it too! Now, to the games! I should say there were others there which I didn't photograph; not because they were necessarily poorer than the ones I chose, but rather that they were in periods or scales which didn't push my buttons as a wargamer. So, here we go! First up a couple of games from the Wars of the French Revolution period: Napoleon in Egypt and the French in Fishguard ~
Napoleon in Egypt 28mm by Steve Deeprose and chum
























Napoleon in Egypt 28mm by Steve Deeprose and chum


















Napoleon in Egypt 28mm by Steve Deeprose and chum


















Napoleon in Egypt 28mm by Steve Deeprose and chum


















The French invade Wales by Tring Wargames Club
















The French invade Wales by Tring Wargames Club
















The French invade Wales by Tring Wargames Club






















Next up, a 28mm Ancient game with lots going on to catch the eye but no attribution I can be certain of, sorry~






















































Now, forward in time to WWII ~
Americans in Normandy? By Huntington & District Wargames Society?
























Americans in Normandy? By Huntington & District Wargames Society?



















The Ardennes by Earlswood Wargames Club


















The Ardennes by Earlswood Wargames Club

















Now, I'll apologise again to any gamers whose noses are out out of joint because I haven't featured their games. My selection is arbitrary and purely personal, based on my interests and what I think makes a good wargames show game. The next chap along might well have totally different views and produce a different selection. One man's meat, etc...
Some other observations based on the visit after a four or five year hiatus: I've gone right off Bring and Buys, too much overpriced tatt for my tastes; shows of this size are all a bit samey, for me the standout ones have the standout games; some traders are as old, or older, than me ~ that's a worry for the future of our hobby; shows need some extra sitting space, some of us are not as young as we once were!
Frankly, there are just too many shows of the same ilk, showing the same things, far to often, taking too little notice of anything beyond the bottom line. If this sounds harsh, well, I've been a show organiser myself in the past (WMMS 1970's - 1980's) and we always strove for standout games. If it didn't measure up you weren't invited back. We wanted the show to grow for both the punters' and the traders' good.
Games presented by a couple of chaps who really want to play are counter productive, you need someone to talk to visitors about your game and its unique qualities. If, like Phil and I were before age forced our retirement from Display gaming, you are only a couple of chaps then you need to sacrifice playing for chatting to the visitors, perhaps incorporating a bit of programmed movement and activity (Dave O'Brien and Barry Hilton of the League of Augsburg are very good at this.)
Finally, 'Competition Games', what is the point? A bit like synchronised swimming if you ask me! That leads me to my final observation, what is the rationale behind a two day show? We were there on the Sunday and it was very quiet at times. Think of the traders's expenses needlessly wracked up just so some chaps can roll dice and push little men about for two days. If I were a trader I definitely would n't bother with the expense of the second day ~ think of Triples' fate...
Now, in case you think I have become a curmudgeon over the weekend, I did enjoy my visit to the show. But, it has a definite 1980's air about it: the dated sports hall venue; the poor car parking facilities; the overpriced and limited catering facilities; the general lack of care and tidyness in that area. Something else which strikes me now: the very amateur, locked in time nature of the look of many of the trade stands. The C21st has not reached some areas of our hobby yet.
For us its about as much travel time to Warfare as it is to the Partizan shows; which would  I choose if I had to? A no brainer for me, the new venue Partizan every time ~ modern venue, ample free parking, light and air, seating, only the catering letting the site down! Would I go to Warfare again? Well, yes, but not every year I think.
Finally, my loot ~














Definitely not the last of the big spenders am I? Pulp Figures' Drawing Room Detectives; Perry Miniatures French Napoleonic Staff set from Colonel Bill's; F&IW British and French Regular Infantry from Redoubt; Gamers' Grass tufts from Great Escape Games; much MDF from the kings of MDF, Warbases! Now, back to painting my French Light Infantry to complete the Light Demi-Brigade of 1793-95 in Flanders...

15 comments:

  1. Good post, particularly agree about some extra seating at shows for those of us who just need a breather (bad back) before moving on. How you would stop super fit 21 year olds hogging the seats while they check their latest facebook / texts etc, I am not sure, but as time marches on, it will become an increasing issue for a wider proportion of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for endorsing my views Norm, seating is now high on my agenda at shows too - hips boogared!

      Delete
  2. Doesn't sound like a bad trip.....but too far for me. I think from what everybody says Partizan is a must next year 😀

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Look forward to seeing you at Partizan Matt!

      Delete
  3. Very nice especially the Roman/Barbarian and Ardennes table!

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Roman v Celt game was my favourite on reflection Chris.

      Delete
  4. It would be hard to argue against your description of the shows, I will make an effort for one or two a year.

    I have looked for a Roman villa for at least a couple of years now, but as Dux Brit has died a death here I cannot countenance it, yet :) But those prototypes are lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We used to do 20 or so a year back in the day. Managed 7 so far this year, with Wargamer to come.

      Delete
  5. I agree with many of your points especially the standout games. I was talking to my brother about this the other day. Of the many shows we’ve attended the only ones we really remembered are the ones we were invited to play a game or where the players/displayers had broken away to engage with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sensed that many gamers might agree on most points Matt, especially those of us who have been around once or twice.

      Delete
  6. Many a valid observation there old chap, and there I was thinking the days of the bugger off and let us get on with the game "demo" was gone, some folk never learn it appears. OK it's not always possible to engage with everyone, but if this is the case surely an hand out or the very least a board saying what it is, rules, figures used etcetera isn't much to ask for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear you endorse my views Phil! Of course, I agree with you on displays, handouts and the like.

      Delete
  7. An excellent report, David. I've only been to Warfare once, many years ago - I didn't quite get the competition game element either!

    Best wishes

    Giles

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very little to disagree with there - in fact I had much the same things to say as well - Warfare is becoming a bit "groundhog day" - I can remember it years ago when the likes of John Tuckey used to put on stupendous demo's...

      Delete
    2. Thank you both Giles and Steve. It seems we agree on most things re Warfare and shows in general.

      Delete