David Bickley's Wargames Blog

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

Monday 1 December 2014

Wargamer 2014

Phil and I went down to Halesowen yesterday to pay a visit to the Wargamer 2014 show, our last event of the year! In previous years the event has been held in Great Barr school's sports hall, and it suffered from those awful yellow lights which really do spoil the visual spectacle of many games on show! This year it had transferred to Leasowes High School, to their Leisure Centre actually. I'm pleased to report that it has white lights, which meant the games and trade stands could be properly appreciated, even by the elderly in attendance!
Wargamer is not a large show. It attracts perhaps 15-20 traders and perhaps 12-15 games in general. It is a local show though, so we feel it has to be supported. The new venue was not difficult to find following the map provided by the organiser and the venue seemed to have ample parking for the numbers it attracts. The admission is £4.00 and £2.00 for concessions, perhaps on the high side for a local show? A matter of an individual's perception I think. As a 'Concession' I don't think I can complain!!!! There is an onsite cafe servicing tea, coffee and bacon sandwiches ~ at least while we were there in the morning! Its a friendly event and there are lots of games on show which you don't see on the wider circuit. The show also has a Bring and Buy, although this year for the first time I did n't snaffle a bargain! {That was from Col Bill's actually this year!}
The programme provided is a little out of the ordinary in that it has no plan of the layout, not a problem on the day as its all in one sports hall and you can just mooch about and find everything! Bit of a problem now though, as I can't label some of the games I took pictures of, not having made any notes on the day either; so apologies to any whose sterling efforts I render anonymous! Some I have no problem with, as I've known the chaps {and chapesses}involved man and boy, but others I don't see on the display circuit elsewhere. I know, I really should have taken notes.... So, the games I did manage to snap on my iPhone's camera in no paricular order ~
First up a 20mm game by my old chum Dave Page from Kinver, assisted by his wife Erica and other folk from their group! Dave's games are always unusual and full of detail. Russians v Hungarians I think?

Next up, Alumwell Wargames Society's Napoleonic game. Still some folk there from my time in the 1970's and early 1980's, although much greyer now I have to say.

For the eagle eyed, a 6mm Franco-Prussian War battle! While its not my scale or period you have to agree it really does look like a battle scene! Guys from Stafford I think putting this game on.

I know this chap! "Hi Jon!"

My personal favourite of the games on show, the siege of Malta. Some really lovely small details caught the eye each time I came back to the game. This game was put on by the Wyrley Retinue. {I wonder if I taught any of these chaps during my stint there?}

The smoke signals really made me smile in this Plains War game. The fire below had a twinkling LED light in it which really set off the vignette! Again, I can't say who put this splendid game together.

A very visually attractive Flames of War game, proof that all those who play the game are not afflicted by the tank park syndrome!

The Battle of Northampton, by the Society of Ancients I think.

Another Napoleonic game set in Russia I think. TSS tiles much in evidence making up the terrain. Still the terrain of choice for many folk I find.

The American Civil War gets a look in here. Basic terrain layout might disappoint the purist, but this is how many folks' games look at the club or in the home and its less daunting for the newcomer to see this than some of the outstandingly sculpted and detailed terrain at the peak of the hobby display circuit! Plus, it was being vigorously played by the folk involved, another plus over some you see!

The Guards Wargames Club's Ardennes 1944 game, one of the few with a display explaining the game for passing geriatric photographers! Well Done Chaps!

The Border Warlords' Ancient set to! Another with a helpful display board! Well done to them too!

Another Ancient game on display by the Cobridge group from Stoke on Trent. A Punic Wars game using Armarti rules I think.  Again, the chaps involved were intent on playing the game and not just looking at it!

There were other games on show, but I think this gives a good flavour of the show's offerings. We stayed about three hours, which should show that there's plenty to see and enough traders for most folk to find something the really do need! Me? I got the 2014 Wargamers' Annual Summer Special and the 2015 Wargamers' Annual from Caliver Books. From Col Bill's I got some nice Victorian madness in the form of Mad Lord Snapchase, on his steam powered penny farthing, his man carrying enough shotguns to put paid to anyone or anything he encounters, together with his mechanical dog! From Black Pyramid Gaming I got a resin water pump and a resin Victorian post box for our Great Detective games. £3.00 each seemed a fair price, as I'd walked a few feet from their stand to Col Bill's and saved £1.50 on the figures I mentioned! "Well Found, Phil!"
Wargamer 2015 is scheduled for December 6th at the same venue. We shall be there again {DV} and hope many more of you will make the trip to support a local event! Hard to say how many were there this year, but I'd guesstimate about 250 myself, so a decent enough crowd!
{As a postscript, I've been out 'enjoying' Christmas Shopping today at an Outlet and amongst all the cut price Designer Clothing and the Christmas avalanche of tatt I got a Diecast Gloucester Gladiator in 1940 camo and markings for Europe. Just right for our Operation Zeelowe/ Blandings/ VBCW games and a steal at £6.00 I think!}


  1. Fair review and jolly nice pics Mr. B, although my only purchase was to replenish my Miliput stock, I had a grand time mooching around for stuff to buy and admiring the delightful games and in some decent light too, pity the same can't be said about a certain more prestigious venue.

    1. You do keep on about the lighting, or lack of it, in a certain large southern show don't you? It really must have put you off!!

  2. Nice report. Unfortunately I couldn't make it to the new venue this year.
    I believe the Malta game was put on by chaps from 'Wyrley Retinue'.


    1. Thanks for the comment Matt! I've changed the entry for the Siege of Malta game now.

  3. Splendid! And look, there I am, mooching around and looking at a book, smack bang in the back of your 'Hi Jon' picture! Nice one! :)

    1. Glad to have caught you in the act! Hope you bought the book! Thanks for bothering to comment, always like to know what visitors think.

  4. Great post Dave, some very nice looking games, I'll add this show to my extensive list of visits next year, so that makes WMMS & now this one.

    All the best


    1. Thanks for the feedback! I shall be missing WMMS myself next year, but hope to be at Wargamer {DV}.

  5. Thank you for your kind comments about our game Mr Bickley. All feedback gratefully received! We may also actually finish the terrain for WMMS. I also believe we need to support such small shows and we will be there again next year if at all possible.
    Gary (Wyrley Retinue)

    1. It was a fine, and unusual, game Gary and, as I said, my favourite. I hope to see you and your chaps at next year's Wargamer too!