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Monday, 12 May 2014

It is what it is!

 There has been quite a blogging lull since my attendence at Salute 2014. I must admit that I was quite unwell at the show which did spoil things for me. Upon my return things didnt really get much better and now that I have been able to get to hospital and see a cardiologist things seem no better but I suppose much clearer.
 Basically I am getting a bit old and careworn, and in the words of the specialist, ''it is what it is''
 So now I am on copious amounts of medication, awaiting a letter to go into hospital. Apart from realising that I am very mortal I have had to cancel my holiday to New York which was next week. I really enjoy going to that city and that has been a real blow. Still things could be much worse.
 Being tired and ill doesnt help the wargaming mojo too much, but I have attempted to continue with my painting, reading and general thinking. Painting wise I have managed to paint various things, including these RSM Hanoverian dragoons. This unit has been sat partly painted in a box for some two years.I just couldnt find the will to paint them, but anyway I finally cracked them off. Not my best but they are okay. The command figure was an old Jackdaw one that I had sat unloved, and the building in the background has been sat gathering dust for nearly three years. Nostalga rules ok.

One thing that I have given much thought to in an attempt not to feel sorry for myself is the question of wargame shows. Barry Hilton wrote a good article about this recently and put into words some of the things I have tried to articulate upon. I really think we as wargamers should give a serious thought to the format of wargame shows. What exactly are we trying to achieve at them? I dont think we can pretend that they are to capture a new audience of willing young wargamers. I know that some fathers are able to drag along their off spring, but the early wargames shows that were packed with interested on lookers are well past, now the shows are attended in the main by dyed in the wool gamers looking for a new metal fix, before dashing home to do their chores. Lets be right most shows empty out by 2.00pm. leaving the odd wargamer, scratching round for something to buy. Even Salute is really a giant version of every show in the UK.
Now before anyone who actually reads this post thinks I have sank into a pool of despondancy caused by me not feeling too well, that isnt the case honest. I must admit I am really looking forward to Triples this weekend, and that will be a very typical wargames show. Some very nice games, and a lot of trade.
But what will hold the customers at the show after that?
 I have given some thought to this and I know Ive mentioned this before, but wargames shows need to progress into something extra.
Firstly the games that are there need to inspirational and provide something for the customers [ the wargamer] I think there should be prizes for the games, I know its an old idea, but competition is a great way to lift the games. The kudos of having your game photographed at Partizan was always a great incentive, so something similar could work.
Secondly the trade is very important, but needs to provide choice for as many gamers as possible. I know that sounds bleeding obvious, but not everyone paints 28mm, or Flames of war. The trade naturally need to be encouraged if possible by lower costs. But what about adopting an American idea and closing down the trade stands for say an hour or so during the wargames show, they could be compensated by paying lower costs for their trade stand. The break may encourage wargamers to stay around for longer and make the show into an event.
 In that lull, would be a good time to have other events, ie guest speakers, presenting new rules, military history or even how to paint, anything really that can capture the attention of wargamers and break the cycle of the format of current shows.
 I am still a great believer in painting competitions and hold true to the view that this encourages wargamers to attempt to attain greater painting standards.
 Location to me is important.The lighting at Smoggycon and Salute was dire, not good for the greying wargaming customers. I suppose we could all walk around with led lights attached to our heads.
 Also a setting that gives the show some extra interest seems a great way to sell the hobby. Fiasco was good at the Armouries, the Napoleonic Fair at Chelsea was good, personally I have been scoping the DLI military museum at Durham, and think this has potential, because it alright chinging away about wargames shows but its maybe time to stand up and do something, especially as ''it is what it is''.
 

 

13 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about your unwellness Robbie and I certainly agree about shows - fewer, lasting longer, and with more "Convention-like " content would make them events to cherish.

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    1. Afternoon Chris,
      Its finding the right mix I think. Some presentations by knowledgeable persons can be great. I was lucky enough years ago to listen to a lecture by Christopher Duffy, the time flew. Our American cousins do things pretty well, but Im certain we could do things better.

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  2. Please accept my best wishes for a complete recovery with a minimum of discomfort. As you say "It is what it is." but there is no reason not to enjoy every moment of it as fully as possible. Take your meds and follow the doctors' directions but never, ever feel so abashed that you don't ask questions relating to your personal care.
    All the best and thanks for sharing your thoughts on shows in the UK.
    Jerry
    A/K/A The Celtic Curmudgeon
    "Grumpy is good."

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    1. Ive noticed that when I am confronted by doctors that I start talking even more bollocks than usual. For some reason I want to attempt some misplaced humour that doesnt work really and I also seem to forget what they have told me.
      But thanks anyway.
      Robbie.

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  3. I wish you better health soon.Jerry has good advice indeed.I too enjoyed your thoughts re Shows.

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  4. Robbie,
    I think we all get those 'I'm mortal' moments. I collapsed week after Salute! I think it's important what we do from that point in time, the old adage identify, adapt and overcome applies to this situation.
    You and I are in a good place in that we receive a good pension and you really do have to ask what is important?
    On to shows - I was at the Falkirk show and that stayed healthy for much later, good games, good selection of trade.
    One point I think you omitted to mention was that a lot of games in the American conventions are participation, a lot more work on the organiser but a great incentive for people to stay once they've spent up!
    The old Warcon days of weekends with films, lectures etc bring back many fond memories. But I think another important thing is the number of shows we have over here are a lot, some are little better than club open days and should be advertised as such but the end game is we are a little spoilt and without some other incentive we can pick and chose when and where we go.
    There is an opportunity to do something different but as with the quality of the mags etc we have allowed ourselves to be driven down a particular route, it's a pity.
    As an aside what size bases do you use and have you joined AMG yet?
    Take care and I will see you at Triples

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    1. Afternoon Graham,
      Re the pension, you stuck in at school more than I did and hence you enjoy better fruits.I nearly came to Falkirk, but ended up asleep on the couch. That is on my list of shows to do.Your right about us being spoiled, but it seems a fair amount of shows have not progressed past the early 1970's.
      My bases by the way are 50mm square and are made from a heavy duty plastic. Alan at Games of War in Seaham makes them for me, they are very good.
      See you this weekend,.
      Robbie.

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  5. Robbie- Keep you pecker up mate !.Look after yourself . Frankly I wish I had time to be ill .
    Whilst I agreree with most of your pronouncements as a Trader I have a somewhat differeing view- We take A LOT of gear to shows- around a Tonne of metal usually in 4 or 5 different scales from 10mm to 40mm and we sell all types and periods- I have to leave about half of our ranges at home for any given show . As for numbers of shows I now don't care as those I don't go to no longer exist for me and they were the crappy ones or I'd be going to them ....
    Also the world has changed- have you caught up ? Photogrphy especially I've taken enough photos that have appeared in mags to work out that anyone can do it if they take care- so no more Kudos
    I also agree with Grahna - not just about Falkirk but certain others too- Claymore for one and Salute and- up to a point the Newarks but you are right about show owners having to do more. This is just starting to happen (or perhaps re-happen)- See the War Torn event in Scarborough- late night gaming and exhibitions this year with Films and lectures planned for succeding years.
    I'm not sure that closing the traders out for a while changes anything as often its about show layout- traders and games are mostly mixed in over here- not as oftenv so in the USA the Trader Hall is often a separate item or at least one with fewer games in iti - something that War Torn is trying out .
    As for show costs - you sdhould try hiring venues- it will make your eyes water and traders have a choice if you can't stand the heat etc etc . I've heard enough whiney mean minded traders in my time to make me Hurl and these days there are lots of outfits who never darken a shows door so its always a choice. Over the years I've cut the number of shows I do down from a Max of 26 - before the Internet to 8 or so its all I need- I also count some of them as "Advertising" rather than merely "Takkin Brass"
    As for show game Graham has a point there is no such thing as a demo game in the USA but games and numbers of players are described in the show programme- and the is often a "games registration desk " where you book your place for a game.

    Shows do OK sure there are things to tinker with but then aren't there always
    See you at Triples

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    1. Afternoon Andy,
      I always thoughtyou should lash out and buy a wagon with a lift on the back.
      Ive been toying with a few ideas about show venues, and youre right hall hire is bad, and unless you have the readies or sponsorship things are difficult. What shows need is a reason for punters to stay longer, and go away wanting to return. Its a difficult thing to answer.A few years ago John and I were sat outside at the Durham show and ended up talking to a couple ofwargamers about wargaming generally. It was a really pleasant way to spend an hour with people we didnt know
      now if that could be replicated to a hall full of wargamers then we might be getting somewhere. I have been looking at Wartorn, and your friend is really trying to give wargaming a shot in the arm, I wish him well, now what about a show at the DLI, or one of the castles dotted around the North East, perhaps with camping included.
      See you this weekend.
      Robbie.

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  6. Sorry to hear your not feeling to well I do hope you are able to get things sorted in the near future . Cheers Tony (p.s. I'm having problems with blogger and the solution seems to be to start afresh - my new blog is - http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.co.uk/ If you would like to 'refollow' me click on this link , Tony)

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    1. Afternoon Tony,
      Its daft really, but Ive been more worried about where my figures and books would end up. I think its time I catalogued things with instructions attached, otherwise I can see stuff ending up in the tip.
      Thanks Robbie.

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    2. Rob, you have many more years in you yet! And as for your books and figures, they'd never get anywhere near the tip! I have started doing am inventory of my painted figures and, while depressing is the wrong word, it's kinda scary when you start putting a value, however modest, on everything! Oh, and retirement is great even if it is due to ill health like me and maybe you, but think of all the extra painting time and weekday wargaming. You'll ask yourself how you ever had time for a job!!!!! See you in Sheffield.

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My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating