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.
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''.