Over the last few weeks, I've been working my way through my many war games magazines,basically looking for further inspiration,and one of my favourite reads are accounts of all the shows over the many years I have been gaming.
This got me thinking about the present.
Personally I think shows,certainly in the North of England are becoming scarce, the next one for me is Triples in May. So that will be two since the new year. After that it will be Durham and then Newcastle,finishing in December at Middlesbrough. Five in total. There was a time when I would have attended probably a couple more.
Being a man,I then began to list my all time favorite shows.
- Coming in at number 5 was Salute in the late 1990's.
- Number 4 was Claymore when it was based at Adam House.
- Number 3 was a Durham show which must have been in the early 1980's staged at the University. [Thats if my memory is right]
- Number 2 was the Napoleonic Fair in 2000.
- Number 1 was any Northern Militaire.
So what was it about those shows that stuck in my memory.
Firstly the games,some were average,most however had something to take from them. Either the terrain,the way they were presented or the figures. But all had something to offer any gamer.
The Napoleonic Fair had two giants of the historical world,Christopher Duffy and Colonel Elting. Both men were entertaining,informative and great at keeping a persons interest.
Salute,Northern Militaire and Claymore had great painting competitions,and a real buzz about them.
While the show at Durham had a bit of everything.
All naturally had trade stands,but the key for me,was the games,painting and personalities.
What do war gamers get now for their money.
Rarely a painting competition,apart from Salute.
Never any presentations from war game's personalities [define]
So that leaves the games and more importantly the traders.
Without the traders,there probably wouldn't be a war game's show, as most people attend now to look and buy.Hence the shows emptying by 2.30pm.
I saw, I bought, I dicked off.
The logical next step would be to do away with the games and just hold a trade fair.
Maximum profit for the show host,and more traders per square foot.
God help us if that were to happen. Because after that you might as well stick to the internet to buy figures and do away with any type of show.
I think Partizan when it first kicked off had a good idea,invite some good games,photograph them and put them in the war games magazine. What better way to encourage gamers to try harder.
That incentive seems to have gone by the wayside,so how do we re invigorate the shows.
For me it has to be encouraging competition between people putting on good games,with some sort of award. A painting competition again with an award. Decent cheap parking,and food,and perhaps a couple of people prepared to discuss and present something relevant to war gamers,ie rule ideas,painting techniques or whatever. As for traders, go for diverse quality,and help them by keeping the stall price fairly low to encourage them to travel farther.