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Thursday, 26 April 2012

War game Shows,what do we want.

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.

 The photographs are from our Mollwitz game staged at Durham Wargames group many moons ago.

8 comments:

  1. Robbie you are in a terrible symbiotic relationship with the 70s and 80s . Its the 21st century man stuff has changed. As a trader I used to do over 20 shows a year- maximum was 26 . Not now most of them were a bit of a waste of time after the first 3 or 4 years. Claymore at Adam house was a nightmare to get yoyur gear in - best Claymores were at Medowbank- easy access nice load/unload lots of space no clustrophobia. There is of course a new 2 day show in the North you haven't mentioned Wartorn in Scarborough- 2nd year this year and a lot bigger than last year. Some good big games - Gettysburg and Marston moor promised amongst others plus a bundle of competitions and currently 30 traders including me.
    Northern Mil died not with a bang but a wimper and the North west hasn't been able to support a large event since.
    Shows just are not as important to many people as they used to be so only the larger or better publicised survive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Mate,
      your probably right, I do remember the end of Northern Militaire it was pretty sad. Im just kicking over a few ideas,because I think shows need to get better.Anyway good to hear from you.

      Delete
  2. I'd agree with that- the problem is how better. Attendence at show is- at least for some on a downer though other have wethered the storm well. They can also be exspensive both for the trader and the Punter- Salute was £11.00 to get in this year- thats more than my maximum UK postage. Triples is on the verge since it moved and while I like Partizan it does have a bit of a rep for having some snobby buggers turning outand the perrysucking is nauseating

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  3. Now Andy,
    I thought Perrysucking had been outlawed years ago,along with being politically incorrect.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Political incoorectness is a form of resistance as a fully paid up memebr of said resistance you well know

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Durham shows organised by Derek Sharman must have started early to mid 70s, I think. There certainly were a couple at least in the Town Hall before they moved to the Students' Union. I remember Eric Clarke BA 10s and a FPW set up using converted Airfix WW1 Germans an Foreign Legion. No internet, few photographs, and only mail order as a way of buying - you could never be sure anything would turn up - those were the days of allow 28 days for delivery - ie don't even ask for a month and a half. So the shows were important for seeing things in the metal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Derek, helped me start in wargaming when I used to go to his shop.Unfortunately he was truely a enthusiatic wargamer,but a pretty poor businessman. I did like his ancient rules though.I was also very envious of his massive ancient Persian army,especially his Immortals cast by Garrison.

      Delete
  6. Certainly the emergence of better and better online photographs has made making purchases easier.

    What the 'shows' do is permit game manufacturers, hobbyists and game players to all network and connect in a way that is otherwise difficult.

    I have found that the putting on of the games is vital to the survival of the events here on the West Coast of North America. While certainly different than the shows in the UK the need for exposure and ability to connect with a new young audience is not any different.

    I agree with your view that MORE games that can be participated in are the key to opening the connections between these groups.

    Ultimately there may still be those that show up only to see the latest metal, buy some or trade and leave ... only by having something to take part in will they have any desire to stick around.

    My view.

    ReplyDelete

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

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