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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

In Answer to Staying Alive, PART TWO.

I have had to split my post into two, to comment on Barry Hilton's latest article. Barry goes onto the thorny question of shows. Now again I've prattled on about this before, and I agree with Barry in the main.
 He touches on Salute calling it a one day frenzy, which it is. The problem is where it is held, London.
Now I wont dwell on my views that London is not England, but it is a very expensive place to hold an event, hence Salute being one day.
 But really Salute should be a full weekend end affair, Friday to Sunday evening. I defy anyone to appreciate what is actually going on at Salute in the time they have there, its just too much.
 Its easy for me to suggest a weekender sat up in the North East, but gents it perhaps time to rethink the show. It cannot get any bigger and remain a one day affair.
 The answer is move. I know the club is a London club, but perhaps considering a move into the outskirts of London may bring down the overheads and also allow you to get cheap rates on hotels around a new venue.
 Are there too many shows? Probably, will this change? Not anytime soon.
 Ideally five or six large shows throughout Great Britain over at least two days would work, but there would be problems. The small one man traders would or could be frozen out by bigger traders, the people organising the events could be a bunch of knackers and mess up the event, the shows could just turn into bigger versions of the shows they are meant to replace.
I have bored on before about, the need for wargames shows to have more than just trade and the odd game. So what would make the event a better prospect?
 Again everyone has a different idea about what makes a good show. For me, its good quality games that inspire. Its a decent spread of trade. Its having easy access, good cheap parking, and decent reasonable priced food. But also its the opportunity to just sit and talk to other wargamers from around the country.
 I sometimes think I behave like the nutter on the bus, I will talk to anyone, and usually do. But what could be better than talking about the hobby you love. So ideally there needs to be time to do this, which in my view means staying overnight in the venue or near the venue.
 Therefore cheap lodging would be a must.
 Some guest speakers would be a real treat, and I dont mean just wargamers, although that would be good.
 What about historical fictional  authors such as  Bernard Cornwell. Probably not cheap, but it would be worth a go. Remember next year is Waterloo year, what better than have Cornwell deliver a talk about his book.
 Then there would be a need for competition, and again not just tournaments. A decent painting competition, a judging of the best games, and why not an award for the most affable/professional trader [ now theres a one to conjure with]
 As regards Barry's views about manufacturers Im not certain what he sees can be done. Every trader and figure maker is looking for the next fad, period etc. If one appears to be selling it is logical that other firms will attempt to tap into the success, that is life.
 In wargaming the trend for wargamers to finance their own small ranges seems a great thing. If bigger companies want to replicate the trend and produce a bigger version of a range, what is the harm.
 How many figure companies have made their version of the French Imperial Guard Grenadier?
 and still wargamers buy them. So for me I dont see a problem there.
 As regards personal hygiene, well unfortunately that is not only a problem with wargamers, although there does seem to be quite a group of wargamers who really need to take a bath.
 Usually it seems to be men of a certain girth, style of dress and frankly look. In some ways I pity them, I always have a mental image of them returning to their homes after a show, and their mother waiting to make their teas and ask them if they had met any nice girls at the toy fair
[ as if that is ever  going to happen smelling like a pair of used underpants and pushing toys around a table]
 Anyway, as for the verbal violence, I think I have only had one or two experiences of this type of gamer, and even they were pretty ineffectual, anyway sensible argument and debate is a good thing.
 So here endeth the lesson, not that I think I have taught anyone anything, well apart from, 'SOAP is CHEAP......    


 

   

8 comments:

  1. Like so many things today Salute works because it is in London. The NFL recognise the value of an internationally recognised city and are now able to host three international regular season games there this year. This would not have been possible if they had played in Sheffield, Manchester or Newcastle. Equally I doubt whether Salute would be quite the same if it moved out of the city.
    There are few two day shows currently precisely because there are so many one days options. If you go to Sheffield Triples on the Sunday it is a much quieter day than Saturday (and you risk traders selling out which means that the good ones offer to send you the items in the post which is of course extra cost for them). I don't see the desire for a Historicon like show over here but then again I may be completely wrong.

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    1. Evening Paul,
      Good to hear from you.
      Youre probably right about Salute, but the show is just so big, its impossible to enjoy the day as you struggle to take everything in.
      I think my solution to this is to try a show in America and see what can be taken from the experience.
      Thanks Robbie.

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  2. OK shows here we go again as I'm in the front line here. Salute as a 2 dayer- no chance it would double my costs to over 2 grand before I've shifted a soldier and most of those travelling from Europe would go home on the Sunday as they do now as they have to work for a living.
    Hotels - depends where you want to stay and at what level I can and do face hotel bills of over 500 for a weekend - but that is my choice as I WILL NOT share a room . If you are preopared to go down market you can get rooms for aroud the 30 quid per man mark - hardly bank - breaking.
    Guest Speakers- OK nice idea- how much do you think Cornwell would want to turn up - A grand plus expences or thereabouts?
    Lesser mortals might do a freebie for X's only "Hobby based personalities" might do it for love and ego- expansion- plus X's but weho'd turn up to hear them
    I remember Warcon the the 1990s tried this "historicn -a-like" approach and the turnout to the lectures was mostly abysmal as the punters had all gone of to get piseed and have a curry - which of course added to the fragrance the next morning!! - Even if they had bothered to stand near the soap first!
    Equally very few people ran games in the evenings- though Todd Fisher and I did as well as running games during the day
    I agree with Paul here there is no appetite

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    1. Evening Andy,
      Im just trying to get the image of sharing a bedroom with you out of my head.
      I know what your saying, and obviously you have the greater experience of these things. I was kicking around a few ideas in the faint hope some overly rich wargamer was prepared to run with some ideas.
      Personally I think a QA session with Bernard Cornwell would be a real coup and a hell of a draw if he was to talk about his Waterloo Book. But then I would pay cash to listen to Charlie Wesencraft talk about his wargaming, both would be fascinating. Its really all about having some cash to gamble with, and then driving the punters to break with the norm and not leave after they had bought their figures. It would be difficult I know.
      Thanks Robbie.

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  3. Robbie- I've just re-read your post here- Painting comps - some shows do have them- Salute for one SELWG for another - some smallershows too- I've judged a few at smaller shows you often get an abysmal turnout hiow can you judge a competiton with 3 entries in 4 different classes?
    Prizes for best games etc- Lots of shows do this. I judged Derby for 10 years or so - though never alone- Old Glory gave a cup and a salver each year- yyou kept the salver, returned the cup Derby associates gave a small cahs prize too - used to be £25.00. Some misbegotten pillock nicked the cup or at least it was not returned.
    I've even heard of votes for most affable trader etc- cobblers! Such are mostly put up jobs by the show organiser - who sometimes expect to be bribed.

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    Replies
    1. Evening Andy,
      It was just a thought to inject some response. One thing that seems to be happening, and its not just in wargaming is that people dont interact as much as they did. We tend to live quite solitary lives figuratively speaking. I am as guilty as the next, probably more so as I never joined a wargames club. I think I was too shy when I was starting off. We just become stuck in our routine and refuse to venture out of it. Basically we as wargamers need to challenge our normal routine.
      Let me know when this happens.
      Thanks Robbie.

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  4. Robbie , I'm with you somewhat. I remember the early "shows" in the 1960s were proper conventions in a hotel with speakers, dinner and time to talk. I also remember the occasional Warcon in Birmingham in the eraly 90s which Andy mentions. My memory though is differentto his - impressive games for the time such as a 15mm Salamanca with AB figures, 20mm D-Day demo of Rapid Fire! when it was new and the magic "55 days in Peking" participation game, but most of all attending a lecture by Tony Barton on how he sculpted his figures, it was well attended. If there is an appetite in England maybe it is just for niche interests and specialists (like the AMG group at Partizan next year) because probably the unwashed wargamer public are too well served nowadays by pre-packaged history and commercial game systems to feel the need for the camaraderie of a convention-style gathering.
    Chris
    http://notjustoldschool.blogspot.co.uk/

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  5. Still catchin' up . . . .
    Although I like the idea of a 'convention' approach to shows and I do think there are probably too many, I'm not sure this would work in the UK for some of the reasons already stted, but also because I just don't think we're wired that way. Many (most?) UK wargamers blanche at the thought of travelling for hours to get to a show, whereas, say, American and Australasian wargamers are already used to the idea of travelling fair to long distances to get to things. Given the distances involved, it'd be crazy to expect them to atend a show that lasts maybe 6 or 7 hours (though I don't doubt some would/do).
    Having said that, I'd prefer that approach and, just because it didn't work last time, a new approach and more of a sell and tell campaign might work, NOT a central controlling body though! I also think that there's room for smaller shows to llink in, but not so many as there are at present.

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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
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Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating