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Monday, 18 May 2015

Sheffield Triples Saturday 2015.

 John and I have been attending Sheffield Triples since it was originally in the city centre near the railway station. For us it was probably THE show, as it was full of trade and lots of games. It reached its pinnacle when it was based at the University and was filled with loads of excitement,[ well its seemed that way to me]
Since its move into the Sheffield Sports centre [sanitised building full of gym bunnies and security] I have felt it lost its way.Still I didnt sleep too well on the Friday night due to childish excitement.
 So did the show continue its slow downward slide into extinction?
Well yes and no. I dont wish to denigrate the efforts of the Sheffield Group, as any show organiser has a lot on their plates. I will list firstly the things I feel are bad, and then end with the positives.
 Several weeks ago on the WD site someone was whining about the cost of tickets to attend Salute, ie £15.00, or £10.00 if you bought an advance ticket, and this is for the biggest show in Europe.
By my calculations it cost £9.20p to attend Triples, which is really not in the same league size wise as Salute. This includes the parking fee to leave your car in a field.I understand this did allow you entry for both days, but I was never going to travel two days running.
 I was going to pay this anyway so can't really complain, but it is a fair amount of cash.
Secondly, the venue, I really hate the majority of venues that are used to stage wargames shows nowadays. I understand one is limited in suitable buildings, but the modern venues are really soulless places, usually shared with fitness classes, children's creches, breeze block buildings and large badly lit halls.Still they do have bigger car parks, which was a problem at the previous Triples university venue. [I am trying to find positive things to say]
Thirdly, Triples when it was at the University was chock a block with wargames. I remember games in every room, from the average to the well made exciting game. This year, its fair to say the number of games is shrinking, and by quite a number. The games on show, were of a good quality, and some were really fine looking games but there was less of them, by some way.
Fourthly,wargames shows spread over two days are finished. Granted I dont attend two day shows anyway, but Triples which was a two day event due to the large number of competitors can no longer justify this. I reckon if there were 20 wargamers entered in the competitions then I am being very generous. A two day event can only really flourish if there is a very good reason to attend both days. Most wargamers cannot afford to give up two days of their time,whether through family commitments or because of financial reasons. I really think the Sheffield group need to look at this, because listening to many of the traders it was clear that they weren't getting the returns for a two day commitment, and lets be right they are the main reason for wargamers attending shows currently.  
Attending on the Saturday, it was noticeable to me that numbers were down, yes there was quite a queue to get in, but I reckon by 12.00!,  people had drifted away, and it was quite obvious by 13.00 that the place was pretty empty.It reminded me of Saint James Park on match day.
 Thats not wholly the fault of the show organisers because this is happening more and more at all the shows, but again it emptied pretty dramatically.
Anyway onto the positives.Both John and I agreed that we had had a good day, in both the buying and selling of figures. The Triples Bring and Buy has always been a good place to sell stuff, but again this was pretty quiet with none of the old rush and push of old.
 As I walked around the games on show, there was some nice games to see, and its always good to talk to other wargamers about their games.
My favourite was this Mahdi game. Lovely painted figures, a well made terrain and some good crack from the lads who hailed from Sheffield. I know that they had got Adrian Walls to make the boards, but I wanted to take part in the game, which is how I tend to judge a display game.I may be wrong with which group it was but I believe it was the Beasts of Bolsover, who have always put on quality games. Anyway, well done.

Beautifully painted Bashi Bazouks, pity about their maorale though.
The gents from Ilkeley Old School displayed Placenoit in 28mm, using a version of a sand table which again I wanted to take part in.I hope some members of South London Warlords attended the show as it was refreshing to see a couple of displays commemorating Waterloo. Perhaps the battle wasnt that important a thing. 

There was also a Mad Max participation game which was very well done, with some great models.
Unfortunately I didnt get details of who put the game on.
So will I attend Triples again? Of course I will, especially as I understand that the date is returning to March, which would be a sensible thing in my opinion. As a show was it a success? On a personal level yes, from a wargamers view point in general, the answer would be no. I really think the Sheffield group need to sit down and think carefully about what works and what no longer works. Otherwise I can see my favourite show heading the way of the old Northern Militaire.


  1. Robbie,
    I'm sure Andy will throw his two penneth in the pot but for what it's worth here's a few observations.
    Like you I've been attending Triples for many, many years as both Trader and demo gamer. This year as a Trader. First I do think there's an air of complacency crept in with the organisers, I paid my deposit for a stand last year, received confirmation etc then only to find I didn't appear on the floor plan or Traders attending and I wasn't the only one! I know it's difficult organising a show but the same people have been doing this for a long time!
    I agree their defence for the two day show for the competitions is unsustainable, there were more competitors on Sunday than Saturday but not enough.
    Yes there is always a tail off at shows but by 2pm on Saturday we could have packed up they say they had 1500 through the doors on Saturday it certainly didn't feel like that!
    Whilst some traders said they did ok a lot said takings were well down - a couple of the bigger traders by as much as 50% on the Saturday ! Bearing in mind Saturday has to subsidise a generally quieter Sunday then this is not good.
    The move to March? Well from a Traders point of view some feel Sheffield may have missed the boat - Hammerhead is two weeks before and is very popular in a good venue, Alumwell is the week before and again is well supported, now whilst I know Traders are a bit like farmers ( too wet, too hot etc) a couple did say they won't be back next year whilst it remains two days.
    I don't wish to see this show disappear and I will go next year but most probably not as a Trader! Fancy doing a game? 😄
    Let's hope they get their act together and give some serious thought about how to make this show have some buzz

  2. I had a feeling you might comment on the show Graham.I had seen your quick posts on AMG. It must be a big pullout for traders to do a two day show. Id never thought about Hammerhead in March, but then Ive never been to this show.
    As for a game, I have actually been seriously thinking about putting a game on in Falkirk, given the good reviews I've seen from everyone.
    It would be an awful shame if we were to lose Triples, but reputation and word of mouth can affect a show, so someone better get a grip.

  3. I'd prefer to go to Triples in March than Vapnartak in February. The York venue is everything that the Sheffield isn't. York is overcrowded, on too many floors and the games are too well hidden. Triples has good lighting, space and access. But I still need a reason to attend and with fewer traders of interest being present, along with a decline in the standard of games, those reasons are also reducing. This year I'm off to Partizan but then only because of the AMG15 game. I don't need anything that I can't get on the internet and I'm spoilt by being a member of the Grimsby Wargames Society. For Triples I fear the end is nigh.

  4. Graham ws right here's my twioo pennorth ! Firt cost- -Parking fee included- well thats not bad- Parking at Salute cost me another 15 quid so 9.50 inc parking for Tripes isn't bad at all !
    Sunday- well its always a bit flat on Sunday always has been since Christ was a corporal ! . 2 day shows may be thng of the past . BUT remember Dear Trader just becasue a show drops to one day does not mean you get a cheaper stand- costs for hiring places remain the same- Hirers will gougue you if they can- I've been on the recieveing end of this so believe me I know . but I agree that the 2 day show may indeed be unsustainable in the longer tem
    Yes their was an early tail off on Saturady- seems to be a Northern shows thing but since I'd taken a few quid it didn't bother me too much. Sunday much the same only more so.
    Part of the problem is that no-one is sure what they want from shows anymore. Only the Trade have a defined objective ! Some punters appear to want to come and play free games without putting their hands in their pockets- with respect they are no use to me so to take that idea to its logical end why should I attend a show- choking out some serious brass simply for the punters to play games for free?
    Now I don't think we'll reach that pass but if you adhere to some of the tripe being written in the mags ... then you do wonder .
    As for Triples- in particular- changing the date back to March is excellent news indeed. The timing alone will probably result in an increase in brass over my counter ! As it was I was busy enough on Saturday not to get to see any of the games much but had a wander about on Sunday and yes there were fewer gsames no doubt but still some good uns as Robbie has outlined- The 40mm AWI haveing a good bundle of my gear on it which was nice !

  5. Big Andy got in before me.. ticket price for Salute is the least of the cost... add in £15 for parking (flat fee no matter how long you stay) and petrol and DG and I reckon it costs us £30 each to attend... and I'm happy to pay it - superb show, with brilliant games... Few other extraneous thoughts... the Salute theme was Agincourt this year so dearth of Waterloo based games there understandable but they weren't entirely absent? As in all things I'm not a competitive gamer so a one or two day show is neither here nor there.. but if one day, make it a Sunday.. I can't be the only guy with family commitments on a Saturday??? Point of a show for me?... to look at stuff - usually that I'll buy later... the traders (I think) should be using the shows as marketing.... bring at least one of everything and display it well, sponsor games, offer postal discounts to send after show etcetc. Last... "use it or lose it".. you may choose not to attend a show because it doesn't have anything of interest, but you can't then complain when the show isn't on the next time (when it might have had).. ;o)

  6. Hi Robbie, Can you get in touch please at


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