Monday 24 April 2017

Salute Part 3, the games, and an observation.

I think there was about 40 games that could be classed as historical, and about 50 or so games that were fantasy, space etc genre. Most of the latter were staged on tables about the size of an average dining table. A lot were hosted by companies either looking for Kickstarter sponsorship for the games, or to push their new rules and figures.
To be honest all of these games looked very good, with some well painted figures/ models and usually excellent cloths, usually commercially produced ones. All were very effective.
 As I walked around the hall, all these games were busy with the public having a go, which I thought was pretty impressive. A lot of young, ie teenagers seemed to be having a great time, which was great to see. No digital stuff in sight at Salute.

And then we had the historical games, some good, with well painted figures and informative handouts etc, and then we had the majority, which were alright. Absolutely nothing wrong with any of them to be honest, but lacking that little bit extra, that something that makes a game 'sing'.
 Not I'm not here to slag any of the wargamers off, but I look to Salute to show where things are going in the wargaming world, and its pretty clear that games that can be put on a small table, with figures that either don't need painting or can do with a simple paint job are on the up.
 Will this trend be sustained?
 A lot of these gamers will drop by the wayside, a few will stay the course, but very few will make the cross over into historical wargaming, and why would they.

 An exception at Salute, a table top game being played by people under the age of 30. Hosted by Henry Hyde. It looked a lot of fun.

And what of the trade? As I strolled around the numerous traders, the majority were selling figures, accessories and rules for these small games. Most were beautiful models, in fact works of art. A lot were eye waterenly expensive, but the stalls were busy. As usual Forge World was handling long queues all day and their stuff is very expensive. All in all things looked on the up, but it was clear to me that historical wargaming is on the wane.
 Now things aren't all doom and gloom, but there are so many issues that are causing my type of wargaming to shrink in popularity.
 Education, and the lack of actual knowledge.
 Social pressures.
Lets be right, anyone who is interested in war runs the risk of being a social outcast at the best of times, but in this new world of ' safe' areas etc, a wargaming could be ostracised very easily.
 God forbid that one should be interested in Man's most successful invention. We are very good at killing each other.
Wargamers suffer from a poor image, we are usually male, normally older than most, and we never do ourselves any favours because frankly we are in the main, a tad different from the common herd.
Jurassic Park. A rest home for Historical Wargamers?

And yet wargaming is a wonderful hobby, on so many levels, the skills of model making, figure painting, historical research, social interaction etc, etc.
 And the elephant in the room, we are getting older. But we cant do anything about that, and I'm not wearing skinny jeans for anyone.
 But I'm afraid that at Salute it was very clear that Historical Wargaming as I know it is now very much a subsidiary to the fantasy/ sci fi world, and without it, Salute would fail big style. So it looks like an uneasy co existence for the near future, or until wargaming is banned for being 'unsafe.' Personally I would love to see any historical wargamers hosting a wargame at a show, to up their game, big style, just to grab a few of the young attendees.
A beautiful 54mm skirmish game. Full marks for the whole presentation.

 So did I 'enjoy' Salute. Yes and No.
The show is very well organised, the Warlords listen to their customers, and brought back seating inside the hall which was great for me.The venue is not ideal, but where else could you put 5000+ plus people and all the trade stands etc. I enjoyed meeting up with other wargamers, I enjoyed buying stuff that I probably will never paint, but what the hell. I saw some games, that may encourage me to try out a different period, but the logistics are personally becoming a big struggle to manage.
 Visiting one's capital city is stressful at the best of times, but I am really beginning to dislike the whole experience.

 Just to show its not all doom and gloom in my world, Simon Millers excellent historical Raphia.

And yes, some body under 50 playing the game. Amazing.


Salute 2017, Part Two.

So my overall impression regarding Salute 2017 was that it was pretty busy all day. Obviously after about 13.00hrs things thin out, but it still remained full of wargamers wandering around with tired feet and full knapsacks.
 So onto the main reason I head South.The games.
 Salute has over the years built on a reputation of hosting both original display games and also top quality historical wargames that should inspire and reinvigorate the attender.
 Sadly this year followed what was happening last year, in that there were a lot fewer historically based games, and a lot more trade/ dinner table sized games.
 Just in case there is a flurry of indignant comments, can I say anyone who is prepared to host a game at any wargames show deserves a big thank you. Frankly traders and display games go hand in hand for me. However Salute is the biggest show in Europe, and frankly all the games should be inspirational on so many levels. I will elaborate on my views later.
 I just thought this year the historical games were in the main, just alright. My favourites were the games from the blogger, Dalauppror,who won the best game award and Simon Miller for his lovely Raphia game. I can only apologise again for the wonky images, my camera was a pain all day. [one always blames his tools]

 I liked this 6mm renaissance game, the figures and terrain were very neat and well executed.

 Dave Brown was hosting a 15mm Napoleonic game to showcase his new Grand Armee rules. There were some very well painted buildings on show, that added to the game.

  I was frantically looking for ACW games at Salute, simply to get some inspiration and steal a few ideas. I thought Gateshouse Gamers produced a nice game. I wanted to take a command, which is always a good indication that I like the game.

 I couldnt find out who staged this Command and Colours game, Battle of Raab, but it was very neat with some decent looking figures.

AD Hoc Games Group staged an interesting 54mm game to rescue the Tsar and his family from the murderous communists which I thought looked very effective, I suppose technically it was an historical game, it was nice though.It seemed to be well attended all day.

Sunday 23 April 2017

Salute 2017, Part One.

So following my now yearly ritual, I will break down my day at Salute into bite size posts.
 My now yearly trip down to Salute has turned into a long weekend, made up of walking the streets of London to drink some very good but expensive alcohol.
 My poor sister who acts as my minder always worries that I will talk myself into international incident as I tend to noisily ponder what has become of the country's capital. Invariably I will murmur sometime over the weekend that London is soooo far removed from the rest of the UK that it might as well be another country. Even she was surprised at a pub sticking us for £4.80 a pint, and that wasn't in the West End.
 Anyway onto the main point, Salute.
 Due to the closure of the normal rail station I decided to set off earlier to deal with any delays. How wrong was I, as the alternative station was closer to the venue, so I was in the first hundred or so of the queue. I always grab a chair, contrary to the Health and Safety diktats to use whilst waiting. A tip to anyone intending to come to Salute, rest whenever possible because the day will kill your feet and back by the end.

The queue, well before the official opening. I am by the entrance, sat on my backside feeling under the weather from too much dear beer. [ Image courtesy of Big Lee's Blog site ]

 I thought that the event was busier than the last couple of years, and the queue was definitely bigger than last year. I also thought there were more younger people [ ie under 30 ] and there was definitely more women and young girls. So maybe there is a chance that some of the more socially challenged wargamers just might be able to stop living with their Mam, and actually get a girlfriend. We can but hope.
 Having sussed out the logistical problems that are Salute I always have a plan, using the program provided by the Warlords, I still failed to find some of the traders I wanted to see, and then the battery on my camera ran out of power at image 138!

                I was strangely jealous of this young chap. Why couldn't it have been me.
                               I certainly wouldn't query his dice throwing during a wargame.

 I try to check out all the traders in the first part of the day, where I will spend my hard earned coin, and then check out the displays after a spot of lunch, where I will take some images. In between that I always check out the painting competition, just to see what opposition there is, to my mate Dave Jarvis's annual attempt to win the Salute Historical painting competition.
 This year the standard was well,.. okay. Above normal wargaming standard but no where as good as other years. So having checked out Dave's entry I thought it just might be his year. He had a lovely unit of ACW Texans, so I was doubly prejudiced. I think there was only six enteries for the historical unit category, I may be mistaken. To be honest I wish I had put something in the competition just to see how I did.  I havent had it confirmed yet, but Dave didnt win, in fact Im pretty certain he didnt get a place. Amazing really, because as I have said many times, the man is a top quality draughtsman. Can John Ray or Bill Gaskin be wrong. I certainly don't think so. On a positive note I may be able to prise Dave's rebels out of his fingers now.[ I wish]

 I can only apologise for the poor images, it is very difficult to get a decent photograph through the display cases.

  I really liked this Gringo Mameluke horse drummer from their Napoleonic range

  I know nothing about this fantasy malarkey, but I admire the sheer skill that painters put into their entries. I loved this ship, and wanted to own the damn thing.

                 The painting on these models was top notch, with some great basing.

                         So that is my painting competition gripe over for the year. Overall I thought there was a very strong fantasy painting competition and a fairly average historical competition standard, and that isn't meant to be a put down. In part two I will natter about the games, and my opinions about them.

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
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating