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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.
 Image.
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.









 

16 comments:

  1. Interesting post Robbie - Bill Gaskin and I decided to put games on last year because we believed the previous years efforts were distinctly average - we hoped it would inspire others to up their game - well judging by your photos it didn't work - so why is that ?Well I'm afraid it comes down to bigger calls on our free time than in the seventies and eighties and the thought of knocking out hundreds of figures just doesn't appeal to many - we are in the instant consumption business - I mean bloody hell what is that new Perry venture all about - you may as well play Risk ! Most of the 'faces' in historical Wargaming are well heeled and pay people to paint for them because otherwise you'd never get it finished - they're all talented in their own right just pragmatic - if the games are getting smaller it's just a reflection of a changing world -
    Ian

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    1. Ian,
      I think its worse than that really,but your right about a changing world. Just look at last nights shit result.

      Delete
  2. a good series of posts Robbie and your photos came out better than mine. I either missed some of the games or was uninspired by them.

    Ian makes a good point about the pragmatism of us oldies, well heeled or not.

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    1. Colin,
      A lot of the historical games were okay, not outstanding but alright. Salute is meant to be the biggest wargames show in Europe, but I think the definition of 'wargaming' is being stretched a long way by the organisers, and now encapsulates board games, cards and table top skirmish affairs with strange looking models. As for pragmatic, I think thats an age thing.

      Delete
  3. I have to admit that I've always considered Salute a trade show with some nice games. Whereas Partizan was, for me at least, a show with some very good games and trade was an added bonus. Maybe there is a view that the games are of the standard that they are so that they do not put people off entering the hobby? More of a "look you CAN do this too" approach.

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    1. Paul,
      Unfortunately I have always had the view that if you put on a game, make it looked as attractive as is possible. It inspires wargamers, I hope.I know what your saying about the can do approach, but like in other walks of life 'being okay' is not a target to aim for. It should be, ' to do the best possible'. Anyone can be okay, but it doesnt fire up would be wargamers, well not in my world it doesnt.

      Delete
    2. Are game masters compensated for their ENORMOUS efforts in hauling all of their kit and kaboodle to the venue and hosting a large game? The logistics alone would dissuade me from doing such. If not, hosting an "away game" puts a lot of massive and treasured collections at significant risk. Not a risk or effort I would likely take UNLESS I was selling something to make back my costs and effort.

      Delete
    3. Jonathon,
      I used to put on very large historical games at various shows. I think my biggest efforts were a refight of the Battle of Borodino and Wagram. I was younger and fitter and would return home exhausted. I hoped that my efforts would encourage people to become wargamers, naive really as most people at wargames shows were wargamers.

      Delete
    4. Robbie, I used to do my fair share of demo games in 28mm normally many many years ago and was exhausting, and even the little ACW game we put on last year at Stockton left us both knackered! It was a good game and a nice day out with friends but you're right most of the crowd were already wargamers.

      Delete
  4. From your photo montage, Sci-Fi and Fantasy do loom large. That would certainly explain your observation of a younger crowd. I also notice in your (and others') Salute reports an increase in grid-based games. As you point out, the number of smaller games is growing and commercial efforts are seen more with Kickstarter projects taking up more space. Do you suppose the pendulum is swinging more towards a more "commercialization" of our hobby rather than "hobby?"

    Still, seeing Miller's massive Raphia would be a sight to behold.

    I have not been to a gaming convention in years...

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    Replies
    1. Jonathon,
      I love to attend wargaming shows, both big and small. I love seeing the traders wares, and the games. Frankly Im a bit of a child. Also I like to talk to anyone who will listen at the shows. Salute is no different. However, I draw my biggest inspiration from beautifully crafted historical battles with tons of well painted figures, in whatever scale or period, although I have my favourites. Salute caters for a wide audience, and at the moment is riding on the back of scores of individuals who are prepared to create compact sci fi types of games. Historical wargamers need to up their game to catch the eye of people attending for other reasons.

      Delete
  5. I hadn't been to Salute for a couple of years and rather enjoyed it, hard work on the feet after 6 hours, there did seem to be a wider demographic than my previous visits, which is a good thing I'd say. I liked the pikemens lament, the ACW game and enjoyed looking at the other games, the ECW, doesn't sound right as it was two mostly Scottish armies was really nice and has got me enthusiastic about doing some pike and shot games in that period again. Maybe no really big show stoppers but I thought it was pretty good, I don't have as far to travel as you and that would influence my view.
    Best Iain

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    1. Iain,
      Its a big commitment for me to attend Salute. Over the years I have gone to most shows throughout the country. I suppose I'm a bit sad really. My current favourites are the shows at York , Partisan and Smoggycon. Salute, is still a good show, and I will no doubt drag my sorry self there again, simply because I want to finally see Dave Jarvis win a damn painting trophy.But the historical games need to step up to the plate and make attenders come away from the show, and say, how good was so and so's game. At the current time, the small sci fi, fantasy games are a bigger draw.

      Delete
  6. Image: I think that us wargamers are more concerned about how the muggles (public) view us as war mongers or something like that, whereas the reality is that the muggles seem to think that our hobby is interesting. They really like the visual aspect of our hobby.

    S I-Fi and Fantasy have always dwarfed historical miniatures by a factor of 100x or more. That won't change. Notice that the small table games are participating games, short in playing time and are highly visual. And they are easier to transport tomthe convention venue.

    As I have aged, I have become less interested in bringing my historical games to conventions: it is a lot of hard work, requires lots of heavy lifting, and is exhausting. Add in the travel time and you have the formula for an Olde Fahrt like me staying home. I'd rather putmthat type of work into staging a game at home for my mates.

    Jim

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  7. Jim,
    Depends where you live I think. London is a centre of all snowflake protests against anything and everything. So Im afraid wargaming is viewed as problematical. I see in the USA there is a demand to ban all statues, memorials etc to the fallen of the Confederacy. So I think you have similar issues. Whitewashing history is a disturbing phenomena. Anyway onto nicer things, wargaming. Its not so much the Sci fi thing, its more the size of the games that I find a bit disconcerting, I love the spectacle of large well crafted battles, as I have said many times. I love your groups battles, and frankly am inspired by the images. As for putting on a display game, I tend to only do one or two a year now. Anymore is too damn tiring.

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  8. a good series of posts Robbie and your photos came out better than mine.. . .
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    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

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating