Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Out of the Shadows.

I thought it was time to come out of the shadows and post something. This has been the longest period of blog inactivity since I started this journey [whatever that means]. Like most I think the pernicious affects of lock-down have proven increasingly difficult to cope with as the months have dragged on. I am no different and what initially was just about bearable became something much more unpleasant as we saw Summer disappear and the dark nights encroach upon us.
  One very noticeable affect, well with me anyway was that I simply began putting things off and generally finding excuses to basically do absolutely nothing. My wargaming has suffered along with my sanity which was always a tad fragile.
 To compound the misery I ended up with a back problem involving bulging discs! [ yes it balanced out my bulging stomach]
Our wonderful NHS decided that I should simply continue with strong pain killers and failed to diagnose the disc issues and sciatica, but the pain wasnt pleasant.  Luckily I could afford to visit a private physiotherapist who had worked for Sunderland AFC in their glory years in the Premiership.
[ yes he is a bit old] He spotted the issues immediately and continued treatment has vastly improved my mobility, so I am on the mend.
So what has this to do with wargaming? 
Well it has allowed me to take up a brush again and crack off some ancient units for my Persian, Roman, Gallic and Greek armies which became my project during lock-down. As usual what were intended to be modest projects have expanded into full blown armies. I had intended to use the excellent Sword and Spear rules and base my armies around them. Naturally this changed and I continued adding units in order to use the armies in a Hail Caesar game. Best laid plans and all that.
 It has kept me relatively sane though and I thank my lucky stars that I am a wargamer first and foremost, God help the people who arent as lucky. 
During lock-down my lovely wife decided that I needed some friends and finally convinced me to obtain two kittens. I will be honest but after I lost my last two cats I couldnt contemplate going through the misery of loss again and kept putting it off. Anyway that view changed when I was sent to collect two kittens, Lola and Ayra who now run the house and my life. So Im back to holding conversations with two felines who find it a hoot to run wild around my house and pick up the odd figure and then lose it. 
 
 This is Ayra laid across the top of my wargames room door wondering what exactly is going on. We discussed this for a while before she climbed into a box of unpainted SYW infantry and fell asleep. I think she believes wargaming is daft compared to chasing her tail. Cant argue with that. I hold daily in depth conversations with them and find their viewpoint refreshing concerning all manner of things.

 Returning to this wargaming marlarky, I found the latest Miniature Wargames magazine poor, but found the Last Word article by the editor John Treadway interesting. For those who dont bother with the magazine it concerned Covid and the impact on wargames shows, should we ever return to meeting wargamers at such events.
 Clearly John has become a half pint empty man and fears that due to traders apparently having a bumper year that they will deign not to attend certain shows and naturally this will have a knock-on effect as punters stay away due to traders not attending as they count their wealth.
 Its a perfectly reasonable supposition and I can definitely see the logic in certain traders not bothering with some shows. I could also understand if some of the clubs that run said shows decide not to bother until things settle down post Covid.
I take the opposite view however [naturally] 
If there is one thing that is obvious since this social nightmare started and that's wargamers are very social creatures and NEED physical social contact and not just to wargame. Shows were becoming more of a social event for me anyway as I was in the lucky position of having plenty of stuff to be getting on with so didn't need to buy too much at a show. I dont think Im the exception and in fact believe that when things do settle down wargame shows will need to consider ticketing events to simply control numbers and yes this includes even the most basic club show. I may even consider travelling North to Scotland if that's where the shows are. 'Build it and they will come', to steal a line from a film.


 





18 comments:

  1. Robbie, good to see you painting again and that the cats are umpiring your games.

    On the magazine front, I now find myself wizzing through MW, with less to hold me than the other two mags, though I agree that John’s final page was very interesting and attention holding, especially as he is ‘so plugged in’ to the trader / advertiser aspect of the hobby, his view must have credence.

    I can’t agree about the social aspect of shows being a prime or sole function. They are a commercial venture first and foremost and if punters don’t spend, then no trade equals no traders equals no show. The only solution to that scenario being to pay £20 - £25 at the door to make just turning up viable.

    I really really hope that the UK show circuit does not collapse, I love them, they join up the dots of the year for me. But when in the UK we look at what the internet has done to retail on the high street, it does not seem a gigantic leap of imagination to see the retail based show scene equally ravished. I think from a punters position, we have to attend and spend if we are to keep them or at least grow them, so that a generation of newer gamers who don’t have everything they need can dig into deep pockets.

    With the latest vaccine news, I have high hopes that the June onwards shows will go ahead. They will probably still need some distancing caution, but I think for those of us who have been doing it for years, much will be familiar .... fingers crossed :-)

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    1. Norm,
      Im afraid Miniature Wargames really doesnt do it for me anymore which is a real shame. Naturally I will still buy it simply because I would hate to see a wargames magazine disappear.I think you misunderstood me slightly re shows. Given this last year isolation has been a real issue and I cannot believe other wargamers dont feel as I do and will be desperate to attend a show, any show to simply be amongst other wargamers and enjoy the social aspect.Yes people attend for the trade normally, but frankly we arent in normal times and I think wargamers will simply attend any event whenever they come back. The big difference between the retail shops and wargames shows are that overheads are usually more modest, well apart from Salute.

      Delete
    2. I smiled when reading your opening sentiment, I am exactly the same, I but MW almost knowing that I will get little from it, but it is that thing of the only thing worse is no mag!

      magazines, like shows are just part of how my wargaming has always been. I really hope that we can get back to the show circuit soon and I think you are right, a healthy number are likely chomping at the bit to get to the first show!

      Delete
  2. Good to see you back in action Robbie, sorry to hear about the back pain and Covid struggles. Well done with getting back to the painting, and hopefully some gaming(?). Try not to lose too many philosophical arguments with the cats.
    PS. I was looking through some old Wargames Illustrateds recently and came across your late 90s (the year, not your age at the time) 6mm Gettysburg show game article. Brilliant stuff!
    Keep it up,
    Dave

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    Replies
    1. Evening Dave,
      Im afraid these new felines already have me beaten intellectually. This lock-down bollocks has shrunk my brain even further and Im almost at the level of a Mags supporter. Re Gettysburg, I wish Id never got rid of those armies they were quality.Talking of which, come the New Year I intend to take the plunge and get rid of all my 6mm Napoleonic armies.

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  3. Very good to see your return to the blog, Robbie! Your colorful Persians are a handsome lot and look great lined up on parade.

    As you say, the lockdowns have been tougher on some than others. With hobby activities to keep us occupied, we wargamers are a lucky lot.

    Sorry to read of your back pain. Hope it can be resolved satisfactorily and quickly.

    Stay well.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Johnathan, even at my best I couldnt emulate your painting skills and speed, unfortunately at the moment sitting for any length of time is an issue.

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  4. You're not dead,great! Alright, presumed the worse,nice looking Persians and cats! Lockdown is getting a bit boring now and I don't even get to sit in and paint, I'm still working, at least until I'm laid off, glad the back is on the mend,good luck!
    Best Iain

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  5. Robbie,
    Welcome back. Sorry to hear about the back but I’m glad you’re on the mend. I’ve noticed your comments on various Facebook pages - always interesting to what you comment on 😃
    The figures look really good and once more a real strong dose of nostalgia, yes pets be they dog, cats whatever are good for the soul, like you I was reluctant to have another dog after the loos of our last two, but I gave in and am glad I did.
    As to the comments in MW, I think it’s a valid point - yes I agree most Wargamers are largely social animals but as a trader - other than the Falkirk show where it’s such a good show I don’t care if I make money or not - shows like Salute I go to make money. It costs a lot to go and I don’t get time to take any of it in. So moving forward I would have to balance attending with option offering a deal if I didn’t go.
    I actually think smaller shows have more chance of surviving than larger ones, traders overheads will be less and risks lower.
    We shall see but I do think the show scene will change.

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  6. Glad to see you back in action Robbie! The figures are very nice, a grand addition. Hope the back continues to improve and that we will find our paths crossing in the real world soon.

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  7. Robbie,good to have you back mate!!(did I really say that??)
    Keep blogging,and try "Solo" games-you can't lose!!!Cheers.
    johnc.

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  8. Nice to hear from you again , I think certain traders will cut back on shows , I have a friend that runs a scenics company and his mail order has remained fairly solid this year without shows , Think it will effect some traders more than others , Tony

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  9. Good to see that the paint brush has been wielded and to such fantastic ends. I too have become a little fatigued over painting figures with no chance of getting them onto a table anytime soon - at least you can do that. Sorry to hear about the back, just another excuse to lie on the sofa and watch all those war movies. The magazines are all a sorry bunch at the moment and MW is the saddest (do I really need an article about painting stones?). But if we, as wargamers, don't write and submit or contribute anything should we really complain? As for shows I fear John maybe onto something and a return to what we had will be a long way in the future.

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  10. Good to see you back Robbie.I have had to shield for a while and when i was a bit down a very good Army mate of mine said just treat it as a 4 month tour in Belfast where we could go nowhere but the hidden bonus is nobody is trying to kill us!!!! see you.

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  11. Your Persians look great. Good to see you posting again!

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  12. Sorry to hear you have been unwell but you seem to have come back with the usual bang, Robbie! Cat's opinion eh? Do they share your wonderful dialect? I have not felt the need for shows for 8 years now but I do so miss the real human interactions that wargaming allows

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  13. Great looking units Robbie!
    I hope that your back is continuing to improve. Wargame figures and four-legged friends, great companions both!
    All the best, James

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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