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Author Topic: Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019  (Read 815 times)

Offline JollyBob

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Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019
« on: June 17, 2019, 09:09:02 AM »
Hi All

I am not in any way affiliated to this show, but as it is local to me and seems to be the least well publicised event in the WHOLE WORLD, I thought I'd drop a line here and see if anyone else will be attending.

It's on a Sunday this year due to the venue being busy, but there seems to be a good few more traders than last year.


It's a lovely venue, very pleasant and friendly atmosphere - I always take my boy, and there are other shows that I would think twice about.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 10:31:07 AM by JollyBob »

Offline CJsutherland86

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Re: Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2019, 01:34:57 PM »
Confirmed traders for this years show:
• Bow and Blade Games
• The Baggage Train
• Colonel Bills
• Dave’s Wargames
• Sarissa Precision
• Footsore miniatures/Gangs of Rome
• F-Side Games
• Hoka Hey
• Graham’s Workshoppe
• Wargames etc
• 4A miniatures
• Scotia Grendel
• Iron Gate Scenery
• Laser Cut Architecture (LCA)
• Cumbria Wargames Supplies
• Empires at War
• Warlord Games
• Victrix

With tournaments for
• Magic the Gathering, (west coast Gamers)
• Bloodbowl (Carlisle Gamers)

Free Gaming area supplied by West Coast Gamers Aspatria (terrain supplied)

• Bring and Buy sale
Rent a 3' x 2' table for £1 per half hour (no commission! you sell your items to customers, make deals, chat, sell!)

Games from:
• Ian Mitchell - 6mm Jacobites
• Matt Crump - TBC
• Annan Gamers  - TBC
• West Coast Gamers - Lord of the rings
• West Cumbria Gamers - 7 Years' war
• Andrew Wylie (Something to do with dice) - Tomb of Blood (Participation)
• Durham Wargames Group - Star Wars Legion
• Dumfries Wargamers - TBC

Remember the first 200 through the door get a Free Miniature from Bow & Blade Games!

Our Venue is the Rheged Centre Penrith (Redhills, Penrith CA11 0DQ)
Is one of the most unique and fun venues for a wargames show in the UK!
Complete with cafe, bar, shops, cinema, exhibitions, outdoor play area for kids and over 300 FREE parking places it's a superb venue for the whole family!
We're also situated only a 10 minute drive from the idyllic Ullswater. Which at this time of year is absolutely stunning.
Take a walk round the water, or a trip on the Ullswater steamer to round out your day!!

Thanks for everyone’s patience in waiting for this list to be announced.

We hope to see you at our lovely little show on the 30th.
All the best.
See you there?

« Last Edit: June 18, 2019, 10:37:19 AM by CJsutherland86 »

Offline JollyBob

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Re: Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2019, 08:12:31 PM »
Well, just in case anyone cares, the Phoenix show was a success again this year, although I think perhaps not as busy (certainly not so many people at the bring & buy).

Great atmosphere as always, I spent far too much on scenery from Scotia and managed to snag a complete set of the classic Citadel Nightmare Legion from Colonel Bill.

The Boy continued his romp through other people's games this year, effortlessly dusting vampires in the Tomb of Blood and utterly destroying Matt Crump's Union troops in his ACW Rebels and Patriots game. How do small children roll so many natural sixes!?

I also spent a little cash on some test pieces from Iron Gate. I've never had any 3D printed stuff before and was very pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety they offer. Some lovely pieces, very reasonable prices, and clean, high quality prints that needed the barest scrape with an emery board to take the tiny striations off. Recommended, if anyone gives a hoot for my opinion.

A great day out, and a big thank you to all involved for organising it. See you next year, I hope.  :)

Offline Nord

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Re: Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2019, 08:23:25 PM »
I went to this. Got there at about 11am. It was very quiet. Stayed for about an hour, it's only a little show.

Picked up the freebie, bought a few bits. The bring and buy stalls were half occupied, if that. There were very few people wandering around. Great if you don't like crowds, but are the numbers high enough to be sustainable? Not sure if the organisers want it to grow or are just happy with it being a local, low key affair.

Offline manic _miner

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Re: Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2019, 01:23:33 PM »
 I was there trading on the day.A good little show.The bring and buy is normally good but like Jolly said it was not full this Year which is a real shame.

 I think the lack of people was due to the New Glasgow show.Some that normally come to Phoenix went to that one instead.For a first show i think it went really well.Loads of space with a good mix of traders and loads of demo/participation games on too.

Offline Norm

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Re: Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2019, 02:57:40 PM »
I enjoyed it and have blogged some thoughts on it here;


JollyBob, I saw you and your son having a great time with Matt's ACW game, he had someone playing the whole time that I was there, a very successful looking table I thought.

Offline JollyBob

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Re: Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2019, 07:01:20 PM »
Hi Norm, I just read your blog and have to agree with everything you say! Even the organisers Facebook page goes quiet for months on end with no updates despite direct questions being left.

Hopefully if they are getting this feedback across lots of forums they will up their game a bit for next year, as I really think this has the potential to be a great show rather than just a good one.

Your point about Mr Crump being a good salesman for the rules is bang on, I've been looking into them today as the Boy enjoyed himself so much (mostly due to steamrolling across the bridge and giving the Yankees a kicking at every turn).

Just thinking though, there were three generations of the Bob family there, so I hope you don't think I was the wee bald one... lol
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 07:04:22 PM by JollyBob »

Offline LCpl McDoom

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Re: Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2019, 05:33:40 PM »
Many thanks for the write-up to see how Phoenix went. Sadly this year I was committed to the Glasgow event, as I'd heard nothing about whether Phoenix was on again or not. I hope they keep it going for 2020, and advertise it properly - it's a great site, lots of useful extras there & free parking, and of course, a great area to visit.

Offline CJsutherland86

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Re: Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2019, 11:16:59 AM »
Phoenix Show will be returning on SUNDAY 28th June 2020  :D

Just thought I'd post that here.

If you have any ideas of how we can improve advertising I'd love to hear them, I can only do what I know about and so far that consists of:

• Making a post on every forum I have access too (If you're a member of one I don't post on, either let me know, or copy the post there for me?)
• Contact Wargames Soldiers & Strategy, Wargames Illustrated, Miniature Wargames, Tabletop Gaming magazines and ask them to put us in their magazines in the shows section (done so every year to all of them and never got a listing yet! They've already been contacted for 2020, so done well in advance)
• Advertise the event on Facebook.
  - Paid advertising by promoting the event page (3 hour travel radius round Penrith)
  - Paid advertising promoting the actual page  (3 hour travel radius round Penrith)
  - Sharing the event page in every group I can think of that may have a relevant audience
    and also allows occasional posting of events (not as many as you'd think)
• Flyers. Last year we handed out 6000 flyers. Most were through going to events in the
  North of England and in Scotland and physically handing out flyers to people (as well as putting a
  stack "on the door"
• Flyers given to our traders to put in orders, take to shows we couldn't attend
• Website, which has the date for the next show and a list of traders (obviously at the moment the list is for last year's traders until this year's confirm!)
• Local Radio, we've been mentioned in local radio "what to do this weekend" events
• Event Venue promotion, we appear in the printed literature produced by the venue itself, as well as appear on their website
• contacting show calendar sites (like bhgs, tring wargames club etc)
• Twitter, we've got one of them too!
• Join individual club pages on facebook and post in those (these usually get a frosty reception, as you aren't a proper club member

In the past we've also paid for half page adverts in a couple of the magazines but these were very very expensive and did absolutely nothing for us in return (at £100-£150 for a half page, and £3 per head entry, you have to get 50 extra people through the door just to pay for the advert!).

It's really hard to promote a wargames show, you'd be surprised how aggressive some facebook groups are at actively banning even a hint of promotion to an event. Traditional forums like this one are much more open but are increasingly getting less traffic, harder to find and in some cases can't sign up or are behind paywalls (As much as I'd like to I can't afford to join the society of ancient wargaming just to post on their forum about our show!)

We've got really good Search Engine Optimisation on the show's website too Just search the really generic "Wargames Show UK" and the Phoenix page will more than likely come on page 1! localise it to Penrith, Cumbria etc and it should come right at the top!

I'm genuinely open to more ways to advertise, and more places to put the adverts too. If you think there's something I've missed here PLEASE let me know. I share this to let you know what I've done, so if anyone spots any gaps you can help me fill them :)
Wargames shows are a tricky balance of traders, games, customers, without one the whole thing falls apart. Getting traders isn't as difficult as I thought it would be when I first started out (getting the right mix can be tricky though!), Getting games is pretty tough, but luckily we have a solid core of clubs and gamers round us who love to support the show and make the effort. Customers is by far the hardest part, convincing people to give up a day off and travel (potentially hundreds of miles!) then pay money to get through the door is really hard!
I try to promote the show as much as I can, and I realise we'll ALWAYS get people say we don't do enough, but realise I can always do better, so anywhere I've missed, please let me know!
This year we even got a world class sculptor to design a figure to give away on the door, it was really well received by those that attended, this was advertised well in advance, even by the sculptor himself! 

Remember though, the best advertisement a show can get (any show, not just Phoenix) is YOU.
you came and liked your day? Post about it. Anywhere and everywhere.
Bang a tweet out "Had a great day at @XXXXX Show today, thanks for organising it!", Stick a post in your local wargames group's facebook group "Went to XXXX show today, more of us should attend next year, I really enjoyed it", seen a show report on a blog? Comment. "I went too, great day! thanks for the post!"
it doesn't take a lot of effort but it can have a HUGE impact on the attendance of a show.
People trust people they already know.
I can pop up on a forum, with my 5 posts and write about how awesome my show is, and it'll largely get ignored, but if YOU do it, when you're a 2000+ post veteran on your on local club's page saying how you're thinking of attending this wonderful show, people will take much more notice!

Offline Norm

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Re: Phoenix Wargames Exhibition, Penrith 30/06/2019
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2019, 01:16:01 PM »
Thanks, to be honest, in this day and age, most people once they get a whiff of the show will go to your web page and it is exactly that web page that has caused me the most confusion. It needs to be maintained and current and that means getting last years traders / floor plan etc off there. in the past the previous years info has been on the page right until the last minute, casting doubt, for me at least, as to whether the show is still happening and who the traders might be.

Just have a 'traders known to date page' and make everything on that page future looking and not backwards looking. I think you can save yourself money and time by just getting the web page right. Just hitting the right forums and getting yourself onto the Newark Irregulars yearly calendar should be enough.

Phalanx (Merseyside) is usually on a week or two before you, perhaps you could have your leaflets on their 'pay as you enter' desk.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 01:18:00 PM by Norm »