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Author Topic: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK  (Read 4204 times)

Offline fastolfrus

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2022, 05:08:49 PM »
We usually go to a lot of shows, have done for decades.
Sheffield Triples, Northern Militaire, Derby, Partizan, Hammerhead, Fiasco, Recon, Vapnatrak, Phalanx, Battleground, Claymore, and others that I can't remember the name of. Only managed Salute once.

We tend to spend most of the day at a show, usually just chatting to folks, but we try to get in a game at every show (if possible).
We don't spend a fortune, usually just picking up odd bits and pieces.

But the one thing that is generally the same for most venues is poor catering.
There have been some appalling shows for food - Donnington was poor and very expensive, Partizan (in the showground venue) usually has long queues for food & drink.

But the little show at Retford was one that we used to go to because they served really good cakes.
Vapnartak used to have better catering at the Merchant Venturers Hall than it does at the Racecourse. Not as good as the Retford cakes, but better than a lot of others.

« Last Edit: December 06, 2022, 07:10:06 PM by fastolfrus »
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Offline SJWi

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2022, 06:32:01 PM »
Daeothar, I truly feel your pain. "Crisis" was something special .My mates and I visited back in 2018 and thought it truly excellent. As you say we are rather spoiled in the UK.  This year we held a "Crisis Memorial" game in our local bricks-and-mortar shop to "showcase" the hobby to a group of Pokemon players. In some way for me this went back to the start of my show experience. Local club shows trying to drum up support and showcase the hobby to an incredulous public. Hence my comment earlier in the thread about being inspired by the recent Reveille show in Bristol.   

Offline Easy E

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2022, 04:21:46 PM »
Yeah, if the show scene is very different on the continent, there are even bigger differences between the UK and the states!

However, I am not an expert as I very rarely go to shows.  The travel is too expensive and time consuming for me.  However, it is one of my Hobby goals to eventually get to a gaming convention.

I am somewhat envious of all the shows in the UK that seem much easier to access.
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Offline Ninefingers

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2022, 11:42:05 AM »
We usually go to a lot of shows, have done for decades.
Sheffield Triples, Northern Militaire, Derby, Partizan, Hammerhead, Fiasco, Recon, Vapnatrak, Phalanx, Battleground, Claymore, and others that I can't remember the name of. Only managed Salute once.

We tend to spend most of the day at a show, usually just chatting to folks, but we try to get in a game at every show (if possible).
We don't spend a fortune, usually just picking up odd bits and pieces.

But the one thing that is generally the same for most venues is poor catering.
There have been some appalling shows for food - Donnington was poor and very expensive, Partizan (in the showground venue) usually has long queues for food & drink.

But the little show at Retford was one that we used to go to because they served really good cakes.
Vapnartak used to have better catering at the Merchant Venturers Hall than it does at the Racecourse. Not as good as the Retford cakes, but better than a lot of others.

I feel you are spoiled in the Midlands/North! We only have SELWG, Salute, Warfare, and Cavalier down here in the bleak South-East. I'm sure it's nothing to do with the proximity of the city that shan't be named...

Offline Daeothar

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2022, 12:07:19 PM »
Derby?
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Offline armchairgeneral

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2022, 01:00:39 PM »
Derby?

Alas the Derby show is no more. You can read the whole sorry tale here

https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=109783.0


Offline SJWi

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2022, 03:01:23 PM »
Writing as a Northerner who has lived in the South for 40 years people need to check their geography. The area covered by the "Northern/Midlands" shows is pretty big and I doubt many people go to them all. By contrast the South-East is relatively small even if you do need to go round the M25. Also, I can recall several SE shows such as Bedford and Ilford and Dunstable  that that have bitten the dust.

Offline Harry Faversham

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2022, 03:43:57 PM »
Wargames shows demise? You'd have to go a long way to top the debacle/shambles, that ended Sheffield Triples. Saddest bit, the fookwit who orchestrated it, bragged about his efforts, in my vey own Emporium!

 >:(
« Last Edit: December 08, 2022, 03:48:28 PM by Harry Faversham »
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Offline swiftnick

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2022, 04:19:14 PM »
Wargames shows demise? You'd have to go a long way to top the debacle/shambles, that ended Sheffield Triples. Saddest bit, the fookwit who orchestrated it, bragged about his efforts, in my vey own Emporium!

 >:(

I know I shouldn't ask but what happened?

Offline Mindenbrush

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2022, 01:15:27 PM »
When I lived in the UK (Bournemouth and Chester) I went to a lot of conventions/shows but it was usually to do some shopping and a quick glance at the games being put on before leaving.

Having lived in Canada for the best part of 25 years, going to North American is a pleasant experience as I get to game and shop at the same time.
Most of the conventions I go to are an 8 hour drive from Montreal but it is always worth it.

I was just in the UK and visited Fiasco, nothing had changed. Just a quick shop, look around and leave.
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Offline Dolnikan

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2022, 09:26:32 PM »
I've long realized that things are wildly different in the UK as opposed to the Mainland when it comes to shows. And stores for that matter.

In my experience, the wargaming landscape in the Netherlands has always been a very bleak desert indeed. I saw my first gaming table at a show called Ducosim back in the early nineties. It's when I bought my very first copy of White Dwarf too, and those two combined were my first glimpse of a much larger wargaming world than I could ever have imagined.

Now mind; Ducosim was a twice-a-year event, by and large focussing on boardgames. I went there with some mates to see if there would be any more roleplaying books and maybe some expansions for Hero Quest, as that was about the extent of my exposure to miniature gaming at the time. And then there was this single large table full of scratchbuilt terrain and miniatures that drew my eye.

The game in progress was probably Rogue Trader, and I was gobsmacked. The guy I talked to there, who built the table, has never known how much he actually changed my life by staging that demo game then and there. Thanks, man!

But at future iterations of the show, no more tabletop gaming took place, much to my disappointment. My contact with the gaming world at large was through my very well read copy of White Dwarf and the very occasional visit to Antwerp with my parents, where there was a dedicated wargaming store called The Lonely Mountain (which I was allowed to drop in for a few minutes while the rest of the family waited outside).

It was not for over a decade later that I finally managed to go to a dedicated wargames show, coincidentally also in Antwerp, called Crisis. The venue was still at the Metropolis at the time and it was JAM-PACKED! Again, it felt like I had arrived at Valhalla, and my funds were well and truly depleted afterwards.

And that show became a fixed feature on my calendar. In fact, bar Poldercon, which is a completely different beast (sign up for 4 participation games and have fun, as opposed to gawking and punting), it's been the only show I've ever attended (also I'm not counting GW Games Days here).

Crisis was the way I could buy cheap 2nd hand minis and pick up all the new goodies I'd been craving. It was my yearly spending fest, and I looked forward to it each year. That, and the fact that thre were always amazing displays and games to admire and even a few friends to run into.

But then the combination of Brexit and Covid killed the show. It's been cancelled two years in a row now, and I fear it will never come back again.
True enough, the last few years I didn't spend nearly as much as I did back when I first started going, but it was still sort of the highlight of the wargaming year for me.

The closest show now is Tactica in Hamburg, and that will require a lot more in terms of logistics, as it's literally 10 times farther away from where I live. But I will probably go there at least once, simply because of the lack of alternatives.

So you UK guys should rejoice, really, as there at least still are shows over there, no matter how meagre they've become ;)

Absolutely. Whenever I read about such shows I'm actually jealous because there aren't any around here that I'm aware of. I can however imagine that shows are suffering from a combination of factors but given how conventions are doing I do think that they have a future.

Offline James Morris

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2022, 09:57:16 PM »


Some interesting points there Ken!  I love doing shows as a gamer for the social aspect, but things have changed hugely from a trade point of view in the last twenty years.  I think that we need to reevaluate what shows are about; now the internet has provided a shop window for everyone, is a smaller, participation gaming-based approach the way forwards for shows?

One thing Iíd like to mention is that proximity to Nottingham is not necessarily a recipe for success or trader attendance. The Robin show in Nottingham (2017-18) didnít have the gamut of traders that Partizan or Hammerhead has, nor did the Lead Belt show (early noughties, I think) and neither are still in existence.

Offline fastolfrus

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2022, 06:26:35 PM »
Hammerhead is a great one for participation games, and at the last one the catering was quite good too (but in the other hall that doesn't get used for Partizan if that makes a difference).


Offline Bearwoodman

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2022, 11:09:54 AM »
An interesting discussion. My 2p is that I have only been to one wargaming show and that was a small affair held in a local school sports hall and which seems to now be defunct. A friend and I took our boys along out of curiosity not long after we started the hobby about 5 years ago, and we all really enjoyed it. The entry fee was nominal and I bought a few bits and bobs (such as a ships wheel for a pirate ship I was scratch building) and we tried a few games including Wild West Exodus (which my friend ended up buying) and Black Ops (which was presented by a very friendly relaxed local group who let me and my son drop in and command a unit for a few turns). I remember there was an impressive looking Boer War display game, but display games do not generally hold the attention of 6 year olds (or me to be honest) for more than a few minutes. Overall it was enjoyable place to spend a few hours, but not for the whole family and I would not travel a long way for it.

The next closest thing to a Wargames Show I have been to is the UK Games Expo at the NEC which we tend to go to every year with some friends. This is good because of all the board and card games to try it is fun for wives and daughters who are not miniature wargamers. Although I did inevitably pick up a few new figures to paint, including from a stall selling 3d prints that had a cheap "lucky dip" random mini offer which was fun, the main point of this show is to try out games with a view to deciding whether they are worth buying.

One other stand at the Expo that was interesting was one that had a painting area and offered a free Reaper Bones miniature to paint and take home to finish, with a view to encouraging sales. Our boys and I spent a bit of time on this stand and it made a change from browsing and playing. I noticed Games Workshop at the Expos also offered something similar, but I am not sure whether it is common at traditional wargames shows. I appreciate no one is likely to get their best results in a busy hall using someone else's cheap brushes, but I found it quite relaxing to drop the bags, have a sit down and paint up a little memento of the day before moving on to something else.

I supose my conclusions are that from my perspective as some one with youngish children is that if I am going to spend most of a Saturday at a show I am probably going to have to take children along and possibly a wife. To keep them (and me) entertained there needs to be stuff to do, not just look at or buy.

On the buying front it is also true that I am unlikely to spend a lot of money on hobby stuff at a show because:
A) the internet, as James Morris says, means that I can find and buy pretty much anything I want using my phone; and
B) I live in a city with a few decent independent hobby shops so it is not difficult to pick up stuff that is hard or expensive to get by post (e.g. spray cans of paint/varnish); and
C) I suspect I have been in the hobby for much less time than most of the other posters on here, but I already feel as though I have a painting backlog that will take decades to shift! Apart from replenishing paint and brushes every so often I already have more figures and stuff to paint than I can really justify. I do still treat my self to a little something here or there but I cannot see myself spending £100s on figures for some time to come.

Just my thoughts of course, and my fellow forumers with different family situation/commitments (and possibly faster painting speeds!) may well have different perspectives.

Online Khusru2

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Re: The Future of Wargames Shows in the UK
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2022, 12:30:57 AM »
The maim wargame show I've attended over the last 20 years is MKWS, Campaign. My local area. Free entry. A few traders, participation games, competition games, show games, books, rules. There is also a bring and buy. The aim is to showcase the hobby to the general public. I'm not sure of the cost to put on or the cost for traders. It's where I choose terrain in the main and the odd figure.
Recently I've been to Salute and the old feeling of attending a big show came back. A lovely warm feeling!
My main reason for attending shows is looking for useful or unusual terrain. There are many manufacturers who you might never see advertisements for online.
It used to be that clubs put on shows to make a profit to buy terrain/ figures or subsidise monthly costs but I think those days are numbered if not dead. The advent of 3d printing may see shows closing in the future as manufacturers become scarce or none-existent.
A shame for future prospective gamers

 

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