Wednesday, 2 May 2012
Wargames shows- a very personal view.
Recently my mate Robbie on his Independent Wargames Group blog has been holding forth on his views regarding shows. This sparked of a little conversation between us where we mostly but not completly agreed. Now my views on shows are a little different from his as I sit on both sides of the fence so to speak both as a user and a pusherand not to put too fine a point on it shows just don't signify as much as they used to. In the olden tymes of which Robbie is much enamoured you went to a show to both see and buy your toys other than a few shops there was only letter mail order then wonder of wonders telephone mail order. Petrol was (relativly) cheap and shows plentiful- at least in the UK those unhinged enough could do a show almost every weekend. I know of traders from those far off times who did over 30 gigs a year. My own poor best was a mere 26 which was quite enough. This year I'll do a grand total of 12 - including Durham where I don't take the trade stand but put on a gameas a sort of busmans holiday. This year it will be ECW - in 28mm as we are now supposed to call it. However as for show the multitude did not breed quality. I've been to shows where the traders outnumbered the punters and the only thing missing from the ghost town image were tumbleweeds. I wonder if those two little old ladies ever did find the cake stall! . Like Robbie some events stick in the memory for good reasons- the Early Napoeonic Fairs simply for the fact that they were not purely wargaming and those of us with broarder military interests could find other stuff to amuse us. Alcaholic Warcon for obvious reasons for those who were there. Harrogate at the Royal baths- the day after Claymore so a packed weekend- with Jim the Painter supposedly on the staff- lying under the stand with a monumental hangover afer the birth of his daughter- "wet the baby's head" !! Aye well how wet??? Historicon in the USA- I've attended 4 I think over the yearsand enjoyed each one for its differences to the UK show scene. There is no doubt that many shows have simply become same old same old- you even see the same games at many of them and its not ALWAYS about the money even as a trader Wartorn last year was never going to be my most commercially successful show but it was a new event with my strike range, organised by lads I knew and trusted so I gave it a shot. This year it should be much much bigger so will be worth anothetr go. Scarborough I found out, is a nice town. Many clubs use "their" show as their maibn money spinner- nothing wrong with that but sometimes I wonder about stand charges. I know from experience that venues can be fearsomly exspensive but sometimes a sharp intake of breath has been heard at the finace directors desk especially when Hotels and van hire have been added. Shelling out a grand plus to do a show is not at all unusual and no show in my calender come in at under a monkey (£500)- actually 1 might but its only 40 miles away.. Also all of these are up front costs- front end loading. Now I'm not complaing here I'm in the trenches there is bound to be a bit of incoming -part of the game. I say this merely to illustrate that shows have other sides to them as well as Robbies rose coloured view. I still intend to attend shows but Robbie is right the zing has definitly gone from some of them. Salute actually got a bit of its old Zing back this year but the forced move may have done irreperable harm to Triples which is very sad- it was once one of my favourites. I hope I'm wrong. As for the others We are moving Border Reiver this year to what may prove to be a better venue. I'm off to Carronade in Falkirk this Saturday at quarter to first sparrow fart in the AM and I've always enjoyed that show though its far from the largest I do. Size isn't everything as they say.