Now Battleground on the 29th was only half an hour or sop down the road for me and the crew - but was it worth it- well honestly no it wasn't.
Bearing in mind my earlier questions regarding the new venue for what was really a re-vamped local show
the venue and its surroundings looked somewhat like a recently redecoated city block in East Berlin in 1972- Housink for ze Prolitariat , though probably actually student halls of Res- same difference perhaps !
The access was horrible- lots of doors you couldn't get you van near so everyone and his brother is unloading into one door - with very little road access. Design by committee perhaps !!
Next - because the other doors were inaccessable the trollying distance was equivelent to a half marathon - and I wasn't the worst by any means .
None of this was the organisers fault- other than perhaps the choice of venue in the first place- but then there is often little choice in these areas wherever you live.
Plus points the venue was light enough and - despite being a sports hall didn't smell of jockstraps and wee wee.
Catering- well none the Caff was across the car park and provided cardboardy tea and adequate - if flaccid bacon butties. I've had worse.... much worse, usually at Partizan
Games- after you had seen the ones you'd already seen before -so Border Reivers Vietnam A nice Operaltional level WW1 a 54mm Waterloo A. N. Other western Gunfight then you were left with one game- Robbie Roddis Renaissence one- nice- actually that would apply to all of those I've already mentioned as well as for the Rest there was a 20mm WW2 which I never saw anyone playing or even at the Table and the rest were dross, 4 foot table dross crewed by people who simply wanted to fiddle with dwarfs or wizards or cards- some of these put on by companies trading at the show so having an axe to grind but all simply looking like a bad club night.. Of the 15 or so games the majority- say 2/3rds ish were like this. Godawful . No wonder most of the punters had legged it by 1.30. Once again not directly the fault of the organisers.
Part of the problem is the current popularity of what my mate Ken Natt calls- rather appositely- "Boutique games" 4 foot table a dozen figures a side or less or simply open the box and play- not the stuff you expect to see as show demos or even P P but they are starting to infect the show circuit- saw evidence of it at Donnington but because there were plenty of other games then it wasn't so obvious. Here such crap was in the majority. Now they may PLAY well but they look like s*** at an event that is supposed to showcase the hobby 4 dweebs sitting around a 4 foot tablel mumbling to each other and ignoring the public reall REALLY helps .... NOT!!
Such stuff is very well and good at club night but not at a show ...
It seems that "Wargaming" as most of us understand itmay be on the decline at middle sized smaller catchement area shows such as this those run or even partly organised by "Gaming clubs" which is usually a euphanism for "crap fantasy and unpainted GW played here". There was also evidence of this sort of stuff at this years War Torn, Now I've often thought that to be done well Fantasy and Sci-Fi are actually harder than historicals as they often don't have such a strong crutch as history to lean on - though they may have a six foot thick Fantasy or Sci-fi book series of endless turgidity instead but the number of decent lookng fantasy/sci-fi games at shows seems to be on the decrease. The Warlords "Thunder- Run" being a fine recent exception. Many of the others - especially when run by Commercial Companies rather than clubs fall into the "Boutique Games" trap. Now I can rememebr quite a ferw Fantasy games over the years which- while I may not have wanted to splash the cash did pique my interest. - A latemedieval/ Renaissence game with plenty of Leanardo's War machines springs to mind as does a game which seemed to consist of floating islands- beutifully modelled and a wonderful 1970s pastiche called Diamond Geezers. All well able to stand alongside any Waterloo or Mons or whatever other historical display you care to mention.
Where in this welter of "plug and play" boutique games has all the imagination gone !!
That the organsiers had done a respectable job is not in doubt Weather such shows can survive in the commercial hurly- burly with out more support from the gaming public is another matter entirely