We got our gear in quite easily this year- Leon had got more doors opened and the whole look of the show was far better than last year with better games and better lighting.. There was little of the boutique games - Introverts R Us that was such a feature of last years show. I only saw one unplayed 'orrible board-gamey thingy - half a dozen plastic men on a card map- no-body there no idea what it was. Didn't care either.
It was whilst I was checking out the Westerhope Clubs Colonial game one of their number claimed I was "Controversial"
What little Moi !
Of course the gent was absolutely right both controversial and provocative. I hope that is part of the point of this blog , I think many of us take our hobby too much for granted and need to think about what we do and - at least some of the time WHY and just possibly articulate the why a little better- see Andrew the Tekkies new Blog- Tantobie Internet Tattler
for his view on the lack of articulation - not only in our hobby but in general..
Personally I don't get this what is so difficult about acting like a human? I know fear of public castigation plays a part in our hobby at least and that some blokes seem a bit shamefaced about what they do, but surely that is a hangover from past times. Or are we entering a new Intellectual Dark Age where knowing ANYTHING about anything - except perhaps the plot of a currently popular Soap- Opera - is seen as not correct or appropriate.
However back to the show. Actually it was a 3 hour event- the hours from 1 pm to 3 pm were mostly dead. I could tell this simply because I was walking about instead of working. The hours 10am to 1 pm were not exactly hopping either but there were people in the hall - the stats apparently say over 400 - but not all at once- not including the demonstators and traders of course. I'm not convinced 200 yes 300 maybe but if 400 some must have only stayed for 15 minutes.
Starting about 12.45 the hall emptied so fast I thought someone had shouted "Free Beer".
Mind you the games looked good. I'd opine that overall they were the best I'd seen at a North-East show this year and possibly last year too.. See various other blogs for photos including 2 on my blog list- Carry on up the Dale and the Independant Wargames group. but there are several other reports about. All comment upon the quality of the games so it is needless for me to add anything here.
Yet there was a serpent in Eden.To maintain the show organisers need the Trade- after all our fees pay for the hall. I doubt- despite the opinions to the contrary that a show without the trade could fly- would the gamers actually pay a proportionate cost of venue hire or the demonstrators? Experience says not. Now I'm aware that some non-traders think that we should just turn up so they can look at stuff even going so far as to only take samples and little stock. I've heard it called a "Marketing Opportunity" this had some merit in a pre-Internet world but now? Anyhow how do you market to an empty hall ? And who pays?
Now don't misunderstand here I don't expect to make money at every show some days are just not your day but it seems odd that for the past 2 years Battleground has been botton ranking show in my personal league. This year by a larger margin than previously - yet its predecessors in the same area were not always propping the rest up by any means and, visually speaking, they were not as good looking and were often in far worse venues.
So what is it about shows in that bit of England north of York but south of Berwick in the second decade of the 21st century.? I know I'm not the only chap who sees this- other traders at the same event had a far worse day than I did- one chap taking less than 40 quid all day and another- who had not done badly the previous year called this show a "savage Re-adjustment". Others were expressive and more brutal r but less eloquant!!
Nevertheless shows in other parts of the land do not seem to suffer this- even shows of the same size- Falkirk for instance. Partizan has been suffering a bit but that should change with the new venue. Salute and Donningtonat the other end of the scale, move on . York ,in the middle so to speak, is splendid. Now obviously you get fluctuations up one year down the next - it can take a whikle for new stuff to move through the ststem- like out new Napoleonic Transport range or the new Bavarians Swedes Saxons Danes and Wurtembergers- to which the Swedish and Danish Cavalry and gunners available by the time you read this. .
Are NE gamers wedded to workshop and similar kiddies games ?-
The evidence of the show games says not and that goes for all 3 of the NE shows I attend..
Yet I'm told 10mm fantasy is popular- never seen a game yet. (As an aside Why- if you are going to do Fantasy surely you want the WOW factor of big dragons and large well finished models that surely is the appeal of Fantasy- but if your WOW pieces are smaller than a 25mm cavalry figure don't you lose the point rather or is that just me??)
Having said that by no means all wargamers I know go to shows- several of the TWATS were working and have to make arrangements to get to any shows and other blokes in different parts of the country do 1 or maybe 2 shows a year at most or even none.
These are questions I pose rather than have answers to.
Equally mail order to all points is steady- I do more business with Finland that I do in the NE and even those countries that had a far worse recession than we did are improving- business with Spain is up by 52% France and Italy by about 15%. Even the USA buys ranges from me that are not Old Gloryor that we produce here- like the aircraft for example.
So why in the NE are we seeing lower show attendences?
Another point- most shows I do -especially those from York and South I usually have pre-orders for. Chaps have made sure they get the stuff they want- and of course take advantage of our "6 for5" deal where they can. This does not often happen at NE shows- except Durham where we don't Trade .....???
Currently I'm not sure I'll go back to Battleground. If I do it will be with a smaller stand which means I'll have to leave stuff behind ....
I'm going to have to think about this