However in other ways the show got a bit of a spanking. Various chaps called it tired and lacklustre which I think was a bit harsh- and wishing to consign it to the dustbin of history is a bit unkind even if it is just a chairman's ego trip,
|Sash and Saber 40mm Napoleonics. Emulating a pic from a Featherstone book.|
Now I'm not conversant with internal politics at the Durham club- nor do I wish to be but the points raided by Colin Ashton and Zabadak are worth considering in regard to small shows in general and what people expect from them.
Putting my traders hat on for a moment I don't go to Durham primarily as a trader as it is too small- and possibly more importantly - there is no space.
|40mm English Civil War - again from a Featherstone book. The figures are mostly Romanoff some with Sash and Saber heads|
However even if there were space I'm not sure I'd go as it is too small and I doubt I'd cover the £250-£300 it would cost to do. Frankly an awful lot of small shows are like that. Battleground in Middlesborough did not do the economic business- the last one I did being- financially speaking- the worst show I'd attended for over 20 years (which probably means , taking price rises and inflation into account the worst EVER by a long way). Border Reiver looked to be heading that way too. Now I'm no longer involved -and have no axe to grind- being no longer financially responsible for the show (and yes taking a cut of the fees and door money since I was paying most of the bills) I can say that without that - in straight day trade so to speak -the show was ,at best, marginal over the last 4 or 5 years with last year being pretty poor. Over the years I've been to other small shows across the country where trading has frankly been at best marginal at worst a waste of time. Over time these events have been winnowed out of the Old Glory UK calendar.
|40mm Sash and Saber Viking and Saxons slugging it out. Again from a Featherstone book|
Now how other traders fare at these events is, of course, a question for them and nothing to do with me so if they do OK and fulfil their own criteria then they will keep going I assume. Of course if they are part-timers they may not have strictly economic criteria to fulfil but that is another story.
|Old Glory 25mm - or 28mm if you prefer . The difference is purley academic. This picture inspired by Young.|
Now back in " ye olden tymes" before the internet going to shows was just as much about advertising as about making a few quid. Despite some chaps thinking traders should go to shows "for the marketing opportunity"(whatever that actually means. In extremis it has tended to mean standing about for 8 hours while some geezer tells you the sandals of your 15mm Samnites are from the wrong century or asking you why your 10mm figures don't have bare feet. Yes both of these happened to me at different shows - neither of which we do now) shows just are not as important as they used to be. Now as it happens I still think customer contact is important so will continue doing some shows each year as long as they remain economically viable which,for me, means not actually losing money by turning up i.e I'd like to at least break even. In the past I've given shows a couple of years to do this but now I'm down to a bedrock 7 events a year ALL of which have in past years cut the mustard.
This year only the new Derby Worlds at Bruntingthorpe in Leicestershire is a possible candidate for future dismissal but we'll have to see. Yes Old Glory UK are going to the show but as I said in a previous post I'm only taking the 15mm lines and maybe 10mm so other range will have to be pre-ordered Jumping the stand price by almost 20% was a bit on the steep side so even with a smaller stand factoring in Van hire, Hotels and crew wages a Grand will have gone before I've sold a soldier. It therefore follows that on the whole, for me smaller shows are not always economic
Now taking off my trading hat and putting on the Punters cap.....
As a punter my wants at a show -especially a small one -are a bit different and Durham filled those very well. This is not to say that I don't see Colin's and Zabadak's points as, if I and the rest of the T.W.A.T.S were not doing a demo there I personally probably would not go- simply because in most respects I'm no ordinary punter in that I live with this stuff every day. I'm surrounded by it and on most days -unlike a hobbyist- I can't simply walk away and do something else.
Having said that I enjoyed Durham in a way that I didn't enjoy many of the lacklustre shows I have traded at. It is pretty nice to talk to chaps without my traders hat on and to connect with the hobby in a way other than business. The onus to at least cover your sometimes considerable costs simply is not there.
But in the wider sense is that enough? I like running a demo game now and again but is that the same for everyone? I enjoy the player and punter interaction but obviously some gamers do not judging by how hard it is at some shows to actually get a word out of some demonstrators. This kind of stuff has happened at shows since Christ was a corporal. "Introverts R Us " is nothing new but at best it is bad manners at worst downright nasty.What these people expect from a show is largely beyond me. I can't see why they would bother when all they do is the same as they would on "club night".
|More 28mm Old Glory and Sash and Saber. Inspired by Young.|
My personal impression is that it is on the rise again after mostly disappearing in the 90s. I do far fewer shows these days than I did back then so perhaps I notice ignorance(and bad hygiene) more now than I did then. What that means is that I don't want to fall into the same trap on my "one demo a year" as I have found at other shows. Not being obsessed by the actual gaming is an advantage here. Understanding that mere dice rolling is not an intellectual activity means that I can turn my energies to other things within the broad spectrum of the hobby. And yes blokes at shows often ARE interested in other aspects of the hobby besides the dice rolling. Whatever the game design lobby may think.
On that level Durham does well and gives us what we want from a small local event. No pressure, a relaxing day . A chance to put on something a little better that our normal games in the pub (no beef butties though!)and a chance to talk to chaps outside our group about what we- and they- enjoy about the hobby. So for a smaller event that will do nicely thank you.
The photos- all of these are "studio shots" of pictures I've done at various time "re-imagining" pictures from the classic books. I leave it to you , Gentle Reader, to guess which books .