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Tuesday 13 May 2014

Are Wargames shows a dying breed. ?

Further to a recent post by Robbie Roddis on his "Independant Wargames Group" blog I thought I'd stick my oar in regarding Wargames shows.
 Now as someone who earn his living in this "industry" my views will not always concur with Robbie's but neither will they concur with some of the mean minded Tight -arsed traders I've come across over the years- and no I won't name names but some of these pillocks need to GROW UP .
Show do not exist merely for their convenience.
 Show do not exist merely for the convenience of the Punters either .
 Shows exist so that Wargames Clubs and  the like can make a profit.
 Now what these clubs do with that profit is another matter- I know of at least one club that gives its profits to service charities.
 I've heard of more than one that use the profits to keep down Club subscription for their members all of which is fair enough but there is the point that they are all volunteers- few or no show organisers are paid for doing what they do  at best they might get a few quid expenses but  not enough to retire to the Bahamas on for sure..Back in the 80s when I ran the Durham show for a few years I got a few quid to cover the cost of stamps- that was my lot !
Now as for my own reasons for attending shows . That is not always as obvious as you might think . Yes I want to make a few quid but its also  about being seen. In a hobby that is increasingly dominated by the Internet I view "putting myself about a bit"  as still quite important- even when it becomes a chore- its part of the job, Not for me the sitting in my ivory tower sneering down at  the chaps who spend their hard earned on my products (I can think of at least 2 major companies  who do this) . No I'll get my arse out on the road and go and see the chaps who spend their cash. - and yes possibly take a bit more off 'em if I'm lucky but I don't assume I have a right to make money and if a show's a bummer I don't whine at the organisers- I simply don't go back . This has happened a few times over the 22 years I've been at this game. So a show is a dead loss Tough shit, suck it up - Just Shut  Up and Soldier On !  Traders are after all only 1 part of the show experience- and with the Internet now dominant  possibly not always the most important to some attendees.
Some of my 40mm TYW troops . These are mainly Danes but a bit of fiddling about will eventually turn them into French- Swiss Guards .

 So Robbie is right here- there has to be more stuff at shows. Back in the day it was fairly rare to see kids at shows- Now- more often that not Mummy tells Daddy that he has to take young Arbuthnot out from under here feet (Possibly so she can get it on with the Gardener in peace!!!!) or he doesn't get to buy any Soldiers - and yes I've been told this numerous times in recent years (except the bit about the Gardener  but then I've always had a lively imagination !!) so there should be a kiddies game or two at larger shows so Daddy can  get about in peace perhaps. Notwithstanding this there are larger numbers of youngsters than there used to be so I'm not overly concerned for the future(Anyway I'll have snuiffed it  so won't need to give a toss !) but said youngsters are not always of immediate concern to the Trade as they don't have much cash!  .
 Also in a world that is becoming increasing bland and holier than thou sometimes it's nice to shake the buggers up a bit !   Death Before Tedium!! 
 So thats why I go to shows- for the Brass for the appearence and also for Laughs. Not all shows have the same elements of each in that order- Salute is for the Brass - there is  usually  little time for laughs . A decent 2 day show is a bit different- Say Donnington or Triples or increasingly Scarborough- I get a bit more time to  see chaps and look at Games something that doesn't always happen at a 1 day gig - especially if I've been up half an hour before God just to get there.
Sir John Chandos- a famous knight of Edward III time . Killed in France. - 28mm figure

A lot depends upon what the customer wants from his show- after all my basic wants are simple- a load of Punters spending their cash a t my shop  Job done .But  If I was paying at the door (instead of through the nose ) then I suspect my wants would be a little more complex- Yes you want to see your mates and have a chat - so somewhere to do this is essential- a bar is nice but not obligatory (though I blush to say so!)  Edible  food is nice but a rare and special thing- see my post "Culinary Adventures ! -
 A one day event can hardly hope to copy the best US shows with Games registration and lots of playable games lasting several hours  together with "after hours" gaming once the Trader Hall is closed- This is mostly because the usual show venue in the UK is  not the same as the "Resort Hotel" venue of Historicon- which I attended 3 or 4 times in the 90s and noughties. No, British shows- even 2 day events are actually 1 day shows  10 till 5 the get off home. I doubt such venues as Historicon's exist in the UK orf if they do are affordable by the average club  It would take a major change in culutre within our hobby and lets face it many don't like change in any form .  Most British shows are not much further than the nearest town- in the UISA it isn't like that  chaps travel  for a couple of DAYS in some cases to get to the show.  Historicon was only a short drive for OGUS and the 2 7 tonners we took -a mere 4 hours  each way - distances are just much larger there, you have to adapt to the geography  . However War Tron - Scarborough  is trying to at least have a go in this direction  with some "after hours" gaming over the weekend of the show so we'll see how that goes


  1. Andy is it not offence to fiddle about with Danes?
    I always thought that you should put a couple of women in wet tee shirts behing your counter, or dress Jim up in something interesting.
    See you this weekend.

    1. Only if they object !
      As for Jim - He's "interesting" enough especially after a night on the beer !!
      See you at the week end.

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