Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Salute 2017 - musings on a show

Once again Michael Leck and chums from Sweden decided to put on a demo game at Salute 2017 and kindly invited me along to help out with the game, an invitation which I was only too happy to accept. All the details for the game can be found on Michael's excellent Blog and I also belive there will be an article in a forthcoming issue of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine.

All too quickly the day of the show arrived and some of my planned preperation fell by the wayside due to a rather hectic couple of weeks on the work front. Rising at an unGodly 4.00am soon saw myself and SWMBO on the road for London bang on 5.00am. Thankfully the traffic was trouble free and having dropped my wife off en route, I somewhat blearily strolled into the show just before 9.00am. 

It was great to meet up with Michael, Jesper, Jan and Colin from previous years, as well as meeting Andy, a Brit living in Sweden and member of the same club. As always the Swedish chaps had a great table on show, thanks to Jan's superb modelmaking skills, as well as Michael and Jesper's wonderfully painted miniatures. Set up was well underway when I arrived and by 9.30am we were pretty much done and dusted, ready for the visitors to be let in at 10.00am. 

The day flew by with plenty of interest in the game right from the off, which was great. Michael does a grand job in providing plenty of information on the game, so that visitors can take away a leaflet if they so wish, or those of us on 'info' duty can elaborate further if so required. Helping out left me little time to walk the show, but I did manage a quick dash round (more of which later) and took some pics of the games that looked of interest to me.

The view from the main Dutch force as it prepares to try and take Fort Mosquito.
A view towards the Fort from a Native American village in the woods.
The Dutch prepare a seaborne assault on the Swedish positions.
Jan's wonderful scratch built ship.
The imposing Swedish fort, again scratch built by Jan.
The Swedish harbour by the fort.
The Dutch massed for attack.
Of no interest to me but certainly to my son.
No idea how the game plays but it looks interesting.
Sword beach on D-Day.
A Great Northern War game IIRC. Plenty of info on display.
Definitely linear warfare.
Some nice touches on the sides of the table.
These little details help bring a game to life IMHO.
A nice looking (18thC?) game.
I love this turreted building.
A lovely detail of a chateau in its gardens. Very nice.
No action at all in evidence on this table as i think it was to advertise a range of lovely Samurai buildings.
The castle is certainly impressive. Not sure where I could store it through.
Yet more wonderful buildings.
I liked the junks arriving with the Samurai rusing ashore.
A nice looking game...
... with a great walled town on display.
Battlegroup Tobruk table. As far as I could see no game was being played.
Lots of detail and wonderfully painted miniatures as you would expect from Piers.
A Russo-Japanese War game I think...
Whatever it was it looked nice.
A lovely ACW game using Pendraken Miniatures range of figures, fences and buildings. This is the sort of game I can relate too.
A great Cold War game that really shows the benefits of 6mm figures.
Another game using Pendraken Minitures figures.
Once again a game I can relate to.
Completely blank on this game but looked good.
18thC game?
Whatever it was it had another lovely walled town on display.

So another Salute done and gone, I thought I'd jot down some thoughts on the show. These are based upon my experiences as a demo gamer, rather than a visitor, so may not hold true with the latter. Well in no particular order:

  • It is a long, long day out from Bristol, with us being on the road for around 8 hours. This may not seem a lot to some, but to us it is. Is it worth it? In purely financial terms of course not. It cost around £50 there and back, but if I paid to get in the show, that would have risen to around £65. That would buy me an awful lot of lead from Pendraken Miniatures, or books or a combination of the two. But then it is not all about the cost. It is nice to meet up with the Swedish chaps and to have a look at what is going on in the hobby, as well as talking to other gamers and traders. Would I attend if not invited to a demo game? Probably not to be honest, or only ever few years. I much prefer Colours as a show on many levels.
  • Once again one cannot fault the organisation of the show. It is superb. Enough said.
  • Is the venue nice? Not really but where else could you get so many gamers into one space? The show certainly felt more open this year as they had reduced the floor space for the traders. This was a good thing IMHO as it felt more open and you didn't have to push past rucksack attired gamers to get to stands or games.
  • This is a show where 28mm simply dominates (which probaly reflects the hobby as a whole). So if you are into 28mm, which many, many gamers are, you are simply in heaven. For me there is little on offer now as I pretty much have all the scenery I need, talk less of my lead mountain. 
  • The range of stuff on offer is staggering. So if a relative newbie to the hobby, it must be overwhelming. The hobby is certanly in rude helath.
  • On the games front there seemed to be an awful lot of sci-fi and fantasy skirmish games on show, being played on 4' x 4' tables or smaller. This is no bad thing but certainly not my bag. The trend to smaller games was a theme talking with visitors to our game throughout the day. Not all of us have the space or a dedicated games room to be able to store the classic 6' x 4' table and accompanying scenery and minatures. Then there is the cost to consider.
  • Not many of the games on display really grabbed me. Now this is most likely to my having to whizz round the show and the lack of time to have a good look at what's on offer. Normally I make a list of games I want to see, but the rush on the work from put the caibosh on this. Looking at other Blog posts, I somehow managed to miss quite a few games, some of which I wished I had seen. If I go agan next year I must be better prepared. Simples.
  • The numbers attending the show appeared to be up this year. Certainly after the initial rush, there was a steady stream of new arrivals throughout the day which was nice to see. Hopefully this translated to good sales for the traders. What was noticeable this year was that there were a greater number of younger visitors (by that I mean under 30) as well as more women and a greater ethnic mix, all of which bodes well for the future of our hobby.
  • Once again a lot of the demo games simpy didn't seem to have anything actually happening. Now this may have had to do with my tour at lunchtime, but personally I like to see a game being played. This was a view shared by other gamers I talked to, who do not see Salute purely as a shopping trip with some eye candy games thrown in. Now not all games may be able to have enough people to keep the table constantly staffed, but it would be nice to see for future shows.

So there we have it. Another Salute finished, which despite the long day I broadly enjoyed. It certainly has stirred my wargaming juices, which is no bad thing, so hopefully I will be able to get some games in again sometime soon.


  1. Good report - thanks, I enjoyed reading it. The game you were involved in seems to be getting a lot of popular comments on the various blogs and was widely photographed. I liked that some of your shots covered games that I have not seen (or maybe noticed ) elsewhere, such as the one with Pendraken figures.

    1. Thanks Norm. Michael has a large following on his Blog and has many articles in WS&S so is quite well known. The game did look great and although a big table, was at a scale that lots of people could relate to. Looking at other Blogs etc on Salute, most focus on the 28mm games, as frankly, they look better in photos. I always look out for 10mm games as that's my bag these days. The ones on display were ones that could easily be achieved at home with modest outlay and space.

  2. Thanks for the write-up and piccies Steve.
    Some very nice looking tables you've chosen. Some more practical than others for yer average wargamer like meself, but it's good to see what's possible.
    I like the simple things like the blue screen behind the walled town in one game. Protects the town from the side and gives a better background for photos than the all too common crotch shot (or gut shot). Similarly the game you point out with the detail on the sides of the table - avoids the edge of the world look.
    Good looking game by your Swedish chums.

    1. Thanks Colin. The practical tables I immediately relate too, so the ones with the towns on, struck a chord and I will venture something similar in future games where appropriate.

  3. Personally I am fed up of going to shows with lots of 28mm historical games - sorry no interest in fantasy. I do not believe that these reflect the hobby as a whole. They may, but also may not, be the single most used scale, but they are certainly a minority of what is used generally. Or at least in my experience. I attend 4 gaming clubs or groups, which again might not be typical, and the number of 28mm games is perhaps 5 to 10% of the total. I also know, from local shows, that while most of the games on display are 28mm the various clubs and groups actually use other scales for their 'real' games.

    OK 28mm are fine for skirmish types of game if you are into that but......

    1. Interesting to hear your thoughts on figure scales. At my old club, 28mm easily made up 75% or more of the games being played. Ditto at another local club. After that it was 15mm, with the rare foray into 6mm and 10mm.

  4. Exellent Salute AAR matey !

    Very glad that you could join in and help us out, you are almost Swedish now, at leasat I seems to think so as I at several occations during the day had conversations in Swedish with you, I hope you got it;)

    Best regards Michael

  5. Thanks Michael:) I really must learn some basic Swedish phrases before we (hopefully) meet up again!

  6. Glad to see you made the visit and enjoyed it. A great looking game you guys put on.

    Also great to see that 28mm is triumphing at last over the forces of reaction. All hail the One True Scale!

    1. Yep, those Swedish chaps know how to impress us Brits! 28mm does appear to dominate all else at shows, which is understandable. 10mm works well at home but I freely admit it doesn't have as much visual impact when viewed at a show table.