Having been to two very different wargames shows in two weeks and read reviews of both on various Blogs, as well as chatting with traders and attendees, I thought I'd jot down my personal thoughts and experinces. So in no particular order:
- My job is as a modelmaker for a design company, so I find making stuff very easy. So when I see some of the stunning bespoke boards at shows, I have a good idea of the time, money and commitment required to make them. It therefore irks me slightly at times when I read comments such as 'the games on show were average' etc. I'm not sure what fellow gamers are expecting? Ver Linden style games which look stunning and not much happens, if at all? Even putting on a 'standard' home style game takes a lot of time and effort. I should know as I used to do it for quite a few years.
- At the recent Cotswold Wargaming Day I made a simple 'Old School' board out of MDF, which I then gave a basic paint finish to. Nothing fancy but materials wise the cost was circa £40 and in terms of hours spent making it, probably 18 hours plus spread over a few weeks. Imagine what some of the visually attractive games cost in terms of materials, hours spent etc. So maybe take time to take this into consideration before 'critiscising' the quality of games?
- Now I love to see great terrain, but I actually prefer to see games that I feel I could put on at home using a simple gaming cloth and standard (if there is such a thing) buildings, hills etc that are multi-purpose in their use. Sadly I do not, like most gamers, have a dedicated gaming space, so storage is always an issue.
- A greater variety in scales would be great to see. I know 28mm is probably the dominant 'scale' of the hobby, but a good mix of scales and table sizes would be refreshing to see. Pendraken try to ensure variety at their Battleground show and the Joy of Six does what it says on the tin, but maybe the organisers could try and get a bit more variety? Now I'm fully aware that you are reliant upon the gamers willing to put on a game, but surely vareity is the spice of our gaming lives?
- I go to shows primarily to see wargames in action. However at times I feel in the minority as listening to other gamers in queues to get in and talking to the traders, the shows seems to be about buying stuff and there just happens to be some games on show as well. So I find the Cotswold Wargames Show a refreshing change when it is all about the games. Don't get me wrong, I like to have a peruse as I did this year at Colours, but don't forget the games!
- I just wish all games would have some information on display about the game being played, the rules used etc. Show guides sometimes help in relation to this, but not always. It would be nice to have people to chat to about the game, whilst it was being played, but naturally this epends upon having enough people interested to help out, which is difficult to achieve I know. Bruce Weigle was on his own at Colours but was doing a sterling job trying to run the game and chat to people. When I helped Michael Leck and Co at Salute, we always had two people playing the game and ideally two on hand to talk to the show attendees. Again hard to achieve but it would make the experience greater IMHO.
- Skirmish games on small tables, such as 2' x 2', often get denegrated as not being real wargames, but given some of the above, this maybe all that certain gamers have the space and money to play. We are not all retired with the family flown and therefore plenty of gaming space, so spare a thought for those of us who can only game on the kitchen table (if SWMBO permits!).
- I'll admit to having succumbed to some of the above in my time, so I hope to remember my comments here when looking at games in the future. To err is human and all that.
Hopefully the above may have been of interest to you and as always I look forward to reading any comments, both for and against the above.