But yet, there was something more. For me, and I suspect a lot of people, this was almost certainly one of the most social wargames shows I’d ever been to. Perhaps it’s the fact that I was helping out with the TooFatLardies participation game (more of that in a moment). Or perhaps it was the Bloggers Meet Up on Saturday lunchtime which gave me the chance to meet so many people who, until Saturday, I’d only met online. I think that’s at least part of the answer.
But I think it’s also in the fact that the internet has been drawing hobbyists, wargamers and the hobby together for years. We chat in forums, through blogs, or online through email with people all over the world, as well as in our local clubs and communities. I think that’s revolutionised the hobby, giving us all the chance to get inspired, try new periods, different paints or new figures and generally swap news, rumours and fanciful, elaborate plans in different periods of history. And a big show like Salute gives people chances to catch up, to talk, to get inspired all over again. It’s a social hobby, and now more than ever. I came away with a terrific feeling on Saturday evening. Exhausted yes, but really proud of my hobby, the people in it, and the place we’d arrived at together.
Anyway, I’m guessing you want to see some pictures!! So….here goes….
As I mentioned, I’d helped out with the TooFatLardies participation game showcasing “Chain of Command”, Rich and Nick’s new World War II skirmish rules. You can hear all about them here, on the Meeples and Miniatures podcast. I’ve mentioned before that I think they’re going to be a great set of rules. OK, OK, I’m biased. And yet, looking at the crowds around the game during the day, I may not be the only potential convert.
Nick ran a podcast recording session throughout the day, talking to players, friends and people dropping by. Players, visitors and friends, old and new, dropped by during the day and it was a great place to catch up with people I’ve not seen for too long. Too many to mention, but among them Mike Brian, Phil Robinson, Mike Whitaker, Steve, Steve, James Morris, Ashley, Mike, Kev Lowth, Rob Avery and one of America’s Finest, my very good friend Joe Legan.
Socialising around the TFL game set the tone, leading to more socialising at the Bloogers Meet Up at lunchtime. This was a cracking idea of Ray, Fran and Postie from the Rejects. I’d not made it over last year, having spent far too long in The Fox public house. Ah what a difference a year makes – there was no way I wanted to miss this year’s gathering.
So, here’s my photos of a couple of the best hours ever in my wargaming hobby. Meeting in person the people I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from over the years, and who’ve supported me, was a great experience. Old friends online, but such a privilege to meet in person. Thank you all!
I mentioned above that the games at the show were stunning. Every single game I saw was a great presentation, with fine terrain modelling. Some were incredible to see, stretching for metres and including thousands of figures. And others were at first smaller, but the more one took in, the more remarkable the experience was.
It’s hard to have a favourite horse in that stable. And in the end, I couldn’t choose. So here’s a couple of things which caught my eye and I thought were very special indeed.
I love seeing well painted miniatures being used in a game. It’s a brave thing to do. For a figure painter, labouring quietly at the brushes, there’s almost a reticence to bring them out and play with them. But a foam tray in a silent dark box is no place for any well painted figure! The dark age Dux Bellorum games being staged by the Peterborough Wargames Club were a brilliant example of how wonderfully painted figures should be used – on the table, and on the brightest of stages. It was such a pleasure to meet Mike and Andy from Peterborough on Saturday, talk about their club and visit their games. The standard of painting Andy achieved in his Roman-British was astonishing. And there they were – on the table, moving, fighting, displayed. Bravo Gentlemen! A very fine game and some painting which would be hard to see bettered anywhere.
I love creating a theme in wargames, setting a context and a place. For me, of all the games at Salute, one of them possibly did this slightly better than any others. The Very British Civil War display was unique in having a great game complemented by a truly remarkable display. There were some terrific posters (original and photo-shopped), weapons, memorabilia and books. Catching my eye were a series of original pamphlets from the 1920s and 1930s concerning British infantry tactics, and a collection of photographs from the 1930s. The chaps running the game were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about the game, and the “Dark Valley” of the 1930s.
I could have spent hours at the presentation alone, not least the guide on mixing 1930s cocktails …. a fatal weakness of mine, I confess!
I did have to agree with the poster below. As a guide to sartorial elegance, it’s message cannot be improved upon!
So, that was Salute. Final impressions were of a frantic, remarkable day. On the way home, Nick did more podcast interviews while we sat in traffic on the M25. Would the show be better over two days? Personally, I doubt it. The energy and the rush of packing everything into one day for Salute is partly what makes it such an experience. I’m already looking forward to next year.