I felt (as did some of my companions) that the "wow factor" in the demo games was rather lacking - that's not to moan about what I know is a huge effort from anyone who goes to the trouble of putting on a game at Salute, but simply a subjective view. With a couple of exceptions, the historical games seemed smaller and less ambitious than usual; and there were some I'm sure I'd seen before, either last year or the year before (probably because they are essentially adverts for particular products). Also, and again with a couple of notable exceptions, there was the familiar fare of WW1, WW2, Dark Ages, ACW and Naps (plus masses of sci-fi and fantasy). I know those are the most popular periods, but again there seemed a lot that was familliar or just a different take on something another club has done previously. I'm not complaining - it's always a pleasure to see well-presented games; but in my view Salute can (and should) be pushing the boundaries in terms of presentation and periods and I thought this year was a little flat. Perhaps this is just what happens when you hit middle-age...
I've also found that over the past 3-4 years I've spent far more time socialising than viewing and shopping. I'm very happy about that, and enjoyed catching up with several internet and "real-life" chums. I do enjoy wandering around the games with someone else, especially if their idea of wargaming aesthetics is similar to mine, and this year I did the rounds with another blogger, Malcolm Rose (also a Napoleonic expert and wine importer). There were a few people I missed "bumping into", such as Legatus Hedlius, who I've never managed to meet at a Salute despite him being one of the tallest wargamers I've ever met and so hard to miss! (And why is it that you always "bump into" those people you've specifically arranged to meet later?) I enjoyed several glasses of wine with Malcolm and some mates after the show, committing the school boy error of drinking on a completely empty stomach. Ouch. I caught up with Nic Robson of Eureka Miniatures, having missed him last year - he has some interesting AWI plans.
I exercised birthday boy rights to spend a bit more than usual this year without feel
ing guilty (I'm sure Hugo doesn't really want to go to university anyway, so there's no point in saving for it): the new NZ Wars figures from Empress; more AWI cavalry from Eureka; some Galloping Major F&IW settlers for AWI militia; latest editions of various mags (I congratulated Henry Hyde on his "reverse takeover" of Miniature Wargames); the Wargamers' Annual 2013; Warlord's new "Black Powder" Waterloo supplement (an indulgence - the Perry eye-candy was too good to pass up); the new scenario book for the First Carlist War (more on this in a few days); the latest Perry AWI packs; David Bickley's Indian Mutiny rules; lots of paints. I felt that the price of metal figures seemed to have increased - I bought a few packs of 6 figures that were nudging £10; but then I was reminded that this is about £1.50 per 25mm figure and I suppose that's not excessive. It does, though, remind one just how important plastics are now if you have ambitions beyond skirmish gaming.
Here are some photos. They are by no means comprehensive. I've missed a lot of games and these are just a few I happened to pass when I had my camera out.
This 15mm Stalingrad game from Arbuthnot's Terra Firma League of Gentlemen had excellent terrain and attention to detail:
I think this was Nottingham Irregulars with more WW2 Eastern Front action, this time in 25mm:
The other excellent modelling of gradual height was the Continental Wars Society's 6mm 1866 Austro-Prussian War game. Beautifully painted figures too:
Frothers Unite had a "Return to the Planet of the Apes" game, with well-thought out terrain:
One of my favourites was the Lance & Longbow Society's 25mm Battle of Cravant, 1423:
Not sure who thins game was from, but it seemed to be centred around a downed WW2 German bomber:
Didn't ctch the name of these guyes either, but it was an early WW1 games:
The only AWI game. Again, I didn't catch the name of the club, but they were from the Continent. To me it looked like Eutaw Springs:
Waterloo by the Essex Gamesters (who were all dressed in period costume). I think they were actually playing the game, but for me there were too many French in bicornes and other anacronisms. In 25mm, the best way to do Waterloo, in my opinion, is bite-sized chunks. It was impressive, though:
I wasnt sure whether this was Korea or Vietnam. Nice terrain again, though:
Finally, another of my favourites, Loughton Strike's Force's Mexixan-American War game: