Sunday, 21 April 2013

Salute 2013

By now, plenty of others have blogged about Salute and I don't really have much to add, certainly on the news front.  My immediate impressions on arrival were that the spacing and arrangements of tables was much better, creating more of a sense of space and providing wider thoroughfares.  I think the Warlords have cracked the venue now.  The advance tickets queue was, once again, enormous, although it did get us all in reasonably quickly.  I have felt for a couple of years that the Warlords should sell a smaller number of these tickets, and I heard one of the ushers make this point to the people behind me in the queue.  General attendance seemed up; the number of games seemed down.  As always, there were several traders I'd never heard of and others I had expected but weren't there (where was North Star?).

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:

Battlefront had Little Round Top in 25mm.  This was one of two excellent "hills" I saw:

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:


Author said...

Great stuff, thanks so much Giles!

Lord Ashram

Dalauppror said...

Nice Salute AAR.

Greate pictures !

Best regards Michael

Sire Godefroy said...

Sounds like "convention blues". ;-)
Still, Salute seems to be going strong and most definitely it's the go-to show if you can make it (I cannot). So, thanks for sharing your photos and your thoughts in particular.

PS: Wonder if anyone's seen the Lardies game? They were about to demo their new WW2 skirmish rules, but haven't found them on any picture yet.

Cheers, SG

David said...

Sorry not to have bumped into you, Giles! Hope you enjoy the rules!

Leigh said...

Totally agree with you on the Wow factor. Lots of great games, lets not discount that. But nothing that really stuck out as unusual or inspirational, just lots of the same, although high quality, games.

Sidney Roundwood said...

Thanks Giles. That's a great round-up of the show. I tried to see everything and there's at least two games you've covered which I missed seeing!

Michael Awdry said...

Some great memories and I couple I missed altogether!

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Lot's of wonderful eye candy and wonderful looking games, but I'd have to say the ACW terrain and how they achieved the rolling hills and very good ground colour and texture stands out for me from the pics. Perhaps it's just my prejudice for the period.:-)


LittleArmies said...

"Napoleonic Expert"? I'm stumbling around my Spanish Army project like some kind of idiot!

It was a great day out - I looked in the show guide for the name of the AWI game but couldn't see any AWI games listed. I did see lots of games in the guide that we seemed to have missed entirely though!

Getting my figures out of the carrier bag Sunday morning did make me think that I possibly hadn't been that restrained this year - but at least no veering off into a "new period" just because I liked the figures...


airhead said...

Thanks for the report Giles, great photos, defiantly Vietnam with the M48 tanks.

Best regards


Richard said...

I agree with you Giles regarding the demo games. I was hoping for something a little bit more than what was on offer. I suppose I'm of the mind that if you are going to put your club on display then you should go for it!

Of the games you feature I thought the Battle of Cravant was nicely done. The miniature painting was awesome to see in the flesh. The best of show game - WW2 Normandy game deserved the acolade. The painting was fantastic.

Richard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
legatus hedlius said...

Yes I though the games were a little less exciting this year but agree with Christopher about the hill in that ACW game!

Steve said...

Sorry Giles posted this in the wrong place before I see you purchased a copy of the Carlist War Scenario booklet at Salute, can I ask whay you thought of it.