Tuesday, April 27, 2010

London Excel, 24th April

Salute 2010

A busy Spring this year ... just a week after Triples and the BattleDay weekend, it was off to London's Excel and Salute.
Slightly less of a burden for me - this is 'A team' show, rather than Shows North, so my duties are mainly making sure we have all the latest gear available, shifting some stock around ... then going down to London and meeting and greeting. With plenty of back up on the stand, there was ample time for a walk round too.
And how great that was. There are a few things I want to say about Salute 2010. Overall, as I said to the host team (at least, those on the Command table), it was excellent... Absolutely massive, in terms of content, and barely a make weight in it. Full of excellent games. Good, broad range of mechanisms and styles ... a fair mix of figure styles ... and a really good showcase both of historical games, and wargames in the ancient and medieval period in general. A reflection of where I think 21st century historical wargaming is that I'd be proud of - and a show on which I think we can allow ourselves to be judged. Well done Warlords - a really cracking selection.
(Newark Irregulars' Punic Wars game)
Next thing I'd like to say ... more and better ancients games than ever and a wider choice of mechanisms (I saw Lost Battles, C&C, Crusader, Armati, Impetus, WAB, Warlord, to name more than half a dozen that spring immediately to mind ...).. 2 Zama games fresh from the BattleDay and one further Punic Wars display - so not just a real flavour of the fantastic variety that ancient and medieval historical wargaming can offer ... but also strong sense that the Society of Ancients and the BattleDay in particular are helping support if not set that agenda. Great stuff.
(Fresh from the BattleDay ... Reading & Newbury's 15mm Zama)
I'd also like to say that I thought the quality of the games was exceptionally high. All of them looked good. Most of them were being played (if not getting visitors to play them, which has always been a strong point with Salute) ... most of them had good supporting material to help the casual onlookers ... and generally, I thought very few had been abandoned just to look pretty like the bad old days. I had plenty of interesting chats with the various display teams ... Generally, the games I thought interesting were being backed up by helpful, well-informed people who were happy to answer questions and explain what was going on. Just as it should be - and thanks to everyone who took the time.
So not just lots, and lots of what I like .... lots of what I like done really well.
So much so that I'm splitting my Salute blog into two parts ... this the Ancient and Medieval Salute (obviously the feature episode!) ... and another which will round up the other photos I took of the rest of the show.
(the MHM Zama game won the 'best troops' trophy)
Next door to the Society stand was Muswell Hill Militia's massive Command and Colours Zama game. This was a real treat for me as, being on duty up in Sheffield the week before at Triples, I missed its BattleDay appearance (so had followed the build up on Simon's blog ... but missed the opening night!). Unfeasibly big - but a great spectacle, and very cleverly put together. It attracted a crowd all day, and was played through as a proper game. Just as it should be.
(close ups of the Zama game ... click on the images for a bigger picture)
I played in the Command and Colours Cynoscephalae game at the BattleDay a couple of years ago (more modest affair back then) ... and found C&C translated very well to a figures game ... had a good feel to it but didn't approach the same old problems in the same old way.
(Aylesbury's attack on a British Hill Fort)
Of course, there's been a lot of activity on the 28mm figures market of late ... plastic and metal from a near bewildering array of new and old suppliers. (Gripping Beast's striking Norse scenario - the pictures scarcely bring out the dramatic landscape)
(Lance & Longbow/Curteys Miniatures Leignitz game)
A great deal of it doesn't really move me ... I've rehearsed my view of scales here before - and you really do need to be working on the level of the MHM Zama or our own Sabin/Cruttenden/Waller Lost Battles game to make this scale really work.
Nevertheless, I thought the Perry's Wars of the Roses battle was exactly the sort of thing that proves me wrong. Very good. Good balance of size and content.

(the Perrys' Tewkesbury game)
Manageable but convincing. I still prefer the look of 15mm but this was 28mm plastic at its best. Here's more ..
(Crawley Wargames Club's impressive 15mm Tannenberg)
(Dark Age costume character playing possum?)
(The Society of Ancients Lost Battles interpretation of Chaeronea)
(close up of the Hoplites at Chaeronea)
Well, as if that wasn't enough to fill a wargames show, another episode will follow on the rest of Salute 2010.

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