Monday, April 29, 2013

20th April, London, Docklands


There was an ancients theme to Salute this year ... well sort of: Jason and the Argonauts - but very much the Ray Harryhausen approach as you would expect from the Warlords.

For actual historical ancients games I think there were fewer this year.   I think I may have said that last year ... but of 85 (yes, 85) games I can see listed, 14 purport to be Ancient, Dark Age or Medieval.   Some of those turn out to be fantasy - and some are purely commercial tasters.

(President and Secretary reflect during a quieter moment at Salute)

That leaves a handful of games being used to present ancient and medieval battles to a wider audience.   The Society of Ancients did an Ilipa Lost Battle, The Lance & Longbow a dramatic Impetus battle of Cravant, and the Oxford Wargames Club an innovative grid-based Heraclea.

(Eric Cruttenden and Alan Waller presented this 28mm battle for the Society of Ancients)

(the river crossing at Cravant ... from an original photo by Simon Chick)

(a panoramic battle of Heraclea)

Beautiful figures in the Cravant game from Simon Chick, and spectacular hand-finished terrain boards - a great advert for medieval battle, and not a bad demonstration of how good modern 28mm figures can look.

Full marks to the Oxford club for taking a home-grown historical game - which they had devised because they were interested in bringing out what they thought were the essentials of battle in the period. - I wish I had had longer to spend with it ...

Amongst the commercial generic games, Rob Broom's Dark Age game stood out, along with some Saga and Dux Bellorum demos ...

(Rob explains the set up over his War and Conquest game)

... and in the fantasy ancients theme, a mythical spin on that old favourite 'Escape from Atlantis' at least seemed to capture the younger minds ...

(participants attempting to Escape from Zeus ...) 

The commercial games are, of course, there to demo the mechanisms and sell copies of the games - so they pick lyouts that will be full of engaging eye candy and bring out challenges, fun and mayhem in the game.   

For now, that always seems to mean a generic rather than historical episode - which contrasts with club and society games - which generally have nothing to sell and which almost universally recreate historical events.

(15mm eye candy from the Heraclea game)

(28mm eye candy from the War & Conquest game)

In that respect, there may be less difference between this post and the BattleDay post than I'd first have thought.   It will be good to see 28mm ancients getting to grips with the challenges of depicting real historical battles.  And, yes, I know there are exceptions - I feature them here every time I see them.

The full size spectacular this year was the reconstructed beam sling featured in the reenactment zone.   Making the 'for and against ExCel' propositions, I wonder how many venues could accommodate that indoors?

I enjoyed the display, and every time I walked past, the people in the stand seemed fully engaged talking to visitors and demonstrating weapons and equipment - they were making very good use of their space I think.  Thumbs up for that!

I was very busy helping out the Pike & Shot Society this year .. But, at the show, I also managed to see ...

(Mexican American war)

(World War Two)

There were lots of plastic 28mm figures, masses of WWII and cabinets full of MDF buildings.   Even Magister Militum had a commercial spin off table (complete with players in livery tee shirts) and Kallistra had 3 tables of hexon terrain ... so, if there was a theme to the Jason & the Argonauts Salute, what would it be?   Probably playing an imaginary Bolt Action WWII scenario with plastic 28mm figures hiding in MDF ruins on a hexagon tablescape.

If that wasn't your ideal wargame, there was always Slingshot ...

Me?   Well amongst a lot of predictable stuff I managed to get a look at Peter Pig's new Vikings.   OK, I had seen them on the website and in announcements on TMP etc. but they had looked a little ... er ... 'unspectacular' in Martin Goddard's customary flat grey primer.  

In fact, the figures are little beauties ...

(a handful of my new Peter Pig Vikings)

I know the picture just makes the point that most figures do look unspectacular in raw metal - but bear with me time you see them they will be painted and you will get it!    

Unashamedly hollywood, they have big beards, big axes, broken shields, spears through their chests ...

With so many 54mm and flats incoming, I had pretty much decided not to do another 15mm project in the near future - but as soon as I saw them I knew that my Dark Age DBA options would need a Viking army adding!   I'll do a proper job, mind.

Next outing Milton Keynes ... see the 54mm Bosworth game ..!

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