Vapnartak 2011 – AAR

And so comes the annual trip to York Racecourse for Vapnartak, the first big northern show. Last few years have been excellent and I was looking forward to this one, despite the restrictions imposed by my Wargaming Neutral project!

Set off early with Ian and his wife Jane, who generously volunteered to drive us down. I had thought of taking my car but my wife made it clear that taking day out and leaving her with the kids was enough, and that taking the car on what was predicted to be a very wet Sunday, would be too much 🙂

We had a good journey down and arrived about 9.45 to find the event already open. We paid our £4 and the £1 change went on a Who Dares Wins dice , the proceeds of which went to Help For Heroes (an announcement later said £500+ had been raised). As we were in early it still seemed quiet, with some sellers/games still setting out the last bits. There was the usual excellent range of traders and demo games. I did notice two stalls selling off collections from gamers who had died recently and I hope they got good deals for the family.

I’ll cover the show in three areas: social, demo games, bring and buy, purchases

Like all shows it’s good to meet up with people, whether old acquaintances, virtual ones, or the people you only ever bump in to at Shows! Of the forum denizens, had the usual nice chats with Levied Troop (WD3), LOSH (GdB) and Ruarigh (Baccus). Ruarigh was on a mission to buy more Vikings and didn’t seem particular about which scale! I saw Eccles (WD3) and crew in passing but the Big E was on his phone and I never saw him again! Also had a nice chat with MarshallNey (WD3) who it had recently been revealed was one of my old lecturers when I did my Masters at Sunderland. Hoping to get him down to the Tyneside Club at some point for a game! Managed a quick chat with Peeler (WD3) in the cafe which is always a pleasure – the chat, not the cafe! Caught up with ex-Tynesider Stephen Davison who was playing in the Impetus Tournament. And it turned out most if the North Shields club and traveled down as well, so good to see them too.

All in all a good show on that front. Always nice to catch up with people.

Demo Games
There’s always a good selection of games at York. I didn’t get as much time as usual to chat with the people but I did manage to do a round of most of the games and get a few pics. I’d picked up a sheet for the layout of the show so I’d hoped to use that help ID the games! However, there is no list on the site of what games were actually put on so I may be a little vague! If I get it wrong please feel free to let me know and I’ll update the info.

First up: Mortimers Cross 3 Feb 1461 by the Lance & Longbow Society (thanks Will!)

Mark Wheatly Demo

OK, now not sure on this one!:

Curteys Demo: Hope I’ve got this right as it was a bloody lovely looking game!

Border Reivers Demo: I know I’ve got this one right as I saw this VBCW action at Derby last year and it’s a lovely looking game put on by a great bunch.

Shame this one was out of focus, but this is part of the Vickers yards.

OK, no the site plan doesn’t match up with the sequence I took the photos so I’m lost now! Sorry…but apparently this one is the North Hull game!

This was an excellent looking WW2 Desert game with some very nicely painted vehicles. Put on by the Ilkley Lads, it was Bir el Gibi 1941. You can see more pics on their site here:

And for a city based game this had some excellent buildings and scenery. Just wish I could remember who and what!

Finally we come to a Dark Age demo from Legendary Wargames. I only spotted this properly quite late on bit there were some beautifully painted 28mm figures and it looked excellent. If this is the standard of the games they put on as part of their Game Days and Wargame Weekends then they may well be worth a visit.

So there you have it. There were a few more smaller games in other areas and I would really liked to have had time to try the Peter Pig AWI rules in their demo game. Apologies to those I missed and for the vagueness of the report!

Bring and Buy
Well, there wasn’t one as such as this year it was replaced with a Tabletop Sale. The idea was that you hire a table (£1 for 30mins) and you sell your own stuff! And to me, it just didn’t work. I went up there four times and I don’t think I saw more than half a dozen tables in use on any visit. There was a ‘display cabinet’ at the end where you could deposit figures securely and they would sell them for you, but the actual tables just didn’t work. You either had to be lucky to be passing there at the times someone was selling, and if you’re selling? Well, who wants to spend their entire show sat there? OK, you could do it in shifts, but if not, your only choice is to to a limited slot and then you miss a lot of potential buyers?

The old style B and B at least had your stuff on display all day if you wanted so you got a good viewing. And I can’t be bothered haggling with sellers. I just want to spot a bargain, and buy it. Now I know they’ve probably done this in response to recent problems with stuff being stolen, and it can’t be easy monitoring a long bring and buy table, but I don’t think this is the solution. The first time I went it was still setting up, the second time I had to queue to get in, the last two times I just wondered in and it seemed very quiet. And this was all before 2pm which I would have thought would be peak times!

So all I can say to the thieving bastards who stole stuff last year is thanks for screwing it up for everyone else!

Ahh the crux of the matter for me! I had a particularly short list and manged to pretty well stick to it! I’ve yet to apply the figures to my Wargaming Neutral tables to see if I’m within my limits but I’m hoping it will be close! So here’s the full list:

  • Wargaming in History Vol. 2 – another excellent volume from Grant and Olley
  • Wargamers’ Annual 2011 – ditto!
  • 3 packs of MDF bases from East Riding
  • 6 packs of Peter Pig AWI 15mm – this may knock a hole in my credits!
  • 1 bottle Vallejo Paint
  • 1 scatter dice – the Dice Shop seemed to do a roaring trade.
  • 1 copy of Charge by Young and Lawford

This last was on one of the ‘collection sell-offs’ and I got it for £5. It’s a 1967 paperback edition so it has the proper photos rather than the ‘scans’ of the recent facsimile edition. [Edit: glad I caught this before anyone else posted, but yes, I know, what I really have is the 1986 Athena reprint! 🙂 Still a nicer edition then the current though!]. This must have been feted. I’d been pondering the fact my copy had gone somewhere years ago and had only yesterday missed one offered on the Old School Wargaming mailing list. So it was at the back of my mind to pick up a copy at York.

So there we have it. I shall do the figures in a bit. If I do go over I have the idea that the credit has to be positive at the end of the month so I can make up lost ground. Or that if at the end of the month it is still negative I can transfer ‘money’ credits to buy myself positive again, but reducing my potential spending fund! We shall see…

I really enjoyed the show again, despite the table top sale, and was pleased with what I bought. It was good to see the regular traders I chat with, good to get continued excellent service from Dave at Caliver, and good to see the assorted chaps for a natter. I hope something can be done about the Bring and Buy next year. Maybe it was just the first year that threw everyone and next year there will be far more seller. Either way, I’ll be there. Thanks to the York Club for another great day.

10 thoughts on “Vapnartak 2011 – AAR”

  1. Wish I'd gone!

    The bring and buy solutions are never ideal. Blame the people who steal, I suppose.

    Every one I've seen is a big scrum and never properly managed – the answer I suppose would be to create a specific stall – manned at all times – with 10% of sales going to the hosting club. Might stop the petty theft.

  2. Top game is Mortimers Cross 3 Feb 1461 by the Lance & Longbow Society, played through twice in the day, both resulting in a historical result with the Yorkists winning.

    I had hoped to use the B&B as working on a demo game meant I didn't have time to sell on a table system. The queuing also meant I didn't get much chance to have a look at what was on sale.

    I'll post up my view on the day on my blog sometime soon.


  3. Hi Count Belisarius

    I’m sorry it wasn’t for you but the tabletop sale at Vapnartak was a success. The show opened officially at 10:00 and a number of sales were made before we even opened. By 10:20 there were 36 traders selling their wares on rented tables.

    No one ever had to queue to book their goods in
    No ones stuff was pinched or broken
    No one came back after 2 hours to find their stuff was still in a box under the table or hidden away
    Customers and sellers were pleased to be able to ‘make a deal’ as the seller was right there
    Sellers did not have to pay 10% – they paid £1 for 30 minutes – this means you can price your stuff keenly and sell it faster – and that is, for the most part , what happened

    With regard to the queue to come in and browse:
    It was never more than 5 minutes long – it was usually less than 2 minutes.
    There was never a scrum inside the bring and buy – people were able to browse and buy at their leisure.

    If we’d staffed the bring and buy in the usual way it would have been smaller (it takes around 15 people to staff it properly at the size of last year’s show). Theft is an issue but we also want to make sure buyers get served in a timely way and both of these need people (who give their time for free).

    We at York War games Society make a loss on the bring and buy but want to provide one as a service to our visitors. We’d love to hear from people who have feedback about the sale and comments for future improvements but I know that a lot of people were very happy with sale this year, they told me so as they left (or as they came round for the second third or umpteenth time).

    See you next year
    York War games Society

  4. Good show report, never been to this show and the table top sale idea sounds different but would like to see it in action.

  5. Thanks for that Andy,

    Seemed a little more people attending this year and some of the traders said they had a good day.

    Its growing into a big show now and as I only have a ten min walk to it, its wargaming heaven.

  6. Hadn't realised you were so close, Paul. We should have met up for a coffee.

    Conrad, I've responded to you comments on my thread on TMP for my report. I think you give a good view from the 'other side' 🙂

    I think most of the issues (or perceived issues) were down to first time/ bad timing and I'm sure it'll be fine for me next year! Thanks for commenting.


  7. Excellent post! – I almost feel I had been able to go!
    I have more dosh saved though from my enforced abstinence!- I admire your 'Neutral' approach to purchasing – you must have really great moral fibre (or an especially inquisitive other half!)

    Thanks again!

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