Today I returned to Middlesbrough. It was the third SMOGGYCON Show. I’d been to the first and really enjoyed it as an excellent replacement for the defunct Stockton Shows. Good venue, keen organisers and good selection of traders and games. I missed last year as snow prevented Norman D’s BMW sporty thing getting out of his drive! But today he picked me up at 9am and off we set. Too busy talking, we missed the turning and were heading toward Thirsk! Quick turnaround and the venue was found with no problems. The car park was pretty full which was a good sign.
It’s an excellent venue. Spacious and light. The two main halls being quiet separate was confusing for some, who commented on the Show being not as big as they thought, and were then introduced to the main Sports Hall – I won’t mention who!
There was a good range of demo games on, some familiar from other shows, and a few participation games.
An excellent looking SYW game wherein it was good to see a lot of my favourite RSM miniatures. The first picture highlighting an issue with the lighting in the Sports Hall which although bright enough gave everything a yellow tinge!
The Derwentside Club had an interesting SF game where all terrain AND vehicles were made from card!
Border Reiver Wargames had a very impressive Irish Civil War street battle depicting ‘The Block’, one of the last actions in Dublin in 1922.
Tyneside Wargames Club fielded an impressive array of Imperialists and Ottomans for a Great Captains game.
Various WW2 games were on show using rules such as Rapid Fire and Kampfgruppe Normandy . It was not always easy to see what games were and what rules were used. Asking would have been the solution but I was a bit pressed for time as the battery on my phone/camera was on the way out. Again. So I apologise in advance for lack of accreditation.
There were other demos and competition games in the Sports Hall but the lighting didn’t really facilitate decent photos.
As I’d travelled down with Norman D Landings we met up with Goat Major and Peeler (all WD3 denizens). The latter, with the Yorkshire Shore Wargamers, had a neat little DBx Colonial game open for participation using 20mm Zulus against the valiant redcoats.
I’d seen at least one game mirror Zulu Dawn rather than Zulu so the three of us, plus Rich with Peeler as umpire embarked on a game ourselves. I’ve never really played DBA but some of the variants seem to have a good following and reputation and this set (which I’ll have to get Peeler to remind the name of!) were no exception. As the Zulus charged forward onto the British line they were met with withering volleys (despite my naval guns jamming!) and suffered badly. On the right (Rich commanding) they fell to Native Levies and when finally made contact were driven off with much loss. By the time the flank attack was approaching the army had broken to not a single loss to the Queen’s forces! As the roll call was called afterwards all were present and correct and the impis returned to villages full of widows. Fun little game. Excellent rules.
And finally the re-enactors (ACW and WW1) looked excellent and had friendly and informative stalls.
All in all it was a good show.
It was inevitable I’d buy something but I tried to be restrained. A few bases, a Britannia BMP for my 20mm Soviets. Some dice (you can never have too many!). And Extra Impetus 4 which finally has the lists for my Punic Armies.
And having swore I would do nothing that involved a new scale or a new period, I walked away with a 10mm Pendraken Zulu War pack! God knows when I’ll paint them but it was only one pack and one pack of figures do not a new project make! Honest…
Bring and Buy was spacious and well run. Not much in the way of bargains for me but there were two boxes, 105 figures in each, of plastic Spencer Smiths. Neatly painted and at £40 a box well worth it I thought. Now there was no way I could justify them but I know a man who might! So come the end’ish of the show as people were reclaiming their stuff from the Bring and Buy I asked if I could leave a contact email for the owner to see if he would like to contact my friend who MIGHT have been interested. But no, it was against ‘Club Rules’. The models had not sold, any potential sale resulting was likely to be weeks off even if it happened and it was in the owners court if even bothered contacting. But no. Not allowed. They obviously couldn’t risk losing the 10% they weren’t getting anyway… I understand and support the general rule about grabbing stuff in the signing in queue, or pulling from the table and then selling and I wouldn’t condone that. But this was the end of the day and they’ve basically cost the guy a potential £80 sale. I felt it was a little petty…
So if the seller reads this, drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch. It may not happen but you never know…
So in summary, it was another excellently organised show. Good games. Good traders and good atmosphere. A welcome regular addition to the pre-Christmas show calendar. Roll on next year.