Vapnartak 2012 – York Wargames Show

Vapnartak, the first big show of the year in the north was upon us again today. Attendance was a little touch and go at the end as my daughter was ill on the Friday and we had to take the cat to the vets on Saturday morning. So it was near 3pm before we had dropped the kids (and cat) at their grandparents and as we approached York around 5pm we also ran into the snow that was beginning to blanket the country. For once I was attending York with my wife. We planned a Saturday night out in York and then we would both be going shopping: me at the show, her in York! We managed a food and drink in York (Wagamama and then the York Tap) by braving the blizzards and woke up Sunday morning to see the following view from the hotel window:

Although Tadcaster Road seemed pretty clear it was uncertain how the rest of the area was and how this would affect attendance at the show and if all traders would make it. So I was dropped at the show at 10.30, the road up being pretty well covered in snow and a little treacherous but not that bad. As I went in the show seemed a little quiet but this turned out to be more of a slow start due to the weather rather than a bad omen of poor attendance. I’m sure someone from the York club can provide figures, but overall it did seem down on last year but I felt it gave a bit more room to move and see things properly. I spoke to a couple of traders who seemed happy enough with the day but given the conditions and the potential for disaster I think it went pretty well.

Bring and Buy/Table Top Sale

Well, last year I was a little disparaging of the new approach. I had hoped this year to join a friend Keith who was taking a table and try things from the seller side, but kids and cat meant I didn’t get chance to sort anything. However, I made it up there at about 11am and got straight in. All tables seemed in use, it was busy and maybe a little cramped but looked more ‘successful’, to me at least than last year. And Keith seemed happy so have shifted a lot of stuff. I didn’t see anything that grabbed me. I didn’t get chance to get back until about 2pm and by then people were cleared up and there was only two rather sorry looking tables left. So, I think the new style is to stay and to be honest I think it worked better this year than last, maybe the objections last year more to do with the change rather than how it worked! Maybe 2013 I’ll take a table and see…

Demo Games

There ‘seemed’ fewer games this year but I can’t produce figures to prove it. But those I looked at were excellent. I will again apologise in advance for lack of info. I had planned to pick up a show guide and had worked my way round the show in order taking photos. When I went to collect one late on there didn’t seem to be one. I was generously given the printout they were using at reception but it only listed who and not what, and some games seemed to be in different places! As ever, if people shout I’ll update who did what!

First up was the Ilkley Old School game, I assume Mark Dudley being the main man on this one. Some excellent 40mm Prinz August figures, played using Charge! and with a plain but lovely green table! And he also had a few 25/30mm Minden, Tradition and Spencer Smiths on show at the side. Nice looking table and proper Old School.

There were a couple of ancient games in evidence promoting various new rule sets:

There was an excellent WW2 game. Big table, excellent scenery and I think from the printout, Hull Wargames:

The Lance And Longbow (Ravenna?), Pike and Shot and Mark Wheatley had some rather nice looking games:

The table shot of the naval game was from about 11am. It looked the same at 3pm…

SF and Fantasy and its variations were eveident on each floor. An interesting Stingray based game, Star Trek, Victoriana/vampire? and a dungeon game (YWS Warmachine).

Apart from the static naval game there was a nice little ACW demo/participation game from Peter Pig and an interesting Jutlan game from YWS.

Dark Ages are the taste of the month a well. An excellent SAGA demo from Gripping Beast (and good to see kids playing), a Clash of Empires game, and a nifty little Viking Raid game again from YWS.

There were a number of games/activities targeted at younger gamers and this is to be applauded and is something that all shows should aim for.

And so we come to the final pics. Games by the League of Extraordinary Kreigspeilers, and an IRISH CIVIL WAR game from Border Reiver Wargames

What I bought

I managed to keep things pretty reasonable this year:

  • 4 packs of GHQ for my Syrians and Western Desert British
  • my ‘secret weapon’ for the Ayton game
  • Army Painter Leather Brown Spray
  • Baccus French Hussars (seeing as Raise the Colour painting service disappeared taking mine with them!)

And that was it…

I managed to meet up with Peeler, custarpie, Stephen Davison, Ian, Lawrence, Keith and had some nice chats, as well as with a few of the traders. I do like the show and it was good that the turnout was still OK despite the weather. I was going to have a chat with Andrew Hubback of Miniature Wargames about the recent columns by Steve Eardly but in the end couldn’t be bothered (I’d emailed him and not been happy with the response anyway) so I think my subscription will be moving to Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. It was also good to see a leaflet for the Crisis Point Cold War Commander game in Sheffield in April. I would really like to go to this but with Ayton due two weeks after there is no way I could get the requisite pass!


A good show for me. May not the best due to the weather. But fun, sociable and worth the trip.




8 thoughts on “Vapnartak 2012 – York Wargames Show”

  1. I’m a member of the club, and you’re right about there being less people due to the weather, we had 950 paid customers this year, which was 350 less than last year.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the show though!

  2. Thanks for the stylish and excellent report! – I never get to York (sigh!) any more due to carer commitments, so it was nice to see at a distance!

    Love the Stingray game! – but where were the Aquaphibians!??

  3. Thanks for taking the pics – my camera ran out of battery, so I’ll borrow yours as a memento!

    We had a lot of kids play Viking Raid, They were all very enthusiastic and also very well behaved and mannered. They also picked up the rules very very quickly, and were all successful raiders. It was a pleasure to run the games for them.

    Happy to let you have a copy of the rules if you are interested – I enclose my email address. I think Oliver and I incorporated a number of good innovations in the game over the 18 months we developed it. No copyright, feel free to adopt and adapt (but if you publish anything based on my ruleset, a free copy is appreciated)

  4. Thanks for the nice balanced review and nifty photo’s. Sorry about the non existent handout (I gave you the desk copy) we were going to print a large version to put in the foyer and it got missed until 15-00 Saturday when it was too late to sort out.

    We lost one demo game this year due to transport problems earlier in the week. We lost 4 traders 3 down to the weather and one due to wife going into labour.

    950 tickets were dispensed on the door until 14-00 ish when we stopped charging. Tickets did not go to kids or over 60’s who get in free.

    If we add the competition and demo guys I think we had close to 1100 people in the venue not including traders. All things considered that was pretty good.

    Thanks to all that made the effort to come and thanks to the count for his blog.


    preparations for 2013 already ticking over in my head 🙂

  5. I have had the same problem with Raise the Colour painting service. He has a lot of figures and bases and I would like them back. If I have any success I will let you know.

  6. Hi Martin,
    I’ve pretty much given up hope which is a shame as I really liked his painting style. The frustration is the total lack of communication. My stuff is for a very long term project and I’m in no rush at all. If he’d got in touch and just said ‘Life is hell, I can’t do these for the foreseeable” I’d have just left them with him for as and when. But to be ignored totally means he’ll never get any business off me again…

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