Just back from the Derby World Wargames show and what was over all a rather good day, if a little tiring due to the excesses of the night before! I’d driven down to Birmingham last night and beer and curry ensued followed by the frequently disturbed night sleeping in my mates back room. I’m obviously getting too old for the old dossing on mates floors lark and was feeling decidedly knackered when we set off early this morning. I was providing transport for Billy, Subedai and Son, and Roy (who playing in the DBMM tournament) and we arrived at the venue before nine for tournament registration. So, how was the show? Usual show AAR: venue, highlights, bring and buy, social and toys.
This was the first year at Castle Donington International Exhibition Center after Derby University pulled the plug on the old venue. I liked the Uni site. Easy to get to. Good facilities. Nice venue. Sometimes a little hard to find ALL the games as they can be spread around but I always liked that part of it. The new venue was like a bloody huge hangar. Everything under one roof. This was the view down the trade/game part:
And this the view of the tournament area:
I can see the benefits of all under one roof but to me the venue lacked atmosphere. And there was a permanent level of noise all the time, wherever you were. I found this a little tiring when trying to talk to people. There was also the regular noise from low flying aircraft and cars on the adjacent track. Although the place felt cold when we first arrived it did warm up quite quickly. It also felt quite hard to find traders despite many having high banners.
The toilets, well the gents anyway, stank by the end of the day and the toilet in at least one cubicle was coming away from the floor with water etc. pouring out the back when you flushed. A few people commented on the expense of the cafe and bar. I objected to paying £4.50 for a veggie sausage and egg bap and £2 for a bottle of Sprite. This may be typical for such venues but it means sandwiches will be the order of the day in future.
Now all that sounds very negative but the overall feel from talking to traders and gamers was generally a happy one. There was a good selection of traders and some very impressive demo games (and a couple that were less so!).
I’ve put a gallery page up with a LOT of pictures. There were just too many games to get all details. As usual, some had excellent supporting information and displays and some had nothing! So I’ve put all the pictures up and left in the quick ID shots I take. For me the highlights were the 6mm games. The Borodino game looked excellent:
The 28mm Carlist War game also had some lovely figures and terrain on display as well.
See the gallery here.
And you may get some help ID’ing games from the Show website: here
Bring and Buy
I like a traditional Bring and Buy but I am beginning to come around to the York tabletop sale solution for big shows. For me the B&B this year was just too chaotic and difficult to view/find anything. There was a good footage of tables but there was too much stuff on them. The problem with this was highlighted when I saw a box of books I was interested in. I lifted the box on top of it only to find someones 15mm medieval army box sat atop the book box with all lances now at right angles! I’d have been less than pleased if they were mine. Despite numerous visits I failed to see anything I needed/wanted. I’m sure those who sold a lot of stuff will be happy but I really think things need re-thinking for next year.
The social side of the shows continues to be more of a priority for me. This year saw my productive trade with Ian Willey of The Blog with No Name and it was good to catch up and chat several times. There was also a good gathering of WD3’ers, especially given that the forum is down at the moment. The gathering saw myself, Subedai, Essex Boy (yes, he found the place!), Levied Troop, Peeler, Goat Major and Word2Dave. I fine gathering and good to see and talk to everyone. I also had a couple of nice chats with Dr Mike as he ran his 6mm painting clinic. Various other chats with assorted traders rounded off a very sociable show.
So did I buy much? Not really. I bought the new Wargamers’ Annual 2013 by CS Grant. I quite like these and always find something useful in them so will be delving into that as bedtime reading. I bought a few bits and pieces from Baccus the precise details of which Peter has forbidden me to divulge! Adler provided me with assorted wagons and limbers for my SYW ImagiNation troops. Martin, at Warbases, brought a sample of the sabots I want for my 15mm Dux Brittaniarium troops and I’ll be posting some details on that next week when I’ve had chance to try them out. And finally, half a dozen HeroClix figures for my kids to see how long this lot last before they break them! I had also wanted some 40x30mm laser cut bases but Warbases don’t carry the laser cut to shows and when I finally made it to Pendraken/Minibits the 40×30 tray was empty! Mail order it will be…
For me, the jury is still out on the venue. I’m not sure how I’d have got there without the car (and I’m selling the car tomorrow anyway!) and the atmosphere does little for me. The range of traders and games was excellent though. And the whole social side of it was a major success which in many ways is the important thing. As with any major venue change there will be teething troubles and there will be the shock of the new so I don’t want to be too negative. Transport permitting I will be there next year (with sandwiches) and I hope today and tomorrow are a success for the traders as well and that next year the show gets the support it deserves as I’m sure it’s no simple task to organise. Overall? … a good day was had.