Saturday, 16 April 2016

Salute 2016 - a somewhat jaundiced experience

Superb architectural modelling: the wargame is irrelevant.
If I didn't go to Salute I might miss something, but it's far less of interest to me than it once was.  This year's visit was even more routine than usual. I picked up some more Hexon from Kallistra and had a chat about some possible, though probably unlikely, Hexon extensions. I bought a few more trees from S&A Scenics. I got some ready-painted Epsilon buildings from Pendraken. And I bought a few steel bases which I only mention for completeness. I could have done all that online.

Other than these more-or-less planned purchases, nothing new caught my attention. I might have made some impulse purchases on the bring-and-buy stand, but, disappointingly, there wasn't one. Good job I didn't take anything to sell!  Of course, I do have a wargaming shopping list, but most of the things on it were not available at Salute.

Unusually, I also walked round the games. I don't usually bother, partly because I find it difficult to concentrate on them in the oppressive and disorientating Excel environment, and otherwise because I usually end up having a few drinks with old friends. That can also end in disorientation but it's more pleasurable.

At a show like Salute it isn't really the game that counts but the visual impact it makes, and in that regard my vote would go to the Battle of Wilhelmsthal which I believe was the work of Bill Gaskin and friends. As good as the figures undoubtedly were, it was the architectural models which grabbed my attention. It was absolutely superb work depicting a very different world from the gargantuan hangar which houses Salute.

Could Salute be better? Yes, it could be somewhere else.

23 comments:

  1. According to the Warlords, there isn't anywhere else big enough.

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    1. Hi Mike

      I wouldn't say all the space was utilised. If it's a question of footfall, the show could go to two days.

      Richard

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    2. I'm pretty sure that most of the traders at Salute would not thank you for a second day. Doing Salute is an expensive outing for them as well as being exceedingly tiring. The second day of two day shows in the UK are usually dull affairs in business terms so are even less attractive in business terms. As a straightforward punter I would never go to a show as big as Salute anyway so making it bigger wouldn't help me.

      Mind you I do go to Crisis In Antwerp because the beer there is Belgian.

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    3. Hi Jim

      I expect there are all sorts of reasons why this won't happen, not least the burden it would put on the members of the South London Warlords who bear the burden of running it. I am not ungrateful, I've just realised that I also prefer the smaller shows. I also share your enthusiasm for Belgian beer!

      Richard

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  2. The buildings look like German model railway kits.

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    1. Ha, that might explain why they look so good! And I was trying to find something positive to say about Salute!

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  3. I see the history of the show's venues is told by John Treadaway at the back of the Salute 2016 brochure. The first one I attended was at the Old Chelsea Town Hall. I was a member of SLW during the period Salute was at Kensington Town Hall, and thus a volunteer helper at the event.

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  4. I know exactly what you mean..which is why I stopped going to Salute a few years ago.

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    1. I'm glad it's not just me...

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    2. Nope, it's not just you. I've done the same as Boggler, but with the (possibly) added deterrent of having to sell a kidney to get there.

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  5. I didn't go either, l only would have picked up some Perry stuff, the postage is about four pounds so compared to the entry fee l have made a saving!

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  6. I pretty much agree. I'm glad I went but only stayed a couple of hours and only bought things on my list.

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  7. Very interesting post, Richard. I missed Salute this year, for several reasons (but none connected to not wanting to go). As a wargamer who has helped to put on games at various Salutes, I know what you mean about the visual impact of games being the thing which stands out from walking around the show. As a showcase for the hobby, everyone enjoys seeing amazing-looking games at Salute. Trying to raise that visually stunning bar, year after year, is no doubt worthwhile in itself. But it has led at some shows to the "moving diorama" type of game - games which for periods of time no one seems to be actually playing. There's a good middle-ground - a good looking game, being played and enjoyed by participants - and that's the kind of game I love seeing at wargames shows.

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    1. Quite a few games did look like dioramas which not much, if anything happening:(

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    2. I've also been involved in putting on games at shows, but not at Salute. My local gaming comrades favour participation games as they believe they are a better recruiting tool for our club. For us the experience of the public participant comes first, then the game and lastly the look...

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    3. Which just goes to show that biggest isn't always best. Having a couple of disabilities I do find Salute a bit of a chore, but Salute does bring benefits as well as problems. Being a large show attracts lots of variety in both games and traders.. I go for shows for two main reasons gaming and looking for products. Salute is good for me in the latter respect as there's plenty of traders to visit and I like to handle and see the things I might buy (which is tricky with online shopping). However, I prefer a smaller show like Warfare or Joy of 6 if I'm after gaming. The Salute venue isn't ideal, but I can get there relatively easily from the South East by public transport. I probably won't make Partizan as it's a bit out of town. So, is Salute good or bad? It really depends on what you most want, but despite its problems I'll probably go again.

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    4. Thanks for your comments, Ian. Perhaps some chairs along the empty walls would be helpful for us older folk? It's a long way back to the entrance when you need a rest.

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  8. Talking to Leon at Pendraken, it costs around £70,000 must to hire the hall. So tickets sales pretty much cover this. Add in table hire, security (they had sniffer dogs this year!), cleaners etc and this is covered by the traders fees, which is another sizeable chunk apparently. So this would tend to rule out a 2-day show...

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    1. I'm sure that Salute, like many other things, is driven by an inner logic, but that doesn't mean to say that it gets better and better, just bigger and bigger. I didn't go there with the intention of knocking it, but the day's experience made me realise how much more I enjoy SELWG, Reading and Cavalier. However, as I said at the very beginning, if I didn't go I might miss something...

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  9. Hi Doc, really enjoyed reading this. Perhaps you might enjoy my post on the show, over at 'a question of scale dot blogspot'? Like you, I really dislike the venue/location. It's so horribly modern and corporate. So obviously all about money and not about a decent quality of human life. Pretty much like most modern 'culture', in my curmudgeonly view. But strangely I've never mentioned that in my posts on the show. So I was glad to read your piece, and agree entirely. I always liked Partizan a lot cause the venue, Kelham Hall, was lovely, but that's been moved to another location this year.

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    1. Hi Seb

      Thanks very much for alerting me to your blog which make very interesting reading.

      Richard

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  10. Salute is the only wargaming show I go to now days. I used to do five shows every year, then it has slowly shrunk to just Salute. Mostly I have gone for the window shopping aspect - from Trader's stands or the impressive games. Sure I spend money but that is secondary to finding out what is available.

    This year Chris - my wargaming comrade - and I both came away disappointed. Separately we both summarised the experience as "Lots of stuff but wrong figure scale (we favour 15mm), wrong period/genre (I favour Spanish history; Chris favours SciFi), wrong material (favour metal over plastic). What is my scale, period and material is well known and I could buy on-line, so why bother struggling with the crowds."

    Normally I savour Salute. Take my time over it and explore everywhere. This year I just rushed through as fast as I could.

    Next year we've agreed to play a day long wargame instead.

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    1. Yes, window shopping is, in theory, the principle pull of shows for me too and that can be very hit or miss.

      Many people have commented about the high SciFi content at this year's Salute, but perhaps not in the right scale for your friend.

      Ironically, I currently find myself musing about SciFi. It's poor timing! If only I'd developed that interest a few weeks ago my Salute experience might have been more rewarding.

      But then I do tend to muse about new games and then drop them. A few weeks ago it was gladiatorial combat. It lasted a few days but not long enough to get a mention on this blog.

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