Monday, 23 April 2012

Salute 2012 Report

Another year and another splendid Salute. Again we trekked up the motorways from the South West to attend what must easily be the biggest wargames show in the United Kingdom. First off I'd like to say how well organised it seemed to be, especially given the number of games, traders and attendees.

But before I go any further there is one complaint I would like to make with respect to a minority of the attendees... Now I'm hardly what you would call slim, so when manoeuvring through the crowds of people I attempted to be mindful of others, especially as I had a small rucksack on my back. Sometimes a polite excuse me was required, no problem. When I did bump in to someone then a simple "oh, sorry" was offered, again no problem. So what's with the small number of BFRBWR's (Big, Fat, Rude Blokes With Rucksacks)? Haven't they heard of basic manners? When my wife was barged out of the way by one such twit I briefly remonstrated with him only to receive a puzzled look and confused grunt (others simply ignored everyone around them). Perhaps they have "unresolved social issues". There's very little that can really be done about them, except perhaps to carry a cattle prod next time. Anyway, grumble over.

Like last year, one of my first stops of the day was at the Gripping Beast mega stand to have a look at all the new Saga goodies, plus pick up my hefty pre-order ... and quite a few extra packs too! A number of Saga demos were in full swing with Darren providing guidance.

Also on hand was Alex Buchel of Tomahawk Studios to explain his newest offering, 'Muskets & Tomahawks' (18th century skirmish in North America). As expected, the stand and the games were both very popular. GB also released a number of new items for Salute, most notably the Skraelings and the Godwinson brothers for Saga. I nearly picked up a box of Jomsvikings but good sense prevailed! In fact the gamers were emptying some of the shelves faster than the GB chaps could re-stock them.

Next we decided to make a careful tour of the demo games and traders stands to ensure that, unlike last year, we didn't miss anything.

One game that was creating quite a bit of interest was put on by the fellows at "Les Marie Louise Des Flandres". It was a Great War game featuring the Germans versus the French.

There were plenty of other jolly interesting games on offer. Here's a selection of pictures, along with a few words - where I can recall which group was presenting the game. Apologies if I do not quite get the details right as it was a very busy few hours!

This was Wargames Illustrated's version of the Crimean battle of Sabastopol.

This was a 54mm Peninsular War offering. Lovely painting on the larger figures.

Another game of the popular 'A Very British Civil War'

A Flames of War table, packed with interesting detail - and working electric lights.

Here's "Crush the Kaiser - The Race to the Sea". A very well presented WW1 game set during the very early stages of the Great War. The Belgians and French Marines have started to flood the Yser whilst the Germans attack. Check out the flooded area in the background of the third photo.

Again, Oshiro Model Terrain presented one of the superb Samurai era tables.

Here are Scarab Miniatures with Greeks and Spartans clashing in the Battle of Amphipolis.

I really enjoyed looking at these games and talking - sometimes at length - to some of the gamers about the rules, the models, the terrain, etc. It's gamers and games like these that really makes a good show IMHO.

Which leads me on to my next point ... I noticed that there were a few demo/participation games that, well, looked rather dull. Much like a game from an ordinary club night rather than something for the UK's biggest show.
Now, before I go any further I should say that, without wishing to appear immodest, I've helped to put on a number of show games in the past and some of these have won awards and all were well received. A good show game needs the following key ingredients
1 - Good looking terrain and armies (and keep the game looking good during play by minimising clutter).
2 - Some background information on the battle, rules, etc that are readily available for visitors to peruse.
3 - Welcoming gamers who are keen to talk to the visitors, explain the game/rules/terrain/etc, answer questions and so on.
Yet the games I refer to had little or none of these qualities. I just wondered why these gamers had brought along their games. Oh well, each to their own I suppose.

I've saved what was easily my favourite demo game of the day until last. Regular readers will know that anything Napoleonic, especially the Peninsular War, is of interest. This game, the Battle of Corruna (1809), was one of the most enormous and impressive games I've ever seen.

It wasn't just the scale it was also packed with lots of interesting little details and dioramas. It will be featuring in a forthcoming issue of Wargames Illustrated. I think the pics speak for themselves.

A splendid show and well worth attending. Some old friends were planning to join us for the weekend but alas the dreaded lurgey kept them at home. Hopefully we can all make it along next year!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Saxon Warband for Saga

Here are the Saxons ready to do battle against the pagan hordes that threaten to ravage England! As with the Vikings this is a four point warband for Saga, but I already have several more units on the go.

All figures are from either Gripping Beast or Musketeer. Here's the Warlord and four of his Thegns.

Another four Thegns, all from the GB plastic Saxons boxed set.

Now for the Ceorls. These were purchased with the intent of building an Arthurian era Early Saxon force using Musketeer figures. However, I think they do just fine as Ceorls for Saga.

Another 8 figure unit.

All of these figures were painted using my 'dip then highlight' technique. Here's a few closer shots of the cloaks and the warriors.

As I've mentioned before, highlighting after the dip (and after the matt varnish!) is really easy as the shading is already partly done for you.

Shields are mostly by LBMS apart from some of the plain shields.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Viking Warband for Saga

Here's a four point Viking Warband for Saga, almost all painted by my lovely wife.

In a previous post I showed some figures that I painted as a present for her, so this four point warband is already well on it's way to six points and beyond.

Here's a couple of closer shots

Hirdmen (Hearthguard) in front with more behind in the pic above. The chap with the double handed axe is just counted as a normal hearthguard.

Here there's more Hirdmen in front with Bondi (Warriors) behind.

I must say that Mrs Matt (her real name is Jennifer) has been rather quicker to grasp some of the smarter combinations of Saga abilities on the Viking board than I have with my Saxons. The result has been a couple of sound defeats for the Saxons - but I have won one game!

I'll post some more pics when all 8 points are complete.