YOU Show Report
Some April sunshine and the wargaming extravaganza of the year blew away the doom and gloom – at least for a day, as Andrew Hubback and Gary Mitchell report.
8 DamntheTorpedoesandFullSpeedAhead!TheimaginativegamesetinthePacificinanalternateearly20thcenturytimelinepresentedbyArbuthnot’s AeronauticalLeagueofGentlemen.PhotographybyNeilSayer.
It’s become something of a tradition in recent years to run down Salute as too big, too impersonal, too expensive and just too… much, Andrew Hubback writes. Well, there was no justification for that in 2011 as this year’s show was, within hours of it closing, being acclaimed on line by even the most curmudgeonly gamers as the best ever. It’s no exaggeration: everyone seems to have pulled out the stops to deliver a great experience and the standard of figure painting and terrain on display, in particular, set new standards for wargames shows.
The theme this year was the American Civil War and the show actually took place only days after the 150th anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter and the start of that conflict. As well as period re-enactors, many clubs and companies took the theme to heart with plenty of ACW games in action. These ranged from the Gettysburg refight staged by Baccus 6mm - which promised to recreate the entire battle in one hour on a 6 x 5 table - to Newbury & Reading’s First Bull Run (seeMWApril 2011fortheprequel) and the host club’s own Antietam game (again,see MWApril2011formorebackground) while some others struck out into alternative history and fantasy territory (see Gary’s report below).
Every other period and genre was represented too, of course. The selfexplanatory Rather Large Towton Group put on a giant refight of this Medieval battle using around 20,000 Baccus 6mm figures – which won them the Most Impressive Troops prize. There were a number of games set during the English Civil War and, while Napoleonic games seemed unusually thin on the ground, the 19th century as a whole was well represented with games representing the War of 1812 from Wigmore Warriors; the Austro-Prussian War (Real Time Wargames) and the First Schleswig-Holstein War (from the awardwinning Continental Wars Society). There were several WWI games including a number of air warfare ones and one, put on by Gloranthan Army, using ‘Memoir 14’; a homemade variant of commercial WWII set Memoir44. Actual WWII games were as popular as ever. Loughton Strike Force took the Salute Challenge Shield for their Budapest 1944 game and Staines Wargamers’ Taranto set-up also picked up a gong. The Combined Ops Group put on a 1/600 scale refight of the Operation Crusader campaign in the Western Desert; Magister Militum put on a Stalingrad game to play test the Combat48rules from Baueda; Maidstone Wargames Society presented
Bridge on the River Wye – an imaginative skirmish game set in a Nazi-occupied Britain – and the south-east Londoners of SELWG ventured north of the river just long enough to put on a big Kursk game with up to 12 players controlling as many as 72 tanks at one time. No game to support it, but Warhammer Historical (now part of Forge World) also used Salute to launch their new WWII rules KampfgruppeNormandy.
Finally, there were a smattering of post1945 games. Chemins de Feu staged one set in Chechnya and I believe they have a set of rules for this conflict in the works. Deal Wargames Society put on West Side Boys Story, a game based on the SAS raid to rescue hostages in Sierra Leone in 2000 and The Escape Committee put on a ‘Cold War Turned Hot’ game to demonstrate the new ForceonForce rules from Osprey/Ambush Alley Games.
Clash of Rules One of the biggest stories out of this year’s Salute, however, was the plethora of new Ancients rules being either released or announced at the show in what amounts to the biggest shake-up of Ancients gaming since the launch of FieldofGlory. First out of the traps are ClashofEmpiresand HailCaesarby Great Escape Games and Warlord Games respectively. Both are glossy hardback books packed with plenty of eye candy that would look great next to anyone’s tabletop. Both were supported by games at Salute and both seemed to be selling like hot cakes. Also in the running is War&Conquestfrom Scarab Miniatures – they had a Plataea demogame for their new rules running at Salute although the rules themselves aren’t out until the summer. Add Polemos–ImperialRomeby Baccus 6mm and Sagafrom Gripping Beast into the mix and you can see how congested this market is going to get. It’s a bit too early to pick a winner but, given their successful track record with Black Powder, it would be unwise to bet against Warlord Games.
As a trader, it’s hard to cover the entire show and look after my stand at the same time but I think I’m right in saying that the vast majority of the thousands of visitors went home happy. Of course, there were the usual niggles about the queue to get in and perhaps it wasn’t quite as busy as last year but, on the plus side, the show seemed to attract a younger demographic this year and there appeared to be a larger than usual contingent of visitors from across the Channel. As the publisher of the official show guide, I have to declare an interest but, overall, the South London Warlords succeeded in refuting the critics with Salute 2011. They proved once again that a dedicated band of volunteers can put on a huge event that runs smoothly and acts as a showcase for the hobby in a way that even a professional event organisation company would find to beat. Long may they continue to do so.
M I N I AT U R E WA R G A M E S : : I S S U E N U M B E R 3 3 8 : : J U N E 2 0 1 1