Sunday 5 October 2014

Blast-Tastic Show Report

Saturday saw the inaugural Blast-Tastic show organised by Michael and Sam of Angel Barracks and The Wargames Website fame. Given that just the two of them had organised this show, which is no mean feat, I offered to help them set things up. Autumn had well and truly arrived as it was wet and windy, but this did not dampen our spirits and after an hour we had managed to get everything pretty much set up. This was lucky as some of the traders had already arrived to start setting out their stalls. The main hall and side room quickly filled up with traders and demo games, so by 9.30am I think all was ready for the eagerly anticipated public. The doors officially openend at 10.00am , but as usual visitors started trickling in before then. 

I managed to have a quick wander of the show and bought some 2-3mm buildings off Brigade Games for use with my planned Black Powder armies for some 18th-19th games. I picked up a second hand GW dreadnought type plastic kit to convert into a walker unit for my IHMN Indian Army Company as well as some die-cast Dalek keyrings for my son. I probably would have bought more stuff but I had left my close viewing glasses at home, so this may have been a blessing in disguise (well as far as my wife is concerned). 

My regular gaming chum Craig was putting on a Gruntz game and I was to be his opponent. I had never played the game before, but had heard a lot about it, so was looking forward to seeing how it played. I had seen Craig's figures only on his Blog and as usual they were painted to his usual high standard. The whole table drew a lot of nice comments with regards to the miniatures as well as his magnetic facade buildings.

Game wise the rules were pretty easy to pick up, but my chances of winning were sabotaged by using Craig's die (he had told me to bring D10 rather than D6) combined with the fact that over two games I couldn't hit a barn door at point blank range! Never the less I enjoyed myself which is the main thing. One of the visitors, Andy, knew the rules and joined in which was nice. He also had the recently released random action cards that changed the standard IGOUGO system, which he kindly allowed us to try out. These got a universal 'thumbs up' from us, although there were a few minor points on the activation sequence that we weren't sure how best to resolve. As this was a show we weren't too bothered and this could be sorted out at a later date.

I was so taken with the game that I ordered the rules the next day, initially to use with my 6mm KR-16 miniatures, with the plan to then have a 15mm force. I resisted buying some of the very, very nice Armies Army  figures on the day, probably because I couldn't see them properly due to my lack of correct glasses to hand.

In between games I took the opportunity to wander the show once again and ended up chatting to Ashley of Paint it Pink fame about her Ogre participation game. I had read about it in a recent Minature Wargames & Battlegames article, but that was all I knew about it. The game looked intriguing, especially with Ashley's wonderfully painted miniatures on show, so when she asked if I would like a game, I immediately said yes. 

And I'm glad I did. I had an absolute blast and hadn't laughed so much in years during a game. Ashley was a wonderful opponent who took her time to explain the rules, which were very quick to pick up, yet had lots of subtlety to them. A couple of hours flew by as the game ebbed and flowed, with me apparently in the end winning by a whisker. To be honest it didn't matter if I won or lost, as I was having such a great time. We could have continued the game, as things could have escalated further, but I had to return to the Gruntz game. Hopefully the scenario Ashley came up with will feature in a future issue of MW&B, with possibly even an AAR of our game. I hope to have the chance to play Ashley again in the future and if I see a copy of the game, I'm sure I will buy it.

Sadly, all good things come to an end and it was time to start packing away. The time had flown by which shows that there wasn't a quiet time during the show, which I think speaks volumes. To get an idea of how the show looked, the following Blogs have pics and comments on the show:

Speaking to Michael at the end of the show, it seems that for the majority of the traders it was worth attending and that they would return next year if the show was on again. There seemed to be a steady flow of people into the show, with a quiet start but by Midday things were ticking along nicely. The venue was nice and light and not too crowded or noisy, which used to be a problem at my old club, Portbury Knights. For myself I hope the show returns next year and goes from strength to strength, but only Michael and Sam will know whether this is possible. Fingers crossed on this as far as I'm concerned.