Sunday 17 April 2016

Salute 2016

I hadn't planned on visiting Salute this year. Last year was my first visit and although worth the trip, I much prefer Colours as a show. Then I received a bit of a last minute request from Michael Leck asking if I would be able to help out on their table. Well frankly I couldn't say no to such a tempting offer! Afterall I had been following their plans with great interest over the previous few months, details of which can be found on Michael Leck's Blog and Jonas' Blog.

So a rather early start saw me arrive at the Excel Centre around 8.30am, just in time to start helping the chaps set up the table. After a busy hour or so we were ready just in time as the doors were opened to the public. We had an overwhelmingly positive response to the table, the figures and the Lion Rampant ruleset that we were using. Michael, Jesper and Jonas provided some simple wonderful figures whilst Jan once again came up trumps with a superb scratch built table and terrain. Colin, Tony and I as general helpers were able to answer lots of questions from the visitors, as well as taking part in the game to allow the others to have a bit of a wander around the show. I had to leave in the early afternoon but there was still plenty of interest in the table and the game, which was great to see.

So before I get to some thoughts on the show in general, I thought I'd post a few pics of the game:

Mercenary German cavalry come galloping past a shipyear, to the aid of their Swedish paymasters.

The Danes have landed on the beach and start to move inland past the market.

The Swedish Archbishop musters his troops to see off the Danes.

The Danes have formed shieldwalls after leaving their longboats, with a skirmish screen in front.

More Danish troops on their way in Jan's scratch built longobats.

As the Danes approach, Jesper  waits confident that the Swedes will prevail!

I did manage to snatch a quick look around the show at lunchtime. there was simply so much to see that I concnetrated on a few games that were of interest to me.

The siege of Bristol, with probably St Mary Redcliffe church in the background.

Looking from the southern city walls to the siege works.

The infantry in the fields outside the city walls.

A Seven Years War game.

The same game but from the other end of the table.

Another Seven Years War game on a superb table.

A British firing line outside the city.

Some more spendid looking chaps.

The terrain was superb and the buildings incredibly detailed.

So what did I think of this years show? Some thoughts below in no particular order: 
  • It's a long way to go for a show. I live in Bristol and with good traffic it is a 6 hour round trip. No suprise then that it makes for a very long day out.
  • It is relatively expensive to attend the show. Factoring petrol and parking, it cost me around £60. If I attended as a visitor and planned in advance, it would cost me around £30. But then it is more than a shopping trip for me, really a chance to catch up with friends and traders that I have known for along time.
  • We all commented upon the harsh lighting and noise of the show. This took its toll quite quickly, especially when you are concentrating all of the time. Not a lot can be done about this due to the nature of the venue.
  • The show is incredibly well organised and 'hats off' to the South London Warlords for all of their efforts.
  • We heard that there were 6,000 plus advanced ticket sales, which seemed similar to last year. In the first 10 minutes some 4,000 vistors flooded into the hall! It was certainly a sight to see.
  • This year there seemed to be more display games and they were much easier to see. There appeared to be more space around the tables which was nice.
  • Lots games seemed to have no or very little actual gaming going on. Some seemed to be more dioramas than games. Maybe this was due to the time I looked around, but we made sure that the game was always being played as well as having a few of us as helpers to answer questions, chat to the visitors etc.
  • This year I found it harder to find some traders that I wanted to see. They seemed to be jammed more tightly together than last year (maybe this was one reasone the gaming tables had more space) and so tended to merge into one another. I don't think that it helped that most of us there seemed quite monochrome in out attire! Maybe next year the traders could have better banners etc above their stalls!
  • Simply put the whole show is quite overwhelming. There is just so much to see that it is hard to take it all in. Quite a few people that I chatted to commented upon this. So rather like going to a museum etc, make a plan of what you want to see before you get there so that you don't miss anything.
  • It is tiring, really, really tiring, for both visitors, traders and those demoing games. We saw an awful lot of people almost out on their feet by lunchtime. The entrance hall becomes a bit of a chill out zone and it is worth taking some time out midway just have a mental a physical break.
  • It was really nice to see a lot more children this year. Maybe there is a new generation coming through to replace us older ones, again something that a few people commented upon.

So would I help out next year if asked again? More than likely yes. Michael, Jesper, Jonas and Jan are all great chaps who are a pleasure to chat with and play a game against. Ditto Colin and Tony. This more than offsets the long day involved and it is a nice excuse to meet up with some new friends once again. Michael already has a plan for next year, but he has to persuade Jan to make another table. So watch his Blog for possible further information...


  1. Great post Steve! Some great shots of some great games.

  2. Thank you Steve for taking the time and effort to come and help us out, you participation really added to the day, thankyou very very much!!!

    1. It was a pleasure to be able to help out on such a stunning game:)

  3. Thank you Steve for all your help during the day! It was really nice meeting you and get to chat a bit between the mad rush of visitors. I hope to see you next year!

  4. More than happy to help Jonas and great to meet you too:)

  5. You're certainly getting out and about these days Steve. Nice reports on both Salute and the Bloody Big Bash. I don't reckon I'll ever bother with Salute myself - just a bit too overwhelming.

    Hope to get together soon.