Sunday 15 April 2018

Salute 2018 Show Report

Late last year I was once again asked by Michael Leck of Dalauppror Blog fame if I would like to help out with their table at Salute; naturally I said yes! The Swedish chaps always put on a great game, are great to play against and are all round good guys. You also learn quite a bit about warfare in and around the Baltic, which personally I find rather interesting.

So fast forward a bit and yesterday saw myself and my dear wife, somewhat bleary eyed, heading off down the M4 towards London at 5.00am. Fog and unmanned roadworks not withstanding, our journey was mercilessly trouble free and, after dropping her off at friends, saw myself arrive at the show just before 9.00am. I headed off straight to the table and luckily the chaps had pretty much finished putting everything together, bar a few last minute touches. So we had plenty of time to catch up, take in the table, what troops were where etc and make sure we understood the background so that we could explain things to any passing punters that might be interested, of which there were quite a few!

Before things kicked off in earnest, I had some time to take some pics of the table, to try and give a good idea of the battle, the wonderful terrain once again scratch built by Jan, as well as the figures and wonderful vignettes that were dotted around the table.

Michael, co-author of 'The Pikemen's Lament' rules, which we were using, taking far better shots than I of the table.

The Russians, having disembarked from their galleys, form line ready to cause as much mayhem as possible.

On one side of the isthmus, the Russians are reading to their hearts content.

A view from where the Russians landed.

One of the Swedish redoubts, which the Russians wanted to destroy. However the Swedes had sunk a Russian galley, which some civilians had come to look at.

A view from the Swedish positions and camp, with a Swedish galley bombarding the Russians on the left bank.

The Swedish supply train and a view of the Swedish galleys.

The Stockholm garrison preparing to leave camp to fight the Russians.

An unfinished Swedish redoubt. Still a formidable obstacle for a frontal assault.

More Swedes arrive.

Another view of the Russian lines.

An overall view of the table, one which most gamers would see as they approached our part of the show.

The Russian Cossacks raiding the Swedish farms. Apparently the Cossack with the tricorne hats on his lance is modeled on an Osprey illustration.

An officer and a gentleman defending the honour of a lady.

The Russians being bombarded from the redoubt and the galleys.

One of the galleys doing the bombarding.

The doors opened at 10.00am and it took a while before the gamers worked their way down the hall towards our table. However, we were in action straight away despite this, with plenty of interest shown from the start, especially by gamers from Denmark, Sweden and Finland, which is not surprising really! The galleys proved to be a real talking point throughout the day, having been scratch built by Jan. I loved them so much I want to make my own for use with my ImagiNations forces

The first game ended up being a Russian victory, with Ole from Denmark leading them to victory. I got chatting to him early on as he had the rules but hadn't had a chance to play, so we let him have a go. Obviously he had beginners luck! The second game looked to go the other way, but I had to leave the show by mid-afternoon, so can't be sure of this.

We all took turns to head off and have a walk around the show, more of which later, and whilst doing this, took some pics of the games that were of interest to me. Hopefully they are labelled correctly, but apologies if not, as time was limited for a wander.

A demo game from Great Escape Games simply entitled '1914'. 

The terrain was lovely and I don't know why, but a windmill really sets a table off.

An Ancients game of some sort or other.

Rather like windmills, elephants always bring something extra visually to an Ancients game.

A Colonial bash.

The troops man the walls, or what's left of them.

Battlegroup Tobruk.

One of my favourite planes ready to enter the fray somewhere in North Africa.
Team Yankee, the modern variant of Flames of War.

Normandy 1944 by the looks of it.

That Tiger I looks rather vulnerable to a PIAT or Bazooka shot...

Napoleonics by the look of it.

Hougemont or something similar?

The Allies on the ridge at Waterloo?

Another Ancients game, put on by the SoA?

I rather like the way they have done the ridge.
More elephants, my friend Keith would have been happy!

Another Cold War game that featured at Colours last year from memory/

Simple yet very effective terrain.

A War of the Roses game, a last minute replacement for a planned WWII game.
2D card soldiers and terrain. I really loved this.

To my mind very effective and visually pleasing.

'For King & Parliament' game, using Pendraken 10mm figures and put on by Andrew Brentnall, co-author of the rules.

A wonderful set piece of Soggy Bottom village.

The 28mm version of FK&P. Again, very, very nice.

An ACW game, that I believe won an award at the show. The fort was pretty damned impressive. 

A lovely table but not much, if any, gaming at this point.

A very impressive Pirates game.

Those ships looked pretty damned good.

A 'Command & Colours' game (I think).

A nice table, again simple but very effective.

American War of Independence.
Another Battlegroup Tobruk game, with some awesome seaplanes.

The terrain was beautifully done with the sea looking very realistic.

Ardennes 1944. 

Post Show Impressions
Salute is one of those shows that, rather like Marmite, you either love it or hate. This is, I think, my 4th year in a row as either a visitor or as part of a demo game. As with previous years, I'll make some points about the show and shows in general. So in no particular order:

  • I think this was the nicest Salute I've attended. Talking with Leon from Pendraken and a chap from 4Ground, they reduced the number of traders this year, which gave more space for everyone. So for the first time it was nice to be able to wander around the show and see the games and traders with ease. Compare this with a couple of years ago and the reverse was the case, when they actually increased the number of traders. Certainly a case of less is more.
  • If you are a 28mm or 15mm gamer, then you are in 7th Heaven. Or could it possibly be Hell? This year as you could really get a good look at the traders and what was on offer, I was gobsmacked and how much choice is out there. Too much possibly as everyone is competing for a finite market. Just take a look at the amount of laser cut mdf buildings that are on offer. Some of it is eye wateringly expensive, others damned good value. To be honest I'm glad I went down the 10mm route many years ago, so I am not tempted by all that is on offer.
  • This year I felt there was a greater range of demo games on offer and the quality was, on the whole, pretty high. The sci-fi and fantasy games, of which there were many, held no interest to me, but seemed to be pretty popular and importantly bringing in new blood to the hobby.
  • I'm not sure whether it is the time I walk around the show, which is normally when people are having lunch, but many of the games were not actually being played. Personally I want to see a game in action, to be able to ask about the rules, the thoughts behind them etc. I know from talking to gamers at the show, that they appreciate seeing the game being played on our table. Hats off to Simon Millar and Andrew Brentnall of 'FK&P' fame, to Rich of 'Two Fat Lardies' and those Wings of War chaps on the table next to us, who were actually playing their games. Well done and thankyou.
  • Another bug bear of mine is tables with no info on what is being played, or of people to talk to. Hats off to Leon at Pendraken who prepares info for all of the tables at the Battleground show which they sponsor. Surely the organiers could do this at Salute?
  • Will I attend Salute again? Possibly. It is a long and expensive day out for me and also a tiring one. Apart from collecting a pre-order at Pendraken, I bought nothing this year at the show, so the jury is out on this one.

So another year and another Salute survived. Time now to get back to some wargaming and hopefully my WWII campaign...