My impressions were:
- the venue was darker than usual;
- the quality of the games was much higher than in recent years;
- terrain modelling is getting better and better;
- "eau de wargamer" is being replaced by "eau de MDF buildings" as the defining smell of wargames shows;
- Dark Ages Skirmish must now be an official period in its own right (with a sub-set of all those rules systems that have "Dux" in their name somewhere);
- I really don't see the point of the re-enactors, particularly the sci-fi ones (someone on TMP's got all agitated about them pointing guns at people; I can kind of see his point);
- lots more "foreign" voices heard than before - LT said he'd spoken to a bloke from Finland;
- it's clearly obligatory for any 1914 game to have lots and lots of bicycles;
- Alan Perry didn't have much in the way of forthcoming AWI releases, other than the large cart previously previewed...but his new book is very nice;
- I didn't ever really think they'd actually run out of freebie bags at any stage...but if you arrive after midday apparently they do (I'd had to take Hugo to rugby practice in Chelmsford, so didn't arrive until after lunch).
I managed to met up with most of the people I'd arranged to meet. Many thanks to Malcolm "Little Armies" Rose for gifting me his freebie figure.
Here are some random pics. As always, there were some games I missed and no doubt I've mis-attributed those I did see.
Newark Irregulars' Battle of Keren 1941; amazing terrain:
Loughton Strike Force had a Kursk 1943 game, which really evoked the space of the Russian steppe:
Capitan Games had an excellent Talavera game, with terrain that really evoked Spain and had undulating hills:
Newbury & Reading Wargames Society had a Normans v Byzantines game, which had very impressive shield walls:
Oshiro Model Terrain presented their usual advertorial, with beautiful buildings for the Samurai era:
4-Ground had various displays of their MDF buildings. There was one 25mm WW2 display which shows what properly-in-scale buildings look like - I wonder if this is a sign of the future..
Gripping Beast's "SAGA The Crescent and the Cross" Crusades game:
I'm a big fan of neglected 19th century period, and the Continental Wars Society had this intriguing siege of Rome 1849 game - Garibaldi's red shirts v the French. Innovative use of Perry plastic ACW and other figures:
A personal favourite - the battle of Barbastro during the First Carlist War. Lots of conversions and attention to detail here:
Lots of 1914 games. This one was by the The Tin Soldiers of Antwerp. Lots of bicycles:
Wargames Illustrated's Arklow 1798 games was a sort of 18th century "Zulu" - thousands of Irish rebels against a few dozen British:
Dien Bien Phu: I didn't catch who was responsible for this game, but the terrain and painting was excellent:
This was a WW2 Paras game, but I didn't catch who was responsible:
WSS magazine and Simon Miller's Caesar's invasion of Britain game - fantastic boats:
I think this was Whitehall Warlords' 15mm Vietnam game:
And just in case you've read this far, here's a shot of the AWI unit I'll post about in a couple of days: