For a change this year, the biggest wargames show of the year fell on a rest day for me. A rare occurence, I took full advantage and after recruting a friend for some company, we set of for a day's shopping, browsing and driving (366 miles in one day in the end).
I've been to Salute once before, about 3 or 4 years ago, and based on that I was excited and looking forward to this. I had saved up a decent shopping budget and just stealed myself for a tiring but fun day.
And how did I find it? Well, to be fair, I realised how much my gaming habits had changed. The last time I went I was a sci-fi/fantasy gamer and found myself spending time at all these types of traders. This time, I found myself walking past them. It really re-affirmed that I am now a pretty much a fully fledged historical gamer with at best a side line in sci-fi. I suspect this is in the most part due to my falling out of love with 40k and it's arms race style approach.
Aside from that, I noticed a few other trends. 28mm and 15mm dominated, with the other scales not really that strongly represented. I found this disappointing as I was hoping to get a lot of 20mm stuff but there was not that much choice in the end, though there were a few smaller companies offering nice stuff. I certainly found the smaller stores interesting as they offered something different. I lost count of how many stores were selling historical that was just Warlord/Rubicon and a few others. There was also a strong trend for licencsed games - I saw Marvel, Aliens-v-Predator, Terminator and Halo.
Overall, I did enjoy it. It didn't feel as cramped as last time I went and I didn't feel rushed to get around. There were queues at some stores, for example the scrum at Prodos games was the only thing that stopped me buying some Colonial Marines. Ok, I know they are sci-fi but they were stunning sculpts and I was going to get some just for painting. A few of the bargain bin stores were also swamped.
In the end, it took us until late afternoon to wonder around and do our shopping so I never really looked at all the games properly, though I was surprised at the lack of effort of some (I saw one demo game of Zombicide for example using unpainted mini's - a poor effort for a big show I thought). I suspect Salute is so big you either shop or game and which ever one you choose means the other will suffer.
Would I go again? Yes, I think I might, but it would depend a lot on how many other shows I could get to. The two Partisans and Hammerhead are a short drive for me so if one year I could get to them, I think Salute would not get a look in. This year, I would need to use leave to get to them, so Salute got a look in.
I will get a blog post up with my swag in a few days, but here are the few pics I snappen on the day. Strangely mostly sci-fi! I think mainly because they are more eye-catching and out there.
Battlestar Galactica. No idea where they got the minis but they were awesome, each Battlestar was about a foot long.
Tasy looking game of Team Yankee.
Some spaceships for Shattered Void, a game I believe is being play tested locally. I wasn't that fussed about the game but these figures were very pretty.
The giant drop zone commander ship. Huge, and just worth a picture, even though, again, the game doesn't interest me.
Some of the upcoming Clockwork Goblin stuff for Konflict '47, a Bolt Action add on. Bolt Action remains a game I like when I want a Hollywood blockbuster style game - brainless but fun! So these I think could find there way into my collection.
The most impressive game I thought. 40mm napoleonics with hundreds of figures. I really should have taken more photos of this - I believe it won best in show.
A 6mm modern game. Looked better than it photographed, but I have a soft spot for 6mm I just can't shake.
Some ships for the upcoming Dropzone Commander fleet action game. Again, not sure I will ever play this game but these mini's were probably the best spaceship mini's I have ever seen.
So there are my thoughts on the day at large. Good day out, and plenty of stuff bought to be getting on with. Keep an eye out for my next post, where you get to see what I bought.