Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fiasco 2009

Within thirty seconds of leaving the midst of a bitter November storm, dumping vast quantities of water onto the drearily incomprehensible ring road network of Leeds city centre, I'm stood in a queue behind a substantial gentleman who smells rather on the sweaty side for such a cold day, and is wearing far too many non permeable fabrics.

Ah yes, it's just one of the first tell tale signs that I'm at Fiasco.

The Leeds Wargame Club keeps putting on this show, though every year it seems smaller and less well attended. I their defence this year though, the diabolical weather (the same as the last two years, mind) must have had an influence. A quick runaround showed that a couple of the largest display games had not made it by the opening time (or, by when I left 90 minutes later)

Trader attendance seemed down too, no Irregular Miniatures amongst others I'd usually assume to see. But there was a lot of the local companies who are always about. As a shopping day it was satisfactory, though I'd come with fairly limited requirements. In the end, thanks to some conniving with Trevor from the Leeds clubs I was able to get away with 59 28mm models for £35; mostly Napoleonics, but with just enough American Civil War figures to complete that project.

So, what of the displays.

I say displays, because as is not uncommon at shows, some of the games were clearly not to actually be played, whilst others were off putting by their appearance (once again the society of Ancients/Lance and Longbow societies seem to like ideas over looks - I would contend that shows are not the place for this to work).

Of the ones I did take snaps of I'll begin with Secrets of the Third Reich, a WW2 zombie game on some nice terrain. I've passed comment on the SOTTR rules in the past (not glowing) but Paul who runs the game is a member of Leeds Night Owls and a big supporter of the system. His terrain and models as ever were very nice indeed.

Next up for me, purely visually was an ancient naval game. Simple terrain, well presented, was teamed with very nicely painted models. It gave a good sense of spectacle though who knows if it would have looked as good after a couple of hours...

Next up was a display, quite clearly. I think it was something to do with one of those wargames holiday centres. Nevertheless the sight of this British square being charges by a mass of Sudanese tribesmen was still impressive.

As for the Leeds wargames club themselves, they have been playing a lot of the War of 1812, using a commercial ruleset. They put on a display game, which clearly only used club terrain, slightly spruced up. It looked like exactly that too, a club game. And there is nothing wrong with that, as at least it seemed to be played rather than just stared at.

Sadly for the camera they were badly positioned under the unlit section of low roof, so this isn't even a good photo. The figures were all very nicely done plastics from what I could see.

However, in the absence of a large scale Napoleonics or other game to catch the eye, this years winner for me was a huge 15mm Arab-Israeli game. Covering a good 18 feet by 6, it featured classically well made and sturdy terrain, and some beautifully painted models.

And they were actually playing the game too!

Bravo to them.

Still the show was not as good as in years gone by. No bring and buy, fewer displays, fewer traders. One of the best things going for it in theory is the venue, but I overheard many complaints about the parking (being a sorta local I knew where to park nearby for free on a Sunday, but most everyone else was stuck in the Armouries own extortionate parking), and driving into Leeds is simply not something for the faint hearted to attempt.

I hope they can improve the show in future years, but I wonder if to do that it's time to say farewell to the Royal Armouries and maybe change the date to one less likely to always be swept by rain...

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