Tuesday, February 08, 2011

AKI at Vapnartak 2011

I hadn't mentioned it beforehand, but I was at Vapnatak, the York Wargames show, at the weekend.  I formed part of the Leeds Night Owls/Gaming Club Network team; mainly due to my provision of pretty toys for the demonstration game.
I am none of the above!  The author's anonymity remains intact...

More on the show in a moment but first some quick details on our game and display.  We had a simple beach landing scenario using my Napoleonics collection and a set of rules from the 'Perfect Captain' website.

 The British were attempting to force landing, and of course the French tried to throw them back into the sea.  For my part, when playing the demo I managed to shove the British back into the Atlantic.

 Our location was right next to the bring and buy, which was a mixed blessing.  On the one hand everyone at the show came past our game, and due to the queuing system for the new format sale, most of them had to queue up within spitting distance of our stand; but on the other hand none of them were really up there to browse games and so moved on swiftly by.

I suppose I should mention the B&B in detail anyhow at this stage; the format was one that was unusual for shows, but a result of the situation.  Rather than the usual leave your stuff and pay the organisers a cut, you instead, paid to rent a table and sold your stuff yourself.  on top of this, the organisers limited the numbers in at any time to avoid the usual Bring and Buy scrum (where the largest and sweatiest always seem to fill the front of the tables, and your only way to see the sales is via judicious use of elbows, or perhaps a machete!)

This seemed like a good idea, and initial queue problems side, made the B&B a more pleasant experience, it was worth visiting several times as the traders changed.  There was also a section for more up-market sales where good to excellent painted armies appeared; you could contact the owner by mobile phone and go from there.  It all seemed like a good idea, and I understand took a lot less manpower to run.

So, to the rest of the show, I had a couple of hours to wonder round and so in no particular order...

First up Legendary Wargames put on a late Roman/post Roman game.  A nice tidy affair with good figures, as one might expect from a group who make their living from them!

 The venue was for a wargaming show a huge, well appointed one, being at York Racecourse.  spread over 5 levels, it was light and airy, and generally well laid out; though a couple of displays could have had better lighting.  Upstairs several different Gaming tournaments were ongoing, including Warhammer 40k, Warmachine and Impetus.

 There was a children's section set aside with simpler games and make-and-do distractions to entertain the more bored kids.  This Flames of War tank battle being one of the diversions for kids...

 As with most shows, the Reenactors were about, in this instance, and perhaps unsurprisingly given York's heritage, the Dark Ages were the subject.  I love a shiny helmet, me!

 Back to the games then; A near future urban war game; not bad scenery, though obviously someones' been hoarding the foam packaging.

 The Battle of Lutzen as a Black Powder battle was one of the highlights for me, sadly it was in a dimly lit area of the building, under the stairs.  But great scenery and good figures.

 Nearby was a big table of unfashionable 20mm WW2 (I await people telling me it isn't unfashionable, but I will press on).  Operation Barbarossa, featuring an excellent river crossing.

 A large interwar period colonial game attracted a lot of attention; with lots of players and spectators crammed round the table.  I suspect it may be by the people behind the Very British Civil War series of games, but I profess not to know.

 The terrain boards, especially the river, were very nice.

 Water and townscapes appeared again in another Pike and Shot game.  I didn't glean much about this one, but the Harbour scene (complete with flooded houses) was striking.
 The Lance and Longbow society had a game on, which looked like War of the Roses in period.  Visually not an eye catcher to be honest, though the massed ranks of troops were nice.

 I was pleased to see another Napoleonics game, and also one in 20mm plastic!  Lots of troops looking good together, though it was clearly a game to be played not looked at; unlike many at the show.  Look at the damage all that marching has done to the road network!

 Moving out into the better lit section of the building again, I came upon a favourite game of the show for me, a modestly sized Samurai game.

Nice castle!

The scenery was very good and the figures were top notch.  Excellent!

 Lastly, of the items that caught my eye, was a dark age game, apparently put on by Gripping Beast (judging by the position and massive pile of their models on one end of the board).

As for the show as a whole, it seemed busy enough, but I also heard it reported that takings as a whole were down for the traders, with austerity biting after the rise in VAT.

Personally I hadn't been planning on buying very much, and came away with just a few bits.  A book of articles on the Zulu War, a new paint brush, and 13 figures, wow!

A good day then, though our display could have got a bit more attention for my money.


  1. After reading your report of the show and some reports from other blogs it seems to have been a great day, the only thing that was sort of loved or hated was the new b&b format but it sounded like it worked.

  2. Nice little report. Good to see some pics of games I didn't manage to catch! Sorry I missed yours. I think I must have been too focused on the 'B and B'!

    That Legendary Wargames demo was lovely though. Wish I'd had more time to get info and take better pics.

    How do the Perfect Captain rules work? I've been tempted to try them for AWI games..

    Thanks for the report.


  3. Interesting to hear about your B&B experience. What you describe is what we call a Flea Market in the US. It's the way most conventions do it.

    Thanks for the report.