Wednesday, June 29, 2011

War Torn - Part II - All the Rest

And what of it indeed?  I don't normally break show reports in two, but I had so much time to kill at Scarborough, that I was able to take a lot of photo's, some of which came out ok.  Besides there are some points about the organisation and support of the show I want to raise.  Anyway, we'll begin today with the Warlord Games display.  All very professional as one might expect from a company who have thanks to their plastics output and popular glossy rules rapidly become major players in the industry.

Their game was a 'English Civil War' derived game; I say derived, as the forces seemed to be royalists versus Dutch. 

There was some justification given for this; along with that old chestnut of an 'alternative History' but I don't think it was really for any other reason than to put a lot more toys on the table.

On the trade side, they had photos and sample sprues of some of their upcoming plastics on display.  Old news if you went to Salute, but that's hundreds of miles away from me, and out of my range.  Therefore, it was my first look at their Macedonians:

And the roman Balistae section:

In relation to this, north-eastern readers of this blog will be interested to note that Boyes, a regional chain of stores previously best know for budget household wares and targeting the DIY & women's crafting, were big supporters of the show.  This is because they are moving in on the modelling/gaming market as a men's hobby stream (previously having done well with Fishing tackle it seems).  They already stock Vallejo paints in store, and if the word from the show organisers is true, they have reached agreements with Warlord, Victrix and Mantic to stock their products.  This is a very interesting prospect, given their 38 stores.

Meanwhile there was some minority interest in 15mm models, with a couple of Flames of War tables.  But the major 15mm game was the Alamo:

This featured BIG (in all but scale) battalions on the Mexican side:

 Against a wafer thin line of Texans:

Finally Mantic were also there, not managing to sell much, but getting a fair number of people in to play their Kings of War game.  They also had the 3up version of their Dwarf Kings Hold board game with them.

Nice to see the figures in this scale, but it also gives away why the models look so unbelievably well painted in magazines and on the website.  It's simply because they are three times as big!

I would have liked to have tried  DKH, as it seems like classic old-school gaming; but I think it may have been seen as poor form by my colleagues to eff off and play another persons demo game.  So I went off and chatted up the barmaid instead!

Lastly from Mantic, a glimpse of the first of their 'Dark Elves', the main release I understand will be like the Abyssal Dwarves, a mix of plastic and metal parts.  This sorceress was all metal, and quite nice; the camera felt differently though:

Overall?  Well, this show was having it's first attempt at being a success, and on the Friday night Kelvin, the main organiser was upbeat.  Sadly this was to change during the Saturday.  The show was supposed to be in partnership with Scarborough Council for Armed Forces Day; but they largely reneged on their commitments, and moreover failed to publicise the event on the day.  The immediate result was that the 15,000 or so tourists in town specifically for the weekends events, were not aware of the show. 

But more seriously than that I think, there were precious few gamers through the doors either.  Total paying customers over the weekend was a spare 250 or so, probably only half gamers with shopping and gaming in mind.  Retailers had a pretty mixed bag of it, I'm told a few did better than at some other shows, but I can't imagine who, as the ones I had sight of from my game seemed to shift bu**er all over the weekend.  It appeared to me that most money changing hands was simply moving from one trader or demonstrator, to another.

In future the show needs a Unique Selling Point that works in the long term and gives gamers a reason to turn up.  By the end of the weekend the talk was leaning towards making the show more of a gaming convention and tournament weekend; with several tourneys proposed for next year.  This may well be the right direction, as the location of the show does not lend itself to the usual demands of a big show (central location in a major city).

I hope it does ok in the future, but for me it needs a better reason to turn up than it had this year; two days is a long time for me to spend wargaming, never mind sitting around staring at toys; at points I was bored out of my mind, which is not healthy when doing something you are supposed to find fun.  As a result I spent a lot of time just chatting to traders and barmaids, playing slots on the beach, photographing the sea and frankly anything to distract.  Wargaming came very low on the list!

Next time will be better; one has to hope.


  1. Thanks for the reports. I wasn't able to make it down to War Torn but wish I had. Looks like it was a nice show. Maybe next year...

    The Boyes info is interesting, though not quite far enough north for me! :)


  2. I would think that with the number of trade shows there are now, the end of two day shows is in sight. That was certainly the impression I got at Triples. Partizan immediately after Triples would benefit from the Sheffield show being a one day event.
    Scarborough is perhaps too out of the way to attract a large audience. Not easy to get too from this side of the river. Also if it was timed to conincide with Armed forces Day, from your report there wasn't anything in the show to entice the public in even had they known. As you said a theme would be an improvement and if it is to continue on Armed Forces Day perhaps that theme should relate to more recent conflicts and have some relevance to the unaware public.

  3. Loved DKH when I saw it, I was actually dissapointed when I found out the display scale was not the actual scale. I thought that'd be awesome fun!

  4. Exciting news about Boyes.

  5. the thought of traipsing in to Scarboro on the A64 on a day when it was known a lot of extra visitors would be in town for the Veterans day was enough to put me off along with the fact that Cleethorpes has one of the largest events that day on the east coast and my dad wanted to be involved. Surely an out of season date would be better?We played a large Franco Prussian war game at the club and would have displayed it for a one day show that was on a different date Sorry it wasnt a success but a straw poll at our club some weeks before predicted this

    Dave Tuck

  6. actually although we didn't hit the numbers we expected, from emails and messages we received we missed the numbers expected from the traders and what they hoped to come through the door as a first time show by 16, so we were not that far out and it wasnt a disaster

    the date stays where it is because this is a perfect place with no other shows anywhere near it except one down south

    also the reason we have gone for a 2 day show was made on 18 months of work going around shows asking traders, tournament gamers and gamers what they wanted. it was very clear they wanted a 2 day show for alot of reasons, 2 days shows are not on the way out

    we already have 8 traders rebooking for next year with every one of them complimenting how the show was run and put together

    it was a success not a disaster every one has complimented the quality of the show, that's what was important, the numbers will come

    it was always our intention to push this show towards being a convention. we were actually putting together 2 shows, not one things were being put in place for 2012 and are in place

    what is happening now is we have help to do that which is what was needed and things will now happen quicker