This year the nice chap in question was the talented Steve Jones who was putting on an American War of Independence game using his marvelous collection. Along with the rest of the helpers I asked if there was anything I could do to assist, but all offers were met with polite refusal from Steve.
In the event I had a fairly murderous week at work and had to travel to the appointed meeting place by (inevitably delayed) train from Swindon, so wasn't even able to bake a cake (I had planned to try and make the courthouse in sponge form).
Another splendid fellow in the shape of Scrivs picked me up from the station in his Tangerine Dream mini and we met up with the rest of the crew - James, John, Steve and another Steve in a pub next to the hotel.
There we fell upon the brown beer (poor) and food (better) and shared conversation and jokes (best of all) before retiring to bed for a fitful night of brown beer side-effect interrupted sleep.
The morning saw us arise at half-past stupid and be on the road by seven.
Fortified by the fruit of the Golden Arches (I partook of a Bacon Bagel, putting aside my fears of committing an act of antisemitism) we made our way swiftly to ExCel and unloaded past the lycra clad Marathon runners and the Deerstalker clad Sherlock fans - with the latter of whom we exchanged mutual glances of pity and confusion at choice of hobby.
Once inside Steve again refused all offers of help and set up everything himself.
And it looked ruddy (pardon my French) brilliant. From trees, to tents, to civilians, to barrels of produce it was all immaculately painted and presented. And that's without looking at all the rows and rows of fantastically painted soldiers.
I think Steve was so enjoying putting all his toys on the table he was a little startled when I pointed out it was cowboy time (ten-ta-ten. Ten to Ten. Geddit? I'll get me coat).
A brief explanation of the rules then followed. I didn't pay much attention as I'm not very good at remembering rules. Steve could have sent them to me several weeks before and I'd still not have grasped them. In point of fact he had sent them to me several weeks earlier and, well, you get the idea.
In any case, Scrivs was there, so I just trusted that he'd have it all sorted and I could just roll dice and shout "Huzzah!"
At these demos I generally try to make sure I talk to everyone who I can see looking at the game and let some of the others get on with the playing. It's a personal bugbear when you're ignored at shows by the folk doing a demo (*long hard look at Lance and Longbow society, Triples, a few years ago*). So John and I got on with that aspect of things while Steve, Steve and Scrivs did the heavy lifting around playing the game. James acted as a kind of "Wargames Personality Magnet" talking to well known faces from the hobby.
Anyway, enough of that, here's the eye candy.
The game seemed to play very well. Steve's rules were easy to understand and historically plausible.
The British (and Germans) were met with a hail of fire by the Militia and made slow going of the first wave.
The good luck of the American
In the end the day drew to a close with Cornwallis just short of his goal and the Continental forces held the field.
Just before the close we were all delighted when Steve was awarded the Best Painted prize.
Well deserved reward for a truly heroic effort on a great game.
It was a really great day out. I didn't see much of the rest of the show, though I did catch up with a few old faces and a few new ones too, including folk I'd only ever known on Twitter (Hi Jim, nice to meet you).
James and Scrivs are already planning next years trip, so I'll just have to carry on being nice and hoping for another invite.
You should now go over to Steve's blog and read his version of events (and look back through all his posts that have built up to this.
Scrivs has a version that explains the battle in rather more detail than I've gone in to.