Thursday, 14 April 2016

Salute 2016

It's Salute on Saturday.

And I'm not going.
The last few years I've been lucky enough to be invited to go along and hinder James and/or Steve with their display games.
Dux Bellorum in 2013
Keren in 2014
Guilford Courthouse in 2015
All of them splendid days out with great company and stunning looking games.

This year James and Scrivs were planning to take their Verdun game along but were not able to get a table.
I was somewhat surprised by this as James has consistently delivered great tables and is well known for the high standards of his display games - one might have thought the Warlords would be keen to showcase what's bound to be a great table, particularly as it's the centenary of the battle.
Doubly disappointing that Scrivs didn't get the chance to show all is marvelous toys off too before his departure to the US.
Some other big-hitters guaranteed to put on a show with high quality games have also not got tables this year, such as Simon Miller and Too Fat Lardies (who were intending to debut Sharp practice 2 at the show).
Now I know organising Salute is a massive operation and logistical nightmare, but I also know James got his application in before the final deadline, so I'm (still) fairly puzzled by this.
A "rum" decision by the Warlords in my view. I do hope there aren't lots of no-shows or poor quality tables this year...

Anyway we briefly toyed with the idea of going along as punters this year, but I've done that before and I'm afraid I decided it wasn't worth it.
I've found Salute to be a largely joyless and soulless affair since it's move to ExCel. I understand the need for a venue this size and I understand that the revenues of wargames companies don't allow the halls to be decked out to the highest standards that a venue like ExCel usually expects but for me it's crossed a cost/value threshold. In effect it's a glorified shopping trip into an aircraft hangar filled with too many people with body hygiene and personal space issues. I seldom buy anything not already on my shopping list and the argument for "saved postage" is more than countered by admission costs and transport to and around Big London.
And the floors are hard and make your feet hurt.

(BTW lest anyone think my beef is with the entry price and I've just got used to "getting in free" with a game I've generally paid at least some money toward additional tickets that James or Steve has bought to ensure sufficient "crew" on the game).

Henry Hyde challenged my description of Salute as soulless (on Twitter), and I understand what he means, but I was referring really to the venue rather than the (non-smelly) wargamers and blogizens you get to meet up with. Yes, I'll miss catching up with some familiar faces, but chances are I'll see most of them at Partizan or Derby later in the year, and it won't cost us £6 a pint each when we do.

On the other hand I think it's great that our hobby can support an event this size and attract hobbyists in large numbers to the capital. And I do also appreciate the efforts of the Warlords team to put the show on. So I hope it continues to be a success and if you are going do enjoy it (and take plenty of pictures).

Actually what I'll miss is the chatting with people about the game that I'm standing next to - that's been the highlight of the last few years.

Hopefully next year James or Steve will be back, and if I'm a good boy they might invite me to give them a hinder. In which case I'll be delighted to go back. But as a customer? - No thanks.


  1. Everyone to their is big but I have found it quite exciting, although I don't expect to get any bargains. As a special treat I am going to the states this year and am going to Historicon. Heaven only know what that will be like 4 days !

    1. Yep, it's a matter of personal preference. I hope you (and the other 7K attendees) have a great time Matt.
      And take lots of pictures for us stay-at-homes to enjoy the thing vicariously.

  2. Its a real shame you guys didn't get a table at the show as well ad Simon and the Lardies. I do like you and many others find it quite worrying for our hobby, that proven groups didn't make the cut. Perhaps if you'd all done a Frostgrave or 40k game you'd have got in??? Fantasy seems be be taking over?? God knows why?

  3. Yeah...I only go if I'm involved with a game. Would rather do smaller local shows to be honest. See you at Partizan this year! :-)

  4. We went again this year as it's one of our 'must do' shows of the year. I can tell you from my own point of view and many of the people I talked to at the show and afterwards that the standard of games has gone down, not all- there were some superb examples of the wargamers art but there seemed to be more games on show but a lot were of club night standard with a couple of people playing and no spectators! I don't know the reasons behind it but if we're to go next year a good shake up is needed as we're not all Fantasy and Space men oriented.