A day spent playing our Wargames Illustrated participation game at Salute in London. Hordes of kids and Dads throwing dice around and causing chaos in the 19th century Afghan Frontier. Kenneth Moore suffered several train derailments which pleased the local natives very much. The terrain board and its creator Dave Marshall can be seen in April's issue of Wargames Ilustrated mag - showing how it was converted from 'Little Round Top' at Gettysburg to a colonial mountain wilderness.
Running a game or trade stall makes you understand the time and effort that goes into making these shows an enjoyable experience for the attendees. I arrived at the Excel Centre slightly behind time due to a station closure and diversion. This meant that Dan (along with his partner), Wayne and Keith had set everything up for me to start as soon as I got to the hall. I'd only been there long enough to drop my bags before people were asking to play. I must say that these simple skirmish games (very much based on our Evesham Medieval game from last year) are certainly ideal when introducing folks to wargaming in general. Which is why it was probably such a big hit with people and their children. It's amazing how after the first throws of the dice they really get into the spirit of things and get stuck in! I took an idea from my mate Steve at Warlord and managed to record the bugle call sounded in the original 1959 film on my phone. This attracted some attention when I insisted on sounding it whenever the Anglo-Indian forces made their move. I got so completely engrossed in the game at one point that I'd forgotten about collecting my preorders and checking out the show itself. I only realized when Keith came over and told me to take a break as it was now past 1.30pm!
And what of the show? Well for the time I got to wander around the place I felt there was plenty on offer. The new Ancients ruleset ('Swordpoint') due to be released by Gripping Beast looked good. I was also excited to pick up their new 28mm Late Roman plastics for my Romano British army. To compliment this Dark Age obsession I seem to be going through, I also grabbed a couple of nice books: "As Told in the Great Hall - The Wargamers Guide to Dark Age Britain" by Martin Hackett, and "Offa and the Mercian Wars" by Chris Peers which I bought from the Lance and Longbow Society stand. As I hurried to get back I'd noticed Curtey's had some lovely Medieval figures on offer too, along with a number of Dux Britanniarum starter sets. I'd already started to regret not buying some as I reached our NWF game again and eyed the growing queue of potential players. Thankfully this was remedied later when Keith kindly said he'd pick up the Early Saxon box for me when he was doing the rounds.
The rest of the afternoon continued very well. The eventual winner of our game (a group which included a very young lad, his father and grandfather) went away with an exclusive character set made by Artizan Designs I must mention how much I enjoyed talking to all those who took time to check out our game. As Keith mentioned they were "a thoroughly pleasant bunch" who in my mind made Salute 2016 worthy of some very fond memories.