RogerBW's Blog

Salute 2014 13 April 2014

Salute is the UK's biggest wargaming show of the year. For me this one was frustrating in some ways, rewarding in others.

I turned up at what I thought was about an hour and a half after opening, since on past form the queue's usually died down a bit by this point and one can get in quickly. Unfortunately opening was at 10am rather than 9am as I'd mistakenly thought, everyone else appeared to have had the same idea, and the length of four of the big ExCel cells was used for overflow queueing.

Yeah, ExCel. I hate those huge halls. They're just big cuboids joined together, with no distinguishing features at all. The floors are entirely unyielding, thus hard on the feet; yeah, it's great that you can drive your van right up to your pitch for setup and tear-down, but people have to walk on them too. I've been to SPIEL at the Messe-Essen a couple of times, and while they have similarly hard floors (they have motor shows and such like things there too) my feet don't hurt anything like as much after walking around on them all day. Also in Essen, the halls are different shapes, and so one bit of it feels at least slightly unlike another. (And the food isn't quite as much of a massive rip-off as everything in ExCel, even if, just as here, there's basically nothing available immediately outside.)

I'd particularly hoped to pick up a copy of the Harpoon 4 rules, but thanks to a miscommunication this wasn't possible; I did however make contact with someone who has a copy to sell second-hand, which suits me just fine. (I'm familiar with the rules; I'm just trying to generate an actual sale, without doubling the cost in shipping, import duty and "handling fees".)

Also in the disappointments category, the only 1:6000 ships available for sale were big fleet packs: £100 for what appeared to be half the WWII Royal Navy. Which is probably a great deal compared with buying the ships individually, but I don't want that many ships. At least not yet! Also there were no modern ships at all. So that's going to be a mail-order job.

In fact there was a lot of the same infantry focus I saw in Abingdon last month at Overlord. There were more vehicles, yes, but most of them were in a scale to support infantry rather than be played as say a tank company. All the demonstration games I saw were based on the ground too; some had some air support, and some had a bit of water at the edge of a beach, but they were all essentially about boots on the dirt. There wasn't even that much visible cavalry about. I have to assume that this is what's popular now; it's surely easier to relate to infantry than to the crews of tanks, aircraft or ships.

I dropped by TooFatLardies to pick up some rules in hardcopy, and to see the famous pissoir in person. As a result I ended up taking their team photo.

The other thing I'd vaguely hoped to buy was the new Pirates and Bounty Hunters supplement for Firefly; it's due out at the end of the month but some traders might have got some in early. No joy, but I was at least able to snaffle the various promotional cards I hadn't got earlier.

So a bit of a let-down on the naval front, but still a pleasant day out, compounded by a visit to the Pembury Tavern afterwards.

Tags: wargaming

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