Saturday, 9 November 2013


It's the rather dramatically entitled Warfare show in Reading next weekend. Foresight junior is keen to be there and as it is reasonably local we'll go. However I vow that every time I go to one of these things it will be the last. I should add that I'm not singling out this particular event rather my thoughts relate to all such shows or extravaganzas.

First its the cost. When all the peripherals such as travel, food, entry etc are taken into account then there goes the best part of £50 before a single figure is acquired. It's not the recession - I'm happy to do my bit - but when the alternative these days is to sit comfortably in front of the internet and examine new figures on screen at maximum magnification then it seems a poor exchange. And notwithstanding postal charges these days then delivery times are extremely good. Most of the stuff I order arrives within a couple of days.

Second is the catering. I do not go to a show for the culinary experience but frankly most catering outlets set the bar at a very low level. Do chefs hate wargamers? They must do as some of the rubbish I have eaten over the years betrays a psychological scarring that requires urgent assistance. I guarantee that next weekend I will be sold a cup of Nescafe instant that calls on me to add milk from a one litre container that is virtually empty and surrounded by a sea of brew-kit debris. It will not be cheap either. Let me be clear. I am happy to pay for a good product. I am not happy to pay for crap. I once attended a modelling show in Austria where the food stands were light, bright, cheerful, apppetising and alluring. And guess what? They were doing a roaring trade. Families were laughing and eating and looked as if they wanted to be there. Compare and contrast, as they say.

Third is the environment. I've been uncomfortable in many parts of the world but the morose and cheerless gloom of shows is an experience all of its own. Its not the crowdedness, the odour or the backpacks and what I really like about wargaming is the cottage industry rusticness of a business that resolutely refuses to reward enterprise. Let Foundry be a warning! No, its the fact that any show can turn even the most charming of surroundings into a mud strewn barn within an hour of the Q buster doors opening. Look at Newbury racecourse for an example. Or the Excel Centre in Docklands. Actually I'm just joking with Excel. A bit of mud adds interest to that environment.

Fourth, its the games. I will illustrate the point with an anecdote from last year. Junior was keen to play a game so we pitched up at a table ready for a quick bit of fun. Despite the obvious enthusiasm of the hosts we found ourselves lost in a convoluted scenario that in its quest for realism had long since lost sight of the fact that we were both confused and bored. And it seems so rude to just walk away. After we had extricated ourselves Junior looked at me and said 'I didn't understand a word they said'. I had to agree. Conversely can I just put in a good word for the Isandlwhana game we played a few years ago. Quick, fast, simple and over in 10 minutes. What more could you want?

So, am I being unfair? Possibly and I await the 'why dont you do something about it' feedback. But please dont start me on the bring and buy.


  1. I'm pretty close to both Newbury and Reading, and I too avoid both, and indeed other shows, for the exact reasons you state. You are not alone.

  2. I went to Fiasco in Leeds last month. The costs weren't too high but the catering looked awful, very unappealing. I went to a caff outside, very friendly staff, good atmosphere, reasonable food.

  3. some shows are better than others Derby was awful but Leeds was a good one. I think it comes down to your own desire more than anything