Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Salute 17 - My haul and observations

Hi Folks

So Salute 17 is done and dusted - and as before I have uploaded all my photos of the games in a previous post and this can be found here.


Judging by the number of visitors to my blog this was a popular post with the latest count showing around 2000 hits, mind you the previous two years saw over 5000 hits and are by far two of the most visited posts on this blog.

Does the drop off in traffic signify anything - possible not but we'll see over the next few weeks?

I managed to get up to Excel just as the event was opening - I grabbed my goody bag and headed into the show. Fearful that the bits I wanted might disappear I decided to do my shopping first. Rather cleverly I had packed a very large carrier bag to haul away my goodies. In no particular order I procured...
The kitchen table groaning under the weight of goodies

  • Some dice (I didn't have any blue ones and with Napoleonics on the horizon its always nice to have colour coordinated dice for my generals)
  • A copy of Albion triumphant from Warlord games including a rather nice bonus officer figure
  • A box of Warlord Portuguese Napoleonic line (in hindsight I wish I had picked a nother of these and some cacadores)
  • Two bags of Victrix French Cannon & some French flags
  • Two boxes of warlord Chevaux Horse
  • One box of Warlord British Hussars
  • One box of Perry British light dragoons
  • One box of Perry French Heavy Cavalry 
  • One Box of French Hussars
  • Several Blisters of Perry French and British Mounted Officers (including Napoleon - sadly I couldn't find a Wellington figure so this has been ordered direct from Perry)
  • Some mdf bases from Warbases
  • A few paints
  • A tin of Army painter dip
  • A copy of the latest WSS to read on the train home ;-)
A rather expensive and splendid haul.

If you are wondering how the painting is coming on with my Napoleonic project I can report that so far I have finished six British guns and their teams and almost 75% of the 10 British line battalions (that 240 figures) - I'll be posting these on the blog in the next week or so.

So onto my thoughts about Salute this year...

Firstly a big thank you to the South London Warlords for their efforts in making this such a great event. Their dedication and support is greatly appreciated. The new electronic ticketing makes all the difference compared to previous years.

Plenty has been written about the venue but I for one think its a great location. The transport links are great (door to door in an hour) and the venue concessions for food are plentiful and are in line with typical London prices. Yes the lighting is poor and the floors hard but as a seasoned visitor of trade and exhibition shows in my line of work Salute only really suffers because the traders dont operate from custom lit stalls and booths. Ours is not a rich hobby and I understand that the outlay for the stands at Salute can cost a pretty penny.

I noticed three key things at this years event...

1. There is most certainly a continued drift away from historics to scifi and fantasy and as such gone are the days where we see several large tables filled with glorious armies marching to the sound of drums. We are now faced with small boards and a few figures in skirmish mode. This is sad but I think reflects changes in society. Very few people have the energy, money and time to paint thousands of figures   - its more about that instant need for gratification. There is also clearly a storage issue and I am aware that not many folks have a 'Shed'

That does not mean to say historics have had their day - if the sales of Warlord and Perry are anything to go by I think these genre's are in rude health. Its just that they are rarely seen en masse at these types of events.

I believe that many folks don't want the trouble to lug their precious hordes of painted armies to a show. Sadly things get broken (or even worse stolen). The cost, effort and payback just don't equate. I gather that the games hosts only get a free ticket - yet their transport costs and other expenses are not even covered (apologies if I am wrong).

Personally I would love to take one of my Shed Wars Games on the road but I'd need certain provisos to me met...including travel and parking expenses covered, insurance costs and a budget for food and drink as an absolute minimum.

2. My second observation (and perhaps linked to the first) was that I felt the number of 'quality displays' compared to previous years was significantly dowen. There were were some great tables but also some very average ones. This show should be setting the bar higher - this is the pinnacle of our hobby and with the plethora of terrain designers, manufacturers and stockists out there there should really be some stunning eye candy to see. A couple of years ago I was lucky to visit Tactica in Germany - this was a marvel and Salute has a long way to go if it wants to replicate what has been achieved in Germany

3. My second observation was that I felt the show was packed - indeed perhaps too many people and yet when I was leaving around 2pm the numbers had fallen dramatically. Perhaps Warlords could look at two ticket types - the standard and an off peak version (ie gets you in at at say 1pm ) - this might help to stagger the crowd and give those traders more time to talk to the public.

What I did notice about the crowd was that there was noticeably more 'younger people' than there perhaps has been in the past. When I say younger I mean below 30 - this can only be good for the hobby but also reflects the growth in Sci Fi and Fantasy.

So as I finish off this post I have one last thought.....

Given Salute ids the largest event of its kind in the World (please correct me if I am wrong) should the industry be looking at using these event to congratulate and praise all those in this hobby for bringing it to life.

Why not use the event to launch and deliver an 'oscars of the hobby' - lets not just have prizes for figure painting but also prizes for best ranges (historic or otherwise), best service, best sculptor, best manufacturer, best websites, best blog, personality of the year, life time achievements etc. Surely the magazines we have out there along with the various forums could each 'sponsor a category' and capture votes through the various social media.

Its over to you to decide....

Until next time


  1. I like the idea of a games "oscars" Eric. This would I think drive standards higher at this show. I enjoyed Salute this year and spent a fortune but didn't get to roll any dice at all which I think is a shame and something that needs to be addressed next year!

  2. A good overall view of the show I think. I certainly felt that there were more small scale sci-fi and fantasy games on show this year, which personally I have no interest in. As I was part of a demo game, my time to walk the show was limited, but I found few games of interest to me, but then looking at pics of the show, I certainly missed quite a few.

    Even though the show was busy, it didn't seem as crowded as last year, due to the increased floor space for the visitors, which is a good thing IMHO. I went walkabout around 1.00pm and had no trouble getting a good view of most games and traders. It seemed to be a natural lunchbreak time which may have helped.

  3. Definitely a lot of SF/fantasy games and it seems to be missing the really big jaw dropping games that I remember from.a few years ago:I think you may well be right about the cost and risk of bringing along all the figures and scenery needed for that. There were some really interesting small games though. There also seems to be a move to games being used as a vehicle to promote a new games system...not necessarily a bad thing as it gives us a chance to try before we buy (who am I kidding...i just buy anyway!!)

  4. An interesting insight into your experience of SALUTE. It is somewhat different from my own, but I enjoyed reading your comments and thinking about them in relationship to my own.

    All the best,


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  6. There seems to be differences of opinion on how crowded it was. I arrived at 11.15 and thought it was too crowded to see much. As regards blog hits I was reading someone else's blog recently and he thought that there was more wargames traffic on Facebook, as opposed to blogs of late. This is because most people now just post pictures but I prefer, as here, some considered writing!

  7. Good idea about the "Oscars" - maybe the "Donalds"?

    I was a bit disappointed with the tables this year - very few standout non-company-sponsored games compared to previous years.

  8. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to Salute 17 :(

    I am, therefore, very interested to read your comments Eric. I think the 'off-peak' ticket is a splendid idea as are the 'Donalds'!

  9. I agree with your comments about the show. Although the standard of demo games was good, there were very few stand-out games this year compared to previous years. I did not feel particularly 'inspired' this year (good for my wallet), and I had hoped for a stronger Russian Civil War theme than was achieved.
    Mark (AKA Snowydog)

  10. Hi Eric,
    This may be erronious of me- though: Way back in 1993 I took up three tables at Parramatta Town Hall at a cost of $300 for a two day weekend Wargame Show...by Sunday evening I had made $1000 profit for the sale of my Scratch Built models and terrain. Set up was on a Friday night, I had a 4x4 vehicle at the time and could park right besides the hall for unloading. Eric- I'm sure you are well aware that it is a pretty big commitment to take a Demonstartion/Participation Game to a venue- especially when you have largish Terrain Boards and complex scenic items such as trees, walls, buildings, ships and boats, castles etc...as an incentive to the Participants of showing a Private Game there certainly needs to be some form of 'Carrot' to participate when your offering your services for free....Perhaps, free- entry to the event, food and drink vouchers etc....but, It is the JOY of doing it that is the real boon...I'd put on a demonstration game tomorrow if I had the chance- completly FREE, and I'd be greatful if the organizers gave me a complimentary cup of coffee- and that would be that ( no other freebies)...we have only two shows a year here - Sydney MOAB and Canberra CANCON....Parramatta wound up decades ago...we are otherwise starved of shows...some advice to the attendees of SALUTE2017....be VERY Greatful for what you have. Cheers. KEV.

  11. Good point Kecv, shows are non existent in New Zealand, going to Salute is a dream come true.

  12. I really enjoyed Salute this year more than a few years ago. However I agree and disagree equally with some of your observations. Yes there seems to be a shift away from the massive large march to the sound of the drums games and more skirmish types but some of these are so well put together they are more visually and tactically agreeable than some bogged down large scale game that takes hundreds of hours and pounds to put together. The notice of more youngsters attending the show is good as hopefully these with be the future of our hobby and I agree that some of the table were lacking in appeal compared to some of the German and US shows. Overall I dont really notice the crowds, the only issue I had was at the TTCombat stand as the alleys between the stands were quite narrow and packed with faoming gamers splurging the cash.

  13. Pretty sure costs for those putting on games have never been covered in the UK. Some games get ''sponsored'' so that the sponsor covers most of the effort free figures etc etc. Most shows seem to be suffering post lunchtime death and this only seems to be getting worse . I would 100% advocate half price tickets after 2pm . Traders work their nuts off getting ready for a show it would be nice to see trade show organisers improvising , with the online world and ways it affects shopping habits trade shows are still run exactly as their were in the 80's .

  14. "a very large carrier bag"? How could you possibly manage at Salute without a huge backpack to piss off everyone around you at trade stands?

  15. You would hope that in this day and age, the backpack thing was just a hangover joke from years ago, but my wife got side swiped by one at York earlier this year!

    Eric, some good observations (and a nice balanced haul). I have a new wargame store open by me on the high street, it has a smaller historical section compared to anything else, everything is 28mm and there is a lot of young blood supporting sales and also playing on the store game tables. All of this at the parochial level seems to support what you are seeing at our national show.

    Again, thanks for all the coverage you have given the show - it has been enjoyable to 'consume'.

  16. I like your idea of an 'Off Peak' ticket. I'm a full day attendee but I'm sure there are plenty who would jump at the chance of a ha;f day ticket...it would go so way to offsetting the extortionate price of parking!

  17. Sadly I think your first comment is spot on Eric. The hobby is changing and we old hands are left wondering where it went. But, life goes forward, never backward, so no point worrying about what we can't change. We continue on our own way, enjoying our hobby in our way and leave others to do likewise.

  18. A well balanced review. Thank you. I agree about the back packs and as I also take one to shows I always carry it in hand and this year I was able, at Salute to do most of my buying straight off then deposit in the car close by. Thereby negating carrying a lead lump or hitting people with it on my shoulder. Many of the smaller games, although much effort had been expended, seemed to advertise new rules or be of a non historical vent, so was of little interest to me. The Battlegroup Torbruk game had some nice vignettes and has also prompted me to look into an alternative to their hessian sheet for a large desert game I am putting on soon.