23 April 2013

Salute 2013 part 1 of 3

This year was my first ever visit to Salute, I was mostly excited about finally meeting a lot of the people from the business with whom I've had contacts with for years over the internet. I had a list of pit stops and talked a great deal at each so I will break up my Salute 2013 experience over three posts to make it easier to read.

First of all, going to England was an ordeal in itself, me, Christian and Andreas were going from Kastrup in Denmark - the plane left very early which meant we had to drive from Lund just after 4AM!  Then there was a brief moment where it looked as if the plane wasn't going to take off since the pilot announced they had some kind of warning message from their system. He tried  to reset it but it still blinked so he had to contact the "Norwegian" engineers. Luckily the plane was able to takeoff, a bit late but still better than never. Then we took the train from Gatwick to London, which was a pain in the butt since there were no seats for most of the trip. Still, having read about the queue from other bloggers and visitors I'm happy that we didn't arrive at Salute until 11AM when we could walk just right in with no hassle.

Salute is a huge place, I had brought with me a printout of the floor plan and marked every area of interest on the map for quick reference. There were hundreds of retailers and a ton of demo games, and while I managed to check out most of it and chat to everyone I intended I did not have any time to play any demo game - and I ultimately forgot to check out the Bring & Buy section. It was also a damn shame that we didn't go by car because there were a lot of people selling great looking painted armies for various historical periods.

Btw, maybe someone could tell me if this year's crowd was big/small compared to previous years? There were a lot of people, but the place was not so crowded that you had to push and shove your way through a mass of people to get from point A to point B. I was quite happy with that, but don't know if that affected the sales for the retailers.
The 4Ground stand was displaying their viking hall, first thing I saw upon entering. IIRC Andreas said the price tag was £200. It looked to be the same as the one you can see in the previous "game in progress" pictures.

Walking around at Salute is a weird experience if you are nerdy enough and know your "wargaming heroes". I noticed Paul of Warlord Games when I was heading for the West Wind stand, the Perry brothers were running their own shop over at Perry Miniatures. Richard Clarke was running a demo of his Chain of Command, I wanted to tell him how much I like his columns in Wargames Soldiers & Strategy but he looked very busy (and intense!) explaining his game to another visitor so I snapped a few pictures and moved on.

Perry Miniatures
Richard Clarke running a demo of Chain of Command

And speaking of Wargames Soldiers & Strategy, I went over and talked to Guy and Jasper of WSS, showed them the By Fire & Sword rulebook and complimented them on their Samurai demo table for the modified Muskets & Tomahawks rules they were using. I also picked up the latest issue, nr 66, of the WSS magazine (where you can find both my review of Spartacus the boardgame and my column about the advantage of the internet for wargamers and the wargaming industry alike).

I had also read that fellow blogger and painter Andres or "Einar Olafson" (guy with the beard) was attending Salute and that he could be found painting over at Warlord Games, so I went over there and had a brief chat. Great to meet a talented painter such as him in person. We chatted just briefly, but managed to talk about By Fire & Sword and I showed him the English rulebook. I also took the opportunity to talk to the staff at Warlord Games about the Polish supplement for Bolt Action - offering to help out with anything history related but they said it had just been finished.


I also tagged along my friend Andreas as he went to talk with Anders the UK representative for Battlefront, and didn't waste time to launch questions about the missing Polish Vickers tanks for Blitzkrieg. I don't think we will see any from BF anytime soon, but it was still nice to talk about completely different things such as the By Fire & Sword rules which Anders ended up picking up for himself. The Battlefrotn stand had a very cool "Underdark" display showing of GaleForce9 Forgotten Realms fantasy range, there was also a Vietnam table and two demo's of Flames of War. I saw that they also had a game of Spartacus the boardgame running, and though there was an advert for the new Firefly boardgame  I could not see any game of that or the box itself - else I would have snapped some pictures.

There were quite a few completely insane display games at Salute, the most mind-blowing was a Waterloo setup. The amount of well painted 28mm miniatures was extremely impressive. I feel bad for not complimenting the guy dressed up in uniform overlooking the table but I was left speechless.
I must say that both me and my two friends were surprise how slowly time went at Salute for us. We had made dozens of pit stops and I had talked my throat sore but when we checked the clock was just 14.30!?

Here are a few other things I came across.

Bushido stand, and demo games - Andreas plays this game and is going to introduce me to the rules. It's a skirmish game that play on a tiny 60x60cm / 2'x2' table.


Various demo games


Coming up in part 2 and 3, my visit and talks with the By Fire & Sword guys and everyone at the West Wind stand. There will be more details about games related to both manufacturers and information about their future plans. And more pictures of demo games and cool stuff, stay tuned!



18 comments:

  1. Great post and some great pictures. Glad you enjoyed your visit to the Old Smoke. Excel is a bit of an aircraft hanger but as venues go it does the job and has great access. Being close to city airport, rail and road links it is far far better than Olympia IMHO....mind you I would say that because I live just 15 minutes away!

    Looking forward to parts 2 and 3

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    1. It was quite something, a lot more impressive and rewarding than anything I have seen here in Sweden. You guys are lucky to have such great conventions in the UK!

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  2. Very interesting post, cannot wait for further parts :)

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  3. You ask about numbers - our first count is that we are about the same as lasyt year, somewhere around 5,000 visitors. Which makes about 6,000 inside the hall, what with trders and those running the games, the B&B and (of course) the Warlords ourselves. We try to give space for meoing around (and the aisles are wide enough to drive a van down so the traders can set up as easily as possible.)

    Glad you enjoyed it - see you in 2014?

    Colin
    South London Warlords

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  4. Thanks for the info Colin, it was a great show and I'm very happy that I could attend. I hope to attend in the future as well :-)

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  5. Great report and photos. I wish there were something like this near me! So much awesome looking stuff.

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  6. Sounds like a great first visit to to Salute for you and your friends

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  7. Great report! I'm sad that I don't see an Empire of the Dead demo. I had hoped there would be one at Salute.

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    1. Yeah, the guys who were going to run one had to cancel it at last minute for reasons unknown to me. The Secrets of the third Reich demo was quickly organized to use the space already booked for West Wind in its place.

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  8. Nice pics! Thanks for the pic of the Great Hall. Now I just need a few hundred pounds, and space to put it.
    I posted this to the TooFatLardies yahoo group to make sure Rich hears your praise of his writing.

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    1. "Thomas, tell him thanks and that he should have just barged in and said hello.

      Rich"

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  9. Great Salute AAR !!!

    best regards Michael

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  10. It was great to meet you!!

    Cheers!!

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  11. What a great day out - I'm envious!
    Glad you had such a fantastic time

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  12. Excellent report as usual Alex! That Underdark set is crazy good. :)

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    1. It was quite something, I heard it was sculpted in one piece and shipped from the US all the way to Salute!

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