IntroductionBy now, everyone else who was there seems to have put up their blog posts about Salute 2014. I'm slightly later because it took us most of Sunday to get home (what with the distance being a bit further than for many) and then I had to go to work as usual today (Monday). So, now that I'm back from work and the younger kids are in bed, I've just got time to put together a short report.
This isn't a general show report and I don't have any pictures. Instead it's simply a quick record of what myself and my 2 boys did on the show day.
The DayWe arrived about 20 minutes early and had to wait in what seemed like an enormously long queue. Younger son (A.) was getting a bit bored with this until some Star Wars re-enactors walked along the line. For some reason they all seemed to be bad guys: we saw an Imperial naval officer, Boba Fett, one of the pig-like guards from Jabba's palace (Gamoreans?) and several stormtroopers. Mind you, A. informed me that one of them was a sandtrooper, not a stormtrooper. Hmm, they looked much the same to me...
The queue moved very quickly once 10:00 arrived, so that wasn't a problem. We then spent the next hours looking at the many tables, playing some games and making a few targeted purchases. General observations on the show:
- Many of the stalls (but not all) were mobbed and it was very difficult to approach them with 2 children in tow. I don't know what the traders could have done about this and maybe things quietened down later (I'm not sure), but it did mean that I saved a little money.
- All the games I remember looked good and some were really stunning. There were huge differences in the approach of the people running them, though. The best clubs reached out to people who looked interested, drew them in and involved them in the game. The worst participation games are the ones where we would hang around, maybe ask a few questions and yet the people running them would all but ignore you. Come on guys; if you're going to go to the trouble of putting on a public game then make sure that the public get to play it!
- Crossed Lances: I've been hankering for a decent jousting game for a while and am hoping that this might be it. I won't be really sure until I've read the rules and maybe played a few games of my own, but the guys who are promoting it were very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. We ran a few courses; firstly A. knocked J. (older son) off his horse. Then I knocked A. to the ground. Still got it...
- D-1 Paratroops: I'm not sure of the proper name for this game, but A. and J. took small squads of US paratroops who were lost after the drop during the night before D-Day. They were trying to make their way across the table to a rendezvous point, but kept bumping into cows, owls, German sentries, wounded colleagues and the like in the thick terrain. An excellent game which both the boys enjoyed thoroughly (and it was a draw: J. got further across the table and scored more points for this, but he was penalised for leaving one of his wounded men behind).
- Hobart's Funnies: This was a rather silly game in which goofy Sci-fi tanks from different arms suppliers tried to demonstrate their superiority to potential purchasers by making a beach landing. Each player was dealt a hand of 4 cards every round; different cards could be used to move your own vehicle, destroy obstacles or place hazards near the other players' tanks. Both boys enjoyed this enormously; at one point it looked as if the 2 of them were well out in front and close to winning. Then the other 3 players started to block their route with minefields, hedgehogs and the like. Eventually they came in 4th and 5th (of 5)!
- [Edit R/C Tanks: There were some radio-controlled tanks in a roped-off area of the hall, with upturned cardboard boxes for buildings. All three of us had a go, though we found controlling the vehicles much harder than we had hoped. J.'s King Tiger and my T-34 ended up ramming and shooting each other to bits, so A.'s Sherman was the winner]
- Firefight Normandy: A very detailed man-to-man skirmish game in thick hedgerows, using larger models. The people running this were friendly and enthusiastic, but it seemed that much of the game was spent in calculating percentages and tracking injuries ("10% damage to the left arm", for example). After a while we had to bow out, else we wouldn't have seen much else of the show.
- Ronin: I've had these rules for a while and am somewhat tempted to build some warbands for Samurai skirmishes, so I was keen to see how this would work. A. took a small group of warrior monks whilst J. opposed him with a slightly larger force of bandits. Highlight was definitely one of A.'s initiates taking on 5 bandits at once. I think he killed 3 or 4 of them before he was himself pulled down. Lowlight: A's archer was hopeless; we figured that he didn't know which way round to put the arrows. J. won in the end, but enough blood had been spilt to satisfy both of them.
LootFinally, here's the obligatory loot picture. Bear in mind that it's probably 14 years since I last attended Salute:
It was a very full, but very tiring day. We left Salute about 45 minutes before the doors closed, having been there for many hours. Even so, I don't think we saw everything...