Saturday, 21 November 2009

Warfare 2009: Reading

Okay today was spent at Warfare, a games show in Reading, which is rather good. I went to buy stuff, look at the tabletop terrain action, and hang with a couple of friends. Met up with Martin from Manchester, and Clive came over last night to travel down in the car with me today.

Like all good friends we chatted about our mutual obsessions including playing Contact!, which is a live role-playing game, or LARP, whichever floats your boat? Contact! can be described as a full size one-to-one wargame that uses airsoft to simulate combat. No die rolling, just screams of "stop shooting at me I'm dead". The plot of the game, can be loosely described as Stargate meets the X-Files, with various scenarios being generated from the consequences of the previous mission, which then creates the campaign in real time, so to speak. We've all had a lot of fun running around the wood at night hunting down, or being hunted by the bad guys.

Anyway, after looking around, and having a coffee, I got down to the serious buying that had to be done. I went and made Martin at Peter Pig's day by buying a shed load of 15mm militia for AK47 Republic. I have this grandiose plan to run a three way game inspired by Blackhawk Down, with two warlord gang factions and a bunch of US Marines. Lots of technicals, RPGs and the like.
After what Clive described as money pouring out of my iPod, which I had the list of things I wanted on it, I then we went to see the guys at Pendraken. However, I only came away with a few items, because they mostly bring army packs to shows. Even so WW1 tanks and stuff were bought, along with a Vietnam PBR, and a pack of their SF range tripods to try out for size. .

Great things iPods, as they are like Palms, but play music and do a shed load of stuff with third party apps. I use Momo for my lists, which makes keeping track of things you've bought, or want to buy quite easy.

I've been re-evaluating the game-scales I choose to buy, probably because as I get older I need glasses to see things, and while I love 6mm, 10/12mm is a lot easier to see what the figures are. Of course I could play just in 15mm, which I love, but I also love big action games. For me this is lots of figures. Yes I know that BattleTech is hardly the best set of rules for big action games, but I consider BattleTech to be a skirmish game between battlemechs. See one can justify anything, if one tries hard enough.

So here are a couple of pictures comparing a 15mm Vietnam PBR with a 10/12mm scale PBR (I use scale advisedly, because size is not a scale) for you to see for yourselves.

The second picture is the smaller PBR on a piece of my river terrain. I quite like the look and feel of 10/12mm, and may well go down the Vietnam route in the future.

On the
BattleTech front there was a heap load of books at the Bring & Buy. They had tables set out with stuff that pretty much occupied a whole hall at the show. I'm not a big Bring & Buy person, because I don't carry large amounts of cash around with me. I'm the kind of girl that likes to get her credit card out. I saw a whole bunch of stuff that was tempting, both BattleTech and other miniatures. However, all I ended up buying was a copy of the Comstar Sourcebook for £5.00, about $8.00 for my US readers, which I thought was a good deal, given it is in pretty fair condition. So much BattleTech happiness found, as I had been wanting to get hold of this for a while, and copies can go for a hell of a price on eBay.

After that, Clive and I went around looking at the games, and there were lots of them. A Flames of War competition was also being run, so lots of WW2 action. Personally, I'm into the oddball stuff, so very early WW2 is fun, Spanish Civil War too (which is like Monty Python's Life of Brian for real), and other interwar periods have a charm that comes from seeing the people in command pioneering new technology on the battlefield. Funnily enough I quite like Korea, Vietnam and the wars in the Third World too. Go figure? All I can say is that I have eclectic tastes.

Finally, while looking around the show I saw some really fabulous resin building from Fieldworks.

Well worth checking these out.



  1. Funny, that LARP group you belong to reminds me of another group in Merry Olde England which uses LaserTag gear - customized and modified out the wazoo many years back by Dave Bodger - to accomplish much the same thing. I wonder if they are still around?

    My son uses his airsoft to perform skirmishes with his friends in the local woods. Their rule of thumb is 'if it stings, you're dead'. The arms race between heavier clothing, autofire weapons and tactics mounted over the summer until I drew the line at airsoft guns which cost $240 and cranked out 25g pellets at 425 fps. Someone could put their eye out with that...


  2. South London Warlords, a good crowd, but just too far from where I live to be able to get there after a hard days work. AFAIK, still around, John Treadaway was involved, as well as some other guys I know.

    As for your son and his friends, I agree that you absolutely did the right thing, and you can tell him I said so, if that helps at all? We always play with eye protection, because even though we have lower velocity limits than the USA, a bb to the eye can cause serious damage, and potentially blind you. We are very strict about safety at our site and players have to wear full paint ball masks.

    However for us, paint ball masks are used to represent gasmasks, as all our scenarios are set in NBC settings, therefore simulating full Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP).

    Players are welcome to customise real gasmasks, but quite frankly that gets real old, real quick in a game where you are running around shooting at people.

  3. Huh. Small world, innit? My son wears the eye protection, but complains bitterly that his perspiration and breathing quickly fog the lens. I've even gone so far as to suggest a small fan and battery pack installed in the helmet, but he doesn't want to complicate things too much.

    Which MOPP Level? Heh. I was in the Navy 22 years, and am very familiar with such things. I have a Mark V in the closet, I think :)


  4. Tell him I've got a homemade fan and battery in mine. Best modification you can have made to make life comfortable while airsofting.


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