I have been looking forward to this show after going for the first time last year and discovering those amazing Field Works' building that I posted picture of in previous blog entries. Also, having missed SELWG due to the rather inconvenient need to stay in hospital after surgery, this show was my last chance of this year to shop for stuff, and see games etc.
Last year I had gone with my friend Clive, wave Clive you are on my blog, who having worked in Reading, was an effective local guide. This year I had to drive to Reading by myself, using a Bing map and directions I'd printed off. Yes, I got lost, not once, but several times; for a definition of lost that equals I don't know how to get to where I want to go, rather than one of where am I? At all times I was clearly not lost, as I knew I was in my car, and various road signs told me that I was either approaching Reading, or leaving Reading. Despite this, I kept looping back on myself and managed to trip over the Rivermead Leisure Centre in the end. This added about 45 minutes to my journey.
Then I rang Clive to remind him we were meeting up at the show this year. Good thing I rang him too, as I had failed to tell him what day I was going on. Doh!
Anyway, While waiting for Clive to arrive I did my shopping. What did I buy? Fieldworks buildings of course. I splurged on a load of 10mm buildings, and picked up a show special on the 15mm F16, which I call the "Le Corbusier" building, which is touted as a WW2/Sci-Fi building. I understand that this is no longer going to be made, so once they sell out it will be gone.
I asked about the withdrawal of some of the buildings? It seems that a lot of parcels are being damaged in transit, which means that the cost of replacement makes the whole transaction a loss to Fieldworks. Shame really, but it can't be helped.
After visiting that stand I spoke to Mel & Jon at Ground Zero Games. They are long time friends whom I've known for more years than I care to remember. Then I said hi to the guys at Pendraken and talked to them about Vietnam riverine monitors, which serendipitously Skytrex had on their stand in 20mm. Hopefully, some enterprising manufacturer will do 10mm versions at future point, as I think the riverine monitors look pretty cool, either way they are the perfect addition for the upcoming Charlie Don't Surf riverine special from TooFat Lardies.
Anyway, onto the games I saw...
The first game that took my eye was Grunts from GZG, I think presented by The Society of Science Fiction & Fantasy? Grunts has had a lot of buzz around the SF forums as being an innovative quick play game that is non background specific. So you can have conventional future tanks and stuff, or more outré stuff like mecha and giant tanks (cough) Bolos (cough).
I thought that the terrain and set up were very good. Eye catching, yet set at a level that any wargamer could aspire to achieve. The only critical thing I would say, as a modeler, IMO if you using building then they will blend better if they are all painted the same way. Not aimed just at Grunts, but at a lot of the demo games I saw, where really nice buildings jarred, because one set were card set right next to resin, or plastic. YMMV on this.
The next game that really caught my eye was Cowboys & Indians in 54mm called Buffalo Bill and the Ambush at Dismal River presented by Skirmish Wargames. Wow, what a good looking game, using Teddy Bear fur for the grass was very effective ( I was told no teddy bears were hurt, as they had really used puppy dog skins!). This game was inspired by Hollywood and had all the clichés in it to make for a crowd pleaser.
And here is what the Injuns were waiting to ambush, but is seems the stage was delayed due to some contrétemps between two of the passengers.
Finally, a non-FoW WW2 game based on a hypothetical alternative landing site for D-Day that was planned for (unfortunately the name of the game escapes me), I think presented by the Maidenhead Wargamers. However, while extensive plans were made for Operation X, nothing came of the plans due to the Royal Navy pointing out he difficulties of getting landing craft to shore while under fire from an emplaced naval gun battery was a non-starter. Thus I was told to have pulled this off the Allies would have had to deploy paratroopers, and the only free ones would have been British. If so, this would have meant no Operation Market Garden. So an interesting alternative WW2 scenario.
So, I had a great time, even though I was totally exhausted by the time I got home due to the extra time to get there, and spending longer at the show from meeting Clive, who arrived late. It showed me one thing though, I am getting better and my stamina is improving.
PS: I will post pictures of my Fieldworks purchases soon.