Six hours of driving and half a tank of diesel later, Salute has come and gone for another year. No live blogging from the event nor any photos to chuck here either, I figure once you’ve seen one table of 15mm Napoleonics you’ve seen them all.
Servitob, nBreaker, myself and one of our non-blogging gaming buddies packed ourselves into the ZombieMobile and departed sunny Shropshire for the much posher climes of the Excel centre in the London docklands, a mere stones throw from Canary Wharf. Upon arriving, and after nearly collapsing into a coma once we saw how much they were charging for parking, we made our way into the great and spacious building. Looking around it was obvious there were other things on the go, the lack of beards and prevalence of skirts suggested this and we found the registrations for the London marathon were also going on.
We moved quickly past any possibility of being contaminated with people who have a penchant for physical exertion and found the Salute hall, filled with the musty scents of unwashed facial hair and the pervasive odour stemming from a lack of deodorant, the gaming geek in his natural habitat. Yes, I do know that I just coloured myself with the same stereotypical brush as my gaming fraternity just to try and get a cheap laugh…
Salute is a really large hall and figuring out where to start is only the first of many challenges that presents itself. I had gone down with the intention of picking up a model or two, knowing full well what was going to be there. We cruised the usual stands, walking past the veritable horde of historical wargaming that is on show here, it’s not really our bag. At the behest of a rather exited looking Servitob we sat down to our first demo game of the day, an encounter from D&D 4th edition. We grabbed some characters and then WTFZOMGBBQPWND!!1!!!! some Orcses, not before nBreaker’s Cleric was almost melted into goo through friendly fire from our non-blogging Wizard. A good time was had by all in this brief foray, myself and Servitob had played 3.5 but the streamlining of 4th was quite refreshing. We’ve already forewarned Gribblin (our DM) that he may have to start something up again.
Most of the rest of the time was taken up with looking at the other stands, I grabbed some stuff from the Simple Miniature Games stand, the one item I had gone for, the Avatars of War Light Elf Mage kit as well as a Convict Gunslinger for Malifaux. However, something we did not expect happened and was probably the highlight of the show for most of us.
Not only was nBreaker able to pick up some heavily discounted Khador stuff but we came across a stand for a little game called Sphere Wars (site in Spanish). If anyone is familiar with Infinity (another Spanish game) you will know that this country seems blessed with an affinity for producing some gorgeous models. When we saw the Sphere Wars stuff we were blown away, some of the range are amongst the best models I have ever seen. Our non-blogging friend doesn’t have a lot of models but bought into this game on the strength of the models then and there. nBreaker also picked up a starter set for the same faction while I laid down some green to pick up the Human faction starter with a couple of blisters of scantily clad ladies to “boost” things.
There was a booklet you could get from the stand that gives the starter rules, we also watched a demo game in action before we went back to look at purchasing some stuff. Considering the amount of stuff I currently have sitting around and the number of games I am into right now getting another ruleset as not something I was even contemplating as we travelled. I wanted my Avatars of War model and that was it. I think it’s a testament to how good the models are that we were willing to lay down the cash for this on the day without investigating further.
Sphere Wars was for me the highlight of the day, a good time was had by all regardless and we all went home cuddling some new goodies, even if it was just a box of dice. If you want to see new stuff coming out as well as having access to a lot of stuff from games you may not have considered then it is well worth checking the show out. There is a massive prevalence towards historical gaming but that doesn’t detract from the other stuff on show. There weren’t a huge number of show discounts which is kind of a shame as I like it when retailers are willing to offer you a little more on the day, I know that now isn’t necessarily the best time economically but slashing a few quid off or doing a buy 2 get 3rd free offers would have been nice to see (maybe I was looking at the wrong stands).
So, a good day out and we are now looking forward to the UK Games Expo in June, a little closer to home though.