Monday, 12 September 2022

Colours 2022 - it's about the people

One of the things many of us wargamers have missed over the last three years has been gathering at conventions. My excursion to Joy of Six in July was my first show since 2019. Pre-pandemic, the annual Colours wargames convention in Newbury was an important fixture in my calendar. I was therefore happy to see it return this year - doubly so that the organisers took the smart decision to throw the doors open and make entry free to ensure a good turnout for the traders. A huge thank you to all involved in making Colours happen. Well done.

My own contribution was to help run one of the display/participation games, as I last did back in 2016, I was surprised to find. Ours was as obscure as they come: Pákozd (1848), the opening skirmish of what was to become the (unsuccessful) Hungarian War of Independence. The reason for our choice was to help announce the imminent publication of the next BBB campaign supplement, "Bloody Big Hungary '48 Battles!", coming soon to all good bookstores.

For a thorough report of the whole show, with lavish photos, see Steve J's "Wargaming Addict" blog, excellent as always. Here's just one token photo of our game. A humble 4'x4' mat with 6mm figures, not aspiring to the same heights of craftsmanship as some of the spectacular 28mm scale works of art alongside it, but rather endeavouring to show what is easily feasible for the average gamer with limited time and space who still wants to fight an entire battle in an evening.

I won't say much about the game itself - the scenario has been reported before in the PS to this post - beyond noting that we ran it to conclusion twice, with novice participants, and at a leisurely pace while interacting with passing punters.

And what a lot of punters passed, or rather, stopped to chat, comment, enquire, admire, and play! Remote gaming is all well and good but for me, at least, wargaming is very much a social activity, and it was incredibly stimulating to meet so many fellow gamers. The day was a blur and I talked myself hoarse. Barely managed to do a quick lap of the other games (such beautiful work on display) and a hasty squint at a couple of the trade stands (sorry I couldn't spend more dosh with you guys!) and down a much-needed pint with my oldest mate. I can't remember everyone's name and never even got to ask in some cases - maybe next time the organisers could give everyone a sticky label to write names on? I therefore won't name individuals here. But I was pleased to meet some luminaries of our hobby (magazine editors, noted authors, rules writers, esteemed bloggers, and the like); old friends from many a game or convention in the past; fellow forum frequenters whose names were very familiar but whom I had not met before in person; fellow enthusiasts for the period, or the scale, or the rules, or just the hobby in general; a nice Hungarian couple who were surprised and delighted to see their nation's struggle represented on the tabletop (Gábor, let me know your website!); and especially all our new friends who were excited enough to join in the game and get a taste of BBB.

All these good people added up to a long full day of almost non-stop nattering, ending up exhausted but euphoric. Well worth it!

In conclusion, then: the eye-candy of gorgeous games is nice; the chance to try new games is nice; the chance to look up close at (and buy) some of the models and figures we've seen on the web is nice; but really, wargames shows are about the interactions of all kinds with fellow gamers. It's the people that make the show and the people that make the hobby. Ladies and gentlemen, it was a pleasure to meet you all last Saturday and I hope to see you again at another show soon!

On which note, you might want to mark the weekend of 1-2 July 2023 in your diaries. Sunday 2 July will be the date of the next Joy of Six in Sheffield, the 6mm convention run by Baccus. With Baccus's blessing and the generous support of the Leeds wargames club, we plan to hold the next BBB Bash Day the day before, Saturday 1 July 2023, in Leeds. We hope this double draw will attract lots of you to Yorkshire for an epic wargames weekend! To see what to expect, reports of previous Bash Days are here.


6 comments:

  1. I really like the table. The color is maybe a little bit too vibrant for me but you can be much more precise with map recreations when drawing on the maps.

    If I remember correctly the road network and water is chalked on? Can you enlighten me on the mat itself. Looks like some form of heavy cloth sprayed green?

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    1. Hi Shugyosha, the table is Crispin's work, not mine, so any credit due is his, but you can blame me for the vibrant green - I tend to max out the colour setting on the photos to make the blog look bright and attractive! It's a little more subdued and realistic in real life. Yes, the features are chalked on (except for the lakes which I think are painted on). I believe the mat is a heavy paper tablecloth from those noted purveyors of wargames terrain, Waitrose supermarkets. Sprayed green as you rightly surmise.

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  2. I completely agree with all you have said Chris. It really is about the people and the social aspect, which you only realise after not being able to do it for so long. Thanks for the link to and praise for my Blog, much appreciated old chap. As we say in Bristol: " Cheers Drive!"

    Really looking forward to the scenario book being published, as a brief perusal on the Helion stand showed that it is up to your usual standard. It's already on the birthday list, but may arrive sooner than the day, subject to publication of course.

    Enjoy your time in France this Autumn you lucky devil! I'm not jealous at all, no I'm really not...

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    1. Merci beaucoup, Steve! Yep, it's the people. I realise I missed out a very significant category of folks I met at Colours, the several (I think as many as five?) likely new recruits to Oxford Wargames Society, where we are really blessed these days with a critical mass (in more senses than one). I hope you can get a bit more in-person gaming yourself soon.

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  3. Map looks good, glad you enjoyed evrything.

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    1. Cheers, Vincent. You should come over next time!

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Comments welcome!