Monday, 18 September 2017

Colours 2017 Show Report

For myself the Colours show marks the start of the wargaming season after the long Summer break. The nights are drawing in and the Autumnal snap has happened, so my mind naturally returns to wanting to get games in, the paints out and campaigns planned. With this in mind I had been looking forward to the show for several weeks. Pre-orders had been placed with Pendraken and the show guide perused for games that looked to be of interest.

So the big day arrived and I collected Mike Embree en route and we had a pleasant journey down chatting about wargaming and history in general. It was good to see him again and his company helped ease the boredom of the drive to the show. One thing I love about Colours is that it's damned easy to get to and there is simply loads of parking. The venue itself is light and airy and to my mind is the best I've seen. We didn't have long to queue and soon we were in the show. I dropped Mike off at Bruce Weigle's table and then went off for a wander. 

This was the first time at the show where I was not putting on a demo game, so I was keen to see how the show felt from a punters point of view. Initially it felt slightly quiet, but maybe this was due to the rush towards the B'n'B that seems to be a fixture of the show. Very soon it got busy, but not so much so that you could not move around with ease. My first port of call was at the Pendraken stand, to pick up my orders and to have a chat with Leon and Co. It's always good to meet them and have a chat, albeit it rather brief as they are always busy. From there I just had a good wander around. To be honest there was little of interest to me as these days I game almost exclusively in 10mm, so most of the traders I simply ignored. If I was a 28mm gamer, then I'd be in Seventh Heaven!

The areas that did interest me were the second hand book sellers, which is where I spent most of my time before heading up to the show tables on the top floor. Personally I like to have a look at a book before buying it where at all possible. After much perusing I bought three books, but could have bought a lot more.

So with the grand tour of the traders completed, I headed up to the top floor to have a look at the show games. Sadly two of the games I was hoping to see and take part in failed to show, but at least some kind gamers stepped in at the last minute so there were no empty tables that I could see. I took photos of the games that were of interest to me and have annotated them were appropriate. Hopefully I will have got the details correct, but please forgive me if I've got anything wrong as I lost the show guide!

Some form of Ancients game, but no idea on the rules used..

My planned Ancients army will have chariots in some form or other, so I was drawn to these fine examples.

ECW game based in Borsetshire and using a forthcoming variant of 'To the Strongest' ruleset IIRC. 

Certainly an impressive table which was popular each time I checked it out.

I believe the figures are 10mm and from the Pendraken ranges. There were some other examples off table, including some massed 2mm figures that really looked pretty impressive.

It certainly looked impressive and the 10mm figures really gave the feel of a massed battle.

A game put on by the Society of Ancients I believe. No prizes for guessing what battle they were fighting...

WWI 28mm game set in the Middle East. Certainly impressive and had lots of visitors throughout the day. The Turks are at this end of the table, with the Allies in the far distance.

There was lots of lovely attention to detail all across the table.

A view from the British lines. Unsurprisingly the table garnered lots of interest throughout the day. 

The British artillery train caught my eye as I love this sort of WWI kit.

Again, some nice attention to detail.

WWII Stalingrad participation game using the FoW rules. It seemed to have lots of participants throughout the day.

The impressive train which was the objective of the game.

1985 Cold War game somewhere in Germany in 6mm.

Massed armour on the move.

A view across towards the advancing armour.

Not sure on this one. Sorry.

Another Cold War game based upon a boardgame.

Lots of nice details right across the table.

Marengo in 15mm. General d'Armee rules? I think it suffered a bit from being right next to the B'n'B area.

It certainly had the feel of a large battle and the table looked great.

The troops clash by a farmstead and I like the puffs of smoke.
WWI using 'Through the Mud and Blood' rules I believe. A replacement game for the planned Bloody Big Battles 6mm Gettysburg game.

I believe it was set in 1914 and looked like the race to the Marne?

Italy 1859? A very impressive table and had nice chaps running the game to boot.

The army advances and...
... forces its way across the river.

The rather lovely scratch built town. A lot of love, time and effort went into this.

Nice to see some troops within the fortifications.

The impressive view from the fortified town.

Bruce Weigle's Franco-Prussian War game, Vendome December 1870. As always Bruce puts on a damned fine game and this year was no exception. He was showcasing his new 1871 rules, which are a streamlined version of the previous ones.

German troops push through the woods on the left, trying to beat the French to the town, which they did, but only just.

The simply spectacular table using 6mm H&R figures.

The German artillery prepares to advance and deploy on the ridge just outside of the woods.

A view from the French side, who at this point were more than holding their own against the combined German forces.

From left to right: Jean-Marc, Bruce Weigle, Mike Embree and two gamers, whose names escape me!

Post Show Thoughts
I enjoyed visiting the show as a punter as I had so much time to really take in the show. In reality I could have whizzed round in an hour or so, but it was nice to take time just to wander around, checking out some traders and chatting to other gamers. The social side of the show is one that I enjoyed when putting on demo games, so I was happy to still be able to chat to other gamers at various points throughout the day. It's not often I get the chance to do this these days.

There was a good mix of games on show, four of which were of real interest to me. Last year I think there was only one, which probably contributed to my non-attendance. Sadly there were a few games that had little or no information on what was being played, what rules used etc. Also quite a few had no one to talk to about the game or didn't seem to have any interest in talking to anyone. More than one other gamer commented on this same thing on the day. To be fair Colours is not the only show guilty of this.

Would I go again next year? I'm not sure to be honest. A lot would depend upon the games on display. However I did enjoy myself so the jury's out on this one.