This weekend is the annual Derby World Wargames show, over in, you’d guessed it, Castle Donnington. I’ve always rather liked it, so I’m happy to be going along today to see what’s going on.
As seems to fast becoming my habit, I’m not working on a stall, but have a number of people I need to talk to about various projects. With a little luck I’ll also have time to wander round the other stands as well, and we’ll see if there’s anything new. Which brings me to what I was going to say about wargames events these days: they lack surprises.
When I was a lad, before the rise of the internet, when everything was much cheaper, when everyone was more friendly and nobody locked their doors (and dinosaurs roamed the Earth) a wargames show was an adventure into the unknown. You’d see familiar faces, sure, but almost always you’d find something you’d not seen before, except perhaps as a vaguely recalled name from the small ads in the back of a magazine. Oh that’s who they are/what they make!
These days the internet allows everyone to see what’s on offer in advance, and lets you know whether it’s worth going to do your shopping or not. Pre-internet you’d be lucky to have list of what was available, and little chance of pictures of any of them, let alone the whole range. It’s a very different experience.
Is it better? I don’t think it’s that simple – I think it’s just different. However, I still tend not to look too hard at the lists of traders in advance as I find the atmosphere more important than the shopping these days (and I’d like to keep any surprises I can). It’s great when you do find a gem or two that’s new to you, and not looking in advance can make that more likely. And watching demo games in the flesh, plastic and metal is very different from even the best of online walkarounds, so that’s always worth going to see too.
I’ll check in later and let you know if I found anything special 🙂