Salute 2012

I went to Salute last Saturday.  It was my second time at the event having also made the trip last year.  MT came along for some immoral support.

I pre-ordered a fair bit of stuff from various sellers in an attempt to avoid impulse overspending.  That plan had… mixed results.

After wandering around, picking up pre-orders, buying some bits and stopping to admire some of the cool tables on display I did a lap of the hall taking photos.

After that we played a pair of demo games:

  1. 7TV from Crooked Dice is a ruleset that I own that I had yet to actually play that I have plans regarding.  The beautiful 7TV demo tables made it easy to convince MT to give it a go too.
  2. Project Pandora (Mantic Games), a sci-fi dungeoncrawl not unlike Space Hulk in concept but quite different in rules and gameplay terms.  I had pre-ordered a copy of the game and MT picked up a copy of his own after the demo)

The snaps that I took feature below.  All can be clicked on for a better look.  The occasional snap can be enlarged much more: they are marked with a caption saying as much.

Above is the demo game of 7TV that we played.  As you can see, it was particularly nice to look at.  I played the Project Time Lift forces (including Darius “The Man from 2000” while MT played the zombie astronauts and psychically dominated human forces near the crashed rocket.

Matt our demo instructor was great and showed us what we needed to know without smothering us.  I have future plans for this rule set so it was cool to get to play it with such beautiful miniatures and terrain.  MT picked up some Blakes 7 inspired figures from Crooked Dice after playing this (he remembers the seventies a lot better than I do).

Above is a photo of one of the other 7TV tables.  This one had more of a Sapphire and Steel or Doctor Who vibe, with animated scarecrows getting up to mischief in a quaint English town setting.

Another 7TV demo table.  I didnt pick up exactly what was going on on this table story wise, but it looked pretty cool.

This last 7TV demo table was bigger by far and was surrounded by people the entire day (which is partly why the photo isnt very good).  Like last years “You Only Live Dice” table, I watched the log of its manufacture on the LAF, so it was nice to see the “On Her Majestys Crooked Service” table in real life.

From one snow table to another, less dramatic one.  Despite the uninspiring white sheet the rest of the items depicting an incident with mammoths and cavemen looked good.  In many respects this is exactly the sort of game that I want to see at a convention.  I dont imagine that any of my gaming buddies will ever get around to assembling and painting loads of mammoths and cavemen for gaming with, but I am glad that someone has and that they brought it to Salute to show everyone.

Some kind of bug hunt game was taking place on the table shown above.  What I liked about this table was that it could feasibly be made by any gamer with a little space and a little patience.  The internet and conventions like Salute are full of miniatures and terrain created to an exceptionally high standard, with cast elements and super detailing being the norm.  I think that the bar is set so high as to be discouraging in some respects.  The table shown here illustrates that a decent sci-fi complex can be created without it being a colossal time and money sink.  Speaking of which…

Click on the photo for a MUCH bigger version.

This table was for demos of a steampunk/VSF game, but I cant remember what it was called.  Something German I think.  The terrain and miniatures here were exceptionally nice.

Another table from those German VSF guys.  Lovely.

I dont know what game was being played on this table as I passed by, but the town looked good.

Click to photo for the big version.

This Western game was in 6mm scale or similar.  Check out the cute stampeding cattle.

Another Space Hulk-esque sci-fi dungeon here.  Its made from Ainsty Casting parts seemingly donated to the RAF.  Im not so keen on the colour choices but I would be very happy to have access to somehting like that to game on all the same.

Some little hoplites doing their thing, shouting “FOR TINY SPARTAAAA!” in barely heard, high pitched 10mm voices.

Click to embiggen.

This was another beautiful table that I saw being constructed on the LAF, this time with a samurai theme.  I liked it more the longer that I looked at it.  Lovely banners and detail on the troops too.

The flying battleship miniatures shown featured on a number of tables.  I think that the game is Dystopian Wars maybe, but I am not certain, I might be way off.  Nonetheless every time that I saw that flying aircraft carrier model I had to stop to ogle it.

Lots of Steampunk/VSF around this year.  I dabble a bit via Malifaux, but its not really my preferred setting.   On the other hand if I had local players who wanted to try a skirmish game in more or less any setting then I would be happy to paint up a handful of figures for it.  Above is the new Empire of the Dead game from West Wind.  The Victorian London housing looked great, as did the conservatory on the back of the house in the top left.

Some mad looking VSF vehicles on this table.  I quite liked the huts on the bottom right too: they looked to me like something Tatooine or where kroot or something might live.

This was a zombie game that appeared to be set in some sort of Tim Burton-y, Paper-Mario universe.  The bases for the 2D buildings seemed to mark out the shadows of the buildings, which was interesting.  I found the whole monochrome thing intriguing although I never got around to asking the guys running it what they were up to.  Oh well.

The first of a few Freebooters Fate demo tables shown above.  It was a really nice looking piece that I imagine would be fun to play on two or three times, after which it would become dull.  Ideal for demoing a game nicely I expect and the sort of thing impractical to make or game with at home (unless you have vast space and time).  Ideal for viewing at a convention in other words.

Another really nice Freebooters Fate demo table.

Another nice looking table playing a period that I know nothing about.  I took the photo to remind me about the explosion markers.  They seem to be cotton wool or something but they have been placed on battery operated fake tea light candles.  The flickering from the LED was surprisingly convincing.  I should have asked the guys what they used to make the smoke as my wife has boxes of those lights for use with her ceramics stuff from which I shall be purloining in the near future.

Click for a close up.

Another game featuring those flying VSF aircraft carriers.   While the ships themselves were again very nicely painted, the level of detail on the island terrain was spectacular.  One of the visual highlights of the show for me.

There seemed to me to be less modern era game going on than last year, but its not like I kept track or anything.  This was a Yugoslavian table I think, but dont hold me to it.

Gigantic Japanese monsters beating the shit out of each other has considerable appeal to me.  Therefore this table also had.  A brief chat with one of the creators revealed that the buildings were made from lengths of drainpipe with printouts stuck on to the sides.  The sum of the parts was considerably better than that sounds I thought.

My own kaiju stuff is 6mm, to go with my Epic terrain and miniatures so each kaiju is roughly 100-130mm tall.  The kaiju in this game were much larger being more about 200mm tall if memory serves.  I would have liked to have had enough time to try that game out.

One of the heavily publicised games for the show was the Captain Scarlet road battle game.  It consisted of a number of tables laid out to represent a Gerry Anderson-esque super highway.  As well as 28mm versions of the Spectrum operatives and the like the game also featured some nice sci-fi civilian vehicles.  I have a particular interest in those sorts of things for populating my Judge Dredd games.

I enjoyed the model elements of the Gerry Anderson shows as a child (as I am sure that anyone bothered enough to read a blog about toy soldiers probably did) but I was never a fan of the scenarios or storytelling.  Even when I was young I found the shows tedious but I couldnt look away because of the sumptuous model shots.

The upshot of this is that I think that I would enjoy gaming Captain Scarlet and the like.  I might be able to subject the characters to the sort of scenarios that I felt were missing from the TV shows.

Click to see the demons on the bridge a little closer.

Another samurai demo table, although this time populated with a bit of the supernatural.  More beautiful feudal Japanese scenery.

The first Gruntz table.  If I had my time again then I would avoid 28mm altogether I reckon and stick to 15mm like this.  But I always say that.

15mm is just so cute though.  Its a good compromise between 28mm (which is just too big for fielding vehicles properly) and 6mm (which is just a bit too small to field infantry properly).  Still, Im not going to touch it.  Whatever about not having the self discipline to restrain myself from purchasing too many more miniatures, having to start another set of terrain in a different scale would cause me to crack up completely.

Lastly I took a few photos of the Malifaux tables.  This first one is made from Terraclips sets.  It looks OK I suppose, although the clips holding the sets together are a bit intrusive.  The surfaces themselves are a little busy for my tastes too.  As far as I am aware I think that the point of Terraclips is that it can be assembled in numerous ways, like a Lego set.  I very much doubt that setting up and tearing down a setup like that shown above would be very quick though.

The other Malifaux table was more traditional fare.  It looked nice I thought, a set up that I would be happy to have at home.  In the context of the spectacular tables on show all over Salute it was somewhat lost though.

Those lovely Sarissa Precision buildings always look great.

So that was Salute 2012.  Discussions are already underway regarding Salute 2013 attendance.

Salute 2011

I went to Salute yesterday. In between resisting the urge to add to the lead mountain and simply adding to the lead mountain I took some pictures, shown below.

I didnt have time to document which games were run by what groups and the like, but I took photos of the ones that interested me in particular.  I also missed a few that I wanted to photograph but managed not to see them on the second pass through with the camera (the first and third passes through the hall being reserved for shopping and drooling).

The standard of the shots isnt great, but they should give a feel for some of the games being played.

I think that the players were playing Infinity on the table above.  I have always liked the idea of a set of snow terrain, but never made anyway because it doesnt really mix with any of my existing stuff.  It would be like a brand new scale or project all of its own.  Cool looking though.

I dont know what was being played on the table shown above, but it looked great the rocky (cork?) mesas made for a very nice looking table.  I love the high flying aircraft.  A lot of games at the show had flyers mounted quite high.  It looks great, but strikes me as being impractical for people who play at home (plus the usual problems with storing that sort of thing).  I could be wrong though.  A lovely looking game.

Judging by the sign at the top of the above photo I suspect that this was the table showing the Gripping Beast historical plastic kits.  Shedloads of nice and (to my eyes at least) authentic looking figures.

Another nice looking historical table.  The amount of love and attention individually paid to so many figures in a single big hall can be a bit overwhelming.  If this display was at some of the other shows that I have been too I would have pored over it for ages.  At Salute there was so much to look at that I only got to take a quick look and snap.

I loved this table.  Its from Taban Miniatures showing off their large 30mm post apoc game, Eden.  The table is an abandoned fairground complete with roller coaster, bumper cars and merry-go-round, all exquisitely rendered and very evocative.  The Eden figures are absoultely beautifully sculpted and the display paint jobs are so good as to make me want to give up my feeble attempts.

I didnt buy any Eden figures though as the 30mm scale is just a bit too big for my tastes and existing figure collection, plus the figures are not cheap.  I may buy one of their samurai exo-suits/robots at a later date, assuming that some get-rich-quick scheme eventually has me rolling in dough.  Until then though…

I am on a bit of a Judge Dredd kick at the moment, with some Mega City One stuff in the project pipeline (I bought a few Judges, Holocaust suits and the Angel Gang from Mongoose yesterday).  As a result the table from Antenocitis Workshop was 100% up my street.  Its brilliant to see a 28mm sci-fi city that isnt 1) gothic, 2) ruined, 3) a small town or 4) shitty looking.

AW make some lovely stuff but it tends to be expensive.  I had to avoid their display of sci-fi street furniture after seeing it early on show yesterday.  I knew if I went back that I would buy stuff that I just cant currently afford.  Ho hum.

Another shot of the boner-inducing Antenocitis Workshop G.O.T. table…

…and another…

…and the last one.  As you can probably tell this was one of my favourite tables.  Its not realistic for me to ever think that I will have a table as nice as that at home, but it is inspiring all the same.  I can just imagine all of the Judge Dredd, Bladerunner, Star Trek etc games that could be played on something like that.

Thank Christ I dont play 15mm sci-fi, I have enough figures unpainted already.  If I had my time over again though I would consider ditching both the 6mm (Epic) stuff and the 28mm (everything else) and just stick to 15mm sci-fi.  Its a great scale for tanks, mecha are totally feasible and the infantry is super cheap in comparison with 28mm.  I dont know who was responsible for this cool looking table, but I wish that they were my neighbours.

Modern stuff here from an unknown party.  Another table that was improved a lot by being able to see the helicopters above it from a distance.  In the context of a gaming hall it looks fantastic.  At home I think that its too hard to get that sort of perspective going (unless your game room is as big as a basketball court or something, in which case I am jealous).

I *think* that this table was hosting some Car Wars style game.  I liked the base boards ( I think that they are laser cut prefab bits form somewhere that I saw a few years ago, but I could be wrong).

More cool helicopters on a dramatic board.

The table above was very realistic looking to me.  So realistic in fact that the realistically camouflaged miniatures blended in almost perfectly.

I honestly mean no disrespect to the guys who put this really impressive table together, but I think that most of their hard work couldnt be seen, which is a pity.  My own tastes prefer that the figures stand out a little, being the heroes of the little narratives that are developing (even though that can end up gaudy and horrible really easily too).

The above shot was from a simple (by the standards of the show at least) display of  what I *think* was Flames of War.  I took the photo because the table made me hum Ride of the Valkyries.

An impressive Stalingrad sort of game (at least, thats what it looked like to me).  The more that I looked at this the better it got.  Ten different kinds of awesome smothered in rich creamery butter it was.

More Eastern front cool-ness.

A not great shot of a cute looking game above.  The game is “Twilight” (note: not the horseshit about vampires who look like diamonds when the sunrays trickle through their obscenely overworked hairdos and glistens on their tennis court sized foreheads.  Its a different, Brian Froud-y, Dark Crystal-y “Twilight”).

Cute figures for this, but being fantasy I doubt that I will ever get into it.  They do have little guys with mechanical exo-suit looking legs that remind me a bit of “sligs” from Abes Odyssey on PS1.  I could see myself picking up two or three of those for gaming AE bounty or similar sometime.

More exquisitely painted, beautifully sculpted expensive figures on display here.  Freebooters Fate is about pirates, but features goblins and the like.  A really cute table for their display games I thought.

A very impressive hu-u-ge game here.  It looked like VSF flying dreadnoughts to me.  Another game that really wouldnt be practical to run domestically and therefore ideal for a show like Salute.

More lovely 15mm sci-fi.

Even more 15mm (maybe 10mm?), this time playing in the snow again.  I suppose it must be vast exposure to The Empire Strikes Back that makes wargaming giant robot walkers on a snowy planet so appealing.  Whatever the reason, it floats my boat.

An impressive post apoc or simply bombed out warzone here.  This table grabbed me with the little bits of ruined furniture etc in the buildings.  Very much lived-in structures rather than bombed out shells. Lovely.

A close up from the table above.

This was a table for showing the  7TV rules.  Having watched the tables construction evolve on the LAF forum over the last few months it was nice to see in in the flesh.  Obviously its is a James Bond type game set in a underground lair, complete with rocket and associated paraphenalia, “Little Nelly” style gyrocopter and cells from which incarcerated interloper can easily escape via the modeled in ventilation shafts.  Nice.

Another beautiful historical table.  I thought that the poppys were a nice touch.

This was the table AKULA (of AR:SE fame) has been documenting on LAF (and Frothers I suspect).  Its a cool table based on the Battlefield Bad Company Xbox game.  As I was rushing to make a flight at this stage I unfortunately didnt have time to say hi and thank him in person for the use of his rules.  Next time.

More of the above game again.

I think that this was the Frothers Cthulhu/Cluedo game, but as I was rushing at this stage I cant be sure.  It looked cute though and like something that would be a lot of fun to play.

I used the opportunity to meet up with fellow miniatures blogger and commenter TheAngryLurker yesterday too.  At an early point in the day we met to say hi and to press the flesh.  Thats TheAngryLurker on the rear left with me on the rear right.  In front (and behind the camera) are three of the “Rejects”, TALs gaming buddies.  It was cool to meet up with the lot of them for a few minutes and it added an extra element to what was already a fun day.

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