Sunday 12th February found me braving a thoroughly wet, cold and miserable morning to drive the short distance up the M1 to Nottingham for the very first ROBIN Wargames Show.
The venue for this show was the Nottingham Tennis Centre – specifically, one of the two sets of indoor courts.
The area for the show was pretty large – the hall was the size of four tennis courts – so despite the fact that over 40 traders and almost 20 games were present for this event, the venue actually looked almost half empty.
Having chatted with Donna from Wargames Events, this was actually intentional – being in its first year, the thought was to not overfill the venue and thus allow room for growth for the future.
The venue itself was easy to find, with plenty of (free) parking. The hall was large, well lit and airy, though rather chilly. As I said, the day was cold and wet, and the venue heating had broken down the day before, meaning that most traders resorted to wearing hats and coats (or at the very least, large woolly jumpers or fleeces) by the middle of the afternoon!
The show included a couple of seminars – one by John Stallard and Rick Priestly (a Q&A session) and the other by Gav Thorpe (talking about applying narrative in game design). This was a very nice touch and one that I’d like to see other shows adopt. The only problem was actually finding the venue for these within the centre, as it wasn’t well advertised where the seminars were held, and a complete lack of signs meant that I missed the start of John and Rick’s chat.
Whilst there was a good selection of traders at the show, I must admit to feeling that there were not enough games on display. As you can see from the video above, this led to the hall looking distinctly empty.
There were a few teething problems, as you might expect. Other than the lack of heating, I’ve heard that the venue café struggled to cope with demand, and service was very slow.
To be honest, this is the sort of thing you tend to find with new venues, and I’m sure things will improve.
Overall, an enjoyable day. I spent most of the day chatting with various traders and gamers, and also playing with a new toy in the shape of a hand-held camera mount – so you are likely to see some video of several games at the show, once I sort out the video editing.
I believe that the show was attended by somewhere around 400 punters, which is pretty good for a first show. Hopefully we will see ROBIN back in 2018 – it’s a welcome addition to the Midlands wargames show circuit.