…or why I am not going to Salute in a couple of weeks…
I’ve been covering UK wargames shows for the gaming media – be that one of the gaming magazines, or the podcast – for a number of years now – so much so that I made the decision at the start of this year (2018) that I would take a year off, and simply go to wargames shows as a punter for a year, partly in order to recapture the joy of going to a show.
Whilst it’s not always the case, if you are working at a show, you are constantly looking around for photos, or the opportunity for a chat or interview with a trader. That can get pretty wearing – especially at big shows like Salute or the UK Games Expo – so I wanted to take time to re-engage with the events I was attending.
Normally, especially as part of the wagames media, you would not consider missing Salute – after all, it is the biggest one-day show of the year, and so many companies use it as a focus to release new products, plus you get to see people who do not see anywhere else on the UK Show circuit.
As a gamer who is based in the Midlands, this year has seen that part of the country more well served by gaming shows than ever before – but the calendar hit a snag when Hammerhead in March was postponed due to snow, and rearranged for the end of April.
All of a sudden I have five shows, four of which are local, in the space of 2 months – CHILLCON (Eccesfield) on 31st March, Salute (London) on 14th April, Hammerhead (Newark) (for which I had bought an advance ticket) on 28th April, Partizan (Newark) on 20th May and the UK Games Expo (Birmingham) on 1st – 3rd June.
If I was working in my usual media capacity, then this wouldn’t be a problem – however, in my capacity as a punter, there is one of these shows that stands out like a sore thumb – Salute (I will take the UK Games Expo out of the equation at this point, as it’s a 3-day show, and something of a different proposition from the others)
Given the considerations of travel cost (including parking) and ticket entry cost alone, Salute will cost three times the price of the other shows to attend – you have to consider that in travelling from the Midlands, I would be spending something like £60 – £70 just to attend the show, in comparison to somewhere between £15 – £20 for the others. Considering how good shows like Hammerhead and Partizan have become in recent years, is the extra ‘stuff’ that Salute has to offer worth the price difference? In other years…maybe. This year…almost definitely not.
This is not meant as a knock on the cost of Salute by the way. It’s a show that takes place at a major convention centre in the nation’s capital – that simple fact comes with a price tag attached.
The moving of Hammerhead to the end of April is one major factor in all this – this other is a much more personal factor – hobby budget.
If you have seen my post from yesterday, you will know that my hobby purchases during last month have not been insignificant – mainly due to the long-awaiting release of Star Wars Legion on the 22nd March. That was a fairly major purchase that would put a dent in anyone’s budget. Add to that a couple of Kickstarter projects that are launching in April, plus having to complete a pledge manager for a certain large plastic dragon, and I find myself in the simple position of not having any budget to spend even if I went to Salute – and despite the enjoyment I get from chatting with people at shows, I think you would agree that £70 is a lot of money to spend simply to go window shopping…
And so, in a perfect storm of an abundance of local shows which offer better value to attend, being at the wrong time of the month (i.e. smack in the middle of pay dates), and the fact that I had decided not to work media at shows this year, and Salute seems to have become a casualty of common sense.
It will be the first Salute I have missed for several years, so that will feel more than a bit weird.
I hope you enjoy Salute this year, and I will be very interested in hearing/seeing people’s stories of the day.