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  • Writer's pictureBlaxkleric

“Beachhead" Showcase 2023


The Main Floor and Solent Hall (Wargames Tournaments)

Having not visited the Bournemouth International Centre in Dorset for a few years I was rather looking forward to once again attending "one of the South Coast's top convention centres" this past Saturday, and managed to find both a parking space near the event, as well as a local eatery serving breakfast, before its doors had even opened, In the past, the venue has always 'thrown up' some new range of miniatures by an aspiring entrepreneur I've 'bought big into' or seduced me to finally purchase a game/genre I've previously managed to keep at arms bay.


Unfortunately, this simply wasn't the case this time round, and I left the show wondering whether I would be willing to pay another tenner for a similar experience again. In fact, this seemingly sudden standard cost of entry is really putting me off shows, as I was only there for just over an hour, and surprisingly walked away with nothing but a handful of manufacturer's advertising leaflets and flyers. That's not value for money in my books.

"Shiver" by "Parable Games" and "Zoontalis: Battle Royale" by "Dice Heads"

I think one of the main problems was that "Beachhead" didn't really offer me anything that I couldn't purchase with far less hassle over the internet. The usual trading suspects were somewhat out in force in the shape of "Warlord Games", "Blotz", "Great Escape Games", "Peter Pig", "TT Combat" and "Grubby Tanks". Whilst the second-hand dealers were charging an absolute fortune for many of their wares - most notably the old(er) boxed sets by "Games Workshop", which were (perhaps unsurprisingly) priced in the hundreds of pounds. Furthermore, I'd suggest the event's huge array of wargames tournaments (in both the Solent Hall and the Bourne Lounge) were perhaps its biggest draw, and such competitive play isn't for me.


Having said all that though, there were a few notable attendees who definitely caught my attention, and quite possibly in less frugal financial times may well have had me opening my wallet. Foremost of these was the "roleplaying in the strange and unknown" rule-set entitled "Shiver" by "Parable Games". This horror game definitely intrigued me with its mix of spooky shenanigans, excellent artwork and dedicated dice mechanics. However, as I already own numerous versions/expansions of "7TV" by "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" I didn't feel I wanted to fork out another large wodge of dosh on a core game book which brings "their favourite scary movies, spooky television shows, and horror stories to life". I was sorely tempted though...

Some of the demonstration games laid out on the Main Floor

Furthermore, I discovered "Zoontalis: Battle Royale" by "Dice Heads", which on face value struck me as being a much more fantasy-based variant of "Burrows & Badgers" by "Oathsworn Miniatures". I was initially going to pass this particular vendor by, seeing as I already own an embarrassingly large amount of metal and resin anthropomorphic animals. But then I spotted some of the larger figures, and was told that the figures can be obtained as STL (Standard Triangle Language) files from the company's 3D print subscription service on "MyMiniFactory". This offer also includes free access to the various models' Character Statistic Cards, the game's Rulebook and some starter scenarios - another highly tempting future prospect...


Lastly, I was rather taken by some of the numerous display and demonstration games dotted throughout the main floor area. Two particular tables offered an awesome-looking "Hit The Beach - Bougainville" island hopping battle by the US Third Marine Division and the Thirty-Seventh Infantry Division against the Japanese Fifty-Forth Infantry Battalion. I actually spent quite a while talking to one of the informative gents running the game, and was surprised to hear how tea leaves had proved a prominent ingredient in the models' basing. Splendid stuff.

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planetmut
26 feb 2023

Ah man, sorry the show wasn't up to what you'd hoped. As Roger says, 3D printing could be the end of these shows as the models are so cheap and even with postage still cost less than travelling costs. Nice to see the Oldhammer sellers charging a fortune, as much as I love Oldhammer it's damn near a scam these days.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
26 feb 2023
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Thanks Matt. Not the start of the show season I was hoping for, but I think the organisers were scratching around a bit for stall-holders to be honest. I seem to recall the first one I attended was over two halls, so perhaps sellers are down in the current financial climate..?


I wouldn't call any of the products the second-hand dealers were selling as Oldhammer, as some boxed sets were literally just a few months old, but already no longer available through GW - so lots of Kill Team & War Cry sets as I recall. FOMO seems to be one of GW's biggest selling points currently, and it definitely shows in the prices charged on the second-hand market.

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wsd50
15 feb 2023

Interesting write up mate, shame the show wasn't al you'd hoped, I do think the 3D revolution might just be the final nail in the show coffin, when you add in inflation, travel, entry etc..shows are getting less and less attractive. Which is a real shame as I love going to shows even if I don't buy much it just feels "right" when I'm at a show if you see what I mean.


To be honest there hasn't been any new wargames for a while that have really hooked my interest enough to shell out cash on them, I think Dead Zone was the last and probably will be for the foreseeable future, Mind you I do hope to get…


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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
18 feb 2023
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Absolutely. 😀

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Dai Dead
Dai Dead
14 feb 2023

Shame to hear the event was not up to par. :( I think a lot of similar cons and so forth are heading that way like you've mentioned over here too.

Did you get to check out the Gangs of Rome 2 demo? The first edition of the game was very fun and tables made specifically for this game always look very fancy.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
14 feb 2023
Contestando a

Thanks Dai. There were some odd stalls there, like selling candles, perfumes and self-published novels. Not what I would expect tbh. There was a toy(ish) vendor too, though they did have a few wargaming-related board games etc. I think the organisers were definitely just trying to fill up the space.


I didn't see the Gangs of Rome 2 demo - or at least, it didn't catch my eye to register its presence - if that makes sense, and I did go around about 3-4 times before leaving. Hopefully next years will be a bit better as I suppose vendors could still be cautious with Covid..? Not sure. The 3D printed stuff was quite noticeable though.

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undercoat2670
14 feb 2023

I have gone off shows to be honest. The cost, bad train service and, as you say, the ease of the internet has made them not worth it. Also, it seems a lot of the overseas companies don't seem to be coming which was always a huge draw as getting their stuff wasn't always that easy.

That being said, those Zoontalis minis look superb!

It's a shame you didn't get value for money this time.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
14 feb 2023
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Cheers Undercoat. Beachhead definitely wasn't the start to the year's wargaming shows I was hoping for. But as you say, there were a couple of games there which caught my eye - albeit I didn't actually buy anything.


I think this year's "Salute" will be the big one for me, as that always takes up a few hours of my time - especially when the overseas people attend. If that's a flop then I may well give some of the others I had planned a miss - at least for this year. I almost certainly won't be doing Cavalier later this month now already.

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wargamesterrainworkshop
wargamesterrainworkshop
13 feb 2023

Shame it wasn't worth the entry fee Simon, as a show I found it was always well organised, and very helpful to the traders that attend, but with health as it is I've dropped all shows.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
13 feb 2023
Contestando a

I think I might have been spoiled by Colours 2022, Dave, as that was free to enter, and absolutely packed full of traders - It was my fave show of the year by far, I got the distinct impression that this year's Beachhead was struggling for vendors, as there were stalls there selling candles & wax, as well as self-published novels - neither of which really fitted the show, imho, and seemed more suited to Flea Markets/Craft Fairs..?


I think the "Shivers" and "Zoontalis: Battle Royale" stuff was excellent though, both of which I'm pretty sure I'll pick up in the future - even though I own similar stuff already. I think "Dice Heads" had definitely embraced the future of…


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