“Beachhead" Showcase 2023
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.
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...
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.