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  • Writer's pictureBlaxkleric

“Warfare" Showcase 2022

Updated: Feb 13, 2023


"Warfare, our annual wargames show, is one of the largest in the country."

With last year's trip to a bitterly cold Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire already being something of a distant memory, I was rather looking forward to attending the Wargames Association of Reading’s forty-second "Warfare" Show at its new location inside the Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre. Frustratingly however, I once again failed to follow my own (good) advice of checking the organiser's precise directions to the venue, and instead trusted in my iPhone's satellite navigation to 'get me to the church on time'. This was undeniably a mistake, as although I arrived directly outside the building just in time for the event's start, Gate B was only open to pedestrians, whilst the required Gate F (for motor vehicles) was actually still quite a drive away and then required a bit of a winding trek through the grounds of "Europe’s leading business airport" before I reached the designated car park.


Happily, once I had alighted from my ride, it really was a short walk up to the entrance of the Conference Centre, and I was very quickly offering my wrist up to a gentleman who helpfully attached my entrance band around my arm. Now, whether the price of entry provides value for money in my mind usually depends upon how long I spend at a show, and in this case, it cost a tenner for two hours of solid mooching about - as well as some enjoyable small talk with the likes of "Strength & Honour" rules set author Mark Backhouse and one of the people behind "Tablescape" scenery. I was though rather perturbed by not receiving even the most rudimentary of show guides, which meant I had absolutely no idea of what was where, or even where 'where' ended..?

"It's 1985 and the Bot War rages."

Foremost of the draws to "Warfare" for me is their excellent Bring & Buy section, and once again I was amazed at just much stuff was up for sale. Of particular interest was the sheer amount of "Flames Of War" merchandise being 'moved on' - whether it be painted "Battlefront Miniatures" figures and vehicles, books or numerous miniatures still in their blister. To be honest, I was a bit concerned that the World War Two wargame had suffered some calamitous loss in popularity. But that didn't deter me from picking up a still-sealed copy of the "Hungarian Steel" and "Brave Romania" Mid-War expansion sets for half their RRP.


Having finished slowly shuffling my way along the second-hand stall - which rather neatly ran the breadth of Discover Hall, it was on to the traders and several distinctly caught my eye. One of the first tables I spotted was the self-published "Bot War" as sold by "Lvl Up Gaming", which quickly recaptured my childhood with its fantastic display of 10mm 'transformers' from "an alternate reality on Earth in the 1980’s." These figures were super-colouful, and it was clear that the Bournemouth-based store plans to support the game with enthusiastic earnest. Surprisingly though, especially for someone who loves giant robot models, I didn't actually pick up a starter box, thinking instead that I might first explore whether I could find similar miniature STL (Standard Triangle Language) files on "Thingiverse" or some such for a fraction of the price.

"Ironclads: Space Battles in the Victorian Aether."

This distinct change in my buying mindset continued throughout the show. and only stopped once I encountered "Triple Ace Games" in the Main Hall and discovered that their eye-catching "Ironclads" miniatures were available digitally as supportable 3D prints. Now, in the past I have no doubt I would have walked away from this booth at least clutching the ship-vs.-ship wargame's £80 starter set. However, the knowledge that I could get my hands on the somewhat cartoony-looking flying battleships online and therefore print out as many as I wanted for a fraction of the price, instantly stopped me from making an impulsive physical purchase.


Resultantly, I soon found myself just being interested in the scenery on sale from the numerous vendors rather than any actual gaming figures and made my final purchases at the "Tablescape" booth. I already own a sizeable number of this company's Industrial, Dugout and Middle Eastern/North African ranges, so decided to take the plunge into their Fortress buildings for my imminent "Horus Heresy" tabletop. Somewhat shockingly, I soon discovered that they had already run out of some of the pieces I was after - bearing in mind the stall was only two hours into a two-day show - and ended up picking up a few slightly battered display pieces at a reduced price...

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wsd50
17 nov 2022

Good to see some of us our out and about round the shows mate. 😉 Though I was surprised to hear you were at one, I'd have thought you'd have had so much stuff coming off the printer at the moment, you wouldn't have wanted to be tempted by more!


I've seen those Ironclads over on https://bogenwald.blog/ site I seem to think he printed them out earlier in the year.


Cheers Roger.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
17 nov 2022
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Thanks Roger. I do enjoy still going to the shows and supporting the various (local) gaming groups in their endeavours to put on an event. Next year I'm planning on attending quite a few more, with a view to trying out some participation games.


My buying habits have definitely changed since I got the 3D printer, and I'm certainly not now interested in much other than metal figures (or plastic/resin additions to ranges I'm already invested in). I am though still keen to own plenty of terrain, hence "Tablescape" receiving the majority of my disposable income for the show.


I think "Triple Ace Games" were excellent in both their display, hospitality and sales model to have their Ironclads available as…

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undercoat2670
12 nov 2022

Nice report on the show. Only 2 hours? I guess it wasn't that big?

It is interesting to highlight some games and minis I am not familiar with but I am surprised you didn't buy anything even with your new found 3d printing addiction!

Very interesting read.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
12 nov 2022
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Cheers Undercoat. I'm not entirely sure if there were more stalls at this show than when Warfare was at the Rivermead Leisure Complex tbh. But it didn't feel anywhere near as busy as that place. It was spread out a lot more though, taking up only half of the venue's main hall. In addition, it was with some consternation that I realised having started mooching around the main hall that most of the space it took up was actually tables playing LotR, Warhammer 40k and other games rather than vendors. Obviously, Warfare used to have such things going on in the Rivermead, but for some reason I felt a bit mislead - in that when I entered the place I…


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wargamesterrainworkshop
wargamesterrainworkshop
12 nov 2022

That was quite a short visit Simon, and you cover a lot of what is now the problem in the industry for any company, 3D printing and second hand market. The price of having a pitch at these shows, are not cheap, and by the time you add in fuel and wages it is a huge outlay especially for the smaller companies, but with so much available in the second hand market, and 3D files people aren't buying as much, especially in these tough times. I think we will see a lot of companies closing before too long, which will be a sad loss for the diversity available in this hobby.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
12 nov 2022
Contestando a

I must confess to being a bit surprised by my own attitude at the show once I was there, as I was suddenly comparing miniature prices to the cost of a bottle of resin - so the Bot War starter was approx two bottles in price and I couldn't help but immediately think just how many figures I could 3D print with that amount of resin. Hopefully, that makes some sense..?


I still think with 3D printers being something of a rarity that shows won't necessarily change for a couple more years as many consumers still want/need metal/plastic/resin figures, but then I do believe your tried & trusted vendor selling their wares will struggle - especially with so many fantastic…


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