Monday, 2 March 2015

Hispania Wargames 2015

Yesterday (March 1st) I took a jaunt out to my first Spanish show, Málaga's Club Landwehr's 'Hispania Wargames 2015'. The show combines traders, demonstration games, boardgames and a number of game tournaments under one roof, pretty much in the style of similar 'small regional' UK shows.

Unlike the UK shows I have been to however, this was much more family-orientated, so while 'dad' could browse the display games and traders, 'mom' could take the kids for facepainting, picture colouring and even miniature painting; the whole family could even sit down and play one of the library of games the organisers made available for use. 

As one of my girls' childhood horror stories was being dragged round a wargames show by me, they would have loved this instead.

We are not talking a big show here by any means; there were maybe 20-30 traders - all names that were new to me, 6-7 demonstration games and around the same number of participation games, working on a booking system. The show was also very fantasy and sci-fi orientated too, which I am coming to realise seems to be the predominant 'taste' of Spanish gamers.

"Alles klar Frau Kommissar!" Bad Roll folk doing their bit to promote 'Punkapocalyptic' (see below). 
Image by Jose Antonio, used without permission.
That being said, Málaga's other wargames club - Club Comandante put on two WWII games on Sunday and Club Landwehr itself had its 10mm Battle of Vienna display. Across the board however and regardless of your gaming tastes, the standard of the games in terms of presentation (figures and terrain) was quite high, as my snaps will try to show.

The Battle of Vienna in 10mm.
Club Landwehr's 'Malaga Z' zombie participation game, based on 'The Walkers' trilogy of books by Malaga's own Carlos Sisi.
Same game different angle.
Gladiator participation game.
First of three layouts for Corvus Belli's Infinity system.
The second.
The third. I should have noted the sources for the buildings, but I didn't, mea culpa.
The first of Club Comandante's two games. This one was a PTO Chain of Command Game.
My photos do not do this game justice, the figures and terrain were top notch!
Juan Manxeño (author of Ad Finis blog) was ably translating the rules into Spanish for his amigos and a good time was being had by all.
Club Comandante's other game was an ETO I Ain't Been Shot Mum game... in 28mm!
Again a top notch game let down by my phone-cam photos.
While played on a large table, IABSM in 28mm is always going to look a bit cramped.
Nevertheless it did look good, with lots of nicely painted figures, models and terrain.
Venuing as a 'new game' (at least I think it's new) was Bad Roll Games Punkapocalyptic post apocalypse skirmish game. Rule sets in English and Spanish along with several nice-looking sets of '30mm' figures to go with it (as can be seen on their Facebook page and their site linked to above).   

Certainly it looked the part and some of the terrain items are purpose-made by Surus Creations and Valquiria Studios.  
I did not have time to check out the rules, or indeed ask any pertinent questions about the game itself... but I will be investigating further in the future! The rules can be downloaded for free and figures are available from their store, or from e-minis.

One of the Punkapocalyptic figures (photo from Bad Roll Games, used without permission) 
In all Hispania Wargames was a great day out, with free entry. As always I only took photos of the things that interested me, so do not think what is featured here is the whole story.

Promotion was well-done before the date and utilised Facebook to pass venue, trader and travel information, something other shows might want to consider... they even posted the local bus timetables. It is not a big show by any means... but I suspect that this will change in the future and I did not once encounter a single Spanish version of 'back-pack man' the entire day.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

2015 and all that...

"We are now beginning our approach to Liverpool, KG 606
 Airways hopes you had a pleasant flight".
Like many of you, the Christmas and New Year holidays are for me a time of both reflection on the year past and anticipation of the year to come. For me it was very different this year as I had to travel roughly 1500 miles to visit my family for the first time. I never really ever thought I would be saying "I'm off to England for a holiday", but there you go...

Despite the ensuing insanity that generally marks a Hale family Christmas, there were those rare occasional quiet moments and of course having a few days of holiday left when I returned, I was able to devote some time over the holidays to myself, my hobby and my plans for the future. 2014 brought some dramatic, if not unwelcome changes to my life, not least my relocation to Spain, along with a new job with a company which is only just now expanding into the area where I work. 

Essentially I have gone from being time-rich to time-poor, especially as I used to work in solid blocks of time, giving definite beginnings and ends to the day. Now my working day is broken by periods of travel between venues and other periods of useless or 'dead time', which comes out of my 'free time'. When you add in a new environment to explore, a more hospitable climate and being only 500 metres from the beach and sea (and I'm not talking a travel agent's '500 metres' either), the inducements to devote time to what is essentially a 'indoor hobby' are somewhat fewer too. Nevertheless wargaming and military history are interests I have had since as far back as I can remember and I could never abandon them.

However this new reality has meant a re-think. Figures, books, paints and all the impedimenta of our hobby, are  all mostly back in the UK and until I settle into some form of long-term accommodation, they need to stay there. I have my 'online library' and some 'essentials' here of course, but with clothes, teaching stuff etc, my world currently fits into three suitcases and it may remain the case (no pun intended) for much of this year. Even once this is resolved space is likely to be an issue, so any grandiose plans for multitudes of periods and projects to dabble in need to be reined in.

Past experience has taught me that it is terrain and buildings which take up most space, especially as whatever clever storage ideas you come up with, they seem to defy all logic as regards stacking and similarly sized 'storage solutions' (what we used to call boxes). The ideal solution would seem to be as small a number of geographic terrain types as possible. This will also drive the selection of periods to game, as to say the least a game set in North-West Europe is going to look a bit unconvincing on anything but very verdant terrain. 

This is sort of how I imagine my wargaming scenery will look. The reality might be a cloth thrown over some books... we used to roll like that back in the day y'know? Some people still do of course and I have seen some fantastic looking games on an 'old school' cloth; it does not have to be all modular boards to look good.
Buildings are perhaps the most problematic things, but even then some are imminently adaptable across a number of periods and regions, while others are not. The Empress Spanish Church could be used in Spain from the Medieval period to the Civil War and look just at home in the Caribbean or the Portuguese African colonies into the '70s. The Perry 'black and white' Medieval Cottage is limited to North-West Europe within the advertised time frame of 1300 to 1700. Spanish-style tiled roof houses are pretty much as ubiquitous as the previously-mentioned church, as are flat-roofed 'Arab' types to a point. Thankfully the bulk of games use few buildings, nevertheless wargamers tend to accumulate them quicker than a slum landlord. 

The decision of what to go for and what not to has not been an easy decision. Obviously some choices were very easy; the Spanish Civil War is an obsession of mine, so no contest there. That single factor has to a point driven some of the other choices, with the exception of one; my love for '40s - '60s Americana and the 'Concrete Jungle', which admittedly is largely buildings rather than terrain per se. While I will still be writing on all things Late Medieval North West Europe, my gaming focus will shift to Spain and/or Italy, so as to make best use of the 'SCW Terrain'. A couple more projects are still at the deciding stage, so more on those another time!

*Edit* - Sorry folks, I may have caused confusion with my 'holiday in England' remark. England is a fantastic place to go to (if the weather is not high on your needs list), with so much to see and do pretty much anywhere you can stick a pin in the map.

I meant that as a 'native' I'd never thought I would be 'going to' England for a holiday.