Wargames Shows - more relevant than ever.

With my recent experience of Salute 2024, Legionary 2024 and with the excellent Partizan Show this weekend, I thought I would write a blog about wargames shows in general and how they are still very important to us today.

Wargames shows do vary in size and content. Salute has a vast number of traders, many games and a selection of side events and talks which are proving popular. Partizan by comparison is known for having the highest quality of games and so will be truly a spectacle. While Legionary was much smaller than the shows I've mentioned, it had its own charm. 

Legionary is my local show, being only about 20 miles from where I live. The bring and buy was excellent, and there were over a dozen good well, well-presented games. It was also an opportunity for me to catch up with several old friends who came along to enjoy the show. The show was relaxed, so while I'm usually rushing to cover all the games at a particular show, at Legionary I was able to take my time and enjoy it properly.

Apart from the attractions of the Bring & Buy and chatting with friends old and new, Wargames shows in general offer three key aspects. 

(1) The games being played can be inspiring and offer a glimpse into how other people play particular period.

(2) You can see rules in action and if they fit what you as a wargame would like to play. Some games will even let you join in the action!

(3) You can talk to and see a trader's products firsthand. flashy (or dull) pictures on a website are one thing, but nothing beats seeing the model 'in the flesh'.

I'm sure there are more positives, but these are the main ones which come to mind now. 

One unique thing wargamers will find at Partizan this weekend is an Estate Sale. For various reasons, Partizan no longer does bring-and-buy sales, primarily due to space and a lack of dedicated staff. However, they do occasionally give a table over to estate sales, which sell the wargames collection of a gamer who is no longer with us.

Shows can have some negatives. I've been to shows that have been very hot and very cold; the weather is always an unpredictable factor. There is also the 'curse of the backpack', where people get sideswiped by other peoples' rucksacks. Then there's times when when that one trader doesn't attend or stops going to that particular show - always check the trader's website to make sure and order what you want in advance for pick up.

Maintaining a good-quality show is a tricky balance. Most shows are run by clubs and volunteers, and they will be happy if they can cover the venue fees and a little bit towards club funds. They are very much an amateur affair at times, so we should take that into account before we judge a show too harshly.

A good show is the perfect balance of traders, good games and venue - keeping that affordable for the punter can be tricky. It is a balancing act but a few shows do it very well.

So, get along to your nearest wargames show and make time for them. Go meet people, chat with the traders, go marvel at the games. Have fun! You will find the time well spent.


Totally agree that it’s nice to see games and traders, the down side is some areas of the country are more lucky than others . Not all areas have wargames or even clubs in easy reach so it’s good that magazines and websites fill the gaps

Paul Gripton


Terry Cabak

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