My annual pilgrimage to London is over. Every year for the past 24 years I have journeyed to Salute. Back in the days of the early ‘90’s when Salute was at Kensington Town Hall, I was just another punter. I fondly remember cramped corridors and trying to work out from the map where every manufacturer was. The move to Olympia saw me start to assist in demonstration games. In fact the first article in WSS issue 1 had a show report on Salute 2003. The main picture shows the El Cid Valencia game from that year - in it you can just me make out, assisting on James Morris’ excellent game.
So what did I make of Salute 2015? Here’s my take on the event.
Salute is always a blast. We started at 8am at the venue and I think I finally sat down at 6.30pm, apart from a brief pause for lunch. I managed to see most of the show, despite running two participation games and seeing more than a dozen manufacturers. I was let down by the team due to help run my Black-Ops game, but thankfully my friend Mark B and his local club members stepped in and saved the day. The game ran better than I’d expected, we had four fast and frantic games with plenty of thrills. The last game which I ran was a real nail biter, with the surviving member of the Seal Team completing his objective.
I think this year was a great Salute. There did seem to be more fantasy and science fiction than other years. The Battlestar Galactica and Sat Wars games looked grand, but I didn’t quite get the huge spaceship in front of one stand. A very impressive model, but what did it do? How many dice does it roll? The quality of the games was on the whole good - I did at first think that I’d seen a better selection of games at previous editions of the show - however I suspect that memory is a tricky thing. Was I was recalling one particular Salute or merging several previous shows? I probably thought of several, all blended into one. Even so, there were many good games, such as the Guildford Courthouse game by Steve Jones or the Operation Broadsword game by Sam Catterall (a 28mm Krivak class cruiser, see WSS 78!) to name but two. I wish I’d had more time to go round but I did 2/3rds of what I’d set out to do. Still my list of people I’d wanted to see, but missed is longer than I’d hoped. There’s Edwin, the guy from Rubicon, or Ruben Torregrosa for instance. There again, Salute is BIG. I also didn’t see any of my local club members, they were in there somewhere…
There were several new ‘about to be released’ games on offer. Apart from my own Black-Ops (ok, enough plugs for that!), there was Craig Cartmell and Charles Murton’s Daisho, the new Osprey game Frostgrave and the TooFat Lardies Chain of Command modern expansion (if that’s the right word), called Fighting Season. I’m sure there were more on offer. All of these give the gamer a chance to try out new games before they go in print.
One of the primary reasons for attending Salute is to shop (yes, I know, obvious…). There were a few familiar names absent this year, but these were made up by quite a few new traders.There were plenty of releases on offer for gamers with nearly every company having something new to buy or showing off what’s coming next. The new releases are far too many to list, but suffice to say you’ll see them in the next edition of WSS in the review section. Undoubtedly much money was spent that Saturday, though I was very modest.
Salute is in my opinion always worth going to. The fact I’ve been to so many is testament to this fact.