Sunday 21 May 2023

The Partizan 2023 show (UK)






Here we are again, another Partizan, with last years show being a benchmark of success, post Covid, how does this year measure up?


For those that don’t know, this is one of the U.K. premier shows. It runs twice a year (May and October), held at the spacious George Stephenson Exhibition Hall, at the Newark Showground, which is a fairly central location, certainly within England and do-able within the U.K. as a whole.


Punters can expect a good and wide range of traders, games and plentiful free and easy parking.


With accommodation booked and an early start, the kindly Mrs. Wargamer and I set off early for our destination. I was armed with a shopping list and a suitcase of full cash! and Mrs. Wargamer had a Kindle book reader and some biscuits :-)


For some pictures of game tables and comment, please use the ‘read more’ tab.




This year I decided to do a bit of tactical buying! I will shortly be going to another smaller show and decided to only buy from the traders that would be at show A (Partizan) and not attending B, which would mean that overall, I still get a wide coverage of traders, but have spend left to pour into the coffers of the smaller show … when it comes to traders returning to a show, a tick is a tick.


In fact, when I came to look at it, there were five key traders present at Partizan that no longer do this other show, which may well tell its own tale about the evolving show scene.


Anyway, I have taken it as a personal responsibility to ensure support of this smaller show. 


Our timing was good and we pretty much arrived just after ‘doors open’. The front desk was well managed and the queue was soon inside. I made straight to ‘The Last Valley’ a terrain specialist, as he does not attend every show, doesn’t run a website and his show stock dwindles pretty quickly. I just wanted a couple more of his matching river sections, though while there saw a very large tree lined field, in two sections - hmmm nice! …. now I just need somewhere to store the thing :-)


I spent a good bit of time wandering around the gaming tables, which I enjoyed very much. Two things struck me. Firstly they were good and attractive games, but perhaps more importantly, this is the first show that I can recall attending that had such good figure scale diversity across the gaming tables. Anyone enjoying the smaller scales were well served with attractive games of all sizes.


Another thing, whilst there were plenty of spectacle games, there was also a good scattering of 6’ x 4’ and less sized tables, so the reality of kitchen table gaming was given a good representation.


I have said it before and it is worth repeating, that I feel the gaming side of a show is very important and it inspires the buyer to spend and there is clearly a symbiotic relationship between game and product / dealer. Anyway today’s tables did help buying decisions for me.


The show looked well attended. I noticed that whenever I wanted to buy something, there was always at least one person in front of me, so traders were busy. I spoke to one trader about buyers and he said he had been busy and then on my way out, show organisers told me that they were really pleased with attendances. So it all seems to point to the show scene still being appreciated and supported and that good visitor numbers post Covid might be something that is sustainable.


Overall the  show had a good vibe.


I took some pictures, but as always, I failed to get the details of the game hosts (sorry).

  

As I sit here in the hotel room typing this, I’m not sure that I can properly list all the bits that I bought, which is still in the boot of the car. But Mrs. Wargamer was so pleased with being treated to a wargame show, that she bought me the latest book (the 4th) in Rapid Fire’s Reloaded range. This has 4 scenarios covering the fighting on Crete, all based on actions from 20th May 1941 (I think - from memory). The Rapid Fire people were also giving a free Pak 36 Sprue with each copy.


For those collecting the series, this looks a nice and colourful addition and good to see them continuing to support this line.


Anyway, a few pics for your pleasure. I have tried to keep the numbers low and the pictures compressed to help your data allowances. Click on the images to go large.





Above - this was the table that Warlord games put on to show off their new Epic Pike and Shotte - they sell it for £120, another seller there had it for £90, how does that happen?


I hope they don’t mind me saying this, but they were fairly crudely painted and I mean this in a most positive way because I am bombarded with magazine and internet images of Epic being painted in fantastic detail (because the detail is there), but there are just so many of the things that painting that way can be disheartening. Mine are taking ages to paint. Anyway, these looked great on the table, less so when picked up and examined and it has been like someone turning a light on for me - this is exactly how Epic need to be done if one is going to collect multiple ranges etc. I feel a bit liberated from a painting perspective. Thank you, a VERY useful demo table. 





Above - This was the biggest table I think. Ancients.








Above - Just one of several games that had combined hexes with figures.






































Above - Listed as a ‘somewhere on the Danube 1809’ - yum!






Above - another 1809 battle that I can never remember how to spell, so won’t attempt to now! Something like Hagen-Hassue (sorry, I told you I would murder it, the official flyer is in the boot of the car!) All nicely done in 10mm.











Above -   The above three shots are all from a big Rapid Fire game in 20mm, full of character.
















Above - The above three photographs are from a game that used a hexed mat, with 6” terrain tiles and 28mm figures. It looked lovely and I was trying to discuss how the hexes were built with a very friendly bloke, but his mate kept on interrupting and shoving cards (Commands & Colors system) in the face of the guy talking to me, clearly he wanted to keep running the game, at the total expense of allowing an enthusiastic team member to share the game detail with a punter - I don’t get that. I think the bloke talking to me felt awkward and I just felt it was time to move on - a really wasted opportunity on promoting a different style of game, which frankly I was interested in building a set for myself. Perhaps they should have just played the game at the club!


Besides that and Back Packs (do I really need to explain!), the whole experience as a punter was one of absolute excellence and look forward to the next one.


Nice venue, nice traders and gamers, nice punters, nice everything …. This wargaming thing is good.


Thanks to everyone, whatever your part, who did something to make this show happen, it is very much appreciated.


Resource Section.


My sister webspace ‘COMMANDERS’ is being re-configured to showcase various figure and boardgame systems that I am enjoying and gives a flavour of where current projects are up to. Link.


https://commanders.simdif.com


51 comments:

  1. Nice review Norm. I also enjoyed the show (I’d have enjoyed it even more if there had been a bring & buy - but I appreciate that does take a fair bit of organising). Fortunately I didn’t spend too much - I need to have something left for Joy of Six here in Sheffield at the start of July.
    Cheers,
    Geoff

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  2. Indeed Geoff, one has to spread the goodness over all of those shows that you want to ensure succeed into the future. I was told that a lady was selling some of her late husbands figures and I obviously wanted to offer a little in that direction - but couldn’t find any private selling tables, so I don’t know about that one.

    In some respects, a bring and buy can easily become a scrum and I always seem to be at the back with arms not ling enough to get to the table, so on balance, I don’t miss it too much :-)

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    1. I did see some sellers with used, painted figures. Dunno if one of them was the lady you referred to. A bring and buy is a good alternative to eBay - we can use it to pick up old stuff we maybe missed in the past (or need/want more of). In my case - given my lack of painting skills - it’s good to buy painted figures as at least that means I now have stuff to put on the tabletop, ready to play rather than just another few bags of unpainted figures to add to unpainted lead mountain πŸ˜‰
      Cheers,
      Geoff

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    2. Agree, one of the things on the shopping list was to treat myself to a painted unit, something I have not done before - but nothing caught my eye (at York there was oodles of the stuff!). There used to be a bloke who arranged ‘car boot’ type sales at various locations, such as scout huts etc, where gamers could rent a table and sell. No games or anything, just a table sale type venue. I could see something like that, formalised, doing really well.

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    3. Vapnartak at York was on my radar, but we decided on Hammerhead (which, if I recall correctly, was not long afterwards). Maybe next year we’ll try York for a change… Thanks for the tip.
      Cheers,
      Geoff

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  3. What a great show! Thank You so much for a photo-relatation sir.

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  4. Hi Michal, my photography does not really do some of those tables justice, but yes, it was a great day.

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  5. I enjoyed the show and it did feel busy! Second your comments about the diversity of games, there was a fairly wide range, not just in the participation games but also just considering the demo games.

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    1. Hi, yes, the show just seemed to do everything right. I went to York earlier in the year, which is very much a trade fest, with games not the main feature - at Partizan, I really appreciate seeing the game tables and then doing a round of visiting traders.

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  6. Hey Norm lovely pics and a real treat for the senses and painting mojo. that Napoleonic battle looked like a dead ringer for Teugen-Hausen.

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    1. Hi Steve …. That would be the one! :-) just to the right off camera is one of the BUA’s

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  7. Fair observations there Norm, a fine show indeed despite the ignorant demo gamer incident.

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  8. Hi Phil, there was too so much good stuff going on today. I managed to find myself a box of PSC Universal Carriers, which I think are now hard to come by items …. No doubt a quick check on e-bay / Amazon will prove me wrong, but I jumped on it anyway.

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  9. Thanks Norm, you are very quick off the mark! I was there too, and agree with your views, it was nice to see a range from the big block-buster games down to much smaller setups that could easily be done at home. I chatted to the guys from your 5th picture from top, the ACW in 12 or 15mm (captioned 'Just one of several games that had combined hexes with figures' ) as I thought 'I could do that in the space I have, easy' and that was their motivation too - and they were using the 'Battle Cry' boardgame rules, which I think are related to 'Command and Colours'. Your shopping strategy is good too, makes a lot of sense.
    There must indeed have been a strong attendance - by the time I arrived about noon, they had run out of programs on the door, and it did seem pretty busy. .
    If I had realised you were going I would have tried to make your acquaintance, would be great to have a chat, maybe next time!

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  10. Hi David, we must have been as passing ships, as we pushed off noonish, it would have been nice to meet. When I spoke to the staff on the door, they said that they had run out of programs, so attendance had exceeded their expectation.

    When we arrived, we were both given a free figure and program each, but Mrs. Wargamer returned hers so that someone else could have it.

    Yes, Battlecry would make sense. I know many gamers talk about big tables being inspiring, but I agree with your sentiment that we also need to be inspired by seeing things that we know we could do in our home space and I must say, this show did that.

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  11. Always interesting to read other folks take on the Partizan Experience Norm. As you say, so much hobby goodness, it's hard to know what to feature and what to omit.

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  12. Hi David, I enjoyed your pictures, particularly the tiger and elephant diorama base. The show has always been excellent since the kellham Hall days, but today set a new benchmark with the variety of games - something for everyone.

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  13. Great looking convention, Norm. Good to hear you had an enjoyable time there.

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  14. Hi Dean, I think 2 years ago (Covid) some of us wondered whether the show scene would survive and yet here we are, stronger than ever thank goodness.

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  15. Looks like it was a good show, a shame I missed it this time. Hopefully I'll get to it in Autumn.

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    1. Hi Martin, this show has always been ‘up there’, but this show was elevated even more due I feel, to the range of scales being played and supported.

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  16. I went last year and it was excellent, looks like it was again this year, I might try and go in the autumn, great looking games, glad you had a good time, the big ancients game was Simon Miller's Ipsus( it was also at Salute)
    Best Iain

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    1. Hi Iain, Simon’s games are always a spectacular, so I should have guessed. It will be interesting when the actual numbers are known, but I suspect that the show may have done even better than last year.

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  17. Sounds like a great day. Thanks for all the pictures, especially interested in the ACW ones, both the superbly detailed terrain one and the hybrid which I thought I’d spotted was using BattleCry which I still have. Your comments bring the show alive for me and always make me think I should get into miniatures more, but I know that I couldn’t give it the time or have your ability with terrain, painting figures, rules and everything to make a success of it. I’ve never known a miniatures game we’ve played ever be anything but a nail-biting success. Look forward to hearing a lot more about the show whe you’re back.

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    1. Hi Mike, a hugely enjoyable show. Over the past 12 months, I think I have broken ground on being happy on putting as many unpainted miniatures to the table as painted! Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it does see games getting played.

      Yes, I should have noticed the Battle-Cry cards.

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  18. Great pics Norm, Partizan's a great show for so many reasons, I loved it, and will 100% be going again.

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    1. Hi Ray, agreed. I know you do a lot of shows, so for something to stick out as good, just shows they are doing things right.

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  19. Great to bump into you both yesterday Norm, I really enjoyed the show πŸ˜€

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    1. Hi Matt, good to see you there and great weather for your break.

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  20. Some beautiful looking games Norm, thanks for all the images, and sounds like you had a good time. You do seem to have a VERY understanding wife by the way - congratulations on that, too!

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  21. Norm, glad you had an excellent trip. I couldn’t make it but mu hotel is booked for the October show πŸ˜ƒ I still feel this is the best show out there at the moment.

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    1. Hi Graham, I feel that very good just got better.

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  22. Fantastic photos Norm, thanks for sharing.


    Willz.

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    1. Thanks Bill, they contain a couple ideas that I would like to pursue.

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  23. Enjoyable show recap, Norm, with many striking games. As you highlight in your photos, a seemingly large numbers of games on a grid. Is this an emerging trend or something you have seen in past shows?

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  24. Hi Jonathan, I think for the most part, it was the usual gamers that were using hexes, but here, they seem to have all turned up at once, to give a very solid representation of that section of hobby. Other indications of it being a trend are not present, such as no new hex terrain sellers and no commercially backed rule sets being done etc. In fact two of the games here used boardgame mechanics (Battle Cry and Commands and Colours) and two tables were using the hexes purely as a convenient way to build complicated elevations across the table i.e. the flat parts were just an unhexed game mat.

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  25. Hi Norm, interesting read as usual and glad you both had a good short break. I think what stood out for me from reading the report was the Warlord Pike and Shot game, it really reminded me of the old Airfix ECW book and the Gush game featured. I'm guessing this was deliberate as you mention the rudimentary painting of the units and of course this is part of the Epic concept, speed and accessibility. I caused something of a stir recently on FB when I made a post about how I was uncomfortable with the historical inaccuracies of the new P&S range - the squished up muskets, pikes gripped in an impossible position etc. I pointed out how much I liked the ACW's and Napoleonics but could not come to terms with the P&S. But I do 'get it' and if it encourages more new blood into the period then who am I to knock it? That photos goes a long way to helping me understand the concept and its wide appeal, just wish I could have seen the units a bit closer up, not to criticise the painting but to enforce the point that a super detailed paint job is not at all necessary to wargame with Epics :)
    Lee.

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  26. Hi Lee, I think what made me stop and catch my breath was that over recent months, each of the wargame mags and a few good painter YouTube posters have been describing excellent and careful painting, with superb results in the close-up shots - but, I spend a lot longer on mine than I thought I would and still don’t even get the stunning results of those doing tutorials.

    It is now clear to me that Epic simply doesn’t demand that level of work. The samples I saw at the table would have made a brilliant tutorial ‘for the common man’ of how to get one’s figures to the table in short order and looking right!

    I have tried speed painting, but don’t seem able to let myself go enough to be free enough to do it properly.

    I must admit, I picked the figures up and had them much less than a foot from my eye i.e. painting distance and once placed back on the table, everything just disappeared.

    This is now the third Epic release, it will be interesting to see, whether one period becomes a lead seller or even a poor seller and why that is. At the moment Epic seems to be on a roll and can do no wrong. John Stallard said ‘there will always be Epic’ and I am guessing that next years release is already being worked upon.

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    1. A great report Norm. I was interested in your comments on the Epic range. I'm not a great fan - the only thing that seems epic to me is the oversized painting challenge. I mean, 80 figure units?! I personally reckon there's a lot of bright and shiny boxes out there full of figures that will never get painted. But well done for being up for the challenge.

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    2. Thanks Keith, I remember someone saying when the napoleonics were announced, that the sets would be big sellers ….. but the sit on shelf unpainted. There may be something in that. I have both the Epic and 28mm on the painting table at present and that is unsustainable with, as you say, the numbers involved.

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  27. Nice report Norm. Glad you had fun. I of course enlarged all the ACW pictures πŸ˜€
    I’ve never done super detailed painting so preaching to the choir here.

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    1. Hi Stew, there was a goodly representation of ACW at the show this year, with the. McPherson Ridge assault looking particularly nice. That’s the one with the teddy bear grass effect.

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  28. Thanks Norm for the pictures and report. I will never get to a show like this so these reports are gold for wargamers on the wrong end of the planet! 😊
    And the comments regarding painting Epic make me feel much better with my efforts painting 10mm. Prime in the main uniform colour, black and brown for shoes and packs as appropriate, faces and hands, gun metal for guns, one more colour for other bits and I am done. 😁

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  29. Hi Ben, yes the UK is very lucky re the show scene, something that I think it was increasingly taking for granted pre Covid. Since the Covid lockdown days, it feels like there might now be a renewed appreciation of what we have.

    The old tried and tested method of basecoat, then dabs, dots and dashes along the line for ‘detail’ seems to have become lost amidst the ‘message’ of fine painting that much Epic material seems to get in our various media - not helped of course by the fact that the figures, especially the napoleonics, do have a good level of detail that tends to draw one in that direction anyway.

    We all sit at different places within the hobby spectrum re painting, but I feel more like a gamer, who wants things on the table and painting gets in the way of that, so painting short cuts to get a bit of churn going is always good in my view … especially when painting a lot of units over several periods.

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  30. A tad late to the show, but as always a great report Norm, both text and photos. I did ponder going but my friends weren't around to share the journey, plus with the glorious weather I decided stay at home rather than a long motorway journey. Shocking I know but there it is!

    Finally a show with a good mix of scales and table sizes! I do hope this continues for others, but we'll have to wait and see. So really I should have made more of an effort to attend!

    Something I learnt from Dave and it is an old adage now, but paint the unit, not the figure. His armies look perfectly fine when on the table and you don't notice the missed but of paint or detail here and there. I learnt a lot from that and now go for a rather blocky colours approach as that makes them pop at gaming distances, as subtle painting disappears in comparison.

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  31. Hi Steve, agree and also knowing (or realising) where you are on the painter / gamer scale helps decide on the level of painting commitment.

    The scale thing was more noticeable at this show than anything I can remember in the past 10 - 15 years, even longer, back to when micro armour and DBA were a thing on the show circuit.

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  32. The others have said it all but just like to express my thanks too Norm for your excellent photos and very interesting report. cheers Chris https://notjustoldschool.blogspot.com/

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  33. Hi Chris, thanks for the thumbs up.

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  34. Norm, many thanks for the positive post on the C&C game. I apologise that your enquiry met with interruption. We have been putting on such games for a number of years and the effort is considerable so your feedback is greatly appreciated. We have tried, despite the general anti-hex approach of the magazines and show organisers to inspire people and clearly it does not help if some of the participants think it is a club night. I have a felling I know who te person/s may be and as such will try and adjust the team accordingly. Simon from the Old Guard. Ps if you want a more detailed chat, go via my blog site (https://waterloosimon1815.blogspot.com/)

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  35. Hi Simon, thanks for visiting. I am both a boardgamer and figure gamer, so am comfortable with hexes. For a long time I have used Kallistra hexes and the only issue I find is that hexes never seem big enough to accommodate both units and buildings, so my discussion with the Old Guard team was centred around how they dealt with that. I thought the. Whole game looked splendid and in 28mm was magnificent. I have seen the table at other shows, so I know your group are keen supporters of the show circuit.

    My entire blog is based around positive vibe, I don’t really write about anything I don’t like, so this occasion of calling something out on my blog is very rare - thanks for your understanding and I look forward to seeing the next table in action. Norm.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment