Sunday 17 November 2019

Roadtrip to Warfare in Reading

I have to admit that I have a limited range of shows that I attend regularly and often lament that I miss some of those a bit further afield. Having missed SELWG in October I was determined to get a hobby fix at another event before the end of the year, and Warfare in Reading seemed like the perfect candidate. I've never been to this show before, although Ray and Postie have over a decade ago, so we hatched a plan to attend the show on Saturday. I pick up the lads at some ungodly time of the morning and then we set off around the M25 towards Berkshire. Despite it being a 5 hour round trip (for me at least) it was worth the effort and we all had a great day and agreed we should do this show again.

As usual, I took a load of pictures but this time I had to rely on my phone camera as I had forgotten to charge the batteries in my main camera. On the whole, this worked out fine and there were only a few instances where I missed having a decent zoom facility. Here's a selection of the better pictures from our day.

The Bring and Buy - We were able to get into this bit of the show area early so we had a good rummage while we waited for the main trader area to open up. This was probably the best Bring and Buy - in terms of quality of the stuff on sale - that any of us have seen for a long time. Some of the stuff was a little overpriced but on the whole, there was a wide selection of top quality items to choose from. Postie can be seen encouraging Ray to buy some artillery pieces... not that he needed much encouragement. 

The competition and demo hall. Two-thirds of the hall was dedicated to competition games and this is the first show that I have attended with such a large element of this. It was interesting to look at the wide range of tables and games taking place and it definitely created a different atmosphere than I'm used to experiencing at shows (not bad, just different). This side of the hobby isn't for me though, I have enough humiliation and defeat at the hands of my friends in the shed-o-war without me needing to hand easy victories to a series of very competitive strangers! 

Another shot of some of the Competition tables. I was surprised to see some very good looking games tables being played across. Most of the armies being brought to the tables looked very nicely painted although I saw a few that I would be embarrassed to let out in daylight! Each to their own I suppose, if playing competitions with half-painted figures makes you happy, who am I to pass judgement. 
Also while we waited for the trade hall to open we had a chance to look at some serious model builders exhibits. The young Padawan would have killed for this, but at four foot across I would have had a hard time sneaking it out the building!

Finally, at 11am sharp, the trade hall opened and the main reason we were here was able to commence. 

Ray made his first purchase from the Warbases stall. By the end of the day, we had all parted with some serious dosh here. 

Meanwhile, I headed off to the Baccus stall. I hadn't pre-ordered anything this time so this was purely a recon mission...or so I thought. I ended up buying a Celtic Village for my ancients games and made a list of other items I needed to buy online when I got home. I'm trying to expand my current 6mm collection to give myself multiple options for my 3rd Century BCE armies and one of these is to add some Celtic/Gaulish units. Unfortunately, they didn't have any at the show (someone cleared them out earlier in the day) so my order will be going to Baccus in the next few days and I'll have to wait for the delivery. 

What a pair of handsome fellows. Well, we didn't break the camera lens so I'll take that as confirmation that we aren't completely hideous! 

I didn't buy anything from Gringo 40's but I did like their display cases..I'll be hunting the interweb for something similar in the near future. 

I had a good hunt through the Ainsty stall but unfortunately couldn't find what I was looking for. Again the interweb's success is the physical store's loss. Still, I have always enjoyed the quality of the Ainsty stuff and have been buying their resin scenery for years. 

Ray perusing the goodies on the PSC stall. I think we all got a little carried away. There were a lot of traders in a very small space (it was a little cramped) but this was probably the best and widest selection of traders I have seen outside Salute. I know my experience is a little south-east biased but still, I was very impressed. 

With our initial retail therapy needs satisfied we nipped off for a spot of lunch (awful...don't bother with the cafe in the sports centre, overpriced and not very nice). Then we went and had a proper look at the demo tables in the adjacent hall. As previously mentioned two-thirds of the hall was dedicated to competition games and the remaining third, while a little cramped, had some very good looking games on display. I have to say that my usual bugbear - unlabeled tables and a lack of engagement from some of the clubs running games - did rear its ugly head again, but fortunately, this wasn't the norm. Where I was able to label the pictures correctly I have included it below. 

The Malvern Old Wargamers playing a game using the Armati rules. A simple setup, like you would get at any regular club night. 

This participation game table by Boscombe Down and Amesbury Wargames Club had a very impressive terrain feature at its centre! I went back a little later and the game was surrounded by eager looking players. 

A little blurry but this picture shows how popular the game was. I went back three times during the day and it was packed with participants every time. The sign of a successful game and a good team effort by the club members running it. 

The South London Warlords put in their "Dark Side of the Moon" game which has been at a few other shows this year. Still very impressive and like the previous group, was well attended by participants and well supported by club members. 

Newbury and Reading Wargames Society put on a 28mm game featuring hundreds of miniatures. "Caractacus Strikes Back" was subtitled the Battle for Britain c45 AD. 

Some of the commander names may have been a little tongue-in-cheek but the seriousness of attention to quality was undeniable. This was one of those games where you're initially impressed with the number of figures in the table and then - when you look closer - at the quality of the painting. Well worth lingering over. 

Getting to eye level with this table was worth the pain coming from my creaking knees!

Huntingdon and District Wargames Society put on a very impressive 54mm Rooke’s Drift game based on the film Zulu. It's unusual to see such large figures on a games table but it was worth it for the visuals.

At this scale, you can only expect to have part of the Drift station represented, but it did look good. I particularly liked the scratch-built tents. 

These big figures are ideal for a skirmish game where individual actions and heroism (and cowardice) really count. 

My favourite table was this one by Combined Oppos'. This wild west setting was 'winterised' in a very clever way for a setting that looked as unique as it was spectacular. Multiple small actions could take place in different parts of the town and all the buildings contained details to surprise and delight (especially in the Bar!)

The town's version of Boot Hill was no doubt a busy location!

Aylesbury Wargames Club out on a 28mm Bolt Action game, "Berezina Bridge" was set in the OST Front September 1944 and featured some impressive looking terrain. 

There were also a load of very well painted vehicles in this scenario. 

Battlefront Wargames put on a very impressive looking game called "Operation Reindeer" which was the Cassinga Raid in Angola in May 1978. 

The compound at the centre of this table was very well presented. There was a very good handout available...but I managed to lose mine! So all I can say is that I was very impressed with the look of this table. 
The use of several aircraft on perspex stands above the table gave the whole thing an extra dimension. Nicely done gentlemen. 

I think this is the WAR Club (Pat Wingfield) with their 1980s naval game. I took another picture with the group's details but it was too blurred to read! I liked their board setup and commented to Ray that maybe we could adapt this idea in the shed-o-war for strategic movement before setting up the battle that may then be asymmetric in nature. Its something I'm going to give some thought to in future. 

The South Oxfordshire Generals put on a game of "To the Strongest.  

There were a lot of units here so this must have been a rather large battle (in terms of points) unfortunately when I was there I didn't get to speak with any of the club members running the game. 

Maidenhead Reapers ran a winter game using the Bolt Action rules. Their game, "Panzer Brigade 150" was set during the Ardennes Offensive in October 1944. 

The terrain was scratch built for this demo and all the vehicles were suitably 'winterised' for the period. 

I came back and looked at this later in the day and by then several tanks were burning with some rather cool looking smoke and flame effects. 

Skirmish Wargames had an attractive table set up for a game of  A Very British Civil War in 54mm. 

A bit of a gunfight takes place on the driveway. The Groundsman will be most unhappy!

Grid Wargaming were also showing off their game system. 

Sealed Knot put on a clever night battle game set during the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. They used the blank squares to hide the battlefield so units were effectively moving blind across the landscape. The colour palette used on the terrain and buildings made this look very distinctive. I'm afraid this is the best pictures I had, so keep an eye on Rays Blog, he may have some better ones. 

This game used the Age of Reason rules and featured some nice miniatures. Apparently, this game would take the best part of the two-day event to come to a conclusion. The group running it was called 1066 and the battle being played is Warburg. 

Oxford Wargames Society run an interesting air warfare game "Bombing Berlin, Tangerhutte 6th March 1944". This participation game recreated the Eigth Air Forces bloodiest day as they are hit by the Luftwaffe defending the Reichs capital. 

There were a few more demo/participation tables but either through bad timing or lack of attention they didn't get photographed. Some were between sessions for the participation games and there wasn't anything to see and photograph. I meant to catch them later but for some reason still missed them in the tick of the game. There were also a couple where none of the club members playing the game even seemed to notice that someone was watching their game. Without any table signage telling me what was being played I left them to it and hence no pictures. Personally, I can't see the point in running a demo only to ignore visitors. 

The obligatory 'Loot' post. I bought a lot! Having missed SELWG I needed a restock of quite a few items and there were the inevitable impulse buys. All the books were bargains which always feels good. I bought a load of resin scenery from Debris of War which I will be working on during the Painting Challenge. I'll be painting it for use in Frostgrave games with the Padawan, and to that end, I bought the winter game mat from Deepcut Studios. 
All in all a very successful and enjoyable day out, despite the five hours I spent driving there and back! I am lead to understand - but don't quote me - that this location (Rivermead Leisure Centre) is being redeveloped and that next year Warfare will be at Ascot. Wherever it is, I expect the Rejects will be there and maybe we have just added Warfare to our annual list of not to be missed shows. 


  1. Looks like a great day out and a great haul. I’ve had, or still have, copies of those books.

    1. Its not a proper show if I don't come home with at least one Osprey!

  2. Love this little show.. DG and I were there on Sunday, think you picked the best day for demo games as a number you mention weren't there on the Sunday. You're right about next year, they're moving to Ascot Race course.. I was told that this time next year the sports centre will just be a hole in the ground! LOL..

    1. I've not been to this show before but I did think the venue looked a little 'tired' and long overdue renovation (or knocking down!). I hope the new venue works better because this show had a character all of its own and it would be sad to loose that.

  3. Great report Lee. T'was well worth the visit, I thinks we'll be going again next year.


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