So… what a day that was.
We’ve been attending Salute since IHMN launched in 2013, and running participation games since 2014.
This was our sixth year and by far our busiest. We thought we’d had a good reaction in 2017 for Blood Eagle, but the reaction to Thud & Blunder was amazing.
Both participation boards were busy all day, Lorna who works ‘front of house’ was rushed off her feet dealing with enquiries, none of us had more than twenty minutes off, and we lost count of the number of copies of T&B we were asked to sign.
Billy’s board, where four adventurers try to escape a dungeon full of undead, drew many admirers, and has appeared in lots of post-show photos on the interweb. Such luminaries as Ben from Beasts of War and Mel, the Terrain Tutor came to look at it and gave us great feedback. This board will now be travelling up to Partizan in May.
Despite all this the day did not start well…
Billy’s board is roughly 120x90x75cms and comes in one piece, so we needed to bring it in by car. Unfortunately we arrived five minutes too late and could not take the car up into the hall. So it then had to be carried across the car park, up in a lift in which it almost did not fit, along the concourse, and down the length of the hall. Charles and Billy almost did not make it, and had to be towelled down and fed tea and biscuits.
We had to make the same trek afterwards, with Billy and I being the sherpas this time.
The next possible catastrophe was Charles inexplicably leaving a couple of figures at home! In stepped Andy Foster of Heresy Miniatures, who loaned us a figure from his painted models display across the aisle. It is little acts of kindness like that which make me love our industry/hobby.
Overall the show seemed less busy than in previous years. I know there is a lot being made of this on other blogs and fora, but I think this was to be expected given the current political crisis in the UK. That said we had plenty of Europeans visit our little corner, including some lovely Danes.
A couple of years ago a fine chap called Mike Strong had his good wife make a cake to celebrate the launch of Blood Eagle. It was a red sponge and red icing with the Ministry bowler hat logo. This year he repeated his generosity and brought a Thud & Blunder cake – chocolate sponge and green icing with the T&B crossed axes design. It was sumptuous.
Once again many of our players were parents and their children, with the kids winning more often than not. We had one young lady in a unicorn onesie, whose tactical acumen blew Billy away.
On The Witch’s Cat table we had a unique result where Greebo (Nanny Ogg’s mischievous moggy), beat the two players trying to retrieve him by killing no less than three figures, and ending up back where he started by the fish stall.
This was the last outing for The Witch’s Cat board, which has provided great fun over the last twelve months, we shall now be lugging Billy’s leviathan around instead.
In my short break in the afternoon, I made a beeline for Simon Miller’s To the Strongest game. I have known Simon for forty years, and his accomplice Ian Notter (the King of Flock), so I always try to drop in on their latest effort. This time it was the last battle of the Boudiccan revolt, where the Romans finally defeated the raging British army. Well folks, it was magnificent, with thousands of figures on display, including three large formations of British light chariots, and Roman Legionaries manning cart-mounted ballistae.
I managed to glance at a few other games as I rushed past and the standard seemed to be universally high again. Next door to us was a magnificent Tonkin forts game in 40mm by GJM Games, complete with river and steamboats.
Ainsty Castings, the main vendor of Thud & Blunder at the show, reported a brisk trade, especially after they did a bundle offer with a cave troll miniature (I can hear Sean Bean’s Boromir in my head as I type this – “They’ve brought a Cave Troll…”).
Anyhoo, after all the hullabaloo, we trudged back to Charles’ country manor, unloaded the mules, and were forced to consume copious amounts of pizza, Mrs Strong’s cake and red wine.
The general opinion was, despite the various setbacks, and the noise, that it had been a great show and we shall look forwards to attending again next year.