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Monday, 5 February 2018

Vapnatark 2018

As most followers will be aware yesterday was the official start of the wargaming show season with the Vapnatark show at the York racecourse.It is probably the show I most look forward to simply because it will have been a couple of quiet months prior to the event.
This year I was even more determined to attend after missing last years due to unforeseen circumstances. So I tipped up early to the start of the season and 'suffered' for the privilege of being through the doors first. Well actually that isn't correct as although John, Neil and I were officially the head of the long queue, three lovely 'mature'  [as in over 50 ] people decided to somehow crowd themselves into pole position by engaging in a very lengthy conversation with the guy on the door. In the end I couldn't help myself and interrupted their in depth conversation about some crucial 40k matter and explained to the woman? or was it a transgender that if she/he was that keen to be in first they could have my place in the queue. Unfortunately my wit didnt register and he/her carried on wittering to her dwarf like partner about his shop. Okay,I admit it, I am Victor Meldrew.
 And sadly that is how I will remember the show.
 The event has become a victim of its own success and like Salute several years ago has simply outgrown its venue.The show to put it bluntly was mobbed. Now this should be a good thing but it wasnt to be honest, well not for me.
 So how was the show overall.
The positives first; Well the trade was very good and very varied with several new companies popping up for the first time.The building which normally is light and airy except on race days or wargame show days is a good venue with easy access normally to all three floors.
 There is a decent amount of parking and the food is of a decent standard if a little pricey. It is a very good wargames show and for me better than last years Salute by a country mile.

 Usually as most bloggers do I take a fair amount of images of the games but I will be brutally honest and state that you can refer to last years or the years before to check on the standard of the games on the ground floor given that they are derivatives of the same games.
 Absolutely nothing wrong with them, they are very good examples and of a high standard, but they are simply the same games repeated.
 The second floor had some very nice smaller games and I only wish I had taken some photographs of them because the wargamers had clearly put some effort into them. As for the competition games, no doubt they were very exciting for the competitors.

 And then we had the Table Top Sale. This has definitely outgrown the venue with long queues to not only book in for the 45 minute spots, but even longer queues for the actual buyers. Mix in two false fire/bomb alarms that caused the place to be evacuated and any residual pleasure simply slips away.
 I enjoy table top sales, and for me they are the way forward to offload surplus stuff but if one more rotund smelly troll decides to squeeze into the heaving mass carrying an overly large rucksack on his back and think its okay then I forsee some bother in future.
 What is in their rucksacks? A change of clothes? Soap and aftershave? A photograph of their mother?  Just think of other people for a change eh? especially the poor bugger who kept getting twatted in the face every time they swung around.
It was great to see wargamers that I hadnt seen for a while and its always nice to do some retail therapy albeit on a smaller scale this show.As for the demographics as our American cousins would say, I think the age of the crowds was dropping by a good 20 years or so.

Now the negatives for me anyway: If the York club cannot find a bigger venue then I think they should consider selling limited tickets certainly for the morning with a return to pay at the door after 1pm. The venue was uncomfortably mobbed until about 1.30pm.
The table top area needs to be expanded which would no doubt be at the expense of some other thing, but it was very very successful.
 Finally the organisers should re consider what they are attempting to achieve with the demonstration? games on the ground floor. If they are to showcase the hobby great, but you cannot keep recycling the same periods ad infinitum. Big games yes, different periods /scale yes, but they really need to think about what for me is a big part of a show.
 My abiding memories of yesterday were John Treadaway locked out of the show and banging on the windows of the first floor viewing gallery before forlornly walking away to look for a new way into the event and Charles Stewart Grant who I literally bumped into four or five times muttering, 'this is madness.'
 Sorry for the negativity and truthfulness. 




 

25 comments:

  1. I tend to agree I must say.

    I was in early and had a very definite shopping list . For a change was able to pick it all .

    Re games I have tried a couple of times to get a game set up at York , but the comms never seems to work or they just ignore me ...

    I ended up leaving after the first fire evac as could not be bothered battling around again ..

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    1. Thanks Dave, I was worried it was just me slipping into being a mean old twat mode.A few years ago I had a rush of blood and offered up a game to the organisers. I was put on a 'list' of 11 reserves and left it at that. Probably for the best given Sunday's proceedings.

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  2. Hello Robbie, I'm in total agreement on your opion of the games, there was a real sense of dejavu, it was busy and the table top area is way to narrow and you kind of get pushed long with the crowd without really been able to inspect what's on sale, little bit like ikea from my experience, also I found some of the trade areas quite hemmed in and difficult to access the products, still despite it been very busy (good for
    the hobby) I had an enjoyable day and it still sits up there as one of my favourite shows. Thanks for driving down and putting up with the NUFC updates on the way back πŸ˜„

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    1. Your a bad man. The table top sale is definitely a great opportunity for anyone looking for a Games Workshop bargain or three. I can understand the crush, but dont have to enjoy the experience.We wont talk of football shall we.

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  3. I completely agree with everything you've written, Robbie.

    I didn't go to this year's show due to bad experiences from last year, mainly caused by the overcrowding and the table top queue. I've arranged with traders to pick up preorders at this Sunday's ROBIN show, so I'm starting my wargaming year in Nottingham.

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    1. Thanks Roy,
      I shouldn't twine on about the success of the show. It would be worse if the place had been emptied, but it wasnt the experience I had hoped purely because of the crush.

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  4. I’m glad Vapnartak is off our list for now to be honest. If you are not planning a serious spend then good games are a prerequisite to enjoyment for me. Having read your post, and two or three others, the lack of standout new games and the overcrowding pose problems for the event’s future. I wonder what a safety officer might think of the crowding?

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    1. Sadly I would go again, simply because I like wargames shows but the enjoyment levels were low on Sunday. I wouldnt like to have been disabled, or struggling to move around given Sunday's experiences.

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    2. Facilities and the environment for disabled punters, even those without the need of equipment to help get them around were totally inadequate. I can’t do all the stairs and I never found the disabled loos.

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  5. Robbie
    I completely agree with everything you say . I have a soft spot for this show because so many people I know go including you ! I called it the Salute of the North today because it’s all about the trade and the games are irrelevant - 5 games on the ground floor ish including the kriekspielers who were obviously celebrating Grounhog day - talented guys but Jesus fellas - give us something new please ? The food is great I can do the show in an hour and then sit in the cafe talking shite all afternoon - what’s not to love ?
    Ian
    PS they do a brilliant job of publicising the show - here’s a thought - book Doncaster Racecourse next year - a much bigger brighter venue and the hotels are cheap as chips - another massive problem with York - I thought the South London Warlords led by Martin were the standout game btw

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    1. Ian, maybe me and you should serve bacon sandwiches in the canteen.I never got a chance to speak to Martin re his game which was shame given the journey he had made. Im surprised he didnt have a nose bleed after travelling that far North. I nearly wrote about Groundhog day in the piece but thought that might be a step too far. Personally Ian I blame Brexit.

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  6. Robbie, I am also in total agreement with you. You ARE Victor Meldrew.

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    1. Robbie calls Victor laughing boy apparently πŸ˜‰

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    2. I agree I am. I cannot deny that but even Victor had a relevance in what he was complaining about. Every year as a sad old git I will attend some very big music events, 20,000+ thousand people. I will queue for hours to climb into the pit with the loonies that is never an issue. Sunday was a spoiler for me.

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  7. Robbie,
    Sorry I missed you, I was holding court πŸ˜€ In the bar from 11.30 until after 1. I can't disagree with anything you say except the mobbing effect in the first hours wasn't as bad as last year! The demo games on the ground floor indeed had a huge touch of familiarity and there were far more nicer looking and different games in the participation area.
    I like the York show but I have to agree without a major overhaul or venue change then it is one show I may give a miss to in the future because it has become an unpleasant experience to move around unless you wait until the afternoon.

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    1. I didnt want to spend time in the bar Graham because I really wanted to trawl the show and 'enjoy' the experience. I wish I had moved to the bar which is a bad sign.

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  8. Agree with the sentiment of the post. The show is almost too good to enjoy! persistent back-ache makes long periods on my feet painful. The place is so chocker I have trouble moving through the building or standing while trying to get to a trader.

    The net result is that I have a few target traders that I visit and I pretty much miss the rest and end up leaving without having had a full appreciation of the place.

    We love York and do an overnight stay and do other stuff in the city, so the show just becomes part of that and so my overall enjoyment has been good, though after this weekend, I think I would be equally happy in just visiting York at another time (which we do anyway) and not factoring in the show.

    Since for me, this years experience was pretty much like last year, I think I will leave this show off the list for a while. It's not that its not a great show, it is, it just seems to be a victim of its own success and is just too much hassle for me to enjoy properly.

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    1. York the place and the show is great. There can be nothing better than staying over in the city and then spending a day in retail heaven at the show. Like you I couldn't enjoy this years hoped for expierence. I really dont know what the answer is. Maybe I have come to expect too much.

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  9. Tom and I have decided that the 2018 York show will be the last York show we will be attending - it is just too difficult for us due to our disabilities. It is difficult to get parked near the venue (as we used to about 12 years ago), the wait in the cold to get in at the start of the day (standing in the cold really played havoc with my back), the narrow gangways in places, the crowds and low flying rucksacks for Tom in his wheelchair and the lack of toilets for the disabled(the slippy floor in the ground flour male toilet was very unnerving). Thankfully the traders I wanted to see were in their usual places - I would not have liked trying to find them from the "programme". If this is "The Salute of the North" give me "Battleground" any day.

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    1. I really felt for some of the disabled wargamers who braved the tabletop sale. As for the poor soul who decided to push his child into the mob well I felt like calling Child Line.I think you have found the basis for your article dont you Dave?

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    2. Tom and I did not even attempt the table top sale - we know from past experience that it would be too crowded for us. We do not want to name and shame shows in our proposed article, we want to be general about issues based on our experiences at shows we have attended over the years

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  10. Robbie,
    I've had that feeling for Vapnartak for some time now. Overcrowded and difficult to get around. I wonder whether if they took out the games and just left it as a trade vent whether it would have any detrimental impact on footfall - I suspect not.

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    1. Paul that did cross my mind, and I am surprised that some show hadnt made that decision in the past.But would that be a wargames show? or something else. Im just pleased it wasnt just me that was uneasy with the show. I am a sensitive soul at heart, honest.

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    2. Paul / Rob
      I think York could get away with that because it’s already a mainly trade event anyway - the first show of the year we want to meet up with friends and buy stuff BUT if Partizan tried that it would fail I think because there have already been lots of shows before May - so it’s mainly new stuff from a buying perspective and don’t we justify the trip because we want to see the eye candy - Partizan(s) are the best shows I attend from both a buying and inspiration perspective - the rest of them are all pretty much of a muchness and Salute is heading that way

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