Good news; the wargaming hobby is alive and well and living in South London. Last Saturday’s Salute 2012 was not only a resounding success, but an excellent indicator that the past-time of playing with little toy soldier’s is not only still popular, it’s thriving.
Salute 2012 is organised by the South London Warlords and has grown so large that it now needs to be held at the Excel Centre in London’s Docklands. The Excel was hosting registrations for the London Marathon on the same day, and I suspect this may have been the first time so many super-fit joggers and super-geeky wargamers happened to be so close to each other.
Salute has been an annual fixture in the UK gaming calendar for more than 30 years and is famous for impressive dioramas, displays and demonstration games. Highlights at this year’s event included a beautifully detailed James Bond style villains lair (promoting the 70’s TV inspired game 7TV), a Doctor Who strategy game built entirely out of something that looked a lot like LEGO and a rather stunning Captain Scarlet miniatures game, presented by the event organisers themselves. Internet forum Frother’s UK also had a Cthullhu Mythos themed game which used stark black and white scenery to lend a truly spooky feeling to the affair. It also helped that the chap running the game looked like some sort of mad scientist, blood-spattered lab coat and all.
Exhibitors new to the show included wargaming satirist Chris “Curis” Webb (who was selling a collection of his webcomic cartoons) and Hawk Wargames, who are launching a beautiful looking 10mm sci-fi game called Dropzone Commander, which sounds like a mix of post-apocalypse sci-fi and classic alien invasion. No demo games as yet, but models look very pretty indeed. I also got a chance to play to Mantic Games’ latest entry into the world of science fiction themed gaming, Project Pandora: Grim Cargo. I’m a fan of these sort of claustrophobic games, and it’s a style of game that will be very familiar to many gamer. Other expansions are already planned, though it didn’t amaze me as much as I hoped.
Over all, Salute 2012 re-ignited my enthusiasm for playing with tiny models, and delighted the sci-fi, fantasy and horror nerd in me, and I am looking forward to next year’s event already.