Saturday 2 May 2015

Salute 2015

I haven't been to Salute for a very long time. I've always though of it as being just too big, with long queues and quite far away on the far side of London.

But this year I was invited down by a friend to run Infinity demo games on the day. So with free entry, no queues and the chance to coincide it with a visit of nearby friends and family I was set to go, and I have to say I'm glad I did.

It was a lot easier to get to than I remember and travelling on the Docklands Light Railway is always enjoyable actually. You do get some nice views of some of the shinier parts of London and the station is pretty much right next to the venue too.

The huge range of games and traders was very impressive, although I was disappointed to find that the bring and buy had been axed previously. Still, I'd recommend it to anyone who is on the fence about attending next year.

For a one-day event, Salute is freaking huge! It's hard to see, and impossible to play, everything there.

We had two tables provided for us by Simple Miniature Games, which were very pretty. The scenery did require some shuffling around though to avoid the obvious sniper positions that would have been in place otherwise.

A Haqqislam scouting party encounters Nomad resistance.

This game had nail-biting finish. On the final turn the Doctor at the back failed to heal the unconscious Khwarij (needed 17 or less on a d20) then took it upon herself to try and grab the central objective. She spent two orders running past a Mobile Brigada who was suppressing the room, came out completely unscathed and succeeded her objective roll to win the game!

We also had a smaller 3x3 table which, while not ideal, worked pretty smoothly. It resulted in a lot of very quick and messy games.

Then the Haqq forces moved to the city table to deal with  meddlesome Aleph forces.

This particular game ended with the Haqqislam Sniper blowing away the enemy Officer at point blank range!

On both tables we used a simple king-of-the-hill type scenario and a three turn limit in orider to get the action going. All the players we had on the day took to it very well. The only downside was that the show was quite noisy, especially as we had the infamous 'Forge World Queue' right next to us.

We used my custom set of army lists and rules cheat-sheets for demo games which I've loaded up to my Google Drive. Do give them a go and let me know if you find them useful. The armies are broadly balanced for play on a 4'x4' table and some extraneous skills have been removed in order to keep the game simple.

The icing on the cake though was a surprise visit from Alberto (AKA Bran do Castro) and Andrea (Corvus Belli's head of marketing), which was really amazing. I still can't believe they came over from Spain just for the event!

The text reads "Penthesilea ready for the battle".

I'm glad I had a chance to meet them both, even though Alberto is clearly a filthy Nomad sympathiser. Still, nobody is perfect, right?

It was great to be able to sit down and chat about the game and about the Warcor program. Not only that but we all had our books signed and sketched in.  Unfortunately I couldn't take out much time between demo games as I'd have liked because we were utterly inundated by curious players. I must have been close to double figures for demo games by the end of the day!

I also had an hour or so before the doors opened to the public to run around and snap some pics, but this wasn't even nearly long enough. There was just too much to see and do.

Hawk Miniatures advertising their upcoming space combat game 'Dropfleet' - Newsletter here.

The ship was designed in scale with their 10mm land battles game - Dropzone Commander.

This thing must have been carrying over 120 dropships, a really incredible model. I can't even imagine how much time it would have taken to put this together. 

Now all they need is a few more and some really big dice and tape measures...

Hawk Wargames again, this time with a Dropzone Commander diorama.

There was an incredible looking 'Battle of Hoth' game!

Complete with Millennium Falcon.

I've no idea what game mechanics they were using to run this game or what the final outcome was, so let me know if you had a chance to play in it.

Did anyone actually manage to tie up an AT-AT with a Snowspeeder?

I have no idea what this game was, but I really wanted to try and play Infinity on it!

Some amazing looking models here, I don't envy having to do all that rigging.

My heart skipped a bit seeing this, lots of new stuff at a good discount. It almost made up for the lack of Bring and Buy.

I managed to pick up a decent amount of Micro Art Studio hard form terrain (including a complete sewer system) for under £40 from the clearance bins. It's currently awaiting some paint and I'll have some pics once it's done. It should go nicely with all the deadzone scenery I've picked up recently.

My one regret of the show was not picking up a Deep Wars lizardman hero on mosasaur model for a tenner. What was I thinking? I also entirely failed to buy any Saga rules/minis, which is probably a good thing as I have enough projects in the pipeline already.

I'm already looking forward to going back next year and doing it all over again. :)

As a bit of an aside, I also squeezed in a three-way game of Warhammer 40,000 7th edition on the Friday night. My first 'modern' game of 40k in over five years. As I didn't have any forces of my own I borrowed a friend's Blood Angels, including this sweet looking converted flyer-thingy. I'm no good with the names for all the new things. It's probably a Blood-Talon-Death-Hawk or something?

I was happily zooming around killing daemon princes, chaos space marines and other assorted bad guys until...

... it got jumped by a giant mechanical spider. 40k is weird!

Overall it was an enjoyable game, although it did suffer a bit from having too many rules spread across too many books. This meant that play was often interrupted to look things up but no doubt this was just down to our collective unfamiliarity with the edition.

One thing I really liked was the objective system for scoring. Each player was dealt six cards each of which had an objective on it such as capture an area, destroy an enemy unit in combat, secure your deployment zone and so on. At the end of each player's turn, they put aside any mission cards which they had successfully completed. Then at the beginning of each new game turn each player could choose to discard up to one additional card then draw back up to a full hand of six.

The overall winner would then be decided by who had the greatest number of completed missions.This had players frantically running around the table and making/breaking alliances and generally panicking in a desperate attempt to win the game. Good stuff!

It's definitely an experience I want to try porting into other games. Maybe I'll post up something more about it soon. :)

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