Monday 3 February 2020

"A Grand Day Out....but no Cheese" York 2020

Yesterday, John yet again very kindly piloted the drop ship on our annual trip to Vapnatark in York. We arrived very early but thanks to John's blagging and me looking all pitiful we were allowed in before 9.30 and went straight for a coffee. York is the first big show of the year in the North and while it never really changes its great to emerge from hibernation and see whats on offering to see who's around and can't walk fast enough to escape me in my trundlulator in stealth mode.

The positives:

  • I met up with dozens of friends and acquaintances (as one does at these things, although I didn't get to speak to a couple of mates I was on the lookout frond didn't spot) and got to wear myself out talking 'sodjers'. In fact that was by far the best bit and made the day worthwhile;
  • A couple of nice games were in evidence (more on this later). There were a couple I didn't get to see as they were upstairs somewhere;
  • Loads of trade, many of whom were only too happy to exchange goods for my cash. Thankfully, I was very restrained and mainly stocked up on consumables rather than figures, apart from some (three US and six Canadian militia btns) War of 1812 stuff which rounds off the figures needed for that collection;
  • The York Wargames Club members were very helpful, i.e. letting us in early and pointing me in the direction of one trader in particular I wanted to speak to but couldn't find as they'd not got any signage. I never did speak to them in the end;
  • Everybody was friendly and courteous when I was trying to navigate myself around the show;
  • There were no fire alarms this year.
Here are some pictures of a couple of the games. These are the best off my phone and were not the only games (Lance and Longbow's Tannenberg and Grimsby's WW2 Russian to name but two):
Steve Langan and friends with the Incident at Fiume; the background to the game can be found here
A very large warship offshore at Fiume.
Dan from WI circling the tables.
Raid on Entebe. This looked great, especially all the 1/72 scale C130's that I failed to photograph!
Dark Age game. Deja-Vu hit me here as the terrain and town/habour remind me of the ECW game put on last year, but with different figures. 

As for the negatives, or areas for improvement, here we go.....
  • There was the usual distinct lack of games. I only saw four or five demo games (there were more), run in the main by the same clubs as usual. That is fine as most of them were pretty good, but its less fine if one were to consider that there are more people willing and able to put on comparably visual games who don't get a look in as it seems to be a bit of a closed shop. (Not that I would wish to offer my services). I know a fair bit of space was taken up by competition games on a higher floor but they're not exactly the sort of game thats oozing eye candy (my opinion of course);
  • The venue soon became very warm and in a Greta Thunberg moment when I was manoeuvring around the crowds wondered what the carbon footprint of a typical UK wargames event was and how many years/months/weeks each event brought us closer to planetary disaster;
  • This is a big one for me and one I would like to pursue further. The venue has a lift for those of us like me who find stairs difficult/impossible which is excellent and as one would expect. YET AGAIN ON ONE FLOOR I HAD TO FIGHT MY WAY THROUGH (ACTUALLY BETWEEN THE DISPLAY RACKS) A TRADE STAND TO USE SAID LIFT. NOT GOOD!
Would I go again? Of course. It was a grand day out and a fine show. But no cheese eh Gromit?

Finally a very big thanks to John for the lift which was much appreciated.



  1. I went yesterday for the first time and enjoyed the show. It was the biggest show I've ever seen and I couldn't believe how many people were there. I did like the display tables, people seemed to be enjoying the participation games and the much maligned competition gamers were having a grand time.

    Jolly good show, I reckon.

    1. Don't get me wrong it was an ok show. I'd go again. It's just a big samey after all these years in that vrnur6.

  2. I am surprised that convention organizers would turn away anyone who wanted to host a game at a show. Usually it is the opposite, they don't get enough offers to host games.

    I hope that you spoke to the show organizers about the lift access problem. They might not have been aware of that.

    That Steve Langan guy really gets around - participating in events in both the UK and the USA with some frequency . LOL.

    1. Thanks Jim

      Yes Steve does get about a bit thanks to his job I think.

      Therein lies one of the differences between the UK and US events. It can be quite difficult to break into the show circuit at an individual event as many if not most have waiting lists and offer places to previous attendees. Mind you I do one show a year that's 5 minutes from my home and even that nearly kills me! 😂

      The lift issue is in hand.

      All the best


  3. thanks Colin, hoping to drop in one year for a visit, the games I have seen look pretty good, the loft being blocked though is not good IMO, good quality games at least though.


  4. Grand day it seems with just a few purchases!