My enthusiastic tales about last year’s CRISIS made K. curious and she wanted to come along, so this year, we both headed over to Antwerp for a day of wargaming madness. It was again a fantastic experience – even better than last year, I have to say, as it’s even more fun to explore all the stuff if you can share it with another person. K. and I were very impressed by what we saw: the games, the traders, but also the crowd, which was very nice and relaxed. We spent five hours there and weren’t bored for a minute. The excellent pastries helped to bolster our spirits – the rice cake was a treat!
Strolling through the hall and looking at the different games, we picked up lots of terrain ideas. Seeing the different styles of tables made us talk about what we liked most and why, and it gave us some great ideas for our own projects.
K.’s imagination was especially captured by the snowy landscapes, one by the League of Augsburg and one with a steampunk game.
It was interesting to see that scattered snow and a couple of snowed-in buildings suffice to create a wintery impression – there is no need to actually base all the figures on snow bases. K. made me promise to do a snow board some time, perhaps for our Wars of the Roses game.
The games also felt more accessible this time, but perhaps this was just because I felt less timid and actually talked to people. We had a couple of nice chats with folks explaining to us what they played. I was also happy to finally meet up and have a quick chat with Henry Hyde!
The most impressive game for both of us was the Battle of Keren 1941 by the Newark Irregulars. We spent quite some time marvelling at the work the Irregulars had put into this. There was even a second table with a small exhibition about the historical background of the scenario and information on how the table was made. This was an exemplary way of presenting the context of the game. It was fascinating to look behind the curtains of the project and have a glance at how it was done. Splendid stuff. Deservedly, it won the price for most innovative game, so congratulations!
The most innovative product for me was the new 3mm range by Magister Militium. I’ve already seen images on Facebook of those tiny figures, but seeing them in the flesh was even more impressive. Sure, they are tiny, but they are surprisingly detailed and create a really good mass effect. I’ve been thinking about doing a project in 6mm for some time now, but after seeing those figures I will go all the way to 3mm. At the moment, they have Late Republican Romans, but Celts will follow shortly. I’ve already contacted Richard from Magister Militium for a short interview, so stay tuned if you want to know more about the new range.
Of course I also did some shopping. Most of my purchases were preorders: For my medieval Spain project, I got Baueda beduin tents and supplies from Magister Militium, baggage camels from Donnington and some figures from Essex. For the sci-fi project, I got a hovercraft from Brigade and a Critical Mass mecha from Figures in Comfort, both for a new faction that will bring more variety into our games. I also picked up Martello towers and a lighthouse in 1/2400 from Magister Militium and, on a whim, decided to grab one of their lovely dinosaurs (the Triceratops, my favorite dinosaur – yes, of course I have a favorite dinosaur, don’t you?). At the Caliver Books stand, I found a middle eastern mosque which will hopefully also work for medieval Spain. Finally, I bought reading material: the December issue of Wargames Illustrated and an Osprey on Samurai Women, as I’ve become increasingly interested in the history of women warriors. Oh, and I got nifty pincers from the tool stand and a Vallejo surface primer. I resisted some temptations, especially at David Lanchester‘s book stand, but I’ve got enough unread books at home as it is.
Last but not least, we had a chat with The Dice Bag Lady, whose blog I’ve been following for some time. We picked up a nice dice bag for our nephew, whom, as you’ll know by now, we are grooming to be a wargamer. Incidentally, it was nice to see quite a few kids running around the hall and playing games.
Tin Soldiers of Antwerp have outdone themselves and organised another fantastic show. Both K. and I had a great day at CRISIS and we will certainly come back next year!