As regular readers of the blog know, a group of members of Club Dragón planned several months ago to attend Crisis in Antwerp, one of the most recommended wargames events in Continental Europe. As the dates also coincided with a long week-end in Madrid, we extended the trip to 5 days in total, intending to visit some of the famous battlefields around: Waterloo, Arnhem and Bastogne/Ardennes.
Crisis is organised by a local wargames club (The TinSoldiers of Antwerp) and 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of this event. The theme of the show this year was... Waterloo!! (surprise, surprise)
The show occupied two quite large former store buildings in Antwerp harbour, and despite the large crowd of wargamers and traders attending, there was enough space to walk around... nothing like the oppressive atmosphere I felt in 2012 in London’s Salute.
We arrived just 15 minutes before the official opening and a large and long queue was already forming. I was having nightmares remembering how long it took me to enter Salute, but to my surprise it was quite efficiently managed and by 10.10 we were inside (kuddos to the organisers!!)
Almost all usual suspects in the hobby were present there (nothing to envy to Salute in that respect) and it was also a good opportunity to meet some less well know manufacturers that offer good quality niche products at competitive prices too.
The show had a large and active bring & buy market and well stuffed catering service.
In terms of games displayed, a major effort was undertaken by all participating clubs and I counted over 100 games (!); however I must admit that the quality of the displays was irregular among them.
Standing above the crowd (the best game at least for me) a Napoleonic 28mm game based on the battle for Plancenoit organised by a German club (Team furHistorische Simulationen).
Truly worth mentioning too, our Lard colleagues from the Murphy’s Heroes club of Delft in The Netherlands, who won the award to the best participation game, a Chain of Command 1940 game in 20mm, featuring Germans and Dutch forces in the first opening moves of the Western blitzkrieg campaign.
The event was a good opportunity both to take some selfies with the pop-stars of our hobby...
...and also to meet some of the most active members in the Yahoo TFL group and bloggers (nice to put a face to people with whon I’ve been in contact for so long).
Overall, Crisis is well established show worth attending if you like these type of events. However, my colleagues and I had a long chat post-show, over some delicious local beers, and agreed that coming from so far away just to attend a show may be making less sense than before: in the age of Internet you have good access to all manufacturers and the wargames crowd opinion on the stuff put on sale.
Also, it seems difficult to hook players in the participation games, as they (we?) are reluctant to invest too much time in just one game when there so much activity around; this was confirmed by the guys on Murphy’s Heroes after the show.
What we also agreed is that organising a more ambitious plan around one of these events is what truly makes sense. Our field trip this year was a good illustration or what we did in 2012 in the UK, arriving one day before Salute to visit Bovington and leaving Sunday evening to visit the Imperial War and the National Army Museums.
I leave the argument at this point, but your views are more than welcome.And now some photos from the show