Thursday, 12 November 2015

Episode 1 - Dragones in Crisis...

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


  1. Thanks for taking the time to post some lovely pics of the show. I agree with your comments re: attending shows these days. This is something that my friends and I have commented upon over the past few years. Maybe 5 years ago you could get good show discounts, but these days I haven't seen any. So in purely shopping terms it doesn't make sense. However I do like to attend one or two a year, just for the social aspect and to see what's new in the flesh as it were.

  2. A superb report, many thanks for posting it. One day I'd like to visit the show.

  3. There are very nice game tables there! Crisis is an objective for our Club, too. Not all in this world can be SALUTE!
    As you say, I prefer to have other options in the list when attending a show; there are very interesting places to visit during the trip.

  4. Benito, thanks for a great post, and some wonderful photos. It's brilliant to see you and your clubmates meeting the various friends and personalities from the show! I was really sad to miss "Crisis" this year - all sorts of things going on - as I do think that the show, and the City of Antwerp, are wonderful.

    I agree with you in part regarding the internet age meaning that it is less essential to visit wargaming shows to purchase materials, figures or whatever. But I think that, probably also as a result of the rise of the internet, that wargaming shows have become much more of a social function in the hobby. I know that I don't visit a show so much to play a game or buy stuff, as to meet people and catch up. And, in a lot of ways, I like that much better!

    Anyway, that's my personal view - but I'm still very pleased to see you had a great time and all got back safely. Best wishes.