Monday, 19 May 2014

Wargames Show, Sheffield Triples 2014

I woke to a wonderful sunny Saturday morning, excited and ready for the shineyitus ahead.
After a couple of cups of tea, myself and Charlie set off to "Triples" our local show.
We do this every year.
I do have a fond spot for Triples.
It is local, large and usually copes with my extensive shopping list.
It's great to meet up with old friends and have a good bit of gaming banter.
Shows are also great for making new friends within the hobby.
So, How did it go?
Did I enjoy the show?     Overall, Yes
Did Charlie enjoy the the show?    Yes, she did.
Did I get what I wanted?     Nope, not all of it.
Did it live upto my usual expectations?     Nope, not really.
But why?

Once again, the show was BIG, two rooms at the EIS.
There was plenty of room to move about and plenty of traders.
Reasonable Cafe, overall the facilities were superb, again.
Could I find everything I needed? No.
The Bring and Buy was terrible.
Some of the display games were very uninteresting, to say the least.

The positives though outweighed the negatives.
I came away with more work for Brigantes.
I did get some of the stuff I really needed (interweb for the rest methinks)
I had a great day with my wife and she really enjoyed it.
My sculpts were on sale for the first time and did really well.
I met up with many friends and made a few new ones.
The BFC game looked fantastic, well done guys.

Now I know you are not always going to find what you need at a show.
But to be honest I usually do get most stuff I need, though this time a sheer lack of any 1/72 stuff spoiled it a bit for me.
Coat d Arms paints, that I needed to re-stock on were like the proverbial rocking horse sh#t and the Bring and Buy, well!
Here is my rant.
My fond memories of the B&B's were people selling the stuff they no longer wanted or used.
A fine bargain could be had.
This used to be a highlight of the shows for me.
To come home with something I wanted and I picked it up on the B&B for a bargain price.
Jeeze! those days have gone.
The B&B's are now run like a business, these people should have a stand in the main room.
No more turn up and register your stuff to sell.
These people turn up with masses of their own stuff and fill the table with it.
The prices, wow.
Old school 25mm, Gloss varnished Armies/figures by the bucketload at stupid prices.
DBA 15's armies at ridiculous prices, some stuff was being sold at the retail prices.
Some stuff on there I would have binned years ago.
But to ask £10 for something that is worth about 50p is taking the piss a bit.
I think the Hammerhead show, earlier this year had a better idea with the tabletop sale.
You book a table (per hourly rate) and sell your stuff.
You are there to negotiate the prices and when you have had enough, close up and enjoy the show with hopefully some readies in your pocket.
Time for a change I think.

I wasn't there on the Sunday, but from what I have heard, it was pretty quiet.
Why have a two day show when the second day is so quiet.
Surely making the show a single day would be better.
The loss of the big hitters has made the show less of an attraction to a lot of hobbyists.
The interweb and Ebay has killed the show appeal to many.
I still love the social side of the shows and I think that is the way forward.
The days of picking up a bargain though are long gone and without pre show research and pre-ordering, you may well be disappointed in finding all you need.
Rant over.
I now need to get online and order the stuff I didn't get at Triples.
What is my overall view.
Yes I enjoyed the show.
Not the best I have been to, nor the worst, but it could be better.
I didn't spend up, that should say it all.
I popped into Antics in the city centre on my way home and picked up some 1/72 stuff.
Money I would rather have spent at the show.


  1. The reasons you have sited Kev are the reasons I have stopped going to Triples and instead go to Partizan. Partizan ticks most of the boxes for a game I think, lovely building, great games and good sellers, but Triples seems a little soulless and lord knows why it is over two days. I would never like to see the show go but it does need to do something with itself.

    1. I know what you mean Pete.
      The're was no atmosphere at all.
      They really do need to do something to get the octagon feeling back.
      I still enjoyed it, but it left a little something in my head that I can't quite shake away.

  2. Well said and I totally agree.

    1. Thanks Fran.
      I don't think I will be alone in these views of the show

  3. Great to meet up Kev and sonbeam is really happy with the figure you gave him.

    Your wife talking to him and looking through his swag was a highlight for him so please say thanks for me.

    The bring and buy, any good priced items get snapped up by the guys ruunning it, they get the commision from the sale as well. Don't get me started on them, they have little to link them to the hobby any more

    I did enjoy the day though it was a lot more quite than I hoped it would be


    1. It was great to meet up again Ian.
      So glad your lil boy enjoyed himself and your right about the B&B.
      To see them this year left a sour taste in my mouth.
      They have contributed to the farcical B&B now.
      No wonder most shows have dropped them.
      It was busier earlier on the Saturday, but did seem to drop off pretty quickly.

  4. We did not get slow on saturday till 4pm but we expect that, your view on Sunday I share, it was shit. as for the quality of some demo games, they were little more than antiques on green baize in the main

    1. haha, your right there Andy.
      tbh, I preferred Hammerhead

  5. Interesting review. My half chance to get there did not turn out, but it sounds I like I did not miss much. The internet really has I think replaced shows for sales.. I think these are more of a marketing opportunity to see some stuff in the flesh. And the rest is just a social. I shall pop to Partizan and see how it goes.

  6. This is the first time for a couple of years I've attended Triples. Granted it was more to catch up with good friends. Meeting up with friends have a few drinks and a fantastic meal was the highlight of my weekend.

    Triples itself, a total let down. There was, as has been said, NO atmosphere either day. No excitement like there used to be, it looked drab apart from a small number of really good traders stalls. Many of the traders stalls looked to be filled with junk and would have better suited a car boot.

    The gaming tables; there were a couple that stood out but very few attending really seemed to have energy to be bothered to play anything. And most of the gaming tables looked bland. There was nothing that really stood out and made me think, that looks pretty awesome I want to play.

    And I'm so pleased you mentioned the bring and buy, it nearly brought tears to my eyes how bad it is now. A scruffy looking copy of the Lord of the Rings adventure game red box, £25, content in no way near perfect, you have got to be kidding. And there was far too much that needed melting down and recast for better use. Walking round the whole show was easy, years ago you couldn't move, and there was more around, this was too quiet for my liking, total lack of atmosphere and excitement.

    All I could think was that Triples has now become the poor injured stray dog everyone see's and you look but just carry on. If it is to survive it needs to change, and change big. Back to the days of lots of re-enactment, more to bring kids into the hobby, expand from just Wargames. Bring in boardgames, card games, you need to encourage kids to the hobby for it to survive and if that means card games and board games etc bring them in. Where are all the fantasy wargames, very little to see on offer, where are the skirmish games, where was Mantic? They are only down the road in Nottingham, did someone forget to invite them, see if you could coax alternative armies down. Triples has got to change and it has got to change big to get anywhere near to the good days, it has to move with the times.

    Highlights of the show Crooked dice (loved the Talos miniature), nice guy on the stall as well and never felt pressured to buy like some people try to make you feel. Pendraken, although would like to have seen them put on more of a display with painted figures. Also Northumbriantinsoldier, what beautiful figures. I didn't have enough money to buy the packs I wanted, but believe me, I have a few skirmish gangs to purchase here. Fantastic distinct figures to put in fantasy armies or skirmish groups.

    Triples to me looked like it was on it's last legs, I'm pleased I never took my kids. I would hate for them to think, 'so this is my dads hobby, what a let down'! There are far too many other shows that tear strips of Triples even much smaller events, Wargaming is my lifelong hobby, and Triples is doing nothing than present a poor picture of wargaming, and is doing nothing to bring new faces to the fore.

    1. Thanks for the view Kev.
      I totally agree and think you have covered all bases.
      Triples seems to be in a time warp.
      I dont get to many shows and I do love Triples, it's my home town, the Mrs likes going and I have great memories of the past shows.
      You are right though, it really does need to change for the better and change soon.
      I do like the new venue, even though it seems a bit sterile.
      They should scrap the other room, put it all together and add more variation.
      I had to laugh at your comment regarding some of the stuff on sale.
      Total rubbish some of it, I don't know how they had the cheek to even try to sell some of it.
      Come on please Triples, can we have the old one back please.

    2. All I can say is amen, Dragonkev.

  7. I'm glad it's not just me then... And it's my club's show...

    My own review can be found here (and yes I did pay to get in)

    1. Nice of you to drop in Mark.
      Thanks for that.
      Many feel the same, so it seems.
      Can you do anything Mark?

    2. Alas not.

      I would say more but, if I did I would be in deeper than I already am for saying so.

      I was embarrassed this year.

      Roll on Partizan!

  8. And for the record, I have ranted about the show a lot in the 6 months and it's got me in some real shit and has cost me friends of 3 decades plus. The time warp comment made me nod and grin somewhat ruefully. And the B&B has become is a trade stand like any other - PERIOD. Not surprising as it is run by traders and stacked with their own goods.

  9. Blimey, nearly missed this post - too excited about Triples . . . ;O) burra know what you mean. It's all been said really and very well put, but who wants to miss the chance of a whinge? Not me!

    After a couple of moans at the 'management' I ended up boycotting Triples at the old venue for a long time because I thought the disabled access was appalling. I think what annoyed me most was the attitude of the gonks from SWS who just didn't see what I was on about (and didn't seem to give a monkey's anyway) - I maybe ought to say "sorry Mark" here. Fast forward several years and I made my second visit to the new venue last Saturday.

    Last year I decided to give it a go again and didn't think much of it. This year I went if only to show support to the Bloggers for Charity game, although the chance to meet up with some good people was also a strong pull. Got to say I thought the show was pretty indifferent as shows go and, other than the company I met, immediately forgettable. But for a notable (very) few, the games were absolutely average, but I think the overall atmosphere contributed to that. I was so fired up with enthusiasm I even forgot to seek out the Bruce Weigle game, which ticked me off.

    I'll duck the stray dog analogy, but the show's completely lost it's buzz. Triples used to be red hot and was certainly THE northern show. (I know it's not really 'the north', but there could well be some southerners reading this and you have to make allowances.) There's been at least one well publicised fall out over events at the show and that's unfortunate, but, if it represents a general malaise, then the show needs to be revamped or put out of its misery.

    Probably skip it now unless BfC has something on.

    1. Thanks for joining the fray Gary.
      You looked happy enough when I saw you.
      Mind you it was you chance to wind me up for a change, haha.
      We had my Mrs in stitches

    2. As I mentioned I had come up more to catch up with good friends (Mark, Kayte, Dave etc), but was also looking forward to the show. Especially since I had been to Diceni gaming show in Norwich on the 4th May. I was thinking 'I know Triples is a much bigger event with lots going, so no competition'.

      The Diceni ( - for anyone interested next year) event had a surprise flawless victory over Triples in terms of enthusiasm, excitement & a vast array of what was on offer to see and do, watching someone dressed as a wookie playing wargames, very bizarre (let the wookie win!). And it was so much smaller! The gaming tables were small but looked good.

      Before I left Triples I had a good conversation about where I thought things were going wrong.

      I'm now looking forward to the 'Eastern Front War-games Show' in Norwich on Sunday 27th July. It wasn't on last year but the last time I went it really reminded me of the good days of Triples, especially the bring and buy (picked myself up a copy of Thunderroad - 2 copies in one box, fantastic condition and dirt cheap). If its good this year I shall be offering Mark & Kayte sleeping accommodation next year, and if the fence is fixed pets welcome too.

  10. Gary, no apology needed. I have ranted and ranted at the organiser (singular) about this.

    Look, I used to run the B&B and it was done properly. It may have been strict but it was done properly.

    As the former owner of Dungeons & Starships I was always very, very aware of disabled access issues and was nominated locally for an award.

    Nw, I am not being defensive at all, simply saying that I understand and agree with you 100%.

    I have been informed to my face that fantasy is not really wanted because Triples is a 'proper wargames show' *COFF*

    Now, I play ALL kinds of games as you may guess, but I don't care who argues the opposite - fantasy makes money. Ignore that at your peril.

    Last year, when I was involved, we hit the publicity trail, hard and take it from me, we got great coverage, I personally showed around a good number of convention virgins and played my part in bringing Steve Hird with his outstanding 'War Machine' outfit. I had it in hand for Steve to return this year with friends for a full size display, but when I ranted once two often and was obliged to leave the committee it all went south, because nobody followed up on it, because - it's not 'proper wargaming'.

    That aside, a show which relies on a single person's 'taste' and 'control' is heading for a long slow decline. At the end of the day, if the show takes money it's called a success and anyone who points out the things that are wrong is ignored or insulted/derided.

    Now, if I list only the 'major' traders who were not there this year, you have:

    Gripping Beast
    Front Rank
    North Star

    True, one or two new traders came, but it was down on last year in terms of numbers.

    As I walked around with friends, I was surprised with some of the venom with which other convention goers were commenting on the show - and it was not for my benefit as few of them would have been aware of my presence. Likewise, several traders were heard to be rather 'down' with the show and one very well known trade stand commented to me directly on Sunday by saying 'Yesterday was crap!'

    Something needs to change to take success beyond 'we made a profit, so it was a success.'

    Success is a show which garners plaudits from traders and visitors, and although no show can please everyone, when so many people are speaking up, things are far from rosy.

    This is my opinion, and nothing more, but no doubt I'll get some flak for not blindly supporting the unsupportable. Sorry if this offends, but that's how I feel.

  11. OUCH... I just saw the post on James Roach's blog too.

    I'm not going to comment on that one, but let's say I agree in principle.

  12. Interestingly Kev, I had a similar rant about Triples on my blog last year. For the past few years I've found it a bit soulless and last year I almost failed to spend money!

    This year, I have to admit that I had a much better time. I thinks it's to do with the fact that I was looking for something different than previously and specifically Minibits and Crooked Dice (both at Triples for the first time, I think) met my needs perfectly. I also stumbled on an MDF building manufacturer I hadn't seen before and was able to get a different building for my urban board.

    What's more, I also got a bargain at the Bring & Buy! Two 15mm Tank Destroyers (one damaged barrel), a Jeep and an M20 Scout Car for less than £10. Mind you, we did get there at 9am and went straight to the B&B...

    I know what you mean about display games, I pretty much ignored them.

    I personally think that Salute moving dates has done major damage to Triples, but I also think that the move to EIS was more serious as it's a pretty soulless environment. I much prefer shows where you're wandering around corners and different rooms and feel like you're stumbling on stalls (York gets this feeling).

    I'll keep attending Triples, as it's local, but it's not my favourite show by a long way.

    1. Deffo my thoughts exactly Kieron.
      The absence of so many of the biggies and lack of a real buzz at what should be a super two day gaming extravaganza.
      I will also continue to go, I just hope it gets better.

    2. We have all decided to avoid Triples, our local show this year in favour of Vapnartak and a comic con in April in Rotherham.


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