Battleshed Diaries

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Vapnartak 2015

Vapnartak! The annual trade show organised by York Wargames Society. For the second year running my brother-in-law, JGL, and I made the trip south of the Scottish Border to the historical city of York. We were keen to repeat the successful gamer's road trip from last year, so once again I found myself in JGLs car, casually flicking through the latest Miniature Wargames magazine and wondering why JGL’s iPod defaulted to Abba’s Dancing Queen…

Like last year, we decided to make it a leisurely trip. An excuse for a long weekend of table top gaming culture and beer. A wonderful combination and highly recommended! There are a number of similarly great shows in Scotland but sometimes you just need an excuse for a ‘boys’ weekend. We travelled down on Saturday 31st January after the morning’s four-way game of Saga at Livingston Battleground, arriving at the Holgate Bridge B&B in the early evening. The accommodation was perfect for this trip – very reasonably priced and within easy walking distance of York city centre and the racecourse where Vapnartak was being held.

That Saturday night we found ourselves visiting a few of York’s welcoming hostelries, with the Blue Boar being our favourite; a traditional alehouse dating back to the early 1700s, with friendly service, good food and well stocked with a fine selection of real ales. Which we duly sampled.

The next morning, after refuelling with a freshly cooked English breakfast at the B&B we sauntered over to the Knavesmire stand at the racecourse arriving just after the doors opened to the public at 10am. An eager queue had already formed but we were efficiently ushered by the friendly helpers, paying our £4 entrance fee and we also donated a quid for a charity dice in aid of Help for Heroes. There was also a wonderful selection of home baked cakes available in support of the charity.

The show is set over three floors, accommodating over 50 traders. It had excellent facilities, with a café providing the standard array of refreshments and also a bar where gamers can rest their weary feet and chat over a pint. There was also a bring-and-buy sale, competitions (Warmachine, Malifaux, X-Wing) and a wonderful array of club participation games to choose from.

From experience, its best to visit trade shows with a buying plan, as it’s all too easy to be compelled by the competing siren calls of the latest gaming systems. This year I resolutely stuck to plan, even with my brother-in-law doing his best to taunt me with ‘buying into another system!’ I was primarily on the hunt for generic terrain that could be used with my planned foray into the Steampunk world of In Her Majesty’s Name. I had been eying up the fine laser-cut mdf buildings produced by Sarissa Precision Ltd over a number of shows, so my first visit was to their stand. And I soon found what I was looking for.

Sarissa had a superb ‘Sci-Fi hanger on display, topped off with a ‘Strong landing Point. Another option was a ‘Command Pod – Communications' module’. And here was born this years’ terrain project for IHMN, with the hanger possibly forming the centre piece. So I purchased all three! Sarissa also had on display their Old West 'Windmill Water Pump' which I was keen to purchase for my Dead Man’s Hand town project. I had seen this model on the web but I’d never seen it built until now. Kerching! My budget was rapidly diminishing within the first hour of the show!

I then had a fine couple of hours watching some of the participation games, chatting to traders and club representatives and rummaging through the trade stands. I rarely indulge in the participation games myself, I prefer to causally watch as I’m easily distracted by all displays! I certainly didn’t repeat my dastardly behaviour from previous shows of pretending I knew nothing about a game being demonstrated!

Two slight blemishes on the proceedings, and both my fault. One was that I’d forgotten to bring my ‘proper’ camera along! Doh! So I had to make do with my camera phone. That’s my excuse for the pictures on this blog! The second was finding a single box of a resin Imperial Roman ‘Testudo’ on the Warlord Games stand. A definite purchase for my impending Hail Caesar army project. However, there was a slight lull in an area of usually heavily congested trade stands where I’d spotted a cheap set of ‘Roman dice’ earlier, so I headed off there first planning to return to pick up the Testudo box afterwards. Of course, it was gone by the time I got back. Cock!

My final purchases were from Magnetic Displays, whom I always make a point of visiting at these shows as they usually have a good mix of painted resin scenery that are useful for many of the games I play. This time round I found a nice set of ‘industrial barrels’ and also a Sci-Fi ‘generator’, both of which fit with my steampunk scenery project plans.

A very pleasurable Sunday indulging in the delights of our hobby. The event was very well attended and organised and I came away happy with my bag of goodies and ready for a beer. We had a couple of hours spare that afternoon so we then headed back into York, walking along the walls and - purely on my indulgence - visited the Jorvic Viking centre, which hadn’t changed much since the last time I visited as a school pupil! The evening was topped off with a ramble in the Shambles, a good meal and more fine ale. Another excellent trip to York and one I highly recommend both for the Vapnartak show and the historical delights of York itself.  

My purchases

Sarissa Precision - Old West Windmill Water Pump

Sarissa Precision - Hanger

Sarissa Precision - Communications pod

Sarissa Precision - Landing Pod
Generator and industrial drums from Magnetic Displays
Hail Caesar - Roman Numeral Dice

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