Friday, 6 January 2012

Stupid January

Welcome to my newest follower, Colin Hagreen!

As the title of this post suggests, I do not like January. Its not just the near endless list of expensive birthdays I have to fight my way through just after Christmas, it just seems to be like starting all over painting that Scotish bridge. Its all so depressing.

Still, on to more important things! The 2012 Broadside wargames show can now be seen on the horizon, and not as far away as it seems. Sunday 10th June is set to be a great day of course but there is so much to do before then. The MHWC is only a small club too, some eleven members, and so the workload is a little thick in places. Club member Simon is organising our game for the event, club Secretary Mark draws up the hall plans and fits everything together like some large version of Tetris, club step-member Clint is contacting the clubs and organising the games, club step-member John is organising the DBA tournament and everyone gets together the day before to help set out the hall. I pick up the remainder, particularly contacting the traders; not a task for the faint hearted.

The traders are, arguably, the most important aspect of a wargames show. Get this part of the event correct and you are nearly there but, it is no easy task. It is a bit like herding cats with ADHD! I have lost track of the number of emails I have sent out, the larger percentage of recipiants never reply at all. These initial emails have to be repeated every month and backed up with phone calls. Many traders are so busy they simply forget that they have asked for information or simply do not get around to sending back their forms. Having run a small wargame business many years ago I do understand their problems and try my best to work with them. Slowly, the forms and cheques arrive and the show begins to take shape. We had some thirty four traders last year, most of whom only confirmed their attendance three or so months before the was just three days before! All of which makes it very hard to order the extra tables you need at the very least. So far we have eighteen traders with a few more promising cheques and forms. This week I have contacted another thirty plus traders to remind them of the event and encourage them to take part. Experience shows that things will work out in time and with enough of these politely phrased emails and phone calls but you always worry.....Add to all of this the dozen or so clubs all needing extra tables.....dont even ask about the parking arrangements in a town that thought it important to suddenly charge for parking on a Sunday!

And then there is the magazine advertising, insurance, signage, flyers, catering, visitor parking, club and trader parking (I know I mentioned this above but it is such a problem it needs mentioning twice), tax...yes tax! Running such an event opens you up to all sorts of fun things such as paying tax...which of course means that the everyday club acounts become very interesting indeed. Believe it or not, every club should at least be registered for taxation purposes whether it runs a show or not. Take a look at the HMRC website, heady stuff indeed.

Then you need to find bodies to help out and make up the member numbers, we are fortunate that wives and friends are willing to help out and man (or Wife as the case actually is) the entrance areas, we have two given the nature of the venue. Others help set up or act as marshalls, others even help as tournament umpires and the like. Given our low numbers we all have a hard day starting at 7am and ending at 7pm....then I spend a few more fun hours working out the cash and stuff! Oh, and make sure you have enough cash for a float and have drawn up a rota so all of your limited personel resources know where they need to be and when. The MHWC guys were brilliant last year and all worked their socks off, everyone was surprised when they realised how few of us there were.

But, and here is the bottom line, we all enjoy it. Yes it is hard work for very little profit, breaking even is about normal, but we actually get to go to a show and meet people; traders, clubs, other wargamers. Our little club gains a reputation and we attract new blood....well, one new member from the last show but that is a start. My hope for this year is that we attract more members of the general public, for there lies the true source of new wargamers.

Oh well, back to the emails! I hope to see all of you at Broadside....hint hint


  1. Sounds like a bit of a headache!!!! Myself and the other Rejects are still trying to work out, what game were going to put on, hopefully I'll be sending back the forms you sent me next week. I was going to ask you if there was free parking for clubs putting on games, but after reading your post I think I'll shut up!!!

  2. Hi Ray,

    Last year we managed to arrange parking for clubs and traders using prepaid vouchers. These are available via the MHWC and cost £2.00 but allow you to park all day rather than the silly four hours usually allowed...I know, daft. However, we never get enough of these vouchers and have to ration them, two per club I believe; it should be on your booking form. There may be extra parking available but we are still working on that and cannot promise anything.

    and yes, it is a headache! we often wonder why we do it....or rather why did they let me talk them into it! We are really looking forward to seeing you all there Ray.