Broadside is over for another year, well, I say that. What I really mean is that now the actual event is over it will soon be time to start all over again! The hall is already booked for 9th June 2013 and three traders have already paid deposits. I will start the process of building the show at the beginning of September, if not a little before, and there is so much to do by that time. Before then we have to look closely at a few things and make several alterations to our original plans and procedures.....but I am getting way ahead of myself.......
Broadside 2012 was a success, how great a success is not for me to say but rather down to those traders, clubs and visitors that took part. As a club we were happy with the show...it must have been good as it has taken me more than a week to get over it and catch up with all those things that were put aside in the manic run up; hence the lateness of this post. The blogs that I have seem all seem to be very positive and we were once again stopped and thanked for our efforts by many people, always a good thing. Mark and I are not used to being stopped and thanked for anything...stopped, yes, thanked...? The event made enough money to cover our costs, allow us to run our open day in September and work on some local community projects. We will never get rich from the show but that is not why we do it or how we run it. Everything we do is geared to make Broadside an attractive and viable financial proposition for the traders and the visiting public. Our trade stands are cheap and we only charge wargamers £3.00 entry, their non wargaming partners and children under sixteen get in free. We make it easy for the traders to come which in turn attracts the visitors. The visitors get a good deal and a cheap day out and their numbers in turn attract traders and so on. So what do we get out of it? It is bloody hard work and we are a small club after all. Quite simply it is so that we have a regional show and get to meet potential new members.....and partly because I thought it could be done when other thought otherwise. It seems that I am a little bloody minded in such matters, a definite boon when it comes to herding cats.
In the end we had some thirty seven of the best traders in the country, fifteen clubs with some fantastic looking games, ten brilliant trader run games, two very neat and interesting displays (model boats and a Zulu War collection), a novel Bring and Buy system, a free kiddies Armourfast Make & Take a Tank table with a special game just for them to use their new tanks with, a British Legion stand and even an area for our very youngest visitors to rest and colour in some special club poster sheets...with free sweeties and bookmarks! I even arranged for clubs and traders to pre order sandwiches. Attention to detail is important. We were also very fortunate that we had the services of some brilliant non wargaming volunteers, the families and friends of our members. There are only twelve of us in the MHWC and two of those were unavailable on the day due to unforeseen circumstances, on the day of the show we had nine helpers running the entrances, information stands, make and take tables and liaising between halls
A few traders told us that they did not have a good show financially and would have to think carefully before coming again. Many said that their takings were down on last years event but that this was the same for all the shows they had been to this year, and yet despite this just as many said that they had a very good day indeed. But this is the big issue with such events, you can never know what is in the individual visitors mind or pocket. Do you, as a trader, have what that visitor wants and does that visitor have the cash to pay for it? As show organisers all we can do is provide the event to bring these two halves of the equation together, what they then do is all in the lap of the gods of course. That three traders paid deposits for 2013 says a great deal for the future of Broadside, it appears that we have become a firm fixture in the wargames calender already.
Two wargame magazine editors attended the show, Guy Bowers o Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy, and Henry Hyde of Battlegames. Henry did us the honour of acting as judge for our 'Best Game in Show' award. Henry tells me that he was very impressed with the show and the standard of games on offer. He awarded the prize to the Maidstone Wargames Society for their Operation Deadstick 6mm WW2 game. The Posties Rejects and the Skirmish Group came a close joint second. I hope that both magazines will run an article or report on the show in later issues, something else that will help advertise the show and help it grow.
So what about down sides? It can't all have been fantastic, surely? As a group we all learnt a great deal after Broadside 2011. 2012 was a bigger show and the increase brought about several unexpected issues that we need to look at carefully before 2013, none of which would be apparent to the casual visitor of course. So yes, there are things that we need to change but, overall, there were few obvious downsides. Signage for access around the venue is the most obvious. The maps in the programs are ok but few it seems actually look at those until after the event. This means that the signs we do place around the venue directing visitors need to be even bigger and more direct. Of course, as time goes on visitors will get used to things and get to know where things are but we do need to rethink signage. I am sure you can all think of one or two yourselves so please let us know.
Our visitor numbers were up by roughly 25% over last years event in both categories, we keep a tally of paying visitors and overall numbers. The Armourfast make and take table was given as a reason for the attendance of families by paying visitors and I noticed a definite increase in the number of non wargaming visitors that came to just look around a local event; no bad thing either for here lies one of the few sources of new wargamers! The numbers, whilst up, are still lower than we would like but this was only our second show of course. It takes time for such events to get full established and we are by far the youngest such event in the region. But things are looking very positive so far and as long as we stick to our principles and ethos I am confident that we can continue to grow. We are rather limited in size by our venue, we already use all three available halls, but no other suitable venue exists within the area. We are not too concerned by this, we will work on improving upon what we already have and can offer within the constraints; bigger is not always better after all.
So, we are already talking as a club about 2013 game options. Mark and I are looking at the 2012 issues and finding solutions and I am working on recruiting clubs and traders again. Oh, and we have our open day on 15th September too so we are all trying to organise ourselves for that too. And you are all invited of course!!! It should be a great day, we have a lot of games on offer, refreshments run by the the Iwade WI and even a Brigade Models trade stand. Never do anything small when big can be done and always run rather than walk....you never know who is behind you!!!
|The Milton Hundred Wargames Club members preparing our own game for Broadside; another aspect of running a show!|
|The Armourfast Make & Take a Tank table, run by a non wargaming club volunteer! This area saw plenty of action.|