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Author Topic: Crisis, Antwerp Show Report! (Lots of pics!)  (Read 16998 times)
Leon
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« on: 11 November 2010, 03:52:51 AM »

Well it was Pendraken's very first journey to the continent this past weekend, and what a fantastic time we had!  I took photo's of the whole weekend, so if you're only interested in seeing the games, head down to the second post!

We'd decided to go over on the ferry, but after seeing the prices being charged out of Hull, we decided to travel the extra couple of hours down to Harwich, and get the ferry over to the Hook of Holland.  We set off early Thursday morning, and headed down to Sheffield to meet up with the Baccus team of Pete and his wife.  We continued from there and had a leisurely run down to Harwich, arriving about 7pm.  A short wait, and then we were checking in and ready to board:



The ferry was spiffingly new, hardly a mark on it, and we met Paul and Sally from Kallistra on board.  We had a nice overnight crossing and arrived in Holland at 7am.  It was a rather grey damp morning, and we got straight on the road to Antwerp.  The whole 'driving on the right' thing wasn't really worth the worry we had invested, and when there are other cars on the road, it comes pretty naturally.



One thing that did seem out of place was a pair of ostriches in someone's back yard...  Undecided Smiley

We got down to Antwerp before 10am, and well before any check-in at the hotel, so we headed off into Antwerp for a wander about.  It was only a short walk (or so Pete told us...!) over the river and into the city:



One thing we did notice that is drastically different to the UK is the traffic and especially crossing the road.  We've discovered that the Green Man in Belgium doesn't mean 'Safe To Cross', it actually means 'Take Your Chances...'!  This was quite unnerving at first, but we learnt very quickly to do a 360 degree check before attempting any road crossings!

I think next year we'd like to have more time to explore Antwerp, and some of the areas around about, as it has some amazing architecture, and a real sense of culture about it:







Seeing as we were in Belgium, we thought we should participate in some of the local cuisine, so we headed into a pizza place for lunch...   Cheesy  before heading back to the hotel to check-in.  The hotel was an odd affair, quite eccentric in many ways.  Firstly, they've got a pink Cadillac on the roof for no apparent reason:



And the toilets in no way match the rest of the decor:



But it's a very friendly place, with a nice atmosphere, and you don't really need much more.  The rooms were OK:



And each had a small balcony which overlooked the front of the hotel.  The venue for the show can actually be seen to the right of the first pic, part of a decent sized leisure park:





I took the same pics that night as well, just cos it looks cool...





We headed to the venue late on Friday afternoon to set up the stand.  The venue is deceivingly large, situated underneath what I think was some kind of entertainment complex.  Setting up was pretty easy, with many members of the Tin Soldiers (the Antwerp club) about willing to help out with trolleys.  We got finished up, freshened up back at the hotel, and then went out for some food.  A couple of drinks in the bar finished up the night.

Saturday morning, Dave drove the van over the road to the venue at 6am to get a parking space, and then we all went over at 8am to finish setting up the stand.  We'd lost a bit of space overnight, but managed to move a few bits about and it was fine.



The show opened promply at 10am.  The customers came in through the front of the building:



And then down some stairs into the hall.  All of the traders were lined up against the sides of the hall, and then there was an amazing array of games set up in the middle, with people travelling from France, Germany, the UK, and even Finland I believe, just to put on games here.  I think there are very few shows in the UK which can match the quality and diversity of the games on show here.





This show seemed to be slightly different to the UK ones in the way that people shop.  In the UK, you tend to get a rush as soon as the show opens, as people grab the bits and pieces that they know they want.  At this show though, people had a good look about, browsing the stands before deciding on what they want.

After this browsing spell though, we were constantly busy, with dozens of people getting into the stand and checking the displays.  I'm not sure how popular 10mm gaming is on the continent, as a lot of folk were very interested in the displays.  The language barrier didn't exist, as everyone we spoke to had amazing English, so much so, that I was reluctant to try my limited French for fear of embarassing myself completely.  Next year I think I need to brush up and make a real effort.

Many of our customers, and some Forum members, had travelled extreme distances to be at this show, so we were really grateful to those people.  A good deal of Forum members came by the stand and said hello, some of them also putting themselves into the 'Cat in the Hat'!  Over the course of the day we met Pruneau, OldenBUA, Jase, Derbo and some others whose names remained secret!  We also met Gungnir, who is one of the main guys over on the WD3 forum, which was nice.  The whole event had a very warm, friendly atmosphere, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves all day.

The show remained busy throughout, but I still got chance to have a wander about and get some pictures of the games.  These will be at the end of the Report, purely because there were so many of them!  I picked up a couple of bits, and had a chat with a couple of traders I'd not met before, and at the end of the show, in an attempt to get rid of all our coins, Dave decided to buy himself a magnifying lamp thing, paying for it in 20 and 50 cents, which the guy pretended to be happy about!  He's gonna use it for checking the master figures before we put them into production moulds.

The show closed at 5ish, and we closed down the stand slowly.  There wasn't any need to rush as we normally do, as we were only going back over the road.  

Back at the hotel, we had time for a quick nap, and a shower, before heading back down to the hotel bar ready to be picked up by one of the Antwerp club members.  Now this bit was really the highlight of the weekend for us.  Every year the Tin Soldiers club put on an aftershow bash up at their clubhouse.  Now this isn't something they rent, but their own building, on their own land, and more importantly, with their own bar!  Every trader, and some of the display gamers, are all invited, and are treated to a great night, with cheap drinks, good company, and one of the best buffets I've ever seen.  Really, I've not had food that good at a wedding.  Compliments to the chef!  We chatted the night away with Paul and Sally from Kallistra, and the Scottish guys who were putting on one of the games.  Eldamarelf was also there, trying to steal my place in the queue!  I managed to hold him at bay, and left him having a touch of Bree...whoever she is...   Tongue

Unfortunately, being the super organised person that I am, I left my camera at the hotel, so couldn't get any pics of the night, but I'm hoping one of the other guys might send me some to put up.  The clubhouse really is a great facility, and would be the envy of many a club in the UK.

Sunday morning we checked out early and headed straight back up the motorway to Hook of Holland, ready to board at midday.  The check-in went smoothly, except for Dave driving straight past passport control, and the guy having to run after us!  He also seemed a bit on edge when we told him the van was full of soldiers....  But we got on OK.  

When we originally booked the ferry trip, it had asked us if we wanted a seat for the return journey.  We of course ticked yes, not realising that this actually meant that we had access to a VIP lounge, complete with free drinks and snacks!  We appeared to be the only people who had booked into this room, so the entire journey back was just us and Baccus sitting in the VIP room, getting free stuff from our own personal waiter!  Not a bad mistake to make!  He also came in handy when Dave was gonna go to the duty free...   Wink

The ferry docked at 8pm, and with the ferry being pretty empty, we got straight off and on the road home:



Pete and his wife wisely headed off to a hotel for the night, but with Dave having to be at work Monday morning, we had to plough on home.  Things weren't helped by an accident on the A14, which kept us stationary for half an hour, and we finally rolled back into Middlesbrough about 1:30am!

All in all, it was a long, and tiring weekend, but one which we really enjoyed, and one which we will certainly be repeating next year.  The Antwerp club are so accomodating to everyone who comes to the show; you need a hotel, they book it for you; you need change for the till, they provide it; even if you just need some fuel, they'll sort it for you.  This level of care is fantastic when you're travelling this kind of distance, and any worries we had for the weekend were unnecessary.  We'd also like to thank Pete and his wife, for letting us tag along with them.  It's a great help having someone around who's been there and done it already.

So, if you've made it this far, here's the first lot of pics, more from the 'Cat in the Hat' series:

Willie, one of the show organisers:


A Forum member...




Nearly...


Another Forum member...
« Last Edit: 11 November 2010, 04:46:07 AM by Leon » Logged

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Leon
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« Reply #1 on: 11 November 2010, 04:59:47 AM »

Right then, the pics!



























































































































« Last Edit: 11 November 2010, 01:20:30 PM by Leon » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: 11 November 2010, 01:28:19 PM »

And some more!




















































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Steve J
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« Reply #3 on: 11 November 2010, 02:59:28 PM »

Some nice tables on show there Leon.
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« Reply #4 on: 11 November 2010, 06:05:27 PM »

Nice report! I'm happy to hear you're coming back next year, we'll definitely get a demo WW II game going then.
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Leon
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« Reply #5 on: 11 November 2010, 06:10:30 PM »

Nice report! I'm happy to hear you're coming back next year, we'll definitely get a demo WW II game going then.

That'd be good!  We've had a few 10mm games at shows this year, AWI at Salute, FPW at Falkirk, SCW at Colours, and WWII at Derby, but I'd like to increase that next year if possible.
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« Reply #6 on: 11 November 2010, 06:35:24 PM »


I´m not looking as regal as I wanted to...but Ernst-August ,on my nice yellow shirt, is doing that for me anyway Wink
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« Reply #7 on: 11 November 2010, 09:02:37 PM »

Nice lselection of games there. All well presented and a good mix so something for everyone.

Cudders
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« Reply #8 on: 13 November 2010, 09:08:30 AM »

Excellent report - looks like a trip over the Channel might be in order next year... Cool
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Pruneau
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« Reply #9 on: 13 November 2010, 10:54:10 AM »

I don't think the guys with the very full table there actually had enough room to let one of the units move :-)

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« Reply #10 on: 13 November 2010, 11:08:40 AM »

Here's the first two people that entered the show at 10h00 hours exactly:


It's my son and nephew.  The third one was yours truly, but of course I cannot be seen hurrying into a game show, I  needed to keep my composure, so I did something that resembles walking, but very fast and with long strides  Cheesy

A nice Malifaux game that went on in the entrance hall with some excellent scratchbuilt terrain:



And the water tower detail:

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Leon
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« Reply #11 on: 13 November 2010, 03:39:35 PM »

looks like a trip over the Channel might be in order next year... Cool

I did think it could be quite cool to get a load of people and make a weekend of it.

I don't think the guys with the very full table there actually had enough room to let one of the units move :-)

I thought that as well.
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« Reply #12 on: 13 November 2010, 03:54:12 PM »

I did think it could be quite cool to get a load of people and make a weekend of it.

Roadtrip! We could hire a minibus and stuff.
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Leon
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« Reply #13 on: 13 November 2010, 06:31:47 PM »

Roadtrip! We could hire a minibus and stuff.


Yep!

 Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: 13 November 2010, 07:39:26 PM »

I'm in  Cool
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