Battleground Show Report!

Started by Leon, 08 December 2014, 03:01:54 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


08 December 2014, 03:01:54 AM Last Edit: 20 May 2015, 12:41:04 AM by Leon
This years Battleground had undergone some major changes from the Smoggycon show of last year.  Aside from the obvious name change, we'd also switched the venue, moving away from the yellow lighting of the Southlands Centre and into the bright modern facilities of the Queens Campus sports hall in Stockton-On-Tees.  This is part of Durham University and the difference in funding levels between local council and renowned University is quite obvious.

We'd put more time into the promotion and advertising of the show this time around, with a good 80-90 hours of time spent on forums, designing flyers and magazine adverts and organising the traders/gamers.  Last year the amount of time required to organise a show properly was a big surprise and it's a similar story this year.  Gone are the days when you hired a hall and some tables, stuck a couple of adverts in a magazine and away you went.  People are travelling less, so you've got to give them a real reason why they should attend your event.

The change of venue brought with it a lot of uncertainty on a number of levels.  Would people find the new location, would the sports hall be accessible for the traders, would the catering and facilities be upto scratch?  

Most of those questions had a positive result, with only a handful of people being unable to find the place easily.  We'd provided pdf's of directions for every direction, each one containing images of the junctions you would encounter on the way in, and we'd also been out the night before and put signposting on all the roundabouts around the campus.  The catering was excellent and busy all day long, the only downside being that it is in a separate building across the car park.  The weather for the day was fairly dry fortunately, had it been raining all day I imagine there would have been a few more complaints about the food!

The main negative we found was the access into the sports hall.  We had hoped to get several vans lined up at the rear of the hall, but the rain in the days leading upto the show had dampened an area of grass and it wasn't suitable for parking on.  This resulted in several of the larger traders at the back of the hall having to queue up to get their stock unloaded into the venue, and this is the main negative we'll be addressing for next year.  Luckily we'd been able to get into the hall from early on the Friday afternoon, so half of the traders came along and got themselves setup the day before.  This certainly helped ease the bottleneck and we'll be making sure this is available again next time.

With any change of name/venue, the main worry is that you lose people and the visitor numbers drop, meaning less money for the traders and a temporary step back for the show.  Luckily the extra advertising we'd done helped us avoid this and we actually had more people attending this year, with 517 people through the door, up from the 498 of 2013.  With the 48 gamers and 59 traders, that put us at 624 overall in the show.  We were running the 'Free Women and Under 14s' promotion again this year, so we were very pleased to have 119 free visitors attending and once again the number of kids and families walking about was noticeable.

From the visitors side, the feedback on the new show has been massively positive from virtually everyone I've spoken with: The advertising and news updates were good, directions were great, the new venue was bright and easily found, the signage on all the display games was a nice touch and the added accessibility for public transport was appreciated.  One guy had come over on the train from Manchester as a result of the new train access, so it's great that we're able to hit that wider catchment area.

From the trader side, things have mostly been positive as well, aside from the accessibility issues mentioned above.  A couple said that the catering was a bit of a pain as they were on their own running trade stands and found it difficult to get over to the cafe.  We'll see what can be done about this next year.  I spoke with many of the traders during the show and some were unsure about whether the day had been financially better than 2013, but since the show I've heard back from 19 out of the 36 traders, and 17 have reported increased takings, 1 was about the same as last year and 1 had reduced takings.  

So overall, considering everything mentioned so far, combined with the online Black Friday sales tempting people the day before, I think the day was a great success.  There were some niggles with the new venue, but that's always to be expected and we can work on those for next year.  The atmosphere was really nice and people seemed to be enjoying themselves, so I hope we can build on that for next year and get more people along to the event.

Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who came along, I hope you enjoyed your day and we'll hopefully see you again in 2015!


All of the photo's can be found on our Facebook here:

And there are some visitors blog reports here:
Herkybird's blog -
Count Belisarius' blog -
Frontline Armchair blog -
Rat Report -

There was also a traders blog entry as well with a slightly different view of things, both in advance and after the show:
- - Now home to almost 6000 products, including over 4200 products in 10mm, plus MDF bases, Vallejo paints, I-94 decals, Red Vectors MDF buildings, Raiden Miniatures, Militia Miniatures and much, much more!


Well I certainly enjoyed the show and thought the venue was excellent, so thank you for all your hard work putting it on. It was only about an hours drive for me so quite a local show and incredibly easy to find.
'If I throw a six I'll do my happy dance'!

2016 Painting Competition - People's Choice!


I was really impressed by the look of the Kriegspiel and Schlieffen games. Wish I could have been there to see them for real.
The artist formerly known as Dour Puritan!


Having read the blogs linked above I thought I would put my thoughts into print.
The show we as a club, Redcar Ironbeards, thought was well organised, the venue bright and airy plus it was easy to find with plenty of parking. Okay the cafe being across the car park was a bit of a pain but Leon did not design the university campus. The food was good and reasonably priced.
I object to the comments on one of the blogs regarding the quality of the games, we as a club only have 5 or 6 members but we believe in putting back into the hobby. Not every club as a wealth of fantastic painters/modellers so it is hard to put on demonstration games to match those at Salute or Vapnartak. Our game was big by our standard, 15mm miniatures on a 18ft x 4ft table. We played as much as possible but we did stop and talk to anyone who stopped by the table so not many turns were taken. I feel that at shows you either play the game and do not interact with the public or you spend time talking to the public, enthusing about the hobby. Our club falls into the latter category.
We also feel that our table may not have been the best display table at the show it did give a true representation of your typical gaming club table.

I know you can't please everybody all the time but Redcar Ironbeards want to concratulate Leon and the Pendraken team on a job WELL DONE  <:-P <:-P <:-P

We can't wait for Battleground 2015 :D :D


I did not, and do not, have any criticism about the collection of traders or games at the show.

In truth I've now read all of the blogs highlighted above. At the show I went over to the OG UK stand and made a mental note that they sold some nice looking 15mm moderns and that I should purchase some at a later date (as well as those 1/600 ships) but after reading that person's views about boutique games and small figure collections it's put me right off buying from the company. Fair enough, free speech and freedom of expression. But as a potential customer, reading his views, that concern my approach to the hobby, I feel insulted and I don't know whether I want to deal with that company now. Cutting my nose off? Possibly.

'Hello, buy from us and get a free "Get Stuff3d" with every purchase!'


To be honest I'm not great talking to members of the public at demo gamers, mainly because I'm not great at breaking the ice. However if someone asks me a question it's like someone knocked a hole in the dam. Fortunately my usual demo opponent is very good at engaging that member of the public who's stood there gawping but doesn't say anything. What puts me off doing the same is when said punter responds, 'Hmmmm' then wanders off.
The artist formerly known as Dour Puritan!


Quote from: Dour Puritan on 08 December 2014, 04:17:24 PM
To be honest I'm not great talking to members of the public at demo gamers, mainly because I'm not great at breaking the ice. However if someone asks me a question it's like someone knocked a hole in the dam. Fortunately my usual demo opponent is very good at engaging that member of the public who's stood there gawping but doesn't say anything. What puts me off doing the same is when said punter responds, 'Hmmmm' then wanders off.

Having been involved in demo and participation games since I was in my twenties mumble mumble years ago I always went with some variation on,"If you're happy just looking don't let me put you off but if there is anything you want to ask or say just nab one of us." It's an approach which has got me responses ranging from "Hmmmm" to an interview that appeared on the BBC news.

If they have questions then it's a question of tailoring your answer to the person you're talking to. The Mum who's only there because she's brought her son and his friend doesn't want a treatise on the merits of the rules you're using or, worse still, the merits of the PzIV vs the Sherman but can be fascinated by the idea that these games can help with her sprogs literacy, numeracy and history knowledge. Mr. Treadhead on the other hand probably only wants to talk about why the rules you use don't properly model the reducing quality of German tank armour over the course of the war. :)
There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data


I dont  get to many shows anymore mainly because there aren't any in Ireland, but when I did venture across the water I would rather go to a 'middle sized' show where you can have a leisurely stroll about looking at tables and having a chat than something like Salute which just used to annoy the hell out of me
If I were creating Pendraken I wouldn't mess about with Romans and  Mongols  I would have started with Centurions , eight o'clock, Day One!


I was at the show. The catering was good, yes it was out of the way, but the food was fine and not too expensive.The demo games looked great, but at most shows these games are rarely played to a conclusion. There was a good selection of traders who hopefully made some money. it was a good show and i will be back next year. The only minor disappointment was the bring and buy, that could just be because i did not see anything i wanted to buy. Better luck next year.
Many Thanks to Leon and all at Pendraken for doing all the hard work so i could just swan in and enjoy the day.


Looks as though it was pretty damn good to me.
Nice photo's, Leon. :-bd
Cheers - Phil


Well done to Leon for organising the show - it was very enjoyable.  The venue was easy to find, with plenty of moving around space and was well lit. The one problem I had was that the disabled toilet was not clearly signposted - I am partially sighted as well as having mobility problems - and needed the help of another punter to find it.

I note and welcome your comments about the amount of effort and time it takes to organise a show, I hope that traders and others also note your comments and respond promptly - either yes or no - when send an invitation to attend a show.


I would just like to make an additional comment, in view of what I previously wrote in 2014 concerning OGUK and 'Big Andy'.

Here's a copy of my reply, to one of Big Andy's blog posts, where my previous statement was mentioned. As you'll see, on reading the below, I don't have any issue with Old Glory UK and that I would, indeed, happily purchase from them if I had a need to. 

QuoteHello Big Andy,

Sorry, I've only just had the chance to read this blog post of yours and the comments posted on it. In regard your mentioning of a Pendraken Forum poster saying something about OGUK, that person was myself.

Reading the statement I made on the Pendraken Forum, I can only respond to what I wrote by saying, contrary to what it states,  that I would, in all honesty, be happy to purchase from OGUK, should I have need to. That, I still don't necessarily agree with your views on how gamers should be collecting and gaming the hobby, but at the same time I'll admit to being envious of people like yourself who can, and do, play games on large tables with vast amounts of 25-28mm scale units.

Obviously, a year has passed since I wrote the comment in question and I cannot remember the full circumstances at the time it was written. However, I believe what I wrote was, in fact, influenced by hearing yourself being loud of voice, and swearing, while taking part in your game at the Durham Wargames Group open day back in 2014. It was the swearing, in the presence of children and women, that annoyed me at the time and no doubt influenced my written words on the forum post in question. Fair enough, I should have said something on the day to you, but I didn't - also, you were in conversation with two other gents and I didn't with to interrupt. 

Now, if you would like for me to come and introduce myself, to the OGUK stand at the next show we will be both in attendance at, I would be happy to do so?

I'm not looking for any sort of argument, nor do I have an issue with you personally, especially since I don't know you, nor you me. In truth, up until reading the above blog post, I'd completely forgotten all about the DWG open day and what I wrote on the Pendraken Forum back in 2014.   

If you would like an apology from me, then I'd be happy to do so. Equally, I would be happy to simply brush this aside and for both of us to carry on with our lives.

All the best for 2016.

Roy Evans (Williamson being a pseudonym)

I would like to apologies for any offence I gave, with my previous post on this topic, to members of Old Glory UK, and to Big Andy in particular.