Once again, the Joy of Six was blessed with great weather as the Sun began to beat down on the pavements of Sheffield from the early hours of the morning. By 8.00 there was a steady stream of vehicles unloading games and trade stands and the venue began to transform from some rooms with lots of empty tables scattered about into something that resembled a wargames show. It was at this point that we hit our first and only snag as we were informed that the kitchen staff hadn't turned up so that meant no hot drinks or various bits of porcine offerings layered between two pieces of bread. The horror of it all, as I for one find it hard to function at a wargames show without my morning coffee and bacon butty! Fortunately the ingenuity of the average wargamer is high and various local establishments were located and liberated of their offerings.
For those poor souls who were not able to make it to the show, here is a room by room tour of the event:
We usually try and greet visitors with a spectacular sight when they first come in, and previous occupants of this spot have been the wonderful Very Large Tow ton Project and Steve Thomas's mammoth ECW event. This year we broke with tradition and offered two smaller, but no less impressive games for the entrance to the show.
MADgamers had their wonderful ACW Battle of Atlanta participation game on display.
While next to them Lee Sharpe and Ian and Joseph Willey were staging Quatre Bras as a prelude to their forthcoming and much, much, much larger Waterloo anniversary game.
With appetites whetted visitors moved through to the main room
And in here, the games came thick and fast! Per Broden is gaining quite a reputation for his beautifully designed and staged Great Northern War games and his year's offering, Kalisz, continued this proud tradtition.
Per's game was played out using Polemos rules as was Chris Grice's WSS game next door. The new edition of the these rules were released at this show and sold phenomenally well. When you can stage games as nice as these, it's not hard to understand why.
Leeds Wargames Society have a knack of coming along and setting up a game that is enjoyed as much by themselves as those invited to join in and this year was no exception as they played out the Battle of Britain.
Moving round the hall and providing a real change of pace and period, Wyre Forest gamers showcased a superb set of sculpted terrain for the battle of Mons Graupius.
As a complete contrast, next to them , Wargames Emporium were putting on a very popular participation game using the Command Horizon figures and rules.
The final game in this room, was the small but perfectly formed Sinai scenario from the British Legion.
This year's event had an excess of riches in the number of people wanting to stage games which meant that we were able to use the spectacular Mezzanine floor for yet more more 6mm goodness. A small trek up a few stairs, and you were immediately presented with the latest Baccus game, 'Old Puttees' hosted by the ever-sociable Derek Pitman.
If by some strange quirk you managed to make it past Derek's Irish charm without too much delay, you could admire Mark Bevis's modern game. A great use of simple modellng techniques to create a great effect.
In complete juxtaposition of period and style, Mark's neighbours were the Milton Keynes wargames Society who managed to show that the letters 'DB' in a set of wargames rules doesn't always lead to 15mm armies as they showed just what a 6mm Ancients game could offer.
And to round off the collection, Russ Fewtrell and Ian Taylor hosted a wonderful looking game of the Battle of Banja Luka, complete with fortifications and siegeworks.
I also have to highlight two games which were also in the Mezzanine, for which, sadly, there are no piccies. First off, Peter Riley was demonstrating his new Polemos WOTR rules with a Hedgely Heath scenario. Secondly, Wargames Emporium offered the third Great War game of the event, with a challenging scenario using the Memoir 44 boardgame and rules. My apologies to both parties for not being able to show them in action.
Wandering back towards the stairs, visitors could look down into the reception for a great alternative view of the MADgamers game.
And back down the stairs there was the chance to indulge in some retail therapy or attend Dr Mike Salweys's wonderful painting clinic.
Mike worked his socks off and his tables were packed from opening to closing as newcomers and experience hands alike learned new tricks and tips from a knowledgeable and talented 6mm painter.
.There were three seminars run throughout the day, all well-attended and appreciated. The morning session saw Peter and The Igor (aka 'Team Baccus') given a grilling by a room full of people all wanting Baccus to do their favorite range next. Each persin was asked to nominate just one range they wanted Baccus to do next and we noted them all down. Having counted them we found that there were two more requests then there were attendees ...
Next up, Wargames Emporium had a very positive session answering questions about where they intended to take the Command Horizon range and rules. This was so popular that they overran their session by half an hour.
Finally there the was the traditional Sunday afternoon roasting of the Polemos rule writing team. This year the session was dominated by the presentation of and discussion around the next generation of the Polemos rules series as we move increasingly towards e-formats and producing Polemos app's - something which has the potential to change the way wargames are played and a subject avidly seized upon by the attendees
With the majority of the games offering participation,a rolling seminar programme and a hands-on painting workshop, the Joy of Six always offered things for people to do and see. Although numbers were comparatively small compared to the usual general shows, the one thing that came back in feedback from attendees was how relaxed and enjoyable the day was and how friendly everyone seemed to be. (I suspect that's because no-one has to pretend to laugh if they heard the 'humorous' quip, 'I'd go blind if I tried to paint these!'...). The JOS14 proved to be a show with its own 'soul' and having built considerably on last year's inaugural event,we can only see the JOS 2015 getting bigger and better.
Both Baccus and Wargames Emporium would like to thank the following, without whom the JOS would not have been possible:
Plans are already being made for the Joy of Six 2015, so remember to keep Sunday 19th July clear for your trip to Sheffield!