Last Saturday saw a trip to Stockton and the Battleground 2015 show. A successor to the Smoggycon's of years past, this is the show's second year and a third is already planned.
The show itself had a good number of games, a varied selection of traders (including two book dealers, which is always a plus point for me), and had been well advertised prior to the date. Even the venue, a large sports hall, was well lit, with nearby amenities and a floor that didn't make your feet want to join your ears after half an hour. In fact, I doff my cap to Leon and co for organising a very nice event.The only downside to the show itself that comes to mind is the catering cock up which meant mid-morning breakfast was a sausage roll. That was no fault of the organisers and as per Pendraken's own report, it's going to be looked into for next year. So why the blog post?
Well, the thing is, although the show opened at 10am, and closed at 3pm, it was pretty much done and dusted by 12 noon. Seriously, the doors opened and for about two hours, there was a buzz about the hall. Plenty of punters, familiar faces and all, yet by 12, it was quietening down. By half twelve, I am positive that there were just traders, demo/participation gamers and the odd die-hard. Now there is no doubt in my mind that this is a bad thing. Yeah, you expect a show to die about 60-90 minutes before the door officially close, but this was just daft. Would the show have benefited from a later closing time? No, probably not. Would other attractions, like talks, re-enactments, go-go dances have helped? Again, no, probably not. Even though attendance was down from last year, it did feel like a busier show. Then again, last year didn't die off until half one, two o'clock-ish. It's a nice little show and where problems occur, the organisers are showing willing in addressing them for next time. But what to do about the lack of attendees after the half way point?
I honestly don't know, but I can't see how the smaller shows can continue if this template continues.