It was at Sheffield Triples 2013 that a Dave Wise informed me that he and the GCN were not going to run Hammerhead the following year. This was very sad news - Hammerhead has always been one of the most enjoyable shows on the wargames circuit with a great atmosphere, lots of really good participation games and has always been very popular with my local club ‘The Forest Outlaws.’ I know that the decision was taken for a number of reasons, but a key factor was the much increased cost of hiring Kelham hall. Therefore, before agreeing to take over the running of the show, it was vital to identify another venue which would offer good value to visitors and traders as well as provide a comfortable, welcoming environment in which gamers could share their games with fellow enthusiasts. After weeks of searching, Newark Showground was suggested and a quickly arranged visit identified The Cecil Ford Pavilion as a suitable venue for Hammerhead 2014. Although smaller than Kelham, the Pavilion offered excellent access for gamers, visitors and traders, with good lighting, catering, a bar and plentiful free parking around the building.
On the Friday afternoon before the show, a number of traders and gamers were able to set-up their stands and tables. The remaining traders and gamers arriving early on Saturday morning set up. At 10am the doors opened, the venue quickly filled and as people started to play and engage with those running the games, Sally, the show organiser was smiling – she had begun to realise that all her hard work had succeeded in keeping Hammerhead very much alive. In total throughout the day there were nearly 600 people in attendance, which, for a change in venue, date and day, was an excellent result! The atmosphere was good and the gamer’s enthusiasm and support was obvious. The variety, ingenuity and creativity evident in so many of the games are a testimony to the tremendous thought and effort clubs, groups and individuals had put in. I know that their endeavours were appreciated by those given the opportunity to play with such a splendid selection of models and terrain. The Peterborough club’s ‘Battle for the patio’ game, which included a croaking frog, may not have won an award this year but it was certainly much talked about!
I talked to one group of gamers who had gone to visit the Newark Air Museum in the morning before arriving at Hammerhead for lunch and an afternoon of gaming. The Museum is situated adjacent to the showground - both venues share the site of an old WWII air base. The museum offered a discounted entrance price on the same day as Hammerhead. I’m sure a number of other gamers had also made a double visit!
The Forest Outlaws committee - Karl, Nigel and James were given the job of selecting which games would receive the awards for 2014. A very difficult task, made especially so, because of the diversity of participation games on display. But after much deliberation our intrepid judges bravely made their decision as follows:
The best visually appealing game – Leicester Phat Cats – Hostilities at Haribro
The best constructed game - South London Warlords – Hammer’s Slammers
The best overall game – Bingham and District Wargamers – Shaun of the Dead.
Bingham and District Wargamers will have their name added to the Hammerhead shield.
Many gamers continued through till after 4pm with the show officially closing at 4.30pm. We received lots of very positive feedback throughout the day from the visitors, gamers and traders. When transplanting Hammerhead from one location to another there were always going to be a few niggles, especially when it had been at Kelham for so many years. We have taken note of a number of things which need to be improved for next year including more and bigger signage both inside and outside the showground.
A very big thank you to everyone who helped to make Hammerhead such an enjoyable experience. The policy of making all the games public participation has again been the key to creating a welcoming communal atmosphere. At this point Hammerhead 2015 may seem a long way off, but Kallistra with the support of the Forest Outlaws are already exploring ways of making Hammerhead bigger and better at its new showground location.
Several online reports and blogs have been written, we’ll be getting our photos uploaded very soonhttp://thewargamingmegalomaniac.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/hammerhead-show-2014.htmlhttp://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/hammerhead-wargame-show-2014.htmlhttp://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/showthread.php?18254-Hammerhead-2014&p=277174http://troubleatthemill.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/back-from-hammerhead.html