For the first time in a number of years and the first since they moved the show to Tonbridge I actually managed to get along to Cavalier. It is a show of relatively modest proportions and, whilst the venue makes it a little fragmented (those less so than the old school venue), it had a decent selection of traders and a few attractive games.
I successfully managed to pick up the few bits I had eventually decided to get and conveniently made a decent saving as Musketeer had a 6 packs for 5 offer on; however, I came away from the show a little underwhelmed. I should quickly add that this was nothing to do with the show itself of the TWWS who organise it but rather a personal reaction I have been having more and more frequently at various shows.
I decided to examine my main reasons for going to shows and came up with the following:
(1) To buy stuff - which either I would have bought anyway and so can avoid the postage or which I wanted to see in the flesh (metal or resin - whatever) or even to get a bargain from the bring & buy.
(2) To see cool new stuff - as some manufacturers schedule there new releases to tie in with shows and some people's websites are so awful as to be useless.
(3) To be inspired - by other people's games and ideas.
(4) To meet up with old friends - people I have gamed with in the past but don't see now due to the simple matter of geography.
With the improvements in the internet (for those traders who "get it") and eBay buying stuff is pretty easy from the comfort of my own home so this just isn't as important as it was 10 or even 5 years ago.
Wargame new sites like The Miniatures Page and Tabletop Gaming News post and the various discussion sites around news travels pretty fast and people are often kind enough to post photos even where the manufacturer doesn't. As a result I don't often see anything I didn't know about at shows any more.
Maybe I'm getting a little jaded but I'm not often inspired by the games I see at shows. I don't doubt that some of this is just me and I need to try harder but some of the games are just sooo ordinary.
So I'm left with the social angle and that is, of course, dependent on people being able to make it to the show.