Sunday, 8 April 2018

It's fun to participate

The move from Kelham Hall to the Newark Showground brought many improvements for the show. The most obvious of these were the vastly improved lighting which allowed games to be seen in all their undoubted glory and also the provision of a single large space for the show rather than all the small rooms at the former venue which, whilst undeniably atmospheric, made navigating the show a real trial even for the most able bodied of visitors.

But one big bonus was the provision of extra space which has allowed us to dramatically expand the number of games being presented - from a maximum of around 27 at Kelham up to close to 60 at this year's first show.

And it is not only the overall number of games that has been increased. We would be the first to recognise that the Partizans of old appealed to a very specific group of visitors who were primarily interested in seeing well presented demonstration games which then served as inspiration for their own projects. There was little room for more than a handful of participation games where people could actually take part although those who did regularly put on participation games at the shows - notably the RAF Wargames Society, the hugely innovative Wargames Developments and the much missed Blue Bears - are very much considered an integral part of the Partizan family.

The RAF Wargaming Association's Minions Game from Partizan 2016

This concentration on demonstration games was often used as a rod to beat the show but we make no apologies for having chosen to take this route - all the more so when our third yearly show Fantizan ended and from its ashes grew the Hammerhead shows. Under new management they have made a great virtue and a great success out of all of their games being participation. But we always felt and continue to feel that the sorts of large scale, beautifully presented, demonstration games that we have at the shows served to both inspire existing gamers and draw new ones into the hobby.

Grantham Strategy Club's "Witch Racing" 

However, the ability to massively expand the number of games that can be presented at the new venue has meant we are now able to greatly increase the number of participation games without having to compromise on the number of demonstration games we can host. We are aiming for an equal balance between the two styles of games and have also been encouraged to see some of our regular demonstration gamers dipping their toes into the waters of participation. 

Blitzkrieg Miniatures' beautiful WW2 participation 

So at Partizan on May 20th their should be plenty for you to do as well as to provide inspiration.

Watch out in particular for these top five participation games.

1. Simon Miller. Normally a demonstration gamer, this time presenting a very large English Civil War Participation Game "The Battle for Soggy Bottom". You can see the development of the game on Simon's blog:

2. The RAF Wargaming Association. Always guaranteed to produce fabulously entertaining games, this year they are bringing us "A Brick too Far - Tank Warfare on the Bedroom Floor"

3. Wargames Developments. These guys are always looking for an unusual slant on wargames and you can be sure of a fun half hour or so in their company. At this year's show they will have "A True Soldier Gentleman - A Game of Officer Careers".

4. KB Club. Once renowned for their homemade paper wargames, now at the forefront of 3D printing their own games. They will be presenting two games at the show for you to get involved with, one a 1/144th WW2 game and the other a Sci-Fi Starship Combat game.

5. Doncaster Wargames Society. Gordon Hanson has developed a well earned reputation for putting on simple but hugely effective games such as his western gunfight game which won the Best Participation prize at Partizan a couple of years ago. This year he will be entertaining us with his "Great Emu War" game.

These are just five of the almost 30 participation games that will be available to take part in at the show.

Hope to see you there.


  1. Many thanks for your plug for our game!

    "All True Soldier Gentlemen" had its first outing at Chillcon, with one player finishing the game as a general with a peerage (and a Waterloo medal) - I hope that someone at Partizan can do better. The game can run with from one to six players (families are as always welcome).

    I much look forward to seeing you!

  2. Ahem!! On your Partizan website it lists the games and on there Simon Miller's game is down as being a Demo game, NOT a Particpation one. So which is it to be please??

    1. Definitely participation. I will correct the website.