Trials and Tribulations of Running SELWG with Simon Chandler

12 October 2022
As featured in The Last Word in Miniature Wargames

Following the massive disruption that COVID-19 brought to our hobby, I thought it would be interesting to write a little about the challenges we faced relocating our show during the pandemic: perhaps other show organisers might benefit from our experiences.

It’s probably worth a short history of the show itself. The SELWG club was established in 1971 and we held our first open day in 1973. From those humble beginnings the event metamorphosed into a much-loved and well-established fixture at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. Unfortunately, the facilities at Crystal Palace deteriorated significantly. In addition, many of the traders upon whom we depend were finding Crystal Palace a real slog to get to and were dropping out of the show.

So, after SELWG 2019, with the chlorine freshly expunged from our collective nostrils, SELWG made the tough decision to suspend the show in 2020 and look for a new venue for our 50th anniversary in 2021. After a long and intense search, we struck upon the Lee Valley Athletics Centre which, although located dangerously ‘North of the river’, turned out to be an excellent venue. The preparations to run the show in its traditional October slot could begin.

This meant that SELWG 2021 faced the challenges of COVID-19 and a new venue at the same time.

The show was many months in the planning with our fingers and toes tightly crossed in the hope that there wouldn’t be another lockdown, and that gamers would feel safe and confident attending shows again following the vaccine rollout.

A challenge we faced in 2021 was that the traditional wargaming calendar was knocked for six by the pandemic. Unable to run in April, the mighty Salute was moved to November, just one month after our show (a theme readers may recall from last month’s comments from the Broadside Organsiser... Ed.). Both clubs and traders had been understandably reluctant to sign up early however – by ‘D-Day’ – we had a very healthy 50 traders and 30+ games in attendance.

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This was the first time I had organised the show, and I had been warned that there are always unforeseen events on the day. Sure enough, disaster struck mid-morning when the caterers called to say their chip van had been nicked the previous night however alternative vendors were brought in by lunchtime! So, all in all, the club had some big challenges to overcome in relocating the show. We were one of the first shows to return after the pandemic, and we had to be mindful of the responsibility we had for the safety of our visitors and club members alike.

Despite everything that the pandemic threw at us, we ran the show at the new venue and… it went very well. On the morning, a long queue of gamers were waiting eagerly for the doors to open – itching to roll some dice, raid the B&B and visit their favourite traders in person! All things considered, attendance was good; we had some great feedback from attendees and traders, and everyone seemed to have an enjoyable day out. Which, after so long away from the gaming tables, is what it’s all about.

So the show must go on! See our advertising elsewhere but suffice to say that the show will be at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre on Sunday, 16th October with parking to spare and a free shuttle bus service will be running from Meridian Water Overground station. New this year will also be the British Historical Gaming Society running their Historical Teams Tournament alongside the show ( But this year will be bigger and better than last year so grab a ticket from and we’ll see you there! 


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