2012 BPA Survey Results—Event Selection
Jan. 12, 2013

When WBC first started back in 1999, the concept of a Century limiting the number of events to provide focus was a concept entirely foreign to game conventions. It was controversial then and still has its share of non-believers today, but for the most part 15 years later, the Century is now an accepted Constitution of sorts for how WBC is governed.

What You’d Like to See... What You Want Not to Change How I See It...

Relax Century Maintenance standards 4: More lenient standards to allow older games to continue inclusion in the Century top 100. / I think it may be time to re-think the limit of 100 events in the Century. As the convention grows, the number of players needed to break into the top 100 is growing as well.

Tighten Century Maintenance standards 3: The current method for choosing events makes it too hard for newer games to be included. Many vote for the 5 titles they will play, then fill in the remaining votes with familiar titles. This keeps poorly attended older games coming back and limits the opportunity for fresh titles to grow. Voting for less titles (but still awarding top 25), may provide a better indication of potential attendees.

Wargame Haven 5: The balance given wargames so that Eurogamers don’t vote them into oblivion. / Lampeter as the wargaming ’clubhouse’. / Would hate to see any changes that result in classic wargame tournaments being eliminated from the WBC because of “low participation” .

Trial Events 3: I like the idea of membership votes for Trial events to preserve games that don’t have enough support. / I’m not the biggest fan of the game selection. But I am a fan of how they’re selected.

Voting for Trial Events in the annual Membership Drive really has nothing to do with the Century. The latter is not dependent on votes but solely on attendance figures and GM availability.

New games enter as Trials based on membership voting or the sponsorship of individuals or publishers and then make or fail the Cenury cut based on player participation at the latest WBC.

I would be the last person to suggest that older games are inherently better than newer ones, but I do believe that no one has more of a right to choose the games to be played in the next convention than the people who have actually committed to attend that convention by joining in time for the vote.

More Wargame Tournaments 4: I like the wargame tournaments in my favorite games. I want at least two, preferably three, of my favorite games to continue. So many games that I have enjoyed over the years have been dropped. / I’ll be totally selfish and admit that I liked the “old” WBC. By that I mean before the great increase in the number of Euro games. Personally I wouldn’t care if all the Euros were done away with or moved to another convention. I do play some Euros but I can do that at home and I don’t enjoy any of them in a tournament setting. I know this goes directly against one of our stated goals of growing the hobby since elimination of Euros would make WBC a much less family friendly convention.... I think the current format has moved significantly away from what I enjoyed years ago at Avaloncon and the first few WBCs. That is probably inevitable and not necessarily a bad thing for the hobby overall, it just doesn’t suit my tastes as much anymore.

More New Games/Fewer Old Ones 3:

More Euro Tournaments 1:

More Tournaments 2: Any event that can draw a minimum (say 16) entrants should be allowed.

More Sports Tournaments 1:

Less & Shorter Tournaments 1:

Enforce the Original Century Concept 3: One thing I see is the increasing number of tournaments being played due to sponsors, legacy, trials, etc. This has diluted the number of entrants per event and thereby the focus. I favor a more stringent cutoff for Century selection and shorten the total number of other trial events. If WBC is touted as World Boardgaming Championships, then it should live up to that name by having a select number of high quality events with sufficient competition hours devoted to each event. Right now, I see too many short Euro type events that people run from one event to another, needing to spend only a few hours each to compete and win.

Variety 6: I think WBC will really lose something if the number of grognard or sports games become too few and we lose the people who play them. One of the cool things about WBC is that not all of the games are 1-hour Eurogames and 1-2 hour wargames. And I say this even though I rarely play the sports or grognard games and do play both 1 hour Eurogames and 1-2 hour wargames at WBC. It’s just nice to have variety of gamer types at one convention. / Love the wide variety of games. Even though I don’t play any wargames, I like seeing rooms filled with wargamers even as euro and train games are going on elsewhere. That variety is WBC’s strongest attraction, please keep it up!

"I want more, more, more” —sounds like my wife at a shoe store. To avoid sounding like the Grinch who stole Xmas, you have to take the long view and understand the concept of “focus” on which WBC is based and buy into the theory that “less is more” .

Once upon a time game conventions outdid each other by proclaiming ever more “events” to attract attendees—claiming virtually thousands of such with a program that resembled the Bronx phonebook and had nearly as much plot. Of course, to generate this number their definition of an event became rather generous. Eventually, anyone willing to bring a game to the site looking for players became an “event” . Generally speaking, the more events were claimed, the less players each attracted—including an ever increasing number of no-show GMs. Simple math. There is a point of diminishing returns where more events does not generate more players. After attending my share of such 3-player fields I decided there had to be a better way and began hatching the creation of what would eventually become WBC. Sadly, that’s a longer story than we have time for.

To cut to the chase, I’ll simply point out the simple truths that more events require more GMs. And unlike that caste of thousands referred to earlier, WBC lavishes a considerable amount of support on each of its events—both pre- and post-con. It’s getting to be quite an undertaking. Now, assuming we can find those GMs, and the time to support them with all the bells and whistles to which we’ve become accustomed, there is still the matter of finding the space for them in a conference that also wants more space for vendors, demos and Open Gaming. Lastly, there is the matter of avoiding the all too frequent schedule conflicts that is seemingly almost everyone’s #1 complaint. So many games ... so little time. Adding more events doesn’t seem to help solve those problems.

Transparency 3: A better understanding and balance (presumed lack of having very limited information) as to how Century events are selected. There seems to be a great deal of favoritism. Note, I understand that it’s your convention and you can run it any way you like, but if a balanced approach to the selection of Century events is put forth as a standard a little transparency would certainly help. / I’d like to see the ass-hours listed for the events. Not to say there is anything funny going on at all, but it’d be nice to see what % some of the events missed the cut by.

The Century 17: The Century format is working and has provided a great mix of games without disenfranchising any one genre. It’s such a round number it might be silly to change it, but if WBC were split into “sessions” the number might need to be smaller. If so, so be it. ... If people need to make choices in their games, so be it. That should be the cost of being stuck in the candy store, not cutting back on the amount or variety of the candy. / Darwinian system of choosing TOP 100 is excellent. / It keeps new and younger folks attending without leaving the old guys behind. I think BPA strikes this balance by their method of introducing new events. / The Century tournament structure is practically perfect as is. / The amount of events is perfect in my opinion. I hope that does not change. / Democratic system for deciding which games are included each year. / The ever changing rotation of games based on hours of playtime that still allows some longer games with dedicated players and shorter games with lots of players.

The only favoritism involved in Century selection is in the minds of those whose favorites fail to make the cut. My problem is convincing you of that. I know because I am the only one who runs the numbers and I could care less which games make it or don’t. My sole goal is to be as impartial as possible. Always has been. If anything, I am harder on my favorites to avoid just this sort of criticism. Subjective opinion has been totally kept out of the process. The formula was derived to be fair to both short and long games, two-player and multi-player games, even solitaire games! The actual numbers are not published because they would be a source of constant nit-picking and argument by those dissatisfied with the results. The formula itself is not published because it has already been proven on numerous occasions that not all GMs are above padding their numbers to reach what they think is the minimum goal. Consequently, there is no magic number that qualifies an event and tempts a GM to rationalize stretching his numbers to reach it. All events are in competition with all the others and only the top 100 continue.

Unofficial Tournaments 2: I would like to see more types of table top games be allowed as official events. They would NOT have to be official WBC tournaments. Perhaps allow them in non-tournament areas or during non-tournament times. Abstract games, cooperative games, parlor games, team games and games with standard playing cards come to mind. They could be scheduled rounds of open play, demos, or competitive play with a GM supplied prize. I would volunteer to run the games I have in mind. Generic Tournaments 1: I’m curious about including events for some of the more classic board games and card games: Chess, Bridge, Go, Poker, etc. (Actually, I have mixed feelings about the idea... it could attract *A LOT* of new attendees, attendees which are not at all interested in wargames or euro games... which could totally change the dynamic of WBC.)

The Board has debated the inclusion of more mainstream generic games such as poker or bridge in the past. The conclusion has always been those games have their own unique specialized gatherings devoted exclusively to those pursuits and therefore we could not hope to match or improve upon those offerings. Instead, we feel WBC’s resources should be devoted to the games that make up our ever more eclectic mix. As to allowing “shadow” or unofficial tournaments, that would detract from the “focus” we seek.

Quotas 2: Establish quotas for number of 2-player and multi-player games. (This includes having separate event calculations for each category.) / I would like to see a number of slots reserved for wargames as it seems the euros are beginning to crowd them out or push them all toward Pre-Cons.   The Century formula was designed to be both fair and self-correcting. It has no quotas other than automatic entry for the top 25 drawing events by head count. It also already has different criteria for two-player and multi-player game categories. As for the migration of wargames to Pre-Cons it has nothing to do with Euros and everything to do with getting away from the competition of other wargames. Wargames take longer and, therefore, are more subject to schedule conflicts.
Legacy Events 1: I’m not sure what the rules are for making Legacy events, but they don’t seem to be working as lots of events (Win Place and Show, Battle Line, Adel, Pro Golf...) draw 30+ people year after year and don’t make the cut.   The rules are specified on our previous FAQ page. They require minimum attendance and GM performance standards over the previous ten-year period as well as a 2/3 majority vote by the Board. Many events such as Win, Place & Show do not qualify simply because they have not consistently drawn “30+” players during that timeframe. Others fail the vote because they are not judged as strong enough to warrant an exception to the Board’s consensus concern for focus by limiting the number of events. In short, Legacy status has high standards for admission and is not automatic.
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