WBC Laurels — A League of Your Own
Jan. 17, 2014

How Are LAURELS Calculated? | Top 25 BPA Gamers | Laurels Sums | WBC Medals List

Why? Obviously, someone has way too much time on their hands. Or, maybe…

What attracts us to these wonderful games? For some, it’s the competition…when the mind is willing but the body isn’t, and with our athletic ambitions just a receding memory in the rear view mirror of life for most of us, we need to look elsewhere for our vicarious thrills. Not everyone is given the opportunity to lead troops into battle or coach an NCAA team to the Final Four in this lifetime, but with games we can all experience some of that euphoria without the accompanying heartache. So we become gamers, forget for a time our mundane troubles and lose ourselves in the glory of the moment. And those of us who carry our gaming to the highest level, search out others who share our passion and can provide ever greater challenges. For ultimately, its not about winning so much as the sense of achievement gained during the attempt to excel. To quote Tom Hank’s line from A League of their Own—“It’s supposed to be hard—that’s what makes it great”.

My own gaming exploits are now entering their fifth decade. I have been fortunate to make a living in the gaming industry, such as it is, most of my adult life so, like Peter Pan, I refuse to grow up. In all that time, my greatest pleasure and most intense vicarious thrills were experienced in a 30-member Football Srategy league that duplicated NFL seasons for 25 years. Now, 25 years of anything is not to be sneezed at, but in gaming with all of its fads and changing of the guard I believe that league was unparalleled in gaming stamina. The game itself was nothing spectacular and certainly paled in comparison to today’s computer models as a simulation of NFL football. After hundreds of games, you couldn’t get me to play it today on a bet. But in a league format with stats and records generated with every call, and a season hanging in the balance, the tension was incredible. It was the best thing short of pulling on the pads and playing the sport again. WBC is my way of presenting the hobby with a league of its own—and the laurels are simply your way of keeping score.

Granted, not everyone who enjoys WBC comes just for the tournaments. With a nod to the Open Gamers in our midst, I’m not going to apologize for further glorifying competition with these lists. But whether you’re into the metagame experience Laurels provide or not, I hope you won’t let them spoil your fun or that of others. Boardgames have been all about winning since the first plastic pawn circled a gameboard. But, in truth, these lists are meant to be of more use to the also-rans among us than to the Caesar contenders. Just as most of us will never play professional sports or lead empires in conquest, relatively few of us will ever find ourselves amongst the viable contenders for the next Caesar. Yet, we can all benefit from a look back at our own personal best and give ourselves a mark to shoot for in besting our previous high water mark while having a good WBC—whether that be measured in the enjoyment of the moment or chances at wood.

Gamers are a diverse lot. Perhaps too diverse. Boardgamers are just one niche of the game universe and within that niche, are many sub-niches—each composed of adherents to a single game whose unique rules or game system form the proverbial walls and moat separating us from others with similar interests. The Laurels record below serves to give us all a common language whether we play ASL or Puerto Rico. The common denominator of Laurels earned in BPA competition is all part and parcel of that magic “focus” that sets the WBC apart from other gaming conventions. Using the records below you can track your progress, or lack thereof, across the years spent at WBC even if your efforts did not result in wood for your trophy wall. And if life’s journey allows you to visit but once—leave a veritable footprint in time…record your rookie at bat in our version of the baseball registry to prove that you were here.

Returning to my football story for a moment, I often wondered what motivated those with losing records to keep playing year after year. Obviously, their challenge was to see how much they could improve in any given year. For them, reaching the playoffs may have been a distant dream, but getting to .500 was a challenge they relished nonetheless. And, occasionally, a perennial loser would surprise with a winning season and roll all the way to the Super Bowl. I remember one player in particular—a regular at WBC—whose rookie season was a winless affair but who persevered to eventually come as close as anyone ever got to a perfect (undefeated) season. The comparison to how one fares at WBC in any given year is apt. I can recall one Avaloncon where I could seemingly do no wrong and won virtually every game I played…alas it was before the advent of Laurels record keeping and the planets have not been in the proper alignment since, but I can still hope.

Of course, for the high rollers amongst us, it will doubtless prove interesting to see what might have been had only BPA started the Caesar competition from its inception. For a few, the “I could have been a contender” lament will become “I could have been Caesar”. You wuz robbed, but if you got there once you can do it again. After all, the thrill is in the doing—not in the title.

Top 25 BPA Gamers*

 James Pei
#1 - 2006 - VA

Bruce Reiff
#2 - 1390 - OH

Arthur Field
#3 - 1264 - SC

Stefan Mecay
#4 - 1251 - TX

Ken Gutermuth
#5 - 1234 - NC

Marvin Birnbaum
#6 - 1209 - NY

Chris Byrd
#7 - 1107 - CT

Harald Henning
#7 - 1107 - CT

Keith Wixson
#9 - 1057 - NJ

Jeff Mullet
#10 - 1047 - OH

Ewan McNay
#11 - 988 - NY

Bill Crenshaw
#12 - 984 - VA

Thomas Drueding
#13 - 968 - MA

Doug Galullo
#14 - 954 - MD

Robert Kircher
#15 - 935 - RI

Nicholas Henning
#16 - 931 - DC

Jason Levine
#17 - 872 - NY

Tom Gregorio
#18 - 855 - PA

Andy Gardner
#19 - 850 - VA

John Emery
#21 - 825 - SC

Peter Reese
#21 - 774 - VA

Alex Bove
#22 - 763 - PA

Ed Menzel
#23 - 755 - CA

Jeff Cornett
#24 - 742 - FL

Aaron Fuegi
#25 - 725 - MA

* Results as of December 31, 2013.

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