What a difference a year makes! WBC 2013 now recedes in the archives as perhaps our best convention to date. Certainly it was the largest, having shattered our previous attendance high water mark by a resounding 6%. The Host folks were at the top of their game to make amends for a dismal 2012 performance wherein the elements and a cranky air conditioning system combined to yield a trying and hot experience. In contrast, a nearly flawless effort was made in hosting the 15th WBC and this year’s guests were greeted with the gift of free breakfast vouchers throughout the week as a make good gesture. Even the weather co-operated, with the mildest temperatures anyone could remember during our eight years in Lancaster—and in stark contrast to the heat wave that sweltered the area the previous week. Life was good again.
In all, nearly every state plus 17 nations sent participants in 2013. The record crowd was reflected in tournament participation with no less than 23 events drawing triple-digit participation and five more knocking at the century door with 90+. Average participation in the 156 tournaments rose to 56.8 players per event, buoyed by 203 players for Stone Age, 205 for Lost Cities and Can’t Stop, 249 for Ticket to Ride, and 265 for Liar’s Dice. Only one scheduled event failed to achieve tournament status. This year’s champions are now listed on line at http://www.boardgamers.org/wbc13/champs.htm. A more complete listing of the top six places, updated laurel totals, photos and an After Action report for every event as only WBC does it will appear in November.
Twelve reigning WBC champions successfully defended their titles in 2013, led by the Master, James Pei, who extended his latest streak in For The People to five years to maintain his hold on WBC’s longest current winning streak. Curt Collins II (Union Pacific) and Sean McCulloch (Battleline) emerged as his closest pursuers—both retaining their third straight title in their specialties.
Elsewhere, the fair sex nearly doubled their previous market share with nine ladies claiming titles in 2013—up from five, six and eight during the previous three years. Newcomer Trella Bromley (RBN), Angela Collinson (CMS), Jessica Brown (LBY), Tammy Wyatt-Johnson (LLM), Janet Ottey (RA!), Julie Ehlers (SET), Kristen LaDue (SLS), Hilary Haagen (TTR) and Stefany Speck (PRC) lorded it over the guys in their respective events. Multiple winners were scarce with only 11 finding the winner’s circle more than once compared to 20 in 2011 and none winning more than twice. At the other end of the title spectrum, 44 players won their first WBC championship (down from 46 in 2011 but still an increase over the 42 last year and 31 in 2010). 93 managed to record their first laurels compared to just 88 last year.
Improving WBC from year to year rather than “resting on our laurels” so to speak as the conference continues to grow and evolve is an ever present motivation. This year was no different and plans for the next WBC were underway even before this one drew to a close. 2013 may be remembered as the year the badges took on a personalized new look with photos of the members. Others may recall it as the year the 23,540 sq ft Expo Center debuted as an overflow Open Gaming site. Relatively few people made it out to the Expo Center to check it out, much less game there so its future use remains unresolved. The twin advantages of improved lighting and additional space seem equally offset by the inconvenience of distance from everything else. An informal poll of the sparse users there on Friday night yielded a 12-12 split on preferences between it and the Showroom as the site for Open Gaming going forward. Looking further ahead, we are coming down the home stretch in selecting the next site for WBC once our current contract with the Host expires in 2015 and hope to have an announcement regarding that decision during next year’s conference.
Closer to home, I once again remind everyone that WBC is all about volunteers. You only get out of WBC what you put into it. For most of you that may be only a few minutes, but give us those few minutes. If you saw an act of sportsmanship or a good (or bad) GM experience tell us about it. Nothing gets rewarded or corrected if we don’t hear about it. Drop me a line at CD@boardgamers.org to take part in our Awards process and/or GM feedback program with your impressions.
Similarly, if you want to see an event added to WBC 2014, know that it will only occur if someone volunteers to run it and is willing to do so according to our rules. So, if you want to be a part of the solution instead of a part of the problem and are willing to serve instead of being served, read our GM Guidelines and then submit an Event Form before December. That will get your event on the ballot and we will put it to the membership in our Annual Membership Drive.
Said Membership Drive begins Dec. 1 and lasts one month. Those joining the BPA at that time enjoy our lowest prices, get to vote for our 25 New or Continuing Trial events for 2014 and get free souvenir t-shirts, hats and/or full color Yearbook. But that ends and prices increase at the end of the year. So, take a moment now to subscribe to our free monthly email newsletter to be kept appraised on the when and how of it all.
Donald Greenwood CD
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