Since BPA exists solely on the basis of its members’ willingness
to give of themselves for the greater good and their voluntary
efforts to support the boardgaming hobby, the Board of Directors
has chosen to honor that spirit of volunteerism by singling out
those who have done the most to improve the World Boardgaming
The seventh recipient of the
WBC’s Hobby Service
Award, presented at the Sunday morning Armistice
meeting in Lancaster on Aug. 6, is Keith
In all, 12 nominees were selected
by the conference director for the Board’s
consideration. Factors in determining the
nominees were length of service, quality
of their event as demonstrated by number
of entries, comments, and GM ratings and
added features such as prize support or
pre- or post-event statistical wrap-ups.
Non-playing GMs were given added consideration
as were those of Junior events. Playing
GMs who have frequently won their own events
were seen as having made less of a sacrifice.
The Board votes by secret ballot,
weighing their votes according to their
own particular values as to what constituted
the greatest contribution, by ranking each
nominee from 12 (strongest) to 1 (weakest).
Ken was presented with an engraved
book clock keepsake and a BPA jacket.
owes his selection to his
long and quality service
as a GM of BPA CDW events; in particular
War and We The
People in both live and e-mail venues.
Keith has also
been a prime mover
in the WAM conventions. He is remembered
most for his
prizes in the form of replicas of colonial
weaponry. We salute
Keith for his service to the hobby and
being a symbol
volunteerism that drives the BPA.
Ken’s efforts—and those of
the shining example they provide for the
spirit of volunteerism that drives WBC.
Note: The initial six honorees, one for
each year of the WBC, were announced in
Previous WBC Hobby Service Award Recipients
Stuart Tucker (2005): Stuart
is a past Board member who has always shouldered at least one GM burden every
year; often doubling up to handle an orphaned event as well. Under his direction,
Hannibal has prospered in a Pre-Con slot and he is largely responsible
for the success of the Winter Activation Meeting mini-con. He
may be better known for his role as the Happy Handicapper who
posts the odds and commentary for our Team Tournament event. Lastly,
he originated the Laurels concept that drives all of the Caesar
and other metagaming secondary features of WBC. No wonder he led
all the nominees in votes!
Kathy Stroh (2005): Kathy is also a past Board member who could
always be counted on to volunteer when a job needed doing. She
headed the Juniors program at WBC long before there was a WBC
and remains active as a Juniors GM today. Gender issues don’t
bother Kathy—she’s a regular at the Enlightenment mini-con and
has long competed there as the sole female in attendance.
Steve Okonski (2005): Steve is the guy behind the scenes who
gives BPA its public face to the world—working hard to organize
our ever growing website. His programming skills have also fathered
the Personal Scheduler which is a true boon to WBC veterans plotting
out their daily schedules. Many of the photos gracing our website have
come from Steve’s camera in the years he’s been able to attend. An ardent
rail game buff, he has been active helping to run Rail Baron and Empire
Builder and is also a winner of our Sportsmanship Award. Quite a resume.
Vince Meconi (2005): Vince is the epitome of a professional
GM. His vibrant War At Sea tournaments just get bigger and better
every year despite being long out of print. He was the first GM
to publish extensive statistics pertaining to his tournament.
His players know that they will be provided plenty of post-event
coverage direct from the horse’s mouth every year. Not coincidentally,
Vince always ranks highly in the GM of the Year balloting.
Mark McLaughlin (2005): Mark really is the epitome of the enthusiastic
volunteer. He’s never had a child attend WBC but every year he
runs Princess Ryan’s just for the kids on Saturday morning. And
every night he runs Napoleonic Wars for us big kids. Not a tournament
kind of guy, Mark is unusual in that he doesn’t play in his event
except as needed to round out a table. But that doesn’t stop him
from buying a round for the finalists and toasting the emperor.
Ken Whitesell (2005): Ken stands out in a crowd.
Even without his hat adorned with his bonafides—badges from every Avaloncon/WBC—the 6’ 5" WBC bouncer doesn’t often sneak up on you. The
founder of the Tontine society for veterans of all Avaloncons/WBCs,
Ken is responsible for those WBC Legion XV additions to our Badge
holders that all the in crowd is wearing. Ken has always taken
on the dirty jobs that no one else wants—like acting as security
in our non-obtrusive honor system badge police. He also volunteers
for whatever event is orphaned in the waning days of the scheduling
- foregoing the pleasure of running a favorite game for whatever
happens to be needed. The big lug is really a softie at heart.
Keith Wixson (2006): Keith garnered 68 of a possible 96 votes for the honor from a strong field whose dozen scores ranged between 26 and 68. Keith is widely considered one of the best GMs at WBC where he has long been active in the CDW field and is known particularly for his strong support of Wilderness War which he backs with an assortment of unique period weapon replica prizes. His service to gaming in general and BPA in particular is also noted with his strong stewardship of quality PBeM tournaments and as a reliable fixture behind the Winter Activation Meeting mini-con.