The competition for our 27th GM of the Year Award was once again a two-horse race with Sam Edelston edging out fellow GM Greg Crowe by 2 votes. Sam managed to accumulate one first, one second, three thirds, and two fourth place votes to become the 2018 GM of the Year.
Sam managed 52 players over seven 2-hour rounds in earning the award. Sam also ran five 4-hour extensive multi-player M44 games and acts as goodwill ambassador for WBC in the Memoir '44 online world. Sam has worked with the publisher to include the WBC event as a qualifier for the winner to enter their online Championships.
One endorsement received from a fellow member was:"I began attending WBC in 2016, and have attended every year since (three in total). The reason I originally came to WBC was at Sam’s invitation, and the Memoir ’44 tournament is the one that I have participated in all three years, and consider to be the main highlight for me (despite my indifferent success; I did not get past the first round in either 2016 or 2018, and was eliminated in the third round in 2017).
Sam is, first of all, very organized. Besides the preview on the WBC site, he also has one on the Days of Wonder (publishers of Memoir ’44) site, with details about the scenarios to be played that year. He also puts together an information page about the rules of the tournament, as well as another about anything that might be special or new in the scenarios to be used. These are available to players as they check in, both for the Mulligan Round and the First Round. I have also noted that, each year, when the Century events are announced that Sam has already signed up to GM Memoir ’44. He is also well-prepared. However, with the base game, there are only a limited number of scenarios included (16). To limit the tournament to those scenarios would be rather boring for experienced players. On the other hand, other scenarios often require one or more of a number of expansions. In the three years that I have been participating, he always finds a way to provide new and interesting scenarios, while providing what is needed to players who only have the base game so that they can participate.
Speaking of participation, it is a Class B tournament, with a demo held before the Mulligan round. He also makes sure that there are enough extra games on hand so that no one is turned away. For instance, at the First Round this year, 3 extra games were needed; he had them available, between himself and his assistant GM’s, without any last minute rush or panic.
Finally, besides the single elimination tournament, Sam organizes 5 Overlord Scenarios. These are just for fun and bragging rights. Each Overlord requires two base games at a minimum (and often two of various expansions), and can accommodate between 3-4 players on a side (for 6-8 per game). The opportunity to play these Overlord scenarios has always been a highlight for me, as I know that, however I do in the tournament itself I will still have abundant opportunities to play Memoir ’44 and socialize with my fellow players.
These Overlord scenarios, as noted above, require two of everything. They are also getting to be more popular. On three of the 5 occasions more people showed up than could be accommodated by just one game. No problem! On the spot, Sam got together the equipment needed for a second Overlord, so that all who wanted to participate could do so."
Finishing behind Sam, Greg Crowe accumulated 85 points and two first place votes. Greg earned his votes for running Titan: the Arena and providing a fun atmosphere for an event which has stood the test of time. Greg provides additional awards in working to keep this game an integral part of WBC. This was Greg's fourth top 6 finish.
Third in the top GM efforts went to another of our double-dipping GMs who ran two events and garnered 78 votes including a first place vote. Keith Wixson ran Wilderness War for the 15th straight year. He is also in his fifth year as GM of Washington’s War. Both CDWs owe much of their WBC longevity to his persistent quality efforts. Keith also ran a PBeM tournament of Wilderness War this year. This was Keith’s fifth Top Six GM nomination.
In a fourth place tie with 72 votes were Marc Houde and Steve Cuccaro. Marc had one first place vote as long time Robo Rally GM Marc Houde. This is Marc's third Top Six finish in his 20 years as GM of Rob Rally. Mark always makes WBC a priority in order to run the event. One of the very few GMs who gives convention director carte blanche to schedule his event whenever it causes least problems for the con. Mark continues to promote the game and draw new players. Steve Cuccaro, a 13 year GM of Kremlin, earned onw second place vote in earning his first Top Six finish in the GM of the Year voting.
Rounding out the top 6 with his first Top Six finish since winning the award in 1992 was Jim Burnett. Jim has been a long time GM of both UpFront and Win, Place, & Show. Jim has contiued to GM each of these events for over a decade withoout ever playing in either tournament. Jim passed away this year and will be remembered by all his players as well as the other WBC attendees as a true gentleman.