TotalCon 2017 Report

Total Confusion 31 was held in Marlborough Massachusetts on February 23rd to the 26th of 2017. The convention moved to a new venue, the Best Western Royal Plaza. With more space and better lighting the board game space was great to play in and the tournaments were held in separate spaces with less noise and no crowding.

New England Regional Championships are a highlight of the convention. Listed below are the first 3 finishes in each of the 9 New England Championships.

GameChampion2nd3rd
ConcordiaWill WarrenKara MorseAndrew Harris
SplendorAndrew MenardIan DembskyMarvin Birmbaum
Ticket to RideNicholas CheungSteve CostaDean Scungio
St PetersburgAndrew HarrisIan DembskyShelly Thomas
AgricolaRichard J ShayRichard M ShayShelly Thomas
DominionJared RushananAndrew MenardThomas Jarrett
Castles of BurgundyIan DembskyWill WarrenKara Morse
Puerto RicoRichard MeyerAdam ShersonRichard M Shay
Power GridSteve CostaThomas JarrettBill Todd
Stone AgeShelly ThomasMongoJustin Roark

Chairman of the Board: Ian Dembsky

Chairman of the Board is awarded for accumulating the best record in different tournament games. Winning and placing in tournament games earns points, but you can only score for your best game in each tournament. Bonus points are awarded for placing overall in tournaments. Ian won Castles of Burgundy and finished 2nd in Saint Petersburg and Splendor. He also played well in other tournaments. Congratulations Ian.
Catan Regional Qualifier: Ian Dembsky


The Puffing Billy group spends the convention playing railroad themed games and has their own tournament format, giving prizes in the following categories:

Overall Champion: Roger Jarrett

1830: Bruce Beard

Empire Builder: Roger Jarrett

18XX: Bruce Beard

Empire Builder International: Roger Jarrett

There is also a Diplomacy tournament held over the course of convention.
Diplomacy Champ (& Best Italy): Brad Blitstein.

BEST GERMANY: Alan Levin

BEST ENGLAND: Rob Premus

BEST TURKEY: Andrew Katcher

BEST FRANCE: Randy Lawrence-Hurt

BEST AUSTRIA: Jay Aloia

BEST RUSSIA: Steve Cooley

Sign Up for WBC Now

Go Sign up for WBC

By Randy Buehler

There are some great conventions out there. In fact, there are two great ones coming up the last weekend in February and if you can get to New England for TotalCon or Virginia for PrezCon then you absolutely should.

But. . .

For most board game tournament players the year revolves around the annual pilgrimage to the World Boardgaming Championship. WBC began life as Avalon Con, and has been lovingly nurtured by some of the same folks who more or less launched our hobby while working for Avalon Hill back in the day. “Avalon Hill” is now nothing more than a brand name owned by Hasbro, but the nonprofit Boardgame Players Association has kept the Con going. Last year it moved to a new location at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort about 90 minutes southeast of Pittsburgh, and it seems to be settling in there quite nicely.

The Con features well over 100 tournaments, spread across 9 days near the end of July, and 1500-ish players competed last year. Most events use a system of heats followed by playoffs that is essentially the same as the official format used by Meeple League sanctioned events. While there are other, sometimes bigger, conventions out there, nothing this large has the focus on tournament play that makes WBC unique and special.

Why Register Now?

The reason I’m writing this now, in January, is that there are a couple of reasons you should consider going ahead and signing up for this summer’s convention now. First of all, hotel rooms went on sale last weekend (though only for folks who want to stay 5 nights or longer). They sold out well in advance of the Con last year so consider this a friendly reminder to deal with this now while all your lodging options are still open.

The other reason to sign up now is that you get to vote on which games will be contested at the Con as Trial Events. Every year the 100 most attended events from the previous year are brought back (along with a handful of Legacy events). There is then a vote for which other 25 games should make the cut and get tournaments. The ballot is, as always, a mix of new games and old favorites that didn’t quite make it into the “Century”.

This year there are 67 games on the Trial ballot and if you buy your membership now then not only do you save $20 – $30 on the price of admission to WBC itself, you also get to throw your weight behind 10 games. Personally, I think it’s been a good year for new games, and there are a couple of medium to heavy “weight” Eurogames that I am hoping will win the vote: Terraforming Mars is my personal favorite, but I know a lot of people are also fans of Scythe and Feast for Odin. (Great Western Trail is another great new game from the last few months, in my opinion, but no one filled out the paperwork to volunteer to run a GWT event so the only way that one will be held is if someone sponsors it. That said, if anyone from Stronghold Games is reading this and wants to Sponsor it, I’d be happy to serve as GM!)

Anyway, the TL/DR version of this article is that you should go ahead and sign up for WBC now and let your voice be heard. Either you already know you’re going to go anyway so you might as well do it now, or you don’t realize it yet but you’re going to want to start going to this awesome event for years to come.

New Meeple League is Live!

The Meeple League is proud to announce the launch of our re-imagined website at www.MeepleLeague.com. As part of our ongoing effort to help grow the boardgame-tournament community, we have turned our website into a destination for tournament players. Our new features include:

  • A Magazine section with strategy articles written by some of the best gamers around.
  • An Events schedule that collects information about board game tournaments from around the country.
  • An ever-growing collection of game master (GM) Tools and information to help everyone who wants to run a tournament.
  • Online leagues so players can compete while waiting for the next live, in-person event. Our first two leagues will be for Thurn & Taxis and then Agricola.

Meanwhile, we will continue to sanction events and keep track of Meeple League standings throughout the year. In 2017 our featured games will be:

  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • Ticket To Ride
  • Saint Petersburg
  • Stone Age
  • Power Grid
  • Catan
  • Puerto Rico
  • 7 Wonders
  • Castles of Burgundy

We will be awarding a plaque at the end of the year to the winner of each event, along with our Player of the Year.

Three conventions have already committed to running Meeple League events in 2017:

If you want your local convention, or even your friendly neighborhood game store, to run events that count toward Meeple League standings then tell your local organizer to contact us. Sanctioning an event is free – all you need to do is run tournaments using our format, which is based on years of success with board game tournaments.

Here’s hoping the board game hobby continues to grow, and that there are more and better tournaments for hobbyists to play in!

Online Agricola Announcement

Agricola Season 1 Sign-ups Closed

Reserve a Spot in Season 2 Below

The Meeple League recently announced our first online event – a league for Thurn & Taxis players – but we’re not done there. We’re also starting up an online Agricola league for those who like their Eurogames a little heavier. Agricola Cover

The format for all our leagues will be identical: players get grouped with 6 other players and put into 4 games (2 with each other player). Games will then be played asynchronously over the course of several weeks and a point system will be used to determine who wins the league (10 points for 1st, 6 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, and 1 point for finishing last). Winning your league gets you promoted to a higher division for the next season, while finishing in the bottom 2 gets you demoted to an easier one. You can read the full rules for our league format HERE .

For folks who like a complex challenge, Agricola has proven to be one of the best board games ever made. It may not draw the biggest crowds on the tournament circuit, but it is legendary for its consistently shark-infested fields. When it was first published back in 2007 it led the Spiel des Jahres committee to invent a new category (for “complex games”) so it could award a special prize, and as of this writing in early 2017 it is still the #11 overall ranked game of BoardGameGeek.

We’ll be using the online implementation of Agricola on www.boiteajeux.net. Games will be created with the Tournament mode setting (which just means the banned list used in most tournaments is implemented) and “Draft 7” will be used to distribute occupations and minor improvements from all 3 of the implemented decks: E, I, and K, though there are a few cards from the printed version of the game that have not been implemented  (see the article about online Agricola). For season 1, we’ll be using BPA laurels in Agricola (see the Agricola Event History Page) to seed people into the initial divisions.

                If you want to Sign up for Season 2 Agricola, please fill out this form (this will also put you in as an alternate for season 1 in case someone fails to join their games):

You must be 13 or older to participate. If you are 13 to 17 years old, you must have parent/guardian approval.
You must have an account on www.boiteajeux.net to play.
If you have laurels listed on the BPA website that will be used to match players in leagues.
You don’t have to join the Meeple League to play, but we would really like you to join us.

 

Online Thurn & Taxis Tournament

Sign-ups closed for Meeple League's 1st Online Event!

Reserve a spot for the next Season Below

Here at the Meeple League our primary mission is to improve the quality of board game tournament offerings. We are delighted to announce that one of the ways we will do that is by offering our own online events! Just like “live” events, we will use a standardized format so you’ll know what to expect whenever you sign up, but the details for online events will be different from the typical tournaments you might have experienced at a convention.

This article will walk you through everything you can expect from our League format, plus – most importantly – tell you how you can sign up for our first  supported game: Thurn & Taxis!

Our online events will be structured as ongoing leagues, and not as one-shot tournaments. When you sign up you will be placed in a league along with 6 other gamers, and you will be placed into 4 total games (with each other member of your division appearing in 2 of them). All the games will be played “asynchronously” through a specified website, which means players will each check in to see if it’s their turn several times a day at their convenience, and the games will play out over the course of several weeks.

Once all the games are done, we use a point system to see who won each league (10 points for 1st, 6 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, and 1 point for finishing last). The leagues themselves are divided into divisions and whenever you win a league, you get promoted up to a tougher (but more prestigious) division. Meanwhile, if you finish in the bottom 2 of your league, you get demoted into an easier division for the next season. We’ll keep track of lifetime standings so everyone can see how they measure up, and we’ll also be prominently displaying the names of everyone who wins division one. Click to see detailed rules.

Fans of Terra Mystica may recognize this as the same basic format being used on http://tmtour.org/#/ to govern tournaments run using the online implementation at http://terra.snellman.net.

We think this system will work well for lots of other games, too. Note that in order to seed players for the very first season, we’ll be using the lifetime laurel counts from the Boardgame Players Association – aka, the folks who run the World Boardgaming Championship . You can check your laurels for the game on the T&T Event History Page.

Thurn & Taxis is a nice light Euro-game that has been very popular on the tournament circuit ever since it won the Spiel des Jahres in 2006. It’s actually one of the few games at the World Boardgaming Championships that’s big enough to require a quarter-final round.

Our Thurn & Taxis League will use the online implementation at www.yucata.de. We will use the original version of the game – no expansion content, and no special options. Games are scheduled to start in late January and you’ll receive a schedule in your email once the pairings are ready. If you do sign up, you are committing to checking the website a couple of times on most days (it’s OK if something comes up every once in a while, or if you’re out of town for a weekend (for example), but in general we’re hoping game lengths will be measured in weeks not months.

If you want to play in future Thurn & Taxis tournament, please sign up here:

You must be 13 or older to participate. If you are 13 to 17 years old, you must have parent/guardian approval.
You must have an account on yucate.de to play.
If you have laurels listed on the BPA website that will be used to match players in leagues.
You don’t have to join the Meeple League to play, but we would really like you to join us.

Totalcon Tournament Schedule

Meeple League Tournaments at Totalcon 31

Boardgame Director Rob Kircher has listed the schedule of New England Redional championship tournament board games for Totalcon 2017.

Ten tournaments are Meeple League featured events:

  • Splendor
  • Stone Age
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Power Grid
  • Concordia
  • Saint Petersburg
  • Agricola
  • Puerto Rico
  • Dominion
  • Castles of Burgundy

There will also be a tournament for 7 Wonders Duel and the Totalcon Chairman of the Board will be awarded for the best overall tournament performance.  PDF file of the full schedule.