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.