By Don Greenwood, WBC Convention Director
Usually we're pretty laid back at WBC when it comes to flooding your inbox with unsolicited mail. Aside from one mass mailing per year, we limit our announcements to the usual website, facebook and subscription newsletters. But today is an exception because our usually stable pricing structure is undergoing a rare change and we want to make you aware of it to prevent an unpleasant surprise this summer when turning your attention back to the World Boardgaming Championships.
Despite rising costs, we have maintained the most affordable prices in the hobby which still average a measly $10 per day when you avail yourself of our best rates available during our Annual December Membership Drive. We even throw in free premiums in the form of hats, t-shirts and full color yearbooks at that price. The good news is that remains the case. The bad news is that walk-on rates for those who do not pre-register IS going to change, as is the deadline for same.
Long ago a very foolish young man who was in way over his head ran what is widely considered the first national gaming convention and managed to create probably the worst registration snafu in the history of gaming. Ever since then, I have gone to ridiculous lengths not to repeat that nightmare. While there have been a few learning bumps along the way, for the most part it has been clear sailing ever since. However, in doing so, I've offered absurd pre-registration deadlines which literally run right up to the convention week. This has resulted in a flood of last minute and beyond registrations which exhaust the staff at a time when they have more important things to do (like sleep).
Since the purpose of pre-registration as espoused at major conventions is to guarantee attendance and spread the workload with deadlines set months before the actual convention, you'll have to forgive us if we finally regain a shred of sanity by moving our pre-registration deadline up a month to June 30th. Furthermore, to increase your sense of pre-registration urgency in hopes of not creating longer registration lines as a result, we will be raising the walkon rates by $10. So, the point of this exercise is to inform you that timely WBC pre-registration just became more important and to encourage you to avoid the sticker shock later.
2014 Membership Drive: This is where I make the case for renewing your BPA membership early for our mutual benefit. By renewing before Jan. 1, you:
Will receive our lowest rates—saving $30 off the weekly WBC admission rate charged at the door;
Will receive your choice of free premium gifts (hat or shirt plus full-color yearbook*);
May vote for events that did not make the Century cut (the 25 receiving the most votes will be given another life in 2014);
Will become eligible for free participation in our many e-mail tournaments held throughout the year and vote in our elections; and
Help us administer WBC more efficiently and fairly with greater input from the membership as a whole.
Refund Policy: The case against pre-registration is that such fees are NOT refundable. Such discounts are given in anticipation of guaranteed attendance. I am unaware of any convention of consequence that refunds pre-reg fees. However, even here WBC policy is more lenient than is the norm. Tribune level members may transfer their admission to another person or delay it to the following year. Sustaining level members who missed attendance at WBC may upgrade their memberships to Tribune status so as to use that admission the following year. Said upgrade must occur in the calendar year of the missed admission, so this option for 2013 memberships expires on Dec. 31.
*Yearbook: Despite the added expense, BPA will redouble its efforts to mail its full-color Yearbook prior to WBC to qualifying members. However, we no longer guarantee production of the Yearbook in any given year. Delays caused by unforeseen circumstances (including, but not limited to tardy submission of reports) may make timely production too difficult to undertake. Therefore, Yearbook availability as a free premium will be at the sole discretion of BPA in the future.
Email Memberships: The former "Associate" level membership has been renamed "PBeM" to better reflect its entitlements. A PBeM membership entitles you to freely participate until conclusion in any BPA Play By Email tournament begun in that calendar year. It has no bearing on WBC admission and cannot be used to discount an upgrade to a different membership level.
For more detailed information, see BPA's current membership terms. To see other newsletters, go to the Archives.