Convention AARs and Centurions
Event Reports

1999 Centurions  

In 1999, WBC was borne out of the ashes of the fallen Avaloncon. The new owner of the Avalon Hill brand was not interested in continuing the conference so Avaloncon was dead. It's attendees, however, were not ready to grieve over the body. Many contacted Don Greenwood, urging him to continue the conference under a different name on his own, and promising their support. One such was Scott Pfeiffer, an attorney and prime mover with the Greenville Mafia who offered his pro bono aide in setting up a corporate structure. Bruno Passacantando, a Connecticut CPA and Great Campaigns of the American Civil War stalwart handled the financial end, and Steve Okonski and Hank Burkhalter rode to the rescue with webmaster services. Toss in 700 members who stepped up to the plate with varying degrees of financial support and the BPA was borne anew. This time, a Board of Directors composed of nine gamers, to be elected annually in sets of three for three-year terms, would call the shots. A survey of this new membership was taken to determine the course and name of this new venture, and out of all this energy arose an even better gaming conference.

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The new format, while adopting the traditions and records of Avaloncon as its base, threw open the events to board and non-collectible card games of any manufacturer. The sponsorship and encouragement of GMT and others filled the void of the now absent Avalon Hill. The old problem of too many games and not enough time just got a lot worse as the best boardgames in the world joined our Avalon Hill favorites to battle for our playing time. The first influx of “other” games included great titles like Empire Builder, Axis & Allies, Medici, Paths of Glory, El Grande, Robo Rally, Shogun, Euphrat & Tigris, Down In Flames and Settlers of Catan. To accomodate this influx of new events, the convention again expanded; pushing the opening to Tuesday evening at 6 PM. To preserve the focus of the convention, a quota of 100 tournaments (termed the Century) was borne with a set formula for culling poor performers and adding new blood in a fair way that did not overly penalize long or short games.

The result was better than ever. The Team Tournament set a new record with 72 teams and six events again attracted three-digit entrants. Alas, some things didn't change as Bruce Reiff again led the conference with a triple for wins in Football Strategy, March Madness, and Win, Place & Show to best Kevin Keller's impressive double wins in Axis & Allies and Speed Circuit. Bruce was also one of only three repeat winners to hold serve among the top “Centurions”—the conference's new name for the champions of its featured 100 events.