was patrolled by fulltime monitors for the first time to enforce "parking" violations to prevent tables being usurped by displays or absentees. Color-coded "players-wanted" kiosks made their appearance for the first time to aid those looking for opponents or someone to teach a game. Martin Wallace's newest design, A Few Acres of Snow, made the rounds as the hottest new game—an observation soon reinforced by winning the membership vote for 2012's Trial events. Sponsorships by Alliance Distributors, Queen Games and Rio Grande made possible these and other improvements as Open Gaming really came into its own at WBC.
Bruce Beard retained his title as the longest continuous reigning master at WBC by holding serve to win his seventh straight 18XX title, one of just 13 of the 2010 champions to successfully defend their title. Falling by the wayside was Rob Beyma whose five-year reign atop Russia Besieged was ended by his son, Richard. Other notable runs were ended as Rich Moyer, Nels Thompson, Alex Bove and Robert Renaud all failed in their third consecutive title defense bids, but 2011 will more likely be remembered as the year "The Streak" ended. Bruce Reiff, owner of 44 BPA titles, was finally stopped after 21 years of bringing home at least one title. There was much rejoicing in all quarters—probably not the least of which emanated from the Reiff household - where Mrs Reiff was no doubt relieved not to have to find room for yet another plaque—only to be confronted by daughter Nicole's second wall ornament! Despite Nicole's continuation of the family streak, the fair sex lost market share this year with just six ladies claiming titles in 2011—down from eight in 2010. Twenty players won multiple titles, led by five who "tripled" with three titles each: Richard Beyma (MAN, RBS, WAT), Randy Buehler (DOM, EGZ, POF), Curt Collins II (DOS, ELG, UNP), Ty Hansen (A&A, DUN, WOR) and Nick Henning (GSR, LRC, MRA). His "triple" along with a strong showing at the 2010 Euroquest won both the titles of Caesar and Consul for Randy Buehler in only his second year at WBC. In all, 20 players either joined the ranks of those earning Master status (three titles in the same event) or raised their level in that exclusive club.
At the other end of the title spectrum, 46 players won their first WBC championship (up from 31 in 2010) and 106 earned their first laurels (an increase of 21 from 2010). Claire Brosius and Larry Lingle won free rooms at WBC 2012 for taking Game Master of the Year and Sportsmanship honors respectively. Claire's was especially noteworthy as it came in just her third year at the helm of Ticket to Ride.
The Team Tournament declined again with "only" 84 teams answering the bugle call in 2011 down 12 from 2010 and 19 from the record 2009 field. The 50th-ranked "Go Flank Yourself" squad squeaked out a 1-point victory over the perennial favorites Nest of Spies thanks to three bonus points awarded for scoring in an event they had not previously won. Bruno Wolff managed to win our third bracket busting contest by correctly predicting only five of the top ten teams as successful prognostication apparently remains the exclusive domain of the Happy Handicapper.
In the continuing circle of life struggle of WBC winners and losers, the events themselves again competed for the player lifeblood needed for another year of WBC existence. This constant churn yielded 11 new occupants of the Century club. Gainers outnumbered losers 4:3 Among events with at least a three-year track record, 28 raised their attendance bar by posting their own personal best entrant numbers for the past ten years. The other end of that spectrum saw 21 tournaments drop to new attendance lows for the past decade.
Zenith: Those setting new highwater marks for the last decade were: +34 Stone Age; +27 Vegas Showdown; +23 Slapshot; +22 Facts In Five; +17 Power Grid; +14 Through the Ages; +1318XX; +11 B17; +10 Thurn & Taxis; +10 Washington's War; +8 Formula De; +7 Gettysburg; +7 World At War; +6 Attack Sub; +6 Settlers of Catan; +5 Ivanhoe; +5 March Madness; +4 A House Divided; +3 Paydirt; +3 Twilight Imperium; +3 Waterloo; +2 Elchfest; +2 Russian Campaign; +2 Trans America; +1 Hannibal; +1 Ingenius; +1 Pirate's Cove; +1 Robo Rally.
Nadir: Those sinking to new lows for the past decade were: -28 Dominion; -21 Race for the Galaxy; -18 Chicago Express; -13 Imperial; -9 Manifest Destiny; -7 Maneuvre; -7 Paths of Glory; -5Eisenbach Gap; -5 Stock Car Championship Racing; -3 Age of Steam; -4 Atlantic Storm; -4 Risk; -4 Streets of Stalingrad; -3 Age of Steam; -3 Caylus; -3 Medici; -3 Tikal; -3 Win, Place & Show; -2 Auction; -2 Galaxy; -1 Gangsters.