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Responsibilities (Dec. 2016)  

Relax. There’s nothing to be alarmed about. This is just an attempt to clarify any membership misconceptions that internet gossip tends to magnify.

WHO IS A MEMBER?  You are, if you joined the BPA during the current calendar year at any level or paid to attend this year’s WBC for more than a day. Why the distinction? Tax codes pertaining to our non-profit status require a certain percentage of our income to be generated from members…therefore, you are a member of the BPA if you care to partake in the WBC for more than a day.

DO I HAVE TO BE A BPA MEMBER TO ATTEND WBC?  Yes, but membership is included in your WBC admission fee so you pay nothing extra. If you are adamant about not being a BPA member you can attend as a Guest on a series of one-day badges but you’ll find those to be much more expensive than membership because we prefer members to guests. WBC IS a gaming conference for BPA members.

WHY SHOULD I WANT TO BE A BPA MEMBER?  Hopefully, because you want to support the hobby of competitive boardgaming and be a part of an organization that is run for boardgamers by boardgamers. For the less altruistic, you gain free admission to WBC with all levels of membership above Associate. And all levels of membership, including the least expensive (Associate), entitle you to participate in BPA PBeM tournaments begun in that calendar year.

VOTING  All levels of membership entitle you to vote in BPA elections and surveys.

WBC is the annual gaming conference and raison d’etre of the BPA—a non-profit social club corporation incorporated in the state of South Carolina and governed by its laws. It is run by a nine-member Board of Directors; three of which are elected annually to three-year terms. You, as a voting member, elect those Board members. They, in turn, hire or fire the Covention Director and make policy. Consequently, WBC should be—at least in theory—more directly responsive to the collective will of its attendees than privately-held conventions.

Political apathy is a common trait in the USA and it is mirrored by participation, or the lack thereof, in BPA elections. Board Elections barely draw. While this is understandable—most of us just come to game after all—it is not wise. That which we take for granted can be lost in an instant to a radical, vocal minority if we don’t all vote our collective mind. So, take a moment to vote for what you want the WBC to be. In the era of email it is truly easy to keep your organization stable and centered on the mainstream of its membership. Failure to do so may result in unwelcome changes to your organization for which you’ll have only yourself to blame. We need your vote.

Volunteer GMs: Remember that every GM is a volunteer giving time to provide you with a good event. Not one of them makes a dime doing so. Quite the contrary, they pay the same fees you do, and many go into their own pockets for expenses and supplemental prizes to further enhance their event for your benefit. That kind of effort deserves, if not your applause, at least your co-operation. So, before giving one a hard time, consider if you want to take their place. If the answer is no, then perhaps they are more qualified to run the event than you are to criticize it. After all, they volunteered—you didn’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t make suggestions, but there is a time and a place for everything. While the event is being run, GMs deserve your co-operation —whether you agree with them or not. Afterwards is the time to make your point about improvements. And if you have no beef, thank the GM or send positive comments to the convention director.

RESPONSIBILITY  Good sportsmanship is expected from all members at all times. As a member playing at WBC you have four basic rules to follow:

1. Be on Time. 
2. Bring a copy of any game you want to play. 
3. Observe and obey event classifications.
4. Restrict Open Gaming to designated areas and wear your WBC badge.

BE ON TIME  WBC cuts the red tape to a minimum. You need not purchase event tickets or stand in line to get them. We DO require you to be present on time with a copy of the game to be played for both preliminary and advanced rounds. That responsibility is yours—not the GMs. If you’re not there when a round starts, you don’t play. Wearing a watch at WBC is a good idea—and if you must be late, at least inform the GM beforehand.

BRING THE GAME  Our GMs are volunteers. They do not own dozens of copies of the game they run, nor should they be required to furnish them for you. If you don’t bring a copy, you have no right to complain if you are omitted. Obviously, many will play using someone else’s game—but if we all took that attitude, there wouldn’t be much to play, would there?

EVENT CLASSES  Each event has been rated either 
A (Advanced players only), 
(Beginners)—requiring having read the rules, played the game or participated in the scheduled demo, or 
C (Coached)—providing on the spot instruction.

The GM is expecting that level of expertise from the participants. If you have never played a game before, nor read its rules, nor attended the demo of how to play it, do NOT ask to be taught in a Level A or B event. The other players have entered it with the expectation of playing those with a similar experience level and should not be expected to sacrifice their time teaching you how to play. That sort of on-the-spot help is limited to C events whose GMs have made that commitment. Likewise, if you know how to play the game and have entered a C event, you must be prepared to help such a newcomer along.

OPEN GAMING  The World Boardgaming Championships, as the name suggests, is about competitive gaming. Consequently, tournaments get first crack at the available gaming space. We attempt to also cater to Open Gaming but we ask that you restrict such to the designated areas. Open Gaming in tournament areas is subject to ouster. Open Gaming at WBC is not free. This is a members-only conference. Do not ask those who pay their fair share to subsidize you by playing without a badge. Our security will question those not displaying badges. Don’t make us embarrass you. Always wear your badge while Open Gaming and refuse to play those who do not.

SPEED OF PLAY  Many are intimidated when entering a tournament for the first time. You shouldn’t be. If you’ve read the rules, or played the game, or even just attended a demo on how to play the game, all B and C events will welcome you with open arms. There is no shame in losing. The only way to get better is to get in there and play the game. However, the speed at which you play is another matter. If you are someone who ponders their moves to excess —such that the event time limit is inadequate to finish the game, then tournament play is not for you and Open Gaming is a better choice.

MATTERS OF COURTESY  Many enter tournaments as a form of organized Open Gaming with no thought of advancing beyond the first round. That is ok, but please inform the GM of that ASAP. In multi-player games, however, this goes a step further. It is rude and disruptive to abandon a position in mid-game due to the effect it has on other players. Such abandonment is cause for being banned from the event in the future.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE Those you play at WBC will tend to be the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. If your experience is similar to ours, you will make friends at WBC that will last a lifetime and it is those friendships that will bring you back every year for renewal. However, any gathering of a thousand people will attract at least a few who are having a bad day. If that happens, don’t just suffer in silence or wait till you get home to complain about it. Tell someone—be it your GM, the Reg Desk, or hotel security. Likewise, no one expects you to discipline someone else’s children, nor should you, but if you see kids engaging in dangerous behavior you should report it to someone whose job is to put a stop to it. Hotel security is on duty 24 hours a day and should be summoned to deal with any questionable behavior.

CHILD CARE Just as you don’t want others to discipline your children, neither should you allow them to infringe on other people’s good time. WBC goes to considerable lengths to be family friendly, but there are limits as to what other adults should be expected to endure in terms of distraction while concentrating on a game they have gone to considerable time and expense to play in pleasant surroundings. Just as kibitzing is not allowed in a tournament setting, neither are screaming infants nor out of control toddlers. In short, when bringing small children to WBC, please bring or employ adequate child care supervision. Do NOT bring small children to a tournament and expect your fellow competitors to grin and bear the resulting distraction. GMs have the right and obligation to disqualify any player accompanied by a small child requiring that player’s attention during the game.

COMPLAINTS  Lastly, don’t be an Internet bully. There is nothing quite as pathetic as someone who is bothered by an offense (real or imagined) during a game who does not call on the GM to intervene and instead just waits to announce on the Internet what a jerk his opponent was. While the writer may feel vindicated by attacking those who offended him, doing so in such a public forum without allowing them to respond, is blatant poor sportsmanship of the worst kind. If the behavior is such that it should be corrected, you owe it to the GM and the other players in the event to report it immediately and give the GM a chance to resolve the matter. Whether or not this resolves the problem, mounting your internet soapbox to engage in flame wars does no one any good, least of all, you.