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. The 2002 Board election barely drew
15% of the eligible voters. 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.
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
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.
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),
B (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.
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.
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.