|Why can’t new
games or Trials be voted into the Century any more?
2006 Century was selected entirely based on 2005 Player and player-hour
totals without culling 10% to be replaced by membership vote. Instead,
the annual membership event vote will select the 25 eligible events
to be retained as Continuing Trials. This change has been proposed
and debated for several years but only recently saw passage as part of
the compromise that expanded the Century with Legacy additions.
this compromise was not reached until after the Thanksgiving
weekend—necessitating a restatement of the 2006 Century list.
This change means that all new events must prove themselves first
as a Trial before being elevated to Century status based strictly
on their performance in the preceding year. It also means that no Century
event will attain that status without actually drawing a minimum
field in the preceding year.
How does an event earn Legacy status?
Legacy status is extended only to those events that have withstood the test
of time and proven that they can—year after year—draw consistently
satisfactory fields while honoring all BPA requirements and deadlines.
To be granted Legacy status, an event must:
- have met minimum standards of event fields and BPA requirements for ten years
- receive a 2/3 vote from the Board of directors
These standards must continue to be met in succeeding years.
Once an event fails to draw a minimum field or honor its GM obligations,
it loses its Legacy status.
Is WBC really
as contentious as one would think based on all the on line politic’ing
that takes place in your ConSimWorld folder?
It’s easy to get the wrong impression from Internet
flag waving. In reality, WBC is as cordial a setting as one could
ask for in which to play games. However, WBC is also unique in
that it is owned and governed by its members rather than by private
ownership that convenes behind locked doors to make policy. That
encourages members to whine and cajole for changes in policy that
they prefer but may be equally opposed by other members who are,
thus, encouraged to respond in kind. The resultant public airing
of “dirty laundry” often doesn’t exactly paint WBC in a favorable
light. Still, it occurs largely because the members feel
empowered to make changes that would not even be considered by
a privately-owned conference. In fact, much of what you read is
actually friendly ribbing between old friends moreso than serious
heated discussions, although we have our share of those too.
It is an unfortunate consequence
that our public folder is used as a platform for change because the members
know the Board reads it and stirring up controversy there is likely to get
the ear of the Board. A simple email to a Board member would often
accomplish as much without giving the conference a lasting image
in the public’s eye as the second coming of Peyton Place.
Will WBC expand to a full week?
and Yes. Our surveys show a clear majority of our attendees
favor the present six-day (Tuesday-Sunday) format for the main
festivities, which we will continue. However, counting Pre-Cons
and our Game Auction, WBC-related events currently run for nine
straight days, starting the weekend before WBC and extending into WBC
have enabled those who travel great distances to enjoy dedicated
play of longer events with fewer schedule conflicts and without
missing any of the normal hoopla that is WBC. Thus, they get a
bigger bang for their travel buck. 2006 will see the return of
the four previous Pre-Cons—ASL, Paths of Glory, Hannibal and Victory in the Pacific—as
well as two new offerings.
appeal to veteran wargamers by providing preliminary matches for
a host of traditional hex wargames using the Free Form Scheduling format.
Under the watchful eye of the original grognard himself—GM Bruno
Sinigaglio—players will be paired in qualifying games
of such old favorites as Anzio,
Gettysburg, Waterloo, Afrika Korps, Fortess Europa, Panzerblitz and Bulge ’81 from
Saturday thru Tuesday. On Tuesday, the events will continue under
the watchful eye of their own individual GMs, allowing those
arriving later in the week to participate and qualify normally
for the elimination rounds. Those participating earlier will
simply have more opportunities to qualify in more events or perhaps
free their schedules for something else later in the week.
left out the non-wargamers either. On Monday afternoon, WBC Sampler
with Attika, to be followed by Die Macher on
Tuesday morning. WBC Sampler Showcase
will also offer Demonstrations and organized play of 10 games
new to WBC in a Wild Card event format similar to the one used
at Euro Quest. Players will compete for free games and raffle
chances at a prize table. You can participate in all
three events with one WBC Sampler Showcase Pre-Con admission.
of all is that despite rising costs, WBC has not only held the
line on prices but actually lowered them for those contemplating the
full week by making all Pre-Cons free to those with a Tribune membership.
Given its admitted emphasis on gaming over commercialism,
will WBC expand its Vendor presence at the cost of more gaming space?
major consideration in moving WBC to the Lancaster Host was providing
greater Vendor presence in a larger, more secure Vendor room.
The initial year at the Host was encouraging with our greatest
Vendor presence ever. Yet, gaming space
did not take a hit, because our meeting space likewise expanded—enough
to dedicate an entire Ballroom to Open Gaming. There is still more space to be
had at Host, so further expansion of the Vendor area poses no risk to gaming
space. In any case, WBC will remain true to its original mission—providing
the best competitive forum for the play of games. Will the future see
even more publishers/vendors at WBC? Only time will tell, but we certainly have
room for and are anticipating an expanded Vendor presence.
Vendors open throughout WBC instead of only the final three days?
prefer not to expand their hours. Sales for a six-day show
would only be marginally better than that for a three-day stay
but their expenses and time commitment would double. If they had
to man sales tables for the full week, some would opt not to attend.
So the Vendor area will remain open only for the final three days
of the show when attendance and sales are the highest. However,
we will continue to have a retail presence throughout the show
with a sole distributor of many lines for the early days.
|Why did WBC move to a less accessible site in Lancaster?
were many reasons, but increased space and greater affordability
were the prime motivators for the change in site. The Host is also
a far more family-friendly destination, offering a
wide option of vacation diversions for “significant others” who
don’t play boardgames. For most attendees arriving by car, there
is little or no added travel burden. For some, there is less. Air
travellers are the most affected, and for those whose flight
connections to Philadelphia are better than they are to BWI and
who rent a car anyway, are better off. (See the travel
tips on our hotel page.) The difference in room rates more
than compensates added travel costs for most attendees.
is WBC always the first week of August?
just can’t pick up the phone and make a hotel reservation. Our
six-figure contracts are negotiated years in advance and are based
on the availability of a particular time slot at a facility. Most facilities
large enough to accommodate us are already booked years in advance, except for
a few major convention
centers, where the costs soar correspondingly. In any case, every week
is inconvenient for someone, and the first week of August has become WBC week
on the calendars of many of our regulars.
you send us a program in the mail?
mail programs to anyone who is a member by June 1 and
resides in the United States. Our programs are not cheap or light
to mail. The cost to produce and deliver one exceeds an Associate
yearly dues, but we send them anyway. Further, far too many
programs are left at home and replaced
on site. Every year we produce
more programs than we have attendees, yet we run out of programs
before the convention ends.
|Why does the Team Tournament force you to pick a single
game rather than recording the results of all the events you play?
being much more work, it would be very unfair to those who play long
games and get fewer opportunities to score. Even if the points were weighted
for player hours, it wouild unbalance the competition by making the winner
of the long events worth far too much. The current system works and has
the added benefit of increasing the likelihood of upsets, as evidenced
by the fact that no team has ever repeated.
|Will there be a Flea
Market in WBC’s near future?
The subject did not fare well in our last survey, and we do not want to detract
from the auction, which has been very successful. We may experiment
with an auction store during the auction on Tuesday.
of the auction, why aren’t the offerings categorized
into different themes so someone could attend only the sessions of
auction staff is always looking for ways to improve the auction.
However, the problem with using themes is that sellers may not
be able to arrive at the right time to deliver their lots for a
|Now that you have more
room, why can’t the number of events
space is only one of the resources required to run events. There
are many reasons to limit the number of events, but the best is
hard to argue with—a shortage of qualified GMs. As long as we
have to ask dozens of GMs to run more than one event because we
don't have enough volunteers to run existing events,
requests for expansion are likely to fall on deaf ears.
|Why don’t you
reward the GMs with free admission to entice more volunteers?
believe that volunteers
who do run tournaments for love of the game do a better job than
those who are enticed solely by the prospect of saving a few dollars.
Our Convention Director has been running gaming conventions for
more than 30 years and has tried it both ways. There is no comparison
in the quality of what you get using the two systems.
not pay professional referees the way bridge tournaments do?
starters, it would bankrupt us—assuming
we could find professional referees who are knowledgeable about our games yet
want to play them. Further, the analogy is even weaker
than an apples and oranges comparison. There is a huge difference
between finding officials for a generic game with one set of rules
played by millions and finding someone who is knowledgeable about
150 games—all with different rules and more
involved and less universally accepted than bridge—when, in most
cases, any of these games has a maximum audience of a few
thousand people in most cases.
to a quota system to ensure that wargames are not replaced by Euros?
after we do that, we’d
have to create one to ensure that Euros are not replaced by wargames.
Any quota system would be constantly second guessed and criticized
depending on which side of the aisle you’re
on. We have a hard time deciding which complaint is
the more frequent—the one that we have too many wargames at
the expense of Euros or that one that we have too many Euros at
the expense of wargames. All of which suggests to us that the current
system is working just fine, especially since the only complaint
we hear more often is that there is not enough time to play all
the possible choices.
you’ve reversed your stand on auctions, will you similarly reverse your
stand on seminars?
Host’s Hopewell room
certainly provides us the ideal facility for seminars. The problem
is finding speakers and audiences. WBC embraces the play of the
games, and that is tough competition for seminars.
category did not drum up much support on the recent survey,
we are not adverse to letting someone try their hand at gathering
you be starting a free lending library for games at WBC?
The Board considered it but decided the negatives outweighed the
positives. We will continue to stock such a resource for the Juniors.
The Host has been criticized as not being very accessible to the handicapped. What will you do about that?
year we limited our meeting space to rooms that were handicapped
accessible. Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot we can do. Certainly
the hotel will not make millions of dollars in renovations
just because we ask.* In 2006, we will be expanding
our meeting space at the Host. This new space will NOT have
handicapped access. The Junior’s room will be moving upstairs
to the Heritage Room, and we will make use of Strasburg. Both require negotiating
a few stairs. Anyone who needs access to such spaces will have to plan accordingly.
We will accommodate attendees to the extent possible if we have advanced notice.
has acquired the Host and will be investing in major renovations.
Exactly what form these renovations will take is unknown at the
|What other space arrangements are in the works?
Jay was too crowded last year, so the B Demo tables will probably
be moved to either the Paradise Assembly or Ballroom A. Sponsor
tables will be reclassified as Exhibitor Tables, repriced and
moved to Lampeter Hall or the Ballroom Foyer for increased traffic.
The Kiosk displays will be moved to either Marietta Hallway or Paradise
Assembly. Renovation plans for Paradise may impact this decision.
|Why is BPA spending $10,000 on tables for Host?
Host’s table inventory is inadequate to provide our members with
the number and types of tables our members prefer for their
gaming, we have three choices: rent tables, buy them, or play with tables that
are not ideal. Rental tables are not inexpensive and are often poor quality.
Plus, we pay for them over
and over again each year. Since we will be at the Host for at least the next
five years, outright purchase seems a good investment given the terms of the
|Can you get more of those oval tables?
Those tables are no longer made. The Host could sell their used
ones for $500 apiece. We expect to purchase a mixture
of round and rectangular tables to accommodate our needs.
there be any changes in food service?
of the food service at Host were mixed, but food was generally
considered an improvement over past WBCs. We have
convinced the Pennsylvania Dutch that we’re not really big on
sauerkraut, so that is gone, replaced by a
pizza night. We expect to add a food station to the one in the
Ballroom Foyer. The new station willl likely be located in
Lampeter Hall. At sometime in the future, we might add
a buffet on Monday night for early arrivals.
Why aren’t the Board elections held at WBC? Doesn’t
that disenfranchise anyone who registers at the door?
BPA board members are not all local to each other, the only place
they can conduct live business is at WBC. Consequently, we need
to know who will be sitting on the new Board before the convention
begins. Another advantage of postal and e-mail balloting conducting
during the months before WBC is that it is more secure—it can
be monitored closely enough to guard against ballot box tinkering.
Recent elections have thus far attracted just as many
voters as the prior live elections.
|Why are members’ votes
weighted differently instead of treated equally?
is accepted practice for social clubs
and corporations. It helps raise the necessary revenues
to pay the bills and provides greater opportunity for those who are committed
to be more involved in the decision-making process. In addition, it protects
the interests of the founding members without whose initial contributions the
organization would not have gotten off the ground. It would be every bit as unfair
to those founding members to have their interests subordinated to those of newer
members making lesser contributions by following a one member, one vote policy.
|Why did the Prize level for my event go down even though
the number of entrants remained the same or even increased?
apparent prize discrepancies occur as a result scheduling incentives
being enacted or withdrawn or playing times being corrected to
more accurate numbers. In the past, GM-specified playing times for some events
artificially inflated Player Hours. We now try to better
reflect actual average playing times in player hours calculations.
Prior to 2006, Century events received a one level increase if
the GM allowed BPA to schedule the event rather than specifying
a schedule. This incentive was intended to reduce conflicts
and enable us to use the convention meeting space more efficiently.
use has been abandoned, as we can now adjust the
Trial event schedule, as needed.
|Why doesn’t the
BPA membership year run from one WBC till the next instead of by calendar
year so people could pay for the next year as they leave WBC?
are many reasons for our policy of using the calendar year. Most
important is that the newly-elected Board needs time
to assess the finances of the organization before setting prices
for the following year. Since our fiscal year ends months after
WBC, we are not in a position to determine prices for the coming
year so fast. In truth, we feel rushed meeting the deadline for
the December membership drive. Besides, most people postpone their
decision to join until the next WBC draws near—even though
it is more costly for them to do so.
the practise of penalizing an event for a GM’s failure to
comply with regulations unfair to its players?
For years we used the philosphy that it was wrong to penalize the
players of an event for a GM’s failure to comply with his
obligations. That accomplished nothing in terms of getting universal
compliance from GMs. We could eliminate event writeups and
a Yearbook due to the difficulty of obtaining universal compliance;
however, the Board wishes to continue the Yearbook. We can’t
have the Yearbook without the writeups. We can’t have the
writeups without a rule requiring them from the GM. We can’t
have rules that we don’t enforce—and therefore, are
not respected. Experience has proven that past policies were not
respected. Therefore, we come to the present policy.
no longer respect the opinion that the players of a non-complying
event are innocent. For an event to have featured
status at WBC, it should live up to what it promises—including
event Previews and After Action reports. If it doesn’t,
the event doesn’t deserve featured status. If an event
cannot generate a GM willing to comply with those requirements,
then it should surrender its place to an event that does. Period.
In other words, there is no such thing as an innocent player.
A player who has not stepped up to run the event is just as guilty
as the GM who did and failed to complete one of the requirements.
Probably moreso—at least the GM did some of the requirements
that enabled the event to take place. The player did none.
fully understand that life intervenes and other things become
more important. We also agree that, in some cases, GMs have
excellent excuses as to why they could not comply. For our purposes,
it does not matter. An event that has not complied, places a
hardship on the rest—the weakest link in a chain theory—and
should be dismissed from elite status as a consequence. This penalty
is not intended to penalize the offending GM. Rather, it is
intended to bolster the status of all Century events by proving
that we enforce our standards. Century events involve both privileges
and requirements. Note
that any event that is given Legacy status will be immediately
dropped if the GM does not honor his or her obligations.
do you allow “casual
be counted in tournament fields?
would you prevent it…give each entrant a polygraph test? There
has been much noise on the discussion boards about what constitutes
a legal tournament entry and the practice of some GMs who pad their
entrant numbers by adding players who do not actually play in their
event. Just as the perception of cheating is much more widespread
than cheating itself, so too is the practice of padding.
we’re overdue to define what constitutes padding.
does not mean only counting entrants who are there for
a chance to earn wood and who, at the outset, have a chance to
do so. A portion of every event’s field, especially newer
multi-player games, includes entrants who are there only for a
chance to play the game, maybe for the first time. These players
simply use our schedule as a convenient way to do Open Gaming.
There is no practical way to weed such people out or to be concerned
about whether they are true competitors or not. (We do ask that
such people inform the GM of their intent to drop out, win or
lose.) Further, since we accept non-competitors as entrants at
the beginning of an event, there seems little reason to bar late
entrants. Neither has a chance to win the event, but we accept
them as “entrants” as long as they have actually signed
up with the GM and played the event with another official player
in the tournament area. It might not be a shining example of competition
at its best, but it is legal. No need to snicker about it.
occur when GMs pad their numbers by recruiting people to play
fictitious or forfeit token “games”. When this happens,
we want to hear about it. This is cheating of the very worst kind
and will be dealt with accordingly. Should someone ask you to
take part in such a hoax or use your name as an entrant without
your consent, you should report it to us. To be clear; playing
a game in an event against other duly entered players makes you
an entrant whether you care to advance or not. Conversely, if
you win such a game, you are expected to report it rather than
deferring to an opponent so that he or she can advance in your
place. Your lack of desire to advance does not grant you the right
to dispense byes to your opponent.
was my event expelled from the Century even though attendance increased
and it had more players than other events that were retained?
set number of players or player-hours qualifies an event for Century
status. All events are measured in relation to other events—only
the top 100 events as determined by the Century formula return each
year. Legacy status is extended—by Board vote—only to
those events that have withstood the test of time and proven that
consistently satisfactory fields while honoring all BPA requirements
and deadlines. Others may be voted Trial status. Thus, if you’re
looking for a “magic
entrants that guarantees inclusion every year, you’re out
of luck—it doesn’t exist. Moreover, the criteria for
multi-player games are different than those for two-player games.
are Continuing Trials determined only by those
joining in December every year? Isn’t that unfair to those
As a practical matter, the decision of what events to run has to
be made sufficiently early to enlist GMs, prepare websites, programs,
kiosks, and plaques. Such things don’t happen overnight. As
for walk-ons, they do get a say—they “vote with their feet” by
participating in the events of their choice, allowing those events
to accumulate enough players and player hours to qualify for the
Century the following year. And if they are not able to support
the convention with their early commitment for the following year
by participating in the December Membership Games survey, it is
not a stretch to say that they shouldn’t be determining the
games to be played by those who are. It’s a very simple concept.
Everyone in the prior year determines the next Century by their
attendance. Limiting the selection of Continuing Trials to those
dedicated enough to commit to attending the event seems an eminently