GM of the Year
(last updated 11/8/05)

Past GMs of the Year | A GM’s Plea

As is our custom, every year we select one GM to single out as WBC’s GM of the Year. This year, however, we’ve changed the selection process and upped the ante. Heretofore, the honor was decided based on GM Ratings submitted by the players. Instead in 2005, the Convention Director nominated 12 GMs of Century events for the honor based on observations of the following criteria:

Each member of the Board of Directors — armed with the Convention Director’s detailed recommendations — then cast a weighted vote for each of the nominees for 12 points (most worthy) down to 1 point (least worthy) — thus ranking the 12 nominees from top to bottom using his/her own preferences as to the significance of each category. This results in a maximum possible score of 96 points and a minimum score of 12. The Convention Director does not vote unless needed as a tie-breaker.

We are pleased to award the Best GM honor for 2005 to John Sharp with a score of 84 based on two 1sts, two 2nds, three 3rds and a 5th. The Board seemingly followed the recommendations of the players as John received the most favorable comments from the public at large as expressed in the recommendations sent to the Board. John won the award as the GM of Victory in the Pacific which moved to a Pre-Con slot this year. John continues the 15 year-old tradition of a seven-round swiss sytem and administered it while playing only as an Eliminator. He also hosts his own web site for the tournament and emails post- and pre-con newsletters to interested players. As our GM of the Year, John will receive free lodging at next year’s WBC.

Finishing second in the voting was John Weber who garnered a score of 80 for hosting WBC’s largest tournament for the past three years, Puerto Rico. The Board’s eight 1st votes were split evenly among the top four nominees with two apiece. Finishing third with 70 points was Keith Wixson for Wilderness War. Fourth went to Bruno Sinigaglio with 62 points who hosted two Century events and helped with a third while covering for his absent son. The leader of the grognards ran Anzio, Queen’s Gambit and Bulge '81. The fifth spot went to Ken Nied for Breakout Normandy with 48 points. The last spot in the “Top Six” was split between first-time GM Ivan Lawson for Lost Cities and Don Chappelle for We The Peoplewith 46 points each.

Past GM of the Year Awards

Advanced Squad Leader
Russ Gifford - NE

Win, Place & Show
Jim Burnett - TN

Victory in the Pacific
Glenn Petroski - WI

March Madness
John Ellmann - MD

Great Campaigns ACW
Ken Lee - PA

1996 & 2001
David Terry - MD

Republic of Rome
Will Wible - VA

War At Sea
Bruce Monnin - OH

Bruno Wolff - WI

War At Sea
Vince Meconi - DE


Circus Maximus
John Jacoby - VA

Empire Builder
Chuck Foster - TX

Atlantic Storm
John Coussis - IL

Victory in the Pacific
John Sharp - FL

Prior to 2005 this award was based on GM ratings slips that all players were encouraged to complete and return to the Registration Desk or submit online up to 30 days after the convention. The intent was twofold — to give us an objective way of determining a winner, and more importantly, a means of feedback for the GMs. Players were encouraged to make anonymous comments that they might not otherwise communicate to the GM. The results were tabulated and returned to each GM so that he/she could reflect on the comments. While recognizing the shortcomings in such a system, we always worked on the theory that any feedback is better than none at all.

Only those Century group GMs with at least 10 entrants providing ratings were eligible for the Annual GM of the Year Award. Unfortunately, many people based their ratings on things outside a GM’s control — such as the room, the game itself, or events scheduled against it. Still others simply held a higher standard, so missing this group was no claim to shame. To protect GMs from the grousing of a poor sport, the lowest rating was tossed out for every multiple of ten ratings received. This was the best system we had to single someone out of a group of deserving GMs — and as similar to the Sportsmanship Award in that regard. We may not have actually always picked the “best” — but we certainly were honoring one of the best every year.

Despite our efforts to increase their use, it became increasingly difficult to get meaningful feedback for the ratings. Only 25% of Century events received the necessary minimum responses to be considered — presumably because only those GMs made a concentrated effort to distribute and collect the slips. Of those, 23 scored 9 or higher and seven scored a perfect 10. “Grade inflation” had rendered the numerical ratings nearly worthless and few raters took the time to make non-numeric comments explaining their ratings. Given the expense and effort of distributing, collecting, recording and returning these ratings, we felt our resources were better spent by going to the current, more subjective system to select our GM of the Year.

A GM’s Plea

So, Joe Gamer, you’ve read this far to appease your curiosity — please stay a little longer. Maybe you actually wanted to give something back to the hobby when you started reading this or maybe you were just curious what motivated people to be a GM in the first place. In either case, if you’ve decided not to join us — that’s fine, but please consider this the next time you argue with your GM, give feedback to the convention director about me, or even just sit down to play at my event…

Hi. I’m your GM. I want to pass on some thoughts.

I don’t consider my efforts perfect, by far. I know my failures and my shortcomings, especially the ones that aren’t readily evident to the players. They might not even really have any effect upon much of anything. But, I know. Don knows a few of them, not all, but I know the rest. Whatever the case, I know that every year I strive to improve and put on a better and better tournament.

Perhaps I’m too honest. More honest with myself than I should be. Perhaps I have overly-high expectations. Perhaps I’m a perfectionist. Perhaps I know what I could be doing, but I don’t because it takes too much time or too much energy. Perhaps it’s a combination of all these things.

Whatever the case, GMing is no sinecure. It’s a thankless job, difficult to do properly even with adequate preparation. And, difficult to even realize that preparation will dramatically improve the quality of the tournament. If I put forth even half the effort I put into just a single project that I do every week at work, my tournament would shine. As it is, I put as close to that half as I can possibly manage.

Other factors hit pretty hard, too. Every year I spend over $750 on the week, adding in food, gas, depreciation on my car, and hotel. This is not bad for almost a weeks’ vacation. However, when allocated over the time slots of the whole weekend it’s a hefty figure. Say, about $75 per average event slot. So, I basically spend $250 to GM my event. Add to that the fact that I give up playing in two or three other events in order to GM, and it’s sometimes tough to rationalize that.

Anyway, some of you have said “thanks”. Taking a moment to comment on my performance to the Convention Director. Coming up and saying how much you appreciated the effort. Putting up with the occasional guy who rubs you the wrong way. Or, just doing what you can to help out.

I just wanted to say it makes it all worthwhile. Thanks!

Boardgame Players Association Last updated 11/12/05 by kae.
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