History — WBC 2012
Jan. 19, 2014

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In addition to the all-too-common economic storm clouds, WBC 2012 was hampered by unfavorable weather as the Host became the focal point of a tropical deluge of epic proportions. This, combined with a failure of the air conditioning in Lampeter, made for a challenging playing environment. Despite these setbacks, we again posted a small attendance increase, besting our one-year-old record by 2%. In all, nearly every state plus 17 nations sent participants in 2012 - led by no less than five Finns who threatened to run away with the Team Tournament in the early going. The record crowd was reflected in tournament participation with a matching 2% increase and no less than 22 events drawing triple-digit participation despite the toll taken by the faulty air conditioning which dropped Lampeter event participation by 11%. Those who braved the horrific conditions there to continue in those events were truly dedicated. The average attendance for the 150 events rose 1.0 to 56 players per event, buoyed by 200+ player fields for Liar's Dice, Lost Cities, Slapshot and Ticket to Ride. Open Gaming, which had reached new heights of popularity in 2011, drew harsher reviews this time as the AC failures sent refugees into the Showroom causing a shortage of tables at peak times.

Twelve WBC champions successfully defended their titles, but Bruce Beard was not among them. Bruce lost his perch atop the longest winning streak list when his seven-year reign in 18XX was ended by Spencer Hamblen. Spencer took just one day and a single qualifying preliminary heat to win the Pre-Con, arriving and departing on the Sunday before WBC began. Also missing his chance at longest streak immortality was next-in-line Jason Levine whose four-year reign with Formula De also came to an end. But Jason would find ample comfort in other events. Instead, top laurelist James Pei returned to King of the Hill status with his fourth straight For the People title and 11th in 12 years! Not even the return of the mighty Finn, Riku Riekkinen (the holder of the lone blemish on Pei's 12-year record) could prevent the ex-Caesar from reclaiming the longevity title. Alas, Riku was too busy winning Twilight Struggle for the anticipated rematch to occur.

Elsewhere, the fair sex lost market share again this year with just five ladies claiming titles in 2012 - down from six in 2011 and eight in 2010. Donna Balkan (RBN), Stephanie Kilroy (RDG), Mary Ellen Powers (LLM), Carolyn Strock (TAM) and Sarah Vasilakos (FMR) lorded it over the guys in their respective events. Multiple winners were scarce with only eight finding the winner's circle more than once compared to 20 in 2011. The aforementioned grieving Jason Levine led them with a homerun anology (LWL, POF, SJN, WPS) while defending Caesar Randy Buehler (SPB, AGE, T&T) and Nicholas Henning (AUT, MMA, P1S) both tripled for the second straight year. Buehler repeated as Caesar but he had a harder time of it, besting 2004 Caesar James Pei by a mere 10 laurels. And he was unable to deny Nicholas Henning a year as Consul with Nick's WBC wins total of 133 laurels topping Randy's 116. The two had finished 1-2 in 2011's Consul race also, but this year Nick prevented Randy's sweep of the titles.

Buehler also prevailed in the Team Tournament where he contributed 10 of his teams 23 points by winning Saint Petersburg as his Magic Men consortium bested EPGS' Four to Beam Up by three points. Cynical Stoics took third with 19 points while the Finnish Ski Patrol faded to 18 points and a fourth place finish in the field of 86 teams. It proved hard to predict as the usual prohibitive favorites finished well down the list. Andy Latto proved the best prognisticator by correctly identifying five of the Top Ten in our annual bracket busting contest.

At the other end of the title spectrum, 42 players won their first WBC championship (down from 46 in 2011 but still a major increase over the 31 in 2010) and 88 earned their first laurels. Brad Johnson and Peter Eldridge won free rooms as their reward for Best GM of the Year (Dune) and Sportsmanship (Battle Cry) in the other two annual awards of note.

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 which appers to be the average turnover. Losers outnumbered gainers 22:18 although the gains tended to be higher than the losses. Among events with at least a three-year track record, 18 raised their attendance bar by posting their own personal best entrant numbers for the past ten years. The other end of that spectrum saw 22 tournaments drop to new attendance lows for the past decade.

Zenith: Those setting new highwater marks for the last ten years were: +36 Ra; The Dice Game; +26 Lost Cities; +19 Ingenious; +18 Stone Age; +16 Through the Ages; +15 Thurn & Taxis; +14 Here I Stand; +13 Pirate's Cove; +9 Elchfest; +7 Liar's Dice; +6 Facts in Five; +5 Formula Motor Racing and 18XX; +4 Dune; +3 Ivanhoe, Lord of the Rings; The Confrontation, and Wellington; +2 Trans America.

Nadir: Those sinking to new lows for the past decade were: -11 Caylus; -7 Great Campaigns of ACW and Paths of Glory; -4 Battleline, Russia Besieged, Victory in the Pacific and War of the Ring; -3 Age of Steam, Auction and Manoevvre; -2 The Adventurers, Crusader Rex,, Galaxy, Medici and Titan Two; -1 Britannia, Euphrat & Tigris, Football Strategy, Hammer of the Scots, Squad Leader, Titan, Twilight Imperium and Wilderness War.

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