Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WBC 2009

I was at WBC (World Boardgaming Championships) Thursday through Saturday in Lancaster, PA. It seemed to be as well attended as last year, one fewer person participating in the Britannia tournament, for example.

Some of the best Brit players tried out Barbaria (the dice version) and Frankia. These two games have elicited interest from publishers, perhaps I'll say more later.

I talked about getting into the game design business at a seminar that was surprisingly well attended, about 20 people. There were so many questions I didn't get very far into my spiel, but the slides and a recording from last year at Origins are on my Web site (

Don Greenwood (convention director) reports: "Attendance was up for the convention as a whole and that was reflected in tournament participation as well with 17 events drawing triple-digit participation and the average attendance for the 151 events increasing 2.3 to 49.4, buoyed by 230 players for Dominion and 220 for Ticket to Ride." That average is probably a mean, I often wonder what the median was in these kinds of stats.

In the Brit tournament, red did very well early on. Blue did poorly throughout. This is fascinating because, in playtesting before this edition was published, blue was best and red worst. And in a past year the wins were very, very even. In games with inexperienced players, red tends to do better, but there aren't many inexperienced players in the WBC Britannia tournament. There were lots of green-yellow deals that left the Welsh unscathed--a stronger opponent for red, and letting yellow charge northward to keep down the Picts. Perhaps that was part of blue's problem. OTOH I saw Mark Smith suffer in a game where all his opponents (he was Roman) refused to submit, even the Belgae! I wasn't able to stay for the final, but I ran into Jim Jordan at GenCon and he said Rick Kirchner (I hope I'm spelling that correctly) had won with green in a close three-way game. He also won his semifinal as green. Rick is a matter-of-fact fellow who doesn't try to BS anyone and just does his thing with a combination of cheerfulness and resignation (see quote below). He has no enemies. Green works well him because it is, most of the time, "on the sidelines", just trying to survive. In the semifinal, for example, Mark Smith and Nick Benedict (Nick was yellow, I cannot recall whether Mark was red or blue) wore each other out while Rick took advantage.

I finally remembered to count king survival in the four semifinal games: 3, 2, 2, and 1, out of the four candidates.

Some notes: Nick Benedict: "Use a scalpel, not a bludgeon." Rick Kirchner: "I'm fighting with butterknives!" (bad dice rolls in the semis). Scott Pfeiffer would like everybody to have boats all the time. This would make for a more interesting game thanks to increased mobility, but would not be historical at all.

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