Sunday, September 14, 2014

Video: Conventions - WBC 2014

 Text of slides:

“World Boardgaming Championships” (WBC)
Dr. Lewis Pulsipher

A National Tournament Convention
Annual for 30-some years (originally “Avalon Con”)
Lancaster, PA, early August
But beginning 2016 it will be near Somerset PA at Seven Springs Resort
Lancaster Host Hotel
1,700 attendees for up to a week
Auction, auction store, open gaming, vendors Fri-Sun, but mostly TOURNAMENTS
Strictly board and card games, no RPGs, no CCGs, no minis, no video games
Though there IS some Werewolf late at night . . .

Tournament Orientation
You pay single fee, play in as many tournaments as you can
Wargame tournaments, Euro tournaments (Ticket to Ride was the largest in 2014 at 115 entrants), “kids’ game” tournaments Liars Dice, Werewolf
It’s perhaps the last stronghold of old-time wargaming
35 was a good turnout for the Britannia tournament

Friendly Competition
Tournaments typically have several heats, and you don’t need to play every heat; but formats vary
Mostly-helpful players, but really skillful (“sharks”, as a friend calls them)
Some games are more affected by “sharks” (hard-core tournament players) than others
Many come to play games they cannot play at home
For lack of opponents or space or time
And of course, some games aren’t highly competitive to begin with – many non-wargames, for example

Why I Go
I go to talk with game publishers (some of whom don’t go to GenCon)
And to be with the Britannia guys (since I designed the game)
And to get a little prototype testing done by “grognards”
But I usually go only Thursday-Sunday
(Keep in mind, Sunday is “mostly dead” except for vendors, who pack up about noon)
See many of the same folks every year

Don Greenwood (“Mr. Avalon Hill”) runs this convention, he intends it to be family-friendly, and he succeeds.

Don himself has corrected some errors:  There were 303 in the Ticket to Ride tournament (I think I was remembering the PrezCon figure), the overall attendance this year was 2,000, and there were 159 tournaments plus 20 Juniors events.  (He also says the Euro tournaments are very competitive!)


DHBoggs said...

Seven Springs!?! I worked there for years.

Lewis Pulsipher said...

The Lancaster Host is in danger of going out of business, one reason for the move. The problem, I understand, is that 1,700 is too much for a hotel but not enough for a convention center.