Thursday, March 14, 2013

WBC Orphan Events

Tomorrow is the final deadline to get an event running for this year's World Boardgaming Championships. The voting and such has all finished and the 151 events have all been chosen. The problem is some of the events don't currently have a gamemaster. If no one steps up to GM those events by tomorrow the event will get cancelled (and replaced by a game from a waiting list). I haven't paid attention to previous years so I don't know just how many last minute GMs they manage to find but there are currently 9 games without a GM: Carcassonne, Commands & Colours Ancients, Commands & Colours Napoleonics, A Few Acres of Snow, A House Divided, Manoeuvre, Stone Age, Cavemen Quest For Fire, and Copycat.

Most of those are games I wouldn't play, so if they got kicked out and a new trial came in to replace them it really wouldn't be the end of the world for me. A Few Acres of Snow, on the other hand, may be a big deal. It's not a stretch to say that it's my favourite game on Yucata. I've only played one game more than it, and that's the very fast game Roll Through The Ages. I've played it the third most times of anyone on the site. I won the event last year at WBC and had every intention of coming back for a repeat performance. It may just be ego talking but I'd like to think I really am the best at this game and I may dream of having a shot at getting onto the 'longest current championship streak' box on the WBC stats page. That can only happen as long as the event keeps being run at WBC and if no one steps up in the next day that's not going to happen.

I took a look through newsletters in years past to see if events often get dropped. In 2012 there were 46 potential orphans but they weren't listed so I can't check to see if any actually got dropped. In 2011 with one week to go there were 34 events in danger of getting dropped. All but one of them got picked up. 1960 was the lone casualty. In 2010 there were 21 events in danger with one week to go and three of them (Monty's Gamble, Nuclear War, War of 1812) got dropped. 2009 had 25 potential orphans with 10 days to go. Three of those events (Battlelords, Vinci, and Diplomacy) got cancelled. For some reason I'd thought Diplomacy disappeared because it didn't get voted in. Apparently it got voted in but no one stepped up to GM it and it ended up languishing as not an event for 3 years.

There are three solutions to this problem that I see. I can cross my fingers and hope someone steps up in the next day (accepting that the event probably doesn't happen), I can try to badger someone else into GMing it, or I can volunteer to GM it myself. The second option is included mostly for completeness since I don't really know many people who want to GM things in general and don't actually know anyone else who's going that even knows the rules of the game.

GMing it myself sounds almost reasonable. This will be my 7th year at WBC and maybe it would be a good thing to give back a little. Strikes against would be the perceived impropriety of winning my own event, the lack of potential assistant GMs, and the fact I'd probably do a pretty terrible job. I'd think I'd be fine with logistics and reporting (even though I was told I could submit a Lord of the Rings event recap and didn't) but I hate dealing with people. I really like being able to just walk away if just being around people starts to bother me, and I can't do that if I'm the one in charge.

Pluses in favour would be that I'd ensure the event I most want to play actually gets run. I used to run/judge Magic tournaments back in high school and they didn't go too terribly. A Few Acres of Snow also has the advantage of being fairly short and I'd want to be there the whole time anyway if I was going to win, so it wouldn't actually be too big of a time imposition. Having to run a demo would be the biggest time problem, and I could always make it an A event if I was really against a demo. But I think demos are good in general, especially if you're trying to keep a game in the Century.

I feel like if I'm ever going to try GMing something, this is the one to try. Screw perceptions of impropriety. I will GM my own team game and win it if I have to! The optimal outcome would certainly be to have someone else GM it, but looking at the numbers it seems having an event get cancelled is a very real possibility and I don't know that A Few Acres of Snow is popular enough to get saved. I never would have thought something like Diplomacy would fail to get a GM so nothing is safe! I'd probably even take a 75% chance that someone else would GM it, but at this point I'm feeling like the odds are more like 10% that it gets saved without me and that's not cool. I can probably just sign some subset of Robb, Pounder, and Andrew up as assistant GMs, I'm sure they won't mind... 8P

1 comment:

Robb said...

Assistant GMs have basically one job - make a ruling in the case where the GM is involved in the game (A Few Acres probably needs 2 AGMs, in case the GM is playing against an AGM). Since I only kinda know rules, and have the impression that the game is broken (somehow..), it's not high on my list of things to learn.. and also, I hear the game is broken, so I'm not convinced it should be an event :p. That said, if you really need me to learn the game so that I can beat you in your team event, I probably will (assuming no relevant conflicts) - but if I were you I'd hit up other people who are interested in the game first. You can probably also get away with deputizing two people at the start of the event if you really have to. If in doubt, submit the form first, change the names of the AGMs later.