Friday, July 26, 2013

Departing for WBC

This year's iteration of the World Boardgaming Championships starts tomorrow down in sweltering Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I sure hope they've gotten the air conditioning working since last year! Everyone seems to be getting excited about going. For some of my friends this is the best week of the year. I even bet Andrew, who has never gone and isn't going this year, is excited. I should be, but I'm not. What I'm feeling is better described as dread. Maybe that's because I'm unemployed right now so I don't desperately need a vacation like I would have the last few years? Maybe it's because I have other things I could be doing this weekend? More likely, I think, is that I have to GM an event at WBC and it's freaking me out.

It's easy to say everything will work out just fine, and things will be better because they have one more quasi-competent volunteer. That may even be true. If I end up making someone unhappy with the job I do, who cares? Easy to say. But I'll care. And I'm not set up properly to get things done. My big worry is that I don't have the infrastructure in place to really let myself play in the event along with GMing it. I have no assistant GMs, and I don't know anyone who intends to play the game or even knows the rules. I've been pretty vocal in my belief that the game isn't balanced and that's kept most of my friends from wanting to play the game. Couple that with the fact it's running opposite Through The Ages, a game my friends do want to play. And that the event is single elimination, so optimally the assistant GM would have to stand around for many hours while the whole thing plays out even if they themselves were eliminated. So the plan, if you can call it that, is to hope I can sweet talk some of the people who show up into being assistant GMs for me. But I'm no good at talking to people at the best of times, especially to people I don't know. Hence, getting freaked out.

Rationally I understand that there probably won't be a rules dispute in one of my games. And if there is, it'll be solved by looking the rule up in the book. That's what I had to do last year when the GM of the event didn't really know the rules all that well. I'm pretty sure there was just one person who'd really played enough to answer rules questions last year, and that was me. I'm not sure anyone will be this year, since I hadn't played a game of A Few Acres of Snow in probably 9 months before this week when I started a few up on Yucata to shake the rust off. But you need the illusion of impartiality, hence why if the GM wants to play in an event they need to get assistants to make the unbiased ruling. Having someone else point at the rulebook just looks better than having me point at the rulebook.

Maybe the answer is to just not play at all. Chalk this experiment up as a mistake, avoid playing in my own event, and learn for next year. I'll still have the rest of the week to relax and maybe win things.

At any rate, I'm about to depart for the bus terminal in Toronto, where I will take a bus to Kitchener, where I will spend the night at Pounder's place before he drives down to the states tomorrow. Woo?

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