An odd thing about the Boardgame Players Association - not necessarily bad, just odd - is that December is the month for membership registration for the upcoming year. For my part, the only reason I join BPA is that a sustaining membership provides admission to the World Boardgaming Championships and the opportunity to vote on the "trial events" that will be included as tournaments the following summer. So that means that among all the preparations for the winter solstice holidays, I take a little time to think about summertime gaming at WBC.
|The lobby of the Lancaster Host,|
which belies its age
So now, with just three years left on the BPA contract with the Lancaster Host, the question arises: Does the future of the WBC continue to include the Lancaster Host, or is it time to move on? Don poses the question in the form of a dilemma: Change of venue means change in WBC itself. Either it becomes smaller, or it becomes more expensive, or it becomes shorter, or ... something. There's no easy, coming-of-age, "hey, we're so big, now there are whole new options available to us" kind of obvious answer. Rather, WBC is so big, and the summer is so popular, that the BPA will have a hard time finding a large enough location for a long enough stretch in a popular enough time of year in an affordable enough facility. Hence the survey, so that BPA can get an idea which way the membership wants to go.
For my part, I just want to play games, and I don't want to spend an arm and a leg to go someplace and do it. To me, WBC is a great opportunity to play games I might not otherwise get to play, and to play my favorite games against some of the best competition in the country. It is also a terrific opportunity to hook up with designers and publishers and see prototype demos and show off my own designs. It's also a great excuse to stay up with my friends until 2 a.m. playing Citadels.
So I don't have a strong opinion about where WBC goes, so long as it is still affordable, not too far, and doesn't scare off the people I want to meet up with. I think BPA is doing a reasonable job testing the waters to see what options best satisfy the membership as a whole while recognizing that you can't please all of the gamers all of the time.
Historical Miniature Gaming Society, but I understand that over the last several years, they have made some controversial decisions in relocating their biggest convention, HistoriCon. This huge miniatures convention used to swamp the Lancaster Host with legions of gamers and vendors, far more than WBC. Years ago it was clear that it had simply outgrown its traditional site. I am told that its moves to Baltimore, then Valley Forge, and most recently Fredericksburg, have had considerably mixed responses among HMGS members. I suppose that's to be expected. I don't know how those moves were made or to what degree the HMGS board solicited membership input before making those strategic decisions, but I got the impression that many people were unhappy.
So my bottom line is that I'm glad BPA is making an effort to get a sense of where it's people's priorities are with plenty of time to make a contractual decision for the next era of WBC conventions. We'll see how things go. If they don't go too far north or west, I expect I'll continue to attend for the foreseeable future, no matter how long or short, how large or small. I just like to play games and meet people.