Get out the Vote(results): WBC 2005 -AKA- Endangered Species at WBC
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As was mentioned in my sister geeklist about the most popular events at WBC 2004, the World Boardgaming Championship convention is a great place to play the sorts of games that most members of the BGG community adore. It's not the stodgy old male-dominated venue for wargames and the ultra-competitive geeks that many of you think it is. It's a place where you can play dozens and dozens of modern boardgames and, as an aside, you can also squeeze in a wargame or two if that's your bag.

But every year, the powers that be choose 90 events from the previous year (supposedly the most popular) and they are held over for inclusion in the next year's convention lineup. Then, a poll is taken where all pre-paid members (those who pay and vote before Dec 31, 2004) determine an additional 35 events that will be run at the upcoming WBC. That rounds out the field with 125 tournaments.

Well, for those of you who don't hang out in the WBC circles, that means that many deserving games need your help. Each person who fills out their membership and mails it in by the end of this month gets to vote for 10 games they want to see added to the lineup in 2005. Plenty of games are already assured tournaments for next year, but the games below are not going to have an event without your help.

Tournaments from years past that were not tremendously popular are already lsited on the official "ballot" and will likely get several votes. But also, deserving newer games that have never been run at WBC are good choices to vote for. So, if you're at all interested in attending, join now (www.boardgamers.org) and vote for your favorites to be added in 2005.

Listed below are candidates for inclusion in the WBC 2005, pending membership vote. For each entry, I've included last year's participation level in parentheses along with a note as to how long that game has been offered at the WBC. Entries number 2 and on are endangered species at WBC and will essentially disappear if they don't get voted in now. The first entry below lists some of the recent popular games that have never been offered at WBC (these are "write in" candidates on the ballot).

Addendum: 1/11/2005. The vote totals are out on the Web now and the results are not all that shocking. Over 200 different games received at least one vote to be in the WBC's roster this year. But only the top 35 are invited into the fold (along with the 90 carryover events).

And how many new games were included in that list of 35? Three.

Yep, just three new titles are on the slate for WBC 2005. St. Petersburg, Sword of Rome, and Pirate's Cove. The other 32 titles are all previous failures (not drawing enough attendance to be carried over from 2004 to 2005).

Alas.

Below, I'll update the listings with a few notes about the voting results.
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1. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:229]
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St. Petersburg (N/A) 0 years

This slot represents all the games that have never been offered at WBC and are therefore available to be voted into the convention as a full-fledged tournament.

Some highly-rated BGG games that NEED YOUR VOTE to be run at WBC 2005 [1/11--votes are shown below, along with ranking in the top 64, ranking below 35th means that the event will not likely be held again at WBC]:

Note that most of these fine games didn't even make a blip on the WBC RADAR. That crowd really must be stuck in the past.

Atlantic Star/ShowManager/Premier [less than 10 votes]
Blokus [less than 10 votes]
Domaine [less than 10 votes]
Duel of Ages [less than 10 votes]
Edel Stein & Reich [less than 10 votes]
Einfach Genial [less than 10 votes]
Game of Thrones [less than 10 votes]
Hansa [less than 10 votes]
HeroScape [less than 10 votes]
Industria [less than 10 votes]
Lock 'n Load [less than 10 votes]
Maharaja [less than 10 votes]
Oasis [less than 10 votes]
Princes of the Renaissance [less than 10 votes]
San Marco [less than 10 votes]
Santiago [less than 10 votes]
St. Petersburg [200 votes--4th place]
Time's Up [16 votes--56th place]
Traumfabrik [less than 10 votes]
War of the Ring [19 votes--54th place]
YINSH [less than 10 votes]

Here are some recent games that are already in the WBC 2005 lineup and therefore DO NOT need your votes :
Alhambra
Amun Re
Attika
Goa
Liberty
Memoir '44
Power Grid
Puerto Rico
San Juan
Ticket to Ride
 
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2. Board Game: Colossal Arena [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:752]
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Titan: Arena (63) 8 years

1/11: 155 votes--8th place (ugh)

This game has been run for 8 years and draws good crowds. But because it's a short game and has a flexible schedule, it is not deemed to be a "premier" event and must be voted back in or go away forever.
 
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3. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
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Lost Cities (60) 5 years

1/11: 243 votes--1st place (surprising choice for the most desired (re)addition to the WBC).

Like Titan: Arena, this game draws huge numbers (60 people to play in a Lost Cities tournament!). But it's not a long wargame where you're forced to play tons of hands to advance, so it is not considered worthy without membership votes.
 
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4. Board Game: Ace of Aces: Handy Rotary Series [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:1508]
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Ace of Aces (48) 1 year

1/11: 142 votes--12th place (well attended last year, but extremely short and so long out of print that I'm amazed there's such a fervent following)

This was run as a fun little diversion in 2004. Players could identify other tournament foes by buttons given out by the GM. You see someone on your way to lunch or the bathroom and say "hey, want to have a dogfight" and, voila, you play a 5 minute "game." Forty-eight people flew hundreds of missions and had a lot of fun. But the extremely short duration cost this event dearly and it's on the endangered species list.
 
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5. Board Game: Elk Fest [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:2488]
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Elchfest (48) 4 years

1/11: 97 votes--26th place (Dan Dolan fights hard to get this voted in each year)

Dan Dolan has been running this finger-flicking moose game for four years, with large turnout every year. But it too is short and therefore the board of directors has placed it on the chopping block, unless voters save it in time.
 
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6. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:893]
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TransAmerica (44) 1 year

1/11: 126 votes--18th place (had a decent showing last year and gets a chance again)

TransAmerica should have been run in 2003, but didn't get a GM in time. So its first outing was last year and it suffered at the hands of a much better short train game (Ticket to Ride). I'm not sure this one really should return, but if it's one of your favs, by all means give it a vote.
 
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7. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:179]
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Battle Line (44) 4 years

1/11: 236 votes--3rd place (short games are outcasts at WBC, so this one has to be voted in every year; and the masses have spoken)

Every year, this game draws decent numbers and is tossed to the wolves and every year the membership votes it back in. Will that happen again?
 
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8. Board Game: High-Bid [Average Rating:5.78 Overall Rank:8241]
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Auction (42) 12 years

1/11: 127 votes--17th place (just keeps coming back year after year)

Like Battle Line, this one keeps getting voted back into the convention. And it deserves to be there. After all, it's been a stalwart of the WBC for a dozen years. Yet, if it doesn't get into the top 35 vote-getters this year, it'll be history.
 
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9. Board Game: March Madness [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:7527]
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March Madness (42) 13 years

1/11: 170 votes--7th place (this one has a large following, so I'm not surprised it cracked the top 10)

March Madness has always been at the WBC. In its heyday, it would draw well over 60 players, but it's fallen on hard times lately. Mostly, that's because it's a sports game and out of print, two attributes that kill off WBC items quickly. But if you're a sports gamer, you may want to cast your vote for this venerable title.
 
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10. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:114]
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Age of Steam (34) 1 year

1/11: 118 votes--21st place (I would have expected a higher ranking)

Age of Steam appeared last year and drew 34 players. I'm not sure why it wasn't retained, because it's not a short game, and the director and board favor long games to short ones when making the cuts each year. This one will surely get some votes to return.
 
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11. Board Game: Winner's Circle [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:678]
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Royal Turf (34) 1 year

1/11: 135 votes--13th place (this after the GM lobbied to let it die; those WBC voters are a stubborn bunch )

Royal Turf was run for the first time last year and drew as well as Age of Steam, but it's so short that the "commitment" required of the players is considered too small to be worthy of inclusion next year. Unless, of course, you vote for it.
 
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12. Board Game: Web of Power [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:508]
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Web of Power (32) 1 year

1/11: 98 votes--25th place (eating up a precious space that could be used for a better game )

2004 was a watershed year for new Euro titles with short playing times. As a result, many of them drew well, but not well enough to thrive. If you like this game, cast your vote its way and it may well return. Otherwise, outa here!
 
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13. Board Game: Facts in Five [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:3768]
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Facts in Five (31) 12 years

1/11: 59 votes--43rd place (looks like a WBC stalwart bites the dust)

I started this event back twelve years ago and was, naturally, poo-poohed by the management at Avalon Hill. A party game? At a serious wargaming convention? You must be kidding! Well, the joke's on them, as this has always drawn well and the convention is no longer a wargaming convention (thankfully). But this is a one-hour event and as a result, it has to be voted back into existence. If people don't want this game too return, maybe they'll cast a vote for Time's Up and we'll have the dawning of a new era of party gaming at WBC.
 
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14. Board Game: Mystery of the Abbey [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1075]
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Mystery of the Abbey (31) 2 years

1/11: 85 votes--28th place (if they can muster a GM)

Days of Wonder pushed this game hard in 2003 and it drew outstanding numbers. This past year, they were focusing on Memoir '44 and Ticket to Ride and this game was left behind. If enough people like chaotic logic games, it may well be voted back in. If not, the Abbey will close forever.
 
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15. Board Game: Wrasslin' [Average Rating:5.92 Overall Rank:6057]
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Wrasslin': Battle Royale (25) 14 years and Wrasslin' (18) 14 years

1/11: 45 votes--47th place and 83 votes--31st place (funny, I'd have thought the battle royale would be more popular than the vanilla event)

Yep, there has always been a pair of Wrasslin' events at the WBC--the standard event and the "Battle Royale." Never was my cup of tea (played the game once), but there is a contingent who enjoys this zaniness. If you're in that group, you'll have to vote it back in.
 
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16. Board Game: Mexica [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:513]
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Mexica (23) 3 years

1/11: 65 votes--41st place (no great loss there)

Mexica has struggled for three years, well behind bigger sibling Tikal. I don't know that it really needs to be in the mix at WBC, but then again, I'm not a huge fan of it. For those who are big fans, they'll have to rally the people to get it voted back in.
 
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17. Board Game: Tyranno Ex [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:3447]
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Tyranno Ex (23) 13 years

1/11: 88 votes--27th place (gets a 14th year nod)

Another long-standing WBC tradition is Tyranno Ex. It has been allowed to hang around because it takes so darn long to play that it accumulates enough ass-hours to qualify for retention. But now that there are 150 events each year, a game that draws only 23 people, even if they're willing to sit for 4 hours at a pop, isn't considered conworthy. If you consider it worthy, throw it a vote.
 
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18. Board Game: Sports Illustrated Baseball [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:4431]
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Superstar Baseball (22) 13 years

1/11: 75 votes--35th place (the last placeholder in the quest for continuance at the WBC; guess I'll be returning to GM again).

In 1991, I wrote to Don Greenwood (convention director, then VP at Avalon Hill) and offered to run this event. He replied that the game "plays itself" and wouldn't do well and would I consider running Statis-Pro Baseball instead. I held firm and stuck with this wonderful game. Just before the con, I got a note from him in the mail saying that only two people had pre-registered for the game (pre-registration wasn't required but was encouraged to allow GMs to prepare; that practice has been discontinued). Well, we had two dozen show up to play that year and it's been a perennial ever since. But this perennial will fade without membership votes.
 
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19. Board Game: Santa Fe Rails [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1844]
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Santa Fe Rails (22) 2 years

1/11: 115 votes--22nd place (glad to see this one returning)

This is a fine event hosted by Andy Lewis. He knows how to run a tournament--single-elimination and play it out in one sitting. But the WBC structure penalizes short events that play out in a single sitting, so it's at the gallows again. It will disappear without a stay of execution from the voters.
 
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20. Board Game: Mr. President [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:4278]
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Mr. President (18) 1 year

1/11: less than 10 votes (this one wasn't supposed to return, as it's not an election year)

This really shouldn't be on the list. Because 2004 was an election year, Jared Scarboro created a new version of this grand old 3M title and allowed people to run for president based on current voting and platform trends. He doesn't plan to run it again (well, maybe in 2008).
 
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21. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:801]
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Cosmic Encounter (14) 4 years

1/11: 19 votes--55th place (How does this still have supporters; fortunately not enough to get it back in the mix after being a miserable failure in its waning years.)

Some people still think Cosmic is a grand game. I feel that it's way past its prime and most convention attendees agree with me. It draws very poorly and has limped along for four years. Let it die.
 
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22. Board Game: Attila [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1830]
Randy Cox
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Attila (14) 4 years

1/11: 44 votes--48th place (I'm OK seeing this one disappear)

I've never played this game, and it never draws tremendously well. But that's mostly because it is usually hosted on the first night of the convention (Tuesday, when very few attendees have arrived) and is over in a single sitting. For that reason alone, it should be retained. After all, if none of the short, early-week games are retained, there will be no reason to arrive until Friday.
 
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23. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:186]
Randy Cox
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Die Macher (12) 2 years

1/11: 66 votes--44th place (it's a pity that this won't be returning)

Die Macher needs to be at the WBC. It's the definition of "strategic Eurogame." But it has only been around there for two years and hasn't gotten its footing yet. Without a strong vote, it will never get that toehold.
 
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