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Subject: Prognosticating the 2017 WBC Trial Vote rss

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Andrew Drummond
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Here's another kick at the can for guessing what games are going to make it through the Trial vote in 2017 to become tournaments at WBC this summer.
Last year I got 17 out of 25, and in an effort to improve that, I have done a deeper look at categorizing the games and doing as much analysis as I can on the past 3 votes.

Caveats:
- I have only done this by looking at the votes from 2014-2016. If there are relevant trends before that I will miss them
- My assigning of games to a category is fairly arbitrary. I have tried to do my best, but some games are difficult. As examples, Battle Line is a war game in my analysis, but I'm not sure it follows the normal war game vote patterns. Also I have included train games with the Euros, but racing games in with "other". It's hard to do this perfectly.

I took each game that was in any of the past 3 votes and looked up when it was released and what it's current BGG rating is. I also gave it a category (Euro/War/Party/Other) and a reason for being in the vote (Fell from Century/New Game/Previous Trial). From looking at the past 3 years, I got percentages of what games in each subcategory have gotten through and then applied them to this years ballot. Here's my best guess:

Euros:

Looking at the percentages, only 19% of new Euro games have been successful and those that are tend to be the newest and highest in the BGG rankings. That leads to only 2 new Euros this year and I figure they will be SCYTHE and TERRAFORMING MARS based on their release and popularity. There are only 3 Euros that fell out of the century in 2016, and of those I believe that only 1 is coming back, which should be TZOLKIN (which also dominated the voting last time it was there). I could be misreading enthusiasm for Dominant Species though. Of the 13 Euros that were trials last year, my percentages have 6 returning. 5 I think are solid. MEDICI, UNION PACIFIC, YSPAHAN, RACE FOR THE GALAXY, and ROLL FOR THE GALAXY seem to have strong followings and have done well in the past votes. The sixth spot is harder, but I think it will go to INNOVATION rather than Leaping Lemmings, though I imagine it will be close. The others all failed in the 2016 vote and I doubt they have strong new followings that will get them past the established games (despite the Canucks efforts for Galaxy Trucker)

Predicted list:
SCYTHE, TERRAFORMING MARS, TZOLKIN, MEDICI, UNION PACIFIC, YSPAHAN, RACE FOR THE GALAXY, ROLL FOR THE GALAXY, INNOVATION.
Just missing the cut:
Dominant Species, Leaping Lemmings

War Games:

In the past 3 years, no new War Games have been voted in. While my formula shouldn't allow for any this year either, there has not been a top 10 BGG wargame in the vote (with category ambiguity to boot). So I am picking STAR WARS REBELLION to be a new "war" game for 2017. Unlike the Euros, the vote tends to favour the wargames from the century and so I expect 4 of the 7 to return. Those are likely 1989, BITTER WOODS, FIRE IN THE LAKE, and WOODEN SHIPS AND IRON MEN. That said, I have little to go on for these games with little voting history so if Conquest of Paradise got through, I wouldn't be shocked. Wargames conversely do very poorly in the votes as recurring trials and the ones that succeed tend to be less serious games. Of the 13 on the ballot, I only see 4 getting through and of those, ACE OF ACES and AGE OF RENAISSANCE seem like the best choices. For the other two spots I'd guess at NAVAL WAR and MANOEUVRE though Commands and Colors wouldn't surprise me too much either. Great Campaigns of the ACW seems to be losing support year over year and I'd expect it to miss this time and the remainder all failed at last year's vote.
Predicted list:
STAR WARS REBELLION, 1989, BITTER WOODS, FIRE IN THE LAKE, WOODEN SHIPS AND IRON MEN, ACE OF ACES , AGE OF RENAISSANCE , NAVAL WAR , MANOEUVRE .
Just missing the cut:
Conquest of Paradise, Commands and Colors

Party Games:

Defining a "party" game as anything that I could see being played at 11pm, they have had remarkable success in the votes of the past 3 years at 75%. A lot of that is a small sample size dominated by three perpetual trial recurrences that I expect to continue this year in TRANSAMERICA, ELCHFEST, and PRO GOLF. Beyond those, new party games get in at a 50% rate so I'm going to call LOVE LETTER as more likely than Colt Express. Only once in the past 3 years has an 11pm game fallen out of hte century and it was returned, so I'll also call for KING OF TOKYO to be returned as well. That leaves Las Vegas on the outside looking in, but with a dismal showing in last year's vote I don't expect it can make it.

Predicted List:
TRANSAMERICA, ELCHFEST, PRO GOLF, LOVE LETTER, KING OF TOKYO

Other Games:

Some games are just hard to fit in a category. Racing games, thematic games, etc. These six I can't seem to fit into the other spaces. STOCKCAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACING only missed last year from a lack of GM and has a following so I expect it is fine, and TITAN: TWO is unique but just fell out of hte century and likely has a following. For the others, Metacheckers drew few for its tournament, Mage Wars and Paydirt did badly in last year's vote, and Moto Grand Prix is both older and badly rated. I don't think any of those get through.

Predicted List:
STOCKCAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACING, TITAN: TWO

I hope people see this as a fun exercise and I look forward to any comments telling me how I screwed this up :-)
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Marty Sample
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Earlier I predicated Star Wars Rebellion would be the top vote getter, but that was before Terraforming Mars became the new hotness; I'd predict that will edge out SW:R as the most popular.

Scythe was pretty popular in open gaming, I don't know if that will translate to votes however.
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Devin Smith
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Awww, my event doesn't even get a mention (I submitted Indonesia, but I'm not hopeful. I assume it's in the 'Euro' bin?)

I'm somewhat surprised the Tzolkin fell out of the century: are the century rankings listed somewhere? It seemed to have decent turnout and is in a long slot, so I'd like to see how much it missed by.
 
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Chris Trimmer
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You should use the full title of Commands & Colors: Napoleonics (or C&C:N) as there is also Commands & Colors: Ancients which did make the cut as a century event.
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Kaarin Engelmann
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They are sorta listed on the Orphans/PEL page: http://boardgamers.org/wbc17/orphans.html
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Michael McKibbin
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Three new games voted in seems to be about par for looking at the statistics for the past few years, so it wouldn't surprise me to see Scythe, Terraforming Mars, and Love Letter voted in along side 22 returning games. One other thing I've noticed is that new games which do well in the Trial Vote tend to enter the Century the following year: Virgin Queen, Castles of Burgundy, and Catan:Cities and Knights from 2013, Tzolk'in and King of Tokyo in 2014 (although both are now on the bubble again), Lords of Waterdeep, Russian Railroads, and Splendor from 2015, and Seven Wonders Dual from last year.
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Curt Collins
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hgman3 wrote:
Three new games voted in seems to be about par for looking at the statistics for the past few years, so it wouldn't surprise me to see Scythe, Terraforming Mars, and Love Letter voted in along side 22 returning games. One other thing I've noticed is that new games which do well in the Trial Vote tend to enter the Century the following year: Virgin Queen, Castles of Burgundy, and Catan:Cities and Knights from 2013, Tzolk'in and King of Tokyo in 2014 (although both are now on the bubble again), Lords of Waterdeep, Russian Railroads, and Splendor from 2015, and Seven Wonders Dual from last year.


Don't forget Castles of Mad King Ludwig which has had a strong following.



I do think that Terraforming mars will make it, though will it be the top vote getter? Probably not. I imagine the most votes will go to something like Battle line, which is a game that both euro gamers and war gamers appreciate, and that people vote in every year. There are other games that get loads of votes but never make the century such as union pacific, which has drawn fewer people every year for the past several years, but continues to get voted in by many who don't actually play it.

Star Wars rebellion is a tough call. I liken it to war of the ring for many reasons. I expect it to draw similar numbers too. Around 20. Running a tournament for a 3-4 hour 2 player game is going to be a long long process requiring probably 4 prelim rounds and 4 elimination rounds. That's a 32 hour commitment for this game if the time slot is only 4 hours per play. Anyway, a bit off topic.. If this does get voted in, it will be permanent. Long games are near impossible to knock out of the century, but it might draw from other war games, thus putting them at risk to drop from the century.
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Chris Kizer

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I submitted the event form for Star Wars: Rebellion, so I can speak to the expected event format.

Since it is a 2-player, 3-4 hour game, I intend to use a format similar to War of the Ring: single-elimination, with a mulligan round earlier in the week. Unfortunately, the game is expected to last 3-4 hours, and I have played a 4 hour game once or twice, so I had to bump the round window up to 5 hours to be safe. I'm hoping that once the tournament starts, competitors prove me wrong. Assuming it gets voted in, of course!

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Marty Sample
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gilderrules13 wrote:
so I had to bump the round window up to 5 hours to be safe.



Holy shit, anyone that needs that much time deserves to be tossed into the Sarlacc Pit. I think the first game I played took maybe 4 hours, after that, they've settled into the 2.5 - 3 hour mark. By the time WBC rolls around, hopefully people have had enough games under their belt to go faster.

Speaking of slow ass play, one think the War of the Ring GM did this year which was clever was this: due to an odd number of tables, an eliminator was needed. The GM - a former champ - was said eliminator. Whichever table finished their heat last got to play the eliminator.
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Curt Collins
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gilderrules13 wrote:
I submitted the event form for Star Wars: Rebellion, so I can speak to the expected event format.

Since it is a 2-player, 3-4 hour game, I intend to use a format similar to War of the Ring: single-elimination, with a mulligan round earlier in the week. Unfortunately, the game is expected to last 3-4 hours, and I have played a 4 hour game once or twice, so I had to bump the round window up to 5 hours to be safe. I'm hoping that once the tournament starts, competitors prove me wrong. Assuming it gets voted in, of course!



That does make sense. So you are looking at 5-6 rounds? At 5 hours, which you'll have to do, that 25-30 hours. All it takes is one slow player to hold a tournament up, and if that player is good and keeps winning... ouch.

SW:R is a game that I'd really love to play, but haven't had the chance to check out yet.
 
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Chris Kizer

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Marty S wrote:
gilderrules13 wrote:
so I had to bump the round window up to 5 hours to be safe.



Holy shit, anyone that needs that much time deserves to be tossed into the Sarlacc Pit. I think the first game I played took maybe 4 hours, after that, they've settled into the 2.5 - 3 hour mark. By the time WBC rolls around, hopefully people have had enough games under their belt to go faster.

Speaking of slow ass play, one think the War of the Ring GM did this year which was clever was this: due to an odd number of tables, an eliminator was needed. The GM - a former champ - was said eliminator. Whichever table finished their heat last got to play the eliminator.


I'm hoping the same thing. My games against similarly experienced players hover around 2.5 hours. But yeah, one slow player could hold things up. I also liked Kevin's approach to slow players in War of the Ring. If only we had a former champion . . .

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Marty Sample
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Spleen wrote:

That does make sense. So you are looking at 5-6 rounds? At 5 hours, which you'll have to do, that 25-30 hours. All it takes is one slow player to hold a tournament up, and if that player is good and keeps winning... ouch.



No, what it takes is a firm handed GM to enforce time limits. Nobody says you HAVE To have 5 hour rounds, there is still time to change it. I know of several people interested in playing SW:R - but most of them may balk at even entering if rounds are 5 hours. Because that allows them to be held hostage by one slow player. I'd rather see 4 hour rounds and adjudication if necessary. Please consider this Chris. Four hour rounds comfortably allow for three rounds in a day if needed; 5 hour rounds make three rounds it the same day more problematic.
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Andrew Drummond
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Excalabur wrote:
Awww, my event doesn't even get a mention (I submitted Indonesia, but I'm not hopeful. I assume it's in the 'Euro' bin?)


It is.

And for what it's worth I submitted Orleans which I believe is going to succumb to a similar fate. Might have gotten it through last year because it is awesome, but too many good new games this year.

Indonesia I think will have the same problem that I expect for Terra Mystica. Excellent games, but more than a couple years old. Over the past few years it's only the really new games that seem to get through, especially for Euros.
 
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Andrew Drummond
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Marty S wrote:


No, what it takes is a firm handed GM to enforce time limits. Nobody says you HAVE To have 5 hour rounds, there is still time to change it. I know of several people interested in playing SW:R - but most of them may balk at even entering if rounds are 5 hours. Because that allows them to be held hostage by one slow player. I'd rather see 4 hour rounds and adjudication if necessary. Please consider this Chris. Four hour rounds comfortably allow for three rounds in a day if needed; 5 hour rounds make three rounds it the same day more problematic.


Couldn't agree more. I feel I really messed up 7WD last year by letting a QF game run for 2 hours (the other 3 were 45 minutes or less). Even in elimination games, they have to progress or it hurts everyone else.
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Rob Winslow
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5 hour rounds? Forget it, that just sucked all the fun out of potentially playing.
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David desJardins
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Marty S wrote:
Holy shit, anyone that needs that much time deserves to be tossed into the Sarlacc Pit. I think the first game I played took maybe 4 hours, after that, they've settled into the 2.5 - 3 hour mark. By the time WBC rolls around, hopefully people have had enough games under their belt to go faster.


Hopefully not only very experienced players will play or be welcome, part of the point is to attract people to learn to play the game better, right?
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Marty Sample
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Never said new players were't welcomed/desired. But I've taught this to several new players who all managed to finish games in a more timely fashion than 5 hours.
 
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David desJardins
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Marty S wrote:
Never said new players were't welcomed/desired.


You seemed to say that the only players who would be welcomed would be those who have enough games under their belt. Perhaps I misunderstood.
 
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Curt Collins
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brandysta wrote:
5 hour rounds? Forget it, that just sucked all the fun out of potentially playing.


I don't think anything is set yet (the ballot isn't even over yet). 5 hour rounds is not a guarantee. I am more hopeful to get a play in (outside of WBC) though if it really is only 2.5 or so rather than 5.
 
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Chris Kizer

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I mean, Marty's right, there's definitely still time to change it. I based my initial time estimates on War of the Ring. The game is listed on BGG as 2.5 - 3 hours, but the tournament uses five hour rounds at WBC. I would agree that Rebellion is a simpler and faster game than War of the Ring, but it is listed as 3-4 hours. I could make the average play time 3.5 hours (based on what I've read on BGG forums), which would enable me to change it to 4 hour rounds.

My only concern is that games can run just over four hours, which means I may find myself adjudicating more games, and no one likes ending their game that way. But the general opinion of people on this thread seems to favor 4 hour rounds, which I think is reasonable.
 
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Marty Sample
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War of the Ring has 5 hour rounds but most games finish well under that. You also have to keep in mind that WotR, theoretically, has no turn limit. Some games ( moreso with expansions ) can go through an entire deck of cards. Whereas SW:R has a built in timer - the game can only go a max number of turns, 14 I think. With four hour rounds, that's still 17 minutes per turn, and while some will take longer, some esp early turns will go a lot faster when you've only got a handful of leaders/activations.
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Michael McKibbin
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Spleen wrote:
hgman3 wrote:
Three new games voted in seems to be about par for looking at the statistics for the past few years, so it wouldn't surprise me to see Scythe, Terraforming Mars, and Love Letter voted in along side 22 returning games. One other thing I've noticed is that new games which do well in the Trial Vote tend to enter the Century the following year: Virgin Queen, Castles of Burgundy, and Catan:Cities and Knights from 2013, Tzolk'in and King of Tokyo in 2014 (although both are now on the bubble again), Lords of Waterdeep, Russian Railroads, and Splendor from 2015, and Seven Wonders Dual from last year.


Don't forget Castles of Mad King Ludwig which has had a strong following.



I do think that Terraforming mars will make it, though will it be the top vote getter? Probably not. I imagine the most votes will go to something like Battle line, which is a game that both euro gamers and war gamers appreciate, and that people vote in every year. There are other games that get loads of votes but never make the century such as union pacific, which has drawn fewer people every year for the past several years, but continues to get voted in by many who don't actually play it.

Star Wars rebellion is a tough call. I liken it to war of the ring for many reasons. I expect it to draw similar numbers too. Around 20. Running a tournament for a 3-4 hour 2 player game is going to be a long long process requiring probably 4 prelim rounds and 4 elimination rounds. That's a 32 hour commitment for this game if the time slot is only 4 hours per play. Anyway, a bit off topic.. If this does get voted in, it will be permanent. Long games are near impossible to knock out of the century, but it might draw from other war games, thus putting them at risk to drop from the century.


As I recall, Castles didn't achieve a top 25 in the Trial vote, but was selected as an alternate. That's why I didn't cite it as an example.
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Curt Collins
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I didn't recall that.
 
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Chris, have you thought about how you'd handle bidding for sides in SW:Rebellion ? One thought I had while talking with some folks was Probe Card draws. If you want to play the Rebels, bid X, where that is how many Probe Cards the Empire draws after the set up. If you want to play the Empire, a bid of X means you draw that many less til you "catch up" . So if you bid 1, in the Probe Card draw phase of the first turn you only get 1 card , not two. If play Mission cards that give draws in the first turn or two, you'd still get those right away.

Some had suggested clicks on the track, but I think Probe cards offer more granularity.
 
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Andrew Drummond
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Marty S wrote:
Chris, have you thought about how you'd handle bidding for sides in SW:Rebellion ? One thought I had while talking with some folks was Probe Card draws. If you want to play the Rebels, bid X, where that is how many Probe Cards the Empire draws after the set up. If you want to play the Empire, a bid of X means you draw that many less til you "catch up" . So if you bid 1, in the Probe Card draw phase of the first turn you only get 1 card , not two. If play Mission cards that give draws in the first turn or two, you'd still get those right away.

Some had suggested clicks on the track, but I think Probe cards offer more granularity.


Interesting... our group hadn't thought of either of those. Probe cards do feel like a huge advantage. Give the Empire even 2 additional cards at the beginning and it's a pretty big swing.

What about units? Bid additional hit points of units your opponent starts with. I admit it makes a bid of 4 pretty huge, but it might work. Or take away units? "I bid Rebel -3".
 
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