OK, so it wasn't a perfect WDC. Who but me would notice anyway? And who but me would dare say so? In public. In print. Well, now that Robert Sacks is done, I'll just have to carry on...
For the record, I should note that my comments are based on my comparisons of this event with the various other WDC events (I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX) and the previous Avalon Con event I attended; which was hosted at this venue by the same group. In rating a WDC event I use a 5 star system. Each item begins with 5 stars. I only subtract stars for specific reasons.
First, for a puff piece on this year's WDC event check out the official report at: http://www.boardgamers.org/yearbook/dippge.htm
Second, in spite of it's reputation as the "drug capital of America," Baltimore is a lovely city. The BWI airport is a joy to use, at least in comparison to most major airports in the USA. Hunt Valley has obviously prospered since I was last there. At that time the local shopping center sat, mostly empty. This time the stores were full, even if the parking lot wasn't.
***** Host City.
Third, I only had one complaint on my last visit, the entire event site (The Marriott Hunt Valley Resort) smelled of garlic and pizza toppings! That may not be bad on a Saturday night, but on a Sunday morning it's disgusting! Obviously, the hotel noticed as well, and the Pizza Hut smells stayed within the confines of the Pizza Hut (which, according to the hotel F&B Manager did a record business in pizzas during the WDC weekend). The hotel dining room was very good. The other cookie cutter hotels, the Marriott Suites and the Hampton Inn, were up to standard. The local supermarket, travel agency and Chinese restaurant were OK. The local liquor store conned me into paying $45 for a half-bottle of locally produced dessert wine that was, at best, marginal.
Fourth, some big changes in the host event, but nobody mentioned them; whether out of respect for the dead or embarassment I'm not sure. Avalon Hill; the founder of this event; is dead (or in a catatonic state); and Diplomacy in the USA is now controlled by Hasbro (which isn't in much better shape than Avalon Hill was). Anyway, the parent event, under the general direction of Don Greenwood, has survived without Avalon Hill's support. Boardgaming is alive and well! And the Diplomacy event, under the direction of Jim Yerkey, continues on. I heard a few complaints about the usual things (Why isn't the registration desk open NOW????), but all in all they seemed to do a good job.
Fifth, I don't agree with Jim's body count, but who ever does? I use a slightly stricted standard. He counted 141 players in 58 games. I look at the number of players who played enough to be eligible for a prize, etc.; which was 93. I also look at the difference in the number of boards in each round, and it was down considerably by the end of the event, perhaps by a quarter or third. Ironically, my system gives the event a better rating than his would. Eighteen overseas players out of 93 is a lot better than 18 out of 141. My chief complaint was the mechanics of the way the gaming events were handled. Using three by five inch cards to keep records, standing on top of tables to shout out table assignments, etc. is just not acceptable at a WDC event. It took over an hour to get the first round going. There were some major snafus in making table assignments for the third round (When 3 or 4 players from the same board in round 2 ended up on the same board in round 3 there was something wrong; and I didn't appreciate being yelled at when I pointed it out.). There was an on-going problem with having too many or not enough players which caused frustrating delays. My over-all impression was that the tournament director wasn't prepared to deal with this many players.
**Diplomacy Event Particulars.
Sixth, a pleasant surprise. For the first time in a long time, an event report was done and published promptly.
*****Post Event Report.
First, see Fifth above.
Second, I was not satisfied with the way the pre-event promotion or publicity was handled by those responsible for the event. It was almost impossible to get information out of Jim. Most of what did come out came from Dan Mathias, and even he didn't always have answers to questions. Most of the work was done by Edi Birsan who, if my memory serves, wasn't even on the event committee. That's not a criticism of Edi. If you want all the sorted details, send me a floppy and I'll send you a copy of the few hundred emails I have saved pertaining to this. :-)
Third, although nobody pays much attention to it unless it suits their needs, we do have a charter. LOL.... Well, at least we have a WDC Administration Committee that is supposed to be in charge of the event. Need I say more?
This year's WDC Society meeting was almost, but not quite, as bad as the one in Birmingham at WDC IV. Edi Birsan and others spent a huge amount of effort preparing a proposal for a WDC charter, etc., only to see it torn to shreds by a bunch of drunken barbarians. I'm sorry, but a big brut, standing on a chair, waving a beer bottle and shouting at the top of his lungs doesn't impress me. Neither did his arguments. By the end of the meeting you could sense that those present were desperate to find a way to redeem themselves. Referring the proposed document on to Paris for final approval may do that. Hopefully, cooler and calmer heads in Paris will prevail and something lasting will be accomplished there.
WDC X demonstrated four things:
1) The North American Diplomacy hobby could host a large-scale Diplomacy event;
2) That event could attract participants from overseas, or at least foreigners domiciled in the USA;
3) Foreign players playing in America do better than American players playing overseas. This last is important because it validates an underlying principle of the WDC concept, viz. Diplomacy is a worldwide game and hobby; something that cannot be said of America's other National Pastime, baseball.
4) Diplomacy players do not make good team players.
Simon Bouton: I told him after WDC I that someday he would win one of these events. He finally did!
Brian Dennehy: Imagine what he could play like if he was sober?
Yarden Livnat: Imagine what he could play like if he spoke English?
Vick Hall: Where's the pic? Where's the pic?
John Smythe: Has it really been thirty-five years since we met?
Nathan Cockerill: See if I ever let you win a game again!
Tom Kobrin: You're not getting older, you're getting better!
Yann Clouet: I told you not to trust the Yanks.
Brandon Clarke: Have you considered a career selling used cars?
Mark Franceshini: Get rid of the beard. It makes you look younger.
Mike McMillie: And you used to be such a nice young man.
Chris Martin: Looking forward to your first tango in Paris, right?
Stephen Koehler: Nice knees.
Don Williams: HUGS!
Manus Hand: Isn't it fun not having to do all that work?
David Hood: See Manus Hand.
Ike Porter: Hummm, see, further north you go the worse you play.
David Norman: I tried, but B&W film didn't help.
Ken Mathias: Go beat up on your big brother.
Robert Vollman: Too many Canadians!
Allan Calhamer: I feel better. They can't spell your name correctly either! :-)
Mike Barno: Thanx for the Beano!
Dan Mathias: Go beat up on your little brother.
Jean Luc: No matter what, we'll always have Namur!
Edi Birsan: Too many notes!
Jim Burgess: Not enough notes (for a counter-tenor).
Rex Martin: Next time bring the ferrets.
Ry4an Brase: You've grown up!
Constan Thibault: You've grown out!
Buz Eddy: Tell Phyllis it's P-E-E-R-Y!
Mike Rocamora: So what's the big deal?
Benjamin Miller: If I had a hammer..........
No, it wasn't a perfect WDC, but it was a pretty good one. Here's looking up yours, folks!
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