by Edi Birsan

In 2008 at the San Francisco Whipping tournament, there was a display of all different types of Best Country awards from around the world. The idea was to let the players give some feed back on what they wanted for next year. Amongst the display was the very oldest style: a painted 2x4 block of wood. Probably out of spite or a Sunday morning hangover contrariness, there was a few vocal supporters of the block style. In addition players had nothing to suggest for the championship award which that year was an engraved metal clipboard with the conference map on it that is normally only give out to World Travelers at the World DipCon. I was then urged to 'get creative' for the awards.

I was shocked and somewhat enraged that people could look at all the fine efforts from around the world and actually suggest that there be crass wooden blocks as something that they would want to display remind themselves of their outstanding achievement in the hobby's best California event. So with a year to simmer on this I got creative and decided that I would put the block theory to the test.

The tradition in the Whipping is that we give out not more than one country based award per player which is why it is called "Outstanding Play of … " rather than "Best" award — and who wants to display an award that announces that you are the "Best Turkey" anyway? What I did on my travels was to collect a bunch of different things and then allow the player to pick from a whole host of award styles and types and he could then attach his Award Label to it or not, displayed below were the choices:

  1. Lapel Pin
  2. Flag
  3. Gemstone in color of the country
  4. Refrigerator Magnet in the color of the country blockish looking
  5. Unique Japanese Dragon Carving
  6. European style Helmet
  7. Japanese Daiymo Head/helmet
  8. T-shirt in the color of the country with ALLY or DIE
  9. or the wooden block.

The Awards

T-shirts: Ally or Die!

Note that the T-Shirts in different colors (large and X-L) are available from Edi for $20 plus postage.

And the seven winners: what did they choose? Three took the Japanese Helmets, One took the European Helmet, One took a lapel pin and one took a T-Shirt.

So the vindication of the non-block party was sustained. However do not fear, Block lovers, next year the same 7 blocks will still be there along with some other creative stuff to choose from the travels of Edi.

For those interested the Championship Award was of the Shogun sitting while the 2nd and 3rd place winners had to be content with the fighting samurai stances. Again in San Francisco tradition the third place winner got first choice to sort of remind the 2nd place player to try to come in first next time.

The Shogun statues

Edi Birsan

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