Friday, October 21, 2005

Post-Season Wrap-Up

Another Essen has come and gone. The Super Bowl/World Cup of Boardgame Geekdom is over for another year. There will be one major post-season event for serious geeks, BGG.con will be held next month in Dallas. After Dallas it will be a short off-season before pre-season events start again in February with the opening of the Nuremberg Toy Fair. The traditional start of the Boardgame Geekdom season, as always, will be Alan Moon's Gathering of Friends in April.

Major highlights from the past season include the Reiner Knizia episode of Geek Speak, the rise in the number of boardgame podcasts and blogs, and the demise of the Games Journal. Certainly the re-release of Ra, Age of Steam, Through the Desert, Twilight Imperium, and For Sale were significant events this past season.

Thomas Liesching came out on top in the final geek rankings. His game Niagara won the coveted Spiel des Jahres.

Coach of the Year was undoubtedly Rick Thornquist from Team Gamewire. He got a good late round draft pick in geek Ryan Bretsch. Team Gamewire member Tom Vasel was the point leader with over 100 game reviews and a grand-slam, hat-trick, quadruple-double with The Dice Tower podcast. His only serious competition was Shannon Appelcline from Team Shannon scored 85 reviews and also was a starter on Team Gone Gaming. Thornquist had even more success with Team Gamewire in the timely-game-news and on-the-scene-reporting competitions. (Note: This article was written before the announcement of the demise of the GameWire.)

The best showing by a referee must have been Matthew "Octavian" Monin from Team BGG. He made a few controversial calls under pressure, but stuck to his guns. He irked me with a couple calls, that in my opinion weren't even close, but the instant replay left enough doubt that the call stood. Octavian was called upon to make the calls no one else wanted to make, and over the course of the season his judgment proved to be among the best.

Team CardChess lead at the end of the season with the most fouls, despite a strong showing by Team Moon at the start of the season. Team Berg might have been in the running, but no one was paying attention to him. Team Moon was ahead by two lengths going into the first turn then stalled, and was destined not to move for the rest of the season. Team Potter, an amateur team which has been a strong contender for the most fouls in recent years, disappeared soon after the season opened. I fear some tragedy may have befallen this perennial gadfly. Although he and I rarely saw eye to eye, if anyone has news of his whereabouts a notice of such would be appreciated.

Although the most fouls is generally considered to be a sprint event, Team CardChess stood the sport on its ear and slowly chalked up points all year making it a marathon. By mid-season at Origins fans were tiring of the event as it was clear no other team would even be in the running.

A couple of minor highlights from the past Boardgame Geekdom season include Alfred's "Best of the Blogosphere" over at the orange blog. I am thrilled that the number of boardgame blogs has increased to the point we can have a weekly "best of" list. A couple of daily blogs have been introduced, including this one. Credit Adam at Gamefest with coming up with the idea of a daily, game related, team blog a couple years ago.

The ever insightful John "Scribidinus" O'Haver got a job that took him away from near constant monitoring of BGG, but Robert "Grognads" Wesley was drafted to fill those big shoes and has done so admirably.

The World Boardgame Championships was moved to a new stadium. The move was made from Maryland to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Participants reported the humidity was just as bad in Lancaster. Non-participants reported that it isn't the world championship of anything, except the organizers' egos.

The Chicago International Toy and Game Fair seems to have stalled in its efforts to become the American Essen, but hope is still alive as the GenCon organizers are gossiping about changing the location from Indy. In my estimation Chicago and the International Toy Fair are just too close to GenCon to build up a large following. One or the other will have to move for the Toy Fair to gain traction.

That's it for this season. One last bash at BGG.con and us diehard fans will have to content ourselves with late-night re-runs on BGG-2, and ConSim-2.


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