Because I have been embroiled for the last few months in several PBeM tournaments — while, I should note, also trying both to write for this blog and to conduct several informal online tutorials on the Avalon Hill "classics" — I am posting this convention reminder a bit later than is my usual custom. Nonetheless, although the 2012 World Boardgaming Championships Convention is fast approaching, there are still over ninety days remaining before this year’s “DonCon” (which, including associated Pre-Cons, will run from July 28th through August 5th), actually gets under way in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Hence, for those readers who still haven't made up their minds about attending this year's WBC Convention, there is still plenty of time to make travel and hotel arrangements if they ultimately do decide to make the trek to Lancaster this summer.

The 2012 WBC Tournament Convention kicks off on the weekend of 28 July with a host of old and new Pre-Con offerings for those dedicated attendees who plan on arriving at the Lancaster Host (the WBC hotel and convention center) a few days before the BPA-sponsored Convention’s formal start date of 30 July 2012. Among the popular titles that are now part of the regular early-bird events in this year’s Pre-Convention line-up are long-time favorites: AXIS & ALLIES, 1830, and THE AGE OF RENAISSANCE. What these relatively recent additions (they were first introduced two years ago) mean for this year’s Pre-Con players is that early arrivals will now have the opportunity to compete in almost twenty different titles, and to do so days before the formal tournament schedule actually begins. [There are even rumors floating around that Bruno Sinigaglio and Don Greenwood are contemplating the temporary addition of Avalon Hill’s venerable old classic, 'STALINGRAD', to the collection of Pre-Con offerings in time both for the 2013 WBC Convention and the game's 50th anniversary]. All in all, if high-quality and congenial competitive play is one’s goal, both the Pre-Con and regular convention events should make for an action-packed nine days in Lancaster.

For attendees who choose to skip the Pre-Cons, the regular gaming schedule will again include over one hundred titles (the WBC "Century"). Thus, stalwarts like CIRCUS MAXIMUS, SQUAD LEADER, and MERCHANT OF VENUS — which have been standard Convention fare since 1991 — will be back again this year; however, these long-time favorites will be joined by newer, more recent game additions — the selection of which is based, it should be noted, on the preferences of the previous year's convention-goers — such as BRASS, KUTUZOV, DOMINANT SPECIES, and COMBAT COMMANDER. And, as in years past, those players who want to take a short (or not so short) break from gaming (whether tournament or "open") will also be able to attend various hobby-related seminars, new product introductions, play-test sessions, and the not-to-be-missed annual game auction.

One especially convenient ongoing feature of the WBC gathering in Lancaster, particularly given how expensive games have become in recent years, is the Convention's "game lending library". This free service is made possible by the different game manufacturers who support and attend the convention every year, and represents a "no risk" opportunity for interested convention-goers to temporarily check out and play a particular title before actually deciding whether or not to plonk their hard-earned money down to buy a copy for themselves.

Happily, unlike last year, family and health issues WILL NOT keep me from travelling to this year’s Convention. That being said, I want to take this opportunity to wish all of the other convention-goers who will be attending this annual summer gathering of wargamers from around the world an enjoyable and safe convention holiday. For those gamers who are making the trip to Lancaster for the first time, the WBC Convention — in my opinion, at least — is one of the best-run and most enjoyable board game tournaments held anywhere. Then again, after more than two decades of hands-on experience, it should probably come as no surprise that Don Greenwood’s dedicated Boardgame Players Association (BPA) team does a great job, year after year, in organizing and running this tournament convention. Because of this, I am confident that every one of the visitors attending the 2012 WBC Convention, whether for their very first or for their twenty-second time, will enjoy a fabulous seven to nine days of gaming in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country.

Finally, I am especially glad that, after having been obliged to miss the last few WBC Conventions, I will be returning to Lancaster and the "cardboard" wars again this year; and, depending on how my "trial run" at the 2012 Consimworld Expo works out, I may even try to combine "live-blogging" with my usual batch of other Convention activities this summer. And, on the subject of "blogging": since I'm going to be at this year's "DonCon" from beginning to end, I would like invite any of my readers who will also be at the Lancaster Host, and who are interested in chatting, to look me up (I'll probably be spending most of my time in Bruno's Grognard gaming section, so I should be easy to find); on the other hand, if, for some reason our paths don't cross in Lancaster, I still want to wish good luck and good gaming to you all.

For information about this and other BPA (Boardgame Players Association) sponsored events, please visit the BPA website.


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