The World Series of Board Gaming Kicks off tomorrow September 24th in Las Vegas. The World series of Board Gaming is a 5 day event that ends with a big prize final on Thursday. This years prize is $25,000 for the first place finisher. There is a lot more to the week than just the main tournament. I was able to speak to Brian Muller from WGBG and he unlocked a lot of how things worked.
The main event consist of 16 ring events followed on by a semi-final and a final event.The 16 games are broken down into 4 games per day for four days. A player may choose one game per day to play. Might be some hard choices there for a player if there are two games they feel they can win on the same day. If a player is able to win all their matches that day they are awarded a ring. Everyone who won a ring plays in the semi-final, players may have won multiple rings throughout the 4 day tournament. This means less people in the semi-final. Last year Nick Henning won both Dominant Species: Marine and great Western Trail and Grayden Baker won both Splendor and Dune: Imperium.
There are so many amazing games at the tournament this year. Classics like Ticket to Ride and new favorites like Brass: Brimingham and Ark Nova are all featured in the ring tournament.
How did you decide what games to include in the tournament?
Brian - We spent a lot of time talking about this. For the 2022 Event it was 2 years of planning. The first thing I did was prepare a document on how we would go about selecting the games. It included things such as game accessibility. championship legitimacy, ease of cheating, suitability for time and space. One of the big criteria points was what I call the Rainbow of Games. I wanted players to be able to see themselves as competing in several games on the Rainbow that ranged from Light Family games to Heavy Euros. Obviously a player wont resonate with all the games but the more the better. We then formed a committee and hashed over the games until we were all in agreement we had the right starting 16. In selecting the 2023 Games we decided that certain lower attended games would be leaving the rotation to make room for 4 new games. We produced an early recommendation slate and then we brought in some outside consultants to advise us before we made our final selections. Part of that group included a member from the Dice Tower as well as a few other notable content creators. Do all the games start with the same setup? For example Smallworld has a variable setup.
Brian - It really depends on the game, we spent a lot of time discussing all the little details individually for each game. Was there a way to cheat an advantage in the opening? What should we predefine for the players? For each of the games we handled seating and first player before the players even sat at the table. For some of the games like 7 Wonders we randomly determined what player boards each player at each seat would play (it was random for each game but we handled that element for the players). For a game like 7 Wonders we allowed the player to draft the coombination of animals and traits in a snake draft from the first seat and then we reseated players according to the animal they chose.
Are there any industry (Board Game) people behind the creation of this event?
Brian - We had some partners, owners, and board members that were familiar with the industry. Some of the owners including myself have an ownership stake in a smaller gaming convention called PrezCon. We also have a board member who is affiliated with WBC. One of our board members has been running International Billiards championship events for years. We also consulted with the Meeple League and Partnered with Cape Fear Games as well as other board game conventions. How have you chosen floor judges for the events? Are they reps from the publishers or just people you have found that are very good at the rules?
Brian - We knew a lot of people that were the best of the best at the rules for certain games. Those created our core GMs. We also had a solid team of Asst GMs with the same credentials. We did an open call for some of the GMs and Floor Judges. Three of the GMs that we got were also exceptional. One was from the Dice Tower network Matt Makak and he was awesome. Two others we got as personal recommendations from Elizabeth Hargrave (one of which had edited the original set of rules for wingspan). It was going to be hard to top that. Our entire GM and Floor Judge team were excellent and I believe most will return for 2023.
WSBG is much more than just the headline tournament. There is an open gaming area with a full selection in the library. There is also a bunch of outer ring tournaments happening. These are individual game tournaments that are not part of the larger headline tournament but still offer prizes to the winner. There are celebrity games, comedy shows, and exhibition hall and so much more happening in and around the main events. Be sure to check it out on the 24th-28th of September.