One of WDC’s oldest and most dreaded traditions dates back to the very first WDC in Birmingham, England in 1988 when, on the first day of the event, I had the audacity to post on the entry door to the game hall a list of who I believed the top seven finalists in the event would be. People laughed until the end of the last round when somebody pointed out that 5 of the names on my list, including the event winner, had made it to the top board. The story at WDC II was much the same. I didn’t attend III, so the Aussies had their way with the few foreigners who dared to attend. But once again in Brum in 1994 the list reappeared and the French were delighted, much to the chagrin of the Brits who were thrashed. 1995 proved more of a challenge since the event was in Paris and the French hosts had rigged the event and scoring system to favor their own. They even bragged about it while the games were still being played. All this is history, of course, and you can read the glory and gory details in my back articles on past WDCs (from 1988 to 2014) in DW and TDP.
Although my general predictions for the top two boards were usually reasonably accurate and I’m sure at one point I must have predicted the event champion, I just don’t remember where, when, or who it was? However, I knew I was on to something when total strangers would come up to me at a WDC before the event even started wanting to know where the list was posted? The second wave usually showed up just as registration closed; when I was bombarded with shouts of “Why aren’t I on the list??? I’m as good as XYZ is!!!!” Then there was the year one of my legions of foreign friends decided to beat me to the punch. They got there before I did and posted their own, very well done, fake- list showing all top 14 positions would be taken by 10 Frenchmen, 2 Belgians, 1 French-Canadian, and 1 Frenchman working in the States!
But this year is a bit different. First, once again for an American-hosted even the foreign attendance is low. Even counting the Canadians with the Europeans, foreigners still make up only about 10% of those attending. On the other hand we have a player from Russia for the first time that I can recall, (assuming that’s not a joke and somebody out for a few laughs), although I’m not sure of how he found his way to DC for the WDC. In addition, the make-up of the field shows the Diplomacy hobby is alive and well and firmly emplaced in the worldwide hobby. The Old Farts have faded into the wind. The next generation and the one to come are here in force. I suspect the Top Board will be represented from their number.
Still, when I looked at my list of my top 15 potential Top Board candidates I note that it draws from the hobby’s most experienced and best-known names. And, to be honest, that is the way it should be. WDC champions do not (usually) happen by luck or by accident. They result from the acquisition of much knowledge gathered over decades and generations of play in many games and events of all kinds. But, there are the exceptions where luck and accident had their moment at the game board that we still talk about ---- at least those of us who remember them.
“Perhaps the big surprise in this article is that there is no big surprise in it.” The system, if you can call it that, that I designed to pick my two top boards, is a bit more formal and complicated than years gone by. Still, I’m not going to reveal everything just yet. Let’s see how the event turns out before I start blowing whistles or bubbles. However, there is one thing I would bet on, “The winner of this year’s WDC will be a name on this list.”
Always on the lookout for new ways to predict the winner of this year’s WDC event I think I’ve outdone myself. I wrote that myself because I knew nobody else would 😠
This year’s system consisted of two parts. The first was a preliminary screening to come up with a manageable number of diplobili who might have the ways and means to find their way to the top two boards in Washington and, perhaps, even a WDC title.
I used four different lists to put together the composite preliminary list. The first was the Larry Peery FaceBook List (LPFBL) that consisted of 157 names (selected from some 250 or so Dippers potentially available); of which 25 or so were pre-registered for WDC 2018 according to their web site on the morning of October 5th. The second was the WDC 2018 Pre-Reg Current Attendees List (PRCAL); which consisted of some 110 names with the usual allowances for last minute arrivals, no shows, and event administrators playing the occasional game. The third list was the Larry Peery Linkedin Players List (LPLPL) consisting of names on that site who were also mentioned on the first two. The fourth list was the XYZ Linkedin List (XYZLL) which consisted of the names from another hobbyist with no real connections to me) which were also on the first two lists and, perchance, on my LPLPL. At that point I had the number reduced to a manageable figure.
My goal at this point was to come up with enough names to fill the top two boards for the final round and have one extra stand-by in case somebody dropped out, etc. My concept was that the first seven on the final list would fill the Top Board and the eighth through fourteen would fill the Second Board. Within each table I made no destinctions.
After a lot (OK, about an hour --- I spent more time typing up and reordering lists of names than I did on the conceptual design, as you can probably tell.) of thought this is the basic list of ingredients for my final list. Note, I’m not including the specific amounts for each ingredient or the directions for assembly. All that may come later. Or it may not. Another note: the order in which the ingredients does NOT reflect their importance in the formula or how they were weighed:
Public records were found on the internet in most cases or in the Peery Archives.
All the data entry and processing was done using MS software for a Commodore 64 using Basic 2.0, MOS, and a Vincent Mous mouse system. The reason for doing this was to take our fingers, as well as our mind-set back to the early days of WDC which coincided with the peak of the Commodore 64-era.
Today, our new system is still not perfect yet, but it is getting better. When I started less than 24 hours ago the Highest and lowest names on the list were people not even registered for the event. By the time I finished it could differentiate between the Hood brothers and the O’Kellys.
Unless you’re familiar with CERN you probably have never heard of WCDR (Worldwide Council for Diplomacy Research); which was established by Allan B. Calhamer and John R. Moot in 1961 in Lower Derby, PA under the direction of Dr. Bangs Leslie Tapscott, co-founder of the BNSD (Boardman Numbers System of Diplology (unless you’re a fan of Rail Baron, in which case it means something else)).
FACEBOOK (Social Network) Laurence Peery has 157 friends on FB (Additional Diplomacy links can be found under Lawrence Peery, Larry Peery, Larry W. Peery, et al. LP and “XYZ” have 51 mutual friends on FB. About 75% of the people on this Linkedin Mutual list have professions/jobs that are IT related. Of the 35 (includes me) on the Linkedin complete list: 66% are in IT related professions.
My first thought was that the make-up of the hobby mix has radically changed in the last few decades. And then it occurred to me that perhaps it is I, not the hobby that has changed so much. Such a humbling thought. Please pass the bowl of apples, Steve.
The students and military may still be in the hobby, but I’m just not aware of them as much because I’ve aged with a maturing hobby. Still, I have this nagging suspicion that the number of liberal arts and social science students, and professionals in the hobby has declined. I didn’t see anybody confessing to being a farm worker or burger flipper at McD’s in their Linkedin listing.
25 out of 100+ of 157 names on my LPFBL are pre-reg’d.
The Dark Horse or Black Sheep candidate doesn’t fit the model and may well be the antithesis of it. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think that person(s) can’t win a place at the Top Board this year.
2nd BOARD: Ladd, Wheeler, Hood, Hand, Moore, Jamieson, Love
TOP BOARD: Desper, Bartalone, Shelden, Barnes, Birsan, Lester, Steel
If Clouet attends and plays, it doesn’t matter which board he’s on. It’s all over 🙂
3rd, 2nd, and lst places (in pectore)
Note: It is now Friday, 5 October, 2018 at 1645 PST. I have not looked at any of the administrative announcements, FB postings, or any emails about the event while I was working on this project. Comments, question, and post-event reflections are welcome.