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Read the full 2011 Tournament Write-up by clicking here.

In just two weeks the quiet streets of the Windy City will erupt with the staccato of Chicago Typewriters and the soft, but deadly, swish of the trigger of squirt guns and the result squeal of sweet agony.  Prepare now to end the unfairness, restore justice to the underworld, and most of all to

2012 Tournament Theme

Over the past two years, we've heard a lot about the injustice of the 1%.  Well, Gangsters is exactly 1% of the World Boardgaming Championships' Century.  That's starting to sound unfair already.

But, consider this, who gets squirt guns?  Only the 1%.  Who doesn't get cool mobster nicknames?  The 99%.  They are really poor, abandoned, left out schlubs who need our help.  If that isn't bad enough, consider the following resolution submitted to the Boardgame Players' Association this past year and approved by "The Don" himself:

Whereas Gangsters is a Century tournament with a large, growing following, a committed group of officials, and a 19-year tournament history extending back to its 1992 Avalon Hill market debut,
Whereas the Squirt Gun is the most unique element of the Gangsters game and event,
Whereas the Squirt Guns used in the Gangsters tournament are neon orange and blue and could not be confused with real weapons,
Whereas changes in policy have frequently grandfathered established exceptions,
Whereas the Weapons & Costumes policy was originally adopted on December 1, 2011,
It is resolved that use of squirt guns containing a neon color at scheduled Gangsters’ rounds at reserved tables only is and shall be exempt from the Weapons & Costumes policy. Gangsters’ tables that permit squirt gun use will be designated with appropriate signage.

Yep, that's right.  Gangsters is now the only event that will ever be allowed to have a squirt gun or mock weapon of any kind.  The 1% gets better, the 99% fall further behind.  If that's not the story of our times, I don't know what is.

So it's time to protest unfairness and the exploitation of the 99%.  And who better to do it than the 1%?  Make signs with slogans.  Carry them proudly to Gangsters heats.  Wave them during the 60-90 second rally at the start of each heat.  Make yourself heard -- and make the world a better, fairer, and cooler place.

Don't have a sign?  Look for an unwanted political yard sign (probably in your front yard) -- covering them with anything game-related would be doing the world a favor.  Then pack 'em at the bottom of your suitcase (or trunk) and come prepared.  Don't have a slogan?  Here are some sample ideas you can use to get your creative juices flowing:

You get the idea.  Now it's your turn to go nuts with it.  Come prepared to yell during the rally and make a difference for fairness and justice!

I will have four unique polo shirts (one each in M, L, XL, and XXL) as prizes for the best signs.  I will award one (the winner chooses from the remaining options) at each heat -- unfairly voted on by the 99%.  So let the creativity begin -- and, for the the underworld's sake -- #OCCUPY GANGSTERS!

Making Class C work for Novices

Each player will declare himself part of the Novice or Experienced divisions when entering a heat based on their understanding of the rules and basic strategy.  I don't recommend that any player with more than four games of experience select the Novice division.  No novice player will be admitted to the tournament once the rules video starts at 5 minutes after the hour unless they already know the rules.

The benefits of being in the Novice division:

  1. The first fifteen minutes of each heat can be used to watch the rules video or to attend a short one-topic teaching session at the big board.  The schedule for the short topics is:
  2. Novices are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early to watch the rules video's first showing (or to view it online beforehand).  This will allow them to take advantage of the strategy topic sessions.  I hope to record these and post them online as well.
  3. An experienced coach will be assigned to as many novice games as possible
    1. Novices can elect to forfeit the game to their coach in order to allow the coach to continue teaching throughout the game without worrying about his/her own advancement opportunities.
    2. Novices can elect to play a tournament game with advancement opportunities; in this case, the novices get two turns without timers and open kibitzing plus two more turns on a three-minute timer before moving to the standard rules.
  4. All players will earn credit towards the special awards -- even in forfeited games.
  5. Novices are encouraged to return for additional heats -- and either further learning sessions or to participate in the experienced division.
  6. The one-hour demo session just before the Tuesday heat at 9 pm will begin with the rules video and then delve into strategy.  Attendees are encouraged to play immediately thereafter to cement the learning process.

Making Class C work for Experienced Players

Experienced players will have the option to volunteer as a coach when they check in (or to volunteer in advance if they'd like to teach one of the short strategy sessions).  Virtually every coach will advance because the novice players will opt to forfeit in exchange for better teaching (ultimately resulting in a higher competitive level, better players, and more fun) while the others only need to teach for the first two moves and can then play full-out.

All other experienced players will be paired with other experienced players and able to get their games under way the moment their game fills (or five minutes after the hour at the latest).  All such games begin with the two-minute timer immediately for all players.

Experienced players can enter some heats as a coach and others to play with other experienced mobs at their discretion.

Helpful reminders and announcements will be posted at each table to speed up play.

Automation Project

I am still feverishly working on this project.  If it's ready, I'll deploy it this year.  If not, we'll use our standard player chit system.  I'm still hopeful.

Here's what it'll entail when it's ready:

Sadly, it still won't pick new themes, fill out event forms, order donuts, or write newsletters for me.  :-)

Reminders for the 2012 tournament:

See you two weeks!


Gangsters® is a registered trademark of The Avalon Hill Game Company.