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The Great Canadian Board Game Blitz (GCBGB) is a circuit of board game tournaments held at Canadian game conventions and retailers. You play several rounds of games over the span of eight hours, collecting points based on your finishing rank in each game. The finals are held each summer in Toronto at Fan Expo. Winning a local championship gets you a free pass to play at the finals, and usually other prizes. However, everyone is welcome to participate at the finals!

The format of each event is as follows. There are 5 game rounds. In each round there is a list of 5-6 games that can be chosen from; each round this list is different. In the first round, players choose from a fixed number of games in a random order. A number of points are earned based on finishing rank. The next round, the random order is reversed, so that players who did not get a good position in the first round get a good position in the second round. Again, players earn points based on their finishing ranks. For the following rounds, players choose which game they play, in decreasing order of accumulated points. The winner is the player with the total number of accumulated points at the end of all the rounds. As a player, you get to play five different games and meet many other gamers. And, since we explain the rules and answer questions, it's also a great way to learn new games! There is a detailed example of the process below.

The GCBGB sprouted from a very similar event that was hosted by Justine Scala from Minotaur Gifts and Games in Kingston at KingCon 2009. We owe Justine and the Kingston board gaming community a big thanks for running such a great tournament. Justin Mohareb from Hobby Star also deserves a big thanks for helping with organizing the event at FanExpo, sponsoring prizes, and for originally suggesting that we turn it into a national event. We'd also like to thank all of our sponsors who have contributed prize support.

You can spot us at events by looking for the board game tower:

Detailed Example

There are 5 rounds. All players play every round (no elimination). The game list chosen ahead of time, with around 5-6 games per round. These are the games the players can choose from each round. There are a few example game lists from previous events; as an example, suppose we are playing with the CanGames 2010 game list.

Every round there is a certain number of players and an order of which players choose games in. In the first round, this order is determined randomly. Normally we use a deck of cards with a chosen order.

In order, players choose which game they would like to play from the ones available. There are 7 games in the list for the first round and suppose 18 players. We try to keep each game as close to 4 players as possible. With 18 players, the referee could choose a maximum of 5 games (3 games of 4 playes, 2 games of 3 players) or 4 games (2 games of 5 players, 2 games of 4 players). In this case we'd likely go with 3 of 4 and 2 of 3 because two games are off by the ideal number of 4, there's more selection, and 5-player games often take too long. So let's say we do that, and we use Round 1 from the example game list above.

Suppose these are the choices of the players: the first player in the order chooses Bohnanza. Second player has the choice to pick Bohnanza or any other game on the list, they choose Citadels. Third, Citadels. Fourth, Dominion. Fifth, San Juan. Sixth also chooses San Juan. All the games are still open (not reached their maximums) and one more game can still be chosen from the list since 4 have already been opened and it was decided above that 5 games would be played. Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth players all choose Bohnanza. Bohnanza is now closed since it has reached 4 players. The tenth player chooses Ingenious. Since this is the fifth game chosen from the list, the game maximum for this round has been reached; the eleventh player and on may not choose Roll through the Ages nor Three-Dragon Ante because 5 games have now been picked (they must choose among the games that are still open: Citadels, Dominion, San Juan, and Ingenious). When a game reaches 4 players, it becomes closed. The last two open games will each have 3 players.

A round consist of all the players playing the games they chose simultaneously. At the end of the game, everyone earns points based on their finishing rank in each game and how long the round was (see scoresheets for details).

The second round is a special case. Since some people may have been unlucky in their random draw, the order in which games are chosen for the second round is the reverse of the order of the first round. From round 3 on, game selection at the start of each round goes by highest accumulate points to lowest. The first tie-breaker is number of games won. The second tie-breaker is number of games where one player finished ahead of the other. The third tie-breaker is random.

At the end of the 5 rounds, the player with the highest cumulative point total is the winner.

The Great Canadian Board Game Blitz is a not-for-profit organization. All the money we collect goes back to participants in the form of prizes!