Attendance again reached new heights in 2008, topping 2007 levels despite $4 gas and recession fears. A delightful, climate-controlled poolside pavillion increased our Open Gaming space, but tournament participation grew again. Our 154 adult tournaments included a record 16 events with triple digit entries, led by late-night favorite Liar's Dice with 212. Average event size grew to 47.1 participants overall, an increase of one per event. Laurels were awarded to players from 41 different states/provinces and nine nations. The champions included 17 incumbents who retained their respective titles another year, six members of the fair sex, and 13 who claimed multiple titles led by a prodigious Finn, Riku Riekkinen, who put an end to one of WBC's longest winning streaks by downing ex-Caesar Master Pei on his own For the People turf. Joining Riku with two wins were Harald Henning, Chris Byrd, Ewan McNay, Nick Page, Alex Bove, Bryan Eshleman, Jason Ley, John Popiden and Rob Beyma. Bruce Reiff and Chris Trimner scored a pair of triples with trial events, but the biggest winner by far was Andy Latto who homered.
His four wins included three Century events, just missing the never achieved WBC Grand Slam. Moreover, three of the four were triple-digit tournaments. In all, Andy bested 484 opponents in winning Ingenious, Lost Cities, Thurn & Taxis and Ivanhoe to win Consul honors as the highest scorer at WBC. And to prove he wasn't a one-trick Euro pony, he also found time to go 4-1 in Hannibal during the Omens pre-con. Truly a memorable week. But top honors for the year went to Alex Bove who earned laurels in nine different Euro events between Euro Quest, email tournaments and WBC to edge Ewan McNay by a single laurel to claim the title of Caesar for 2008.
But newcomers made their mark also. 42 "virgins" won their first-ever WBC championship. All told, 79 players earned laurels for the first time. Meanwhile Nest of Spies, a heavy favorite to win its fourth straight Team Tournament title in a record field of 90 teams, fell to the mighty Finn Riku Reikkinen who ended the championship bids of Dave Docktor and James Pei in their respective Finals. Our Meeting space expanded again but was undercut by a double booking incident at the hotel which led to some interesting compromises and last minute room shuffling. Expect some major changes in how we book space in the future. The Auction and Auction Store, ran smoothly again—the latter making the transition to mandatory pre-registration while disappointing only a few procastinators who never got the word. Our expanded Vendors room again sold out and did good business. Our Juniors program continued to draw raves even as Junior attendance fell for the second straight year.
In the continuing soap opera of WBC winners and losers, the events themselves competed for the player lifeblood that meant another year of WBC existance. This constant churn yielded 12 new occupants of the Century club while, conversely a dozen were ushered out in the contiuing WBC circle of life. Tbe Board granted Legacy status to two more events (Football Strategy andEuphrat & Tigris) which had passed the triple test of time, participation and rules compliance required for such status. Among events with at least a three-year track record, 17 raised their attendance bar by posting their own personal best entrant numbers. The other end of that spectrum, beset by the natural tendency of new events to draw the curious and then begin a steady decline, saw 23 tournaments drop to new attendance lows—going all the way back to 1991 and the first Avaloncon for bottomline numbers.
Zenith: Those setting new highwater marks (and their years at WBC following the "/") were: +32/3 Can't Stop, +17/6 Liar's Dice, +14/5 Ivanhoe, +11/8 Elchfest, +9/9 Lost Cities, +8/4 Trans America, +5/6 Santa Fe Rails, +4/17 B-17, +2/10 Empire Builder, +2/5 Power Grid, +2/17 Superstar Baseball, +2/3 War of the Ring, +1/16 1776, +1/10 Bitter Woods, +1/5 Brawling Battleship Steel, +1/3 Russia Besieged, +1/18 Squad Leader.
Nadir: Those sinking to new lows were: -10/5 Goa, -12/9 Union Pacific, -8/3 Twilight Struggle, -7/16 History of the World, -7/4 Manifest Destiny, -7/3 Wellington, -5/18 Up Front, -4/5 Ace of Aces, -4/18 ASL, -4/3 Battlegroup, -4/6 Napoleonic Wars Five, -4/11 Successors, -3/11 Candidate, -3/17 Diplomacy, -3/9 Tikal, -3/7 Wilderness War, -4/5 Ace of Aces, -2/5 Age of Steam, -2/9Galaxy, -1/13 Air Baron, -1/3 Caylus, -1/18 Titan, -1/10 1812.