The next year proved that the inaugural convention was no fluke. Despite expanding the tournament offerings by a third, most events drew more participants. Eight was established as the minimum number of entrants that an event can draw and still be considered a tournament eligible to return or be recorded as a tournament win. ASL again led the way, and became the first event to top the century mark with 113 entrants, bringing back visions of the initial Origins tournament fields two decades earlier. The sense of a true national championship was again gaining acceptance. Event kiosks—an Avaloncon creation—made their first appearance as did individually illustrated plaques and instant posting of winner's photos.
Already competitors had forged bonds of grudging respect and admiration which would make reputations of gaming prowess and initiate lifetime friendships to be renewed every summer across the gameboard. George Seary, Phil Rennert and James Falling became the first to successfully defend their championships by again claiming honors in Civil War, Panzergruppe Guderian, and Russian Front respectively to earn the red stars by their name in the chart below. Rob Beyma (Bulge '81, Waterloo) and Mike Fitzgerald (Speed Circuit, Wrasslin’) tied for top honors with double wins and Chuck Stapp won the inaugural Sportsmanship Award.