For the second straight year, the reigning "Streaker" went down as Steve Packwood succumbed to Rod Coffee to end his 1776 domination at six. Other streaks which came to an end after four straight titles included those of Devin Flawd (Paydirt) and George Seary (Hammer of the Scots) - leaving Bruce Beard as the leading target for 2010 with five straight 18XX titles. Sadly, I must report that another streak lives on as Bruce Reiff again added to his plaque collection - but just barely - bagging only Battleline this year. At least it wasn't a Century event - that should count for something. All in all, truly a memorable week.
But top honors for the year went to Stefan Mecay who earned laurels in eight different events between WBC, WAM, Enlightenment and email tournaments and WBC to claim the title of Caesar for 2009 by a wide margin with 295 laurels—all but 12 of them earned in the card-driven games 1960, Paths of Glory and Twilight Struggle while winning five tournaments. Consul was a much closer race with Curt Collins II and Richard Moyer virtually tied at 100 laurels each atop the 14 multiple winners of WBC. Richard took the tie-breaker with the largest event to don the consular robes by the slimmest of margins. However, a third challenger, Kyle Greenwood in his first appearance at WBC, would have taken them both if Pre-Con laurels counted in the Consul contest, as his second in Hannibal gave him 116 laurels for the week.
Other newcomers made their mark also. 32 "virgins" won their first-ever WBC championship. All told, 105 players earned laurels for the first time. And even the younger set got into the act. Danny Lewis topped himself and 184 adults by again winning a Century event despite being eligible for the Juniors room as he added Can't Stop to his conquests.
Meanwhile Nest of Spies, still a heavy favorite to win its fourth Team Tournament title in five years, fell to cannibalism among its ranks as Stefan Mecay knocked off teammate Dave Docktor in the POG Final - dropping the Nest to fourth. That left 3 Men & a Canadian, Me & 3 Stiffs, and The James Gang tied at 23 points each for the title. Total-entrant tie-breakers had to be applied to crown 3 Men & a Canadian the winners in a record 104-team field swelled 15% over previous highs - perhaps in no small part due to Dave Docktor's humorous team logos applied to the entire field.
Our expanded Vendors room, Auction and Auction Store again sold out and all did good business. The Juniors program continued to draw raves although Junior attendance fell for the third 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 existence. This constant churn yielded 10 new occupants of the Century club while, conversely a dozen were shown the door in the continuing WBC circle of life. Among events with at least a three-year track record, 19 raised their attendance bar by posting their own personal best entrant numbers. The other end of that spectrum saw 17 tournaments drop to new attendance lows - going all the way back to 1991 and the first Avaloncon for bottom line numbers. It was the first year since those numbers have been tracked that risers outnumbered decliners given the natural tendency of new events to draw the curious and then begin a steady decline,
Zenith: Those setting new highwater marks (and their years at WBC) were: +36/4 Can't Stop,+34/6 Ivanhoe, +31/10 Ra!, +25/17 Slapshot, +19/6 Ticket to Ride, +9/18 Superstar Baseball,+8/3 Ingenius, +7/17 Paydirt, +6/3 Crusader Rex, +6/6 Power Grid, +4/11 Bitter Woods, +3/19 The Russian Campaign, +2/6 Alhambra, +2/17 Facts in Five, +2/18 Gettysburg, +1/18 B-17, +1/3 Combat Commander, +1/4 Russia Besieged, +1/7 Santa Fe Rails. 8
Nadir: Those sinking to new lows were: -23/11 Medici, -18/8 Carcassonne, -10/9 Battle Cry, -10/3 Battlelore, -8/5 Manifest Destiny, -7/14 Air Baron, -6/3 Street Soccer, -4/8 Wilderness War, -3/11 For The People; -2/8 Queen's Gambit, -2/4 Command & Colors Ancients, -1/14 Age of Renaissance, -1/6 Brawling Battleship Steel, -1/7 Hammer of the Scots, -1/7 Monty's Gamble; Market Garden, -1/7 Napoleonic Wars, -1/10 Tikal.