monsters ravage america [Updated October 2002]

MRA  3 prizes Beginners Mult Ent Sing Elim Scheduled 
  Rnd1 Heat1  18
 Rnd1 Heat2 15   Rnd1 Heat3  9    
  13 Rnd1 Heat4 15    Round 2 9  Round 3  11  Final

  Rnd1 Heat1 Rnd1 Heat2  Round 2 Round 3  MD 3   Rnd1 Heat3 MD 4   Rnd1 Heat4 MD 2       

Joseph Sposito, NJ

2002 Champion

2nd: Nick Henning, CT

3rd: Mike Eoppolo, DE

4th: Seth Kirchner, KY

5th: Rebecca Hebner, CO

6th: Kevin Wojtaszczyk, NY

Event History
1998    Dave Long     167
1999    Marvin Birnbaum     106
2000    Tom Meier      83
2001    Rebecca Hebner      68
2002    Joseph Sposito      69

AREA Ratings

GM: Mark Love

Past Winners

Dave Long - NC

Marvin Birnbaum - NY

Tom Meier - VA

Rebecca Hebner - CO

Anybody bring the Monster Repellant? ...

This game is a parody of MONSTER movies - but the MONSTERS win! Or do they?

2002 saw a resurgence by Konk the Great Ape, who won 38% of games played. 2001 champion Tomanagi the Carnosaur won 35% while rarely chosen Dread Swamp Lasher won 50% of the four games played, thanks in part to phenomenal dice rolling by Erica Kirshner. Ewan McNay came from Belgium to win with Mecha-Monster for the military in the first game played in 2002. But MONSTERS have won 97% of all games played in the last four years of tournament play:

 Monster Games Played Games Played % Games Won Games Won %
Bronacle 128 20% 39 30%
F'rothomir  68 11% 19 28%
Tomanagi 129 20% 35 27%
Dust Devil  42  7% 10 24%
Glow Wyrm 106 17% 24 23%
Swamp Lasher  32  5%  7 22%
Ixitpla Snake God  51  8% 10 20%
Konk Great Ape  68 11% 13 19%
Name Withheld  14  2%  0 0%

In 2002 the players controlling the Army had their best year ever, winning 31% of all games played. The players controlling the Air Force won 28%, the Navy 25% and the Marine Corps fell to 16%. In one of the oddest incidents ever reported, Mike Lam's Bronacle beat BOTH Mecha-Monster AND Super Colossal Guy - in the same grid space at the same time!

38% of the 69 players in the adult tournament in 2002 were junior-aged or teens, which means that adults still dominated with 62%:

 Age Range Number of Players % of Players Female
12 or less 5  7% 20%
13-17 21 30% 14%
18-29 12 17% 17%
30-39 13 19% 17%
40-49 13 19% 0
50+  5  7% 0
Totals 69 100% 12%

10% of players' MONSTERS had their health reduced to zero, resulting in their being sold to Hollywood to make 'B' movies. Three of them were sent twice in the same game, including Don Chappell of Texas. Don won the Best Sound award for screeching the Glow Wyrms's sound as he was hauled away. Mark McCandless of New Orleans advanced to the semifinals with the biggest kick-butt MONSTER in the adult tournament, eating his way to 56 health, Whip Tentacles, and three infamy markers with Tomanagi. Controlling the first Challenge was NOT enough to produce a win in 66% of the games. At age 7,
Daniel Ruhnke was the youngest player in the adult tournament, and he had the 10th best score of the non-winners.

Many thanks go to assistant GM Verity Hitchings, who got got one heat started while the GM was stuck in traffic. She also ran the demo and started the last heat while GM Mark Love was winning the final of Tyranno Ex. (Ironically, Mark had previously defeated Verity in a heat of that tournament, in which Verity was the reigning two-time champ.) Verity's refresher
course at the demo was enough to help Kevin Wojtasczyk win his MRA heat game and ultimately take 6th place in the tournament.

The wives of two MONSTER players played in games just to pass the time. You guessed it - the wives won their games while the husbands lost at other boards! Lidia Treadway of Chantilly, VA had the Most Infamous MONSTER in the tournament, collecting five infamy markers with Tomanagi. She and over half of the other winners could not attend the next round on Sunday. Melanie Meier of Falls Church, VA, wife of 2000 MRA champ Tom Meier, advanced to the semifinal, where she forgot to use Tomanagi's extra first-round attack in sea combat the entire game. Tom made the semifinal with the best score by an alternate. He and former champions Marvin Birnbaum (1999) and Rebecca Hebner (2001), and 1999 junior champion Nick Henning all played at separate semifinal boards.

GM Mark Love was knocked out of the tournament for the third year in a row by Rebecca Hebner - and this time they did not even play each other! Rebecca was not present when the players assembled Sunday morning, which was odd considering the Baltimore Sun article about her and this game. Convention Manager Don Greenwood had told a new GM the day before that a
winner could play in an advanced round if they appeared before the board was set up for play. Mark had to supply two of the boards for the semifinal, so he ran into open gaming while they were being set up. He found Rebecca's aunt, Kaarin Engelmann, who raced to her room and got Rebecca (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) to the tournament in time to play. Mark's own 4th heat score made him the next alternate, so he himself would have replaced Rebecca.

The players who made the semifinals understood how to use the military effectively, as 31% of the MONSTERS were beaten down and sold to Hollywood to make 'B' movies - triple the rate of the four heats played. An alternate who made the finals was 13-year-old Michael Eoppolo, who was also the only teen who had to play three adults in the semifinals, including 1999 champion Marvin Birnbaum. Michael won with F'rothomir and the Navy. 2000 MRA champ Tom Meier forgot to use his military to attack 2000 finalist Joe Sposito before the Challenge began - a common misunderstanding, which could have
changed the outcome of that semifinal game - which Joe won with Tomanagi and the Marines. Another alternate who made the finals was 16-year-old Seth Kirshner. The Kirshner clan took the First Family of MONSTERS away from the Dolans, as Brian, Erica, and Seth all won heats. Brian had to leave Sunday to return to the Air Force Academy. Seth was beaten down by 2000 runnerup Steve Scott of California, but had enough left to narrowly defeat defending champion Rebecca Hebner of Colorado. Despite losing, Steve said it was the best game of MONSTERS he'd ever played. In it, Rebecca created a Super Nuker Site by firing the Rogue Nuke at an existing Mutation site in Roswell, allowing MONSTERS who visited there to mutate twice. Nick Henning was the only former champion to make the finals, as the 1999 MONSTER junior champ. But he barely beat Kevin Wojtasczyk to advance.

For the first time in the history of the event, no adults or females made the finals. Seth Kirchner, 16, took the Navy and Dust Devil. Joe Sposito, 14, who finished fifth in 2001 and fourth in 2000 started with the Air Force and Bronacle. Michael Eoppolo, 13, got the Army and Frothomir. Nick Henning, 15, was left with the Marines, so he took Tomanagi. Joe Sposito
had already won Titan the Arena, one of the trio that Rebecca Hebner had won last year before becoming Queen of the MONSTERS. An omen? Joe even took the TTA crown away from Rebecca herself this year, as she finished second.

The final began with another strange quirk - all of the players began in their #5 Lair - in what was the 5th year of the tournament. That put Joe Sposito's Bronacle and Nick Henning's Tomanagi just outside New York City at the start of the game exactly where Rebecca Hebner started her own championship run the year before. But this time, the turn order allowed the players to mobilize the military to a level of deterrence. Joe headed to Chicago while Nick disappeared immediately, popping up outside New Orleans. The other players began shouting "Remember the Alamo after Nick's Tomanagi took the infamy marker there. Seth's Dust Devil stomped Los Angeles! Michael placed the Blob on Fort Lewis in Seattle, and a military MONSTER, Super Colossal Guy, was placed in San Francisco. This all foiled the plans of both Nick and Joe, each of whom disappeared and left hungry. This tactic was also used to move across the map faster - all the players were constantly chasing the MONSTERS with their military. The other players plotted against Nick, despite his insistance that he was in last place. In what only could have happened in a game with four adolescent boys, the players assigned themselves Gangster-styled monikers, as their MONSTERS destroyed 20 cities: Joe became Stalin, Michael became Hitler, Nick became Mussolini, while "Good Guy Seth", who didn't want to fight, became Churchill.

The game invoked a lot of diplomacy but little agreement. The large northeast cities stood untouched for much of the game. After picking up the Rogue Nuke, Joe made a deal with Nick but only after Nick agreed "to be described in the yearbook as a liar and cheater, with his address and phone number published, if he should break the deal with Joe. They kept the deal, as Joe speculated uneasily "This is where I probably lost the game. Nick moved his Marines to Norfolk while Joe fired the Rogue Nuke at Seth's Dust Devil.

Seth declared the Challenge as he gambled by stomping Las Vegas. Joe stole the Challenge by sending Bronacle to Devil's Tower. With 23 health, Joe knocked off Super Colossal Guy, then Seth's Dust Devil and was left with net health of 25. Mike's F,rothomir fell next, but knocked off 15 health from Bronacle in the process. But since F'rothomir started with 34 health, Joe now added that to his remaining 10, to bring 44 health against Nick's Tomanagi's 40 and three infamy markers. The final battle began with Joe roaring with each attack. Joe's trip out west during the game may have left him hungry, but he picked up Whip Tentacles at a mutation site. That was enough to assure victory, as the popular Bronacle, with its ability to pick two mutations and keep the best one, became King of the MONSTERS for the first time.

Special recognition should go to Joe's father, Eric Sposito, who does not play board games himself, but has brought Joe to the convention from New Jersey since Joe was 9. Quite a great dad. Not a whole lot of fathers go to that much trouble these days and the WBC is a better place with Joe's spirit and good play.

 MONSTERS Ravage America Junior

20 little monsters, aged 12 or under, played in the 2002 junior tournament. Most had never played it before. In the preliminary round, Susanne Welker, age 9, of Steubenville, Ohio, reported 75 health at the Challenge which may be the highest health ever accumulated in either the adult or junior tournament. It was enough to put her in the final, where she played the Marines and Glow Wyrm. She was joined by Nick Darr, 12, of Ashburn, Virginia, who played Tomanagi and the Navy. Seeking to establish a family dynasty was Jacob Hebner of Superior, Colorado, who played Bronacle and the Army. But the clear favorite was Grant Herman, 11, of Potomac, Maryland, who played F'rothomir and the Air Force. At the age of 9, Grant beat three grown men in the quarterfinals of the 2000 adult MRA tournament. He qualified for the semifinals again in 2001, but was not able to attend the Sunday semifinal and final either year because his father travels for business. Grant Herman could very well have won the adult tournament the previous two years.

The junior final was unusual in that the players made virtually no use of the military throughout the game. All four players sent their MONSTERS to the health-rich northeast, and proceeded to gobble up the cities. All four MONSTERS then raced to the west coast and stomped whatever they could reach. Grant Herman explained, "We rolled for military research for the heck of it - and the heck of it worked! Both Grant and Jacob also picked up mutations, and Jacob's Bronacle could pick two and keep the best one. As in the adult tournament, that proved to be the deciding factor in the game. Susanne left Nick with 4th place by beating him in the first Challenge match with 37 health and one infamy against Nick's 21 health. But Suzanne was left with 3rd place, as she fell to Grant's 49 health and Atomic Breath. On paper, Grant seemed poised to take the crown. He had improved his health to 63. As the adults have often found, that is not always enough. But Jacob Hebner had one infamy, and two powerful mutations, Whip Tentacles and Armor Scales, to add to his 41 health. Those mutations gave Jacob three dice instead of two and a 4 defense instead of 3. Even great dice rolling could not overcome those odds. It was enough to leave Grant Herman with 2nd place and make Jacob Hebner the King of the Junior MONSTERS. ... something his mom no doubt has suspected all along. His sister Rebecca may have won the adult tournament in 2001, but even she could not win the junior crown, when she tried in 2000. The adults need to realize that if juniors and teens know the rules and strategies of this game, they are completely capable of beating anyone.

Following Jacob Hebner into the annals of WBC Junior placedom were, in order:

Grant Herman

Suzanne Welker

Nick Darr

Angela Collinson

 GM      Mark Love  [4th Year]   9890 Wahingtonian Blvd #705, Gaithersburg, MD 20878-5351    (NA)

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