Always a titanic struggle ...
The 2002 tournament was run rather differently than in previous
years. Rather than a MESE format, a three-round continuous preliminary
format, with a single final game was used. Despite the lack
of multiple heats, 45 brave combatants entered 'The Arena' to
Scoring in the preliminary was done based on each player's
position relative to the runnerup. The 2nd place player in each
game received a score of 1.000, and each of the other scores
were based on a percentage of that. Each winner therefore, received
a score greater than 1.000 (assuming there wasn't a tie). The
scoring was also kept secret, so no one playing at a table in
the later rounds was aware of the success (or lack thereof) of
each of their opponents. This was done to try and make each
round as independent as possible and for the five finalists to
be determined on their own merits rather than someone who won
their first game being singled out for attention in subsequent
Joe Spositio seemed to really grasp this concept as he not
only advanced to the final game, he did so with a tournament
score of over 4.000. He not only won all three of his preliminary
games, he won one of them by almost twice as many points as the
runnerup at his table.
Joe was joined in the final game by Rodd Polsky, James Hopkins,
defending champion Rebecca Hebner, and Arthur Field.
The first round saw the players jockeying for position. Joe
placed bets on the Hydra and Cyclops. Rodd put his money on
the Ranger. James was able to get two bets down, one on the
Titan and the other on the Warlock. Rebecca got on the Dragon
train, and Arthur took the Unicorn and the Troll. The first
round went quietly until the end when Rodd was in position to
end it. Despite pleas from Arthur, Rodd decided (with some prodding
from Joe) that it was the Unicorn that had to go first.
James started the 2nd round by betting on the Cyclops. Rebecca
got her 3-point bets on the Hydra and Troll. Arthur followed
with bets on the Dragon and Ranger while Joe and Rodd took the
Titan and Warlock respectively. As the round drew to a close,
Arthur found himself in the power seat and got a measure of revenge
on Joe as he took out the Cyclops.
By now things were starting to heat up. The players bets
in the third round went like this: Joe (Dragon), Rodd (Titan),
James (Hydra), and Rebecca (Ranger). The third round was also
ended by another Joe/Rodd tag-team effort as the two of them
worked together to eliminate the Troll, sticking it to both Rebecca
and Arthur in the process.
There were no more bets placed in the fourth round. Rodd
once again found himself in a position to influence the final
decision as he and James paired up to eliminate the Dragon, thus
dealing a serious blow to Rebecca's hopes for a repeat championship.
The final round began with the Hydra, Titan, Ranger, and Warlock
still standing. The play went around and finally Arthur pulled
a decisive move by revealing his secret bet on the Hydra (thus
taking control of the Hydra's power), playing a card on the Hydra
and following up with a second play that ended the game by eliminating
the Warlock. While it was an exciting way to finish the game,
Arthur had been too badly damaged early to be in a winning position.
When the scores were tallied, Joe Spositio continued his dominance
by winning the final game with 12 points. Rebecca and Rodd both
had 11 points, but Rebecca took 2nd by virtue of being seated
immediately to Arthur's right. Arthur took 4th with 8 points
and James finished fifth with a score of 6.
Congratulations to Joe for an outstanding tournament and many
thanks to all who played. I hereby pass the GM baton to past
champ Alan Witte.
Titan: The Arena Jr. tournament followed the long Circus
Maximus Jr. tournament, and both the Juniors and the GM were
a bit worn out (maybe it was only the GM), we kept it simple.
Everyone had a chance to learn and play one game. The winner
from each of the five tables went on to the final. The format
seemed to go smoothly and the Pop Rox and temporary tattoos that
were prizes for everyone who played were very popular.
of the most exciting and controversial events during the tournament
was the requirement to open the GMs mint copy of the game because
we didn't have enough copies on hand for the number of interested
players. (I brought it for that reason, so it didn't break my
The players ran the gambit from the very experienced to those
who had never played before. With the able assistance of Keith
Levy and Rebecca Hebner (former TTA and TTA Jr. champion), everyone
was able to learn before we got started with the actual tournament.
Scores were close in the five preliminary games, with a maximum
of three points separating first and second place. In two of
the games, there was a tie for first place, which was awarded
according to the tiebreaker.
The final could really have been called "Diplomacy."
It took forever for any card to be played, especially toward
the end of a round, because each of the non-playing players had
to make a detailed case (sometimes simultaneously) about which
creatures should live and die. Only three of the five players
made secret bets, and it turned out that every one of those secret
bets was on the Troll. Not surprisingly, the Troll lived in the
end. The score in the final wasn't nearly as close, either. Suzanne
Welker walked away with a 7-point lead. The scores were:
Suzanne Welker 15
Johnathan Darr 8
Steven Greenwood 7 (3rd with tie breaker)
Katie McCorry 7
Zach Dunn 4
(By the way, Steven says to tell you that he is not related
to Don Greenwood and his name did not enter into the tie breaking