After a 60% increase in attendance with the move to Seven Springs and a return to Century status, 2017 saw a slight drop in the event’s 20th year. In 2016, 75% of the players had not played at a previous WBC. The draw of new blood remained strong, as 50% of the 2017 players were new to WBC. Four players traveled from Canada while 2 came from New Zealand. Heat 1 attendance matched the Heat 1 highs from 2008-2010 and 2014. Despite offering a giant stuffed gorilla to the first winner of the 9:00 AM Thursday heat, competing against 15 events being held at the same time hurt attendance in that heat.
21% of the 2017 players were female but they won 46% of their games. 44% of the players were under the age of 30 and 42% were over the age of 40. Despite no junior tournament, 7 junior-aged players obtained adult badges, 14% of the total attendance. The outgoing junior coordinator said that Monsters Menace America was played in the junior open gaming area every day and urged its return to the junior schedule.
All games played used the 2005 Monsters Menace America edition now in its 13th year. A copy of the 1998 Monsters Ravage America edition was available but not used.
Menace players in 2017 won with the following:
- Toxicor 10
- Megaclaw 6
- Tomanagi 3
- Zorb 3
- Gargantis 2
- Konk 0
Menace winners in 2017 controlled the following:
- Air Force 9
- Marines 6
- Army 5
- Navy 4
By written rule, Toxicor can only have a maximum of 30 points, while the other MONSTERS can have a maximum of 40 points. Despite becoming a target in many games, players controlling Toxicor won 42% of 2017 games. They used her proximity to New York City and other northeast cities, as well as the special power to view 2 Mutations and keep the best one. Many disappeared and reappeared out west, to mutate at the 3 western mutation sites.
Winners over last 13 years:
- Megaclaw 58 (25%)
- Toxicor 50 (21%)
- Zorb 45 (20%)
- Tomanagi 44 (23%)
- Gargantis 19 (8%)
- Konk 7 (3%)
Military Controlled by Winners over last 13 years:
- Marines 65 (29%)
- Army 59 (26%)
- Air Force 52 (23%)
- Navy 51 (22%)
- National Guard 1 (0%)
Mary Ellen Powers won the 2017 Best Actress award with Zorb, as she missed the Monster Challenge while making “B” movies in Hollywood
The event remained Coached, but three demos were held. Strategy tips have been taught at demos for years. Players were reminded that the Menace written rules restrict the maximum health to the left side of the Monster card: 30 for Toxicor and 40 for all other Monsters. They can still pursue mutations and extra attacks from Infamy sites. There is a Maximum of 15 Infamy allowed.
In a Heat 3 game, 2016 finalist Jack Wolff was beaten down to 1 health by Jay Buckwalter. But Jack started the Monster Challenge, chose Jay’s Monster, and burned his own 4 Infamy attacks to defeat him for sweet revenge. Andrew Drummond won the game.
Marvin Birnbaum’s Toxicor was the biggest Monster with a score of 53, which is 44 more than her starting health of 9.
Once again, three members of the Wolff family, Ray, Sue, and 10-year-old Sam, won their games. Due to a seating oversight, 11-year-old Jack Wolff, who played in the 2016 Final, was beaten by his dad, Ray, who sat down at the heat, never having played before, and without benefit of a demo!
Tricia Wolff took home the big stuffed gorilla but only after Sue Cornett won and allowed the next Heat 4 winner to grab it. Former Ravage champion David Brooks won the big stuffed shark in Heat 3.
Thirteen of the 16 qualifying winners appeared for the semifinal, a record 81%, the highest in 20 years. Top alternate was 5-time champion Marvin Birnbaum. GM and former champion Mark Love, who took Menace for his team game, gave up his alternate slot to allow 12-year-old Noah Drummond of Canada to grab the last alternate slot. Of the 16 semifinal players, 38% were 18 or younger and 3 were juniors.
Alexander Burke won his semifinal game with the highest score with Toxicor, defeating Brooke Hullings, Zarabeth Goddard, and Noah Drummond.
An alternate from California, Oscar Gonzalez, age 14, was playing the game for only the second time but upset top seed and assistant GM Bill Powers, as well as 10-year-old Sam Wolff, and Sarah Sparks of New Zealand.
David Schneider beat former champion David Brooks, former finalist Steve Scott, and Susan Cornett.
Five-time champion Marvin Birnbaum advanced as an alternate to his 8th Final, using Megaclaw to defeat Tricia Wolff, R.J. Gleaton, and 12-year-old Ethan Shipley-Tang. Marvin Birnbaum said that Ethan pulled the most dastardly thing he’s ever seen in the 19 years he’s played this game. Tricia Wolff had her Monster, Toxicor, disappear from the map. Ethan, who beat the GM to make the semifinal, deployed his Army units and used his Guard Commander National Guard units to block her lair, and positioned 11 units within reach of her other lairs. Toxicor was beaten down to zero health and sent to Hollywood.
In the final, Dice rolls were made for who would get the first choice of Monster. The starting positions were:
- 1 Oscar Gonzalez, Toxicor and Air Force, western lair, a departure from the usual start near NYC
- 2 Alexander Burke, Megaclaw and Navy, northern lair
- 3 David Schneider, Gargantis and Army, southwest lair
- 4 Marvin Birnbaum, Tomanagi and Marines, Atlantic lair, a departure from the usual start near Los Angeles
On Turn 1, Toxicor mutates at Experimental Breeder Reactor and Oscar takes research for Molecular Cannon. Megaclaw stomps Chicago, adds 5 health, and Alexander places Navy units in San Francisco and Florida. Gargantis stomps the OK Corral. Tomanagi fights the Navy and Air Force base and takes 2 trophies and 2 infamy extra attack markers.
Turn 2 saw Toxicor mutate at Nevada Test site. Megaclaw stomps Detroit with Marvin saying “I can’t believe that Detroit is still a 2-dice city”. Gargantis mutates at Roswell and gets War Spikes. Tomanagi mutates at Three Mile Island, gets Whip Tentacles, and attacks Toxicor with 6 Marines, reducing it to 3 health.
In Turn 3, Toxicor attacks San Francisco, defeats 2 Navy subs, gaining 6 health. Oscar grabs research for Chopper Lift. Megaclaw stomps DC/Baltimore and gets a trophy and 6 health, rising to 31. Alex gets Mecha-Monster and places him in Boston. NYC now has 5 National Guards and 1 Navy. Tomanagi stomps Philadelphia and adds 5 health to reach 16 total. Marvin attacks Toxicor to drop him to 6 health.
Turn 4 continued with Toxicor stomping Seattle and its Army base to get to 8 health. Megaclaw stomps Boston and its Navy base to reach his maximum of 40 health. Alex picks up Guard Commander, allowing him to move the National Guard. Gargantis stomps the Alamo for infamy. Tomanagi disappears from the map. Megaclaw attacked and loses health.
On Turn 5, Toxicor stomps Vancouver and rises to 11 health. Megaclaw stomps Cleveland to get back to 36 health. Gargantis stomps Dallas. 6 Army units attack Megaclaw, but all are beaten. Tomanagi reappears outside Los Angeles. Marvin uses Cutbacks to take away Guard Commander.
As Turn 6 started, Toxicor attacks the Grand Coulee Dam but is retreated by 2 Navy units. Oscar attacks Megaclaw with 6 Air Force. Megaclaw mutates at Three Mile Island and gets Atomic Breath. Alex gets the Captain Colossal military monster unit and places it in Kansas City. Gargantis stomps Austin. Marvin sends 5 Marines to attack Gargantis and rejects the white dice and uses the custom Marines red dice. He beats Gargantis down to 5 health. Marvin then stomps San Diego.
On the last turn, Oscar attacks Megaclaw with Mecha-Monster, using Scientific Analysis and Antimutagen, to drop him to 23 health. He then stomps Portland, the 20th stomp, initiating the Monster Challenge. Alex decides to skip stealing the Challenge and attack New York City to add 12 health taking him to 32 total. Alex uses the Blonde Lure to force Gargantis to face 2 X-Fighters and prevent him from disappearing and getting back to 10 health that way. David’s Army attacks Tomanagi. San Diego turned out to be a rough neighborhood as this was the third battle there. Marvin goes to the Challenge site to steal the Challenge and pick who he wants to fight first.
The Monster Challenge starts with Marvin attacking Gargantis’ 3 health and 9 Infamy, winning and rolling up to 36 health. He decides to attack Megaclaw’s 32 health and 2 Infamy attacks next. Marvin’s son Joey rolls for him to win the last attack, raising Tomanagi’s health to 50. He then attacks Toxicor’s 14 health, 4 infamy and Berserk. Marvin and his 2 sons all roll and miss. He’s knocked down to 38 health before winning. He then dispatched Mecha-Monster for his 6th Monsters championship, breaking the tie with Nick Henning.