titan: the arena [Updated October 2002]

TTA  3 prizes Experienced Swiss Elim Scheduled 

    12 Round 2 15Final



  Maryland 1

Joe Sposito, NJ

2002 Champion

2nd: Rebecca Hebner, CA

3rd: Rodd Polsky, PA

4th: Arthur Field, SC

5th: James Hopkins, CA

6th: Lance Ribeiro, NH

Event History
1997    Peter Staab       72
1998    Brian Sutton      178
1999    Kaarin Engelmann     115
2000    Alan Witte      97
2001    Rebecca Hebner      56
2002    Joe Sposito      45

AREA Ratings

GM: John Coussis

1 Top-Six GM Nomination

Past Winners

Peter Staab - PA

Brian Suttom - MD

Kaarin Engleman - VA

Alan Witte - NJ

Rebecca Hebner - CO

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 do battle.

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 rounds.

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.

 Because the 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.

One 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 heart.)

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 mechanism!)

 GM     John Coussis  (1st year)   NA
   NA   NA 

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