Youth Will Be Served; Come Over
to the Dark Side Young Henning ...
In 2004 Bronacle of the Depths emerged as the top choice of the
eight MONSTERS since 1998, with the best winning percentage,
too. To top it off, he won his second championship, (with a little
help from the human cslling the shots.) Bronacle's special power
allows him to select two Mutation cards when he mutates, and
keep one. That improves his chances of getting one of the six
mutations that can be used in the game-end MONSTER Challenge
battles against other MONSTERS. Those mutations can dramatically
improve the chance of winning, especially for a weak MONSTER.
Increasingly, Bronacle opponents were using their military units
to block his access to mutation sites.
the 4th heat, 15-year-old Erica Kirchner of KY disappeared from
the map, thereby protecting her 28 health as she attacked the
other three MONSTERS with Defense Satellites. Erica sent two
of them to Hollywood with zero health. 17-year-old Ohioian Brendan
Coomes' Tomanagi was stuck in Hollywood when the MONSTER Challenge
began, so his MONSTER could not participate. So who won? Brendan
Coomes! He still had Mecha-MONSTER from his own successful military
research, and ran the table. It was the first report ever that
someone still won a game while their own MONSTER was stuck in
Hollywood. Ironically, he also defeated Mike Lam of CA, who was
the first player ever to win with any military MONSTER, in 2000.
This game was designed for the MONSTERs to win, which they have
in 97% of the 233 games from 1999-2004:
With perfect balance, each MONSTER should win 25% of games played.
Ironically, the designers thought that Tomanagi, Dust Devil and
Konk had better chances of winning, so their starting health
is 10 while the other five MONSTERS start with 12 health. It
now looks like Bronacle should start with 10 and Konk and Ixitpla
should start with 12! Dread Swamp Lasher is rarely chosen because
itís hard to benefit from its power, being so far from
mutation sites. The close proximity of all starting lairs causes
players to avoid choosing Lasher, as well as Dust Devil and Ixitpla.
If the players controlling them are about to be trounced by the
military, disappearing does little to help them escape. The more
popular choices have lairs spread out all over the map, making
disappearing helpful if needed. Tomanagi's extra attack in the
first combat round in a sea space has always made her second
in popularity, since nearly all of the cities that payoff with
2 or more dice of health are in sea spaces.
Military. In 2004, the the Navy players continued their dominance,
winning 36%, while the Air Force, which won 38% in 2003, dropped
to 18%. The Marine players finally gained respectability, winning
24% of games played in 2004, although they still lag for the
last six years. Some players effectively used the Marines for
repeated all-out attacks, as they were designed to be used. With
perfect balance, each military should win 25% of games played
over time. The cumulative results 1999-2004: Navy 76 wins or
32%, Air Force 70 wins or 30%, Army 51 wins or 22%, Marines 37
wins or 16%.
Family Friendly. The game was classified as Coached
in 2003, meaning novices could still learn the game and play
immediately. In 2004, 33% of players were under age 18, 53% were
18-49 and 11% were over 50, with 3% unknown. Fewer junior-aged
players participated, as they had a MRA junior tournament. 20%
of the heat players were females.
The Four Heats. 15-year-old Victor Hogen of Louisiana
had the biggest kick-butt MONSTER in 2004, with a scoresheet
total of 57. Glenn McMaster of Ontario, Canada had the healthiest
MONSTER, with 42 health for Bronacle of the Depths. Ironically,
Bronacle has two lairs located in Canada, including one at the
north side of Lake Ontario. Heat 1 found former champions Joe
Sposito of NJ (2002) and Rebecca Hebner of CO (2001) at the same
board. Both 16-year-olds had played in the 2000 final. But Paul
Weintraub of MD emerged as the winner, after just learning how
to play. Ironically, Paul was the gamemaster for Wrasslin' the
first year Joe attended the convention with a one-day pass, where
Joe crushed future MRA gamemaster Mark Love in WRS Round 2. 2004
also saw the Return of the Queen, assistant GM Christina Hancock
of NH, after a 3-year absence, who brought good things to light
by engineering a victory over her father's teammate. She was
a finalist in MRA in 1999, and in its first year in 1998.
rules question that designer Ben Knight found to be the most
hilarious finally happened in 2004 - Californian Steve Scott
fired the Rogue Nuke at his own MONSTER. Why? Joe Sposito had
a commanding lead in health and the game was nearly over. Steve
had Bronacle, and a successful Rogue Nuke attack will MUTATE
the MONSTER! Since Bronacle picks two mutations and keeps one,
Steve was gambling that the value of the mutation's possible
use in the MONSTER Challenge could exceed the value of the damage
incurred, since he could roll low on damage. Did it pay off?
No! Joe Sposito went on to win, but only after reserving a deadly
fear of Mecha-MONSTER, who knocked 36 health off Joe's Glow Wyrm
Young Kelly Czyryca came to the WBC with a one-day pass with
his grandfather, Ernie. As neither had played MRA before, the
GM let them play together at his own board with Paul Bolduc,
who helped teach it. Most of the game was spent sending the military
after Mark Love, who was gobbling up the big eastern cities.
Kelly never had many health points, so he was ignored. But Kelly
had Ixitpla and paid close attention to its power - getting two
extra attacks for each infamy marker. When Mark attacked him
in the MONSTER Challenge, Kelly had three dice for Whip Tentacles,
one extra die for Bezerk, and 14 available attacks from seven
infamy markers. Kelly could roll 18 dice, and there is no return
fire for a defeated military or MONSTER! So another young novice
won, not from blind luck, but from smart play.
Check for Alternate Status! In 2003, 20 winners (a
record 78%) showed up for the 16 semi-final slots, which resulted
in four being turned away (those who played multiple heats before
winning.) So in 2004, to ensure himself a spot after losing,
2002 champion Joe Sposito of NJ won two subsequent heats - which
also made him the top seed. But 2004 had a high no-show rate,
as only 12 of 22 winners (54%) appeared, in part due to chronic
Werewolf sleep deprivation. Despite being ranked 44th, Steve
Scott of CA became the WBC poster man for Checking-for-Alternate-Status,
as the ONLY player who showed up to check. The GM found the highest
non-winner, Erika Poniske of MD, in the hall, and semi-finalist
David Brooks of TN called his room to get his wife, Reiko, who
had a top score. Rebecca Hebner of CO had passed up the final
of Circus Maximus in order to win the MRA championship
in 2001. In 2004 she just had to know. She bypassed the MRA semi-final
(her team game!) for the CMS final, where she failed to place.
Adults Dominate Semi-finals. The adults have taken
charge of the advanced MRA rounds! Between 1998 and 2002 over
half of players advancing were under age 18, even though adults
dominated attendance. But ten of the 16 semi-finalists were 18
or over in 2003, and that rose to 14 in 2004. Nick Henning of
CT took second in 2002 when Joe Sposito won the crown in the
final, but Nick prevailed in their semi-final rematch, also beating
Joshua Dunn and Derek Landel of NJ. In a year of irony, Steve
Scott advanced to the finals, winning a close one over Reiko
Brooks, Tracy Graf and Mark Love for all the unlikely WBC alternates.
Defending champion Marvin Birnbaum had a semi-final rematch with
Erika Poniske as well as two other Marylanders, Paul Weintraub
and Scott Fenn.
The final. Rich Moyer took the Air Force and defending
champion, Konk, and started in Lair 2, Mt. Whitney, near the
west coast. Steve Scott took the Navy and the Glow Wyrm, whom
he just won with, and started in Lair 1, Lebman Caves in the
west. Paul Weintraub took the Marines and also stuck with his
semi-final winner, Fírothomir, starting in Lair 4 at Manitoba
near Winnepeg, Canada. Nick Henning was left with the Army, which
gave him first MONSTER choice. He took his semi-final winner
and player favorite, Bronacle, and got a great roll to be the
only player in the health-rich northeast, at Lair 5 Lake Ontario,
just outside the biggest prize on the map, New York City.
stomped San Francisco on the first turn, and in the process,
picked up an extra attack infamy marker for hitting the Golden
Gate Bridge, and stomped Steve's Navy base at Alameda. Paul picked
up infamy for the Paul Bunyan and Big Blue statue. Nick went
to Three Mile Island and mutated, keeping Atomic Breath, which
adds 1 to all attack die rolls. As he did in the semi-final,
Nick took on the persona of his MONSTER, speaking in a broken
English monotone. Paul responded with his own dialect, which
was more of a cave man style. They both kept this dialogue throughout.
Nick's Bronacle was constantly surrounded by the military, but
he steadily and aggressively stomped what he could. Nick succeeded
at military research, picking up Super Colossal Guy, Fusion Cells,
and got control of the National Guard with the Guard Commander.
Rich's Konk was forced to come to the Blonde Lure, but there
were no military units waiting at all. It was done to prevent
Konk from stomping Los Angeles.
The GM provided patriotic-themed dogtags, necklaces, buttons
and candy throughout the event. With 2004 being a presidential
election year, it seemed appropriate that Paul placed the 20th
footprint at Little Rock, Arkansas to start the Challenge round.
The honeymoon ended with Nick stealing the election - I mean
- Challenge, by sending Bronacle to Niagra Falls. He then attacked
his biggest opponent, Rich, with his National Guard and Army,
knocking 7 off his health. Nick had Bronacle fight Paul's Frothomir
first, who had 8 health and two infamy. Bronacle won with three
rolls, leaving Paul Weintraub with 4th place. Bronacle was on
a roll, all right. He never missed once, knocking off Steve's
Glow Wyrm, who had 17 health, one infamy and War Spikes. He finished,
appropriately by knocking off defending champ Konk, who had 18
health and Armor Scales. Separated by a single scoresheet point,
Rich Moyer took 3rd, while Steve Scott reclaimed 2nd place, which
he had also held in 2000.
Now what is wrong with this picture? In 1999 and in 2003 Marvin
Birnbaum defeated three teenagers in the finals. 2004 was the
first time that three adults even made the final. But now, the
sole teenager, at 17, beats the three adults! The land is turning
INSIDE OUT...and being overun by MONSTERS!!! Nick had previously
won the very first MRA junior championship in 1999, winning a
copy of the game as a prize. He finished second in 2002 in the
adult tourney. To add to the irony of 2004, the MRA GM, who was
a former Gangster champion, recruited several adult Gangster
players to play MRA in 2003, to reclaim the title for the adults.
So who won the 2004 Gangster plaque? Nick Henning! As
a consolation to the adults, Nick will be 18 next year and old
enough to vote, so the adults can claim him as one of their own.
But this year, the teens rule again, and we are proud of the
new King of the Giant MONSTERS!
Ravage America Junior
16 little monsters, aged 12 or under, played in the 2004 junior
tournament, but a pair of kids from Colorado flew several thousand
miles to be proved the best. The top six were:
1st: Jacob Hebner
2nd: David Pack
3rd: Michael Schoose
4th: Conal Jaeger
5th: Daniel Pappas
6th: Tim De Marco
16 little MONSTERS traveled from all over the continent to
play in the 2004 junior tournament for players aged 12 or under.
Jacob Hebner of Colorado set several MRA Junior tournament records.
He became the only junior to ever play in the MRA Junior Final
for three consecutive years, and became the only player ever
to win a second MRA Junior Championship. He had won in 2002,
and did so again in 2004.
The winner from each board in the first round advanced to
the final, except Michael Schoose was an alterate for first-round
winner Daniel Pappas, who had a time conflict. David Pack, age
12, also repeated as a finalist, and chose the Marines. He took
the MONSTER that won the junior title in 2003, the Dust Devil,
and started in Lair #4, the Painted Desert in Arizona. Michael
Schoose, age 11, took the Air Force and played Frothomir of the
Ice, who started in Lair #2 in Alberta, Canada, which also let
him stomp the snack city, Calgary, for 1 point of health. Conal
Jaeger set an MRA Junior tournament record for being the youngest
player to ever make the final, at age 9. He took the Navy and
the Glow Wyrm, who started in Lair #2, the Lewis and Clark Cavern
in Montana. 2002 MRA Junior champion Jacob Hebner, age 12, was
left with the Army, so with the first choice of MONSTER he took
the 2003 adult champion, Konk the Great Ape.
David stomped Los Angeles on the first turn but only got 6
health on its three dice. Conal wisely let Glow Wyrm sit for
a turn to metamorphose, so its movement would increase from crawling
at 3 to flying five grid spaces. Just as he did in 2003, David
became an early leader. He mutated and got Armor Scales, raising
his defense from 3 to 4. His $5 billion military research paid
off, giving him Mecha-MONSTER. He sent his Marines after Konk
and smacked him with eight damage. The other players also went
after Konk, prompting him to disappear on Jacob's turn. A rule
that even most adults don't know came into play. A MONSTER's
health is restored to half his starting health if it is less
than that when he disappears. With Konk's health down to 3 from
his original 8, disappearing brought him back to 5.
Michael mutated and got Bezerk, and his military research
gave him the Chopper Lift. After stomping San Francisco, David
had Dust Devil disappear. The military knocked Conal's Glow Wyrm
down to zero health, sending him to Hollywood to make B movies.
Jacob picked up the Guard Commander military research, allowing
him to move and attack with the National Guard. He had Konk reappear
in his #6 Lair in the Adirondack Mountains, stomping Albany,
NY in the process. David picked up the second military MONSTER,
Super Colossal Guy, who attacked Jacob's Konk, along with the
Marines David deployed in the east. The weakened Konk was sent
to Hollywood, where he could review scripts with Glow Wyrm. Conal's
Glow Wyrmí's second roll in Hollywood got him to half
his starting health, so he escaped. He landed in the already-stomped
Los Angeles. Jacob rolled high and escaped from Hollywood immediately.
The military budget that allows purchases on each turn creates
constant uncertainty about where those builds will be made, or
which MONSTERS will be pursued. Diplomacy is, at best, good only
for short term deals. The two stronger MONSTERS, David and Michael,
made a brief semi-truce with each other. David picked up the
Atomic Breath mutation, which adds 1 to all attack die rolls.
He then sent a large force of Marines after Conal's Glow Wyrm
in Mexicala. Michael's Frothomir had been heading east. He stomped
New York City and got 17 health points from it's 4-dice payoff.
Conal got the Blonde Lure military research, and forced Frothomir
to go to her, but there was no welcoming party of military! David
couldn't get his Marines or Mecha-MONSTER there in time. So David
sent them when he could, and forced Frothomir to retreat.
Jacob made Konk reappear, climb the Sears Tower, and stomp
Chicago for its two dice of health, plus one more die for being
his MONSTER's goal. Conal took the 20th city to start the Challenge
round, but David stole it on his turn. David attacked Conal with
his military, and then chose him for the first MONSTER Challenge
battle. David had two extra attacks from infamy, two good mutations
and 18 health. Conal had one infamy and had amassed 30 health,
despite having been to Hollywood! The mutations were paying off
for David, but he had some bad dice rolls and Conal won, but
only after being reduced to 6. Adding David's starting health
of 18, Conal took 24 to fight Michael, who had 25 health and
Bezerk. An extremely close battle ensued, with Michael emerging
as the winner with a single point of health remaining! Adding
Conal's 24, he took 25 against Jacob's 34 health, and one infamy
attack. But Jacob could roll three dice instead of two because
of his Whip Tentacles mutation, and that was enough to maintain
The score sheets determine the other placements. David Pack
got 2nd place with a score of 39, Conal Jaeger took 3rd with
32, Michael Schoose 4th with 27. First round winner Daniel Pappas
got 5th and Tim DeMarco's first round score gave him 6th place.
Ironically, Jacob Hebner and David Pack live about one hour from
each other in Colorado, and traveled to Hunt Valley Maryland
to take one-two in the juniors. As they are both 12 and too old
for juniors next year, the adults are forewarned that they are
both ready to kick adult butt!