GM Mark Love (right) sans Great
Ape costume of years past plays in the Mulligan Round to provide
an even multiple of four 4-player games.
Finalists (clockwise from lower
left) Mike Fisher, Tito Lightburn, Nick Henning and Steve Scott
battle the monsters and each other for the wood.
Return of MONSTERS Menaces Lancaster!
God Acts in Mysterious Ways
MONSTERS Ravage America (1998) remained the default
game at WBC but MONSTERS Menace America (2005) was an
allowed substitute. Ravage was chosen for 56% of the games, including
both of the semi-final games, and the Final.
The opportunities to play in 2006 were cut in half, as the
four heats available since 1998 were changed to a Friday mulligan
round and then continuous play Saturday. In 2006, the BPA prohibited
GMs from running Swiss Elimination with Heats. The BPA's new
MESE rules advanced someone who won in their first try over someone
who lost the first try, but won two subsequent heats. The GM
refused to penalize the most dedicated players that way. Consequently,
attendance plunged from a resurgent 80 in 2005 to 33 in 2006.
With 63% of players typically attending the former Wed-Thur heats,
attendance would have been about 90 otherwise. This would likely
have resulted in several first-heat winners being turned away,
along with all second-try, third-try and fourth-try winners,
since using a 5-player option was also prohibited. Four subsequent-try
winners had to be turned away in 2003, and three-time champion
Marvin Birnbaum only advanced then as the last second-try alternate
- and won the plaque. He and other former finalists were unable
to play at all in 2006.
As one of only eight Century-level events rated C (Coached, any
novice can play), 33% of the players were first-timers, despite
the limited chances to play. 15% of players had a relative playing
in another MRA-MMA game. The tournament continued to appeal to
all ages: 23% of players were under age 18, 48% were 18-49, and
a record 23% were over 50, with 6% unknown. Female participation
held at 20% but only Joanna Melton among the ladies won a game.
MONSTERS chosen for play in 2006:
Menace: Tomanagi 25%, Megaclaw (a more powerful version of
Ixitpla) 25%, Toxicor (a clone of Bronacle) 19%, Konk (with an
advantage against fighters) 13%, Zorb (the giant eyeball) 13%,
Gargantis (a flying unit that can't be blocked) 6%.
Ravage: Bronacle of the Depths 25%, Tomanagi the Carnosaur
22%, Glow Wyrm 19%, Dust Devil 13%, Konk the Great Ape 9%, Frothomir
of the Ice 6%, Ixitpla the Snake 6%, Dread Swamp Lasher 0%.
MONSTERS winning percentage for games played in 2006:
Menace: Toxicor 67%, Zorb 50%, Tomanagi 25%, Megaclaw
0%, Gargantis 0%, Konk 0%.
Ravage: Bronacle 38%, Glow Wyrm 33%, Konk 33%, Dust Devil
25%, Tomanagi 14%, Ixitpla 0%, Dread Swamp Lasher 0%, Frothomir
Winning percentage - military controlled by winning MONSTER
player in 2006:
Menace (4 games): Marines player won 2, Navy 1,
Air Force 1, Army 0.
Ravage (8 games): Navy player won 3, Marines 2, Army 2,
Air Force 1.
The Boardgame Players Association Academy of MONSTER Awards:
Best Actor in a B MONSTER Movie: Wooley Farrow made two B
MONSTER Movies in the same game, yet advanced to the semi-finals
Best Director: Mike Fisher, as two of his opponents were sent
to Hollywood in the game he won, his first recorded tournament.
Best Special Effects: 12-year-old Andrew Wilson, who had
the most mutated MONSTER, Dust Devil - with Whip Tentacles, Atomic
Breath, and War Spike for a Ravage scoresheet mutation value
of 19 points.
Best Score: Joanna Melton's Zorb (Menace), scoresheet
total 52. Steve Scott's Glow Wyrm (Ravage), scoresheet total
Best Documentary: Nick Henning, Mike Fisher, Steve Scott,
and Tito Lightburn, for the true story of the 2006 Final, the
most effective use ever of all militaries in one Final.
In Memoriam. A memorial page was placed on the kiosk,
listing WBC players and other folks who passed on over the years,
plus the passengers and crew of Flight 93, which crashed
near Shanksville, PA September 11, 2001, about 165 miles west
of Lancaster. Added manually during the tournament was E.
Henry Richardson III, who had previously played in the MONSTERS
Ravage America. His father and brother were at the WBC, and reported
that Henry had passed away two years ago, at the age of 20, of
Semi-finals - an act of God? You would think that the
change from a Sunday semi-final to Continuous Play on Saturday
would eliminate the no-show rate, which has ranged between 18%
and 41% over the years. Players leaving the convention on Saturday,
or early travel home on Sunday, were the usual reasons for no-shows.
The 18% low rate in 2003 forced the GM to turn away, for the
only time, players who had not won in their first try, as the
newly created tiebreaker after Most Wins. Among those turned
away in 2003 was 11-year-old Wooley Farrow, whose father had
paid for an extra night's stay, thinking he was guaranteed to
advance. Needless to say, they were very upset, and the GM offered
to reimburse them. That situation prompted the MRA GM to e-mail
the entire BPA Board in Feb 2006, pressuring them, without avail,
to allow him to use Swiss Elimination with Heats, which was still
listed as an available option.
The Farrows returned for the first time in 2006 and Wooley
looked like he'd grown a foot. He played twice but he did not
win. The diminished attendance resulted in an 8-player semi-final,
with the top two at each board going to the Final. There were
nine winners, but something happened to eliminate 33% of them,
that can best be called a Mysterious Act of God. Two winners
were leaving the convention to attend a Catholic Saturday mass
that substitutes for their Sunday obligation. One other winner,
who also had to leave, is a minister, who was wearing his collar
during the game. Sharee Pack was willing to advance as an alternate,
but had promised to be an assistant GM for Junior War at Sea,
if she was needed, which conflicted. No other assistant showed
up. So the whole situation, that had created a fight with the
BPA Board, had finally come full circle. Wooley Farrow advanced
as the next available alternate! The GM and Wooley's dad
were laughing uncontrollably, at the sheer irony of the situation.
God himself was the reason that Wooley would not be turned away
again he was owed a semi-final!
This was the first MRA semi-final with no females playing. Wooley
Farrow played in an aggressive military battle along with Cliff
Ackman, but they were both eliminated, as Steve Scott won the
semi-final, and Mike Fisher advanced as an alternate. The other
semi-final was played rapidly, eliminating Jeremy Weatherford
and alternate Joe Delaney, as Nick Henning won and Tito Lightburn
advanced. Jeremy and Tito were Menace players, who were
given a rundown on the differences in the Ravage game
before they played the semi-final. Cliff Ackman's score gave
him fifth place in the tournament, while Jeremy Weatherford took
The Final: In 2006, Nick Henning of Connecticut and Steve
Scott of California both joined Marvin Birnbaum and Rebecca Hebner
as the only players who ever made the MRA Final three different
times. Tito Lightburn became the first Menace player to
ever make the MRA Final. He had recently played in a close 5-player
Menace Final at the Feb, 2006 PrezCon in Charlottesville,
VA. Mike Fisher was another in a long line of first-time players
who made it all the way to the Final. This was the first MRA
Final where none of the players was under the age of 18. At 19,
Nick still had "teen" at the end. But Nick had won
the first MRA junior plaque in 1999, and then won the adult plaque
in 2004, with Steve Scott taking second . Steve had also taken
second in 2000.
Steve took the Air Force and started Tomanagi at Lair #2 (instead
of #6), the California Current. He took Los Angeles on the first
turn and got 16 health points. Mike took the Navy and started
the Dust Devil at Lair #2 (instead of #3), Death Valley, where
he stomped his Goal at the Hoover Dam. Tito took the Army and
the Glow Wyrm, starting at Lair #1 (instead of #5), Lebman Caves.
He sat to metamorphose so he could fly at 5, and got Armor Scales
at a mutation site. Nick got the Marines and Bronacle, and rolled
snake-eyes, so he started at Lair #1, Crater Lake, and stomped
Seattle. So a rare Final began with no player even close to the
Having become the primary target in the crowded west, Steve
had Tomangi disappear, but soon found himself blocked by Navy
units when he reappeared in Lair #4, the Bermuda Triangle. His
military quickly acquired Defense Satellites and the Chopper
Lift. Mike picked up Whip Tentacles and Atomic Breath for Dust
Devil, and stomped his own naval base to get San Francisco. Tito
immunized his Glow Wyrm from the National Guard with the Kinda
Friendly mutation. His two opponents all hit him with their military
units, sending him to Hollywood. Seeing the despondent look on
Nick's face, Ashley Collinson (who last played in 2002) said,
"Why don't you do what you did last time and stomp everything
in sight?" Nick: "It wouldn't work, because I'm losing."
His Bronacle was surrounded and falling behind fast, so he disappeared
and later reappeared in his #4 Lair, Great Lakes. Mike laughingly
asked him, "Don't you trust the Navy to protect it (the
Unlike a two-player wargame, in MRA, three other players move
their military before you get your next move. Thus, Steve began
what became the MONSTER anthem of the Final. He looked at the
board, saw himself surrounded once again, and said, "This
sucks big time!" He had Tomanagi disappear again, showing
up later in Lair #3, near New Orleans. Tito was delighted to
find that his Stablizer Ray removes ALL mutations in Ravage,
since he was used to it taking away only one in Menace.
He was urged to use it on Mike's Dust Devil, who was clearly
the leader now with 25 health and 2 infamy. As Dusty was blocked
from another mutation site, Mike sighed, "This sucks! You
gotta fight for your right to mutate."
Tito realized that his Radiation Field allowed his Glow Wyrm
to get to the National Engineering Lab mutation site, because
it slowed the military's access to him. Nick's Bronacle stomped
Omaha, and was then immediately surrounded by all three opponents'
military. Four Marine Tows and two Air Force fighters sat on
Dust Devil's #4 Lair, the Painted Desert. Steve's Tomanagi stomped
Dallas, while his military got the Cutbacks research. He then
got the Hi Octane Blood mutation. Nick announced, "I'd like
a mutation store for MONSTERS." Four of his Marines then
attacked Dust Devil. After killing all of them fast, Mike said,
"They bravely gave their lives for their country."
Nick responded, "What's great about them is you can buy
them back quickly for either coast." Looking at Tito, he
said, "What we really need to do is to stabilize that guy
(Mike's Dust Devil.)" Mike replied, "That's what my
psychiatrist said." Nick whined, "Next time he won't
even be there that's what Dust Devil does." Mike replied,
"I appear and 'poof', I disappear."
Nick attacked Glow Wyrm and announced "Glow Wyrm got
sent to hell again I mean Hollywood." He picked up
Super Colossal Guy, the Rogue Nuke, and the Blonde Lure from
selling him and leftover cash. The game was instantly turning
to Nick's favor. True to his word, Dust Devil disappeared after
stomping Phoenix and reappeared in Lair #1, Black Rock Desert,
where he was surrounded by the Air Force. Steve sent Tomangi
to Roswell to mutate, where he met two Navy units and a National
Guard. Sensing the turn in the game, Tito picked up Fusion Cells
and sent his Army after Bronacle, as Nick pleaded, "Oh,
don't do that! Bronacle is your friend!"
Still charmed, Mike picked up the Guard Commander, and observed,
"I find it amazing that no one has even attempted to attack
the northeast (which was now primarily defended by the Navy and
his own newly-acquired National Guard, to which Tito was immune.)
Nick sent Bronacle to attack Chicago, which was guarded. He won
and got eight health. Navy missiles sent Tomanagi to Hollywood.
Dust Devil once again beat down attacking Air Force units, and
then he disappeared. Deciding how to leave Hollywood, Steve said,
"I'm between a rock and a hard place." Nick responded,
"The hard place is Dust Devil!" Mike had sent Dusty
up to the already stomped Seattle, saying to Tito, "You've
been chasing me with that Stabilizer Ray the whole game."
Tito responded, "We didn't think you'd be crazy enough to
go all the way up there!"
Steve disappeared and attacked the others. Nick played the
Blonde Lure on Dust Devil, as 12 units combined to knock him
down from 17 health to 6. He then fired the Rogue Nuke at Glow
Wyrm, giving him Bezerk in the process. Steve later described
how the last turns of the game unfolded:
"1. Nick moved Super Collosal Guy to a Challenge Site to
start the MONSTER challenge, only to learn that was not allowed.
2. Tomanagi (me) knocked Glow Worm out of the game and second
place by sending him to Hollywood, putting me in second place
3. Dust Devil stomped San Diego for five health and passed me
for second by one health point.
I love this game."
It was the first Final ever where any of the players was in
Hollywood for the Challenge. The northeast stood untouched the
entire game. The military dominated the game, keeping the players
out of there, and constantly on the run. Nick Henning won his
second plaque as the popular Bronacle of the Depths (AKA Toxicor
in Menace) became King of the Giant MONSTERS.
MONSTERS Ravage America Junior
24 little monsters, aged 12 or under, played in the 2006 junior
tournament, but the best were:
1st: Logan Ziegenfus
2nd: Zack Dunn
3rd: Aurora Pack
4th: David Bennet
5th: Annie Frattalli