monsters ravage america 

Updated 11/30/2009

2009 WBC Report  

 2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

David Meyaard, CT

2009 Champion

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Event History
1998    Dave Long     167
1999    Marvin Birnbaum     106
2000    Tom Meier       83
2001    Rebecca Hebner       68
2002    Joseph Sposito       69
2003    Marvin Birnbaum       73
2004    Nick Henning       64
2005    Marvin Birnbaum       80
2006    Nick Henning       33
2007     Daniel Val       55
2008     David Brooks       77 
2009     David Meyaard       58 
 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Marvin Birnbaum    NY    05    100
  2.  Nick Henning       CT    08     80
  3.  Rebecca Hebner     CO    05     77
  4.  Steve Scott        CA    07     68
  5.  Joe Sposito        NJ    02     63
  6.  David Brooks       TN    08     62
  7.  Tom Meier          VA    00     50
  8.  Matthew Beach      MD    09     36
  9.  David Meyaard      CT    09     30
 10.  Daniel Val         es    07     30
 11.  John Koskl         NC    05     30
 12.  Christina Hancock  NH    99     24
 13.  Derek Landel       NJ    09     18
 14.  Alex Bell          MD    08     18
 15.  Steve Dickson      CA    03     18
 16.  Mike Eoppolo       DE    02     16
 17.  Dan Eshleman       NC    01     16
 18.  Joshua Garton      VA    99     16
 18.  Jason Levine       NY    09     15
 20.  Verity Hitchings   DE    09     12
 19.  Mike Fisher        PA    06     12
 20.  Erica Kirchner     KY    05     12
 21.  Rich Moyer         MN    04     12
 22.  Ryan Gury          NC    03     12
 23.  Seth Kirchner      KY    02     12
 24.  Abby Cocke         MD    99     12
 25.  Reiko Brooks       TN    00     10
 26.  David Pack         CO    08      9
 27.  Dave Denton        NY    07      9
 28.  Paul Weintraub     MD    04      9
 29.  Joshua Dunn        VA    99      8
 33.  Joanna Melton      VA    09      6
 30.  Gregory Kulp       NJ    07      6
 31.  Tito Lightburn     VA    06      6
 32.  Lauren Vessey      VA    05      6
 33.  Sue Cornett        FL    04      6
 34.  Andres Dunn        MD    03      6
 35.  Cliff Ackman       PA    06      4
 36.  Kevin Wojtaszczyk  NY    02      4
 37.  Christi Cousins    ME    01      4
 38.  Dan Hoffman        NY    99      4
 39.  Matt Morgal        MD    08      3
 40.  Nathan Trent       VA    07      3
 41.  Daniel Pappas      MD    05      3
 42.  Erika Poniske      NC    03      3
 43.  Jeremy Weatherford IL    06      2

2009 Laurelists                                            Repeating Laurelists:

Derek Landel, NJ
2nd

Verity Hitchings, DE
3rd

Matthew Beach, MD
4th

Joanna Melton, VA
5th

Jason Levine, NY
6th


Past Winners

Dave Long, NC
1998

Marvin Birnbaum, NY
1999, 2003, 2005

Tom Meier, VA
2000

Rebecca Hebner, CO
2001

Joe Sposito, NJ
2002

Nick Henning, CT
2004, 2006

Daniel Val, Spain
2007

Dave Brooks, TN
2008

David Meyaard, CT
2009


Monsters Ravage America tends to appeal to the younger demographic.

Finalists gather around GM Mark Love - the only guy who can out-hat Keith Levy.

Their Only Win: The One That Counted the Most

The GM celebrated his 10-year anniversary in 2009, sending invitations to most of the 450 previous players of this event.  Rules designer Ben Knight had run it in 1998, where it set a first-year attendance record that stood until Dominion finally broke it in 2009.  There were Halloween-type prizes for winners of any game.  This event is coached, but demos were also available for two of the four heats, which included strategy tips.  As the only three-time winner of the tournament, who won with Konk the Great Ape in 2001, 2003, and 2005, former Caesar Marvin Birnbaum was given a tin containing the 2-disc Collector's Edition of King Kong (1933), which included a 20-page reproduction of the original 1933 souvenir program, and numerous commentaries and documentaries.

25% of the players were female and one of those finally shut down the "boys club" final status of the previous four years.  29% of the players were new to the tournament, which now boasts 467 players at the WBC and Prezcon since 1999 (its second year.)  26 games were played with 104 player starts, including the semi-finals and Final.  54% of games played used the 2005 Menace America edition, while 46% used the Ravage version. 

Ravage continued using house rules established in 2005, to incorporate some improvements made in Menace: weakening the Navy sub defense, reducing the Air Force fighter range, and adding a southern California overlay map to strengthen the Marines bases.  A 9-point handicap was added to Ravage scoresheets to determine alternates, since the Menace version has more opportunities to collect extra attacks from infamy markers, and has more mutations that affect the Challenge battles.

Megaclaw won 43% of the Menace games, while Bronacle won 50% of the Ravage games.

Menace Winners: Megaclaw 6, Tomanagi 3, Toxicor 2, Zorb 2, Gargantis 1

Ravage Winners: Bronacle 6, Tomanagi 4 (champion), Ixitpla 1, Glow Wyrm 1

Menace Winners controlled: Army 5, Navy 3, Air Force 4, Marines 2.

Ravage Winners controlled: Air Force 4, Marines 3, Army 1, Navy 1.

Ben Knight, the co-designer of both editions, was working as the GM for Age of Empires III during one of the MRA heats.  The GM lured him over so he could be introduced to the players, who gave him a big round of applause.

The biggest Ravage monster in the tournament was newcomer David L. Anderson's Glow Wyrm.  He nevertheless lost to Marvin Birnbaum's Bronacle, who had these mutations: Whip Tentacles, Armor Scales, War Spikes, and Bezerk!  Newcomer Eric Raymond won two Menace games.  The Gibsons became the First Family of monsters, with a play by Emily and wins by her dad, Mike, and her brother, Scott.  But Scott Gibson became the first player to win three heat games since Dan Eshleman did it in 2000, winning two in Ravage and one in Menace.   The GM had waged a public battle in 2006 to convince the BPA board to allow GMs to return to using "Most Wins" as the top advancement criteria.  Scott Gibson lost his first 2009 heat, before winning the next three heats!  To demonstrate that it was no fluke, Scott built the biggest Menace monster in the tournament for his third win.  He had NO mutations, but accumulated 33 health and 11 infamy attacks with Megaclaw.

Semi-finals

But that did not matter anyway, as 28% of the winners did not appear from their lairs for the semi-final on Sunday morning.  Joshua Garton and Derek Landel advanced in their place as the top two alternates.   The GM took a quick look for a winner who was expected to appear, and for Tom Meier and Rebecca Hebner, who were otherwise qualified as the last alternate.  Perennial alternate, Steve Scott, was the next alternate. 

Just as the GM took a last look around, winner Rod Davidson said he would give up his winner's slot, if it meant that Steve Scott would be able to advance to the semi-final as the next alternate.  The GM did not learn why Rod did this until after the convention was over.  In 2007, Steve Scott was nominated for the Sportsmanship award for MRA.  The published nomination stated that Steve allowed the 2007 finalists to play the Menace version instead of the default Ravage  version.  But the published nomination inaccurately stated that Steve knew the Menace version well, when he'd never played it at all.  When the 2007 Event Report was published, Rod and everyone else learned that Steve had been repeatedly praised by his opponents during the Final.  It had become obvious to them that Steve had put himself at a big disadvantage, to give them a better chance to win.  Rod Davidson was so moved by what Steve Scott had done in 2007 that he was willing to give up his place and create one more alternate slot, if needed.  Steve Scott DID play as the third and last alternate in 2009.  For his gesture, Rod Davidson was nominated for the 2009 Sportsmanship Award.

Based on seeding, Marvin Birnbaum was told that the player now sitting across from him, (for the GM's 10-year anniversary), was Joshua Garton, whom he had beaten in the 1999 Final.  Joshua was 14 at the time, so Marvin did not recognize him.  Marvin immediately began cracking jokes about puberty and aging.   Another opponent from that 1999 Final, Christina Hancock, returned in 2009, and nearly made it back as an alternate.  But the alternate in this game, Derek Landel, had Whip Tentacles and control of the Challenge, and with only 11 health, defeated Marvin, Joshua and 2008 finalist, Alex Bell.  In the other semi-final, David Meyaard also controlled the Challenge with less health than two of his opponents, and defeated three-game winner Scott Gibson, four-time finalist Steve Scott, and 2005 finalist Erica Kirchner.

If Menace were designed as a German game, Joanna Melton would have won her semi-final, with Jason Levine taking second place.  Joanna had It's a Robot, 19 health and 15 infamy attacks.  Jason had 39 health and War Spikes.  But you still have to fight and beat the other MONSTERS to win.  As the weakest monster, Matthew Morgal got control of the Challenge to give himself the best chance of winning, a game mechanic designed for that purpose.  It wasn't enough, as Matthew Beach won with 24 health, 2 infamy, Son of a monster, Armored Scales, and High Octane Blood.  This was now his third MRA final.  Joanna's scoresheet gave her 5th place in the tournament, while Jason took 6th place.

The 1998 MRA tournament was run by JC Connor's co-designer, Ben Knight.  They did not have a final game, but had semi-final winners Joshua Dunn and Dave Long continue fighting their MONSTERS.  Two young ladies finished 3rd and 4th in 1998: Verity Hitchings and Christina Hancock.  They became assistant GMs, as 18-year-olds, to the nervous, first-time GM in 1999, who remains grateful for the help they've provided in the last ten years.  With the Menace  version in 2009, Verity used Megaclaw to accumulate 25 health and 10 infamy, and send a lady to the Final for the first time since 2005. 

The Final Game

This was the first Final since 2003 where none of the players had yet seen their 40th birthday.  Matthew Beach was the youngest player at 19, but he was the most experienced, having played in the Ravage Final in 2003 and the only Menace Final in 2007.  Ravage was still the default game, but they all had years of experience with it.  A quick refresher was given on the differences with Menace, since Verity and Matthew were more used to it.

David Meyaard went first with the Navy and Glow Wyrm, Verity Hitchings followed with the Army and Ixitpla, Matthew Beach went third with the Air Force and Bronacle, while Derek Landel brought up the rear with the Marines and Tomanagi.   David got the Whip Tentacles, which unlike the Menace version, gives three dice in Ravage.  He also picked up Intelligience and the military monster, Super Colossal Guy.  All four players recognized the importance of using their military units.  New York City and the whole northeast, which contains 60% of the health points on the entire map, became heavily guarded.  All four monsters migrated to the west.

 David stomped his Goal location for the bonus die of health, but rolled snake eyes.  Verity got Atomic Recovery, Gamma Goo, Cutbacks and Scientific Analysis.  Matthew got Atomic Breath and Beserk.  Derek picked up Iron Stomach and Kinda Friendly.  Derek had Tomanagi disappear from the map, reappear in the Atlantic, and attacked New York City.  It contained a lot of National Guard units, but his Kinda Friendly mutation made him immune, as he rolled for 15 more health points.  David made the 20th stomp at Minneapolis!  Verity couldn't get to a Challenge site to swipe control, so she attacked Mexicalli for one point.  Matthew could have gotten to a Challenge Site, but chose to stomp San Francisco for six health.  Also ignoring the Challenge site, Derek went to Three Mile Island and mutated with Armor Scales.  Since nobody swiped it, the Challenge reverted back to David in Minneapolis.

All four players made their monster sounds (although Bronacle's is just a silent stare.)  David had 25 health and four infamy and had Glow Wyrm attack Verity's Ixitpla, which had two infamy but no useable mutations.  She knocked off nine of his health, but David won and rolled up her 26 health to give Glow Wyrm 39.  He turned his attention to Matthew's Bronacle, who knocked off 15 of his health before falling.  David's Glow Wyrm added Matthew's 19 health to give him 43 to face Derek's Tomanagi, who had two infamy, Armor Scales extra defense and 34 health.  Both David and Derek started the Challenge with the second biggest monsters in the tournament, (tied with Joshua Garton's.)  It was a brutal fight, befitting a championship.  David Meyaard's Glow Wyrm remained standing with four health, rolled up 34 more, and dispatched Matthew's military Mecha-monster to win the plaque!  Derek Landel took the 2nd place wood. Verity Hitchings took third, noting, "I didn't get a plaque in 1998 because it was the first year.  Now I have a plaque!"  Matthew Beach took 4th place.

In what turned out to be a statistical oddity, the Final game produced the ONLY win in 2009 by Glow Wyrm, as well as the ONLY win by a Ravage player who controlled the Navy.  But that was the win that counted the most!


 MONSTERS Menace America Junior

16 little monsters, aged 12 or under, played in the 2009 junior tournament, but the best critters were:

1st: Emily Barriere

2nd: Brian Sherwood

3rd: Andrew Doughan

4th: Brian Pappas

5th: Cal Doughan

6th: Gregory Breza

There was no junior MONSTERS tournament on the schedule due to a late move of an adult heat, which conflicted with a junior time.  But the junior players employed some American ingenuity and asked the junior monitors, Lynda Shea and Laurie Wojtaszczyk, if it could still be run.  Nicole Pysnack stopped the MRA GM in the lobby, and she and Emily Barriere asked why it was cancelled.  The GM stopped in the Junior room and was told that the plaque had already been engraved with 2009.  The ladies suggested a time to run it, but another Junior event's time length didn't really work. 

The GM had won a plaque in the 3-hour Air Baron at Prezcon in 90 minutes, and hoped a repeat would make time for the juniors.  The spirit of Henry Richardson III, a MONSTER player who died when he was 20, must have been observing all this.  His brother proceeded to win that Air Baron game in an unprecedented 75 minutes, sending Mark Love straight to the Juniors room.  He coordinated the event with Blokus Jr. GM Daniel Broh-Kahn and Elchfest Jr GM, Dan Dolan Sr.  A sign was posted in the hall and 16 juniors began play.  The tournament was a breeze thanks to the juniors themselves.  At least one player at each board knew the game and helped refresh or teach the others.  Once the MONSTERS players finished shortened games (with fewer stomps), they proceeded in waves to play Elchfest, which was short of games anyway. 

The juniors also wanted a Menace final game, rather than just having the winning MONSTERS dice off.  The only snag was that Menace Junior finalist Brian Sherwood advanced all the way to the Final in Elchfest!  Brian started in the northwest with Toxicor and the Navy.  Brian Pappas had the Marines and had Tomanagi stomp Los Angeles for 6 health.  Emily Barriere had the Air Force and sent Megaclaw stomping in Florida.  Andrew Doughan had the Army and had Zorb mutate in the west.  Brian picked up Armor Scales.  He liked the idea of getting to pick two mutations and keep the best one so much that he began attacking himself with his Navy cruise missiles!  (Don't knock it too much - three-time MRA plaque winner Marvin Birnbaum did the same thing in the 2007 semi-final!)  Brian Sherwood added Whip Tentacles and Armor Scales, 6 infamy, and got control of the MONSTER Challenge!  But he only had nine health points.  He had enough to knock off Andrew's Zorb and roll up 23 health to give him 32.  But his battle against Emily's Megaclaw was tough, and she hung on with five points left, rolling up Brian's 32 to face Brian Pappas' Tomanagi, which only had 12 health.  It was a lopsided battle, and Emily won the 2009 Junior MONSTERS Menace America plaque!  Brian Sherwood was second, Andrew Doughan third, Brian Pappas fourth.  All of the players took home Halloween prizes.  Emily Barierre took a rubber ghoul that drags itself across a room while groaning.

 GM      Mark Love  [11th Year]   NA
    emailpal@iwon.com    NA

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