Monsters Menace America celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. New convention manager Ken Gutermuth acknowledged the landmark by cutting a yellow CAUTION tape in the ballroom in front of a table full of monster-themed or military prizes, posing for photos with the young group of players gathered.
Nine players (19% of the total) traveled to play from Canada, including two teens who made the final, while two other Canadians made the semifinal. 45% of the players were under the age of 30 and 30% were under 16 years old. 64% of all players were under the age of 40, but 10% were between 60 and 70 years old. 21% of 2018 players were female. Once again, all games played used the 2005 Monsters Menace America edition, in its 14th year.
Menace won in 2018 by: Toxicor 9, Megaclaw 4, Tomanagi 4, Konk 3, Zorb 2, Gargantis 1.
Menace winners in 2018 controlled: Navy 7, Army 6, Marines 5, Air Force 4, National Guard (5-player-game) 1.
Winners over last 13 years, Monsters Menace America:
- Megaclaw 62 (25%)
- Toxicor 59 (23%)
- Tomangi 53 (21%)
- Zorb 47 (19%)
- Gargantis 20 (8%)
- Konk 10 (4%)
- Total 251 (100%)
Military Controlled By Winners over last 13 years, Monsters Menace America:
- Marines 70 (28%)
- Army 65 (26%)
- Navy 58 (23%)
- Air Force 56 (22%)
- National Guard 2 (1%)
- Total 251 (100%)
The Marines were designed to be used as a fighting force, with 4 bases close to each other in the east and in the west. A 5-player house rule has rarely been used, (only to fill boards), with the 5th player being Guard Commander.
Mon-Star of the Silver Screen
12-year-old Aaron Kaltman won the 2018 Best Actor award as Zorb was sent to Hollywood with zero health. But Aaron went on to win the game anyway, defeating 6-time champion Marvin Birnbaum in the process!
The Heats – You don't need to attend a demo!
The event remained Coached, but 2 demos were held. Winners took home Halloween or military oriented prizes, including decorations. 3 players won 2 heats apiece: Kevin Burns, Aaron Kaltman, and Cliff Ackman. 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 (but no limits after the Challenge fights begin.) There is also a Maximum of 15 Infamy allowed.
Pat Mirk's Megaclaw was the biggest Menace Monster with a score of 59.
First Families of Monsters
Former finalist Adam Hurd brought Sara Stewart, Lily Reid (age 9), Violet Reid (8), Rosalee Reid (7), and Dahlia Reid (5) to the adult heats. Violet won her heat and Lily advanced as the 2nd ranked alternate. 6-time champion Marvin Birnbaum brought his sons Joe (11) and Aaron (9) to adult heats, and all three played in the semifinal.
The Semifinals - Always Check for Alternate Status!
13 of the 15 winners (87%) appeared for the noon Saturday semifinal, the highest percentage to attend in the 21-year history of the tournament! Three alternates were taken. 44% of the semifinal players were between age 8 and 13.
13-year-old Noah Drummond of Canada got control of the Monster Challenge and used Tomanagi and the Air Force to stage a late upset of 6-time champion Marvin Birnbaum, as well as former top seed Matthew Morgal and longtime player Erica Kirchner.
Top seed Kevin Burns used Konk and the Marines to defeat 1998 first-year finalist and longtime assistant GM Verity Hitchings, newcomer Alan Grogan, and young Joe Birnbaum.
Assistant GM Bill Powers, advanced to the final with Megaclaw and the Marines, beating Pat Mirk, Aaron Kaltman, and young Canadian Lily Reid.
12-year-old Dante Law of Canada used Megaclaw and the Navy to beat newcomer Huston Johnson, Aaron Birnbaum, and fellow Canadian Violet Reid.
Dice rolls were made for who would get the first choice of their Monster. The starting positions:
1. 12-year-old Dante Law of Canada: Toxicor and Marines.
2. Top seed Kevin Burns of Massachusetts, USA: Megaclaw and Navy.
3. Assistant GM and former Prezcon champion Bill Powers of Virginia, USA: Zorb and Army.
4. 13-year-old Noah Drummond of Canada: Tomanagi and Air Force.
Ironically, the exact same Monsters are taking their turns in the same order as the 2016 final. Kevin introduced what became the running joke of the Final: “It's the U.S. vs Canada!” The players all played to win, but sandbagging was heard, such as, “Are you going to maintain the Alliance?”
Turn 1: Dante's Toxicor starts in the lair outside New York City; 3 Marines deployed near Los Angeles. Kevin's Megaclaw starts in the north lair. Bill's Zorb starts in the west near Los Angeles and places a National Guard in New York City. Noah's Tomanagi starts in her lair in the Pacific Ocean, near Los Angeles. National Guard or other units are placed in the deployment phase by each player.
Turn 2: Toxicor stomps NYC for 7 health and deploys 3 more Marines near LA. Megaclaw stomps Chicago, adds 6 health, deploys Navy units in New England. Zorb mutates at Nevada Test Site, gets Fins and Gills; deploys Army units in central and southeast USA. Tomanagi stomps Los Angeles for 8 health; Air Force deployed in the west.
Turn 3: Toxicor attacks the military defending Philadelphia and stomps it for 7 health to reach 23. Dante takes Military Research: Mecha Monster is deployed in the west. Megaclaw stomps the World's Largest Ball of Twine for 3 infamy (extra attack markers). Kevin deploys more Navy in New England. Zorb mutates at the Experimental Breeder Reactor for Armored Scales, adding defense. Tomanagi stomps San Francisco for 7 health, now at 26. Noah's Air Force attacks Zorb, but mutates him to pick up Winged Horror.
Turn 4: Toxicor attacks and stomps Boston, adding 7 health to get to 27. Dante's 4 Marines attack Zorb and 2 units survive, earning him the Cutbacks Military Research card. Mecha Monster attacks Megaclaw but dies. Megaclaw stomps the Royal Gorge Bridge for 3 Infamy. Zorb stomps Seattle and is then attacked by Noah's Air Force. Previous attacks have reduced Zorb to 2 health. Tomanagi stomps San Diego for 2 health, rising to 28.
Turn 5: Toxicor disappears, in the face of 7 Army units outside NYC. Dante's Marines attack both Megaclaw and Zorb, reducing Zorb to 1 health. Megaclaw mutates at Nevada Test Site, gets Atomic Recovery. Kevin's Navy attacks Tomanagi. Zorb disappears, to restore himself to his starting 11 health. Bill has 7 Army units waiting outside Toxicor's central and northeast lairs, knowing he has to place him on a lair. Tomanagi attacks the National Guard in Phoenix for 1 health, rising to 29.
Turn 6: Toxicor appears on his northwest lair; Dante deploys 3 Marines in the west. Megaclaw mutates at the Experimental Breeder Reactor for Whip Tentacles. Kevin fires Navy cruise missiles at Toxicor, inflicting 3 damage, reducing him to 24 health. Zorb appears on his Louisiana lair. The Army units roll west. Tomanagi mutates at the Nevada Test site, getting Kinda Friendly to provide immunity from the National Guard.
Turn 7: Canadian Dante's Toxicor stomps Vancouver, Canada as he observes, “My cousin lives in Vancouver.” His Marines move toward targets. Megaclaw stomps Denver; his health is now 14. Kevin's Navy cruise missile inflicts 3 damage on Tomanagi. Zorb stomps The Alamo for infamy and Bill's army continues rolling west. Tomanagi stomps VLA Radio Telescope for infamy. Noah deploys 2 Air Force cruise missiles in the central US.
Turn 8: Toxicor stomps the Grand Coulee Dam in the northwest for infamy. Megaclaw stomps Dallas and Kevin gets Second Generation Military Research. Zorb mutates at Roswell, getting Laser Beam Eyes. Bill's Army moves northwest towards Toxicor and adds the Captain Colossal military MONSTER. Tomanagi stomps Mount Rushmore for a 4th infamy marker. Noah gets the Fusion Cell military research card.
Turn 9: Toxicor mutates and Dante attacks Megaclaw with 1 Marine fighter (with 6 Marines adjacent.) Megaclaw stomps Fort Knox for infamy. Zorb stomps the OK Corral for the 20th stomp, getting temporary control of the MONSTER Challenge. Bill's 7 Army units attack Tomanagi, reducing him 6 to 17 health, and picks up Guard Commander research for retreating him. Tomanagi goes to the southwestern Challenge site to steal control of the MONSTER Challenge. Bill uses Laser Fence to take away 2 Infamy markers.
Noah Drummond's Tomanagi, with 17 health and 2 infamy attacks Bill Power's Zorb, who has 11 health and 9 Infamy extra attacks, and Armor Scales (adding 1 to defense), plus Fins & Gills. Zorb wins and now has 24 health, (rolling up Noah's 17 to the 7 he had left after the fight.) Bill picks Kevin Burns' Megaclaw, who has 14 health and 10 infamy markers. Zorb wins the fight fast, before Megaclaw had a chance to use any of those extra attacks.
Bill Powers’ Zorb now has 38 health to face Dante Law's Toxicor, who has the strongest Monster with 29 health, 3 Infamy, High Octane Blood and It's a Robot (a MONSTER takes one damage each time his dice misses you). Bill notes, “It's my Armored Scales against his It's a Robot!” They battle back and forth… and they each have 12 health! But Zorb gets knocked down to 6 health. Toxicor falls to 8 health! Either player can win, with the right roll! Zorb falls to 1 health and then rolls a 3, electrocuting himself with Toxicor's It's a Robot mutation. Dante rolls up Bill's starting health of 38 to knock off the Captain Colossal military Monster, and claims the 20th anniversary championship plaque.
Final Places: Dante Law won (48, Canada), 2nd Kevin Burns (39, Massachusetts), 3rd Bill Powers (36, Virginia), 4th Noah Drummond (24, Canada).
At the age of 12. Dante Law broke the record for the youngest champion in this tournament, which had stood for 16 years. Rebecca Hebner (Roppolo) had won it in 2001 at the age of 13. She and Joe Sposito both made the final as 12-year-olds in 2000. Joe went on to win it in 2002, at the age of 14. As a Canadian, Dante Law is now the second player to come from another country to win the plaque. Daniel Val of Spain had won it as a weekend-only player in 2007, playing the little-used Gargantis.
2019 will be the 22nd year of the Monsters Menace America tournament. Fans of this game need to preregister by December 31, 2018 and vote it back in as a Trial Event.