If you know me, you know I love theoretical animal fights. Who wins: A chimp vs a pit bull? An anaconda vs a wolf? The World’s Strongest Man vs a Leopard?
In fact, the most popular article I have on this site about powerlifting is Who Wins: A Gorilla vs A Grizzly (Given all of the good quality fitness info I have put out I can’t decide if that fact makes me happy or sad, but I’ll roll with it – and no it still isn’t a close fight).
To that end, I am releasing the 2021 March Animal Face-off Madness. It is a single-elimination, bracket-style match-up (hence the allusion to basketball’s March Madness).
It involves 40 contestants, and the contestant’s fight to the death in an animal fighting pit- visualize essentially a big pit, ringed by a smooth, unscalable wall (much like the one depicted in the Brianne vs the Bear scene in Game of Thrones).
For all the real-life animal lovers out there, I want to be clear that this is a theoretical, virtual fight – no real animals will be involved.
But I am trying to base the animals on their real-life stats for the most part, with a bit of luck thrown in. To flesh out the stats and set up a fighting mechanic system I am borrowing and modifying from the world’s most popular roleplaying game (and my personal favorite) – Dungeons and Dragons.
How the game works
All animals will be ranked on the following attributes:
- Initiative – how likely is it the animal will strike first? Initiative is determined at the start of each round. Animals like the mongoose and the tiger have high initiative scores.
- Hard to Hit – how hard is the animal to hit? How likely is it to dodge/duck/dip/dive/dodge an incoming attack? Animals like the dingo and the flying fox bat are harder to hit than the alligator snapping turtle.
- Damage Reduction – If the animal is hit, does it have any protection that is likely to reduce the damage dealt? For example, if I punch a bear first I have to hit, then I have to actually hurt it. Some animals such as alligators and snapping turtles have more damage reduction ability than others.
- Hit Points – this is the classic RPG stat – how tough is something. How much damage can it take? Animals like the moose and the bear have a lot of hit points.
- To Hit Bonus – how likely is the animal to accurately strike at its opponent? Animals like the cheetah and the leopard have a higher likely of scoring a successful attack.
- Attacks – What specific attacks do the animals have? How much damage will the attacks do? Animals like the penguin and the bat might not do a lot of damage, whereas the gorilla or the lion might be able to inflict very significant damage. Most animals just have one attack, normally a bite; some animals have multiple attacks, such as the bull might be able to strike with both horns.
- Special Attacks – some animals have special attacks. The king cobra and Komodo dragon have various forms of poison, the anaconda can constrict its opponents, the bighorn ram may be able to deliver a stunning blow, etc. Each special attack has its own rules and guidelines.
Finally, luck is in involved. Just as with real life fights, sometimes something quite lucky happens (your blow just happens to be on the perfect spot on the temple and your opponent is knocked out); sometimes something unlucky happens (you slip at the wrong type and leave yourself vulnerable to an attack).
The roll of the dice may be a significant factor in determining our animal’s fate that day.
In addition, I am borrowing something else from my other favorite 90’s game, and the greatest sports videogame of all time – Tecmo Super Bowl. One of the best things about that game is the players have 4 conditions and how they feel has a noticeable effect on their performance in the game. Our animals have 4 possible conditions and that will affect each of their attributes. The conditions are determined at the start of each battle.
The options are:
- Enraged: (15%) – the animal moves up 2 notches in all abilities
- Aggressive: (15%) – the animal moves up 1 notch in all abilities
- Normal: (50%) – the animal uses its standard statistics
- Bad: (20%) – the animal moves down 1 notch in all abilities
Note: some animals can affect their opponents or their own conditions, for example wolverines have a greater chance of being enraged, and the poison of the Komodo dragon can lower its opponents’ conditions.
Listed below are the 40 animals that have been selected for this battle royale along with their associated brackets.
|Bracket 1 – Furious Rage||Bracket 2 – Death Lurks||Bracket 3 – Quick Strike||Bracket 4 – Fearsome Pride|
|Tasmanian Devil||Mongoose||Honey Badger||Wolverine|
|Mandrill||Cobra||Mountain Goat||Mountain Lion|
|Emperor Penguin||Alligator Snapping Turtle||Flying Fox Bat||Harpy Eagle|
How to play
If you would like to participate, then you will need to fill out a bracket.
Your goal is to predict which animal will win each fight.
The winner moves on, the loser is dead.
You can fill out your bracket in 1 of 2 ways:
1) Handwrite your winners in the bracket attached (simply print it or use this QR code below). Then tag a picture of your bracket, post it on social media (FB, twitter, and/or Instagram) and tag me Facebook – @tim.henriques.1, Twitter – @timmhenriques , Instagram – @toptiertim.
2) Go to this link, Bracket info: https://challonge.com/f8sbeqb9 – register (its free), and fill out your bracket there. You can also use this link to vote on specific fights if you wish.
How to win and prizes
The individual with the most accurate bracket will win either a $100 gift card to Amazon or a $100 gift card to SBD or a 1-month program written by me (winner’s choice).
Of course, the bracket must be filled out and posted on social media or filled out on the Challonge website BEFORE the results of the first round of match-ups are posted (1 bracket per person).
I will post the results of each round here on this site and on my facebook page.
Other things of note
I am not the first person to ever think of this. Indeed, someone is running March Mammal Madness right now. I like the setup and I like the style.
Their primary goal is to promote education about animals (which I like too, my major was zoology before I switched it over to ‘how to kick ass in the gym’). Honestly, my biggest beef with their setup is they simply chose boring animals – I don’t really care if a cuttlefish beats a sparrow or who wins between a squirrel and a mole.
What makes my setup is different is the animals I am selecting are badass: favorites are the gorilla, bear, tiger, alligator, etc; the mechanics of the fighting system; and the ranking and condition system of the animals themselves.
If you are interested in learning more about the specific attributes for each animal along with a description of the specific animal in question, then scroll on through their stats (DOWNLOAD March Animal Faceoff Bestiary).
In general, we are using a large, healthy, physically fit specimen for each animal. For some of the animals we are using the largest one known on record, for others we are simply taking good-sized individuals. One of the reasons there is a variance in that selection is to help with parody in the fights.
One other thing to note is that damage can carry over from one fight to the next. Each round the animals will be healed a certain number of hit points (25), but animals that barely make it through a fight may still be beaten up and weakened for their next fights. If you think an animal will face a particularly tough gauntlet to make it through to the championship, factor that in.
The First Round
The first round of fights is as follows:
- Raccoon vs Emperor Penguin
- Red Kangaroo vs World’s Strongest Man
- Coyote vs Harpy Eagle
- Wolf vs Average Joe Human
- Alligator Snapping Turtle vs Cheetah
- Chimp vs Pit Bull
- Dingo vs Giant Bat
Will any of these wild cards make it to the Final 4? Can the Gorilla show off its strength and assert some dominance? Will the favored Black Bear take the title? Or will a dark horse emerge victorious?
Fill out your bracket, get your friends to fill out their bracket, and then sit back and enjoy the ride.