If you’ve been keeping up with Crisis Protocol, you have likely seen the rules for Thanos the Mad Titan. There is a lot to like about being able to use Thanos in your normal Crisis Protocol games. Of course, he had to be created in a way that handles those minor details of “Game Balance” and “Power Curve” in a way that won’t have every game turn into Thanos v. Thanos. MCP Thanos is the version of Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War – he’s strong but certainly not un-beatable.
The Ultimate Encounter takes those game balance concerns and tosses them out the window. Ultimate Encounter Thanos is the Thanos we all dreamed of playing when the model was first shown in teasers. This encounter pits a band of “heroes” against Thanos at the height of his power, sitting atop his throne (included in the box!) with all six Infinity Gems sitting in their rightful spots in his Guantlet.
For those unfamilair with Ultimate Encounters, this style of game is used for groups of three or more players. One player takes on the role of the “Cosmic Threat” (in this case, Thanos) while the others play a squad picked from the standard array of MCP characters. The Cosmic Threat uses a model from the normal range, but with vastly different powers and a special scenario. These games play out more like a narrative event or an old school video game raid boss. Instead of facing off across the map, you’re working together with another player to take down a really big threat with a host of special rules.
Now that Thanos has been released in some markets, we know the details of how his Ultimate Encounter works. Those of us in the States will have to wait until July to get our hands on the model, but for now we can look at what’s in store.
This mission is simple. There are no VPs: the Crisis Team has to kill the Mad Titan. Thanos wins if he can either reduce the enemy team to 4 characters left standing or destroy their machine. Thanos is of course very hard to kill with a lot of HP and good defense dice. To make things harder, he cannot be damaged until the crisis team starts putting suppression counters on him.
This is where the game starts really looking like a raid boss. In order to damage Thanos, you have to put suppression tokens on him. To do that you have to fire a special laser gun at him to weaken him. To fire the laser gun you have to power it using three Amplification Modules. These modules have to be fueled by power cores. The power cores have to be picked up in supply caches and carried to the Modules. And all of this has to be done while a super-powerful Thanos is trying to either kill your characters or smash the Amplification Modules!
Once you manage all of those steps you get to place suppression counters on Thanos, one for every powered up Module. If you have all three powered when you fire the laser, you get to add one extra counter. Now Thanos can be damaged! The more suppression counters you get the better, because they will slowly get removed. For every 3 you get, Thanos rolls 1 fewer defense dice. 12 damage later, and you’ve finally injured the Mad Titan.
Like most MCP characters, injuring a character is only the first step. on his next turn, he flips to his “injured” side, removes all damage and conditions, and possibly shrugs off a number of suppression tokens. Now you’ve made him mad! He now has 20 hit points and access to a big Beam attack with a range of 5. He also realizes maybe he shouldn’t do this alone and calls in one of the Black Order! This model gets added to the battlefield and acts normally. The other Black Order models follow close behind, one arriving at the end of each round. The one big change to their normal forms is that (like Thanos) they cannot be hurt unless they are suppressed!
In this second phase you repeat the actions of the first phase, bringing cores to your amplification modules, shooting suppression tokens into Thanos and chipping away at that massive 20hp. Bring him to zero and you win!
The one advantage the heroes have is in their numbers. The crisis team consists of two groups of 18 points. Each player can also bring tactics cards and can use affiliation and leadership rules for their squad. You’ll have the numbers on Thanos, and will out-activate him 3:1. The crisis team gets to activate 3 models, then Thanos activates. This cycle happens three times every round before going into cleanup.
If all of that sounds too easy for the “heroes”, I should also remind you that this is full-on Endgame Thanos. He has all 6 infinity stones and knows how to use them. Each stone is an enhanced version of the stone that a character could use in a standard MCP game. Thanos can only use 1 stone each activation, and can only use a stone once per round. Each stone is pretty powerful though, allowing things like bringing back an enemy model for one round to fight for Thanos, choosing the three models that get to activate on the crisis team, or gaining 10 power instantly!
I am beyond excited to try out this new method of play, and am really happy with the direction Atomic Mass Games has gone with the narrative-style events they have been publishing. While waiting for your own copy of Thanos The Mad Titan, try out the first two Ultimate Encounters, all available for free on the AMG website! So far there is one for Ultron and one for The Hulk.
Have any of you gotten a chance to play this new UE yet? What are your thoughts? What rosters will you be bringing against such a ridiculous threat?