I’m choosing to start this article series with an exploration of the fundamentals of the game, diving deeply into aspects that experienced players don’t consciously think about enough and defining all the jargon that new players don’t understand. To that end, let’s start with the most fundamental aspect of MCP – how to win.
Standard games of Marvel Crisis Protocol are composed of a “secure” and an “extract”, and are in one of 6 shapes. First, I’ll break down the subcategories of scenarios, and I’ll save relevant measurements for the scenario shapes and a discussion of threat values for later.
Jargon note: crises are usually referred to by the object you need to score points – such as “Extremis” for “Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0”. I’ve included a full translation guide at the end
Secures crises tend to shape how the game will flow, since they move around less than extracts and often require standing in multiple different places on the board in order to score.
The main categories are:
“Dead” secures – Demons and Intrusions. These scenarios are relatively low scoring (since controlling the entire board only grants 3 points per turn) and central so they tend to devolve into a brawl in the center. Attrition based teams like Brotherhood and Black Order prefer these because it gives them enough time to KO enemies and either lowers their defense with incinerate or allows repositioning through the intrusion portals.
“Live” or “Split” secures – Cosmic portals, Extremis, Infinity Formula, Witnesses, Terrigen, super-powered scoundrels. These secures are relatively high scoring, but require controlling many areas of the board, often very far apart from each other. These are the secures that scenario teams always want to play on – no power required to control them, spread out to force attrition teams to waste movement getting to them, and enough points are available to reach 16 VPs before getting tabled.
Gamma Wave. I debated including this scenario in either of the two previous categories, but it falls somewhere in between. It’s shaped like an attrition secure, focusing everyone into a single point, but the huge amount of points up for grabs and the low threat value make it more of an attrition secure. This scenario seems almost custom designed for Kingpin and, to a lesser extent, Wakanda – so I would be very cautious playing this outside of those two.
“Flip” or “Pay-To-Flip” Secures – Mutant Madman, Deadly Meteors, Spider Portals, Sword base. These secures all require interacting with the objectives in order to control it, and require a die roll that gets more difficult the more enemy characters that are nearby. Because of the power required to continually interact and how Kingpin’s leadership is worded, the leading scenario teams HATE these kinds of secures. If I’m not playing one of those two teams and especially if I’m playing an attrition team, I often default to picking one or two of these simply to make scenario victory more difficult. Do note that sword base and meteors require a majority to score, and sword base’s interact mechanic is a simple 100% uncontested/50% contested rather than the defense based system of the others.
Extract Crises are a bit funny because AMG has printed fewer of them than secures, two of them had to be banned, and some of the remaining are a little poorly designed. They definitely affect the flow of the game by prioritizing attacks against opponents holding them, but do not force a set positioning beyond turn 1.
Live extracts – Cubes and Spider-infected. These are the most standard extracts, and likely the most commonly played. They have a large number of victory points to be had, reward taking objective stealers, and either provide power or move models around (both of which are very desirable to scenario teams).
Combat extracts – Hammers and Montesi. These extracts are not quite as high-scoring, and provide some sort of combat benefit to the holders. I find that Hammers often betray me, since attrition teams don’t need the help and don’t want their tactics cards to be more expensive and scenario teams don’t want their opponents to be able to break through their defenses. However, Shield agent grunts really abuse these extracts, since they and their parent can pick up two in a single turn and there’s nothing quite like a free model making four 6 dice attacks in a single turn.
Search extracts – Alien Ship, Skrulls, Senators. These extracts involve searching different points to find a single extract that is worth a handful of points. These scenarios are highly favored by attrition teams, especially the ones that require a critical to find, since there’s no guarantee that they’ll ever be worth points. Do note that Heimdall and the Reality infinity stone make finding these much easier, so beware if you see those in a roster.
Research station. This is a secure masquerading as an extract. It ends up affecting the game in a very similar way to gamma Wave, so simply refer to that section.
That’s a brief overview of all the legal scenarios in MCP. Stay tuned for future articles where I’ll break down the shapes so you know which movement and attack ranges you need to get between all the elements, as well as discussing the threat values of each scenario and which teams those favor.
Secrure Crisis Nicknames:
|Cosmic Invasion! Black Order Descends on Earth||Cosmic Portals|
|Deadly Meteors Mutate Civilians||Deadly Meteors, Meteors|
|Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?||Demons|
|Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest||Gamma Wave, Gamma Shelters|
|Infinity Formula Goes Missing!||Infinity Formula|
|Intrusions Open Across City as Seals Collapse||Intrusions|
|Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnesses||Witnesses, Fisk|
|Mutant Madman Turns City Center Into Lethal Amusement Park||Mutant Madmen|
|Portals Overrun City with Spider-People!||Spider Portals|
|Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0||Extremis|
|S.W.O.R.D. Establishes Base on Moon’s Blue Area||Sword Base|
|Super-Powered Scoundrels Form Sinister Syndicate!||Scoundrels|
|Terrigen Clouds Sweep Over City||Terrigen|
|Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown!||Alien Ship|
|Deadly Legacy Virus Cured?||Legacy, Legacy Virus|
|Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities||Hammers|
|Mutant Extremists Target U.S. Senators!||Senators|
|Mystic Wakandan Herbs: Fact or Fiction? (BANNED)||Herbs|
|Panic Grips City as Evacuation Efforts Continue! (BANNED)||Panic|
|Research Station Attacked!||Research Station|
|Skrulls Infiltrate World Leadership||Skrulls|
|Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan||Spider-infected|
|Struggle for the Cube Continues||Cubes|
|The Montesi Formula Found||Montesi, Books|