An important skill in any game is knowing how to convert an advantage in a game into a victory. Most of the player’s attention is focused on how to gain advantages – how to deal more damage than they take, how to gain more victory points, etc – but if you only focus on short term advantages it’s possible to lose sight of how to reach the real victory condition. I refer to this skill as “closing out a game”, basically how to recognize where you are most advantaged and how to leverage that advantage into a win condition as safely as possible.
In Marvel Crisis Protocol, there are three victory conditions:
- KO all enemy characters
- Gain at least 16 VPs and have more than your opponent
- Have the most VPs after six rounds
It is important to note that those victory conditions are not equal in difficulty, and their difficulty changes based on the crisis set. On a “fast scoring” set of crises, reaching 16 VPs can happen after 3 or 4 rounds, but on other crises that isn’t possible. Evaluating the relative difficulty of these victory conditions is extremely important in knowing which to pursue to maximize your chances of winning.
The most common conflict in victory conditions is when one player has a large lead in victory points, but has had most of their characters KO’d. In this case, the player with the point lead must identify how many rounds their remaining character(s) have to survive in order to either reach 16 VPs or end round 6 with more points (even if their opponent scores all of the remaining points) and then do everything possible to keep their last character alive – including just running to the corner of the table.
Another possible conflict is when a player is at 14 or 15 VPs and has a substantial lead in victory points over their opponent. It can be tempting to fight for every single possible point, but a 16-15 win is just as good as a 20-12 win. However, if you try to maximize your points you must leave your characters in danger of being attacked and possibly scoring zero points, whereas if you’re that close to winning it’s probably better to simply take what extracts you do have and run them as far away from opponents as possible. Note that this may hurt your tiebreakers (if the tournament is using difference in VPs, which I refer to as “weakness of schedule”), but a game win is the best tiebreaker so you shouldn’t jeopardize your chances to win a game for a tiebreaker advantage that might not even matter.
Finally, there is the case where your opponent has a lead in victory points, but most or all of their characters are injured. While it can be tempting to just do those last couple points of damage and completely KO their team, it’s very possible that dice simply won’t go your way and you’ll end up losing. If there are a lot of VPs available from secures, it can be better to let your opponent’s characters run away and just take the secures. Obviously you need to do the math and make sure you’re scoring quickly enough to be ahead by round 6 and that they can’t reach 16 VPs before you, but healthy characters have a large advantage of secure scenarios, which can force them to waste actions coming to you.