Tonight we played a game of Marvel Heroes which we used to play a lot for about the first two years after it was released, but have been playing much less lately (it's still one of my all time favorite games anyway...)
We played the scenario where the teams face an unusual nemesis, as I think this is the only one we have never played for some reason... As usual I played with the X-Men and my girlfriend chose the Marvel Knights.
We both started normally by trying to complete a high scoring headline but we both were smacked down, me by Kingpin and her by Absorbing Man. The rest of the turn was spent with story and healing actions. I used Jean Grey's ability to do two story actions getting me two story cards too.
I realized the extra scheming action for the nemesis was quite a big deal, and also, Kingpin's resistance was making things harder than usual, so on the second turn I decided to send two ready heroes to a headline instead of the usual one. Both Wolverine and Storm where at full health because there was no combat before the fight with Kingpin.
The fight was epic, with Kingpin taking full advantage of his ability thanks to a big hand of villain cards. First Storm tried using her combat ability and high defense skill but in two rounds was down thanks to some good outwit rolls from Kingpin and good use of his resistance ability. Then Wolverine gave him a harder time, managing to inflict a KO thanks to his high attack with the red power. He also took advantage of his healing ability, giving Kingpin a hard time. Kingpin kept choosing yellow to try to hit Wolverine in the outwit phase, and I kept choosing orange to maximize the chance of healing. The last round was very tense as we both had 1 KO and Kingpin had the initiative. She chose yellow and I risked choosing red. Kingpin failed his attack and I was about to roll 5 dice but got 0 hits... That was the end. Kingpin easily won the outwit roll. This was an epic combat and the reason I still love this game. Full of hard decisions and chances to outguess your opponent
During this turn, my gf managed to complete a headline but was stopped by Red Skull too, in a not so epic fight with Spiderman who had a very hard time...
So, at the end of the second turn, we both had two parts of the master plan (in this scenario the winner is the player with most VPs at the end of turn 5 but if a player gets the three parts of his master plan, they instantly win).
At that point I saw how the lack of cards and plot points was also hindering my fights with the heroes so I decided to skip one turn and only put a couple of heroes in support to use their support abilities and get some cards and plot points. I was quite ahead on points so I thought it was a good idea, because this way, she wouldn't get a chance to complete her master plan.
So next turn she decides to complete a headline with Dr. Strange and Elektra in support. As I had the villain power of getting an extra scheming action that meant I could do all three. Trouble level went up to 10 (7 after Dr. Strange reduced it) and I got lots of villain cards, but none were too powerful so I was about to pass on the fight when I remembered The Absorbing Man. He's a "most wanted" villain, so he was available for use. I decided to at least try to get a hit on Dr. Strange to make things easier for Red Skull, but in the end by using his orange power (very high defense) and spending a couple of cards for his special power (inflict a KO if you get at least 4 hits on the defense roll) I managed to defeat Dr. Strange yet again. Red Skull could then complete his master plan unhindered.
This was a very fun game, tense, and with some great moments. It was one of the few times that I regretted the result of a combat where I had won, as it meant I didn't get the chance to fight Red Skull on the next turn with my heroes at maximum power (I had gotten the "danger room" power and was about to get some allies out too). It was also one of the rare occasions where I've wanted to play a longer game like this again right after finishing.
So, what can I say? After 4 years playing this game (and at an average of 1 game a month for almost 2 years with periods of 1 game a week) I still find this game amazingly fun. Granted, I don't want to play it every week now, but a game that can last this long is something rare, and I'm glad I didn't listen to the naysayers back then (If you haven't tried it, don't listen to them now!)
I'm also sad that this game lost the support of Marvel so soon, because it is a game that deserves being in print and supported. It's a gem that was hindered by a bad rulebook and it maybe was too original and unusual for some people that didn't really bother learning it well enough to appreciate it. Well... it's their loss I look forward to playing this many more times, especially now that my son is starting to read quite well (this is one of the few games I bought in its Spanish edition) and will soon be able to play with us!