We have just had the Hulk’s ultimate encounter released, and it looks like loads of fun!
Ultimate encounters are a way of playing with three players. Two players join forces to make the Crisis Team to take on a really powerful villain, like Ultron or in this case the Hulk as the Comsic Threat. There are some changes to the standard rules, notably around priority and activations. The Crisis Team choose three activations between them the the Cosmic Threat activates but isn’t given an activated token. Repeat that three times and call it a round.
But they have swapped expectations. Rather than have a team of heroes have to take down a rampaging Hulk as you might expect, the Hulk is having to de-gamma two teams of heroes gone wild. The Hulk is the good guy. He is the only one able to survive the gamma without Hulking out.
So how does each side win? Short answer, get to 12VPs.
For the Hulk, he needs to first subdue (I.E. daze) a character, then push or throw them into a Gamma Absorber removing that character from the scenario. Repeat, 6 times and you win. Alternatively, getting the Crisis Team down to just 3 characters also prevents their rampage, giving you the win.
For the Crisis Team, you need to contest Gamma Absorbers to gain 1 VP each, like a usual Secure or deal 8 damage to the Hulk – now with beefed up defensive stats – which does make him angrier, but nets you 2 VPs.
There are lots of familiar things of the Hulk’s encounter card. But there are quite a few changes and new things too.
His defences go up to 4s across the board and he becomes immune to those classic Hulk counters of stun and stagger. His Strike now pushes all the time – very useful for getting a subdued character into a Gamma Absorber. Thunderclap has an extra dice, the potential for more range and ability to Stun. And Hulk Smash! can become an area attack – with 9 dice. Ouch.
He still leaps, but further now, helping him to move around the board and get where he needs to be. Puny gives him some much needed protection from characters like Shuri, stopping her one damage and push from her Panther Gauntlets. The push he gets when he gains a Rage token is nice for your opponents to have to play around, but finally Hulk can exceed 10 power! Oh, yes. You really won’t like him when he’s angry now. But rather than extra dice he gets rerolls for rage token.
One extra add on that Hulk has is Gamma Aura. At the start of each of Hulk’s turns, rolls single dice and gain the matching effect until his next turn.
Hulked Out Heroes
The Crisis team gets some tricks too. All of them gain two extra power. So Asgardians get four a turn. Gem bearers might get even more.
They also get a 2 power throw, to spend that extra power on. Larger characters benefit more, as the size of characters or terrain they can throw is the same as their size.
Finally they have a chance at immortality: when they become subdued they can still activate, unlike when dazed. They can only move S and can’t heal, but if you end the round near the Booster Serum, you fully heal up. There’s a risk-reward dynamic there: near the Serum is also near the Gamma Absorbers, and any damage on a subdued character pushes them.
How it plays
In short, fast and fun. Hulk gets to roll more dice more often. If you like how he plays normally you’ll love this. The crisis teams all have access to loads of power, so you get to use big splashy abilities like Captain Marvel’s Binary Form or Crossbones’ Haymaker more often. Four rounds is as long as it should go, and it will often be shorter. With fewer decision points, the game speeds up and it can play in a lot less than an hour.