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Epic Battles
Bar Harbor
Played a few games of Sentinels of the Universe (a cooperative superhero-themed card game) t'other day, including one that was truly epic. The heroes were facing off against Grand Warlord Voss, one of the toughest villains in the basic set. He incapacitated two of the five heroes before the heroes had managed to damage him at all! The third hero fell after getting him down to a 'mere' 80 hit points, but by that time the remaining two heroes were in the single digits each. But The Visionary (herooftheage) managed to draw *just* the right card combo. He had an ongoing card that did (a small amount of) damage to all enemies on each of his turns, and he drew a card that made him completely immune to damage, but also prevented him from taking any actions during his turn. But the already-played ongoing card wasn't an action, so could gradually chip away at the baddie. Bunker was still in play, and managed to get her hit point total to exactly equal The Visonary's, which was great, because any time the baddies did damage to either "the hero with the highest HP" *or* "the hero with the lowest HP", The Visionary could opt to take it, and have the damage bounce off. It took a lot of rounds, and Bunker did very nearly fall before the end, but at last the forces of Goodness prevailed!

Also had an epic battle in Xenoblade Chronicles recently. One of the benefits of insanely-lengthy JRPGs, when well done, is that they get you *really* familiar with an aspect of the game, and then upend your expectations. This works for story elements in obvious ways, but also can be applied to gameplay. On rare-but-excellent occasions, it can be both at once. Minor spoilers follow:

Early in the game, the main character gains the power of prophetic visions. These are, of course, used liberally to advance the plot. But they also feature into standard combat gameplay. When an enemy is about to unleash a particularly devastating attack (typically one that will knock out one of your party members), the player gets a "vision" warning them that it is coming, and has a brief time window to attempt to counter it in some way, thus changing the future. This only gets seen when fighting tough enemies, but you fight tough enemies fairly often, so you get quite used to this mechanic.

The other day, I had a boss fight, during which I had a vision that amounted to "If you don't block this next attack, the bad guy will destroy ALL organic life." Since all of your party members happen to fall in that category, that *is* a Total Party Wipe, not to mention a Game Over. Thankfully, there was enough time to block that attack, so the game did continue. And that wasn't even close to being the final boss of the game!
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So I just got the Shattered Timelines expansion, and we had a similar sort of experience, with the Chrono-Ranger taking out Iron Legacy, mostly because the dead Tempest (I think) kept making Chrono-Ranger immune to melee damage. At that, it was a very close thing.

I think the version of Iron Legacy I played against at Randycon was a prototype called Super Legacy, which seemed more powerful to me. As it is, this one very nearly did us in by round 2, and I think if any other combination of characters had died, we wouldn't have had a chance.

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