The analogy is imperfect, but if we compare that difference in progression style between the epics to the different kinds of scenario deck(s) in the LCGs, and the difference among books (really, more properly, oimai [‘threads’]) within the epics to the different mechanics in each game among differing scenarios, the broad shape of a comparison begins to appear.
The LCG’s unique way of doing epic — that is, of allowing its player to perform their own recomposed elaborations of the storyworlds’ narrative materials — stems from the nexus of the ludic and the narrative to be found in these scenario-making cards. There’s a deceptively simple comparison to be made with what we know as the books of the Iliad and the Odyssey, which almost certainly originate in individual songs that a bard might have sung on a given occasion.
Let’s start with the cards themselves. They work like epic formulae (e.g. the “cunning” in “cunning Odysseus”) but with game-mechanics, and with pictures, some of them lovely and some merely serviceable. In homeric epic, certain formulae — the epithets every student remembers, like podas okus “swift-footed,” periphron “thoughtful,” and polumetis