More and more we’re combining miniatures with our board games and I absolutely love it! Donning a cowl and hassling Ross Thompson of IDW, I got the low-down on the game and the designer Richard Launius even walked through while we were talking. As so many others online are saying; This game truly captures what it is to play a Batman game on the tabletop. So, let’s strap on our utility belts, ready our Bat-mace, and get down to business!
Batman: The Animated Series — Gotham City Under Siege pits 1-5 players against the hazardous elements of Gotham in a dice allocation and threat-management cooperative style game. Players get to take on the roles of Batman, Robin, Catwoman, Batgirl. While major villains will need to be stopped, neglect to the city will assuredly mean that everyone loses. Between balancing story cards each turn to these greater problems, players will find no shortage of things to deduce as their turns proceed onward. All of these stories come from the first season of the animated series and ring true to their source material. Expansions definitely mean touching on future seasons and the story-arcs contained within.
Played on a grid of city streets with 3D buildings placed atop city blocks, this game feels truly immersive and shows the due diligence IDW has for both the brand and the gameplay. All of the art on the cards is taken directly from the show while you jump from the top of one building to the other with your 3D miniatures.
Once you’ve placed your buildings in their 3 x 3 grid, the 4 sides to this square become battlefields. The game is played over a series of 4 acts. These acts determine how many story cards need to be resolved, how many masterminds are involved, and how many villains exist. They may also have special rules in play that can be used in conjunction with the act.
The story cards run the gambit from the Batmobile being stolen, prison breaks running rampant, or just trying to catch some glimmer of hope with the bat signal!
Masterminds get placed into one of the 4 battlefields that have been created and coming with a number of villain tiles that accompany them. They are screened by their henchmen. Once those pesky henchpeople are out of the way, you can start to wallop all over those dastardly masterminds! Masterminds also count as villains when powers or cards reference dealing with them in some way.
Players then draw a number of ability cards depending on the act and choose a number to be played also depending on the act. For example, in Act I, players draw 2 ability cards but only use one of them. These abilities can do all manner of thing like allowing you to do extra damage when you perform certain actions, get you bonus dice, or allow for you to move more freely around Gotham while punching baddies in their ski-mask covered faces.
Every round, all players roll their remaining dice and are able to place one on either a story card, act card, or on their character cards. Once dice are placed, however, they do not come back until objectives are resolved. This continues until either the game is over or players run out of dice. This is the sort of dice-drafting threat allocation back and forth players need to manage. Additionally, if you get wounded you flip over your character sheet and you get worse abilities than on your healthy side. If you get wounded again then you’re dead. Death is definitely possible when you are a vigilante.
With that all said, every time you’re placing dice on story cards, you’re probably not handling villains which can be a problem all its own! Eventually, you’ll see where you end up. You see what story cards remain that are uncompleted and do whatever bad stuff is left on them then you move on to the next phase. If all of the buildings are destroyed or the civilians all die, then everyone loses and that’s the game.
This game is slick. A lot of games fall short of that visceral “this just feels good” kind of gameplay in an attempt to have tighter mechanics. Batman strikes a great balance that doesn’t sacrifice mechanics to make this happen. From start to finish it feels tense, fast-paced, and you’re all working together which is even better. Ross did an amazing job of explaining the game to me before I meandered over for my demo and I had a blast living out the hype that was one of my favorite shows when I was younger.
If you’re a lover of Batman, want to pick up something expertly crafted, or simply love good games then you don’t have any further to go.
What story arc would you be most excited to see in this game? What are your all-time favorite Batman moments? Let us know in the comments!
Check out the game or pre-order now from IDW Games!
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Featured Image Credit: IDW Publishing
Other Image Credits: Jackson Wood
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