Soapy Bearbox – Batman the Miniature Game

So time for another Soapy Bearbox article this time from the good ship Hawkwind (Blog HERE), who has kindly done a run down on the Batman miniature game by Knight models. So off you go, enjoy..

So, yet again after shooting my mouth off on Twitter I get roped in to writing a guest post for Mr. Bear. I probably write more frequently for him than I do for my own blog.

The conversation was around the fact that I had not only painted some miniatures but blogged about it as well. The minis were from Knight Models Batman Miniatures Game range and were Joker, Harley Quinn and one of the Clowns.

Now, as may become apparent, I am not really that good a writer. My thought patterns are somewhat erratic and I tend to bounce from point to point like a cat chasing a laser pointer so, with this in mind, I am at least going to try and have some form of order to the following stream of consciousness.

The Miniatures.

I thought I would start here as without decent models no one is really likely to want to play a game. Knight Models originally produced larger sculpts and busts for collectors before branching into the 35mm scale world that Batman belongs to. Here are just a few of the miniatures available to be used in the game.

mini

As you can see there is a good mix of movie and comic book adaptations of the characters. They are beautiful sculpts although, and these are my two gripes, the metal is quite soft and the splitting of some sculpts for casting has made some models that are a bugger to put together.

The Rules

The first thing to say is that the rules for the game are available for free (HERE) and I recommend you go and have a peruse at some point.

The initial section, Game Components, is a list of things you need to play the game; tokens, dice etc. and this is standard fare in most systems I look at lately. The game is played on a 90cm x 90cm board with as much terrain as you can muster (guns are quite nasty and you will appreciate the Blink rolls. All measurements in the game are in cm and pre-measuring can be performed at any time. It uses standard d6 and will require either counters to keep track of models actions or laminating the character cards and using a dry-wipe pen.

Character Cards

Each miniature in the game comes with a character card that lists the basic equipment, statistics and special rules for that model. Let’s look at the Clown Prince of Crime himself, The Joker.

Joker

Each model can be affiliated to a particular crew, in this case the Joker crew. Other crews at present include Batman, Penguin, Bane, Poison Ivy, Two Face and the League of Shadows with a possible Black Mask crew in the pipeline. There are also models that are unaffiliated and can align with any crew although most have a Hates rule that will stop them working with certain people. Catwoman, for example, hates Joker so she cannot be included in a crew led by him.

Models have a rank of either Leader, Sidekick, Henchmen or Free Agent A gang can only consist of one leader which must have the Leader or Sidekick rank. Only one sidekick can be chosen unless you have a Sidekick as a leader in which case you can have a second Sidekick. Henchmen can be unlimited unless the rules state otherwise and Free Agents can be purchased at one per every 150pts of reputation being played.

The next section contains weapons the model is armed with, the type of damage they cause, the cadence (Rate of Fire), ammo carried and any special rules the weapon may have. All weapons cause either Stun and/or Blood damage as shown by the star and drop symbols.

Personal and Special Traits are skills that the model can use in the game and this is where the game allows for different versions of the same model to be quite different. The card above is for the Arkham City version of the Joker model and differs greatly to the abilities for the Dark Knight movie version of the Joker.

Finally we have the Reputation and $ Funding costs of the miniature. The rules seem to build around increments of 150 reputation and an average game is 300. The $ Funding cost is very much like the SWC cost in Infinity in that it stops you from being able to load up on really heavily armed models. You get $500 per 150pts of Reputation played so in a 300pt game you can spend up to $1000 although the Penguin, for example, has a trait that allows an extra $500. Any money not spent during this stage can be used to add equipment to henchmen later on.

The bottom half of the card contains all the statistics used to play the game.

hiring

  • Willpower – This is the number of counters you get to spend to move (MC), attack (AC), defend (DC) or perform a special action (SC) with that model and the limit of counters that can be placed on each stat is limited to the number printed.
  • Strength – This is the number used to cause damage in a melee attack.
  • Movement – This is 10cm for most models plus 1d6 per counter placed in MC.
  • Attack – This is the number of dice you get to roll in melee or spend to shoot and also the target number for an opponent to block your attacks.
  • Defence – This is the number of dice you can use to block an opponent’s attacks as well as the target number for an opponent to hit you.
  • Endurance – This is the amount of damage you can take before going KO or becoming a casualty.
  • Special – These dice can be used to perform certain special abilities. Batman, for example, can use 1MC and 1SC to arrest a KO opponent, effectively removing them from the game as a casualty. If not used during your turn they can be used to help heal stun damage during the end of a round.

Okay, that’s the card. Let’s now have a look at how the game plays.

Playing a game.

I am just going to cover the basic mechanics here that make up the game without getting too involved in all the special rules that models bring to the table.

The first thing to note is that the game takes place at night and this means that, without special rules, the average model can only be seen once within 30cm. I like this aspect of the game and it adds to the feeling of a gloomy Gotham. During play set up each player gets to place lampposts that cause an area within 10cm radius to be illuminated so you have to plan your movement through the shadows carefully.

There are missions in the back of the book to randomly choose from and these make the game more objective based than outright ‘kill everything’ type games. Objectives include things like Ammo to replenish ranged attacks, most models only have enough ammo for 2 or 3 rounds of shooting otherwise or Enigma Puzzles to solve that grant victory points. Once a mission has been chosen and the number of turns is known then a number of counters is placed in a bag/container with an even number for each player – 6 turns = 3 counters each – and these are used to choose which player Takes the Lead. This allows to choose who has the first turn with players then going on an I Go You Go basis model by model.

Movement is as mentioned above with modifiers depending upon terrain. Models can also run, climb, duck and jump – handy for those rooftop chases.

Combat is fairly straight forward and is divided into melee and ranged. Ranged attacks cost 2AC to perform and require a roll to hit against a target number based on the opponents defence. Let’s look at an example.

combat

Agent Ron, a fine member of GCPD, is going to shoot at August, one of Jokers Clown henchmen. As you can see his Automatic Gun has a Cadence (RoF) of 3, provided he hasn’t moved otherwise it drops to 1. This means Agent Ron would get to roll  that number of d6 to Impact the target. August has a Defence of 3 so this is the target number for any shots to hit. If the target was in the open then we would go straight to damage rolls, if a target is in cover then each successful impact has to undergo Blink rolls for every obstacle in the path of the projectile but I won’t go into greater detail here. Firearms damage on a 2+ so you roll a number of dice equal to successful impacts and each 2+ would cause the damage of the weapon – in this example each successful damage roll would cause 1 Blood and 1 Stun Damage and because guns are nasty any rolls of 1 will still cause a point of Stun damage thanks to their Scratch rule.

Along with damage dice an additional d6 is rolled, it’s wise to use a different colour. This is the collateral damage dice and has the possibility to do one of two extra things. If the number on it matches any of the damage rolls (unless it’s a 1) it knocks the target down as well as causing the original damage. If the number on it is a 6 and at least one damage dice caused a wound then the weapon causes a critical effect. This is either an additional Stun marker or a weapon specific critical.

Melee combat uses the same damage method but the initial rolls to hit are slightly different. Using the above models again as an example Agent Ron tries to hit August with his Baton. He has an AC of 3 so could have allocated up to 3 of his actions to attack. Assuming he had, the player would roll 3 dice with a target number equal to August’s Defence of 3. Let’s say Ron rolled a 1,2 & 5, that would be only 1 Impact but, as shown on the card, the Baton has two special rules – Handy and Tough. Handy allows rerolled failed Impact dice so the player could reroll the two dice that missed. The player gets a 2 & 3 so has ended up with 2 successful impacts and it is now time for the opposing player to try and block these incoming wounds.

August has a Defence of 3 and because the player anticipated the assault from the cop he allocated 3 of his counters in Defence. This gives him 3 dice to roll to Block Ron’s impacts with a target number equal to Ron’s attack value of 3. Tragically, August rolls a 1,1 & 6 and so only stops one of the impacts from connecting.

Ron now rolls to see if he causes any damage to August by rolling against his Strength value which is 5+. Fortunately for Ron his Baton has Tough which gives the wielder a +1 Strength bonus meaning Ron now has to roll a 4+. Rolling 1 damage and 1 collateral damage dice Ron gets a pair of 5’s. This means he causes the 1 point of Stun damage from his weapon as well as knocking August to the floor.

At the end of each round models can roll 1d6 plus any unused SC to remove stun damage by rolling 4+ so continuing the above example August rolls 1d6 and gets a 3, his luck continues, so the Stun damage remains in place.

The game allows for some very cinematic action. One scenario had the Joker and Batman fighting on a rooftop and the Joker successfully pushed the Dark Knight over the edge. Unfortunately Batman still had 1SC left which allowed him to open his Bat Cape and float to the ground rather than go squish. Another had the Joker drop a set of explosive remote control teeth onto a fight below between Batman, a cop and one of his own henchmen – it could have cost me the game in VP’s but it seemed like something the Joker would do. I think people sometimes forget that the aim of these things is to have fun rather than win at all costs.

There you go a fairly simplistic view at the game. There is so much more I didn’t go into but I urge you to check out the rules from the link above and the download the cards from the Knight Models site, grab a few proxies and give it a go.

If you fancy a chat about the game I am on the Batman Miniatures Game forum at http://www.batmanminiaturegame.com/forums/english/ username JohnnyHawkwind. Come and say hi.

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2 comments on “Soapy Bearbox – Batman the Miniature Game

  1. Pingback: Guest blog | johnnyhawkwind #miniblog

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