When I started off 2020 and thought it would be a great idea to try and play every game in my collection(before I bought more). This is becoming more difficult than first anticipated. We have been under a Stay at Home order since March 21st. This means you can only go out for essentials like food and medicine or what have you. They shut down our local bookstore from doing curbside pickup because it was becoming too popular. Shortly after that they announced that they might be closing if they did not raise enough funds. This sucks for the community as its a big store, a place that hosted a lot of events and well we all need books in our lives. A store that lets my dog come browse was real high on the list for me too.
So my friend Adam and I both backed the Batman Gotham City Chronicles Kickstarter, we both played it once a while back but its dense with special rules so it didn't come off as easy to
play that time. In an effort to learn the mechanics better and keep it simple we decided to try and play the game over webex. It took us a while to get the technology aspect working after be both set up a board at our respective dinner tables but we got there eventually and we ready to start "Deadly Riddle". Adam with his phone aimed at his board and me with my laptop pointed at mine.
For this scenario I (hero player) had a choice of 3 heros to choose from; Batman (year zero), Batman (year 100) or Duke. I went with Batman(year zero), in hind sight after playing though and some post game wrap up we decided that this was likely the most difficult hero to pic for this scenario. To help out the hero I gave him a batcape and 2 different baterangs. I ended up not using the baterangs but the cape came in handy as there were a lot of drones and Riddler gang members with guns.
This game uses the same engine that the Monolith Conan game uses. The basics are there are 4 skill slots reroll and movement slots that you can move cubes into to get die rolls for those abilities. Each hero has a certain starting number of cubes Batman(year zero) had 9. across the bottom of the character sheet there are 3 boxes the left most is the available cubes, the middle exhausted and the last wounds. You use the cubes in the available box to preform activities for example in my first turn I used 3 cubes and placed the in the hand to hand combat spot.
This gave me 3 dice to roll to hit I also had the item brass knuckles and that gave me a bonus die. Batman(YZ) gets a reroll automatically so I was sure to send this Riddler Gang member packing. At the end of the hero turn you return all the spent cubes to the exhausted box (you don't have to use them all every turn). Once its the hero's turn again you move a number of cubes from exhausted to active, for Batman (YZ) it was 3 if I was active or 6 if I rested that turn and did nothing. There are only 7 turns in this scenario so resting to get 6 cubes can be very costly, as I found out later.
The villain's turn uses similar mechanics but since the villains have 16 figures it manages them in groups. There are cards for each group or named villain and an event card this
makes up "The River". Depending on the position in the river the costs to activate the villains vary. For this scenario there were 7 cards in the river. So to activate the first car it costs 1 cube and the second 2, etc. Slightly different from the hero the villain only has 2 spots for cubes. They however just lose figure when they take enough wounds. The villain can respawn them with the event card in this scenario.
One benefit to not using every cube during your turn is that you can defend yourself. If you don't have any cubes you cannot buff up your defense. The game was only seven turns long and only took about an hour. The setup time takes a little bit partly because there are multiple boxes of miniatures and partly because there are a lot of pieces to go on the various tracking boards. The game is fun and challenging for the hero to win. You have to really think out your plan and ration you cubes wisely or as I found out, lose the game watching a hostage explode right in front of Batman.
All in all this is a fun game, super thematic, and beautiful. The mechanics are good there are just a lot of special abilities with rules for each that take a while to remember, a good reference card might be in order to look up things rather than the full blown rule book. The miniatures are super awesome and I cant wait to start painting them. That's a future project and will keep you posted on that.
Designed by: Frédéric Henry
Published by: Monolith
Year Published: 2019
Recommended Ages: 14+
Time to Play: 90 minutes