1-5 players, Cooperative, Caped Crusading Dice Drafting
Designer: Michael Guigliano, Richard Launius
Publisher: IDW Games
Overview of Gameplay
You and are trying to stop those vile villains from destroying Gotham! To do that you are placing your miniature for whichever character you’re playing down on the streets next to these little cardboard buildings or on their rooftops. You will have setup the city based on 1 of 3 slightly different Act cards so there will be a varying amount of henchmen, villains and mission cards laid out that you must deal with. To deal with all these diabolical things you must roll dice to match numbers up of either your powers on your character card or on the mission cards to complete them.
So first you roll your 4 starting dice (might be more depending on other rando powers or abilities) then you take ONE of those dice and place it. So you have to strategize a bit to determine if you want to focus on clearing out villains and henchmen from the streets or if you want to complete missions to try and prevent super bad things from happening. These bad things come in the form of buildings getting destroyed or more henchmen coming out etc. That’s basically it though, you roll, place a die, roll, place a die. Do this till all your dice are placed, then check to see if any missions were not completed and resolved their effects, check to see if any henchmen or villains are still on the streets and if so they will try to make an attack on buildings. If you survive, then move on to the next Act.
Win Condition /Length
To win you must survive through 4 Acts. If by the end of Act 4 you are still alive and the explosion and civilian casualty tracker are not on zero then you win! It sounds simple enough and honestly the game isn’t all that complicated but man it is rather difficult. There are just too many things running amok all over the place and not enough heroes to solve them all so bad stuff WILL happen. Of course I feel like that is pretty much the norm in Gotham city.
The game is super fast coming in at a little under an hour for each game I played. And honestly once you get the rules down, it’ll play even faster. You just roll dice, set them and tally up stuff that happens. Heck half the game is spent setting stuff up which leads to……
So this is by far my biggest gripe about the game. For the initial setup you have to shuffle and mix each individual Act 1 through 4 sets of cards, shuffle up the 3 different scenarios for each Act, shuffle up each player’s special power deck (which is only like 8 cards I think). Then shuffle up the sidewalk tiles and place 9 down and then set up the buildings on those. THEN randomly draw one of the three scenario cards…..and begin another round of setup. On the scenario card you need to follow the directions of setup based on number of players but basically it always boils down to 3 things: How many Act cards to draw and put into play for missions, how many villain cards to draw and setup in the city along with a certain number of henchman tokens based on whatever the villain cards states, and how many EXTRA henchman to draw and place around the city. Also as an aside the 3 scenarios are not different enough for my taste. I was going in blind expecting the three individual scenarios per Act to be completely different. Turns out they are the same main mission per Act, just different setups. Which to be fair does add a bit of variety……to the setup. I was just hoping for more variety to the game.
Once you have all that setup then it’s time to play! Unfortunately it is much faster rolling through all your dice, especially at lower player counts, than it is doing all that setup over and over between each Act. All that said I do enjoy the gameplay, I just wish setup was less prevalent. Takedown consists mostly of just bagging up everything and tossing it all in the box, no insert so nothing all that spectacular there.
The components are your average fare. The dice are colored to match the individual heroes and are smaller than a typical die, which I like. All the cards are of a decent quality, no complaints there. The minis are actually very nice, pretty detailed and I can already tell they are going to be fun to paint. The game board aspect of this game is actually what drew me to it in the first place. The “game board” is the city buildings on top of the little sidewalk cards. As the buildings get destroyed by the villains, you remove buildings and turn over the sidewalk card to expose the after effects such as civilians dying or explosions. A very cool setup.
I talked about this a bit earlier but the box is pretty standard. It’s on the smaller size so super easy for storage. There is no insert so just expect to bag up everything but it all fits easily. Nothing to write home about.
Visual Appeal /Theme
I mean if you were/are a fan of the Batman Animated Series cartoon then you will love this game for its visual appeal. Classic animated series artwork throughout and extremely colorful which I just love. I feel like they really crafted an interesting game around the theme as well. With the way the buildings get destroyed and removed it really feels like Gotham is under siege. This is one of the most innovative game boards I’ve seen that isn’t really a game board.
The rule book is average. I mean the game isn’t all that complex to begin with but what it does explain is explained well enough. The only thing I remembered being confused about was the exact way the battling on rooftops worked. After another glance at the rules though, it made sense. Nothing about it really screamed out that it was a joy to read or anything but also it wasn’t a drag either.
Table Talk/Fun Factor
The game does generate a good amount of table talk, being fully co-op and you have to discuss how you want to handle protecting the city with your fellow heroes. And it is a lot of fun doing that. Some people will probably hate the randomness of the dice rolls and how it shapes what you do. But I find it thrilling, and honestly I’m always on the lookout for a decent dice game and this one does hit the spot.
Optimal Player Count
I have played the game solo a number of times and a couple 2 player games. I also played one solo 3 player game. I believe this game shines at higher player counts personally. Since everyone rolls at the same time and then goes around placing a single dice each, the rounds will move at a decent pace. Plus you get the benefit of everyone’s individual powers to compliment others. Not only that but it will weigh out the gameplay time over the set up time a tad more.
If you are a fan of Batman the Animated Series and/or dice placements then you will undoubtedly love this game. It plays pretty fast but the lack of a real difference between each of the 3 individual Act cards during each separate Act really doesn’t add much to the game. The 4 different Act scenarios are good enough and although they change with each new Act, they are always the same on all the variant Act cards…if that makes sense. So a couple games and you are going to be getting kinda bored with this. The setup differences don’t do enough to change the game so the only real replayability comes with the completely different characters. Each one has its own unique character deck which are pretty awesome and the minis look great. So I will say it’s a cool game and does scratch that dice chucking itch but the replayability is lacking a tad.