Type: Action Selection / All vs One / One vs One

Time to play: 60-90 minutes (Teaching: 10 minutes)

Best played with: 2 Players (2/4 Players)

Whether or not you are familiar with Monolith, the company behind this game and Conan, there is a lot of unique and interesting game play to find in Batman Chronicles. Also, good news – if you missed the first kickstarter, it’s likely that a second is coming this summer for you to evaluate whether this is a game for you.

The game unfolds through small narrative stories, each detached from the others and each using different characters from the core game box. There’s a huge number of pieces to be used here, but each story brings together 3 heroes and a handful of villains to battle it out. Each time a new map, a new set of rules and a difficulty level sets the contours of the battle.

As the villain you will control all the pieces related to the bad guys from the thugs to the arch nemesis in the story. You might be the penguin or the joker, but you will control everything on the battlefield to try and stop the heroes’ mission – either by killing them or playing for time. Meanwhile one or three players will control the heroes – three of a the possible options from the list provided for that scenario. The heroes will attempt to make their way across the map, achieve a series of objectives and potentially beat the head villain.

The heroes have the hardest challenge. Each mission is do-able, but there is a path you need to follow to have a reasonable chance and you probably need to select the right three heroes to minimise the initial difficulty. Choosing the wrong heroes can make a tough mission seem impossible very quickly – as the skills of the heroes contribute to the tasks required. For example, not taking anyone who can lock pick can really harm your chances of succeeding if the second objective is to open a safe. It can be done with any character and re-rolls, but the likelihood is far lower.

As the Villain then, you may not need to do much to stop the heroes. Blocking off the required route for the key hero, or killing off the weakest character. There are many ways to play as the villain although as a small note, it may not be as fun to try to stifle the heroes as oppose to fight them.

As the Hero the, you may be keen to punch your way through the villains but a more tactical approach is required. You will need to pick your fights, choose the villains you clear out, and choose the path that will even allow you to achieve your goals in the small number of turns that this story will allow you.

Thematically then, this story picks up on all the little details of the Batman stories – bat equipment, the minor characters, the different versions of the batman. The stories feel like they are straight out of the comic books, saving the city from peril or a public official who has been caught. With all these trappings, the game then goes further and builds a thematic set of character abilities. Whether it’s Batman taking down an entire room, or catwoman jumping the balcony to get to the bomb in time, every character feels different and every characters abilities contribute to the game.

As you start, these attributes and equipment can seem overwhelming but after multiple games you can get used to these details. Using these becomes second nature as they are so thematically linked to the individual characters but the precise details will be foreign to you unless this is the main game that hits the table.

Overall, I think there is a risk that the theme overwhelms this game. That there is so much content, so many rules and so many options of how to play, that the act of playing is obscured by fandom. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I will certainly enjoy making my way through the rest of the available content in time. I just hope I get enough time to get this back to the table.

Last notes,

  • If you like games with lots of content, check this out.
  • If you want a crunchy game with emergent gameplay – this is mostly at a surface level
  • If you win, try another level