The Bat's back
The Batman Miniature Game is a tabletop skirmish game set in dark DC Universe setting of Gotham . Over previous versions, more and more heroes and villains from around the DC Universe have been getting miniatures and rules, but with the physical release and repackaging of some of the stronger heroes and villains into the DCU Miniature Game, it appears that the BMG is heading back to its street-level roots.
To get started with the new 3rd Edition of the Batman Miniature Game, Knight Models have released the Back to Gotham starter set, with everything 2 players need for a game. If you're coming from previous versions of the BMG, we take a look at your options at the end of this article.
You can buy all the BMG Products from our Tabletop Sponsor, Firestorm Games.
What's in the box?
The Back to Gotham starter set has a huge amount of contents in its oversized bright yellow box.
Rules and gubbins
The box contains:
- 1 Full Rulebook (also available for free online here)
- 1 Quick-start Rulebook (Basic rules and 4 onboarding scenarios to get you in)
- 6 Dice
- Measuring Sticks
- Tokens (a lot of tokens)
- Character Cards (1 for every character in the box)
- 86 Objective Cards
- 16 Plot Cards
- 8 Encounter Cards
- 8 Event Cards
The Encounter and Event cards provide an easy way to generate deployment zones and a random event for games. They each form a single deck, and from which a single card is drawn for the game, so only 1 copy of each 8 card deck is required. Both decks are also optional, and you can create your own scenarios and narrative games.
The 16 plot cards include 2 copies of 4 neutral cards and 4 faction-specific plot cards for both Batman and the Joker's crew to form 4 card plot decks for 2 players.
The 86 objective cards are split between 46 neutral cards (double copies of all cards giving both players access to the same cards), 17 Joker and Batman specific crew cards and 6 character-specific cards to make up your 20 card decks for each player.
The Back to Gotham box includes push-fit card scenery that locks in place with card pins. It includes:
- 1 Ferris Wheel
- 4 Large Stalls
- 2 Small Stalls
- 4 Signs
- 4 Barricades
It's a decent amount of scenery for the starting games out of the Back to Gotham box and it's solid quality. It can give a little with too much pressure, so be careful when slotting in the card locking pins. The Ferris Wheel stands very tall, and it's an impressive piece of kit out of a starting box, really bringing a 3D element to the tabletop.
Back to Gotham includes 2 crews.
- Commissioner Gordon
- Sgt Harvey Bullock
- Officer Merkel
- GCPD Detective
- 2 GCPD Cops
- Harley Quinn
- 6 Thugs
The miniatures all look great, capturing the dark Gotham setting perfectly. Batman is all spikes and cape, more akin to the comics than the recent movies and based on the Todd McFarlane art. The poses are dynamic and the scenic bases for Harley and Deadshot add some great detail.
Both crews come in at 350 Rep, giving you a full working crew for the recommended Rep limit straight out of the starter set. Batman's crew are outnumbered, but Batman is a force to be reckoned with, with a stat card full of abilities to balance the odds. It gives a great thematic feel to games.
The Joker and Commissioner Gorden figures come with a couple of base options. They can be put on their larger 60mm, full-size scenery based with Gordon against the Bat-Signal and Joker on a stage, or on small 40mm bases with the scenery becoming stand-alone scenery for use in games. Having them on a larger base balances out the benefit to a larger aura area (as it's measured from the edge of the base) against being less maneuverable on and around scenery. We put ours on the smaller bases, opting for having the extra scenery and keeping the mobility of Gorden and Joker.
Both crews come with optional construction pieces, the Joker Thugs can have heads with or without clown masks, Harley and Deadshot have masked and unmasked options. Joker has some armament options and there are also some extra scatter pieces for base customization with a Batarang to embed in a base and Joker fishes for example.
It is worth noting that the material of these miniatures is a soft resin. It can be difficult to work with, as the material is less forgiving than hard plastic and can tear if your hobby knife isn’t sharp. It does allow for shaping more than other materials, as you can cut and trim carefully around corners and joints. If it’s your first time working with this material, we advise taking your time, and cutting more excess than you normally would when removing from the sprues and working back to the miniature.
We will look in detail at the Batman and Joker crews in future crew guides.
Batman Miniature Game Mechanics
BMG 3e streamlines and sorts out a lot of mechanics and the system does feel quite polished.
Each turn, players alternate activating their miniatures. Each miniature can perform 1 action, either a Movement action (including dynamic movement over scenery), a Tactical action (a close-combat or ranged attack, or interaction with a suspect marker, which are used as points of interest during games, or travelling between sewer markers) or a Special action (which is required by certain skills and traits). At the start of each turn, each player gets to place 4 Audacity markers on their crew. Each crew member with an Audacity marker gets to complete one of each action when they activated (a movement, Tactical and Special) as opposed to the single action that the other crew members will get. This allows you to control which crew member will have a big impact each turn.
Attacks and defense are also very streamlined now. Characters have an attack and defense characteristic. The attack value is the number of dice rolled to attack, and each roll above the target's defense value is a hit. The target then rolls dice equal to its defense value, and each dice rolling higher than the attack value of the attacker, blocks one of their hits.
A strength dice, of a different color, is also rolled with the attack dice and if that dice hits, it can’t be blocked by a defense roll. This gives all characters a chance to wound their target, no matter how powerful or heavily armored, giving weak characters a chance to swarm and overwhelm more powerful characters, but also allowing powerful characters more chance to deal more damage to weaker ones.
Most of the complexity of BMG comes from the skills and traits of the characters themselves, working out where they excel and which combination of abilities work well together. Knowing yours and your opponent’s crew and abilities is a key skill.
With the addition of the objectives and plot cards, you can build crews and decks with specific play styles to suit your own style of gaming and this adds another dimension to BMG. You either need to make sure your crew can achieve its own aim quicker than your opponent, or have a way to deal with your opponent’s different win conditions.
Players will need to print or download the BMG Compendium, which details all of the traits on the character cards, and this can be downloaded for free here.
Players of Previous Editions
If you’re coming from a previous edition of BMG, you can download the rules, compendium and card packs from the Knight Models site here. But if you want physical cards, the only way to get those currently is through the Back to Gotham starter set.
Knight Models are releasing the factions in updated packs, with new cards, and will also be making available Card Packs for each faction at the same time as their faction boxes. The card packs will be available for a limited time, to allow previous players to convert to 3e without having to buy the same miniatures again.
The BMG Back to Gotham box is a fantastic product. It’s everything you need in a starter set and can easily be split between 2 players if required. The scenery and the miniatures are fantastic and all players need to add is a playmat for a full gaming experience.
The rules are a lot faster and more streamlined than previous editions and we really like the addition of the card packs, which add some great depth and mechanics to games. The Start Here rulebook is a great introduction to the rules and does well onboarding the players with the Back to Gotham contents.
Have you played any previous editions of the BMG? What do you think of the new changes? Have you bought the Back to Gotham starter set? Let us know in the comments below.
This copy of the BMG 3e Back to Gotham Starter Set was provided by Asmodee UK.b