What I Like About: Batman Miniature Game
When I was playing Warmachine I appreciated that the game offered a level of tactical stimulation despite not wanting to play it anymore. You can read my opinions about Warmachine over at Creative Twilight. This was not something I was expecting to find when I started playing the Batman Miniature Game (BMG). I expected that BMG would be a fun story game with characters that I love. It does do this, but it also rewards sharp tactical thinking in a way which completely surprised me.
The following is not a traditional review where I discuss the game in detail. Instead I’m just going to focus on the specific things I like about the game. If you want to know more about it there’s an up-to-date rules wiki and video battle reports aplenty. You may need to take some airsick pills first though for the shakey camera work.
Batman Miniature Game is produced by Knight Models under license from DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers. The game is a 35 mm skirmish wargame featuring characters from the Batman comics, TV shows, movies and video games. This can lead to some weird situations where Adam West’s Batman is fighting Tom Hardy’s Bane. The bad impression possibilities boggles the mind. It also means that whatever Batman is your Batman can be played.
As fun as it is to play as Batman and punch bad guys in their turkey necks the licence alone wouldn’t be enough to get me excited about the game. If I wanted to paint a Batman figure I could do so without needing it to be a wargame model. All things considered it would be better as a larger scale display statue than as a wargame model. No, this game offers a fun and tactically interesting play experience and it does this primarily through the objective system.
Batman Miniature Game Objectives
BMG does have an interesting system for combat and movement which does play an important part in making the game what it is I find that the objectives, and they way they are designed to drive the gameplay, are my favorite part of the game. There are plenty of games that came with objectives and scenarios out of the box. The difference, in my mind, is that instead of providing a reason to have a fight the objectives in BMG can often reward not fighting. This in turn allows for the creation of non-fighting units which is important for a game based on a comic which isn’t always about combat.
Sure, Batman beats people up as required to solve crimes. However most of his adversaries cannot hope to compete with him in combat. The Riddler, Joker, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Penguin, and Scarecrow. None can hope to go blow-for-blow with The Bats. Making Batman into a miniature wargame would have been a mistake and I think that the objectives are key to making the Batman Miniature Game feel like Batman.
Most of the bands are criminals and objectives represent this. Things like loot, ammo, and Titan canisters are things that criminals would fight over and protect. You can imagine Two-Face’s crew needing to guard some money they just stole and deploying crates of ammo to defend their haul against some cops. Meanwhile Batman has arrived and he needs to incapacitate the crooks to help the cops and prevent them from getting away.
In BMG Batman could sit on an objective and score points but the problem is that while he’s scoring a single objective his opponents are scoring all three of theirs. This means Batman’s job during the game is to prevent his opponent from scoring while gaining points by taking out models.
How objectives are deployed also plays a big role in shaping the game of BMG. Generally objectives are placed in or close to the enemy’s deployment zone. Since your objectives can be useful to your opponent this can have a big impact on the game. The more victory points an objective is worth the greater the benefit. Ammo, worth three VP, can be manipulated by the enemy to restock their own weapons. Titan is worth only two VP and while it can be used by the enemy each model can only survive a single dose of Titan.
This only scratches the surface of how objectives impact a game of BMG. I’ve only played a couple of games to date so I’m still learning much about the game.