Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Batman Miniatures game (or not...)

I’ve been a fan of Knight models for some time, their sculpts are usually fantastic, their paintjobs mindblowing (see ironman here  or as my mate Gav said ‘caution: may not look as good when painted by actual humans’). So when they said they were releasing a Batman miniatures game based on the Arkham computer games I was quite excited, and was even more giggling with girly joy when my wife bought me the Joker starter set for my birthday – there’s a few shots of it WIP around here somewhere-

and when they game rules came out in Spanish I could barely wait until they got translated to play, and that’s where my excitement began to wane a little…

For many years I’ve seen European or eastern gamers comment on PP, GW or other games forums about the lack of well translated rules, or translated rules at all, and for the first time I can say I feel their pain, and will never mock them for it again. The Knight Models alpha rules are full of weird incongruities and dead ends, and although some are fairly easy to work out (weapons with ‘tough’ are probably meant to have ‘heavy’) others (I can buy the jokers guys the special rule ‘Bengal’ for throwing weapons, which means nothing in the rules, or to me, unless I can throw tigers at people, which would be cool…) and the game when played seems massively biased towards ranged attacks (they hit easily, wound easily, get multiple attempts per attack, and always bleed which is bad) which are then unusually cheap to take, as long as your models actually have them. As for game balance- against my Joker starter set (Joker plus the melee armed goons) with Harley Quinn as an add on, my last opponent had the Penguin plus 7 other goons, 4 of which had multiple shot ranged weapons, It didn’t go well for me as outnumbering is a huge advantage, and the rules have very little to discourage ‘clumping’, having one big blob of models swarming up the table, pointedly ignoring the ‘skirmish’ part of the game, which always irritates me.

Some game concepts (always at night, sewers and others) are great, the models are beyond great, but as a group we all felt playing the Alpha rules was just a bit dispiriting, and that maybe we should wait for the next set, which shouldn’t be too far off and hopefully will have picked up on the quirks. In the meantime we were left with a bunch of pretty models and nothing to do, until one of the chaps suggested Inquisitor- the characters are very customisable, It requires very few models, the game is very story led (let’s face it- we love comic book characters for the story), and we can easily shoehorn in the bits of Knight Models rules we liked, (and he had owned the book for years and never played it). Now I love inquisitor, and have played it at both 54mm and 28mm scale on and off since its release, so was obviously well up for it, all that remained now was to convert the rules into a format usable in Gotham, and away we go, first games in Firestorm in Cardiff this Thursday:)

Firstly- some house rules I’ve always used in Inquisitor to help the game along, plus warband creation, tomorrow we'll cover weapons.

Main characters

Players may design and stat up to 3 of the following, using the ready reckoner at the back of the book to work out how much they cost - players main characters should cost no more than 300 creation points in total.

 1 Heroes/Villains- (batman, joker, penguin etc, all get 'heroic' and 'leader' skills)
0-2 Sidekicks/Partners in crime- (Robin, Harley Quinn, Lark etc)
0-1 Vigilantes/Mercenaries- (Catwoman, Deathstroke, Red Hood etc)

For all of the above be reasonable, only 2 statistics may be over 90, humans may NEVER have S or T over 80 without some form of enhancement, (Bane on Titan for example- although Titan can easily be represented by the combat drugs taken by archeoflagellants) whilst it seems reasonable that some characters (batman, freeze  etc) can have some crazily esoteric kit its unlikely that most characters will have access to more than one or two rare things, also bear in mind lets try and keep to WYSIWYG models, and what a human can physically carry (again batmans belt is his trump card here, he is going to be a beast, but hellishly expensive) also feel free to make new special abilities up to fit your characters, as we can discuss them when we meet up on thursday.

the above characters will form the bulk of your warband, and after that it's just allies, allies have lower stats, and when shot at only two locations (you still roll for location to see if cover is in the way, armour etc, but any location that isn't the head or chest is 'wounding', the head and chest are 'lethal', this makes them faster to kill as is right with walk on parts, and means even with larger numbers the game doesn't become too bogged down.

Each Gang starts the campaign (or any one off games) with 100 Rep, this can be spent on allies from the list below, plus additional equipment and skills for them, you may add every point of Rep under 300 your main characters are to this total, if we do run through the campaign then allies will gain skills and injuries just as main characters do, and their cost in rep will be affected by these, bearing in mind these guys are MUCH easier  to kill than usual characters, hence their very cheap cost comparitively.

Swat teams/elite henchmen 25 repWS=60+2D10, BS= 60+2D10, S=50+2D6, T=50+2D6, I/WP=40+2D10, LD/SG/NV=60+2D10
Equipment- may have ranged or melee equipment, may have riot armour or equivalent (flak I'd suggest)
Skills- as appropriate- shield bash on riot police, shooting skills on swat teams, combat skills on henchmen etc, one skill is free, each additional adds +5 rep

Beat cops/generic goons (choose from melee/ranged/smarts) 15 repWS=40+2D10, BS= 40+2D10, S=40+2D6, T=40+2D6,  I/WP= 30+2D10, LD/ SG/NV=40+2D10
Melee reduce their BS by 10 but increase their WS and S by 10, may only use melee weapons and pistols.
Ranged reduce their WS by 10 but increase their BS by 15, may use any ranged weapon (appropriate to model) and a single knife or club.
Smarts reduce both WS and BS by 10 but increase their I, LD and NV by 10, may use any weapon. have access to specialist equipment like scanners,  etc, they can have one piece of esoteric stuff chosen from the book for an amount of rep agreed by the players.
Skills should be appropriate, one is free, each additional skill is +5 rep.
Beat cops can also be taken by Raas al Ghul, the Penguin, the Scarecrow and the Riddler as goons.

Gang abilities- Penguin gets ranged goons at 1/2 price but they get -15 LD and NV (mercenaries are only so brave), joker gets melee goons 1/2 price with some sort of insanity(roll on the hallucinogen table on creation, if they fail a NV test they must take a WP or apply the results), Raas al Ghul gets ninjas- extra D10 on WS, BS and I but no guns (they can be either elite or melee goons). there is no such thing as a melee cop, they must be ranged. Poison Ivy may swap all goons for plant creatures, these are basically the same stats but only claws and teeth, and may take demonic abilities. everyone else gets generic goons as above.

House rules- after years of playing inquisitor we amended the following rules, we don't have to use them but they do make the game much more realistic (and fun)-

  • Characters always get at least one action, regardless of how terrible your action rolls are
  • Using a flame/fully auto weapon reduces your BS by 25%, instead of reducing it to 25%, for fully auto it also decreases by 5 for every target after the first. (so a BS 80 character firing on full auto is BS 60, if they spread this between three ‘targets’ they are BS 45)
  • 'Stunning' is for actions and not turns, and they happen concurrently not consecutively, otherwise it's too easy to stun a character out of the game. 
  • regardless of your strength, you can't jump further than you can sprint without help. (space marines could jump a bazillion yards per action...) 
  • Blademaster- all to hit rolls of 01-10 are criticals, not ALL hits are criticals, seriously now...
  • Experience is slightly less massive (half all amounts gain per point spent, special abilities/talents cost 10 for the first 10, 20 after that) 

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