March 31, 2015

BMG As a Multi-Player Game?

One of Bythtron’s friends joined us for a game Sunday past. I forgot to bring my new rule book with me, and Bythtron hasn’t yet received his, so we played with the free downloadable rules again. We opted to skip out on scenarios, objectives, extra equipment and strategies in order to help keep things simple. Our game was played at 200 rep.

Batman crew
- Arkham City Batman
- Arkham City Robin

Joker crew
- Arkham City Joker
- Arkham City Harley Quinn
- clown w/ knife
- clown w/ bat

Bane crew
- Arkham Origins Bane
- Smash
- McGregor
- Dallas
- Blackgate w/ Pipe

The first turn was essentially everyone moving toward the centre of the table. I don’t think at this point any of us had a firm strategy in mind. With three players there were a lot more sewers and lampposts on the table, making it challenging for my stealthy heroes to move unseen.

Joker had moved up into the light of a lamppost, making himself a prime target for Batman’s batarangs. The first attempt failed, but the second landed soundly. Bane’s forces started moving towards the conflict and the Joker’s crew began to pull back to protect their leader.

Bane had roared into combat with Harley and one of the clowns. Dallas had dropped into the sewers in hopes of popping up in a prime spot for some shooting. I struggled finding a time and place Robin could prove useful, but Batman scored a handy KO on the Joker, forcing him to spend a turn trying to stand up and shake off some stun damage.

When Dallas popped out of a sewer there were two separate groups in combat nearby amongst Bane’s crew and the Joker’s. It finally looked like the time for Robin to strike, as there was a set of cargo containers hemming the fighters in, and it proved to be with in range of Robin’s batclaw. I had allocated his counters in hopes of using his grenade and was rewarded with a very satisfying shot. The template was able to land on five henchmen and blind all but one of them for the round.

Batman swung in with hopes of taking down Bane, only to prove unable to hurt him. Harley and Joker were also ineffective against the brute. With only one more round to play we had to call the game as we were out of time.

Thoughts on the Game

I enjoyed the change of pace that came with playing the game multi-player, and was happy to see that it actually works that way. It could prove convoluted trying to use the scenarios in a multi-player game, but that’s not what they’re designed for. Adding in objectives would certainly work however, and there’s no reason that strategies wouldn’t prove usable as well.

As with learning any game, we really need to make sure we have enough time to play. Although we ran short again, it was still a lot of fun. I think we did sort of gang up on the Joker’s crew, but that’s always a challenge in a multi-player game. Near the end I could easily have had Batman take out a henchman for more victory points, but elected not to.

Learning How to Use My Models

This game also gave me some insight into how the dynamic duo could be used effectively together. Robin’s bo is really not that effective a weapon. The grenade was extremely useful however, and I can see a few ways to use it. The first would be to wait for a chance like in this game, and catch a group of opposing characters who are bunched up. Blinding even two characters for a turn causes a lot of disarray for that crew. The second would be using him as a pre-cursor to Batman striking. If you can get Robin into position for hitting someone with his grenade, Batman could drop down and do some serious damage to the blinded foe.

Having only two characters will certainly be a challenge in scenarios where objective control is important. I’ll have to chose my objective markers carefully; likely opting for Titan, Ammo and a Riddle. I’m looking forward to playing another game with the dynamic duo, multi-player or otherwise.

March 30, 2015

BMG Objective Markers Painted

As mentioned previously the first Batman Miniature Game items I decided to paint are not character figures. I wanted to start with these so that I could examine the casting quality without being concerned about messing up one of the expensive character models. It was also my thought that once I started painting characters I wouldn't want to go back and paint more mundane stuff like objective markers.

The objective markers all come as a single pack complete with bases. The sculpting and casting quality are not as good as I was expecting, having heard most folks rave about the actual characters from Knight Models. Let's get into each marker in a bit more detail!

The loot marker is probably the best cast of the bunch. The detail of the bag is complete with some stacks of cash, jewelry and gold coins spilling out. There was a mould line around the edges but wasn't obscuring any of the content or fine detail and was easy to file off. There was a small pit lacking metal in the inside of the bag but it wasn't worth filling in with green stuff, as I was pretty sure I could cover it with a little paint. Mixing up a custom colour for the pearl or diamond necklace sticking out of the bag was quite fun.

The ammo crate looks good until you get up close to it. There is an obvious fingerprint in my casting on one of the bottom boxes, there are some pits and the details of the handles on the sides is very soft. Most of the hard edges are not as straight as they could be either but once painted up, like the loot marker, the model looks quite good. I looked up some reference images for ammo containers so that I could paint some realistic markings on the sides of the boxes.

I had a tough time taking a decent photo of my markers.

The riddle marker is the model that I liked the look of the best. It has plenty of fine detail on it around the gears and other gribbly bits. There is a finger print visible this casting as well, and some of the details on the ends of the bottom-most component are a little soft. I found painting this one to be the biggest challenge. Trying to emulate a sort of glowing light source. I've never tried to to object source lighting on my painting. It looks ok on the table, but I'm less happy with my paint work than the actual model itself.

The Titan container  was the biggest disappointment to me. It's a cylinder of metal with two smaller cylinder bits on top. Without some creative paint work there's really nothing interesting to look at here. I ended up adding some little details from my bits box to make it look like it had some functionality to it. The washes I used turned out to be too heavy (my fault), so I had to try bringing some detail back up with a few highlights. I'm happy with the result, even if the basic model is a bit of a disappointment.

I suppose I sound rather down on this set of models, and in a way I am. The objective markers are a required component if you want to play any of the scenarios from the book. In fact, both players need at least one full set each so I'll likely have to purchase and paint a second pack of these. On the other hand it's certainly possible to create your own markers with a little time and effort. I considered doing so myself but will likely focus on character models and scenery instead. If you've got sculpting skills or a decent bits box I would recommend you make your own objectives and save your money for more character models instead.

Next up I'll be tackling the three lamp post / sewer pack. Stay tuned!

March 26, 2015

Thoughts on Crew Building in Batman Miniature Game

Like many of you out there, I recently received my printed copy of the new Batman Miniature Game rule book. I've also bought some figures and have been toying around with crew lists at a few different point levels. This brought me to wondering what the desirable number of points are for playing the game. After asking on the forums the general consensus among experienced players seems to be something like this:

150 rep: For introductory games.
200 rep: Good for faster, focused games.
300 rep: Rule book recommended game size.
350 rep: Tournament game size, although some feel it gives too much cash/free agent leeway.
450 rep: Suggested in the new rules as a big game. I’d be cautious of playing a game this size because it feels like it would take an entire afternoon or longer to play.

I’ve only played three games so far, all using the free rules. The first game was played at 200 rep with no scenarios or extra rules. It felt a little bit too big. Even with only four or five characters per side, the number of rules we were searching for was very time consuming and was likely too much for two new players to really handle.

The second was a massive 350 rep game, which probably sounds insane. The ironic part is, that this game was actually a lot more fun than the first. While I’m sure most experienced players bristle at the idea of playing  with that many points so early we had a great time, but weren’t able to finish the game in the time we had available to us.

The most recent was a 150 rep game. It was quick, allowed us the chance to use objectives and strategies and play a proper scenario from the book. The small number of characters, only three per side, really let us focus on the rules and how to interact with the characters and items on the table. We still made some mistakes, but it was rewarding to play a game start to finish and feel like we had gotten a satisfying experience from it.

So what am I going on about here?

Now that I have a little bit of experience with the game and some models of my own to work with, I've started looking in more detail at some crew combinations that I could put together with my figures. It quickly became apparent that the number of crew permutations available to me was growing rapidly.

When I ordered my first batch of figures there were only a few different lists I could make. Enough to get a few games in at varying point levels. With more models arriving, just adding the three "Birds of Prey" to my collection expanded my options for a 200 rep Batman crew from two to nine! A total of six characters available, and at 200 rep I’d have to play nine games just to try them all...and that's only at one size of game.

Sure it’s simple math when you get right down to it, but I was impressed. Of course, the larger the game, the more combinations you’d be able to make, and it would quickly become improbable if not impossible to try out all of the different lists you could make even with a small number of figures for a specific crew. When you get to crews like Penguin and Joker that have several cheap henchmen options, some of which are repeatable, it can get really interesting.

Go try out the Bat Builder if you want to try building some crews!

The other thing that was obvious was that almost all of the factions would require some generic henchmen in order to fill out their rosters. Cops, inmates and other henchmen might not always seem thematic, but in any game based on point systems it’s a shame, or even a substantial handicap, to not use as many of your available points as possible. A simple 10 or 15 rep model could easily be the difference maker in a game like BMG.

My challenge in the short term is actually constructing and painting some models that I can play a few games with. Although I’d like to put off doing some of the star characters until later, the easiest 200 rep list I can make is Arkham City Batman with Robin or Catwoman. I’m going to go with Robin, and see how these figures paint up. I’m quite looking forward to it, and will share my progress here soon.

While I’ll likely collect as much of the Knight Models range as I’m able, for a person who really wants to explore a particular crew, there is a lot of gameplay available to you without spending a ton of time or money. The introduction of a new pack of henchmen, or a new free agent to your collection could shake your games up a lot, and provide you with tons of new things to explore. This is not exclusive to BMG of course, but it’s the game I’m most excited about for the near future, and hope you try out something new in your next game.

March 24, 2015

"Holy Fancy Toys Batman!" - BMG Products Arrive

Last week I received two packages of stuff for the Batman Miniature Game. The first package ordered was actually the second to arrive. I already talked about these items a few weeks ago.

For those not in the know, the VAT (value added tax) is a whopping 21% on orders direct from Knight Models. That makes the purchase price for these figures very high after factoring in the exchange from CAD to Euros. If you order enough stuff you don't have to pay shipping, but it's still a kick in the wallet for those folks on a limited budget. (I promise this will be the last time I grouse about the price. The products are good, so now it's up to you to decide whether they're worth the cost or not.)

When my package arrived I was rather deflated to find that the exclusive Red Hood Joker figure was not included with my pre-order. I sent an email to KM's customer service email and received a reply within twelve hours, apologizing for the mistake and promising to send out the missing figure. Hopefully it will arrive soon, but I did appreciate the speedy reply.

The rule book looks amazing however so I recommend picking a copy up. As nice as the free rules are these are better, and there are some substantial differences upon my first read through them. While KM has said they will update the free rules at some point, there's no delivery date on when that will happen. You can certainly get started with the game basics with those but at some point you'll want the updated rules!


Thankfully I found a Canadian distributor who offers some good value on Knight Models products. Shipping prices are also much more reasonable being within the same country. I actually received my first package of BMG goodness from them several days before my KM pre-order showed up. Endalyon doesn't have a web store that I know of, but is easily found on the official game forums. Tell him I sent you!

To add some more options to my heroic team builds I purchased the members of the Birds of Prey: Huntress, Black Canary and Batgirl.

I really enjoyed my first experience playing with the League of Assassins, so I picked up all of the available characters, except film Scarecrow and Bane. Nyssa and Arkham Ra's look rather tricky to put together. I'll have to tackle those models when I'm having a good day!

Finally, we are talking about Batman here so I knew I needed to add Joker's crew to my gaming experience sooner rather than later.

Even with all of these great toys in my possession, it seems that all of the factions need some low cost options to fill out their crew lists so they aren't wasting points. With that in mind I'll have to acquire some police officers and Blackgate prisoners to use for that purpose.


Rather than get stuck in on all these wonderful heroes and villains I decided to start working on the objective markers, sewers and lamp posts. I don't expect they'll take much longer to complete, and will post them all for viewing here as soon as I get them finished up!

March 22, 2015

Superheroes in Red (Mostly)

While I wait for the arrival of all my stuff from the Kickstarter campaign for Pulp City Supreme Edition I decided to give the v1 rules another look. For that I'd need to paint some more figures. Way back when I painted my starter sets, I found that the person I got my figures from had shorted me on several models I'd paid for. One of which was the level 3 hero, Solar. Not being able to play a full battle with both of my starter sets was remedied when I painted Deadeye and his vigilantes.

All the rest of the Pulp City figures I received had come in their boxes except Fright Train and Night Fright. If I were going to grow the villain's ranks I realized that I'd need to round out my heroes to match, so I picked the Crimson Oni / Foxxy Blade pack and laid them all out on my painting table.

It was fully my intention to paint the villains before doing the heroes. However, once I got a closer look and realized both 'Frights' would need some assembly, the heroes ended up reaching the finish line first.

The dynamism of the sculpt on Crimson Oni really impressed me. What impressed me even more was to find out that he was a one piece model. I love one piece models, especially when they have this kind of detail on them. The paint work here was ridiculously simple.

Of course this was all going on while I was working on the Deadeye pack. Crimson Oni was painted at almost the same time, just requiring a highlighting pass. I think the paint colours were:

- GW Tallarn Flesh, Mephiston Red, Fortress Grey, Boltgun Metal and Sepia wash
- P3 Coal Black, Menoth White Highlight & Arcane Blue

The highlighting after the sepia wash was done with the red and arcane blue, followed by a tiny touch of Mithril Silver and Trollblood grey. I'm sure if you look at the photo you can figure out where I used each colour.

Foxxy Blade took a little more work. Her sword arm is a separate piece, which I briefly considered trying to pin. The drill bits I have for my pin-vice are too big for such delicate work however. I opted to go with super glue only, followed by some green stuff to cement and blend the join.

In the other hand she's holding a tiny sai which looks a little goofy. It was also bent a bit, which I remedied with a tiny bit of pressure and patience. Mold lines on both figures were minimal, easily removed with a quick pass of my rounded hobby file.

She turned out quite a bit darker blue than I intended due to the GW Asurmen Blue wash I put over the blue jumpsuit. The details on her jumpsuit are fine enough that I didn't trust myself to go back over again without making a mess of things.

To be honest, this is a figure I likely wouldn't have purchased if she were sold on her own. She does have a pretty cool vibe however, and I think she turned out well. She doesn't exactly match up that well with Crimson Oni, who I think is a much more interesting figure.

On the positive side, they will fit nicely into Pulp City and other super hero gaming, but should also slot seamlessly into games I might play with Power Legion or A Fistful of Kung-Fu by Ganesha Games.

Speaking of martial arts gaming, I've had this figure sitting on a shelf with some other SuperFigs for quire some time. I can't recall what the actual character's name is. Seeing as she was based and primed, and I was painting martial artists anyway, I tossed her into the painting queue. I thought about putting a blindfold on her so that she could be Jinx from "G.I.Joe" but elected not to.

I used a much lighter flesh colour than on Crimson Oni. The paint choices were pretty similar as well. Now that she's finished I thought that I could use her in games of Pulp City as a sidekick to Oni or Foxxy.

Last up is Talisman for my Alpha Flight project. With her finished that only leaves me with Vindicator, Heather Hudson. Talisman is simply a repainted Dawnstar from Heroclix with the wings removed. I think she fits the bill perfectly, although I do wish she had smaller hands. Now that I've mentioned her man-hands, that's likely all any of you will see!