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.

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