Now is a great time to get started with the Batman Miniatures Game by Knight Models. It is however, also a confusing time. The newly updated (and great looking) printed rule book has recently been released and folks all over the place are getting excited about the game. That means people are looking at the rule book vs. the free PDF rules available for download and starting to ask questions about which rules to start with.
Can I learn the game using the free rule book?
Yes you can. You'll get a feel for the flow of the game and its mechanics, but be prepared to deal with changes if you are going to buy the new book. If you plan to play in a small group with a few friends, there's nothing wrong with just using the free rules...but a few things will be missing so it could become increasingly challenging over time.
I intend to buy the rule book, should I start with the free rules?
This is how another local player and I got started, playing 3 or 4 games with the free rules. We were awaiting the arrival of the rule book but wanted to get playing right away. However, I've actually found that starting with the free rules and then moving to the printed rules while still learning the basic game mechanics has proven frustrating.
Several things have changed with the new book (remember, it's essentially version 2 of the rules!) and trying to remember what has changed and in what way is challenging. This was particularly evident yesterday when I was asked to give a local gamer a demo of the game. I had to dig through the rule book a few times because I was asked questions and knew that it was "slightly different in the updated rules."
So in short, I'd say if you intend to buy the book anyway, start playing after you receive it. I think it will make your learning experience a lot smoother. Order the book then build some models, lampposts or objective markers while you wait for your rule book to arrive! You'll need those regardless of which version of the rules you decide to play with.
Whatever you decide, you're in for some good Gotham fun. I'm happy with the game and am always looking forward to my next game!