April 29, 2015 by crew
For this installment of The Signal we will learn about how the game starts sooner than you may think…
The Batman Miniature Game from Knight Models set up goes through a succession of preliminary steps that will define deployment, objectives, game length, interactive scenery and victory conditions. These pre-game phases create a lot of decision making early on that will weigh on the rest of the game as it is played out in full.
Each set up creates a unique tactical situation defined by deployment zones, game length and special Victory Points rewards. At this point all you have to do is to roll a die and let fate decide. Basically, the selected scenario will have effects on either or both types of main winning strategies; Objective Control or Fight. Knowing what you are stepping in to could be useful for your first key tactical choices.
An Objective Control strategy needs a scenario that allow you to quickly score VP in order to take a comfortable lead before the opposite band starts to take down your men. You also need a short game so your opponent will not have time to hurt you too much. The best scenario of this kind is Plunder (Rulebook Pg 85) which is 6 rounds, only 20cm away from the objectives zone and additional VP rewards if you control several objectives at the same time.
At the other end of the spectrum we have Ambush (Rulebook Pg 89) which is the perfect set up for a blood bath. This scenario goes on for 8 rounds, only 30cm away from the opponents deployment zone and special rewards for killing the opposite Boss.
Each player will roll a D3 to see how many manholes will be fielded. Depending of your list and your opponent rolling a high number this could either be bad or good news. Because of its drawback, having one miniature spending at least one round out of the game, Sewers are more likely to be used by swarm lists (Penguin, Joker, Black Mask) who can afford to temporarily lose a member in order to gain an advantage later.
With more Sewer entrances they will get more flexibility and their opponent will have a hard time figuring out where the characters will emerge. On the other hand lists built around a small number of powerful members (Watchmen, League of Shadows, Ivy) generally have the means to move around the table without relying on sewers so adding additional entrances will only help their opponents.
If you want to have competent use of Sewers you need to place both your entry and your exit points. This mean rolling a 2 or 3 on the D3. If you have rolled only one manhole, you should probably put it in a non-relevant location (not near objectives nor any deployment zones) otherwise it will probably be of benefit to your opponent. When learning about using Sewers I strongly recommend this video made by our friends from the Flashback Generation Channel. Every tactics covered by this video is even more relevant since the new Rulebook had lowered the cost for using Sewers to only 1MC+1SC.
The same process for Sewers goes for Lamp Posts too; roll a D3 for a variable benefit. More Lamp Posts favour shooter heavy lists, while fewer ones favor Objective Control and close combat. Keep in mind that Lamp Posts can be placed anywhere, including rooftops (think of them as spotlights instead). It may be important to light up positions more likely to be occupied by snipers and characters using equipment like the batclaw or grappling hooks, especially if you want to return fire.
When standard procedure applies you have to divide your band in half with equal number of miniatures for each. They will then be fielded alternately by following this sequence…
- Player #1 Deploys First Half
- Player #2 Deploys First Half
- Player #1 Deploys Second Half
- Player #2 Deploys Second Half
In most cases it is advisable to put your strongest character in the second half of your band as they will be deployed at the last moment when some of your opponents characters are already in fixed positions. Some other scenarios (Chance Encounter, Secure the Area and Ambush) will follow specific rules that will require a more thoughtful process but deploying your key characters after the opponent remains a good advantage.
As one of the main winning factors of the game the whole Objectives mechanic deserve a full article but for now we will stick to the basics. Each player places, in turn, three objectives of different kinds. At this point you have to be careful about two things; selection and position. Each type of objective is selected from a short list…
- Titan Containers and Ammo Crates are in fixed position and award 2 or 3 VP each round with additional bonuses
- Loot awards only 1 VP each round but can be moved
- Riddles are in fixed position and award VP only once a character tries to solve them
Some characters have special interactions with specific kinds of objectives like Catwoman who awards more VP when she controls Loot. You have to learn which character does what if you want to avoid any faux-pas like choosing Riddles as objectives while your opponent fields The Riddler. Solving them will be harder for you and way too easy for your opponent.
Obviously you want objectives to be as close to your starting position as possible. That said you should also consider a few other things. Ask yourself how you reach the objective and with which character(s)? How you will defend it? Is the objective, or the path that lead to it, lit up by a Lamp Post? Are there any Sewer entrances nearby ? Is it placed in the open or an enclosed space? As you can see there are a lot of different aspects of objective placement to consider.
Please keep in mind that these are only the basic pre-game rules. In the second part of this article we will see how everything can be tailored to suit your needs through the use of Strategy Points.
Bane Feature Image by Jayden Barr (Next Level Games Dandenong)
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"Sewers are more likely to be used by swarm lists (Penguin, Joker, Black Mask) who can afford to temporarily lose a member in order to gain an advantage later..."
"...ask yourself how you reach the objective and with which character(s)?"