After ten years, you would’ve thought the hype and hoopla around Nolan’s reinvention of the Dark Knight would’ve died down. But, apparently not. Quite apart from its cultural impact, there’s a new 2-Player starter set for Knight Models’ Batman Miniature Game based on The Dark Knight Rises, and we’ve had a chance to have a good old nose through it and share our thoughts with you fine folk.
Releasing worldwide on 26th April, and available for pre-order from Tuesday 16th (CLICK HERE), this is a VERY impressive bundle for £115 RRP. You get everything except a tape measure – and we mean everything.
You get scenery (two large buildings that can be reversed and built as one VERY large buildling), a ton of tokens (blood/stun, KD/KO, ammo, take the lead, sewers, lampposts, and objectives), a heavy-duty cardstock 22″x27″ Gotham playmat, dice, reference cards for all characters with special rules on the reverse, equipment cards, and Rulebook with DKR mini-campaign and quick references sheets – never mind a pile of models.
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Generally, the casts are spot on, crisp, no mould lines, no flash – and no packing errors. Lovely, evocative sculpts, easy to build and no slippage or mismatches. Exactly the kind of QC we all want to see.
For the Bat you get:
Batman DKR, Catwoman DKR, Batpod (with both version as riders, easily magnetised) and 3 great new generic cops – plus, if you preorder, promo Michael Caine Alfred. Batman is a good version for 120 points, sitting at a useful price. Catwoman, tbh, I see mostly using on the Batpod, as the high mobility gives you a lot of flexibility (also, it’s nice to have a bat-pod that isn’t a TOTAL nightmare to build). It’s great to see Alfred essentially working as he always did – more money, so more choices – and it’s good to have this back in general circulation as a game piece, though in its new form.
We’ve waited a long time for new cops, and whilst they’re not fantastic in game, cops never were more than cheap objective holders, and they continue to do this admirably. Couple this set with a Gordon and GCPD SWAT, insert any given Bat-Family character of your choice (for me, the new Batwoman or Robin & Goliath, so you can try them out with Talia as well) and you’re off to a cracking start.
And for Bane there’s:
Bane DKR, Talia DKR, 3 Mercs and the Tumbler (though comes with cards for Batman’s Tumbler also), plus a direct order only variant sculpt of Bane without jacket. A word about the mercs, I love these and can see them making plenty of appearances in generic modern-era gaming. In game they’re flexible and useful – and possibly play into continued gun-dominance. Time will tell.
Though the set is easily expanded with the Bird & Mercs set, it’s a slight misnomer to call it a Bane set as (#spoileralert) DKR Bane is part of the League, and so to expand this further you probably want, instead, to pick up the Demon’s Heir Bat-Box and/or Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Assassins set (or, again, Damian & Goliath). It’s interesting that, from a play perspective, it’s much more finesse than you might expect (though fitting with the film), keeping your big characters out of the way and letting the henchmen do the real work. Crucially, this adds to a really nice, varied, play experience, allowing you across the 2 factions to get a distinct sense of what works for you.
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And separately, there’s the Tumbler. Available to both factions – and yes, there will be folks looking for a second one – this is a beast. The move towards vehicles as Equipment for characters is, to my mind, a good one, and prevents the ridiculous situation where the batpod used to just zip around the board flicking the Bat-signal on. Now the Tumbler is not unassailable but obviously it is a challenge to take down – but then again, it’s a huge investment in game should you choose to take it.
There’s an argument to be had that vehicles are out of place in a skirmish game, but I would counter this by saying that it’s simply about bringing the Batman game back to the movies. This is not, if you like, a comic, or dare I even say Superhero, game – that would be DCUMG, which gets its reboot later this year – this is about evoking Nolan-esque cinematic action, gritty and grubby, crunchy and brutal.
But for all the goodness here, the most exciting thing is the rules. With not one but two clear, concise quick reference sheets, a condensed rulebook and a 6 part DKR mini campaign that gradually introduces each part of the game system – this is everything that Knight Models have promised and more. Seasoned designer Mark Latham’s fingerprints are all over this, in a very good way.
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All in all, this is a great entry level product with plenty for the seasoned player, a self-contained product that’s already bringing in newcomers and bringing back those who’ve left the cave. Let’s hope this is the new direction from KM!