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DC Comics, Batman offer superhero game experiences

By Cody Carlson

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, July 4 2013 8:13 p.m. MDT

DC Comics' Deck Building game is a new card game from Cryptozoic Entertainment.

Cryptozoic Entertainment

Two new games from Cryptozoic Entertainment feature superheroes from the DC Comics universe: DC Comics' Deck-Building game, a card game, and Batman: Arkham City Escape, a board game.

In DC Comics' Deck-Building game, two to five players take on the role of some of DC Comics' mightiest heroes. Playing as either Batman, Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Aquaman or Wonder Woman, players are pitted against a variety of super-villains, including Lex Luthor, the Joker and Darkseid.

Each player starts the game with seven punch cards and three vulnerability cards. While the vulnerability cards do nothing but take up space in your five-card hand, punch cards contain power points that allow you to buy more cards that include super powers, equipment and even minor villains like Bane and Harley Quinn. Added to your deck, these new cards can offer more power points and allow you to gain more cards or defeat super-villains.

Once a super-villain is defeated, a new one takes his place, dealing a damaging attack to all the superheroes with his appearance.

Playing your cards for their power can have consequences, however, and often act as an attack upon your fellow superheroes. One of the consequences is the distribution of weakness cards, which, like vulnerability cards, take up space in your hand but also work against victory point totals. After the last super-villain is defeated or there are no more cards left to draw, the game is over. Players tally up the victory points on their cards to determine the winner.

On the surface, DC Comics' Deck-Building game appears to be simply a game of buying better cards and accruing more victory points before your opponents. That description, however, does not do it justice. This is a fast-moving, intense game that ignites real competition as players create better and better decks in the hopes of defeating super-villains and walking away with their treasure trove of victory points.

Despite the fact that there are occasionally some odd thematic combinations (such as Batman with X-ray vision, or Wonder Woman with the Batmobile), this game is an unexpected gem. It's a quick-to-learn, easy-to-play game that offers players a lot of options and presents unique challenges with every play. It's highly recommended.

In Batman: Arkham City Escape, two players take on the role of either a host of evil villains trying to flee Arkham City, or the Caped Crusader himself, trying to prevent their flight. The game board is a map of the city divided into hexes. Batman starts on one end and the villains on the other. With the first turn, the villain rolls dice to determine the number of actions he can take, then can place villain cards face down on the board, move face up or face down villains, or draw more cards from the villain deck.

At the beginning of the game, Batman can customize his utility belt with four different gadgets to aid him, and may keep these secret until he is ready to fight a villain. Batman's movement is limited without the aid of his gadgets, however, or the occasional swinging from gargoyle to gargoyle.

Once Batman has landed in the same space as a villain, combat ensues. Batman decides how many combat cards he wants to play, which allow him to roll a number of dice. If the number of dice that come up with the bat symbol is equal to or greater than the villain's capture rating, the villain is captured and added to Batman's victory pile. Batman then gains valuable experience in the form of an ally, more combat cards or other benefits.

If Batman captures 10 victory points worth of villains, he wins the game. If 10 victory points worth of villains escape the city, the villain player wins.

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