DC Comics, Batman offer superhero game experiences

By Cody Carlson

For the Deseret News

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

The Batman theme is amazing here and really draws the players into the grim world of the Dark Knight. The artwork, straight out of the recent Batman video games, is impressive as well. The way Batman can choose and use gadgets also adds to the fun, and random setup cards ensure that each game will be different and present new avenues to victory for both sides. This is an asymmetrical game, and playing Batman or the villains requires very different strategies.

There is, however, a very real balancing issue with the game. Playing defense, Batman is swarmed by enemies trying to get past him, and even when he has a lot of combat cards, there is no guarantee that he will be victorious. It takes a long time for Batman to build up his combat cards (he may only draw one per turn if he captures no villains), and consequently if the villain is lucky in his action rolls he may quickly slip enough villains to the end of the board before Batman has had a chance to respond.

Indeed, while the villains have many options throughout the game, Batman regularly is left with simply no power to challenge the villains, making for a frustrating experience.

Perhaps some house rules could address this issue, such as requiring the villain to gain 15 victory points instead of 10, or letting Batman draw two combat cards instead one per turn. I fully expect Cryptozoic to put out some optional rules in the near future to address this imbalance issue.

Batman fans will have a field day with this game. I expect casual gamers will be more critical, though they may warm to it when the balancing tweaks become available.

Both games are recommended for ages 15 and up and both play in less than an hour.

Cody K. Carlson holds a master's degree in history from the University of Utah and currently teaches at SLCC. He has also appeared on many local stages including Hale Center Theater and Off Broadway Theater. Email: ckcarlson76@gmail.com

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