Back to Gotham- Batman Miniature Game Review

Na na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na na, Batman!

A few weeks ago, I picked up the Back to Gotham boxed set. This is the 3rd edition rules for the Batman Miniatures game. I’ve always been a big fan of Batman, so wanted to have a go at the game for a while now. The new boxed set seemed like a cost-effective way to get into the game. Here, I take a look at the contents of the box.

The box contains the core rule book, tokens to use in the game, dice, character and objective cards, and 14 models, consisting of two gangs; Batman and the Gotham City Police Department, and Harley Quinn, Deadshot and some clown thugs. I’ll take a look at each of the components and my thoughts on them.

Rulebook

The core rulebook is an A5 softback booklet, about 50 pages long. It contains all the core rules necessary to play the game. I’ve had a quick read through the rules, but have yet to play a game yet.

I’ve cover the rules in more detail in future articles, but it looks like a fun system, a bit different for someone who is only really used to 40k. The game is a skirmish level conflict, with only a handful of models in each gang. The game uses alternating activation, so you will never be out of the action for extended periods of time. Overall, the rules look pretty easy to pick up, but could have some nice complexity as the game goes on. From reading online, the 3rd edition has seen some simplification of the game mechanics and a re-dress of some special rules, so this could be a good time to get into the game.

The book is of good quality, with glossy pages, and should survive as well as any other softback rulebook. Unfortunately, it only contains the basic rules for the game. There is a 40-page Compendium online to go with it, which covers a lot of the weapon rules and character traits. It would have been nice to have all the rules in one place, but as a fan of 40k, I can’t really mark them down for not having all the rules in the same place! You could download or print this compendium out, but I think they are planning on launching an app soon to allow you to look up the rules, etc.

If you want to check them out, the rules are free on the Knight models website.

Tokens

The box also contains a couple of sheets of tokens to use in the game. There are a ton of tokens that are supplied, quite a daunting number at first, but I’m sure these will be of use in the game and I will get use to them over time. These are all made of good quality card that have a gloss surface. They look like they will survive the rigours of gaming quite well.

Game Cards

The box includes a number of cards for use in the game, including character cards, objective cards and mission cards.

The character cards contain all the information needed to use each character in the game, including their stats and most of the special rules. The special rules are printed on the back of the card, so you will always have the reference to hand during your game without having to look up any rules too often. This is similar to a datasheet for 40k, but doesn’t require you to look too far for the extra rules.

These character cards are also free to download for all the models currently available, so you can check them out before purchasing a new character or without having to buy a “codex” equivalent, which is a nice touch.

The other cards contain the objectives you need to complete during the game, and other information such as deployment zones or special rules to use in your games.

Again, they are of pretty good quality and should survive the rigours of gaming for a while if you take care.

Models

This will invariably be the draw of most people to any miniatures game. Indeed, the pictures on the website were what drew me to the game in the first place.

The box consists of two crews; one for Batman and one for Harley Quinn. There is Batman, Harvey Bullock, four GCPD officers, Harley Quinn, Deadshot and 6 clown thugs. Quite a substantial crew for both good and bad guys, and more than enough to get a decent game in.

The models are made of a softer, almost rubbery resin. As such, they require assembly with super glue, as plastic glue will not work on them. I actually found there was a lot of clean up to do with the models before they could be assembled. There was a significant amount of “flash” that needed to be trimmed and cut off before the models could be used. Maybe I have just been ruined by GW kits, but it took a while to clean up the models. However, none of the clean up seemed to damage or obscure any of the details on the models, so there were no issues when I did glue them together.

Another issue was that there were no assembly instructions for the models in the box. I think the previous edition expanded box had a booklet with the assembly instructions, but this version does not have it. It wasn’t too difficult to put them together and I was able to figure it out pretty quickly, but some form of guide in the box would be useful, especially as one does exist. The only one I had a lot of trouble with was Harley Quinn, as she has a big scenic base and quite a delicate main body to put together.

I also found the models a bit fiddly to glue together. They are a “true scale” model with realistic proportions. As a result, some of the arms and heads were a bit small and tricky to hold in place until the glue dried. I guess I’m just used to the chunky scale of GW models. However, with some reasonable modelling skills, you shouldn’t have too many problems, but I did have some green stuff to hand to fill in some gaps on the bases and models once I had assembled them.

Despite the difficulties, I do really like the models. The Batman model has a rather intricate cloak that should allow painters an opportunity to show off some shading skills. The models are pretty light, but have big bases, so it’s actually pretty difficult to knock them over by brushing against them.

The one thing about the models in the lack of variety or customisation options. Some have the option for replacement heads, but that is about it. There are no options for weapons changes without doing your own conversion and customisation. Even if you do so, the character cards are linked to the models, so you would need to create your own rules for any conversions, which would have no “official” source to allow you to assign Rep (points).

The models hold paint pretty well. So far, I’ve painted up Batman and the GCPD officers using GW primer and paints. I’ve had no issue so far with putting the paint on, or chipping.

The range of models currently available is also pretty good. You can get a whole range of iconic villains and Batman allies, so should be able to use your favourite comic characters in your games.

Overall

The boxed set costs around 67 euros (around $80). I think that is a pretty reasonable cost for the contents. As a bonus, the rules are all free online, so you can check them out to see if you are interested in the game before you make any purchase. In fact, you don’t really need to purchase the box unless you want the models, tokens or rulebook (which I don’t think are available to purchase separately at the moment).

The only downside is the work required for the models before they can be assembled, so it may not be suitable for younger players, or those without some degree of model making experience.

I’m looking forward to trying the game out and hope to publish some reviews and battle reports in the future. Anyone already a big fan of the game, or thinking of getting into it? Comment below.

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About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

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