Sunday, 28 June 2015

Bat in Action

This weekend I attended my third Batman Miniature Game tournament, again at Titan Games in Lichfield. After the debacle with the League of Shadows at the last one (where I lost my second game to a Green Arrow crew so badly that I only just managed to avoid coming last), I realised that I needed a crew that had either the maneuverability and ranged threat to counter enemy batclaws and guns.

Of my tournament legal crews (i.e. made of official models), this led me straight to the big man himself...Batman.

My crew consisted of:

  • Arkham Origins Batman - very maneuverable, with remote batarangs (which can shoot round corners), a tough profile that's hard to take down, and the ability to dish out 10 stun damage in one turn with his Shock Gloves.
  • Catwoman - she has the speed and abilities to not only grab loot quickly, but keep hold of it and rack up bonus points and allow me to keep my VP total rising, hopefully putting pressure on my opponent.
  • Robin (Tim Drake) - a bit of an odd character, he doesn't do a lot of damage, but he's fast and can provide buffs to my henchmen, but also carries Flash Grenades which have the potential to really hamper the enemy for a turn.
  • Agent Ron - a gun toting cop with a Magazine for extra ammo. His short range makes him more of a defensive shooter, but if I could get him into the right position, I could really dissuade the enemy from coming round a corner.
  • Agent O'Connell - with an Endurance of six, the Veteran trait and a Medi-Pack, he was in the crew for his durability. His job was to get onto an objective and survive. He also had a Whistle to enable him to impede enemy movement.
  • Female GCPD Officer - to some extent this low point character was making up the numbers. She made it in ahead of the male cop as she is better defensively and I had no need of his Lantern ability.
My plan was quite straight forward. With Batman's Total Vision and only short ranged weapons in the rest of the crew, I had no need of light, so I would place my streetlights where they wouldn't aid enemy shooting. Catwoman would rush forward (with the aid of strategies) to grab loot as quickly as she could and consistently score 2 VPs per turn. Robin would support the cops to advance or defend as appropriate, seek to grab available objectives and try to obstruct the enemy in their plans. Batman would have the responsibility of inflicting damage on the enemy, heroically sniping from cover until he could launch blitz attacks on vulnerable enemies.

If I was concerned about vulnerabilities with this crew, it was about their damage potential. Batman, although tough, lacks re-rolls and so is prone to the occasional fluffed attack. He only does stun damage and so downed enemies would have the chance to get back up unless the rather slow and vulnerable cops can get in position to Arrest. The rest of the crew are not really damage dealers, which would mean I'd be likely to lose battles of attrition.

Game 1 - Plunder - Tom's Green Arrow Crew

Green Arrow, Speedy, Black Canary & Huntress
It was almost fate that my first game would be against my nemesis, Green Arrow. However this time things would be different. Firstly, this game would feature the original Green Arrow model rather than the 'spawny-multifire-stupid' TV series version, which meant I wouldn't have to deal with a mobile machine-gun nest. Also the scenario was Plunder, which is about grabbing objectives rather than crossing open ground in a scene reminiscent of the Somme.

Also, I was looking forward to this as I'd played against this crew before, and my last game against Tom's crew in the first tournament was one of the most enjoyable I've played. His crew, although small, is thematic, fun and offers a very different type of game.

The game began with most of the Arrow crew taking up firing positions whilst Robin and the Cops advanced using the cover of darkness. Canary and Catwoman predictably made a dash for their respective loot tokens and Batman swung up onto a roof and began what was a decidedly unheroic assault on Huntress by smashing her in the face with a Batarang. Both sides, in quick succession managed to score minus points for failed attempts at riddles, but Robin waiting a turn to fail to solve his Riddle allowed me to snag the scenario points for controlling two objectives first and I was able to establish an early lead.

With only one lamppost in the centre of the table, I was able to keep my distance from Green Arrow and Speedy and sneak Robin and O'Connell onto my Titan Container and start racking up points. When Green Arrow came over to threaten the two from above, Robin got a bit giddy, batclawed up to attack, failed and got an arrow in the face for his trouble. O'Connell's timely use of his Medi-Pack and a Titan Dose prevented him from meeting the same fate before Green Arrow had to go and find some more ammo.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, Catwoman scurried off with her loot, whilst Canary took the opportunity to scream at the Female Cop, stunning her. However, clever use of whistles kept her at bay and when backup arrived in the form of Agent Ron, Canary backed off with her loot.

In the centre, Batman perpetrated a vicious campaign of assault and battery on Huntress. swinging in, knocking her down and out, and then swinging away. He was unable to take her out of the game due to abysmally poor dice on the coup-de-grace rolls, and her Runaway ability meant I couldn't Arrest her.

By the end of the game, Green Arrow and Speedy were camped around the loot and manage to snipe Agent Ron, who was scooping up riddles for the last few points, but the points obtained by Catwoman's Loot and O'Connell camped on the Titan Container had garnered me enough of a lead to resist Tom's late surge of Ammo related points.

Despite there being quite a VP gap at the beginning, this was actually a close game. As it went on, the blood damage that Tom's crew could dish out at range began to tell and the gap closed. I don't think O'Connell would have survived another turn but Batman might have been able to deny Speedy his points from the Ammo if another turn had been required. I was severely helped by the lack of light on the table, but mainly the Plunder scenario always favours the larger crew, as ultimately I was able to control objectives and threaten my opponent's models, whilst Tom was often forced to choose between the two.

Final Score: 27-20 (Narrow Victory)

Game 2 - Patrol - Leon's Black Mask Crew (Army)

I played Leon at the last tournament as we scrapped for last place and I was on the winning side of a draw. Leon was not enamoured of his Poison Ivy crew's performance and since the last event has been feverishly assembling a new, and rather large, Black Mask crew.

Black Mask, Riddler, Deadshot, Anatoli, Turk, 2 Goons & 2 Prisoners
Picture from

The scenario was Patrol, and so I was going to have to hold back the swarm and prevent them from, literally, mobbing me. I was also aware that the ubiquitous Deadshot would pretty much instantly murder any of the Cops who so much as popped their heads up. What's more, Riddler's chicanery would ensure that Leon usually took the lead. However, in Batman I had a beatstick which none of Leon's crew would be able to handle single-handed and in Catwoman, a way to rack up points long before other objectives were within range of Leon's slow moving gang. The table also featured a really long wall with a ledge that I planned to use as an assault point for Batman, and hopefully a shield for Catwoman's Loot and endzone run (she would be after bonus points).

The game began predictably with Black Mask advancing with his mob straight towards my thin blue line and Robin, who advanced cautiously. Catwoman made a run for her loot around the back of the wall, and it seemed that only Anatoli would be in a position to challenge her for it on the next turn. Batman shot up onto the wall and let a Remote Batarang fly at the axe-wielding Prisoner, dropping him on the first turn.

The horde continued to advance, but one Goon dropped into the sewers, clearly intent on sneaking into my deployment area. Robin and the Cops scurried out to solve riddles for a couple of VP's before taking up defensive positions. Anatoli presented a threat to Catwoman's Loot, and so the gentlemanly Batman swung down to beat the crap out of him for the lady, who was able to sidle up, swipe the Loot and begin to rack up points again. Annoyingly, on the following turn Anatoli passed his Endurance roll and Batman and Catwoman wasted a turn trying to finish him off, whilst simultaneously blocking a sewer entrance.

On that subject...whenever an opponent enters a sewer, I always like to see if I can trap them in there, or at least limit their options. Part of the Cops dropping back was to allow Female Cop to grab a Titan Dose on O'Connell to block the sewer, preventing Leon's Goon from appearing until the last couple of turns.

Meanwhile, the situation in the centre had got a bit hectic. The second Goon went down to a combination of fire from Agent Ron and Robin, who found himself caught in a crossfire, and desperately tried to take out Black Mask's bodyguard with a Flash Grenade, before being bushwhacked by Riddler and Deadshot, before Agent Ron also fell to Turk's guns.

Responding to the sounds of battle a little to late to save his partner, Batman reappeared on top of the wall and failed utterly to drop the Bodyguard as well (snake eyes!), but was in a position to make a final strike on the final turn. Catwoman, gave up on flailing uselessly at Anatoli, and remembered what she was supposed to do and made a dash for Leon's deployment zone.

In the last turn there was a flurry of point scoring. The Cops had retreated further (to avoid an advancing Black Mask) so up popped the Goon in the sewers to snag an Ammo Crate, a late rush by O'Connell to clobber him (a deliberate ambush) but narrowly failed enabling the Goon to score 6VPs by himself. Batman bushwhacked Deadshot preventing him from getting the chance to finish off another of the cops, and resisted a fairly futile attack from the Bodyguard. Catwoman made it into Leon's deployment area to finish the game.

This was another game where I was able to get into an early lead, only to see it whittled down as the game wore on. I foolishly allowed Anatoli to distract Batman and Catwoman for too long and after being dropped the first time Batman should have returned to the fray earlier to support Robin and the Cops, who were really overwhelmed. However, I was pleased that the broad plan I had of hitting hard on one side, whilst backing off on the other manage to blunt the Black Mask horde enough to win the game.

Final Score: 22-12 (Narrow Victory)

Game 3 - Skirmish - Steve's League of Shadows Crew

Ra's Al Ghul, Dallas, Lotus, Ying & Yang
(the crew also featured Lady Shiva)
In what was turning out to a bizarre scenic tour of the last tournament, my final game would require me to confront a League of Shadows crew controlled by somebody who knew how to use them. With Handy and Sharp Katana's all over the place, Dallas toting his Assault Rifle and equipped with Night Goggles, Ra's Al Ghul's Lethal Strike, and whatever it is that Lady Shiva does, this game could be over quickly. I would have to be VERY cagey.

I once again set Catwoman up for her Loot run, but knew that Dallas would be waiting the moment she popped out of cover, and his assault rifle have more than enough damage to take all of her nine lives in one go. However, I got lucky on taking the lead on the key turn and she managed to make off with the Loot without getting blasted.

Batman was covering one flank on his own whilst Robin and the Cops were again poised to work together for mutual support, however, when I saw Steve deploy Ra's Al Ghul, Lady Shiva and Lotus opposite Batman and put his high scoring Ammo Crate on the same flank, I sent Agent Ron over to support the big guy and attempt to stem the tide, a move that would prove to be crucial to the game's outcome.

The game was really divided into two halves, with Batman and Ron battling the Demon's Head and two Ninjas (Ying popped out of a sewer), whilst Lady Shiva used her funky move ability to switch to the other side of the table and lead Dallas and Yang in chasing down Catwoman to stop the flow of VP's and advance on a deployed Titan Container.

I was surprised when Dallas left his sniping perch to chase down Catwoman, and it was an interesting lesson in using firearms in the game as Steve wasn't waiting for the perfect shot, he was setting out to make any shot count. Robin and the Cops braced themselves in cover and waited to leap out on Catwoman's pursuers. O'Connell and Female Cop leapt out on Yang, O'Connell didn't do enough to finish off the Ninja and was cut down, but Female Cop finished the job and arrested him before heading off to solve riddles.

Shiva and Dallas went furiously after Catwoman but found their way blocked by the ominous form of...Robin. In what turned out to be the biggest chain of fluffed attacks I've ever seen, Shiva took four turns to drop Robin who kept on backing off to block her route to Catwoman, with Dallas vainly trying to keep pace. Just before he finally fell, he managed to hit Dallas with a Flash Grenade and blind him, preventing him from shooting. Catwoman escaped, but Dallas did manage to at least grab the Titan Container.

On the other flank I was worried about being overwhelmed. Ra's Al Ghul grabbed the Ammo Container, and to get him off it, Batman would have to get in range of his potentially lethal blade, all it would need was a roll of a 6 and Batman would fall. All Batman had to support him was Agent Ron, who came trotting round a corner, and, learning from Steve's willingness to shoot on the move, fired off a snap shot at Ra's Al Ghul. He not only hit, but manged to knock down the Demon's Head...

...this was my chance, Batman rushed in and quickly beat the prone Ra's Al Ghul into unconsciousness, and on the following turn Ron trotted up and arrested him. This didn't score any extra points, but it did mean he was out of the fight and guaranteed me an extra 3VP's at the end of the game. However, in my joy at this turn of events I forgot to batclaw Batman out of danger and he was suddenly mobbed by Ninja's. Agent Ron was cut down and Batman, outnumbered, was knocked to the floor.

With Batman on the floor, the Ninja's would be hitting on 2+, with rerolls on hits and woulds. Batman was down to 5 wounds, and even with hit Bat-Armour, things looked grim. What followed was the second biggest chain of fluffed attacks I've ever seen. Batman survived, got up and with an newly arrived Catwoman's help, battered one of the Ninja's down and denied the other on the Ammo Crate.

This was a really close game and I am under no illusions that had either Shiva or the Ninjas not messed up as many attacks the game would have ended differently. Luck was definitely on my side in this one, even the take the lead counters came up for me when I needed them. Tactically, Steve had me on the ropes from turn one and I was simply fighting for survival. But sometimes, that's how dice games play out.

Final Score: 26-20 (Narrow Victory)

So with three victories under my belt, I found myself in second place overall, not something I expected at all before I started. The overall winner had one clear victory as two narrow wins and had scored fully 25 more VP's than me. He was also using a Batman crew, although he had Nightwing and Red Hood leading the line, so it seems that the Bat-Family really lived up to its reputation in this tournament and cleaned up Gotham.

As ever, the tournament at Titan Games was played in a fantastic atmosphere with fantastic terrain, and I'd highly recommend anybody thinking of trying out a Batman tournament to get along to the next one. Everyone was friendly and there was lots of friendly rules discussion and advice exchanged.

It was because of this sporting atmosphere that I was so gutted when on the drive home it dawned on me that I'd been confusing the Detective rule on Batman and Robin with the Informer rule, and instead of cancelling my opponents' passes, I was claiming extra passes each round. I'm pretty sure that this wouldn't have changed the outcome of the games, however, the error did give me a minor advantage I shouldn't have had and it's possible that I profited from it. I really want to apologise to my opponents Tom, Leon and especially Steve for this error, and I've tried to contact the organiser and offered to return my prize as I don't like the idea of being thought of as 'that guy'.

Anyway, neurotic guilt aside, it was another fantastic day and I've really got my taste back for painting Batman figures, so expect to see some more pop up on the blog in the coming weeks.


  1. Congratulations! Narrow victories but definitely a big step forward.
    Thank you for the reports! They were very fun to read.

    1. Thanks. To be honest close games are the most fun, even when you lose. I don't really enjoy a battering from either end.

  2. Nice tourney report. Sounds like you had a great day :)

    1. We need to get you along mate. ;)

    2. Thanks Simon. I agree with Leon, you should come along. They're a great way to learn the game.

  3. it was a pleasure playing you and I have had a long talk with Lady Shiva she may be able to do something now look forward to our next encounter.

    1. Cheers Steve. I really think you should have had me but Lady Luck in the form of Ron knocking Ra's down, and general Ninja fluffing, really got me off the hook. I learned a more than a few things about how to play the League from you too, so they might get dusted off at some point. I expect the rematch to hurt.

  4. Nice report! Too bad you didn't get any in-game photos, would have been interested in seeing the tables.

    1. Thanks Ivor. You can see some of the tables, including the beginning of my first game on the Titan Games Facebook page.

  5. Firstly, a really enjoyable game for me against you again Kieron - one day I shall have victory! :)

    (Heck, I have today turned to the dark arts of statistical analysis with an idea I have about 'moneyballing' the value of various doesn't look great for Black Mask except for Anatoly!)

    Secondly, I thought the atmosphere was great and a friendly bunch, and nice to familiar faces. :)

    Thirdly - Arkham Origins Batman is a beast! Yikes! Although I was disappointed Steve did not maintain tradition on the day and turn Robin into a smear....

    Finally, the error was a very minor one and had no material or objective impact on your victory: you earned it fair and square IMHO. :)

    I look forward to the next tournament. :)

  6. Thanks Leon. Robin did actually get clobbered eventually, but the law of averages should have seen him smeared in turn three.

  7. Well done dude. Great write up and glad to see you doing well

    1. Thanks Sai. Hope you're able to get to the next one.

  8. Looks like you had a good outing! Starting to slowly get into Batman, I hope to start painting my Black Mask gang and picking up a few more figs to round things out.

    1. Glad to hear it. If you're starting Black Mask, head over to Leon's blog, Eclectic Gentleman Wargamer, as he's been discussing building his Black Mask crew over the last few months, and I suspect he'll be doing some more posts about changing the make up of his crew as well.