Batman Miniatures Game – Arkham Knight Batman Review

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So, it’s been a few weeks since the release of the Arkham Knight Batman miniature for the Batman miniatures game.
he was released with a couple of other figures (Robin & the new Harley Quinn starter Gang) at the same time, and I’ve had a chance to use him in a couple of games now so I thought I’d write up a little review, so here goes.

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The miniature

Wow. What a sculpt!

Arkham Batman - Undercoated

Arkham Batman – Undercoated

I absolutely love this mini! the pose is superb. I can’t say I’m overly enthralled by the gargoyle on the base, as a Display piece, yes. This would look great, but as a gaming mini, im not so sure. I suppose it’s something different though, and at least he’s not got his foot on a shapeless lump of nothing-in-particular, or a chimney, which so many minis these days seem to have taken a liking to standing on.
The overall sculpt is very nice though. The miniature looks commanding & imposing. I can really believe that this is batman, standing on a gargoyle looking down on an unsuspecting mugger who’s about to have a very, very, bad day.

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As you can see in the above image, the miniature comes in 5 pieces (counting the arms as separate) The Gargoyle is a huge chunk of metal, which makes the mini weight a tonne, but, it also gives it a very low centre of gravity. So on the plus side, the likelihood of this mini falling over with a slight tap is pretty slim (therefore less chance of it getting scratched!)
The construction was quite simple, I pinned the arms into the sockets, purely because I don’t trust any metal joints on minis. Especially when used for gaming. they’re usually just too fragile. So I used a 1mm drill bit & pinned the arms to the body using a paper clip.

there wasn’t much clean up to do on this figure, mould lines were minimal and the detail in the cast was generally excellent. There was a bit of a gap in the right arm after he was glued which I filled no problem with greenstuff, and honestly wasn’t anything out of the ordinary to what I’m used to dealing with when it comes to metal figures (no matter who manufacturers them). I’ve been hearing more and more from people into this particular game that the quality of figures is terrible, and everyone seems to get a lot of bad ones.
Maybe my standards are lower than everyone else’s, or maybe I’m used to seeing a lot more bad casts from elsewhere in the industry, or maybe I’m just lucky, but so far, after getting around 50 figures from Knight Models, I’ve not had any that couldn’t be easily repaired.
I’ve had a couple that I think were terribly designed (Batwoman, I’m looking at you…) but nothing that I couldn’t fix.
Even so, this one, was one of the good ones. The cast was clean, no pock marks or blemishes and other than the gap in the arm (which you can see filled below), a great cast.

Greenstuffed Batman

Greenstuffed Batman

Overall I love this mini. It fits the theme of the game, and looks a lot like the character even before it’s been painted. It’s got the classic long flowing cape and the stance is superb. I can’t really fault this figure. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not a huge fan of the gargoyle, it looks a little daft when he’s standing on the table at ground level. But I can overlook that, It’s a centrepiece figure for my gang, and it’s something a bit different, this game is all about character, not rank and file. So I accept the gargoyle for what it is. Character!
I also own the Arkham City Batman, which in comparison to this one looks pretty weedy. I can pretty safely say that out of all of the Batman minis that Knight Models produce the Arkham Knight Batman is by far my favourite.

The rules

Lets look at the points. The commonly accepted “standard” at present seems to be 350pts with $1500 funding.
This iteration of the caped crusader rocks up at 150pts, and $0 funding.
It’s not a surprise that he uses $0, most leaders don’t generally cost anything towards this as it’s usually spent on henchmen’s equipment.
The 150pts cost is pretty hefty though, he’s (so far) the most expensive batman,

Name Points Funding ($)
Arkham Knight 150 0
Arkham Origins 144 0
Arkham City 130 0
Dark Knight Rises 120 0
Frank Miller (DKR) 109 0
Adam West 75 0

When it comes down to it, 350pts is 1/3 of your available total. In any game, sinking 1/3 of your points into one character is ALWAYS going to be a risk.
He is batman, and no matter which batman you go for he’s going to be powerful, but no matter how powerful he is, he will still have weaknesses.
One such weakness is bullets. A staple offering in pretty much any joker gang is the henchman “sniggering” who for 25pts & $600 who can with the will of the dice gods on his side, cause 9 blood damage with each shot from his assault rifle.
That’s enough to take out even the hardiest of batmen. Now, It’s not likely to happen. With the average Defence of Batman being 5, it’s going to 5+ to hit, which you need to make on all three dice (that’s right, he can’t move if he wants to take out the batman! he’ll need to be at full rate of fire, which means standing still)
Then after he’s hit 3 times, Batman needs to fail all of his bat armour saves.
Then he needs to wound all three.

There’s a lot of dice goes into taking a batman down. But it can be done. that’s the risk of putting  all your proverbial eggs into one bat shaped basket. The chance is there that he can be taken down by a 25pts henchman in one shot.

I’m already worried!

Lets take a look at the stats

Name Willpower Movement Strength Attack Defence Endurance Special
Arkham Knight 8 2 3+ 5 5 8 3
Arkham Origins 8 3 3+ 5 5 9 3
Arkham City 8 3 3+ 5 5 8 3
Dark Knight Rises 8 4 3+ 4 5 8 3
Frank Miller (DKR) 8 2 3+ 4 4 9 3
Adam West 6 2 4+ 4 4 7 3

So it would seem that no matter which iteration of the Dark Knight you take, his stats are pretty much the same. Willpower 8 & special 3 seems to be the norm for leaders, strength 3+ for all but the Adam West batman is really powerful. Then on average you’re looking at Both Attack and Defence 5, which makes him REALLY difficult to take down.
The biggest difference is in movement. The Dark Knight Rises batman has a movement of 4, which is pretty fast, where Arkham Knight, Dark Knight Returns (Frank Miller) & Adam west only have movement 2.
Having used Arkham Knight in about 6-7 games now, I can say this is my biggest bugbear with this model. Movement 2 just doesn’t cut it. Yes, he has a batclaw. This can make him zip around the board faster than most henchmen and he’s still only used 2 counters, but where it falls down is that things seem to take 2 turns to pull off, where with movement 3, you’d be able to pull them off in 1 turn.
An example I hear you cry? Go on then.
Lets say for example that Batman is on top of a building, looking down on a riddle counter, we measure and it’s 32cm away. The only way to get there fast is to batclaw to the ground, then use 1 Die to move, assuming you roll a 2+ you’re in contact with the riddle! Yay! but, oh, now I can’t do anything? I need to spend a movement counter to be able to solve the riddle! So now I have to wait until next turn to be able to do it.
Not a problem with Arkham origins, Arkham City or Dark Knight Rises Batman.
This can be really annoying, as batman moves around the table quite quickly (even with movement 2), it usually makes sense to use him to try and solve riddles, or pick the odd titan counter if he happens to be in the area and doesn’t have a better target, his mission isn’t really to collect objectives, he’s a close combat powerhouse, who should really be knocking out everyone he comes into contact with, but on the way, it would be daft not to pick up those vital VP’s as you’re moving round the board. With Arkham City, Arkham Origins and Dark Knight Rises, this works great, but Arkham Knight, Adam west & Frank Miller bats seem to miss out on this opportunity.

When it comes to endurance, Adam west falls short at 7. Realistically though, he isn’t really a serious crew leader in my opinion, he’s a comedy character, he has his uses, but survivability isn’t one of them!
Frank Miller and Arkham Origins top the list with Endurance 9, everyone else falls in at endurance 8. I’d say 8 is enough when it comes to Batman, purely because no matter which one you choose, you get some form of Bat armour. Even though Dark Knight Rises batman has endurance 9, his bat armour only gives a 6+ save. I’d wager that given the same amount of strikes against him, and the same against Arkham Knight, Arkham knight will actually take less damage, purely based on the armour.
Which makes Arkham Origins batman really tough!

So overall with the stats, If I had to pick a “winner” then it would be Arkham Origins. He has the higher Movement rate of 3, and has the higher Endurance rate of 9. Only 1 point higher in each than most of the others, but those could make the difference. However, I don’t see much in it.
Arkham Knight is still very much a contender, but being cheaper, and having the same stats. So is Arkham City!

Now for skills.
Skills can make or break a character in my opinion. It’s been argued countless times before that batman doesn’t have enough skills, and I sort of agree, but where would you stop? The game has to be balanced somewhere, and this probably means batman (no matter which version) needs to be nerfed.
So we go with what we’ve got, and to be fair, you do get a lot with each batman, and the variation between them is quite great!

Arkham Knight Origins City DKR F.Miller A.West
Arrest X X
Batarmor MK I X X X
Batarmor MK II X
Batarmor MK III X
Batcape X X X X X
Bat-Claw X X X X X X
Combo with unarmed X X
Counter Attack X X
Detective X X X X X X
Disruptor X
Explosive Gel X X X
Inspire X X X X X X
Kapow! X
Leader (Rank) X X X X X X
Master Fighter X
Millionaire X
Night Vision X X
Reinforced Gloves X X X X X
Sneak Attack X X X X X
Stealth X
Teamwork/1 X
Total Vision X X
Veteran X

As you can see from the table, there’s a large list of skills available to the various Batmen. There’s some common ones like Detective & Batclaw, and all of them bar Adam West Get Batcape too.
As they’re all Leaders they also gain Inspire and the Leader skill.
As batman is generally off on his own doing his own thing, in all of the games I’ve used him, or seen him used, I don’t think I’ve come across a situation yet where Inspire has actually been used by Batman. He’s a loner, he doesn’t really need to stick with his henchmen for support so although all of them get inspire, I don’t think it’s particularly useful.
Sneak attack can be very handy, but again, I haven’t been able to use it to great effect. Maybe it’s the layouts of terrain I’ve been using, or maybe I just need to learn to hide him better, but try as I might, I don’t think I’ve got the use out of sneak attack yet.
We also get Either Total Vision or Night Vision for all the varients, I don’t see much difference between the two unless you’re in a situation where you need to use your Batarangs to hit someone you physically can’t see. That hasn’t come up yet for me.
Another common theme is Reenforced gloves. You might notice that Origins Batman doesn’t have them, but in his equipement he has Shock gloves, which do the same damage, but with the additional benefit of Crit Shock.

Where Arkham Knight differs from the rest is that he has Teamwork/1, Bat armour MkIII, Disruptor & Master Fighter.
Bat armour MKIII is pretty much the same as MKI, although it can use sneak attack at up to 3cm away. Handy, until you remember I’ve not been able to pull off sneak attack much, if ever. I’m sure the skill is used to better effect by other people, and I have TRIED to use it, I just don’t seem to be getting into situations where I can use it, usually because of the lack of movement counters available to this batman.
So I kinda see the MKIII not as MKIII, but more MKI+. It’s nice to get sneak attack with “reach”, but it isn’t a deal breaker, it won’t factor into whether I pick one batman over the other, where the 5+ save or 6+ save would make a huge difference.
Teamwork is another one that I am not really interested in. I’m sure this can be used to good effect in certain circumstances, but right now, it’s only useful when you take Arkham Knight Robin. He’s a great character, but at 78 points, he’s also rather expensive when you also take him with Arkham Knight Batman. The two of them together weigh in at 228 points. They make a good team, but they’re an awfully expensive pair just to make use of one special trait.
That being said, I kind of feel like I’m missing out when I DON’T take Robin. I’ve paid the points for a Batman who has a skill, a skill that without taking robin, I can’t use. I’ve effectively paid points for nothing. I haven’t actually used the pair of them together in a game yet, and while I claim 78 points to be expensive, the sidekick I’ve chosen to run with for most of these games is Batwoman. Why? Well that’s a story for another blog post…
The next trait Arkham Knight has is Disruptor (ok, so it’s equipment really, not a trait). for 2 Special counters, you can stop a character from using ranged weapons. This is a nice little skill. Obviously this equipment has come straight out of the game (well, he is “Arkham Knight” Batman after all! so no surprises there!), but in the Batman miniatures game, this is sort of more effective. In the game, you aim at a specific weapon and disable it. In BMG, it stops the user firing ANY weapons. You still have to beat the opponents defence on a Die roll, so there is a chance of failure, but if you pull it off, you can stop a character firing even if they have multiple weapons (such as red hood with dual pistols).
This is a useful trait, I’ve tried it a few times now in a few games and it’s come in handy, useful when it works, but also feels like an expensive waste of 2 counters when you fail the roll.
Last, but certainly not least. Master fighter.
This trait gives Batman a +1 to all hit rolls in melee combat. This is where I both LOVE this character, and hate him.
When you go up against any sidekick, leader or free agent, this skill gives a distinct advantage in combat. +1 to hit is a very powerful trait, especially considering that when you do hit, it’s a 3+ to wound. Sidekicks, Leaders & free agents usually have at least defense 3, meaning a +1 can make all the difference. Fighting someone like Deathstroke, with defense 5 is tough, but bringing that die roll down to a 4+ can cause a lot of damage!
However, the majority of people’s forces aren’t made up of sidekicks and free agents. They’re made up of henchmen; And henchmen often have a defense of 2. that means in combat it’s already 2+ to hit. This renders Batman’s skill of +1 to hit rolls completely useless as a roll of a 1 is always a failure. There’s also the fact that there are other ways to gain a +1 to hit in combat (outnumber, knockdown etc). This means that the vast majority of the time, the skill that gives him his greatet bonus, is usually useless.
The lack of the Arrest rule for this version means you’re more than likely going to try and keep a cop close by, (or at least a henchman swat member you’ve given handcuffs to), as Batman doesn’t deal blood damage the standard procedure to gain casualties with a “law” crew is either to shoot them with cops, or get a “mask” to beat them until they’re K.O’d, then get a cop to arrest them.
If you can bring a cop that close to make the arrest, the chances are you could have also used that cop to gain a +1 to hit. If you take Robin in your Crew, you’re also going to be trying to keep him within 10cm as much as possible too, to take advantage of the Teamwork ability. Using him that close means he’s likely to afford a +1.
Against leaders etc, this could be even more powerful when used with teamwork, as a +2 to hit someone such as deathstroke with defense 5 would bring him down to a 3+ to hit, then, with Batman’s strength he’s only a 3+ to cause an injury too! That’s pretty nifty indeed!!
I’ve got conflicting emotions with this trait, I’ve used it a lot and found it comes in very handy, it’s helped me against some big guys to great effect. But the majority of the time, I find batman will be beating down on henchmen with defense 2, where it totally negates his skill. It’s as if the better the opponent is, the better batman gets, then the worse they are, the less effort he puts into the fight!
I’d have preffered a reroll to +1 to hit, a reroll would have benefits no matter who the opponent is, where against weaker opponents, or, in situations where you’ve already knocked the opponent down, or, you outnumber, the +1 does nothing.

My overall thought on Arkham Knight Batman

Having used this version of the B-man in a few games now, I can say that I really enjoy using him. I’ve moved over from a Joker crew, with quite a few low power models, to a more “elite” Batman crew with only 4-5 models.
Each time, Batman has earned his points, but, he hasn’t been able to do it on his own. He’s an absolute powerhouse and dishes out some serious damage when he’s in combat. Each time I’ve faced a henchman, he’s ended up K.O’d. Unfortunately, I need a cop near by to follow up and arrest. Sometimes, that simply isn’t possible, which runs the risk of the perp getting back up in the next turn. I can’t afford to babysit the unconscious models with my 150pts figure, playing whack attack every time they wake up, I need to move onto the next guy!
This has caused some issues in past games where I’ve moved from one perp to the next, knocking them out only to have them wake up the following turn. It’s irritating that this version of Batman doesn’t have arrest, and even more so that his ONE combat skill isn’t effective against the majority of henchmen, but the combination of all the skills he has, with the disruptor, bat armour, batclaw & master fighter make him a real force to be reconed with.
I’m thinking about swapping him out for a few games and replacing him with Arkham city batman. at 20 points cheaper I’m only really losing the disruptor and the master fighter trait. But gaining the 20 points which can upgrade one of my free agents to a better one (upgrade from Damian Wayne Robin to Catwoman maybe?) and also gain another henchman.
I think the additional henchman will come in more handy than the disruptor trait, and more handy than the master fighter trait in the majority of circumstances.

So, have you used this Batman yet? or any of the other versions? Please let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed this (rather longer than I was expecting) review. Comments & shares always appreciated!

 

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