Designed by Sen-Foong Lim and Jessey Wright, Batman – The Animated Series: Rogues Gallery is a push-your-luck game for 3-5 players. Each player takes on the role of a devious Gotham City villain attempting to be the first to take down Batman, but beating him will require a sound strategy and a dash of good luck. Gather your forces, lay your traps, and claim the ultimate bragging rights as the villain who finally defeated the Batman! – Description from IDW Games, the publisher.
Rogues Gallery is a beautifully drawn game, and I would keep it just for the box art itself. The game comes with a Bat-signal board, 11 villains to choose from, 24 heroes to beat along the way to meeting Batman himself, and a variety of accomplices, upgrades, and tokens that advance game-play. (For a closer look at the inside, check out Dan’s unboxing)
The game is designed for three to five players but you can get by playing with two, though it’s not necessarily as fun depending on the cards you draw. Played in rounds, each round has up to five phases if you’re arrested or when you end your crime spree. Each player starts out with their villain player board, a power token, a secret lair upgrade card, and two starter accomplices. (One Stonegate Prisoner and 1 Asylum Inmate.) Already the lore of B:TaS is clear and everything looks like it’s come right out of the show. The villains each have their own upgrades that come in very helpful at different points of the game.
As you play, you go on crime sprees where you beat heroes until you can’t (based on the number on each die that you’ve rolled) and get arrested, or until you choose to stop your crime spree, based on strategy of when you want to try beating Batman. (Definitely when you’ve got more upgrades, power, and accomplices to help you out.) You get to upgrade every time you don’t get arrested, and then the next player goes after you’ve ended your turn. If you do get arrested then you’re not entirely stuck, because you get some help, like the bad guys did in the show.
Sounds easy enough, but one of the bigger detractors to having fun for me when I first played this, is that it’s not entirely clear how our first turn goes. See if you’re arrested, you get something called lucky coins that later help you get a scheme (essentially the currency with which you buy upgrades, power, and accomplices) or to recover a die when going on a crime spree. Unfortunately, that’s not actually clear until you’ve been arrested, which stumped my friends and I for ten minutes. Not the end of the world.
However! The biggest flaw in this game, is the sheer number of typos found in the rule book and on various cards. Your mileage may vary and typos aren’t always a deal-breaker, but I found myself focusing on that more than the gameplay and admitted fun I was having, playing it. I did find out that if and when the game is re-printed, it won’t have any of the typos, so that is good news. Once I got past the confusion of some of the rules, and my minor annoyance at the typos, I found myself really enjoying the game. My friends and I played through once following the rule-book just to get a feel for the game, and then played through twice more before I forced us to quit so I could go be responsible.
We also played the game through without realizing that the Bat-signal resets every each time a new player takes a turn which was actually more fun because then we had to be strategic about moving it back or forward for ourselves, and for others. We even played a round where we kept going until all the Batman cards (there are three) were beat. So really, you can do whatever you want if it’s not super clear, because Batman isn’t around to throw you into Arkham Asylum for it!
Overall, Rogues Gallery is a really fun game that goes by quickly which makes for repeat plays easy and enjoyable. While there are typos and some of the rules aren’t crystal clear, they don’t detract from making the game a fun time for adults or family.
You can pick up Batman – The Animated Series: Rogues Gallery can be picked up on Amazon and at your FLGS, where it retails for $34.99.
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Thanks to IDW Games for a copy of this game to review and images.