Though it debuted twenty-five years ago, Batman: The Animated Series is still as popular as ever. Due in no small part to the fact that it is at least one generation’s “definitive Batman,” the show’s reputation also lives on because it was a monumental piece of programming. Taking the core ideas of Batman and distilling them down to their essence, the cartoon was an ideal program to draw young viewers in to the world of the Caped Crusader while telling mature stories that respected the legacy of the Dark Knight. It was a program that any fan could enjoy, no matter their age or history with the Batman.
To this day the show is inspiring an endless stream of licensed merchandise, from comic book collections to toys and statues. Steve Jackson Games and Cryptozoic Entertainment (the latter of whom created the incredible looking Almost Got ‘Im card game) have teamed up together to produce the Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game, and have graciously sent us at Batman News a copy for review.
The packaging alone is solid, with that familiar logo emblazoned across the front that’s sure to catch your eye as it hangs from the rack. The game is fully licensed, so the creators were able to use the highest quality images to market the product.
My old phone camera doesn’t quite do the packaging justice, so my apologies, but it’s truly a great looking box.
The game, for two to four players, includes ten dice and four separate character tokens, as well as a game play and instruction sheet. The dice come in three colors (two yellow, four grey, three blue) and each has a Batsymbol, an alarm bell, and a bag of money.
Each of the tokens has a different Batman villain on it, and each villain has their own bonus ability: the Joker can increase his chances of bonus points at the end of each turn, for instance, and Poison Ivy can eliminate a blue Batman die if it’s rolled. The different abilities add an element of strategy to a game that is largely based on the luck of each roll, which allows for a deeper game play experience that warrants further playthroughs.
The game is simple, but really fun: play starts with the player who can laugh the most like the Joker, which is a nice touch, and each player blindly picks a token to determine their rogue. From there, it’s a matter of rolling dice and trying to rack up as many points as you can. Loot die are necessary to pull off heists and earn points, alarms are sort of “wild dice” in that they can be re-rolled to either your benefit or detriment, and Batsymbol die mean the Caped Crusader is one your tail. Too many Batsymbols and that means your heist has failed, meaning your turn is over.
Such simple game play means that even with a full group, each session will only last about twenty minutes, maybe a half hour tops. It’s not ideal for a spotlight game in that regard, but it’s perfect if you’re warming up for a bigger gaming night or just want a short, fun activity to play with some friends. The simplicity of the game mechanics leaves the door open for possible expansions in the future, such as more character tokens or different dice sets. I’d like to see a separate hero set with its own mechanics, with character tokens for Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and Commissioner Gordon, and some crossover game modes for larger groups.
The game is small, with everything able to be stored in a sealable cup that’s no larger than a soda can. There’s room to spare, too, so if there were to be expansions the extra pieces could easily be consolidated in the one package.
At $14.95, the game is reasonably affordable. The easy to learn game mechanics make it a great “pick up and play” party game, and it’s small size makes for easy storage and portability. Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game is great for both Batman fans and game collectors, with a broad appeal that makes it ideal as a gift or a part of your own collection.
Special thanks to Steve Jackson Games for the review copy. Be sure to visit them on Twitter at @sjgames and Facebook at Facebook.com/sjgames.