Batman: The Animated Series – Gotham City Under Siege Review

Batman The Animated Series – Gotham City Under Siege board game review - cover

Year Published: 2018 | Number of Players: 1-5 | Game Length: 45-60 minutes

This Batman: The Animated Series – Gotham City Under Siege review was made after playing the game six times.


What is Batman: The Animated Series – Gotham City Under Siege ?

Batman: The Animated Series – Gotham City Under Siege is a cooperative superheroes game in which you’re attempting to fight villains, protect citizens, and survive through four acts. The game was designed by Michael Guigliano and Richard Launius, and it is published by IDW Games.


Gameplay

Batman The Animated Series - Gotham City Under Siege review - Act 1 setup

Batman: The Animated Series – Gotham City Under Siege is played over four acts. In each act, you’re attempting to defeat a bunch of villains, including Masterminds, while also dealing with different events that pop up in the form of Story cards. You’ll be attempting to deal with as much as you can before the act ends to avoid explosions and civilian casualties.

To set up an act, you’ll randomly draw one of that act’s three Act Setup cards. The Act Setup card will tell you how many Story cards are put into play based on the number of players. It will also list the number of Masterminds to draw and villain tokens to pull from the bag. The Masterminds will sometimes have special abilities and they’ll always bring additional villains with them. After you’re done setting up, the Act Setup card becomes another Story card that you need to deal with.

Batman The Animated Series - Gotham City Under Siege review - hero stuff

Everyone in your group will control one or more heroes during the game. At the beginning of each act you’ll draw two of your hero’s Skill cards and choose one to use during that act. Your hero board will list your special abilities, your dice actions, as well as a special action you can take when you discard one of your two Skill tokens.

During the Hero Phase, everyone will roll their dice (and bonus dice), use one die, roll the unused dice, use one, and so on until all of the dice have been used. You’ll either be placing a die on your hero’s board to activate an ability or placing it on a Story card. Your abilities will tell you exactly what you can do on your turn, such as moving and attacking. You’ll usually be attacking villains in your current location in the city, but if you’re on a rooftop you can attack any of the four sides/battlefields of the city. You can also use one of your team’s Bat Signal points to increase or decrease a die by one before you place it.

After everyone has used all of their dice, the Crisis Phase begins. This is when the penalties on all active Story Cards are resolved and when the villains fight back. All of the villains that are still in the city will try to attack, but you can attempt to defend against one Mastermind or villain stack in your location by rolling a die and hoping for enough damage to defeat them. When a building is destroyed, you’ll flip the card below that building and resolve it, usually resulting in a casualty or an explosion.

You’ll lose the game if the Explosion or Citizen token ever reaches the zero space, or if any hero takes damage when they’re already wounded. You’ll win if you make it through the four acts without any of those things happening.

Hopefully that gives you an idea about how this game plays. For more info, check out the official rulebook over at BGG.

Batman The Animated Series - Gotham City Under Siege review - Batman fighting from the rooftops



Pros

  • The game does a great job of making you feel like a group of powerful superheroes. All of the characters have abilities that make sense for them and all of them have the potential to save the day. You’ll often look at the way the city is surrounded at the beginning of an act and think there’s no way you can deal with all of the villains, which makes clearing them all out feel that much more awesome.
  • Another cool thing that I noticed is that players find it very easy to discuss how to approach each round and how their characters can help. Even people in my group who sometimes have a tough time speaking up had no problem doing so while playing this game.
  • There are quite a few interesting decisions you have to make as a team. You instinctively want to deal with the villains as quickly as possible (because they’re EVERYWHERE!), but you’ll often have to take care of a few key Story cards first to make the act a bit easier to get through. You’ll also want to time your most powerful abilities with your teammates to maximize the amount of damage you do each turn.
  • The game has great table presence. The buildings and miniatures look fantastic, and the colors really pop on the tokens and the cards. If you liked the look of Batman: The Animated Series, you’ll definitely like the way this game looks when it’s on the table.
  • You can get through most games, even at higher player counts, in about an hour. That’s pretty cool because it’s quick yet it feels like a fully fleshed out story.
  • The buildings and the rest of the components pack away perfectly in box.

Cons

  • It’s odd to me that the villains never move. I think it would be cool if at least a couple of them could move around the city, changing up the puzzle a little bit.
  • The downside of the buildings being there is that you sometimes can’t see what’s going on across the table. I’ve also found that people try to avoid moving their characters to their blind sides.
  • I like Catwoman in this game, but I’ve found that she’s not as fun as the other characters in two-player games. Her weakness is that she can’t place a die on a Story card until another hero does. I like that because it forces you to play a different style, but it also means you are limited in what you can do with her during every act. It’s not as big of a deal with more players because you don’t necessarily need her to take care of Story cards, but you definitely need those dice in two-player games.
  • The text on some of the Mastermind cards is extremely tiny.

Final Thoughts

Batman: The Animated Series – Gotham City Under Siege is definitely a keeper. It does exactly what I thought was missing in Thanos Rising: It makes you feel like you’re controlling unique and powerful characters.

I’ve played six games so far with a total of six other people and everyone has had a good time playing it, even those that never watched series. I was a huge fan of that series (my favorite version of Batman) and I have not been let down in the slightest. It plays smoothly, it looks great, and it requires a ton of teamwork.

I really hope that they make some expansions for this one. I want to see more heroes, more villains, more acts, more Story cards… MORE!

This is one of the best co-ops I’ve played this year. I definitely recommend it, especially as a 3-5 player game.


Batman: The Animated Series – Gotham City Under Siege Links

BoardGameGeek | Amazon | CoolStuffInc | eBay


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