With isolation and limited ability to go outside the home, I find myself in a position (along with the rest of you) of nervousness and boredom. One can only watch so much Netflix before you develop bedsores and a stiff neck! So, I’ve set myself a challenge to play at least one board game a day during this time and if possible pair it with a good beer, wine, or cocktail. Why not! Feel free to play along. Today marks day 12 of quasi-quarantine. Just so my readers know, I’m not actually in quarantine yet–I’m a pediatrician and am still going into work on my regular work days. So while I’m not technically stuck at home, I am in a high-stress work environment these days and really need game playing as an outlet when I get home.

Batman: Gotham City Chronicles

Big, isn’t it?

Biff! Pow! Zot! What could be cooler than dressing up in a cape and beating down thugs and villains in Gotham City? Nothing of course! This is a massive game by Monolith Games that I went all-in on in Kickstarted about 2 years ago. About a year later I got my huge box of goodies and have been working on painting all the miniatures ever since! I’m about 6 villains from finishing the entire base set…but haven’t touched the expansions yet! And I just last week received my massive Season 2 pledge of a bazillion more minis. I am a glutton for punishment!

Yesterday my wife, Sarajo, and I set up this monstrosity (locking the kitties in the basement since they love to grab minis and take off with them) and settled in to play for a few hours. Set up takes a little while, but Sj managed to bake us some cookies while I was going about this.

The base game is set up to be played with one person in charge of all the bad guys and 1-3 people playing the heroes. Each scenario lets you pick from a certain set of heroes, and has a set map, win conditions, and special rules. In this scenario Mr. Bloom was trying to spread his contagion around the city and Batman, Orphan, and Catwoman were in charge of halting his plans. As the heroes, I had to set up 5 jammers in the area. I manged to do one. Sj stomped me by focusing all her thugs on Batman, keeping him pinned down too long to be of much help.

The character sheets are chock-full of information, but these are all tiny icons that take some time to look up and remember how they affect the game. The rule book for this game is just as massive as the boxes, and poorly written and organized (no index? really?) I have downloaded homebrewed player aids from Boardgame Geek to make this a little better. Looking at the picture above, you can see the red cubes on the characters and these are how you measure your energy. On the left, you have active energy to be used for fighting, defending, moving, etc. In the middle you have your fatigue–cubes that have been used and are ready to move back into your active pool when you rest. On the right, you have your wounds which can slowly be moved back into your fatigue but need lots of time out…something you don’t get much of in this game!

The villain has a large board that has tiles for his thugs and master villain that slowly get used and moved to tail end of the “river”. I forgot to take a picture. The villain just has cubes in active and fatigue pile. When the villain activates a tile…say thugs with guns…then all the figures for that set get to move and shoot. And shoot they did. At Batman. A lot. My batcape helped defend a little, but not nearly enough! Perhaps I should not have filled my utility belt with useless items like the Bat Shark Repellant!

This game is really complex, but really thematic. My largest gripe is how difficult it seems to be for the heroes. With a set time limit, it is very difficult to complete the goals of your win…and some of these are near impossible. But still fun to play, especially when I get to pull out my painted minis for it!

Mr. Bloom and thugs…

To pair with this epic game, we opened a relatively rare bottle of Surly Darkness: the 2015 vintage with the vampire bat on the label! This thick and well aged brew bursting with licorice flavors was a perfect thing to sip on while Sj pummeled my characters into submission. I guess.

And there you go…the 12 days of quarantine! Remember folks: Keep Calm and Play Games!

Batcow!