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Batman Miniature Game Rulebook Review

Skirmish Wargaming Batman Miniature Game Rulebook Review
Disclaimer: Knight Models graciously provided us with a copy of the new rules. Thank you so much, Celso, Gustavo and Knight Models for your hard work in bringing us this book!
BMG rulebook cover

The cover of the Batman version. There’s also a Joker version!

It’s been a long wait, but finally the postman brought a long awaited package today: the new Batman Miniature Game rulebook!

Finally making the jump from PDF to printed rules, Knight Models went all-out to make sure the new rules would be right up there with their miniatures in terms of quality and aesthetics.

Let’s see if they did it, shall we?

So without further ado: the Batman Miniature Game Rulebook Review!

I tend to see a lot of reviews about rulebooks that go on and on how about how awesome a book looks. I might be the only one out there that doesn’t really seem to care as much.

Yes, I appreciate glossy pages, beautiful photos and the tons and tons of work that goes into making a good looking rulebook (it’s frightening, really).

But does a pretty book make a good rulebook? In my opinion, it most certainly does not.

What I care about is a couple of things:

  1. First of all, I care most about clearly written rules that leave as little to interpretation as possible.
  2. Second, I want to able to find stuff in the book ASAP. Once you get the rules down, you need the book as a reference guide. Most rulebooks I know actually do an appalling job when it comes to this.
  3. Third, I want it to be complete. I’ve never recovered from my hate for Games Workshop’s codex or army book approach. I’ll buy the occasional supplement, but if I can’t play your game out-of-the-box, I’m out.

With those three things in mind, let’s take a look at how well the new BMG rulebook does.

Note that I’m not reviewing the ruleset as it is: if you’re looking for that, I can tell you right now: it rocks and you should play BMG.

Considering the rules are hardly changed from previous editions, I’ll instead focus on the above mentioned traits of the rulebook.

Clearly written rules

Those of you who have been playing the BMG know that the old rulebook was a major point of frustration for many players. Translated badly from Spanish, it was hard to read and even harder to understand.

Taking their international community seriously, Knight Models hired an ex-White-Dwarf editor to (re)write the English version of the new rulebook.

The result made me utter a huge sigh of relief.

You see that? Written in proper English. ;)

You see that? Written in proper English. 😉

Gone are the tedious sentences and words that made you go: “Wut?”

In fact, having read quite a few rulesets in my time, I will happily report that this text is easily one of the best I’ve read, ever.

You read a part and you go: “Okay, clear.” You go on, read more, you nod, and get it.

Is it perfect? No. I had a few issues come up during my first game with the new book, but then again I must submit that I’m by no means an experienced BMG player.

But it’s dang well written. A joy to read and easy to comprehend.

Finding stuff ASAP

Those of you who got into wargaming through Games Workshop’s games will undoubtedly relate to my wish of wanting to focus on “findability”  (not an English word) of rules in a rulebook.

I can’t even recount the times I held a new edition of a Warhammer in my hands, flipped straight through to the back of it and concluded: “Nope, no index. Again.”

Seriously, game makers: include an index!

The book references like Arkham Asylum references Batman. All the crap contained in one place, easy to find!

The book references like Arkham Asylum references Batman. All the crap contained in one place, easy to find!

Lucky for us, KM has done just that. A clear and concise index of terms. Especially useful if you’re looking up traits and abilities, cuz if you’re like me you’ll be forgetting those all the time.

During my first game with the new book, I noticed the ease with which I found the appropriate rules for a situation.

This isn’t just a credit to the index: it’s also a credit to the way the rules are actually written in-and-by themselves. And the way they are laid out throughout the book.

The book just makes sense. Which is really a huge compliment. There are so many rulebooks out there that just do not make sense (I’m looking at you, Chain of Command), despite how good the actual rules are.

Ten points to Griffind-… Knight Models for this one.

Completeness

Is the BMG rulebook all you need to play the game?

As far as the rules go: yes. Considering that every miniature comes with its own rules, the rulebook provides almost everything you need to play the game.

I say almost everything, because there is something missing: counters.

The game requires quite a few counters, actually. Damage markers, action counters, KO markers and quite a few others, depending on your crew and their abilities and gear.

And then there’s the objectives: loot, crates, titan containers and riddles.

And sewer lids. And street lights!

You’ll get none of these when you buy the rulebook.

“But Henrik, KM provides the objectives and urban scenery for sale. And they have a PDF for the markers on their website!”

True, fair enough.

And yet, considering the necessary templates (spray and explosion) ARE in the book, ready for a photocopy session… I can’t help but think: it would have been nice if they had included another page with markers. And another with the objectives.

Sure, the objective models are cool. Personally, I’d rather spend money on actual models. Not to mention I hate painting scenery, including street lights and whatnot.

Take this section as you will: I would have a little more attention to making the game playable “out-of-the-box”.

Final verdict

Though that last part admittedly wasn’t the most positive, I want to make one thing very, very clear: this is the best rulebook I have had in my hands for a long time. If not ever.

It’s clear, it’s concise, it’s isn’t HUGE (which I think is BIG pro as you’ll be tugging it around quite a lot), it’s hardcover (with sexy relief in the covers!) and finally, yes, it does look ab-so-lute-ly GORGEOUS.

Unlike it’s PDF predecessor, I feel like most of the truckload of licensed art in there is not making the book harder to read. It’s functional and it really sucks you into the Batman world. The background sections also really contribute to that.

Also unlike its predecessor it’s an absolute joy to read, easy to reference and a breath of fresh air in the world of wargaming rulebooks.

And did I mention how freaking sexy it looks? Oh right, but I didn’t care about that, did I…?

Don’t have it yet? GET IT NOW over at Knight Models, or (even better) through your local FLGS. After all, you want to keep playing this game with you buddies, right?

Henrik Becker

Henrik plays wargames in order to hold on to the last part of his masculinity, which is in constant danger due to the sheer amount of daughters at home. Favourite game is SAGA by Studio Tomahawk.

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