Batman: Gotham City Chronicles

Scenario-based conflict in the Batman universe, past and present.

The ingenious ‘energy cube’ system of Monolith’s excellent Conan game has been cleverly re-themed for the insanely popular Batman universe, and two Kickstarters have been huge successes for the company (a ‘season 2’ quickly followed the original campaign). I was expected more changes to the original system, but there’s really just a rework of the special abilities and a couple more types of dice when you get down to it.

Everything is high quality and the game is enjoyable, but there are some frustrations. The rulebook is impenetrably bad, overwritten and pedantic to the point of obscurity. The graphic design is fiddly and the icons difficult to read quickly in-game. And the scenarios eschew baddie-bashing fun for very tight puzzle-solving, which can still all be dashed by a few unlucky rolls. I find it frustrating that superheroes have to spend a turn or two ‘resting’ to regain their energy—these are fights that last a few minutes, hasn’t Batman being working on his cardio enough?

The new versus mode that pits two ‘overlord players’ against each other is a lot of fun though, and a refreshing change from the asymmetric play of the main game. Otherwise, there does feel like a lot of padding, unnecessary miniatures (the huge T-rex in the Wayne Manor expansion has to be seen to believed) and an unfortunate lack of attention to detail in the proofing.

But who am I kidding? They’ve raised millions for this game. The people keep buying as long as the plastic keeps coming! I’ve got a few more in the pipeline coming to me, but these big mini-heavy Kickstarters are beginning to wear me out a bit, especially financially, and I do wonder how much of all this content I’ll really get around to actually using. Regardless, Batman: Gotham City Chronicles a fun, attractive game that I would have bought at retail and been happy with, without the tonne of extra stuff.

Update Log



Date Version Changelog
Jul 2019 1.2 Fixed a few icons
Jul 2019 1.1 Clarified villain phase activations
Jul 2019 1 Original release

7 Comments

  • Avatar Daniel says:

    Hi, This is an Amazing Summary!
    Would you be open for me using this rules to translate them to german?
    Obviously crediting you as you put them together?

    Best Regards!

  • Avatar Neil says:

    Just a quick query in the Villain turn when activating a tile:

    You’ve said that you can do a move, or do a melee/ ranged/ thought/ manipulation, then afterwards you can do a move action.

    The rules in the book feel really vague, but to me it said:
    – You may perform a move action
    – You may perform a melee/ ranged/ thought/ manipulation action
    – After this, if you hadn’t previously moved, you may move here instead.

    Also, it’s unclear if the villain can move their full move amount twice, from the book!

    • I think I can spell that out much better in the next version, yes. They’ve made the movement very confusing in the rulebook (not least by calling the movement calue the ‘move point bonus’!).

      You may move, may do an action, then may move again. But you only get the move point bonus the first time you move. And once you stop moving, you lose any left over move point bonus. So if you want to move further you have to spend energy cubes (up to the exertion limit).

      • Avatar Neil says:

        Oh wow – I hadn’t even spotted that! I really like the game, but the manual really leaves something to be desired.

        I was very lucky with the game that I got a chance to have the rules talked through by a Monolith employee way at a playtest session, so I remembered some of the rules from that which helped get us started. Your summary has helped some friends of mine and myself to really get to grips with it now we don’t have a staff member for rules council.

        Great work!

  • Do you think it’s worthwhile to get this game if you already have Conan? They look extremely similar and this one is A LOT more expensive. On the subject of “big mini-heavy Kickstarters”, are you getting Time of Legends: Joan of Arc? Thanks for making this game aid!

    • They are very similar, but the distinctive themes give each a distinctive feel. So go with the one whose theme you relate to the most. Personally I slightly prefer Conan, but that may be becaue I’ve played more of it!

      Joan of Arc should be here soon!

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