Monday, 18 March 2013

The Joker Returns

A Man Dressed Like A Bat
In Batman Rebooted I discussed my reworking of the One Page Batman rules I'd picked up and tried last week. Tonight I decided to try the same scenario as before, but with my new rules.

The new rules - summarised.

Characters are either Level 1, 2 or 3. In this game I made Batman and The Joker Level 3, Robin Level 2 and the five henchmen Level 1. This is probably a bit harsh on The Boy Wonder, but I wanted to see how a Level 2 character panned out (in reality it would be characters like Commissioner Gordon or Alfred who would get this level).

The Level dictates how many dice they roll in attack and defence and how many hits they can take before being out of the fight.

All characters move 6"

I had played around with the 'disruption' rules, and decided that causing them through hits didn't work - I just couldn't get the balance to work. The spur for the rules was the fact that henchmen stood virtually no chance of hitting Batman. In fact with the lower number of dice heroes roll their odds, whilst still not good, are much improved; henchmen aren't deadly, but neither can they be totally ignored.

I kept powers and abilities simple, mostly taken from the original One Page rules.

Batman could attack at medium range (6"), Leap (which allowed him to move through terrain or other characters), Outwit (which gives him an advantage in initiative) and has Martial Arts (which allows him a reroll in close combat).

Robin could attack at Short range (4") and had the Hinder ability (see below), representing smoke bombs.

The Joker had Leadership (which allowed him to activate henchmen as a group), Hinder at Medium range (I said see below), Outwit and could attack at Short range.

The Henchmen could attack at Medium range.

Combat was much the same - roll your level in attack dice, with a 4+ being a hit. The target then rolls their level in defence dice, with each 4+ blocking one hit. However a character attacking at range gets Weak Dice, which only hit on a 5+. And a character with at least one Hinder marker defends with Weak Dice, only blocking a hit on a 5+

Hinder is an attack representing anything which delays or entangles a character. The attacker rolls their level in hit dice, whilst the defender rolls their level in defence dice. Both characters compare their highest single roll. If the defender's is higher then the Hinder has no effect. If the attackers die is equal to or higher then the defender's then they get a Hinder marker. If the roll is at least double that of the defender then they get two markers.

A character who starts their activation with a Hinder marker must either give up their move or their action to remove it. If they have two then they must give up both their move and action to remove them. If a character is attacked whilst they have a Hinder marker then the defend with Weak Dice.

A Hinder attack may have a different range to a normal attack, depending on the character.

On with the game.

The cast need no introduction, but get one anyway - here's the Dynamic Duo:

And here's The Joker with five henchmen. Once again there are three counters on the board, one of which is an Object of Value (OoV). The first side to get it off the board wins.

Batman goes after one counter, and the henchmen move to oppose him.

 Robin goes after the other counter, and The Joker opposes him.

A henchman discover that this isn't the OoV.

The Joker uses his Hinder ability, throwing gas bombs at The Boy Wonder. His roll of 6 beats Robin's roll of 5, and Robin gets a Hinder marker.

The henchmen shoot at Batman, but all miss. As in miss - he doesn't even have to roll defence dice.

Robin loses his action to ditch the Hinder marker, but can still move to a potential OoV.

On the next turn Robin gets to act first, and discovers that he has, in fact, found the OoV. He makes a run for his board edge, whilst The Joker smiles knowingly.

Whoosh! The Joker gasses Robin, putting two Hinder markers on him. This will cost him a whole turn of inactivity.

Meanwhile Batman is working his way through the henchmen, seemingly unaware that his youthful ward is in big trouble.

The Joker closes in on Robin, and inflicts a hit on him.

Batman rushes to the rescue. Will he be on time?

No - he won't be on time. The Joker uses his electric handshake buzzer and downs Robin.

Batman finishes off another henchman.

 But one of them finally lands a hit on him!

"We meet at last, Batman. HAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Batman isn't in the mood for conversation, and inflicts two hits on The Joker.

But the Joker isn't here for a fight. Grabbing the OoV he makes a run for it.

As the remaining henchmen close in on the Batman, The Joker uses his Hinder attack to slow the Caped Crusader down.

The henchmen keep on trying to hit Batman. And fail.

The chase is on. Note the dramatic cape shadow ...

Oh no! The Joker hits Batman with two Hinder markers.

And that's it - nothing can stop the Clown Prince from escaping.

Batman finishes off his henchmen, though. One of them will no doubt reveal the whereabouts of The Joker's hideout.

 But for now the night belongs to ... The Joker!

The game played quickly and smoothly, and was touch and go. Robin was obviously outclassed by The Joker, but Batman is a powerful combat character and could offset this. The henchmen were suitable useless, but got in the way nicely, and couldn't be completely ignored. The balance is probably about right.

I shall now try another game with perhaps just heroes and a different mix of abilities, and see what happens. I think I have the basics of the game sorted (albeit that they are, essentially, still those from the original One Page rules).


  1. Enjoying this series. Keep tweaking but there's a good game here.

  2. I can't wait to see the final version of these rules. They sound like a lot of fun!

  3. Definitely improving as you go along....keep going


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