Batman: Gotham City Chronicles Unboxing [Pt. 1]
Over the past few years, the Kickstarter board games market has blossomed. New games get funded via the crowd sourcing site every day, and it has given way to some of the greatest games of the modern age. Exploding Kittens made history when it became one of the highest funded Kickstarters of all time. Aside from that, Root, Scythe, and Rising Sun were all Kickstarters. Today we are going to look at a game that we funded back in around March last year – Batman: Gotham City Chronicles.
Batman: Gotham City Chronicles was actually the first game myself and my partner have ever Kickstarted, although it is far from the last. The game is immense, and the base game comes in two boxes. Each box is bigger than the Scythe box, and each one is filled to the brim with goodies. We ordered the base game, plus a set of extra dice and the Villain Campaign Pack, which is far from what they offered in total on Kickstarter. Even so, to give you an idea, I got two deliveries in the post the other day. One was a deak chair, and the other was Gotham City Chronicles. Much to our mirth, Gotham City Chronicles was the larger and heavier box.
Inside the Gotham City Chronicles parcel was two boxes – one with the good guys, and one with the bad. Both look completely awesome.
Today I thought we would look at an unboxing, as well as a few of the minis in more detail. We’re going to need two articles (at least) to cover the unboxing, so watch this space over the coming week. Today we are only going to cover one of the giant boxes – the good guys.
Batman: Gotham City Chronicles – Unboxing the Heroes
The first thing to say about Gotham City Chronicles, which was Kickstarted by Monolith Board Games and designed by Frédéric Henry, is that it is huge. This game is absolutely enormous, and just incredible to behold. For the sake of this article, I have done a few measurements to show you just how big it is. Firstly, here it is, next to Scythe.
Now Scythe is not a small game. It comes in at 14.5 inches across the front of the box. When stood up the game measures 12 inches high, and yet just one box of the two Gotham City Chronicles boxes dwarfs it.
Next, I thought we could look at it next to a standard UK sized paperback book, so here it is next to a copy of Death Trap Dungeon by Ian Livingstone.
Yep, it makes both look tiny.
So, how big is the box? Well, it is actually around 12.5 inches tall and 16.5 inches wide. That, for only one of the game boxes, is astonishing.
The Heroes Box: Documentation, Booklets, and Artwork
Obviously, Batman: Gotham City Chronicles is a game with fantastic miniatures, and we will get to those in good time, after taking a look at everything that is in the box layer by layer. Let’s open this beast.
So, on opening the box, the usual site presents itself to us. We come across the Rule Book, and then we come across this secondary book – the Missions Booklet.
Firstly, the rule book is thick and comprehensive. The book and the references comprise of 59 pages worth of rules. To give an idea, the Twilight Imperium rules PDF is 25 pages. Luckily, there is a QR code on the inside of the book, leading to a How To Play video, which should make learning the rules more accessible. Obviously, I haven’t played the game yet, so can’t comment on that, but they seem comprehensive and well thought through just from skimming.
The Mission Booklet is filled with scenarios and sketches, giving an idea of the kinds of missions that can be played. Again, it is pretty comprehensive.
Finally, and this is a nice touch with the Kickstarter, we have this piece of artwork, drawing to a close the main documentation that comes with the game…assuming we can call artwork documentation…which I am doing…
The Heroes Box: Initial Resources
Delving deeper into the box we start coming across the real exploration – for now we see what the components are like.
So, what we have here are four separate aspects to the game. Firstly, there are dice. The dice are nice, clean, and well made. They roll well and have unique sides. I don’t know how these relate to the game, but I would guess they are similar to the way that Star Wars: Imperial Assault or Descent: Journeys in the Dark use different coloured dice.
Next, we have a series of cards. These are item cards, with some being generic and some being for specific heroes.
Lastly, there are cubes. These are similar to the Pandemic style of cubes, and represent Energy in the game. Of course, I haven’t read what that means yet, but we will make the assumption that they are important.
“Wait? Lastly?” I hear you cry, “What about that big box with characters printed on it?”
Well, dear reader, those are the miniatures, and we will come back to those once we have looked at everything else. This is because I am taking the pictures whilst writing this article and need to get components off my desk so I can set the light box up. This game is literally taking up all the space my desk has to offer and has spilled out onto our spare bed and the floor.
The Heroes Box: Boards, Bat-Tablets, and Screens
Now we are beginning to get to the really good stuff, and the places where I, for one, am really impressed.
When the minis box and resources are removed from the game box, underneath it, is a foam inlay. In the inlay we have a set of Hero Screens (one for each hero) and three “Bat Tablets”. These act as the player dashboard when playing the game, containing everything you need, including character screens and abilities.
The Hero Screens rest in the Bat Tablets to create that dashboard, presenting all the information. These are fairly loose, but they are well made. Essentially, I wouldn’t wave them about too much as the screen and tablet will come apart, but they are perfectly serviceable for the table.
Now, I must admit that I really like this concept. It’s neat and clean and allows for characters to be changed with ease.
Once we remove those from the box we come across the main game boards. There are two double sided boards included in the game, with the locations being the bank, a subway, an alleyway (Dead End), and Ace Chemicals.
The four boards and incredibly drawn and decorated. Each is detailed and beautiful. They are made of thick card and exude quality.
Yes, they exude it.
My pictures really don’t do the board justice.
You get the idea though.
Let’s move on.
Okay, so that is everything in the box, bar one massive thing –
The Heroes Box: The Miniatures
Let’s finally talk about the minis. These miniatures are made of hard plastic and are well moulded. The detail is decent, and I imagine a lot of people will have fun painting them.
Inside both the Heroes and Villains heroes boxes are two layers. First we have the hero henchmen, minions and civilians.
Next we have the heroes themselves.
I’m not going to lie, there are a few odd choices – that being said, there are also some really awesome ones. Let’s look at a few in close detail.
Batman (Dark Knight Returns)
After retiring, Batman returns to the streets of Gotham in this Frank Miller special. The Dark Knight Returns Batman is one of the largest of the hero models and comes with two optional bases – one of which is large and one is small – depending on your preference.
One of Batman’s greatest allies, Huntress aids with keeping the streets of Gotham safe. She is a crouched miniature with a fair amount of detail.
Robin (Damien Wayne)
Spoiler alert, in the comics Bruce Wayne has a son with Talia al Ghul. That child gets raised by the League of Assassins and becomes one himself. Later on down the line, he becomes Robin. It is that Robin that this miniature is based on. Of course, there are other sidekicks (including another Robin) within the box, but the Damien Wayne mini is one of the most dynamic.
This one surprised me a little bit as Catwoman is both a good guy and a bad guy depending on the exact graphic novel or comic you read. She belongs in both the Rogues Gallery and the hero team. There are actually two different Catwoman sculpts within Gotham City Chronicles. The one below is my favourite.
The least “Batmanny” of all the allies, Green Arrow is included in the set as a playable character.
Not all heroes wear capes. The normal people sculpts are high quality and dramatically posed. One thing I think Monolith have completely aced is getting dramatic poses out of their miniatures. Here is Commissioner Gordon.
And finally, the absolute strangest addition in the hero box – Batcow. The oddest thing? It wasn’t even the last stretch goal. Batcow came pretty early on in the project. Random.
Batman: Gotham City Chronicles Unboxing in a Nutshell
Without having played Gotham City Chronicles just yet there are a few things we can say about the game. Firstly, it is visually striking. The images above don’t really do it justice; however, the game is incredibly well detailed. A lot of care has been taken getting it looking just right. Secondly, and this kind of blends into the first point, this is not a game where Batman has been bolted on just so the license can be used to sell the game. Instead it is a real, sound, thematic Batman game that has the Bat right down to its core. That, in and of itself, is really impressive.
We’ll need to look at a Part 2 for the Villains box. This game is HUGE.
Anyway, we’re going to draw it to a close here, but not before I ask you – looking at the game – what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.