Welcome to a crazy upside down version of Gotham City. That doesn't sound too bad, except I forgot to mention the demented combo of Batman and Joker all rolled into one 'super villain' out to destroy everything in his path. The Batman Who Laughs (TBWL) is so evil that even that joker is on your side to try to stop him from killing everything and everyone in his path.
First things first here, the mini that comes with this is outstanding. Just look at it, what a centrepiece! The mini is painted to a high standard and has some cool little metal chains attached to the necks of the Batman Who Laughs' minions. The dice that come with it are excellent too and really feel great in your hand. Once it is all set up, as below, it really does stand out and make you take notice. Component-wise, the OP has smashed it out of the park with this one. I always want it out on the table as I love Batman and the way this looks is a treat for the eyes.
Mechanics & Gameplay
Mechanically the game follows the same rules as the previous "Rising" games by The OP in that each player starts by rolling 4 dice as per their individual character cards and then if they match symbols, they can get more heroes that give bonuses such as more dice per turn or healing and many other benefits. The player may also match their dice's symbols with enemies which then allows them to do damage and draw a bonus token if they assign dice here.
As far as I know in the Rising series there is Harry Potter, Star Wars, Thanos/Marvel, Sponge Bob Square Pants and this game. The Batman Who Laughs Rising game is the only one that I have played but, I do want to try the Star Wars and Harry Potter editions too as they look cool and this game is so much fun that I would like to see what is different in the others.
The game’s difficulty is something that needs discussing. Even though the basic mechanics are simple to follow, the game itself is very punishing and especially if you run into bad luck with your card draws or dice rolls which all seem to come at once. You start by choosing a location for your hero to go to depending on which 3 cards you want to try to interact with. You are then tasked with rolling the 2 big dice, the first one shows you how far along the Dark Knight track you must go this turn which reveals powerful enemies until you get to TBWL himself and only at this point can you start attacking the main boss. The second dice shows which way TBWL will turn on the board and this dictates what actions the enemies do.
You do all actions of the enemies at this location which is normally damaging to someone or attack the heroes at that location for 1 health and if you have put your hero at that location before rolling the dice you also have to give all heroes on your team 1 damage too. With there only being 3 locations there is a 1 in 3 chance that your team will be him by TBWL. It is hard to get multiple cards on one turn but, if you are lucky like me, in the above picture, it is possible to interact with 3 cards in one turn. However, it requires a lot of luck and a lot of dice.
The healing is also not very generous so be prepared for quite a few heroes to die. If 10 heroes die you lose instantly and if the Dark Knight tracker has no more spaces left you to lose. As in this picture below from my last playthrough, we only just managed to win, with 9 heroes dead and the last space on the Dark Knight track the only one left empty.
If you do not like hard games, then there is a chance that this may not be for you. Also, if you do not like Yahtzee style games then this one might not be for you either. For me however, I think it is a blast. Fairly easy to learn and teach, and if you love DC as I do then this will be right up your alley.
In my last game, the pressure was on me, I only needed 3 symbols of any type (except Wonder Woman) on my last turn. It kill or be killed. When I rolled, in came 5 of these Green Lanterns as above. "Get in Green Lantern. Woo". The high tension and following feminine screams coming out of the mouths of two bearded men, after a hard fought almost hour-long battle, were well earned. It's my party and I'll scream if I want to. Such a great way to end this playthrough but I have lost a good few playthroughs too (more than I have won for sure). And that's The Batman Who Laughs Rising!