One of the most important comic books of the last few decades is The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller. It helped to popularize a dark, gritty, and grounded take on Batman. It’s been loosely adapted into TV and live-action movies for decades, with the most faithful being the animated film adaptation (which happens to be this writer’s favorite Batman movie of all time). However, there’s a new medium that TDKR is ready to conquer: board games. Yes, you heard that correctly, The Dark Knight Returns is about to become a board game.
The new game is available to back now through a Kickstarter campaign. For those who don’t know how Kickstarter works, these campaigns will only move forward when they reach their monetary goal. As expected, this project has reached its $250,000 target well ahead of schedule. Barring any disasters with production, if you back this campaign, you should be guaranteed a copy of The Dark Knight Returns – The Game.
The Dark Knight Returns – The Game
Designed by Morgan Dontanville & Daryl Andrews, and published by Cryptozoic Entertainment, the board game is being advertised as a single-player experience recounting the events of TDKR. Playing as Bats, each round will consist of the strategic selection of Fight and Detective cards that you use to traverse Gotham city to locate the boss of that Book. Then, you apparently get to beat the snot out of them in your imagination.
Each Book of the game corresponds to a chapter of TDKR with each rogue of the chapter being the Boss in each book. (If you don’t remember, that’s Two-Face for Book One, the Mutant Leader for Book Two, The Joker for Book Three, and Superman for Book Four.) Each Book is timed at about 90 minutes apiece and comprises four rounds. If all that wasn’t enough, you’ll have to contend with Gotham City riots, and the looming threat of the Doomsday Clock striking midnight.
There are two versions of the game currently available to back. The first is the base game for $60, and the second features the Deluxe Edition, coming in at $99. The latter Edition comes with miniature figurines to use during gameplay, vs. the standees in the base game. If you back via Kickstarter, there’s also an exclusive slipcase that goes with the Deluxe Edition.
Become the Dark Knight on a board game
It’s interesting that this is a single-player experience, as I’ve never heard of a single-player board game before… but it does make sense. The designers are trying to make you feel like Batman. You know, as he always says, he works alone. If only this game had come out prior to the pandemic, it likely would have been a hit for people living alone, and self-quarantining.
Unfortunately, I’m not a tabletop gamer by any stretch, so that brief explanation of the rules made my head spin. It reminds me of the incredibly exhaustive rules for Cones of Dunshire in Parks and Recreation. Even if you never manage to play the game (or in my case, understand it) those miniature figures are worth it.
The Dark Knight Returns will become a board game come December 2021, when it’s also expected to ship.
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