Game Review: Almost Got ‘Im
That Time We Almost Got Batman. Oh Wait, We Did Get ‘Im.
We’ve been trying to push a little bit more of boardgame content on the website, and when we learned that Cryptozoic was publishing a Batman themed Mafia style card game, we knew it was a sign that we had to play it, the only way we know how: Nerd HQ style–A bunch of NERDS, dressed up as Batman villains playing Cryptozoic’s “Almost Got ‘Im”, all while a 360 camera at the center of the table recorded the whole thing. Because that’s just what we do.
If you’ve ever played social deduction games like Mafia, Werewolf or Resistance, you know what the game is about. It has that built in mechanic of treachery that we all know and love–or love to hate. The awesome people at Cryptozoic took that mechanic and themed it as the Batman: The Animated Series episode entitled ‘Almost Got ‘Im’ (s2e18) where the Joker, Killer Croc, Two Face, Poison Ivy and Penguin all tell their own story about that time they almost defeated the Caped Crusader while playing a friendly game of poker. Little did they know that one of them was actually Batman in disguise.
Each player takes the role of one of the thirteen villains available, which grants a once-per-game ability and a secret role that’s not to be revealed. Simple and easy. One of the players will receive a Batman in Disguise card instead of a secret role. The flow of the game is easy as well: the villains need to take Batman down using a very democratic and civilized voting system while the Dark Knight tries to survive long enough to subdue 2-3 villains (depending on the number of players).
To take it a step further, the game includes an interesting poker mechanic, where you can only use your secret ability if you have the correct hand (poker, flush, two pair, etc.) during the Blackout (the game’s version of the Night phase), which makes the game trickier. Now, if playing with nerds that are too familiar with the social deduction games named before, this tactical shift to the game’s strategy might be overlooked (believe me, it happened to us) but it really brings a different flavour to the all well-known mechanics. For instance, you can try and block whoever you suspect of being Batman from getting that Two Pair, since without it he will not be able to use his “Choose a player to Subdue” ability. That’s a game changer. Literally.
Talking about subjugation, there is something worth mentioning. In Almost Got ‘Im, when a player is subdued he or she is not out of the game. The only downside of being subdued is that you are no longer able to use neither your character’s ability nor your secret role’s ability. That means that, even after subjugation (which means that either Batman got you or your fellow villains didn’t trust you at all) you can still talk, vote, cast suspicions, etc. That may seem like it’s not fair play. This rule surely increases the difficulty for meeting Batman’s objective considerably, and I could agree to the argument that it makes the game too asymetrical, but the game is still balanced enough to make it interesting to both villains and hero. In the game we played, Batman almost got us!
All in all, we had a blast, especially because we decided to theme the night by cosplaying (or whatever the cheap version of cosplaying is) as each of the villains. It sounds odd, but it increased the value of the experience. You cannot forget the night you dressed up like Two Face and had an argument with Poison Ivy about if she was Batman or not. You just can’t.