The Dark Knight romances

The Dark Knight romances

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Writer_smallerBat love

It’s the romantic undercurrent you always knew that was there.

Not content with releasing a Munchkin version of Love Letter, AEG are making a bid for the game to actually become the new Munchkin, releasing an ever growing number of versions of their now-flagship card game, with different themes bolted on. In addition to the Hobbit, Batman and Munchkin, later this year fans of Archer will be getting their own Love Letter as well. And as far as I’m concerned, this is fantastic. Batman Love Letter might seem an awkward mix, and the theme sure is fairly thin, but it remains the great gateway game that the original was. And with a Batman theme it’s a gateway game that is going to get into the hands of so many more people who would otherwise never have played it.

As a gateway game, Love Letter makes a lot more sense than Munchkin does. Munchkin is great fun, but it relies on players having at least a passing familiarity with the mechanics and tropes of dungeon crawling roleplaying games. This is easy to forget when dealing with players that are entirely new to gaming, and I have often seen players stumped with the workings of Munchkin, spending an entire game with a hand full of spells, weapons and equipment that they have no idea what to do with. Love Letter on the other hand, plays in about the time it takes to explain the full working of Munchkin to an entirely green gamer. I’m not trying to be down on Munchkin here, I do think it’s great fun, but experience has taught me not to use it as a gateway game anymore. So Love Letter usurping the heavily licensed crown of Munchkin is something I’m more than happy to see happen.

I’m not as big into console gaming as I am into board games, and so haven’t yet been willing to make the expensive switch from Xbox 360 to One. It’s going to happen this year, though, and the reason for that is Batman: Arkham Knight and Star Wars Battlefront. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll see where I’m going with this: they are both licensed titles, both providing enough of a hook for a casual video gamer like myself to make a big spend on a console, and get into next-gen gaming (or is it current-gen by now?). I don’t imagine that Star Wars Battlefront will play all that differently to a COD or Battlefield title. For me, the difference is theme. It’s the idea of playing in the Star Wars universe, of flying speeders and battling AT-ATs. That’s what is going to get me back into console gaming, and it’s theme that’s going to do the same for a whole generation of board gamers as well.

8 Comments on The Dark Knight romances
  • Ben Thorp

    I’ve still not played Love Letter – I already own Coup and it sounded somewhat similar. The Batman version does sound tempting, although I’m with Tom Vasel on the naming – it should have been “Batman: Criminal Escape [A Love Letter Game]” or similar.

    • Coup is actually like a *slightly* more advanced Love Letter that plays for a little longer. They fill a similar role, though, quick playing card game that is easy to teach.
      You (and Tom Vasel) are right about the name, though. I do wonder if that is going to be a hindrance for some people not familiar with what Love Letter is. Batman Love Letter is just such an incongruous name.

    • wr00t

      I was thinking this too. Maybe they should re-brand the whole series with some neutral name like “Conflict” (well something better and clever) and then adding a theme part to it “: Love Letter”, “: Batman”, etc. Now it’s like first theme mushed with something completely incompatible. Also i think Batman fans (not gamers, not knowing about the Love Letter phenomena) will find such name weird and confusing and can skip it because of this.

      I haven’t played Love Letter either. But i’m thinking about buying Mascarade, as it feels similar, but can be played by a larger group of players.

    • Aaron Gannaway

      I personally would put the Coup and Love Letter in different categories. To me Love Letter is closer to a deduction / guessing game while Coup is more of a bluffing game. But, I guess that really depends on how much bluffing the people playing the game are doing. 🙂 I think both games are incredibly good games that I enjoy playing whenever they come to the table.

  • Shane Ormond

    I’d love another Bioware Star Wars RPG, in the vein of KOTOR & MASS EFFECT, set after the fall the fall of the empire.

    • I’m hoping there are going to be a lot more Star Wars video games in the near future. There are already a whole bunch of great Star Wars board games that have come out recently, and surely video games would do just as well. I’d sure buy a Bioware Star Wars game.

      • Aaron Gannaway

        I agree. There have been some great Star Wars board games lately, which is kind of awesome because I was missing that genre in my board game collection. 🙂 In particular, I am loving Star Wars: Imperial Assault. I haven’t gotten it to the table nearly enough lately, but when I do, I always enjoy it.

        • We are really looking forward to picking up Imperial Assault. Waiting until we finish our Risk Legacy campaign, though, so we can move from one campaign to the next. Otherwise it would never hit the table.