05/07/2022

๐Ÿฆ‡ Batman: Everybody Lies Britt's Board Game Review ๐Ÿฆ‡ @PortalGamesUS #BoardGameReview

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It’s not often we cover board games here at Games Freezer, but when a game like Batman: Every Body lies pops up, it is more than a pleasure to do so.

Based on the Detective Investigation System game mechanics, Batman: Everybody Lies is marketed as a game for 2-4 players, taking up to 3 hours to complete – more on this later.

The game puts you in control of four familiar characters from Batman lore - Vicki Vale, Warren Spacey, Harvey Bullock and Catwoman - as they work together on a secret task force put together by Jim Gordon to work on cases that are somewhat ‘off the books’.

The game takes the form of five cases – including a prologue, to get you accustomed to the game mechanics – which stand apart as well as having an overarching narrative. The game comes complete with a map of Gotham City and has you collecting clues as you flit between locations that will be very familiar to Batman fans, as you work together in order to solve the well-written and surprisingly in-depth cases put before you.

I have to say that the art is absolutely impeccable. Everything from the fonts used, illustrations and writing style is very much in tune with the comics, and all created with a high-quality production value in mind. Although some game pieces seem somewhat superfluous, it all comes together in a beautiful package that really evokes the shadowy world of The Dark Knight.

Whilst I can understand that some players may feel a slight disappointment in that you can’t actually play as Batman himself, there’s something quite cool in how he pops up throughout the game, and his various nemeses are referenced and make appearances. This isn’t a game in which you live or die, trying to stitch up other players, it’s very much about cooperation and talking through your choices, possibilities, and subsequent decisions, and it can lead to some extremely memorable moments.

For example, in one of the cases, when it came to using the online website to finalise our theories and check how close we came to the truth, we pretty much nailed it, and pride swelled in our chests at our Batman-like powers of deduction! Were we truly the greatest detectives that the world had ever seen?

No – as the subsequent case proved, as we approached the endgame and one of the main choices of culprit (and clear murderer) was a person we literally hadn’t even come across in our investigations.

Good!

How did this happen? One of our players made a casual – and, at the time – pragmatic statement at the start of the game, after reading the introductory texts and it set us off on a path whereby, we inadvertently focused on the wrong aspects of the case. The results never feel unfair, though and it’s quite fun seeing how all of the elements come together as you read through the final case notes.

During your playthrough, you’ll come across personal goals that are specific to each character, and you can choose whether or not to share them with the group, we chose to be pretty open about everything, but it is a nice and subtle touch that you can try and wangle decision-making towards your own character’s goals in order to get a few extra bonus points at the end.

Speaking of which, the way that the game winds down is in terms of turns. Each time you follow a clue to a new location, you move across the outer edge of the included game board, when you reach the final squares, they are coloured green to red. This is when you need to gather the team, talk through all of your thoughts and findings, and should you feel that you need to follow some more leads to get a fuller picture, you can spend those extra turns – hopefully wisely – but it will impact your overall score.

I really enjoy how the game feeds you information as well as red herrings. On more than one occasion, we opted away from moments that would lead us to villains that we adored to ‘spend time with them’, pushing aside such base urges in order to focus on seemingly more mundane and inconsequential conclusions that we’d arrived at as a group, determined that there was a deeper meaning that we’d decode…but then, sometimes that piece of valuable info is in a totally different direction, and it’s quite thrilling to have these constant light-bulb moments, just seeing how each players mind works as they work through the wealth of information before them.

I’ve come to realise that some of my favourite board games rely on player interaction to be fun, and playing Batman: Everybody Lies with a group of friends really does bring out some naturally great moments, helped along by the level of immersion that the high quality of writing and artwork provides.

If you are a solo player, I can’t really see why you couldn’t play the game by yourself, should you really want to test your mental resolve against the fiendish cases before you – alone. If this is your preferred way to play, I wouldn’t let the fact that the game is stated to be for 2+ players put you off, likewise – if you play with a larger group, just split each playable character into teams and go from there, just expect more rambunctious arguments as you decide upon your next move.

"Right, I’m off to rid Gotham City of crime, once and for all"

Designers - Weronika Spyra & Ignacy Trzewiczek

Artists - Hanna Kuik & Maciej Simiล„ski

Publisher – Portal Games

Link: https://batman.portalgames.pl/en

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