Power Legion: Rumble in Gotham

Last week Tim, Terrence and I gathered at my house to play Power Legion. This was our second go at the system and I think we're getting the hang of it.

I played the two squads of Gotham City police, Tim fielded the Dynamic Duo of Batman and Robin, and Terrence controlled a band of nasties including Mister Freeze, Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Clayface.

This evening was a double debut. My Chicago police officers made their first appearance as did my recently completed urban buildings, built from heavily modified Dust Tactics "Warzone Tenements." The finished product seemed almost tailor made-to represent Gotham.

The streets are paper printouts from Fat Dragon Games and were provided by Terrence, who also wrote out most of the battle report you're reading. Most of the heroes and villains are rebased Heroclix.

As the scenario began, the villains dashed out after a heist to meet Gotham’s finest waiting for them in the streets.

Batman and Robin joined the fray from the rooftop, with Batman hurling a batarang at Mister Freeze while Robin watched from behind waiting for his opportunity.

Shortly thereafter, the Dynamic Duo found themselves brawling streetside with Clayface and Catwoman.

Batman swung into combat with Catwoman but misjudged her agility and got knocked down for his trouble.

A police sergeant, seeing how futile bullets were against the molten monster, jumped into a squad car and rammed into Clayface. He failed to damage the creature and only succeeded in giving Clayface a weapon!
The villain laid about himself with the car, smashing friend and foe with reckless abandon.

The vindictive yet alluring Harley Quinn was much more interested in the police officers. She dodged their fire and took one officer down with her pistol. Taking a cue from the Sergeant, the police used their other squad car to much better effect, running down Harley Quinn and taking her out of the fight.

Without the cover of the squad, one officer moved indoors to keep firing.

Eventually, Clayface connected with his Crown Vic bludgeon and took Robin out of the fight.

Batman was knocked down again, but the villains were unable to take advantage even after Batman fumbled his activation roll.

The villains closed in on the Dark Knight, and with Batman having been down for several turns, we called the game, ruling that if the sidekick was KO'd and the hero was at the very edge of defeat, it was time to cut away until the next episode.

After all, what's more classic than a Batman cliffhanger ending where the baddies have our heroes on the ropes? Adam West would be proud.

As before, we found the game to be a lot of fun. However, once again armor really dominated, as it was difficult to overcome. Clayface proved virtually indestructible, and it was nearly impossible to give the coup de grace to a fallen Batman.

We bandied about a number of suggestions, including armor being degraded one level each usage, or just not using much — if any — armor next time we play Power Legion.

One final note about the police. Being "normals" makes them quite weak. In order to have a lot of them in the game and make them useful, we gave each member of a squad a colored dice (a D4, ouch) and rolled the entire squad together. The player of the cops selected which order to play the cops in.

This resulted in no "fail-outs" for the police squads, though quite a lot of individual police were unable to activate due to low rolls. This method greatly sped up the police player's turn. It made the police slightly more useful, but it definitely didn't elevate them from their place as mostly ineffective supporting cast.

The armor issue didn't seem to have degraded our enjoyment of the game, which still provides a fairly fast-moving superhero battle. Not counting setup, table talk (the rarely-seen Mike S stopped by for a pleasant chat and some terrain exchange) and teardown, our three person game took about two hours. That's not ideal for a group that tends to prefer one hour games, but it's not bad at all for a three player game with four distinct groups (two squads of cops) while we were still essentially learning.

Superhero games have a limited following in the club, so while this might not be a regular game, it's safe to say this is definitely something we will return too.

-- Karl, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member

4 responses to “Power Legion: Rumble in Gotham

  1. Any chance of sharing the stats for the characters please?

    The problem with things like armour and invulnerability in superhero games is that they make characters invulnerable 🙂 In the quantified environment of a game this becomes an issue – a character with an attack value of X will almost always never be able to affect one with a defence value of Y. In the comics, of course, the writer can use narrative tricks – the story – to create a reason why the invulnerable character can be defeated. Its difficult to neatly or easily do that in the relatively restricted environment of a game where everything is quantified.

  2. I used the stats from Dinah Cat of Danger's site. You can find the Batman Villians here: http://dinahcatofdanger.blogspot.com/2014/10/power-legion-dc-batman-villains.html
    For the police, I used the Beat Cop from the PL rulebook and added a little body armor and some shotguns and rifles to match the figures.

  3. Ah yes – I've been following those write-ups. They do seem to be a bit armour-heavy in places, especially the early write-ups before she tried some games with them.

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