I’ve been playing a lot of the Arkham series (Asylum, City, Origins) in preparation for the newest installment. Playing a villain band in BMG, though, has actually got me seeing fights from the bad-guy perspective: how the hell do you beat the tar out of a guy who can seemingly escape in the blink of an eye? When Batman has a Batclaw combined with incredible speed and strength, how can you stop him?
That’s right. Lots and lots of bodies.
Now obviously this isn’t practical for every band, so it’s probably important to take a look at the specifics of ganging up on someone in BMG. Let’s talk about all the wonderful things we can do with Numerical Inferiority.
First, the rule itself inflicts a penalty of -1 Defense to any character fighting at least 2 enemy characters not in contact with any other miniature. In other words, you can knock a tougher foe down to size just a little bit, simply by putting 2+ models in base-to-base contact with them. Even the highest Defense in the game (5) becomes a passable 4 when you’re asserting your strength in numbers.
That’s not all, though. Dog-piling your opponent is an ok tactic, but unless you’ve literally blocked off every escape route, he/she/it can always escape. That’s where Grabs come into play.
When you really want to make sure that your prey doesn’t get away, you initiate a Close Combat Grab. For the price of 1 extra SC, you can make an unarmed attack with the added effect of Immobilization (if damage is dealt). This locks the character in place until he/she/it succeeds at a Strength roll on its own activation, with the added bonus that each roll requires the spending of an Action Counter. Even if you don’t manage to keep your opponent locked in place, you’re certainly costing them the use of actions. With multiple Grabs, your opponent must spend at least 1AC per grabber or be stuck.
As an added bonus, Grabbing with multiple models inflicts an additional -1 Defense for every additional guy, making it that much easier to hit high-Defense models like Batman. This will definitely make those bigger models think twice about engaging large groups.
There are a bunch of other ways you can improve your numbers game, though. A wide variety of traits (Let’s Go, Follow Me, Inspire, Mob, Kill Them!) will help your swarms move into place and maximize Grabbing opportunities, while abilities like Distract (-1 Defense) and Persuasive (force activation) will prime the power character for your dog-pile. Never forget that the presence of your Leaders and Sidekicks matters, even if they can’t reach the fight: Leaders let Henchmen use “Let’s Go” for free within 10cm, and Sidekicks allow Let’s Go rerolls within 20cm. With enough models hanging around, Leaders and Sidekicks can become little archipelagos of swarming, big-model-killing henchmen.
I should give special mention to a fantastic trait that really advantages gang-style fighting. Mobster allows a character to gain a free attack (!) on an outnumbered character, taking advantage of the penalties of outnumbering-and-or-grabbing to really put on the hurt. The number of Mobsters in the game is currently limited, but don’t forget to take advantage of this spectacular trait if you have access to it.
As with everything, though, the ganging up tactic isn’t all full of sugar and roses and sweet sweet beatings. Your opponent will be looking for ways to minimize the effect of group combat, which obviously means that you should try to prevent the following from happening:
1) Seeking Higher Ground – either by Batclaw or by just hopping atop a piece of elevated scenery (+1 Defense), your opponent wants to minimize the effect of groups. Counter this by preemptively grabbing him so he can’t just easily ‘claw away, or by pushing him off the elevated scenery so that other models can take advantage of his new position.
2) Finding Tight Quarters – high-Defense models like to create/use chokepoints so that they can handle crowds. You need to keep them from getting to these places, or – at the very least – set up situations where there are no tight quarters to rely upon. Place objectives far away from confined areas (your opponent will find it much harder to stop you!), and/or make sure that you have a model or two to throw away to waste your opponent’s time if the situation gets rough.
3) Taking Martial Artists – this is a big nasty hit to the ganging up tactic, because it’s a raw hard counter to the Numerical Inferiority rule. That’s all it does, though, so don’t be afraid to initiate those Grabs and use Mobster (if you have it) to take advantage of greater numbers.
I’ve compiled a quick reference list of all the traits I’ve mentioned, just to make things easier when you’re planning your ganging-up. Best of luck dealing with those big bad high-Defense models!
Distract (1sc) – 10cm range – reduce target’s Defense by 1.
Follow Me! (1sc) – all henchmen within 10cm of this character gain 1mc.
Inspire (1sc) – all henchmen within 10cm gain 1 Action Counter (can exceed stat max).
Kill Them! (1sc) – all henchmen of this character’s band within 10cm gain 1ac.
Let’s Go (1sc, passive) – roll a die. On a 4+, you may activate another henchman who hasn’t activated and who has the Let’s Go rule. Subsequent uses give a -1 to the roll; 6 always succeeds.
Mob – all henchmen in this character’s band gain +1 to Let’s Go rolls.
Mobster – when attacking an outnumbered character, this character receives a free attack against him.
Persuasive (1sc + 1ac) – forces a character in LoS to activate next, if it hasn’t activated yet.