If there is anything that makes Batman the well loved super hero that he is it’s the fact that he has the best villains to go up against. Of those, there is none like that of the Joker. Joker is as iconic as Batman. There is just something magical about the clown prince of crime!
In the Batman Miniature Game by Knight Models, Joker leads a crew of clowns, free agents, and other assorted nefarious thugs. It is one of the largest crews in the game. With so many models available there is a pretty wide breath of strategies and product to purchase. Hopefully I can help you narrow down those choices.
So many Joker’s, who is the boss?
Easy answer is the Joker of course. Knight Models produces a number of Joker miniatures though. Picking where to start or which is the best can be a challenge. I am not going to try to cover all of them here, but hit on a couple of the highlights for me.
By far my favorite Joker to put on the table is the Heath Ledger Joker from the Why So Serious? box. Not only is my favorite cinematic portrayal of the Joker, he is also the lowest cost in terms of reputation. This means you can include more in your crew while still bringing the best of what Joker does – support your crew. He brings the standard “Chaos Agent” and “Trickster” rules which makes your Audacity tokens be more effective by being assigned to henchmen who really need them. In addition, he packs the “They’re Cheap” rule letting you get the most out of your gun armed models. I appreciate not having to buy an extra ammo and use that for other equipment while packing a number of guns in the crew.
The Joker model that is included with the Back to Gotham 2 player starter box is a laugh. The amount of character in the model on the stage and in the spotlight is really amazing. At 92 reputation he is not the most expensive Joker available and he is equipped with plenty of gags up his sleeve. Again he features the legendary “Chaos Agent” and “Trickster”. These rules are really a staple in Joker crews. Toss in a little “Scheming 1” to move audacity markers at the beginning of the turn can play big into messing up an opponent’s schemes. “Intimidate” is a solid special action that allows you to prevent a model from performing a special action. Great at corning a Robin when you need to explain the punch line of a joke!
The Harley Quinn….rrrr…Sidekick of the Month
Who doesn’t love Harley Quinn? I know I do. She has become the iconic sidekick of the Joker since her appearance in the Batman Animated Series. Making her appearance in the Back to Gotham 2 player starter is the classic Harley Quinn. This honestly is my favorite Harley just on how cool the model is alone. Just the dynamic pose of her leaping off of the broken clown statue with her giant hammer about to do some real pain on someone that’s threatened her puddin’….well it’s awesome!
In game, Harley brings a couple of good things to the crew. First off is her speed. Harley comes with a base movement of 12 inches plus the “Acrobat and “Fast” rules for a bonus 3 inches of move. Acrobat also let’s her ignore impared movement for a number of factors. She’s great to get where you need her to be when the regular henchman let you down or place that objective you need for scoring. “Distract” is a powerful special action allowing Harley to reduce an opponent’s defense skill, effectively modifying needed dice rolls. That’s always critical in games where your dice pools are not large.
Getting the Dirty Work Done – Henchman
Mr. J isn’t going to get his hands dirty with the grunt work. To aid him in his hilarious plans are a number of henchman models. At this time, there are 24 different henchman models to choose from that are still available to work with. With an average Joker crew running anywhere from 8-12 models there is plenty of selection to go around. I will focus on the Joker affiliated crew only.
The Archie and Joker’s Bikers box is a great value. Not only does it give you three henchman models that are all pretty useful, it gives you an alternative sidekick in case you ever become tired of Harley (just don’t tell her that). The biker’s add speed to the crew. Generally, most of Joker’s henchman models move 8 inches, so having the bikes able to do almost double that means you can apply pressure where you need. After all, your crew is about numbers and when combined with speed you can really overwhelm those more elite crews.
Joker’s Biker 1 is my favorite of the batch with his Custom SMG able to deal rate of fire 4 and double blood damage he can be really lethal. Combined with Ledger Joker’s “They’re Cheap” rule and that’s 3 rounds of serious shooting. I have watched him take out and seriously cripple enemy free agents, sidekicks and bosses in games. Best part is that most people don’t see him coming and are in for an unpleasant surprise!
What can I say, Bud and Lou are awesome. They couple really well with the other two bikers in the Biker’s box. Again, the Hyena’s are fast and can nearly keep up with the bikes. There are some weaknesses with them and sometimes I do find myself strapped on audacity tokens and not using these guys to their full damage potential. They are nasty enough and if both Hyena’s can gang up on a model they will rip it to shreds given the chance. They are best used to veil threats while you play out your plan elsewhere, but are great to bring in to get an outnumber bonus where you might need it or to chew on the enemy’s leg while they are knocked out!
Bouffon is a little crazy. Armed with a nail gun, he deploys ahead of the rest of your force. The nail guns unload 5 shots if he doesn’t move with a single blood each. Great for chipping some damage on a few models. Even better, Bouffon is able be in a position from an early part of the game to drop suspect markers and cause general havoc. He’s not particularly durable, but as a great edge piece he can be used to drop a smelly fish suspect marker early, chattering joker teeth, or any number of other objectives in the Joker deck. That versatility makes him a near always include for me.
The Hired Help
You can add a number of models both as free agents and henchman to the crew that are not aligned with Joker. Top most of these for me is a guy like Deadshot. Just like in the comics, Deadshot is good at shooting. This is something the rest of the crew just isn’t spectacular at. While you can field quite a few guns, most of them are short range and eat up your funding quickly. Deadshot is a long range threat that your opponents have to respect. Having some cover fire as the rest of the crew advances will take the pressure off of Joker.
The thugs that are included with the Back to Gotham two player starter are another source of great henchman. Of course, the set features Joker vs Batman so it figures that these henchman work well with Joker. Particularly, Thug 6 for his “bodygaurd” rule may absorb some damage that was intended for Joker. I also really like Thug 1 and Thug 4 for their low Reputation cost and no funding cost. These guys can fill the roll of bodies in the crew, but also have some useful skills. Coupled with Joker’s “inspire” range these guys can be inexpensive suspect markers being dropped. Later in the game, particularly with Thug 4, they provide an extra means of throwing a couple of extra attacks that deal blood damage when needed. They are versatile, flexible, and honestly they put a smile on my face!
The Blackgate Prisoners pack is another great source of more henchman to add to the pool that provide some additional benefits to your crew. As you are adding more henchman, these guys all benefit from Joker’s “Chaos Agent” and “Trickster” rules. Prisoner O4211 Gustaff Gustaffson which adds a rate of fire 5 single blood damage Carbine that has medium range. Just like Deadshoot, he adds a bit more range to the crew and with 5 shots he’s got an decent chance to at least score a hit or two against high defense targets.
High Security Henchman also provides a solid, durable model that starts the game deployed further into the table with his “hidden” rule. His “combo:knife” rule makes him an effective close combat fighter against almost all other henchman and some free agents and sidekicks. The knives also dish out blood damage which will speed up the removal of those pesky troublemakers who just don’t want to have any fun.
It’s Been a Gas!
I have been collecting the Joker crew since first edition of the Batman Miniature Game. Models have been phased out over that time, but the crew is extremely fun to play. The incredibly characterful model sculpts, game play that makes the characters feel like they came out of the comics or off of the movie screen, and the vast variety of ways to play and build the crew make this a great crew for beginners and experts alike.