Custom Gaming: Batman Zombicide

Since posting this, we have revisited Gotham City for Zombicide and have updated this character. To see the new Batman, with revised rules, visit Zombicide: Gotham City.

The streets of Gotham have become overrun with a new menance. Gone are the Joker and his goons, but this new plague would make Black Mask shudder.

But they forget one thing. This is my city.

And I will do anything to protect her. I am the Dark Knight.

After the success of my last foray into customizing Zombicide, this weekend was spent playing Zombicide with a group of friends who had never gotten to play it. The biggest enjoyment people got was from the various thinly-veiled parodies that each character represented and they wanted more.

Originally the plan was to do an entire Justice League or an assortment of Batman’s rogue gallery – if anything would bring Batman and the Joker together, it would be the zombie apocalypse. But then I started designing Batman’s card and he’s a complicated (and awesome) hero.

So here is the Dark Knight himself:

Of Batman’s seven abilities (well, technically eight), five of them we created just for him. Batman isn’t like the other survivors, but I wanted to stick to the standard Zombicide card layout – though if I were better with Photoshop, I would have removed the lines “card in reserve” and “card in hand” from Batman’s design and here’s why:

Level 1: Utility Belt, No Guns

This is a two part ability. The utility belt is Batman’s classic costume element that contains everything he needs for every situation. So the Utility Belt ability allows Batman to use any item he’s carrying as if it were in his hands. It’s simple, it’s flavorful and evokes the classic Batman is always prepared trope.

But in Zombicide, that could mean Batman could run around with a sniper rifle, a sawed off shotgun and two uzis… and that doesn’t feel like Batman for me. So the second ability is simple, no guns. If Batman would equip a gun, he doesn’t. He won’t even carry guns – so if Batman finds a gun while searching, he just leaves it. That also means he won’t even pass it along to another survivor because he’s the goddamn Batman.

Level 2: +1 Action

This is the standard level 2 ability and for play purposes, I’m reluctant to modify it at this point. Plus, as Batman fights more zombies he’d probably get better at it too.

Level 3: +1 Zone per move or Ninja

Both of these abilities are standard in Zombicide as well, but have flavor backgrounds in the case of the Dark Knight. +1 Zone per move is a handy way of giving Batman a grappling hook as an ability, not equipment. It’s simple but works. The Ninja ability, which makes it so Batman doesn’t make any noise, is a call back to his training and the fact that he’s Batman and can disappear without a sound.

Level 4: I am the Night or Master Detective or Batmobile

I am the Night is a new ability that draws from Batman being beyond stealthy. The rules text is simple: Batman is not in line of sight as the enemy unless he is in the same zone as them. This means that if you take Ninja and I am the Night, Batman is effectively invisible on the board unless he goes in for an attack. I can think of a few scenarios where this would be very useful.

Master Detective is a fine callback to his searching skills. When Batman searches, he looks at the top three items and picks one to keep (but he still can’t keep guns).

Finally, the last ability is the Batmobile. If you pick this ability, the Batmobile shows up on the map – the closest to Batman as possible while still being on the edge of the map and in the street. And when it shows up, it does hit any characters in that spot. And the Batmobile comes with some special rules since it is a car after all.

  • Unlike most vehicles in Zombicide, the Batmobile only has two seats.
  • The Batmobile can kill Fatties if it runs them over (it still can’t take out Abominations)
  • Players in the Batmobile may take a new action – Raising the Shields. If you shield the Batmobile, it can’t move until the next round but all characters inside the Batmobile can’t be attacked and are considered not present for ranged attacks. Moltov Cocktails will still kill you though.
  • Finally, when the Batmobile arrives, it includes two random pieces of the Bat Arsenal. Once those items are gone, players cannot search the Batmobile anymore.

The Bat Arsenal are three new items that are not shuffled into the standard deck. Like the Twins or Ma’s Shotgun, the Bat Arsenal are unique items:

Batarangs are a unique weapon that can be tossed in a variety of ways. While the Batmobile can’t take out an Abomination, a well placed Batarang could – in theory. These silent, ranged weapons are exceptionally versatile. If you only roll one die, then it has a damage of three. Two dice give a damage of two (enough to take down two fatties, in theory), while three dice only deal one damage each. The only issue with them is that Batman doesn’t have a way to target with them since they are technically ranged.

Grappling Gun introduces a new ability word, shift. For those who have played D&D, it should be self-explanatory but for those of you who haven’t, shifting allows Batman to move one zone without any penalty from multiple zombies. The idea was in a pinch, Batman could shoot his grappling gun to escape a horde of zombies. The second ability allows Batman to save a teammate in the event of some rolls going wrong. Pulling a character into his zone (from only one zone away) is simple and useful.

Finally there is the Bat Signal! It isn’t really an item since it doesn’t take up a space in your inventory. But just having it around provides ample light and makes Batman a master detective.

The last item you need to really make Batman work is a figure. Unlike the Ninja Turtles, the DC Heroclix work perfectly for getting a prepainted Batman figure in your Zombicide world! Plus, they are cheap online if you don’t care about stats.

So what do you want to see next for Zombicide?

Batman is a trademark of DC Comics. Zombicide is copyright Guillotine Games. Castles and Cooks makes no claims of ownership of these characters or designs beyond entertainment purposes.

Since posting this, we have revisited Gotham City for Zombicide and have updated this character. To see the new Batman, with revised rules, visit Zombicide: Gotham City.