DC Deck-Building Game: Rivals: Batman vs. The Joker: Overtime Impressions

Hello everyone, I hope you have all had a great week! Today is not my usual Monday post if you haven’t noticed. I am once again dealing with tons of work and have not had time to sit down and write words this week, sorry! I’d like to take a quick second to apologize a local game creator who I have spent weeks trying to meet up with at local meet ups, and have been unable to make it. Even after I’m certain I’ll be there. The thing with my line of work is that there is no “quitting time”. This means, as much as I want to make weeknight plans, it’s near impossible for me to commit. So I am very sorry Mark! I promise I’ll be there to meet up one day! So this week, I will be trying to add a couple of sections into my reviews. The first will be right after this, with a section of “If you love”. It will outline the types of mechanic(s) that it has that you may find intriguing to you. (Yes I’m aware that the one mechanic in this game is in the title. What a week to start this eh?). The second section I’m going to add in is “What’s to Love?”. I realized the other day that I have a section that highlights two things that I don’t like about the game, my thoughts on the game overall, and the quality. Nothing to highlight what I love about it though. So I figured I’d fix that. Just a few more words right! Anyway, let’s get on with this weeks review shall we?


If You Love

In this section, I will highlight mechanics, and some thematic aspects that may sway your opinion to either read on, or skip into a review of another game you may find interesting.

  • Deck Building
  • Comic book theme
  • Batman
  • Joker
  • Two-Player Games
  • Player to Player Combat
  • Awesome Art Work


How It’s Played

To start, each player will choose either Batman or The Joker to play as and take the three cards of that character. Rivals is played over many rounds in which you will use cards in your hand to purchase stronger cards to battle your opponents. On each of your cards, you will use the power on each card as either money to purchase numerous types of cards (Villains, Locations, Super Powers, etc.) or you can use that power to combat against your opponent to change their ability and remove one of their player cards from the game. The first player to run out of their character cards then loses. If the entire deck of cards are used and each player still has at least one character card, you will end the game, and add the victory point star numbers to find the winner of the game. The cards you purchase will also have abilities to be used to add some strategy to your game.


The Pretty Little Bow

This game is very well put together and has quite high quality components. The cards all feel like they will be able to handle many plays, and having played this game a lot through the last year or two, I can say certainly, that these cards can take quite a beating. I can also tell you that they don’t absorb liquids, such as evening beverages that spill while you are getting to the point of being a hand talker and accidentally spill. The box to me seems slightly excessive, as an over sized card box could have likely sufficed. Though, with this bigger box, the rule book doesn’t require folding, which is something that I certainly appreciate in a rule book. Now to the art. One word. Wow. I’m not a huge comic book guy, although I have read a couple (Locke and Key, The Walking Dead), and this to me seems like a whole new level of comic book art work. It may be partly that it is coloured, which is something I’m not used to in comics, but either way, it works. Wonderfully.

What’s To Love?

Rivals is one of the better strictly two player games I own. Sure it is a small list, but if I am playing a deck building game at two players, there is about a 75% chance this will be it. There are many styles and themes of games that could take over this spot for our two player games, and even using the big box DC Deck Builders could easily give you the same feel, but having the competition between Batman and The Joker and the battle option really gives you a competitive feel that the Deck Building game doesn’t quite give. Sure you have villains that you both have access to and are sort of racing for, but racing and combating each other give very different feels in games. Another wonderful thing about this is the card combo possibilities. You can get to a point during games, where with the right draw, you can play up to 15 or so cards in one turn. These combinations are what I love about all deck building games. The idea that a set of cards you decide upon work so well together, and it pans out makes playing the game worth it. Almost to the point that I think more about the great combo, over who actually won the game. Great aspects of most deck builders, but in a strictly two player game, this can really shine and be very memorable.


What’s NOT To Love? 

For a game that is focused on combating the other player in the game, I find that one downfall is a lack of attack and defense cards. Yes, they are two different dynamics in the game (one attacks players hand or deck they are building, and the other attacks their character), but you would think that there would be a bit more attacking and defense to strategies. Another thing that I don’t care for as much, is that it is strictly two player. Maybe this isn’t so much of a complaint on this game, as it is for other higher count versions of the game, but I would love to see this player versus player combat mechanic at higher player counts. I love the games themselves, however, I think I would have a bit more fun wearing down my opponents, and not having to count victory points if there is a clear winner. That actually sort of leads me to another small point that I could live without, which is counting cards/VP at the end to figure out who won the game. I have no idea how this could be something that is avoided, but spending ten or so minutes figuring out who won at the end of the game is time that I think could be spent setting up the next game, or resetting and replaying this one.


What’d You Think? 

I love the two player version of the DC Deck-Building Game. It gives the feel of the original game (and all the big box expansions) very well, with an added combat mechanic that I love. It gives you some competition, while at the same time it is quite a passive competition and you can easily get distracted by card purchases that will lead to not using the mechanic as much as you think you’d like to. As well, many cards are sort of themed towards either buffing Batman or Joker, so there is a fine balance between helping yourself, and making your opponent suffer. Much like the relationship between those two right? Overall, this game is a staple in my game collection, and I actually wish that Cryptozoic would put some expansions out for this as well as their other Deck builders, to add some extra depth to Rivals. Maybe a Batman vs. Superman perhaps? Anyway, it has stood the test of time on my shelf, and I believe it will stand the test of time on yours as well if you are a fan of deck building.


That is about all I’ve got for you tonight everyone! I hope you have enjoyed the new sections of the review, and I hope you look forward to upcoming posts, as I think they are going to be quite fun for everyone! There will be a mix of new and old(er) games, and a plethora of mechanics so hopefully the next couple of months will prove to have something that everyone can enjoy! Also, I know there is a lack of photos (again!!) but I had some issues today transferring what I had unfortunately rendering a review without photos. If I can figure out the core issue on this, I will add photos in, but as it stands, I don’t have any. I’m sorry! Although, if there are photos in the post when you read it, that probably didn’t make any sense to you! Anyways, talk to you all again soon and remember, I love you all!

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