For anyone who isn't reasonably up to date with the ever-changing DC multiverse, the theme of this title in The Op's series of Rising games will seem bizarre. 'The Batman Who Laughs' is an incarnation of Bruce Wayne from Earth-22 infected by a toxin that made him, in effect, a psychotic hybrid of Batman and The Joker. After systematically killing each member of his world's Justice League, The Batman Who Laughs discovered the DC multiverse and went on to conquer a multitude of other parallel worlds, eventually encountering Earth Prime - the principal DC universe.
In The Batman Who Laughs Rising, you'll be playing as a member of Earth Prime's Justice League (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl or the Earth Prime Batman), rolling custom six-sided dice to recruit more heroes and defeat the threat of The Batman Who Laughs and his legion of Dark Knights. The format of Patrick Marino and Andrew Wolf's game matches that of The Op's other Rising titles - particularly Thanos Rising, which portrays the similar Infinity War conflict in the Marvel Universe between The Avengers and an equally formidable foe. It brings in most of the superheroes you can name from the DC universe and many of the super-villains too.
Essentially, it's a dice allocation game where heroes roll custom six-sided dice and decide how to allocate icons. As long as you allocate at least one die, you can always re-roll the rest, so a successful turn depends on playing the odds and a healthy slice of push your luck. Excitement builds as, over the course of the game, you build your team and extend its capabilities but The Batman Who Laughs is also increasing the level of their threat as the game builds to a final showdown.
The Batman Who Laughs Rising is playable solo or as a fully co-operative game for 2-4 players. In each case, however, you're playing against a tough automaton controlled by its own custom six-sided dice and by its own deck of Dark Knight cards. And it makes for quite a tough challenge: this certainly isn't a battle where the Justice League are always going to come out on top.
The Op have done an impressive job in the production of this game but special mention needs to be given to The Batman Who Laughs sculpture (it wouldn't do it justice to call it a mini) that forms the centre of the board. It's a fully painted figure with Joker-transformed Robins chained like Rottweiler attack dogs. It's a disturbing nightmare representation but entirely apt for this game's dark multiverse setting. If you're one of the many who buy this game just to get hold of the pre-painted sculpture, you'll be pleased to discover that you're actually getting a rather good Rising game by way of a bonus.