February 29, 2008

Lascaux Card Game Reviewed By Vasel

Lascaux.jpgLast week we reported that the bidding card game Lascaux [Funagain] with an ancient cave painting theme was released. Though we've heard mixed things, we haven't had a chance to sit down and beat the art of our each other's heads with clubs like civilized stone agers, so we can't tell you straight up if this game is worth your time.

However, Tom Vasel - the general Patton of game reviewers - has had some glowing things to say in his detailed review on The Dice Tower. Here's a bit where he compares Lascaux to
No Thanks! [Funagain, Amazon], a game with similar mechanics:

No Thanks! and Fun Factor: The enjoyment of Lascaux comes from a combination of the bidding and outguessing the other players when picking a color. The speed of the game will make it a highly requested game, as No Thanks is for me now. So will Lascaux replace No Thanks? No Thanks is a cheaper game, slightly easier to understand, and faster to play. Lascaux, however, offers slightly deeper game play and outguessing the opponent - something No Thanks doesn't handle. I really can't recommend one over the other, although I'm leaning towards No Thanks because of its higher portability and cost.

There you have it! Well, sort of. Actually this doesn't resolve anything . But it looks like Lascaux shines brighter than we first thought. That's a good thing because this season seems to be relatively starved good game releases.

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February 28, 2008

Last Night On Earth - Avioid The Mansion Scenario

LastNightOnEarth.jpgLast night we sat down to play the Last Night on Earth - our favorite zombie board game to date - and something bad happened: we didn't have fun. Why? We had the unfortunate event of randomly drawing the Manor House scenario, something that we'll ensure won't happen again.

This scenario pits 4 nimble axe toting heroes against 16 shuffling zombies. The goal: prevent the sea of zombies appearing on the cusp of the board from reaching the mansion in the middle. If 9 zombies set foot indoors before the sun rises (some 15 turns) then it's lights out. Game over. You lose.

It all boils down to this: there are just too many zombies to fight, and there ain't no way to kill 'em all. As soon as one dies, another appears on the edge of the board, walking in the dead Z's footsteps. While this is great for theme, it stinks for balance. Due to the combat mechanics of the game - a hero has to roll doubles on two dice to kill a zombie - the heroes quickly become flooded with beaten zombies, but not killed zombies. Their only chance is to pick up some key weapons drawn from a random deck, but they have to reach the fringes of the map to successfully search for weapons, knives, and supplies. Spending the time moving and searching means even more zombies make their way to the Mansion, setting up forts with kitchen tables and couch cushions.

Sure the heroes can use their bodies to attract zombies away from the Mansion (zombies have to move towards adjacent heroes), but they soon fall due to the mass mob and the nature of the fight dice. And once it's down to three heroes things just start falling apart fast. Even the Zombie player was having a pretty lame experience , and felt sorrowful as he tore the intestines out of the heroes and wore them as hats.

It got to the point that we thought we had done something wrong, or played the game in some stupid way, so our group played it again; the heroes lost 7 turns in the second time around, too.

We've had lots of great times with Last Night on Earth, and we hope it remains a mainstay in future, including the Growing Hunger Expansion coming in the next few months. But we'll be sure to ditch the Mansion House scenario when it comes around next time.

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February 27, 2008

D&D 4th Edition Insider Screenshots

DnD4EInsiderScreenshots.jpgSurfacing this week are screenshots of the D&D Insider - the digital companion piece to the new Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition release this summer. Sporting voice chat, character generation, dungeon generation, and the full functionality to host adventures online, this new component to the D&D arsenal could be ground breaking. Not only should it speed up session preparation, it should also provide some visual depth to player created worlds, allow folks to save sessions in-place when things are getting late, and - best yet - be a place where friends can play D&D with their childhood buddies who've moved to long distant parts of the country.

Unfortunately we have some critiques so far:- these images are pretty dippy looking. Seriously. We love the fact that you roll your character, and post him online, or create a character sheet print out with a character portrait to boot. Good stuff. The problem is this: The character rmodels look like plastic dolls with sloppily added pieces of equipment slapped on there last minute. The screenshot of chap in full-plate has skin showing around the neck. Holy moley folks! It screams lack of polish. Forget about the lack of protection in one of the body's most vulnerable parts, but is he not even wearing a shirt beneat there? Think of the horrible nipple chaffing action.

And then there are the dungeons they show. They look like so bare bones, empty, and uninspiring... considering they've had months to prepare these images. We know they could do better, too. In fact, the editor looks a heckovalot cooler in this video captured back in October - about 4 months ago.

Why does this concern us? Well part of the charm of D&D Insider is its ability to download polished content created by Wizards of the Coast, who will publish modules online on a regular basis. But if this is the example of their handiwork, then maybe that feature has been overstated.

We're still excited about the potential of D&D 4th Edition's Insider tools for all reasons we mentioned in the opening paragraph, but we really hope they do a standup job with the content. These screenshots don't sells us, instead they make us wary.

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February 26, 2008

Ticket to Ride: The Card Game Preview at BGN

TicketToRideCardGame.jpgThe Ticket to Ride Card Game [Funagain] was officially announced by Days of Wonder yesterday. Intended for a smaller group of 2-4 players when compared to the original Ticket to Ride games, this card game variety ditches the board - which makes it perfect for gaming on the go - while still maintaining the enjoyable route building and color matching theme.

Players draw route cards and collect train cars of specific colors, and play them in a similar draw-two or play-route turn mechanic that should keep things steaming along quite nicely.

The game will also sport new gameplay mechanics which match the card game motif and offer what could be some surprising depth. Colors that players use to lay tracks may solidify them as a current color leader, and make it difficult for another player to claim routes requiring the same color. Its a land grab of colors and routes that could have players weighing the benefits of laying may smaller routes earlier in the game instead of saving up for the big ones at the end. This mechanic is balanced by a train robbing effect where a player can aggressively attack and dismantle routes that other players have left unprotected.

How's this done? Welll Check-out the Game Preview: Ticket to Ride Card Game on Boardgame News [link]. It explains it all, and more, and includes some great shots of the art of the cards.

The Ticket to Ride: Card Game is slated to ship in May, and is available to preorder from Funagain Games.

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February 25, 2008

UGO Sits Down with Magic the Gathering Online v 3.0

MTGOnliner.jpgAny Magic Online fan frustratingly knows a MT:G Online face lift is a long time coming. The game's current engine has been in the same clunky state nearly-since it first launched, with a confusing and archaic interface that was only tolerable because of it's adaptability to new rules, and because - honestly - Magic The Gathering is such a great game.

It seems that the next installment of the client is coming out "soon", and that's definitely good news. It aims to make games cleaner, easier to understand, and just plain more enjoyable.

Yes, we know that Wizards of the Coast has said the the engine is "coming soon" for quite a while now, but we're starting to really think it's true - and it looks gorgeous.

UGO recently got to sit down with the client. Here's some of what the review site said:

"And now Magic Online is poised to ramp up the standards with the much anticipated and very long awaited version 3. Players have been chomping at the bit for this latest update and several delays in the release have only made the masses more anxious for this long promised third edition. However, after checking out a demo of version 3 at the New York Toy Fair this week, we think it's definitely worth the wait. Wizards has indeed been listening to the players and taking diligent notes. With version 3, the user interface is revamped to allow players to customize the in-game "real estate" to their liking. Stability issues that plagued previous incarnations of the game will also be worked out. After all, more players online should only make the game better, not bring the whole thing down, right? And players can now buy cards and event tickets in game, instead of having to log onto a separate site. These improvements along with other on-going tweaks currently being tested, should give players a smoother, more streamlined game."

Seems like any day now. Really.

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February 22, 2008

All Flesh Must Be Eaten - A RPG for Zombie Lovers

AllFleshMustBeEaten.jpgWe originally came across All Flesh Must Be Eaten [Amazon] earlier this week in the Ars Technica gaming forum. This fantastic post traces an impressive RPG campaign as players escape a zombie ridden cruise ship, hack their way through an overridden Disney amusement park, and eventually scramble their way out into the wilderness and refuge of a wildlife refuge. There the campaign shifted from the dangers of Zombies themselves to those of the post apocalyptic survivors vying for control of the few resources left in the starved world.

The details of this campaign tickled our brains so much that we dove into more of the All Flesh Must be Eaten source materials. And there is a lot, and it all seems really, really good.

We love zombies, and we like RPGs, so we're not quite sure how a system like this sneaked up on us while we weren't looking. Thankfully it hit us in the head before D&D 4th Edition sucked us in 'cause there's plenty of zombie-hacking good times to be had between now and June.

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February 21, 2008

WoW TCG The Band. No Seriously, That's Their Name

KingMukla.jpgWe first heard about the group WoW TCG [MySpace] in a thread the official World of Warcraft TCG forums. In that thread there's a link to the band who classify themselves as Powerpop / Electronica / Rock.

At first we laughed, then we cried, then after a somewhat failed rap prologue the theme of King Mukla (TCG TDP) kicked into gear ... and we didn't know what to think. We ain't music critics, but half of us found the novelty of this music growing on us - and fast - even though we've assumed it's total side project material.

We'll leave it to you to decided if it's any good or not.

Now you can listened to the music on Myspace, but you can't download it there since the songs are embedded in that streamy thing of theirs. Another post in the WoW TCG Forum linked to this download site where you can download the stand alone mp3s. Unfortunately it's one of those convoluted sites where the actual download link is nested in chaos, so here's what ya need to do:

  1. In the center middle are three colorful letters in CAPS. Type those letters into the adjacent text field on the right, and click the Download Button.
  2. When the next screen appears, wait for the countdown near the bottom of the page to reach zero. Then click the Download button that appears there.
  3. The files are in a .RAR archive, so you'll need to download a RAR utility like Win RAR to get to em.

Enjoy!

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February 20, 2008

Lascaux - A Bidding War Over Ancient Cave Art

Lascaux.jpg
Lascaux [Funagain] is about a 30 minute contest that pits 2-5 players against one another as they bid on cave drawings of the ancient caves of Lascaux in southwestern France. Players earn points by building collections of cards that depict particular animal paintings as they were rendered by what are commonly dubbed humankind's first artists 10,000 year ago. Aside from the visuals on the cards, the game's theme doesn't go much deeper into the lives of the Lascaux cave dwellers.

The core of the gameplay comes from bidding smartly in each round and reading your opponent's motives. The game requires you to create your collection of cards, but starve you opponent of the ones they require. Now we've heard mixed-things about the game due to its thin façade of a theme, but in this dry-season Lascaux might hit just the right spot for a somewhat light family-friendly game.

The official details:

"In 1940 four teenagers discovered a complex of caves in southwest France, at Lascaux. The caves are famous for their paintings, consisting mainly of realistic images of large animals which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. They date back to the Upper Paleolithic era, somewhere between 13,000 and 15,000 B.C.

In Lascaux, the game, the players place a certain amount of cards in the center of the table at the start of each game turn. Each card depicts an animal and two colors. The players secretly choose one color and then place stones into the ceremony bowl. As more and more players drop out, some will win the animal cards at the end of each game round. At the end of the game each player receives points for animal "types" in which he has a majority. The winner is the player with most points."


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February 19, 2008

Magic: The Gathering Coming to a PC/Xbox360 Near You

MagicTGRavnica.jpgTrading Card Games on Windows and console systems seems to be all the rage these days. But this news is substantial.

via GamingReport.com:

""We're excited to bring the Magic brand to new platforms and give our fans new ways to experience this great property," said Jared Gustafson, Brand Director for Magic: The Gathering at Wizards of the Coast. "It's partnerships like these that will advance the strategy games category and transform it to meet the needs and desires of today's digital gamers.""

Magic: Online is getting pretty dated, and the "new" revision has been in the work for years now. Years! Like two to three. The fact that Wizards of the Coast hopes to expand their enterprise onto multiple systems leads us to believe they're finally getting serious about bringing the game into the digital forefront. Good for them, and good for us. Now Upper Deck just needs to make an online game out of the World of Warcraft TCG franchise and we'll call it a clean sweep.

Oh wait.

Tomorrow we promise to get back to some board gaming news, but for today this was too big to pass up.

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February 18, 2008

Saga Release Date Set for MMO RTS / TCG

Saga - the PC based Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Real Time Strategy Game (RTS) with Trading Card Game elements (TCG) not only has more acronyms than an attack submarine's diagnostics guide, but should also set the bar pretty high for the budding TCG / Computer Games market.

Also don't confuse Saga with Culdscept Saga. As we reported a few weeks ago, Saga is one of the most anticipated TCG games this year, and soon we'll all be able to get our own hands on the final project. Saga is slated for release March 4th, 2008.

We do have some reservations at this point mainly stemming with the uncertainty of the quality of the game at release. Saga is produced by a somewhat unknown gaming house who's flown under the radar in most computer gaming sites thus far. MMO fans know that release week for a new game is chalk full of server crashes and client issues. Additionaly their website is extraordinarily bare bones website (almost a blog) for an online-only enterprise, and the graphics are pretty low-key and dated even for an expandable engine. But the proof is in the pudding, and maybe all these things will melt away when the mayhem starts in a couple of weeks. We'll keep you posted as the title launches and the reviews start rolling in.

Until then check out these Saga links:


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February 15, 2008

D&D 4th Edition Wizards Presents Worlds and Monsters

DD4thEditionWizardsPresents.jpgWe're mid February now which means we're only 3 months away from the release of D&D 4th Edition. Honestly, we can't wait. Wizards of the Coast has openly stated that they've focused on the roles and personalities of monsters, and their gameplay mechanics, so that you're not just fighting an AC/ToHit stat war against the spreadsheet monster X. Instead we should be looking forward to combat mechanics that bring forth each monster type's personality and attacking styles. This sort of background on races, classes, and monsters should carry on into the non combat gameplay as well, creating a much more rich gaming experience from day one.

Now June is still many torturous months away, so Wizards of the Coast has thrown a bone to ravenous gamers with Wizards Presents: D&D 4th Edition [Amazon], a 100 page book detailing the decisions that were made to focus on the overhaul of the D&D franchise, and what to expect in the results of their work. They've also posted an interview with designer Jennifer Clarke Wilkes who describes the book and offers a glimpse at some of the design decisions covered.

Here's one that we found to be pretty darn interesting:

"Q: Wizards of the Coast: As we move a bit more from the worlds to the monsters, what could be a more iconic monster to the game than the dragons--what insights might the book have to offer on these legendary creatures? For instance, I hear that metallics aren't quite the same dragons anymore?

A:... Metallic dragons have traditionally been good-aligned. While flavorful and important to the "ecology" of dragons, the practical effect was to remove half of the available dragons in the Monster Manual as opponents. How often do PCs go up against good creatures? In 4th Edition dragons are more, well, dragonish. They are all ferocious and greedy creatures, with chromatic and metallic dragons distinguished more by personality than alignment. While chromatics tend to be destructive and cruel, metallics focus more on control and power. These differences are reinforced by the dragon's special powers. The varieties of metallic dragon have undergone a revision as well, with some less well-defined kinds giving way to new ones with distinctive natures.
...
"

We always enjoyed the good dragon versus evil dragon fight, but in the end dragons ended up being rather generic, and Jennifer Clarke Wilkes is right - their stats really weren't used very often. The change of making dragons more "ferocious and greedy" exemplifies the types of things that are being done to bring personality to the races and monsters of D&D, and we're seriously all for that.

We'll see how it officially pans-out in June of 2008, when the 4th edition Players Handbook launches and brings D&D 4th Edition to the world.

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February 14, 2008

Immortal Eyes Games' demo team Wants You!

UncleSamWantsYou.jpgOur friends over at Winning Moves and Immortal Eyes Games are looking for a few good gamers to help demo their lineup of games. These "Immortals" will get a free copy of either Terra Nova or Conquest of Pangea, a demoing T-shirt and some gaming materials to spread the good word IG. Points are awarded for each demo, which can be scheduled for game clubs, recreation centers, classrooms, even your own game group.

And of course the points can be redeemed for complimentary games from any product in the Winning Moves / Immortal Eyes catalog.

If you're interested in learning more, then please contact Craig Brooks who will send even more nitty-gritty details. He also had these nice pleasantries to say:


"To help in getting the Immortal Eyes name and games more public, we¹re starting up a volunteer demo team called the Immortals. Immortals will receive a starter kit with a T-shirt, copy of a game (either Terra Nova or Conquest of Pangea), game aides, small posters, and an easel display. The hope is that Immortals will go to local stores, conventions, game days, etc. and demo and/or hold tournaments. In exchange, Winning Moves will compensate with points that can be turned in to receive any product in our catalog, T-shirts, and more.

Thank you very much and keep on gaming!"


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February 13, 2008

Tide of Iron WWII Board Game System Expands Big Time with Days of the Fox

TideOfIronDaysOfTheFoxPrototypeCover.jpgSweet day of days. The Expansion to Tide of Iron - our favorite wargame of 2007 - has shipped to stores. Days of the Fox [Funagain] includes gobs of new armor units, vehicles, and a new set of board tiles for the North African Campaign scenarios included within. The game also ships with a few Panther Tank pieces for future expansions and custom scenarios ( since the Panthers didn't quite make it to Africa

As you may recall in our prerelease coverage the game also ships with new Anti Tank guns, which could be quite the explosive joy to play with. The King of the Battlefield in the traditional Tide of Iron game was the machine gun nest which pinned down and mowed through infantry squads (especially lethal when combined with a mortar barrage). Now we have a new dynamic - Anti Tank weapons donning hillsides and covering open stretches of both the barren African terrain, and the green fields of France and Belgium in the original Tide of Iron set. Things are going to go big badda boom.

So many new possibilities and new scenarios of fantastic WWII action that it makes our heads spin.

DaysOfTheFoxBox.jpgHere are the official details:

"Across the Mediterranean lie the deserts and mountains of North Africa where soldiers of the British and German armies fight the greatest war in human history. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel leads a brilliant offensive against Commonwealth forces, far exceeding his orders and earning himself the nickname "The Desert Fox".

The Tide of Iron line expands with the addition of Days of the Fox. This first expansion for Tide of Iron features the introduction of the British army and the North African campaigns, including new terrain tiles, new rules, new units, and new scenarios.

  • Nine new geomorphic double-sided map boards.
  • The all-new British army, including new soldiers and vehicles.
  • New rules, new scenarios, and new units.
"

Tide of Iron Days of the Fox is now shipping from Funagain Games.

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February 12, 2008

The Eye of Judgement (...and Culdcept Saga)

EyeOfJudgement.jpg

When we posted our story about Culdcept Saga last week - the Xbox 360 title that's TCG meets Board Games - we didn't mean to turn a cold shoulder the already established Eye of Judgment [Amazon] franchise on the Playstation 3. The Eye is something that any TCG should at least poke their nose into, because it really is a whole new world of gaming.

The truth of the matter is that none of us in our group actually own a PS3, and we didn't want to hype something with ground-breaking and potentially gimmicky mechanics (more later) when we very-well knew we'd never get to play and break down the gameplay ourselves. But then we got questions and concerns after our story last week: 'If you're covering Culdscept Saga, then you're ignoring the console-based TCG war going on right now!' And we have to admit, we were wrong to not to post at least one story on the franchise until now. Yes, we're admitting error - mark your notebooks. It was a poor editor decision that we hope to fix starting right now.

First and foremost some resources: If you need a full breakdown of the game mechanics then checkout the Eye of Judgment Wikipedia Site. It contains the key details of the gameplay. Also, check out this review from Game Trailers. Watch and listen as you read on.

Eye of Judgement is a TCG played on a 3x3 mat in front of your TV and PS3. The map is fought over as creature cards jockey for position across the field, moving and orientating themselves to guard against and exploit potential flanking maneuvers, and capturing spaces of verying colors. The game's 'thing' is a camera - called The Eye - that's included with the base set. When attached to the PS3 the Eye overlooks the special game board . And no, this is not photo-evidence device designed to prove to an online opponent that you actually have a card. Oh no, it's so much more.

When everything is setup properly you can see your cards reflected on the screen, and the mat is replaced on-screen with the map of the match. Because the game board is a filled-in version of the mat on screen, the PS can skin the board any way it likes.

Here's the kicker - each card, sold in stores in booster packs, contains a special visual pattern encoding on the card. When shown in front of the camera the game unlocks a creature shown in 3-D on the TV, hovering over the card in real space. In front of you is a 2D board with cards, and on your screen is a mix of reality and virtual creatures akin to R2D2 and Chewbacca playing chess in Episode IV.

The Eye of Judgment is one of those crazy idea elevator pitches that just might work. It's different and new, and it looks [em]really[/em] cool. We'll let the VG review sites fill you in on how well the game pulls it off.

How does it stack up against Culdscept? Well here's the deal: Culdscept is one bundle of 450 cards at a price tag of 40 bucks. Currently there aren't any expansions slated for release, so it's pretty much one shotgun blast of balanced cards meant as a single stand alone release. Meanwhile, The Eye of Judgment comes with a stock of 100 cards, and will be expanded by new set releases and booster packs of random cards of varying rarities, just like a standard TCG / CCG release.

One is a game release, the other is a new way of life. Should these games be compared head-to-head? We think: no. They each have their own place in gaming.

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February 11, 2008

Growing Hunger's Zombies Loom on the Horizon

LastNightGrowingHunger.jpg

The Last Night on Earth was one of those perfect surprises in box form. Released near Halloween the customizable Zombie board game was wonderfully produced, dripped theme, and delivered a perfect zombie movie experience - in board game form - at just the right time of year.

And it didn't stop there: the Last Night on Earth is one of the better board games to come out of 2007. Yes, the whole year. Not only did the scenarios and mechanics play off our the stories and horrifying scenes of the best zombie movies from childhood past, but every session unfolded in it's own entertaining story. Each time we pick-up the game it became a complete different zombie-braining experience, and we're still active playing it, and that's saying something.

We're hungry for more like a fire axe longs to be embedded into a zombiefied brain, and it looks like our thirst for braining will soon be fulfilled. The first Last Night on Earth expansion Growing Hunger is slated for a release in March. Here are some of the official details:

"As the living nightmare of the Zombie attack continues, the bitter struggle for survival grows increasingly deadly. Desperate for flesh, Zombies swarm over the town of Woodinvale, leaving a gruesome wake of death and destruction in their path. With nowhere to hide and a renewed determination, the remaining Heroes add more survivors to their ranks and find new weapons to fight back the growing hunger of the dead.

The Growing Hunger Expansion introduces new game mechanics and three exciting new Scenarios to challenge players as well as a two-player mini-game. Take control of four new Heroes, each with a highly-detailed plastic miniature as well as seven new Red Zombies for use as Plague Carriers, Grave Dead, or to increase the Zombie Horde. New modular game board sections expand the town and feature unique buildings such as the Supermarket, Library, and Antique Shop. New game cards give Zombies a chance to steal weapons from the Heroes and add powerful Double-Handed weapons to the Heroes' arsenal, such as Garden Shears and the Fence Post."

Last Night on Earth Growing Hunger is currently slated for a March release, and is now available to preorder from Funagain Games.

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February 8, 2008

Battlestar Galactica Board Game - First Details!

BattlestarGalacticaBoardGame.jpg

Two days in a row we've hard some great game announcements surrounding two of our favorite franchises. Yesterday it was Upper Deck's announcement of the upcoming World of Warcraft Minis game, and today we're treated to some great news from Fantasy Flight Games: the announcement of a Battlestar Galactica board game for the Fall of 2008.

There aren't many details in the the press release, but from the sounds of it the BS:G board game will contain some similar refined cooperative gameplay themes and elements from Days of Wonder's Shadows Over Camelot. In Battlestar players will work cooperatively to ensure that safety of the Colonial fleet, as it tries to survive both inner political turmoil and the physical destruction by the Cylon fleets hunting it down. And in true BS:G fashion, one of your friends is secretly a cylon agent trying to tear things apart from the inside out.

From the official press release:

""Battlestar Galactica's rich storylines and compelling characters provide the perfect playground for a totally immersive gaming experience," said Adam Stotsky, Executive Vice President of Global Brand Strategy and Market Development for the SCI FI Channel. Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game will be a semi-cooperative game, in which players work together to solve problems confronting the fleet, ranging from mechanical to political issues, all the while remaining vigilant for Cylon attacks. However, suspicion clouds the ship and its crew, as one or more players may indeed be a Cylon!

We'll definitely keep you posted on this one as further information is released. Looks like this fall is already shaping up to be one of the better fall gaming seasons in years.

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February 7, 2008

World of Warcraft Minis Announced - Joyous Seizures Ensue

WoWMinis.jpgHouston, we have a problem. Upper Deck has just announced another World of Warcraft gaming franchise: World of Warcraft Minis.

We haven't been into many other mini games. In general we enjoy collectable games partially for its library of binders filled with cards neatly tucked away on our bookshelves. Figurines.. can be a bit messy; amassing on the floor of our closet in droves. And that's compounded by the fac that we all live in a city so space is at a premium. But if the WoW Minis game follows suit with the level of quality and fun of the WoW TCG franchise, then we just might have clean house, get rid of our DVD collection, and make room for a new obsession come Fall 2008.

With Wow Minis product announcement Upper Deck has also launched WoWMinis.com, a website which currently hosts some preliminary details of what will be included in the game. It seems that Terrain will vary and play a role, and we're sure this will affect positional combat as players scramble to guard clothies with armored tanks slugging it out in 1v1. Raids will also be part of the deal, though no details yet on how many or what sort of raids from the WoW MMORPG will appear in the set.

Here are some details from the official announcement:

" Each premium pre-painted miniature will showcase a detailed version of an iconic World of Warcraft character and be mounted on a uniquely engineered removable base, allowing each figure to serve as both a game piece and a collectible. In the spirit of the action and adventure of the MMO, the World of Warcraft Miniatures Game will offer standalone raid and dungeon scenarios, letting players battle either individually or cooperatively against other teams of players or the game itself.

UDE will also launch a robust Organized Play structure for the new World of Warcraft® Miniatures Game, including everything from hobby and in-store tournament programs to Darkmoon Faire events and National and World Championship tournaments.
"

The WoWMinis.com website also makes special note to check back in for more details of the detachable bases that the models will be built on, which will sport some sort of announced feature. It seems that each figure - er mini - has the same exact foot stance, so perhaps these, too, will be interchangeable across all figures. Perhaps some bases themselves will be collectable and offer some sort of buff?

We'll let you know as soon as we find out more as the World of Warcraft Minis game marches toward release this fall.

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February 6, 2008

Risk: Black Ops Ties Up the Lose Ends of a Classic

RiskBlackOps.jpg Ah, yes, the classic game of world domination is getting a sweet facelift coming soon to a table near you. The goal over the overhaul: eradicate those Risk sessions that drone on for hours and hours as two armies march in a hypnotic waves of ebb and flow of continental conquest. In Risk: Black Ops players will be provided a common pool of goal cards dealt from to operations deck, like to take and hold one of the new Capital spaces littered throughout the map. Once a player has three goals the game ends. Yes, Risk now has dynamic goals and an end game. Heck yeah. From GamersWithJobs.com:
"Objectives are missions varying in difficulty, from Minor Objectives like "Control Europe" to Major Objectives like "Take Over Ten Territories in One Turn". There are twelve in all, although in a given game, you only play with eight randomly selected ones (four Major and four Minor). ... Each Objective also offers a randomly drawn Reward for its completion, which varies in value depending on the Objective's difficulty. Minor Rewards (for the Minor Objectives) bestow benefits like additional troop maneuvers or guaranteed cards, while Major Rewards (guess which ones those are for) offer juicy bonuses like an extra die for attack or defense."
Via Gamers With Jobs and Board Game News.
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February 4, 2008

Culdcept Saga - Board Game meets TCG for the Xbox 360


Due out later this week Culdcept Saga for the Xbox360 mixes a 400-card set Trading Card game with a turn-based board game with Monopoly undertones. We've been totally addicted to the demo on Xbox live all week since downloading the demo, and we can see how this game will make a great translation to the multiplayer. Not only is there a relatively deep gaming aspect, but the ability to ante and win cards online is.. well it's awesome really. The movie above is a developer walk-through of one of the levels that you should really take a gander it. Sure, it doesn't seem all that exciting to watch, but playing the game is quite the experience. If you're into casual games and TCGs, and have a bunch of friends on Xbox Live, Culdcept S. seems like just the gift to get us through that dry spot between Christmas and Spring.
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Cities and Knights of Catan

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Wild barbarians, attracted by the wealth of Catan, sailed to attack the country. Fortunately, warning has given Catan time to meet the danger. The size of the barbarian army corresponds to the number of cities in Catan. Thus, for Catan to fend off the barbarian attack, the players must form a knight force as strong as the barbarian force. In addition to fending off the barbarians, players compete to build the 3 great metropolises of Catan. Each of these magnificent centers are worth 2 additional victory points. To build a metropolis, players must invest in city improvements. To acquire these improvements, players must acquire the 3 new types of Trade Cards: Coinage, Paper, and Cloth. These cards can only be gained by building a city next to mountain, forest, or pasture hexes.

At Cities and Knights of Catan

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February 2, 2008

1000+ Assorted Magic the Gathering Cards

51XfZ+-ueCL._AA280_.jpgWe're not sure what you get but a 1000+ Magic the Gathering Cards in a box just to look through could be fun. You'll get 1000 Magic the Gathering Cards from Current sets all the way back to original sets spanning year. The ultimate starter pack to build your collection. 

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February 1, 2008

World of Warcraft - Dark Portal Trading Card Game Starter Deck

41tTyZZM8rL._AA280_.jpg A storm rages in the Blasted Lands as evil stirs within the Dark Portal. Bloodshed in Azeroth intensifies as the Blood Elves and Draenei join the fray. Already, the great conflict spills over into the other world . . . the Burning Legion looks on and plots its next move. Grab your weapons and make ready, the darkness is upon us! -- Heroes will be made. Legends will be written. Heed the Call!!! The Dark Portal Expansion includes everything one player will need to join the struggle.

At World of Warcraft - Dark Portal Trading Card Game Starter Deck

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World of Warcraft TCG: The Feast of Winter Veil Collector's Set

41KjqYh-aEL._AA210_.jpgUpper Deck Entertainment continues its celebrated line of trading card games, opening up an entirely new dimension of the World of Warcraft TCG! The Feast of Winter Veil Collector's Set provides unique content from the beloved in-game holiday event, Winter Veil. Exclusive holiday deck box featuring art from the Winter Veil Collector's Set.

At World of Warcraft TCG: The Feast of Winter Veil Collector's Set

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Magic The Gathering TCG 10th Edition Core Set Fat Pack

51WqHzePQyL._AA280_.jpgThe ideal entry point for new players and forming the backbone of constructed tournament play, Magic: The Gathering 10th Edition sets the standard for Magic, and features some of the best and most popular cards of all-time! This 383-black-bordered card core set is introduced in re-designed 2-Player Starter Games offered in 5-count displays, 40-card theme decks offered in 25-count displays, and 15-card boosters packed in 36-count displays. Also available are Magic: The Gathering 10th Edition Fat Packs containing six boosters, a lifecounter, a player's guide, a 40-card Land Pack, one random Pro-Player Card, two card boxes, and six plastic card dividers.

At Magic The Gathering TCG 10th Edition Core Set Fat Pack
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50 Magic the Gathering MTG Assorted Rares for $14.99

41gzrWAhfKL._AA216_.jpgWant to get 50 Assorted Magic the Gathering cards for cheap? Amazon has a deal for 50 at just $14.95. We're not sure what you get but for $14.99 - we'll take a chance.

  • 50 Assorted Magic the Gathering Rares
  • The perfect Collection Builder
  • All Unplayed mint condition Spanning all magic sets
  • A ton of Magic rares - cheap
At 50 Magic the Gathering MTG Assorted Rares for $14.99
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An Official Blue Moon City Expansion for Free

BlueMoonCity.jpgFantasy Flight games has posted 4 expansion tiles for their popular and critically acclaimed fantasy themed city building board game Blue Moon City

The expansion was original published in the German board game magazine Spielbox, and is now available for free in PDF form on the Fantasy Flight Games website.  Players have to print out the graphics of the 4 additional tiles, cut them out and glue them to cardboard, which doesn't seem so bad considering this stuff is free.

The building tiles and their rules in the expansion are:

  1. Hospital - A player who finishes his/her turn on the hospital draws two additional cards.
  2. Assembly Hall -  A player who finishes their turn on the Assembly Hall may immediately jump to any other building tile but cannot execute any further actions or use special abilities there.

  3. Golden Shrine - A player who finishes their turn on the Golden Shrine may immediately make an offering of crystals to the obelisk in order to place one of their player markers on the obelisk.

  4. Theater - There are no special rules here, but the popcorn is especially delicious.


Enjoy!!
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January 2008 Roundup for Critical Gamers

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We've finally made it through the holiday feasts of December, and we're starting to game at full speed again.  Thankfully we feel like we have a strong foundation of titles to work through after that line of great board game releases last Fall.  Coupled with the World of Warcraft TCG Raid Deck: Maghteridon's Lair this may have been the heaviest month of gaming we've had yet.

Oh and by the way, in regards to Mag's Lair: some people have had an easy time dispatching this four legged beastie from the depths of hell, and we've seen the complaints every which way in the WoW TCG forums about how the raid doesn't scale to challenge those groups with good card collections.  But we've taken matters into our own hands, and have crafted-up some Maghteridon's Lair house rules to even the playing field.

With these rules Magtheridon's Lair might be our favorite raid deck release to date - it's more lethal than the 1/1 Whelp-happy Onyxia's Lair, and has a stronger consistent theme as the epic grind of the 10 bosses of Molten Core.  And considering how well the March of the Leigon set release was, we're thinking the World of Warcraft TCG isn't some passing fancy.  This is a solid TCG series.

This month we're looking forward to getting our hands on the Tide of Iron expansion: Days of the Fox and fighting some intense tank battles through the expansive north African wilderness.  We're also looking forward to hearing more about the Heroes of Might and Magic Kingdoms massively online webgame, which definitely seems like the looker.  And it just so happens that our interest in Travian is starting to fade - you probably won't see it on our "What we're playing" list next month.  Speaking of which...


What We're Playing:

January's Board Game News:

January's TCG and RPG News:

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