May 30, 2008

Board Game Sale - Spring Cleaning at Funagain.com

jackson20-11-20-05a.jpgOne of our favorite board game online super stores is having a spring clearance sale to make room for the new line of 2008 board game. Over 120 items are on sale, or discounted in board game bundles.

Sure some of these titles are forgettable B-Sides, but there's also some mainstream high quality deals to be had. Things like WoW Maghteridon Raid decks, Dreamblade and Magic the Gathering boosters, Axis & Allies titles, and Cranium expansions! Not too shabby!

Here's the official word from Funagain:

It's time to clean out the warehouse! Funagain is having a massive sale, with almost 250 games getting their prices lowered! Act fast because some of these games are extremely limited. If you place a game into your shopping cart and don't see the sale price listed we're sorry, but that item has already sold out at its sale price. Browse the entire sale list by clicking this link.

While you're saving money, don't forget to check out the other great deals we have going on right now:

We still have a few left of our amazing Axis & Allies Pacific and Conquest of the Empire $50 bundle available (regular Funagain price of $83.90)! Just place those 2 games in your cart and use the promo code AAP&CONQUEST.

You can also get our Italy Package for only $50! This package consists of Siena, Il Principe, and Oltre Mare... together they have a regular Funagain price of $99.85 but can be yours for just $50 if you put all three in your cart by clicking this link.


Finally, check out the rest of our promotions.

Enjoy your shopping and have a good weekend everybody!

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 27, 2008

D&D 4th Edition Launches with Keep On the Shadowfell

KeepOnTheShadowFell.jpgThe 4th Edition of D&D has officially launched, and it's with a bang. Keep on the Shadowfell [Amazon] is a standalone adventure designed to get your feet wet with the new D&D 4th Edition Rules. It doesn't require any of the source books (due out in a little over a week) so you can get your D&D game-on 'early'.

The module has been very well received in the D&D Community forums where it's lauded an entertaining and well-written romp. So if you fear marketing prerelease crap, don't fret -- Keep on the Shadowfell is a fantastic introduction to the new edition of D&D, and it should should thoroughly entertain your D&D group as they fight their way close to level 4.

Anything that isn't abundantly clear in the the module is clarified in the updated Keep on the Shadowfell FAQ, or in the Keep on the Shadowfell thread in the official forms.

Next week the D&D 4th Edition Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide and Monster Manual all ship next week. Yes all of them ship at once, unlike previously reported, and you can even get them in a bundled slipcase for a sweet little discount. This is going to be one heck of a summer.

ArrowContinue reading: "D&D 4th Edition Launches with Keep On the Shadowfell"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 23, 2008

Diplomacy Board Game Resources

Diplomacy50thAnniversary.jpgA few weeks ago GamesByEmail released Politics - a clone of the classic board game Diplomacy [Amazon, Funagain] - and we've been plugging away at it ever since. Tears have been shed, fists have slammed tables, and vengeance has been made for past transgressions. Ever turn is a chess match of lies and military maneuvers. We absolutely love this game.

When we first picked-up up Diplomacy on this 49th anniversary of its original release, we were a bit rusty. It had been a few years since we last played Diplomacy via email (and we gotta say we love the easy of use of the GamesByEmail browser based game), so some of us needed a bit of a refresher on the rules before we could start sliding knives into each others kidneys.

We're sure that at some point you and your friends might need some Diplomatic refreshers, too. So here's a collection of links that will help clarify the rules in your backstabbing noggin. We've also included links to other resources and tools that could help you and your friends with your strategic collaboration, and - of course - well timed subterfuge.

Official Information
The Rules of Diplomacy are trade marked, so you can only get them at the source!

  • Official Diplomacy Website [link]
  • Official Diplomacy Rules [pdf]
  • Quick Teaching Guide [pdf]


Game Clients
People have been playing Diplomacy through email for years But if you're ready to ditch the 1970's listserv technology, then checkout these two great ways to play the game on your computer:

  • GamesByEmail [link] Launched just recently, the GamesByEmail clone of Diplomacy called Politics is the one stop Diplomacy playing shop. The game lets players submit orders through a web browser, and also communicate with private chat rooms all built in-to the game. There's even a Auto Judge that you can use as a tool to test out your moves for a turn.
  • Realpolitik [link]: Before Politics hit the scene we had very good results with using the downloadable client Realpolitik. It comes in both Mac and Windows varieties, and it lets players play with their orders to prototype moves. Once set, a player's moves can be exported and emailed to a judge, who can use the client to import orders, resolve a turn, and send an updated Realpolitik file back to the players - then the whole process starts anew. A very easy clean and easy to use client and tool.


Tutorials

  • Diplomacy World's Video Tutorials [link]: [ A perfect refresher to older players, and a good primer for new players, these videos hosted on YouTube make a great first start for detailing the rules. Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
  • Diplomacy Tutorial & Sample Game [link]: For those of you who who'd rather read that watch, we suggested this very detailed tutorial for those who'd rather read than watch. Sure, reading hard and might take longer, but ,ore is covered than in the other two Tutorials listed here.
  • Ry4an.org's Tutorial Slideshow [link]: Batting cleanup is this nice little tutorial. It's a great refresher and brings-hom all the rule's you've just learned.


Maps

  • Our Favorite Map (color) [link]: Clean lines, clear text, this is our absolutely favorite Diplomacy map for planning our grand campaign. Hosted by The Diplomacy Pouch.
  • A Two Toned Map [link] Lacks Province Names but great for printing.
  • Crockford Diplomacy Map [link]: A fantastic map that cleanly shows the neighbors of each territory in a block format. Great for when you're tired of looking at squiggly lines, and trying to figure-out which coastal zones neighbor particular territories.


Diplomacy Sites
We've gone through and pulled links to numerous resources from these sites. We tried to pick the cream of the crop, but if you're left unsatisified then beging your search for more information here!

  • The Diplomatic Pouch [link]
  • Diplomacy World [link]
  • Diplomacy's Wikipedia Page [link]

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 21, 2008

WoW TCG Official Card Sleeves Review

WoWTCGDeckSleevesAlliance.jpg

Flash in the pan gamers might not care about material things, but Collectors love to keep their cards in tip top shape. True die-hards shuffle their cards without bending them to ensure lasting value, or precisely position their fingers to pickup each card without peeling back or wearing corners. But still - the normal dealings of collectible card game gameplay devalues their babies no matter how careful players and collectors are.

We're somewhat with these obsessive folks, and we originally tried Ultra Pro Deck Protectors to our disappointment. They were cheap, see-through pieces of .. plastic. Sure, they protected our cards, but they were wrapped in a frictionless, floppy baggy that made shuffling a trial of dexterity. Even worse, cards tended to rotate with the slightest vibration in the floor, or fly off tables with a simple toss from the hand. The cards were near impregnable, will give them that, but as they arched through the air in their protective pouch, onwards down into the dog dish, we wondered: is all this really worth the trouble?

Protecting our investment became a chore more than feeling of pride. Isn't gaming supposed to be fun? Then Upper Deck released these bad boys.

The official World of Warcraft TCG Deck Sleeves [Horde, Alliance, Neutral] come in 75 a pack - not 40 sleeves like the leading brand. That means one pack of these things will cover your entire deck and side deck. Quite nice. And though they're slathered with a pretty slick Alliance or Horde emblem on one side, that's not the best part.

The best feature of these cards is that the back is textured. It makes shuffling a snap, and it keeps the cards from hitting mach 3 when they land on the table.

ThumbsUp.jpgConclusion
What seemed like a token sell-out product from Upper Deck churns out to be a killer hit. Sure the deck sleeves seem like a little thing, but isn't it hte little things in life that we're supposed to stop an appreciate?

Darn right.

Edit: These used to be available at the Upper Deck Store, but no longer. You can find them at Amazon.com. If they hit the Upper Deck store again then we'll let you know!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (our rating system)

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 19, 2008

Lost Cites for Xbox Live - Walkthrough

Sierra Online, the publisher of the recently releases Xbox Live Arcade version of Lost Cities for the Xbox 360, has released this walkthrough video of the Lost Cities gameplay. Anyone wanting to checkout the rules of Lost Cities, or to see the quality of the digital adaptation, should look no further!

The video comes via GameTrailers.com. For more information on Lost Cities for the Xbox Live checkout our Lost Cities release story.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 15, 2008

Settlers of Catan Game Cards - Melt those Wrinkles Away

SettlersOfCatanCards.jpgEven if you're one of those obsessive washers, hands are oily, greasy, dirty mittens of bacterial jucinesses by nature. Everything they touch tarnishes and melts, including such luxuries as gold, diamonds, silverware, puppy dogs and kittens.. and your games, too.

If the cards in your Settlers of Catan set are sittin' pretty, then move along - there's nothing for you here. But if you look at your Settlers box o' cards and they seem cold, toothless and grey, and you don't want to fully upgrade to the full Settlers of Catan 4th Edition set, then Mayfair might have a compromise right up your alley.

For a fraction of the cost of the full game, you can upgrade / replace your warn or lost set Settlers of Catan cards [Amazon, Funagain] , including both resource and development cards, without the nuisance of writing the manufacturer directly and hoping there's someone with a pulse on the other end.. Plus, you get the full blow 4th Edition quality of materials and artwork to boot. Not bad for under 10 bucks.

Why is this such a big deal? Well when Mayfair brought out the 4th Edition of Catan, many folks might have found the upgrade cost prohibitive. Now you can get half the upgrade for a fraction of the price!

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 13, 2008

Axis & Allies Guadalcanal - Do You Know What You're Doing?

AxisAndAlliesGuadalCanal.jpgAxis and Allies Guadalcanal [Amazon, Funagain] - the latest installment to the venerable line of WWII strategy board games by Larry Harris of Avalon Hill - has been on store shelves nearly half a year. We're sure you've put the game through the paces yourselves, grabbing islands and securing airbases in the name of the Japanese Empire or the United States Navy and Marines.

We assume you've already read the preview articles detailing all aspects of the game, but do you really have a winning strategy in tact? Are you sure your approaching the conflict with all of the game's mechanics of economy and military force in mind?

Over the last few weeks Avalon Hiil (now owned by Wizards of the Coast) has been posting some interesting Strategy Guides covering all aspects of the war. They're lengthy, in depth, and could go far in helping you beat your 'friend' who thinks he's the second coming of Isoroku Yamamoto. Definitely worth the time of any Axis and Allies fan:

  1. Part 1: Game Mechanics [link]
  2. Part 2: Making the Most of Units [link]
  3. Part 3: Building a Winning Strategy [link]
Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 10, 2008

WoW TCG Servants of the Betrayer Review

ServantsOfBetrayerBoosterBox.jpgThe Servants of the Betrayer [Amazon, Funagain] release marks 5th set of the solidified World of Warcraft trading card game. No longer the new kid on the block, Upper Deck now has a foundation of cards and mechanics to work with, and as the middle set release in the Outland series (between March of the Legion and The Hunt for Illidan coming later this year) the Servants of the Betrayer has the potential to both solidify the style of the game, the set, and steer the entire franchise in new directions at the same time.

But does it pull it off?

The Setting
MarksmanGlous.jpgThis set release includes a standard lot of heroes, each sports new flip powers, specialization the works -- as is the norm. But Upper Deck found the story of Outland - the shattered and floating home world of the orcs that the current detailed focus is the World of Warcraft MMORPG - needed an extra oomph beyond the stock set of heroes.

Outland is ruled over by a particular bitchy demon named Illidan Stormrage who's nicknamed The Betrayer, hence the name of this expansion release. Outland's story is saturated with backstabbers, traitors, and unsavories, and Upper Deck aimed to bring that feeling home in the WoW TCG version of this setting.

ArrowContinue reading: "WoW TCG Servants of the Betrayer Review"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 7, 2008

"Cooperation and Engagement: What Can Board Games Teach Us?"

Matt Leacock, creator of the homebrew cooperative board game Pandemic [Amazon, Funagain, Ebay], recently gave a talk describing his experiences and lessons learned from his exploration of game design. It's a must-watch for aspiring game designers; his talk is chalkful of info, and he offers some smart warnings on how to avoid certain design process pitfalls.

Pandemic has players cooperate to cure the world of 4 epidemic diseases plaguing the world. Diseases left untreated spread across the map, and everyone loses if things get too out of control. The title has inspired gobs of users created content, most of which can be found on Pandemic's Board Game Geek page.

Pandemic is currently in short order, but you can pick up some pretty cheap copies on Ebay.


Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 5, 2008

Age of Conan Board Game Fall 2008

Conan.jpgBack in 2006 we reported that the upcoming MMORPG Age of Conan was getting a board game adaptation from Nexus games (Marvel Heroes, War of the Ring, Descent ) in late 2007. Well, unfortunately the online game's schedule has slipped - now scheduled for a Summer 2008 release - and so has the subsequent board game adaptation. But fear not, you'll still be able to smash heads in Crom's name, you'll just have to do it later than expected.

The new targeted release date: Late 2008.

Gaming Report has the full story on the release schedule and product info, as well as these other juicy game details.

Here are the updated game details, which have changed somewhat since the game's first announcement:

"In Age of Conan: The Board Game, 2-4 players control the lands of Aquilonia, Hyperborea, Turan, and Stygia, trying to increase power and influence in the Hyborian Age, while trying to influence the mighty Conan to side with them -- or at least against their enemies! Age of Conan: The Board Game will be released by FFG in late 2008."

For more of the evolving game details, checkout this great story on BoardGameNews. We'll keep you posted of the official details of the game as they're released.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 2, 2008

A Touch of Evil Board Game - Hunting Monsters in Fall '08

ATouchOfEvil.jpgThe team behind The Last Night on Earth - a fantastic zombie hunting board game that was one of our favorite releases last year - has announced another monster braining title for Fall 2008. A Touch of Evil looks to put zombies to rest and open the door to a variety of evil monsters types. Gameplay centers around a cast B-Movie stereotypical monster hunting heroes slaying a variety of different monster types. We picture Van Helsing, but good.

Players can play in two modes : cooperative against a difficult uber monster boss, or a players can compete in a race to be the first to slay a more benign beastie.

Reading over the official details makes us reminisce about the amazing Buffy the Vampire board game, which had such fantastically balanced cooperative gameplay. In that title from decades past, players took on the roles of the show's heroes to battle one of the arch villains from various seasons of the show. Settlers of Catan made our game group officially organized, but it was Buffy that drew us back into board gaming in the first place.

Though we truly love Flying Frogs Productions' previous title Last Night on Earth and what it did for the zombie board game genre, the zombie romp has some balancing issues that make some of the few included scenarios more a chore than fun braining experience. That's ok, though, because there really are only a handful of Zombie board games out there, and Last Night On Earth stands heads and shoulders above the rest even with these flaws. But with there being such a strong presence of good, well balanced, cooperative games in the general monster hunt Halloween gaming collection, including Buffy, Arkham Horror, etc. we hope Flying Flog puts A Touch of Evil through a well-designed gauntlet of playability and balancing tests. We might not be as forgiving given since the established library of high quality monster hunting games has set the bar pretty high.

Enough prerelease critiquing. Here are the official details:

"A Touch of Evil, The Supernatural Game is a fast-paced game of fiendish creatures, dashing Heroes, and high-adventure. Each player takes on the role of a unique monster-hunting Hero, racing against time to stop the forces of darkness from claiming another foothold in the world of man. Only by investigating the town and building your Hero's strength can you hope to hunt down the Supernatural Villain to his Lair and defeat him in an epic Showdown. Players can race Competitively to be the first to defeat the Villain and save the town, or they can work together Cooperatively to defeat a much stronger Villain. Featuring a gameboard map of Shadowbrook and its surrounding countryside, eight Heroes to choose from, and four different Supernatural Villains to hunt; each with its own host of unique Minions and powers to drastically change the game. A Touch of Evil is designed to create an adventurous cinematic feel as the story and game unfolds.

So grab up your Wooden Stake, stuff some shot in that Musket, and hold onto your Tri-corn Hat; no one is safe from the creatures of the night and no one can be trusted...for inside everyone lies A Touch of Evil."

A Touch of Evil is currently scheduled for a Fall 2008 release. We'll check back in with details of the game later this summer.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

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