April 8, 2010

Invasion from Outer Space Coming Soon

InvasionFromOuterSpace.jpgRemember how amazingly well themed and entertaining Flying Frog Production's cooperative zombie board game Last Night on Earth was? Yeah, well now they're back another zany and outrageous setting (we weren't strong enough fans of the theme of 2008's classic monster mashup).

Survival horror will soon hit all new levels of craziness when 1950s styled Martians make landfall on earth. Too bad they picked an open field next to a circus tent jam packed of humans with quirky superhuman qualities. And were' not just talking about mundane circuis jerks or monocled grifters guessing weights, either. We're talking strong men in wide striped bathing suits, and yes, even you, too, could play as JoJo the Dancing Bear.

And the best news yet? The game will be compatible with Last Night on Earth. So you could mix Circus Freaks and Zombies, or perhaps a Martian versus Zombie apocalypse. Dibs on the movie rights.

Here are the official details:


"Invasion From Outer Space, The Martian Game is a fast-paced game of fiendish Martians, Big Top Heroes, and SciFi Movie Action. Players take on the role of either the Carnival Heroes, using their special talents and working together to fight off the Martian Invasion; or as the invaders themselves, waves of Martian Soldiers and Flying Saucers, blasting Humans with Ray Guns and unleashing their vile alien technologies upon the Earth.

Featuring a modular game board, eight Carnival Heroes to choose from (such as the Fire Breather, Strongman, or Jo Jo, the dancing Bear), an army of Martians to start the invasion (including Martian Champions such as the dreaded Zard Beast), and several different Scenarios to play that drastically change the game; Invasion From Outer Space is designed to create a cinematic feel as the story and game unfolds."


We'll let you know when this puppy gets a shipping date. So far all we know is 2010. We're thinking summertime.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 7, 2010

Mystery Express a Fantastic Who Done It Board Game

MysteryExpress.jpgPublisher Days of Wonder has shipped their first, and the latest and greatest, take on the classic Who Done It board game. Mystery Express [Amazon, Funagain] takes the murderer deduction game to the Orient Express.

The game features the heavy production value that attain a level that only Days of Wonder can achieve, and the gameplay matches that high level of craftsmanship. Fans of Clue, Mystery at the Abbey, or .. well, Whodunit? should find a game that's a more complex (and therefore interesting) deduction game, and definitely worth your time.

And here are some resources for you to check out. First up is Our Previous Coverage about the game. Also, checkout this great user review that Compares Mystery Express with other leading deduction games. Finally there's Dice Tower's Video Review which are always great to watch to get a grasp on gameplay.

And finally here are the game's details from the game's official website:


"Mystery Express is a whodunit deduction game from Days of Wonder. The murder that takes place on the Orient Express incorporates 5 different elements represented by a set of Crime cards. Players take on the role of one of 5 traveling characters, each who has their own special powers of deduction. The player who figures out the who, what, when, where and why of the murder before the end of the journey wins.

Designed by Antoine Bauza and Serge Laget, Mystery Express is an imaginative new take on the classic deduction board game, made up of top-notch components and unique, period-perfect illustrations."


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 6, 2010

Combat Commander Normandy Review on BGN

CombatCommanderNormandyFFG.jpgThe serious gaming lads over at Board Game News have posted a a very in-depth review of the Combat Commander Normandy board game expansion to the original Combat Commander system.

Overall the review is extraordinarily positive, as we knew it would be. Combat Commander really is the current high watermark of WWII tactical gaming systems that's in depth yet approachable at the same time. The review hits all of the important parts, from new terrain rules, combat rules, and a review of the scenarios and the campaign, so it's definitely worth your while.

Here's a snippet:


"So what's to be found in the innocent-looking, tranquil-green folder? Eight new maps, all about Normandy (with bocage galore); a metric ton of new markers, with more new leaders than you can shake a BAR at; 17 new scenarios to get your Ranger adrenaline pumping (get those gliders ready); and special rules to cover situations specific to the Normandy topographical and military situation, including a unique rule set for a multi-scenario campaign game.

If that's not enough, you can go sit on a Teller mine. "


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 5, 2010

Battles of Westeros Continues to Intrigue Us

BattlesofWesterosCards.png
The preview details of the Battles of Westeros (the Song of Ice and Fire wargame system) continue to march on. Previous installments have spoken to the game's combat mechanics, the roles of battle leader's, and the various terrain we'll encounter in the board game.

The latest installment of the preview series "Control in the Field" details the numerous ways you'll control your force on the board. Like most FFG war games, tokens will be placed on activated units showing you that you've moved them this turn. Troops moved in this most basic way can be do their most basic things, like attack, pet their direwolves, and swear at mummers.

There's a bit of added complexity at this level, and we're not quite sure how it's going to pay off. Various troop types require different colored tokens to move. Green troops of the lowest veterancy (we assume) are activated by green tokens, but there are also blue, red and purple tokens as well, which are used to activate other levels of troops. We'll get back to this in a second.

But then there are the leaders, which is where things get pretty freaking interesting. Leaders can control forces within a small range around them (presumably earshot) and are activated with cards from your hand. These will let troops to some extraordinary things. Some will require you to have placed a certain number of specific color activation tokens on the board first, which is pretty interesting. A card might require you to have certain quantities of spare veteran troop movement tokens left over before using it, but that means that for this turn, some of your veteran troops might have to sit on the sideline.

The article mentions this level of balance that you have to consider each turn. When to commit certain forces to either force your opponent's hand, or to enact your will upon your enemy. All the while you're working at the goal of getting the correct number of certain color activation tokens to time your special leader abilities in your hand. Meanwhile, your opponent might be playing a cat and mouse game waiting to pounce on you, too.

That sounds really deep. And really darn exciting.

For more information checkout the Battles of Westeros official website. We'll keep an eye peeled for more insightful articles as they're published.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 2, 2010

Small World Hits iPad on Launch Day. Crazy!

SmallWorldIPad.JPGWow. We've always admired Days of Wonder to be one of the more tech savvy board game publisher. Each of their titles ships with a codes printed on their instructions that let you play their games on their online game site. That means that for every game they work to produce in card board form, there's another incarnation brewing in their computer lab, too.

So if any one publisher was going to make a shift to the iPad, we suppose it would have been Days of Wonder. No surprise there. But to have a game on iPad launch day? Crazy.

Check out the official website for more information on Small World for iPad. Or checkout the 'analog' version of the boardgame at Amazon or Funagain Games.

Here's the official word:


Small World is an award-winning fantasy game where players vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate all of the zany races such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs and even humans that inhabit it. Sitting across from each other around the iPad, you will use your troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other players' races off the face of the earth, in this rip-roaring fun digital board game.
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 31, 2010

World of Warcraft Adventure Game Sale on Tanga

WorldOfWarcraftAG.jpgToday's Tanga Game of the Day is the second attempt from Fantasy Flight Games to make a fun board game about World of Warcraft. Yes, we don't like the original World of Warcraft Board Game because it's essentially a 4-8 exercise of counting tokens and pulling them off boards, and then counting tokens and putting them on boards, then 5 minutes of reading cards, and then about 2 seconds of tossing dice. Rinse, repeat.

Now this rebooted second attempt, the World of Warcraft Adventure Game [Amazon, Funagain] is a far more streamlined title that's 'good'. It's fun for Warcraft Fans but it does miss the AAA level of gaming coolness. Warcraft fans should have a ball, general board game fans might have fun working through a game of Runebound instead.

Here are some reviews for your perusal:

And here's the abbreviated the official game description. For more information check the game's Amazon or Tanga page (above):


World of Warcraft: the Adventure Game is an exciting and fast-paced journey through the world of Azeroth for 2 to 4 players. Choose your favorite hero and embark on an epic journey from humble beginnings to immense power, battling vicious monsters, powerful overlords, and your treacherous fellow players! Will you be the mightiest hero in all the land?

Have a good Tuesday!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 30, 2010

Advanced (Skirmish) Wars Board Game

SWAT.jpgWe love strategy war games, be them on the table top, on your desktop, or even on handhelds, and Advanced Wars for the Nintendo DS is one of the classics. It mixes the best of the old school Panzer General games and makes it fast, fun, and colorful.

Some loyal fans of that series of games has taken it upon themselves to produce downloadable kits for you to print and create your own version of the game, this time designed for your table top. The project called "Skirmish Wars" can be downloaded here. And the rules for the game on on the Skirmish Wars Advanced Tactics Wiki.

We just heard of this title via Kotaku, so we haven't printed it out and taken it for a spin yet (normally we like to test the waters before posting about games), but from what we see the materials look top notch.

You might want to court an artsy-fartsy friend who has the equipment to print on cardboard because who really wants to play this with slips of paper? Luckily we have such a art-savy techno-dork on hand. He only has a certain amount of stock, so, uh get your own.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 29, 2010

Microsoft Surface, D&D and PAX East 2010

A far more advanced version of Dungeon & Dragons on the upcoming Microsoft Surface was demoed at the Penny Arcade Expo in Boston this weekend.

Now we thought that the the Surface was going to be projection based, and the Philips Entertaible was the easier to use back-lit multi-touch display. But it seems that the Surface has also gone in this direction, too, using infrared to identify pieces and orientation.

This simply looks amazing. You should pay attention if you're not a D&D fan -- this could be the future for all board games. While we're sure that some titles will still be on your shelf with full fledged pieces, think of the potential for new game systems designed specifically for these touch surfaces. Expansions, new scenarios, user content, multiplayer over the interwebs, and *Gasp* the ability to save your game and play multi-session epic board games. Massive battles, long term narrative, play with friends across the country. The skies are the limit.

Of course this thing is going to be uber expensive when it ships, and yeah ... there is that grey cloud on the horizon. You have to believe the technology will be cheap enough for the mass market within a few years after release.

Come on technology!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 25, 2010

Combat Commander Battle Pack 3: Normandy Hits Shelves

CombatCommanderNormandy.jpgCombat Commander is shaping up to be the best WWII series of tactical board games to for this new century. Seriously, it's that good. If you're a WWII buff and you don't mind chit-based games, the we don't know what you're waiting for.

And now on its third battlepack installment Normandy [Funagain, GMT] (Paratroopers & Stalingrad were the previous) the game takes the focus to the beaches of northern France through 17 new scenarios. A slew of famous battles are included, from the US Rangers scaling the suicidal cliffs of Pont-du-Hoc, to the storming of Sword Beach by British troops, to the subsequent firefights in the bocage country.

These aren't overarching fights all glossed over and abstracted. Nope, these are nitty grity fights with scenarios based on the storming of specific gun positions, navigating bloody trench positions with overarching fire, or defending cities from counter attacks. There's even a multi-scenario campaign that recreates a week-long fight of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Devision as it assaults St Lô.

As a battle pack - and not a stand alone set - you will need both Combat Commander Europe and Combat Commander Mediterranean in order to have all of the required pieces and rules. Don't look glum if you don't have these sets though, because that only means you have even more Combat Commander content ahead of you. Pick them up!

Here's a snippet of the official game details (below the fold). For more information about Combat Commander Battle Pack #3, check-out the game's official website here:

ArrowContinue reading: "Combat Commander Battle Pack 3: Normandy Hits Shelves"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 19, 2010

Battles of Westeros Board Game Previews

GregorClegane.pngSome more details about the upcoming Song of Ice and Fire set wargame system Battles of Westeros have made their way onto the net. We definitely like what we see.

While not the highlight of the day the combat rules of the feature article "Art of War" are interesting, with the various levels of troop veterancy and even the base odds of Mounted vs Foot soldiers all taken care of in the odds of the 8 sided dice. The thing that really fills our engine though is this idea of captains on the field. Certain cards that you'll play during the course of a battle will only be able to affect troops if they're within earshot of the commanding officers. These are called Controlled Units. Here's a snippet:


"...typically only controlled units can by ordered using Leadership cards. Controlled units have a stronger immunity to adverse effects that target only uncontrolled units; also, many helpful effects can only be triggered or used by controlled units. We'll cover these effects, as well as Leadership cards, in future previews... "

So expect to see troop formations with clustered movements as opponents vye for control of the field.

The thing we like the most from this article this idea of engaged troops. Two units that square off against each other will enter this "engaged" state and a marker will be put between the two. If another squad of troops attacks an engaged unit, then it's categorized as a Flanking Attack and the attack roll can be rolled twice (if the first attack was an utter failure). This simple, elegant emphasis on positioning is much welcomed, and a great way to increase the depth of the game without putting throwing too many complicated rules in our face.

The second article "Lay of the Land" goes over the various terrain hex tiles that will be placed upon the board to customize the scenarios. We love the inclusion of roads which allow you to move troops across the field faster on a quick march, something that's often overlooked in these types of games.

Well keep you posted of more Battles of Westeros as they're released. So far the game seems to be a step up in complexity from BattleLore, but without becoming as complicated as other Fantasy Flight Games titles. We're stoked about what we've seen so far.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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