November 18, 2009

Dominion Seaside Video Review from The Dice Tower

Tom Vasel from The Dice Tower has done a nice job breaking down the major points of latest Dominion expansion: Dominion Seaside [Amazon, Funagain] in his video review (above).

We have to agree that Seaside trumps the previous Dominion Intrigue expansion when it comes for bang-for-the-buck and the sheer number of new, interesting elements that extend the base set. Not that Intrigue is a slouch.

We're also huge fans of the way the direction the game, adding interesting turn order mechanics and the element of persistence to the already fantastic suite of cards. This set also brings the number of different combination of cards in any given round to 954,526,728,530. Yes, 954 Brazillion. You could buy insurance on 'no two games ever being the same', but you would be throwing your money away.

We love Dominion, and we're loving Dominion Seaside. BTW Tom: nice tie.

76 card types discounting curses, money and the three standard victory points, and 10 cards in a round. 76*75*74*73*72*71*70*69*68*67 / 10! = 954,526,728,530
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 16, 2009

Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 Details

AA25Pacific.jpg

By all accounts and purposes the limited edition 50th Anniversary Edition of the Axis & Allies was a huge success last year. Not only did it sell out faster than Spam at DEFCON 2, but the game itself is the best A&A experience around. Nothing rivals its scale, balance, and playability when it comes to global WWII conflict.

So push all of the mojo down into the Pacific Theater and you get the idea behind this new surprise installment. A&A Pacific 1940 includes a large format board (a bit smaller than 50th Anniversary, for good reasons we'll detail in a bit), good sculptures, new units, new rules, and new factions. Our friends over at Axis & Allies.org have a great rundown of all the features known of the release so far.

There are three major things of note that we've pulled from there. First, China will be back in full force like it was in the 50th Anniversary Edition. We loved the meat grinder battles with China and Japan, and the interesting spawn mechanics in that theater which seem to have also been adopted for this installment. Second, Battleships and Carriers can be damaged (on one hit, sunk on 2) but need to be brought back to port before being fixed.

Finally, A&A Pacific 1940 will be compatible with its newly announced cousin: A&A Europe which should launch in the second quarter 2010. Can you imagine the awesomeness of two large format A&A experiences going down in a mega WWII A&A fight that'll make the Anniversary edition seem like a bowl of kittens? We can't. We might just have to dedicate a room to it and have a game constantly going for a year.

We'll keep you apprised of the details as we get closer to the release. Until then checkout the Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 Pictures and Fact Sheet on A&A.org, because there's lots of new stuff going on with this new installment. Here are the official details:


"Axis & Allies celebrates 25 years of strategy war gaming with the release of a deluxe theater-level game in December 2009. Axis & Allies Pacific 1940, designed and developed by Larry Harris, will utilize the updated rules established in A&A Anniversary Edition. Two new combat units will debut in this game, Tactical Bombers and Mechanized Infantry. Australia and New Zealand, joined together as the ANZAC forces, will debut as a new playable ally. China will field more forces than ever before, but will need all the help they can get from their allies the United States, ANZAC and the UK to withstand the might of Imperial Japan.

Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 will feature an oversized board that measures 35" wide by 32" high. With over 450 pieces, deluxe game components and local storage boxes, this game will raise the standard established by A&A Anniversary Edition. All new rules for neutral nations, naval & air bases, kamikaze attacks and convoy disruption will add even more depth and historical accuracy to this giant game."


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 8, 2009

Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912 Released

TicketToRideEurope1912.jpgYes, it's true, Ticket to Ride Europa 1912 [Amazon, Funagain] expands upon Ticket to Ride Europe in the same way that the 1910 expansion rebalanced Ticket to Ride (USA) for the better. It more than doubles the amount of route cards that come with the original game, and comes with three variants on how to setup route decks for interesting meta game scenarios. Will you add the major city route cards that make the game very hub centric, add some new specialized route cards for a new optimum mix of European cities, or mix them all together for a 100+ route card deck; the ultimate in replability?

But, to be honest, that's not the major draw here. That's because Ticket to Ride Europa also has new rules and pieces to expand upon all versions of Ticket to Ride. Hows that then? Well imagine player selected cities sitting on the board, each cultivating their own collection of train cards as you play. Tha'ts right, a full hand of cards could be your reward for connecting to some strategically selected cities! Very, very interesting. We'll let the official PR release explain:


"This expansion also introduces Warehouses & Depots -- new game rules and pieces that create an additional strategic layer and can be played with any of the Ticket to Ride maps. Wooden Train Depots are placed on cities selected by each player. Throughout the game, each player's Warehouse will accumulate Train cards and those who have the foresight, clever timing, or just plain good fortune to build a route to a Depot can make off with a fistful of Train cards. Depot placement and skillful Warehouse tactics become a key part of a winning Ticket to Ride strategy!"

Dare we say brilliant? Ok, perhaps that's going too far, but it really is a slick mechanic that doesn't cause a lot of over head, and it should spice up any Ticket to Ride set quite nicely. And at a low price point, this would definitly make a nice stocking stuffer come the Holidays.

Ticket to Ride Europa 1912 is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 1, 2009

Critical Gamers' October 2009 Board Game Roundup

WarhammerInvasionBox1.jpgWe played a lot of games this month. A real lot. Its like we're waking from our standard Thanksgiving Turkey Hangover but it's only November 1st. Scary.

We played new games we've thoroughly enjoyed, like both Warhammer Chaos in the Old World board game, and the Warhamer Invasion Living Card Game. We played old classics like Power Grid, Dominion, A Game of Thrones, and D&D, and had a blast with all of them. Then we played the new Battlestar Galactica expansion Pegasus and left the table shrugging 'meh'.

Seriously though. So many games. So little time. If you pick up anything from this month, then we suggest Dominion Seaside, Warhammer Living Card Game, and Warhammer Mark of Chaos. Yes, two Warhammer titles. And we're not known to be Warhammer fans at all.

Here was all the news from last month:

Board Games

Card Games

Cheap Deals & Sales

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Gaming News

RPGs

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 30, 2009

Carcassonne: Wheel of Fortune

CarcassonneWheelOfFortune.jpg
The new Wheel of Fortune [Amazon, Funagain] stand alone expansion aims to add a bit more luck to your base line Carcassonne experience, without being one of those flashy, game breaking additions that shoots pieces through flaming hoops across the room and calls it 'fun for all ages'. (We're looking at you Catapult expansion).

Instead of gimmics, the new Wheel of Fortune piece frequently lets you score some points based on the current state of the game. Knights might be periodically scoring points based on the cities they occupy, and farmers might be netting players points even before the end game. It all depends on when and where the dancing pig lands on the new 4x4 starter piece containing the wheel.

What gets the pig moving is dots marked on the new base set of pieces, which replace the standard Carcassonne set. Whenever a piece with a mark is pulled, the Pig marker on the Wheel of Fate will rotate around. Different things happen wherever he lands, like the aforementioned knight and farmer scorings. Players might also score points based on the number of unappropriated meeples in their bank, or they might even be forced to remove a meeple from play if the pig lands on the dreaded Pest (ie: plague) fortune slice.

Interesting enough, and it doesn't feel forced on us like recently expansions. Rio Grande Game might have been running out of Carcassonne ideas over the last few years, but this one seems solid.

Here are the official details:


For years, knights, monks, farmers and builders have been undisturbed in their. But now a mysterious Wheel of Fortune changes the course of events in Carcassonne.

The plague sends followers back home, famines must be fought. The players also receive additional points from knights, which collect taxes. Whoever is in the right place at the right moment, moves his destiny in the right direction.

For everyone who knows the original Carcassonne game, the start is especially easy, because the Wheel of Fortune comes with just a few easy rules added to make a whole new game experience. Furthermore, the material of Wheel of Fortune can combine with the original Carcassonne and all the available extensions for even greater adventure.

Wheel of Fate is both a full replacement for the base game of Carcassonne and an expansion to the original base game. It includes 72 tiles, consisting of 63 tiles released in the original base game, 6 from Inns & Cathedrals, 1 from Traders & Builders and 2 from King & Scout. It also includes a special replacement start tile which depicts the Wheel of Fortune, a new mechanic unique to this edition of the game. The new start tile is the size of 16 tiles, arranged in a 4x4 square and is built using some of the tiles removed from the base game.


Carcassonne Wheel of Fortune is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 27, 2009

Memoir '44 Sword of Stalingrad Coming Soon

SwordofStalingrad.jpgDays of Wonder has posted details about an upcoming Battle Map expansion to the Memoir '44 franchise. Set during the German siege of Stalingrad in 1942, this expansion will include two new scenarios, and more interestingly a new Urban Combat deck of cards.

Like the previous Battlemap installments the new Sword of Stalingrad includes a large board for some epic fights. The drawback: you'll need the materials to get the thing up and going. The system is meant for players with two copies of Memoir '44, or a single copy with the Overlord Expansion. And if you want to use the real Russian troops on the board, then you'll also need Memoir '44 Eastern Front (something that you really should have anyway -- Western Europe has been done to death).

Full product details and rules for the upcoming expansion can be found at the Memoir '44 Sword of Stalingrad website.


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 23, 2009

Dominion: Seaside Expansion

DominionSeaside.jpgThanks for the large collection of card types, last year's fantastic 'card game in a box' Dominion [Amazon, Funagain] can be played countless times without ever running into the same game twice. Then Dominion Intrigue [Amazon, Funagain] hit the shelves and added 25 new card types. Seeing as you only play with 10 randomly selected card types in any given match, the chances you'd play a game with the same collection of cards is nearring same probability that Burt Reynolds will make appearance as a nun in a fat suit in Martin Scorsese's premier rock opera.

So when we heard that the Dominion: Seaside Expansion [Amazon, Funagain] just washed up on shores (Dominion Intrigue launched only 3 months ago), we were wondering what the point was. We could play Dominion and Intrigue for 30 years, build a time machine, and go back to 1984 and continue playing for the next 30. Chances are we'd still be playing the game with new and interesting card combinations.

Thankfully Dominion Seaside doesn't just add more content inside the current idea of Dominion, but changes the meta rules of the game. We'll quickly explain.

Seaside is themed with oceanic travel. Pirates, islands, merchant ships and ghost ships. What's interesting is how these themes play into the elements of the game. Most importantly are the new card mechanics that effect both your turn, and your NEXT turn, like tides rolling in twice. Or the light house card that remains in play until it's your turn again, keeping a watch out for you against attackers. There are definitely some interesting game changers that are implemented in interesting ways.

Our frustration subsided once we learned all this. Checking into player experiences with the game, early-bird gamers seem entirely satisfied and enthusiastic about where this series is going. Its not just a shotgun blast of more cards but the game is changing with this expansion - just as a CCG would and should do with its next set release.

Bravo. That's just what the doctored ordered. And it seems to have been very well executed to boot.

Here are the official details:


All you ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by. And someone who knows how to steer ships using stars. You finally got some of those rivers you'd wanted, and they led to the sea. These are dangerous, pirate-infested waters, and you cautiously send rat-infested ships across them, to establish lucrative trade at far-off merchant-infested ports.

First, you will take over some islands, as a foothold. The natives seem friendly enough, crying their peace cries, and giving you spears and poison darts before you are even close enough to accept them properly. When you finally reach those ports you will conquer them, and from there you will look for more rivers. One day, all the rivers will be yours.

This is the 2nd addition to Dominion. It adds 26 new Kingdom cards. Its central theme is your next turn; there are cards that do something this turn and next, cards that set up your next turn, and other ways to step outside of the bounds of a normal turn.


We should point out that Dominion Seaside is an expansion, and requires either Dominion or Dominion Intrigue to play. Enjoy!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 22, 2009

Power Grid Sale - Tanga Board Game of the Day

PowerGrid.jpg
We waited a long time for the reprint of the fantastic classic Power Grid [Amazon, Funagain] to hit shelves. Bt we couldn't wait long enough so we settled on picking up a copy of Power Grid for $50+ at our local hobby shop.

It seems that all bets are off now that the reprint is out. Tanga, a web portal for sales, has Power Grid listed today for 25 bucks. Seriously, that's more than half off the price we paid just a year ago.

Power Grid is one of those tiles from Rio Grande Games that's approachable, plays quickly, and is very deep. It's winner with staying power. The only major drawback we can think of is the depiction of the translated rules (originally German) which are far more complicated than they need to be. Other than that, Power Grid is a huge addition for you gaming pile, especially when it's at this price.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 19, 2009

SurfaceScapes' D&D for Microsoft Surface

A few things before watching this:

If you haven't heard of it, Microsoft Surface is an ongoing project to deliver a consumer level multi touch table top display. The platform is designed for all sorts of uses and to be placed horizontally, not vertically like a TV. This and the Entertaible have some serious potential to be a very slick platform for board gaming goodness in the year 'The Future.' Imagine getting board game software packs for all your favorite games, and no cleanup!

Also we should note that the software that SurfaceScapes shows here is a Proof of Concept, and in no way a full fleshed out product. It shows potential. The dice spawning animation feels particularly gimpy. We know it's a proof of concept at all, but come on. MakeDiceFallFaster=true!

Still, we're very excited any technology like this to hit the market, and we're glad that someone out there has keep the gaming eye on the price as these platforms mature. Keep it up guys!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 16, 2009

World Without End Board Game Coming this November

WorldWithoutEnd.jpg

A sequel to one of our favorite games of 2007 - Pillars of the Earth - is in the works, and it's due out on American shores in under a month! Like Pillars, World Without End is based on the best selling novel by author Ken Follett. Instead of focusing on the construction of the 12th century fictitious cathedral at Kingsbridge, players control the lives of workers living in the now bustling town. Players will compete to gain influence in the town's thriving economy, placing workers in new good-production spaces, while also staving off nasty things, like you know... the Plague. Perhaps you've heard of it?

Here are the details straight from Mayfair Games:


England in the early and middle 14th Century

Journey to Knightsbridge, England, where 200 years ago Prior Phillip oversaw the building of the cathedral renowned as "The Pillars of the Earth." Now farmers, wool dealers, and builders seek wealth and prestige amidst a rivalry between the priory and merchants. As the plague reaches town, nothing remains as it once was.

World Without EndT is based on Ken Follett's best-selling novel. Strive to navigate turbulent events, ensuring and balancing your food supply, income, and prestige. Piety and loyalty remain vital, for you must cater to the upper classes. And precious medical knowledge is your greatest weapon against the Black Death. So, gather your power and spirit and rise above your rivals into legend!


The game is currently scheduled to ship near the end of November. We smell Christmas list! We'll keep you apprised of further details as we get closer to the ship date.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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