March 2, 2010

Warhammer Invasion LCG Expands with Tooth and Claw

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The surprise hit Warhammer Invasion Living Card Game continues to .. live with the third Skaven themed expansion in the premier Corruption Cycle. Tooth and Claw [Amazon, Funagain] includes 40 cards, that cover 41-60 of the set. Here are the official details:


"The first battle pack, The Skavenblight Threat, saw the emergence of the diseased and squabbling Skaven. The second battle pack, The Path of the Zealot, brought new forces for the Skaven and the witch hunters. Now, new heroes are rising to do battle with the growing rat menace.

The Skaven will not give up the gains they have acquired, however, and are bringing the power and ferocity of the Rat Ogres and Gutter Runners; meanwhile the might of the heroic Gurni Thorgrimson and Ugrok Beardburna explode on the scene!

Tooth and Claw is the third monthly Battle Pack installment of The Corruption Cycle, the first linked expansion series for Warhammer: Invasion, a card game of intense warfare, clever kingdom management, and epic questing. This 40 card pack contains 20 different never-before-seen cards designed to augment existing decks and add variety to the Warhammer: Invasion metagame."


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 5, 2010

The Wings of Naxxramas Revolutionize WoW TCG's Raids

NaxxramasRaidDeck.jpgThe whole notion of a cooperative raid deck to a standard 1v1 Trading Card Game still remains an exciting prospect to us, even after the long series of raids over the years. They have had some drawbacks though. Some raids are long, arduous affairs that you might spend all day on. Others are just plan impossibly broken hard.

Thankfully the latest Naxxramas Raid Deck [Amazon, Troll&Toad] fixes a lot of the things we find lacking in others, and then some. Here are top 5 reasons why we think its head and shoulders above all of the other raid deck experiences to date:

5. Variety Most of the raid decks have a plethora of bosses all under the umbrella of a specific theme. Well Naxxramas is composed of four different wings of bosses , each falling under the same Undead Bastage theme, but each wing providing a different attitude toward bad guys. The Spider Wing is littered with quick acting bosses that attach multiple times, the construct quarter is full of hard hitting, high health scary behemoths that would make Jack Palance crap twinkies, and so on. Each wing challenges your group in different ways for a spurt of 3-4 bosses, and that makes the whole deck building experience pretty darn interesting.

4. Multiple Climaxes These Wings we spoke of also change the flow of the raid entirely. The standard practice of multiple boss raids like Molten Core or The Black Temple had players run full gamuts of 10+ bosses in a row, and then hopefully the players had enough left in them to take on the final boss in a climactic battle of epicness. Problem is, Upper Deck's cramming of 10 bosses in a row required some of the bosses to be pansies and ultimately forgettable in previous raids.

Not so in Naxx. Whenever your group finishes a wing, everyone reshuffles their deck and starts anew on the next wing. The net result: Upper Deck has scaled up the bosses, each becoming more difficult, lethal and ultimately a more interesting fight. And on top of that, the game is balanced to make the final boss in each wing become a climatic fight of epicness, because why not? -- the game is going to reset after you defeat him anyway. So that's 4 times the climactic, tough battles, condensed into bar form.

3. Treasure Packs Sold Separately
While each raid deck ships with its own treasure pack, you can buy additional treasure packs separately, too. The implications for collectors is obvious, but for gameplay it's even better: You can reward your players phat loots after every wing. While technically you're not supposed to let players alter their decks between wings, traditionally in the MMO that's just what happened: your raid would tackle one wing, grab the loot, and use that loot to help defeat the second wing. And that's truly what raiding is all about - the getting to the next wing, raid, boss, etc.

2. The Raid Leader and Strategery
A new and very welcomed move in this raid deck is the addition of a Raid Leader. Every once in awhile one of the raid events will engaged the Raid Leader and have him make some pretty interest decisions. Things all the way from the Leader choosing to discard multiple cards himself, or have each raid player discard a single card, etc. These events are also sometimes beneficial, so directing the beneficial ability to the correct player at the correct time could mean the difference between success and failure.

But that's just the icing on the cake. Each of the themed wings also provides a buff to the raiders once the wing has been defeated. Some add damage to abilities, others increase the effectiveness of equipment, etc. It's up to the raid leader to decide which wing to tackle and in which order, using bonuses from one to defeat one of the harder wing, or to even bypass some wings all together and push to the final boss fight. The strategy lies within these choices and weighing such variables as what sort of classes you bring to the raid, how many people are in your party and the quality of their decks. Yep, there are definitely some good decisions to game.

1. Multiple Sessions
Raid Decks require a huge block of time - like upwards of four hours per session. Traditionally they were reserved for special weekend game night sessions, or we would hold off to play them on our quarterly dork fest, scheduling them between smaller games. In the weekend gaming sessions WoW TCG Raids landed somewhere on our Saturday mornings (through afternoon) gaming calendar like a giant gorilla dropped from a 747 flying 10,000' over a Saturday brunch in the country.

But this notion of Naxxramas wings, each a complete prepackaged experience, and when complete include a step where players reshuffle their decks to reset the state of .. everything, and start anew, is a mechanic that happens to provide an incredibly perfect breaking point. Now Raid Decks can be on normal game nights without the risk of our players becoming dead beat dads, or lining themselves up for an early 30's divorce.

In other words an already amazing experience has just become more approachable and game night friendly. It's also become an epic experience that occurs over multiple days of fresh, rested layers, instead of dragging in one long, tiring block. And that is an absolutely fantastic win-win for gamers.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 1, 2010

Critical Gamers' January 2010 Board Game Roundup

NaxxramasRaidDeck.jpgJanuary was more about playing games than hearing news about upcoming games. It is, after all, the time after Christmas where we all gorge ourselves on the tons of releases that came out last December.

Specifically January was the month of the Naxxramas Raid Deck. The ability to take on one or two wings in a sitting, easily pack up the game, and then resume where we left off is a huge deal with this latest raid deck. Kudos to Upper Deck to making this game far more sustainable without any overhead... it's become a 4 time event at our weekly gaming nights.

Also another shout out to the Warhammer Invasion Living Card Game and Warhammer Chaos in the Old World board game. Theses two remain to be top notch contenders for gaming time no matter where and when we play.

And Fantasy Flight Games is on a roll because they just released the epic emipre building and fantasy adventure game Runewars. This is a beast of a release with more layers of depth than a spanish onion. Could it be true that we already have a strong game of the year contender in January? Wow. Can't say we're sad about that.


Here are our stories for January:

Board Games

Card Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Gaming News

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 8, 2010

Warhammer Invasion LCG Battle Pack 2: Path of the Zealot

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Path of the Zealot [Amazon, Funagain], the second Battle Pack for the Warhammer LCG, is now out on shelves! (actually has been for a few weeks, but with the holidays and all). We're really digging this game with its interesting placement mechanics, disparate factions, the deck building implications of the various races, and generally its fresh strategic view of the Collectible Card Game type gameplay. Plus life is cheaper in its Living Card Game format.

Invasion was one of our favorite releases from last year, and we're keeping a careful eye on it as it evolves over this first cycle release.

Before we get into the details we would also like to note that Fantasy Flight Games has announced that they're changing the format of these battle packs for all of the LCG games. In Future Cycles (Path of the Zealot is pack 2 in the 5 pack Corruption Cycle), the prices will increase to 15 bucks (from 10) but you'll get more copies of the powerful cards. The idea being that you won't have to shell out for mutliple packs in order to stack your deck with the good stuff.

In principal this sounds great. We'll see how it pans out.

Anyway, here are the official Path of the Zealot details from FFG. You can read more about the expansion from the official preview article Walk the Path.


"This latest addition to the exciting card game of kingdoms, questing, and combat brings a host of new deck building options to your Warhammer: Invasion game. Poison Wind Globadiers rain death upon the heads of their opponents, as they can corrupt themselves to deal damage. The Chittering Horde tactic brings more Skaven into your fold, as it allows you to search a portion of your deck for ratmen recruits.

Path of the Zealot is the second monthly battle pack installment of The Corruption Cycle, the first linked expansion series for Warhammer: Invasion, a card game of intense warfare, clever kingdom management, and epic questing. This 40 card pack contains 20 different never-before-seen cards designed to augment existing decks and add variety to the Warhammer: Invasion metagame. Head to your local game store or our webstore and pick up your copy today!"


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 18, 2009

WoW TCG Naxxramas Previews Come Just Before the Storm

NaxxramasRaidDeck.jpgWe thought we'd be playing the Naxxramas Raid Deck by now. We're jonesin'. At first we heard it was slated for release on Tuesday of this week, but now we see that Troll and Toad has it listed for December 24th. A game scheduled to ship from warehouses on Christmas Eve? Who thought that was a good idea? Seriously.

Well there's good news in this. Upper Deck has decided to tide us over with another peek at the raid with "Naxxramas Preview - How Eventful!" Those with pun detectors and raid experience might have picked up that this is all about the raid's Event cards, which are usually dolled out when one of the minor bosses hits the ground with double X eyes.

The main interesting thing we see here is the new role of the Raid Leader. One player will be placed in charge of speaking for the team when it comes for confrontations with the player controlling the bosses. Interestingly enough there's an event - which are normally evil - that makes the Raid Leader choose from drawing multiple cards for himself, or letting his teammates draw cards.

An event that puts cards into your hand? These things usually cause you pain; we can't see why Upper Deck would make life easier for the raid. Now, there is another event card that forces players take damage if you're holding too many cards, but this seems ... not so severe, and the combo would have to be drawn just-right from a deck of shuffled cards. Interesting.

Anyway... the raid launches next week. For reals (we think). We'll let you know when it actually starts shipping from stores. Until then, happy holidays!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 10, 2009

Wahammer Invasion LCG The Skavenblight Threat

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First up are the nasty, highly aggressive, and diseased ridden ratmen of The Skavenblight Threat [Amazon, Funagain]. These guys are the dregs of society. We're talking punch a baby in the face rotten, and they're not afraid to show it.

In fact, some of the skaven have a nasty little trick up their sleeve: they're willing to corrupt themselves if it helps the great good. Or at least what they conceive to be the greater good , which is probably eating rights to a moldy piece of blood sausage.

Fantasy Flight Games has released a series of previews detailing some of the marquee cards of the expansion:

  1. The Alpha Rat
  2. Fight With Your Bear Hands
  3. The Hunters Become the Prey


Here are the official details:


The armies of Order are locked in a fierce struggle with the forces of Destruction. And now a new threat, the Skaven, make their way into the Warhammer: Invasion card game.

The Skavenblight Threat is the first monthly Battle Pack installment of The Corruption Cycle, a linked expansion series for Warhammer: Invasion, a card game of intense warfare, clever kingdom management, and epic questing. This 40 card pack contains 20 different never-before-seen cards designed to augment existing decks and add variety to the Warhammer: Invasion metagame.

CONTAINS CARDS 1-20 of THE CORRUPTION CYCLE.


The Skavenblight Thread is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 1, 2009

WoW TCG Scourgewar Kicks off a New Cycle

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WoW TCG Scourgewaris now shipping from Amazonin both individual Booster Packs and in Booster Boxes. Funagain Games also has Booster Packs. TrollandToad.com has boxes, packs, and individual cards.

Yes, it's out. The new World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Expansion Scourgewar brings the game to the frozen tundra of Icecrown. Eventually the expansion will lead to the steps of both Naxxaramas and the Lich King in two different raid decks, but for now expect tons of Death Knight content to breathe life into the new class. The expansion includes new mechanics and keywords: "Assault" buffs allies who are attacking (in much the way bosses have +attack while attacking). "Mend" is all over the place, in Allies and Equipment, and allows Heroes or Allies to passively heal your hero or allies each turn. Mounts are a new type of cheap allies that augment your abilities in a similar way that Locations compliment Quests. There's also focus on class-specific mechanics so that you're hero will have more of an effect on your deck than just its flip power. And perhaps most exciting when it comes to new content are the new Nerubian faction; a new choice other than Aldor and Scryer, but with a cast of giant undead spider demons. You can't go wrong with spider demons.

Oh man, is it game night yet?

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday 2009 Board Game Sale at FFG

LOTRConfrontation.jpgOne of the top notch board game and card game publishers is Fantasy Flight Games, and their Holiday Sale is already in full swing.

For board games they have Lord of the Rings expansion, Lord of the Rings Confrontation expansions, Cave Troll, and World or Warcraft board game expansions on sale. There's also a huge sale on A Game of Thrones Collectible Card Game, the Call a Cthulu CCG, and Mutant Chronicles Miniatures game.

There's a lot going on here!

Be sure to checkout our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide for more gift ideas.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

Cyber Monday 2009 TCG and CCG Sales at Troll and Toad

CyberMonday1.jpgThe online gaming store Troll and Toad usually has some of the best prices around, and now they've discounted a selection of games for the Holidays. Click here for the Holiday Sale.

While there are some board games, the emphasis seems to be on collectible card games. The flagship products: Magic the Gathering based, Yu Gi Oh, and Pokemon booster packs and boxes of boosters from sets released over the last year or so.

Be sure to checkout our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide for more gift ideas.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 27, 2009

Critical Gamers' 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

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Welcome to the one-stop index page for all of our Holiday Board Game Gift Ideas for 2009! There have been some tremendous games that were released this year. Some released created new genres of games, others lovingly refined old formulas. We'll break down these top releases and let you know the perfect present for your gaming friend or love one, all while avoiding the frenetic crowds and annoying cell phone vendors at your crazy local mega mall.

So lets kick things off with our favorite game of the last year, Dominion, which has two new expansions this year!

ArrowContinue reading: "Critical Gamers' 2009 Holiday Gift Guide"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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