Tonight's Critical Gamer's 2011 Gift Guide is going to focus on RPGs, the old pen and paper staple. The Gary Gygax inspired, culture changing, hated by old religious ladies around the globe, RPGs. No reason to fiddle around, so let's get right to it!
I pretty much think the picture covers it, but I'll give you a quick synopsis anyways. Voted as the Best Game and Best New Game for the 2011 ENnies, Dresden Files takes players into Jim Butcher's mythical universe. Using the Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE) system, DF is published by Evil Hat Productions. While also having very popular books and TV show, it's not hard to get into the universe that Jim has put together. Mix that possibility of playing a human, psychics, werewolf, Knights of the Sword,or a White Court Vampire with the FATE system and you have an award winning mix that has everyone excited.
Deathwatch is the 4th installment of core rules in the Warhammer 40K line and it doesn't disappoint. Not only does it take the established rules from the existing installments, but lets you play Chaos characters, either human Disciples of Chaos or Chaos Space Marines. One of the interesting mechanics in Deathwatch is that characters have a looming end above their heads. They will either accrue enough infamy (set by the GM) to become a Daemon Prince or hit 100 corruption and become a Chaos Spawn, either way that character is finished. I like that aspect as it forces action, no more sitting around in bars waiting for something to happen.
Ever Paizo Publishing brought Pathfinder to the scene in 2009, it's had a stellar run. Looking to expand upon the D&D Revised 3rd Edition ruleset using the Open Game License, Pathfinder is meant to be backwards compatible with 3.5. If you have a friend or family member who enjoys D&D and hasn't played Pathfinder, then this is a must have. In addition they are releasing Bestiaries and Adventure Paths, which only help to expand an already solid and fun system.
One of the best ways for publishers to capitalize on a successful franchise is by creating expansions. Not only does the creative property and lore already exist, but the game mechanics do too. This helps save time and money for the publisher and this is usually reflected in the price to the consumers. Not only that but as consumers we get the ability to continue playing the games we love by keeping things fresh and new. To that end we are going to start out the 2011 Holiday Gift Guide by listing some of our favorite or most anticipated expansions for this year.
We are going to try something different this year for the Holiday Gift Guide. In addition to doing one post that has all of our 2012 favorites, that all gamers should own, we are also going to release a few picks of specific category every few days. Categories like New Titles, Expansions, RPGs, Independent, Under $20 USD, etc. After all the separate categories have been posted, we will compile it into a full list. If you have any suggestions of categories you would like to see, post a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think!
Recent news out of the Gen Con camp, the True Dungeon groundhog saw his shadow, which means four more years of True Dungeon! Great news for all you Gen Con fans. Here is the official press release -
After a record-setting show in Indianapolis
this August with almost 120,000 turnstile attendance, Gen Con LLC is
building huge plans for the next four years of Gen Con along with True
Adventures, Ltd. Gen Con Indy 2012 is not only the 45th anniversary of North
America¹s largest game convention, it will also be the 10th year of True
Dungeon. Long-term planning together between the two companies has yielded
an unprecedented four-year agreement. True Dungeon is slated to run at Gen
Con Indy through 2015! In a strategic move, True Dungeon will, for the first
time, be hosted entirely within the Indiana Convention Center, directly in
the heart of Gen Con.
³Jeff Martin and the True Adventures, Ltd. team have consistently created
some of the best gaming entertainment that Gen Con fans have ever seen,²
said Jeannette LeGault, director of event programming for Gen Con LLC.
³Thousands of people are wowed every year; many have had to be turned away
in the past, though. With this new agreement, True Dungeon will be in the
expanded Indiana Convention Center with more space and more tickets
available than ever before.²
³Planning for the most immersive fantasy game-play environment possible
takes a tremendous commitment of time. This multi-year agreement with Gen
Con allows us to design incredibly rich and deep experiences that players
will never forget,² said Jeff Martin, CEO of True Adventures, Ltd. ³The
gaming at Gen Con is unmatched anywhere in the world. We are proud to be
partners for the long-term and very excited to be able to present True
Dungeon to even more gamers in a more immersive environment!²
Gen Con grew its presence in Indianapolis in 2011 with the opening of the
renovated and significantly larger Indiana Convention Center. The new space
continues to create more opportunities for game play, family fun, cosplay
activities and shopping for gaming-culture products.
About True Adventures, Ltd.
True Dungeon allows players to experience a role-playing game adventure
within a life-size, walk through dungeon environment. True Dungeon's goal is
to transport you into another world for a few hours. There you will find out
how well YOU stack up against the adventure. You will find out how well you
respond to the challenges that are laid before you, while experiencing
classic gaming moments from your past. True Dungeon is created by True
Adventures, Ltd., a Carbondale, IL based company founded and led by CEO Jeff
Martin. For more details, visit www.truedungeon.com
WizKids has announced the November release of Rise of the Demons, an expansion for its innovative Quarriors! Dice-Building Game (see "WizKids Launches Dice Building Game"). Rise of the Demons features 20 new custom dice and 19 new cards. Designed by Mike Elliott and Eric Lang, this "corrupted" expansion for 2-4 players (ages 14 and up) combines innovative corruption mechanisms with the introduction of Demonic Overlords, Basic Corrupted Quiddity, and Corruption Spells.
Players can attempt to flood their opponents' bags with corrupted dice to slow their progress, or they can hoard their resources to purchase Demonic Overlords from the Wilds. Do you have what it takes to overcome corruption, or will you succumb to the demons? The choice in Rise of the Demons is yours.
Great news for Stratus Games as both Barnes and Noble Booksellers and Target have picked up distribution of a few of SGs titles. B&N patrons can now purchase Launch Pad and purveyors of Target will be able to pick up a copy of Gold Mine. It's nice to see these games being available for the masses. Hopefully the will understand the value of the products, make their purchases (holiday or whatever reason) and help Stratus Games produce additional great products like their latest upcoming title Eruption, which just so happens to have a contest for right now! Check it out!
If you were a reader during the March timeline, you might have read a 4 part article about an fairly unknown title called Warparty that I had the pleasure to encounter during my trip to the 25th revision of the annual convention known as Total Con held in Mansfield, Massachusetts. For a recap or if you would like to check out the articles you can find them here:
As I go back and recount my descriptions of Warparty, I don't think I really explained the breadth of the game and more of recounted my experience with it. While the experience aspect is important, it is only a piece of the whole that the user needs to know in order to fully realize what is at stake with support for the title. That is where the Youtube demo video comes into play. Being able to understand the mechanics of the game will help you understand what the game is all about and the 4 part series will help you understand what it feels like to play it. I cannot stress how polished and balanced this game is and how passionate the creators are for the game. I urge you to go out and meet Larry at a convention, pick his brain, and try the game. Without you, the player, this title cannot fully come to realization as it should be. If you haven't pre-ordered it for a discount at Lock N' Load, go do so!
The Locusts, so named by human scientists for their immense numbers, are a race of humanoids from deep within the subterranean tunnels of Sera. These relentless killers seem bent on destruction, and all attempts at negotiation with them have ended in violence. As mankind approaches its final stand, what new horrors does their mysterious enemy hold in store?
An Emergence Hole has opened at your local game store, and you and your team are humanity's last hope of survival. Gears of War™: The Board Game is now on sale at your local retailer and on our webstore!
Gears of War: The Board Game, designed by Corey Konieczka, is based on the wildly popular third-person shooter by Epic Games. One to four players take on the roles of COG soldiers cooperating to destroy the Locust horde, and must work together to complete missions against an ingeniously challenging and varied game system. In Gears of War: The Board Game, you'll relive classic moments from Gears of War™ and Gears of War™ 2. Roadie Run into cover, spray your enemy with blind fire, or rip him in half with your Lancer's chainsaw!
Stand together or die alone
Teamwork is essential in Gears of War: The Board Game, as you and your fellow COGs will secure areas in an ever-expanding and randomized map, lay down suppressing fire to support each other's movements, and rush to the aid of fallen allies - all in an effort to complete your mission objective.
Also essential is the careful use of the tools at your disposal: a range of tactical options and devastating weapons. Your hand of Order cards represents your COG's spectacular battle prowess, and on each turn you'll discard one to either use its listed ability, move across the map, or attack.
You can even hold on to these versatile Orders, discarding them to dodge or guard against incoming attacks, or to follow closely behind a teammate. Communication is key, and the most successful COGs recognize that together, they form a deadly machine.
If you have been around for the last few months you will have noticed that we here at Critical Gamers enjoy seeing the little guy, the unexpected success, the underdog, rise up and conquer. I mean how else do we get to where we are today? Someone has an idea, devotes themselves to it, and gathers support from their peers to bring it to fruition. What makes Carnival from Dice Hate Me Games even more special is that this idea comes from a direct peer of ours here at Critical Gamers. Not only is this DHMG's first offering it is coming out of a fellow gaming blogger site Dice Hate Me. It is ideas and passion like theirs that continues to drive our industry forward with fresh and creative ideas that just overflows with love for what they do. Check out the video about the game, visit the Kickstarter page, and pledge today!
GMT Games announced in their newsletter email today, that they plan on expanding their relationship with Victory Point Games after the resounding success of the No Retreat: The Russian Front Deluxe Edition. The deluxe edition included a mounted board, bigger counters, and a color treatment. The two groups are now coordinating to take some of VPG's more successful titles and giving them the same deluxe treatment. The next title to get the treatment and hit the P500 list will be Circus Train: Deluxe Edition. There are also plans on adding two more titles by the end of year and a one more mid to late 1st quarter of next year. If you are a fan of VPG and GMT like I am, this should be a marriage made in heaven.
I guess if you think about it, it is a natural progression. I mean we have dice games, we have deck building games...why not a dice building game? Well that's what you get with WizKids latest offering called Quarriors ; featuring an impressive 130 custom dice, over 50 creature/spell cards, and a new, fast paced, style of gaming. The game is fast, easy to learn, and will appeal to both the casual gamer and the intense strategy gamer. Each Quarriors Game comes with 130 Custom Dice and 53 Power Cards, a Score Tracker and 4 Dice Bags, all stored in a collectible tin box. It's been getting rave reviews so why not roll the dice on this one?
Fantasy Flight Games has announced another expansion to the hit A Game of Thrones board game called Lions of the Rock. Here is the official announcement -
Fantasy Flight Games is proud to present the latest Deluxe Expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, Lions of the Rock, coming the fourth quarter of 2011! In Lions of the Rock, House Lannister will demonstrate its power through its traditional hold over intrigue and card advantage, as well as some exciting new options.
Lions of the Rock includes 165 cards - three copies each of 55 unique cards - featuring exciting new cards for House Lannister as well as powerful neutral cards that will easily find a place in decks of any House.
Knives Behind Every Smile
For more insight into this expansion, we present these designer notes from Lions of the Rock's developer, Damon Stone.
More than any other, House Lannister divides fans of A Song of Ice and Fire. The family is beyond dysfunctional and no number of appearances on Dr. Drew will ever patch up the rifts and fissures between the members of this family. Beautiful, tragic, vicious, devious, ruthless, and powerful. These are the words that came to mind when I sat down to design the Lions of the Rock Deluxe Expansion. The cards in this box would need to define for me everything the family and their banner men represent in the books. Deciding what of the numerous themes in House Lannister I wanted to highlight in this box came pretty simple.
Tyrion Lannister and his horde of clansmen were an obvious choice to entice the newer players of A Game of Thrones. The "bro-mance" in the much lauded HBO series and the aggressive nature of the clansman cards in the Brotherhood Without Banners cycle helps attract attention of newer players and the defiance of normal Lannister expectations is enticing to veteran players. Tyrion as the leader of the horde of clansmen and the defender of King's Landing led sorties, foiled power grabs and machinations, and even survived an assassination attempt. This Tyrion works with the clansman characters beautifully, allowing him to stay on the board and lead wave after wave of attacks at the head of his personal army of savages.
A couple of weeks ago we brought you a review of a indie title called Politics (here). As a quick synopsis, it was a pretty ruthless title that had a great foundation but needed a little more content, more substance, to really pull it to the next level. Well, not less than a month later, the designer has heeded our advice and raised the bar. It is time to head to Kickstarter and support this project.
Brand new Italian publisher Ares Games has secured the rights to republish the acclaimed War of the Ring board game. Here is the official announcement -
Ares Games, an Italian games publisher recently established, announces the acquisition of the rights from Sophisticated Games to publish the game, based on the literary rights granted by Middle-earth Enterprises.
"We are proud to be able to bring back to the international gaming market a prestigious game like "The War of the Ring". The game has been out of the market for a long time and there is a big anticipation for this second edition, which we forecast to release within the end of this year", said Christoph Cianci, CEO of Ares Games.
The new edition of "War of the Ring" will debut in English language, in autumn 2011. Several editions in other languages are planned to be released in spring 2012.
This edition of the game will include several changes from the previous version published by Nexus Editrice and NG International, with a completely new graphic design - still using the original illustrations created by John Howe, one of the most famous Tolkien artists -, bigger tarot-size cards and revised rules, with changes to some key game elements to make it even more balanced and engaging.
Created by the Italian game designers Roberto Di Meglio, Francesco Nepitello and Marco Maggi, the strategy board game "War of the Ring" allows players to immerse themselves in J.R.R.Tolkien's classic history, leading the Fellowship in its quest and the armies of the Free Peoples against the assault of the dreadful minions and armies of the Dark Lord, Sauron.
The first edition was published in September 2004 and the game has been acclaimed as one of the best thematic games of all times, winning several awards.