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

Critical Gamers' Board Game Roundup March 2010

SettlersOfAmerica.jpgWe say bah humbug to April Fools. We guarantee that anything we write today is based strictly on fact and won't involve any sort of hyperbole or too-amazing-to-believe salad spinners that cut likenesses of chewbacca from a sleeve of Radishes. Nope, today is chalk full of real, honest to goodness gaming.

So was last month, actually. We tried to kick it up a notch to cover all of the new game announcements in March. Games like Battles of Westeros, Catan Histories: Settlers of America, and the new Battles of Napoleon Series have us polishing-up our gaming table like it has chrome fins. Seriously, there's some great new series coming out this year.

And that's on top of the continuing support of our favorite franchises. The Warhammer Invasion LCG is alive and kicking, and entering into its second cycle of cards (with a new format). Also the World of Warcraft TCG is at least alive (maybe well, too.. dunno) after a falling-out between Blizzard Entertainment and publisher Upper Deck.

We're also looking forward to a slew of iPad board games over the next coming months. Our office has 4 iPads coming in, so you better believe we'll be on top of any and all cool gaming news for the iPad. We're also toying with rolling our own ... we'll see.

For now, here's the news of March!

Board Games

Card Games

Cheap Deals & Sales

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Gaming News

Our Game Reviews

RPGs

Variants

World of Warcraft TCG

iPhone

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 26, 2010

World of Warcraft TCG Lives with Cryptozoic Entertainment

WarcraftWP.jpgThe World of Warcraft TCG was looking pretty dicey there for a while. We all held our breath when Blizzard terminated their contract with publisher Upper Deck (which was supposedly linked to some counter fitting shenanigans). And for weeks afterward the direction of the franchise was very much in the air.

Blizzard had quickly reassured fans by opening up a new WoW TCG Forum shortly after the unpleasantness with Upper Deck, and posting in their forum that the franchise would march on. However, even then a lot of folks felt the game might not have had the pulse past Summer.

The official word was that a deal was being struck with a new publisher, and that Blizzard would announce who was taking the helm... but the deadline for that news was last weekend. After that deadline came and went we started to realize that we may need to return to Magic: The Gathering for our CCG fix. *gasp*.

But nope. It looks like the WoW TCG is alive and kicking for at least one more season. We're a bit hesitant to say that the entire franchise is fully back and will be as good as ever, considering that Cryptozoic Entertainment was just formed for the very purpose of keeping WoW TCG alive.

While the higher-level pedigree is good as it seems Cryptozoic is made up of ex Blizzard employees, we don't quite know the extent of their skills. Therefore on the downside of this great story we have that unfortunate sick feeling of dread that the success of this franchise still hangs in the air. Hopefully they'll start spreading news on where they hope to take the franchise next.

For the full story checkout this piece from incgamers.com.

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 23, 2010

Warhammer Invasion LCG - The Enemy Cycle

WarhammerInvasionBox1.jpgThe innaugral cycle of the fantastic Warhammer Invasion Living Card Game is coming to a close. We're not sad, oh no, we're stoked. Why? Well FFG has committed itself to the franchise and is slated to bring bringing us a whole new set of cards just as the WoW TCG cycle winds down (hopefully not for good).

But that's just filler. We're really stoked for two specific reasons. For one: the new set attempts to give the franchise focus. The foundation has been set with the Corruption Cycle over the last 6 months, but now we're moving onwards from petty battles and heading into full out war. Specific factions will square off against each other. Balanced, bloody, old-school vendetta style.

Secondly FFG had previously announced that the new LCG format will include even more cards per deck starting with this second cycle. In fact, each expansion will include 3 of every single card in the set. No more rarity scales and getting just 1 or 2 of the cards that you really want and having to buy a second copy of the expansion. Now you'll get 3 of each. Sweet.

Here's a snippet from "New Leaders and Ancient Enemies" which announces the next set, introduces the new designers, and provides details of where the franchise is going:


"I can't say too much yet, but The Enemy Cycle continues to explore the depth of each faction, providing them with new tools to expand upon their strategies to win. This cycle places an emphasis on the natural rivalries that take place between the six factions in the game - Dwarfs vs Orcs, Empire vs Chaos, and High Elf vs Dark Elf. What's more, the Battle Packs will contain a series of short stories that serve as a primer for those of you Invasion fans who aren't entirely familiar with Warhammer Fantasy but want to learn about your favorite faction."

We love some good back story to why orcs are motivated to bash dwarven heads in -- that's a nice touch! We'll keep you posted as more details emerge.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 22, 2010

Lord of Ultima Enters Open Beta

LordOfUltima.jpgA long long time ago we had this game that we were extremely addicted to: Travian. The game allows you to build villages, create an economy, start wars with neighbors, and band together with friends in patchwork Kingdoms to ensure survival.

Lord of Ultima seems to be another browser-based Travian clone, but with large steps forward in graphics and interface. Honestly it makes Travian look like a pile of steaming poo. There also seems to be a faster payoff with Ultima. Your first buildings will be completed in no time, and you'll be rolling in the resources and upgrading your little medieval village like Romans on crack.

It's unclear at this point regarding how much of the Ultima fantasy setting will play a role in the game. The early gameplay seems to be more medieval in focus and less.. fantastic. Hey, the beta just started, we can't have all the details yet!

But we can say that if you were a fan of Travian, or if you like Facebook games where you can groom your civilization with friends, then Lord of Ultima is definitely worth a look.

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

WoW TCG Coma Watch: Reassurances Round 2


WoWComa.jpgBlzzard has chimed-in for the first time since the forum move from Upper Deck, after it news was released that Upper Deck will no longer be handling the WoW TCG franchise.

Unfortunately instead of opening up the balcony doors and addressing the public en masse about the franchise's direction, and inspiring confidence, we instead get an presidential aide telling us all to stay calm:


"We wanted to take a minute and provide an update on the current status of this game. We want to reassure players that the TCG will continue, and look forward to releasing the Wrathgate and Icecrown expansions this spring and summer. The new plans are being finalized and there should be a full announcement by this weekend."
--Blizzard

The statement then goes on to say that the Realm Championships scheduled for this weekend are still a 'go'. Any news in particular about the newest publisher of the franchise will be most welcome this weekend, too. We'll keep you posted.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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