November 25, 2009

Cosmic Encounter to Expand with Cosmic Incursion

CosmicEncounter.JPGThe release of Cosmic Encounter [Amazon, Funagain] under the Fantasy Flight Games line has been a great success. The components of this version are top notch, the game feels fresh, and FFG instills that distinct level of confidence that the future of rekindled classic is in good hands going forward.

And it seems that we won't have to wait too long for an update to the game 'cause the first expansion Cosmic Incursion was just announced.

The official preview articles have kicked off with "In Space No One Can Hear You Whine" which is a quick breakdown of what to expect in the expansion: 24 new alien races, a new game variant, and best of all, support for an additional player bringing the total number up to six.

Sweet day in a box. With a trend of 4 player games expanding only to 5, a clean six player game is so very much welcomed. It pushes Cosmic Encounter to be that catch-all game it deserves to be on a crowded game night.

We'll keep you posted on the details of this expansion as it gets closer to release.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 24, 2009

WoW TCG Naxxramas Preview Week

AnubRekhan.jpgUpper Deck has started releasing previews of the upcoming release of the Naxxaramas Raid deck. The gritty details of the floating citadel of undead pain will be portrayed in raid deck form are still unknown, but finally we get a small glimpse of how things might pan out in "Introduction . . . to Doom!".

Now recall that the raid dungeon Naxxramas in World of Warcraft has four different wings within it: the Plague Quarter full of animated undead ghouls, the Military Quarter full of Death Knights, the Construct Quarter full of biological abominations, and the Arachnid Quarter full of .. well, giant demon spiders. At the top of it all are the frozen undead wyrm Sapphiron, and the lich Kel'Thuzad.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves. The previews don't want to ruin too much for the players, so they start in the Arachnid Quarter. "Introduction to ... Doom!" gives some details of powers that will be across all bosses you'll fight in that area of the dungeon, and also specifically previews Anub'Rekhan, one of the easier boss fights in the Naxxramas gamut. Also, "No Quarter" steps through how the various Quarter Abilities will work as the adventures wind their way through the various boss fights.

There are also two previews of the Treasure Cards you'll get with the Raid Deck in "Ring-a-Ding-Ding!" and "Axing Questions". These loot cards are looking mighty fine. Can't wait to get our hands on 'em!

You can stay tuned to all Naxxramas preview articles on the WoW TCG Feature Article Index. We'll let you know if anything fascinating turns up as we get closer to its release.


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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 10, 2009

World of Warcraft TCG: What to Expect in 2010

WoWTCGCorpseExplosion.jpg
Sneaked in between the upcoming Scourgewar expansion previews, Upper Deck has posted a sort of State of the Union article, "The Future's So Bright I Have to Wear (Tankatronic) Shades". In contains some great details on where the franchise plans to go over the next year.

Interestingly enough this latest expansion to be book ended by TWO Raid Decks. First up players will tackle the multiple wing, and multiboss fight inside the floating undead necropolis of Naxxramas. That goes down this fall, in December to be exact. Then in 2010, after your collection is saturated with Scourgewar's death knight and nerubian goodness, your group will take the war to the Lich King himself in the Icecrown Citadel raid deck.

2010 will also see the appearance of a Class Decks, a new, friendly way to introduce players to the game. Each Class Deck will sport all the cards custom tailored for the class (Warrior, Hunter, Mage, etc) and should be balanced and somewhat competitive when played against modern collections of cards. Die hard fanatics might not find much here, but if you've had a friend looking from the outside in, then getting them hooked on WoW might be a no fuss solution of asking which class they'd like to play.

Here's the full schedule for the upcoming cycle, raid deck, and class deck releases:


"Schedule of Upcoming World of Warcraft TCG Product Releases
  • November 2009 - Scourgewar Boosters
  • December 2009 - Scourgewar Epic Collection
  • December 2009 - Naxxramas Raid Deck & Treasure Pack
  • March 2010 - Class Decks
  • April 2010 - Wrathgate Boosters
  • July 2010 - Icecrown Boosters
  • Winter 2010 - Icecrown Citadel Raid Deck & Treasure Pack "

Also be sure to checkout this feature article for a full breakdown of all the good details of what to expect in 2010.

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 3, 2009

Magic the Gathering: Tactics Announced

Details are slim. Here's what we know: Magic the Gathering Tactics is being developed by Sony Online Entertainment for the PC and Playstation 3 (Sony hates Microsoft, so no XBox360).

The title will include card sets with packs and tournaments for sale onilne just like Magic Onilne -- you'll be paying for virtual merchandise and a virtual collection of cards. To us, that's not necessarily a bad thing.. we have a closet full of cards already, and we don't feel like we wasted any money playing Magic the Gathering Online back in the day. You know, when it was good.

The game also promises a sort of tactical element with a collection of creatures. Like we said: details are slim. Exactly how much emphasis will be placed on cards, and how much on your creature collection, their positioning, etc is up i the air. Here's the exact wording from the Wired story:


"Tactics will feature characters and spells from the universe of the popular collectible card game. Players will be able to take their customized team of creatures to battle through solo scenarios or take them online to compete against others."

Other than "Coming Early 2010" the official website has little information. We'll keep you apprised of new info as details emerge, including what appears to be an upcoming beta test. Woot!


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

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