June 30, 2009

BattleLore: Heroes Expansion Goes Epic

battleloreheroes.jpgLate last summer the Battlelore Fantasy Wargame System franchise changed hands from the slick, colorful and approachable publisher Days of Wonder to the rich, enthralling, but sometimes rules-heavy Fantasy Flight Games. Both of these houses are on our top 5 publisher's list, so we weren't too worried with the hand off. Still, we were a bit concerned that Fantasy Flight Games might complicate a nicely stream-lined system with a slew of extra chits and rules.

And while it seems seems that the game will in fact notch-up the complexity scale with the newly announced Heroes Expansion, the additions to the game are being done in a really interesting and potentially rewarding way.

BattleLore Heroes - due out by the end of the year - introduces persistent characters that level up through numerous adventures (ie: battles). Its kind of like D&D meets a Battle Field (which kinda brings things full circle if you think about it).

The expansion will include 10 different classes, each with their own set of upgradable skills and abilities. Details on the first two classes have already hit the web, with preview articles for the Rogue and Cleric classes.

The articles are short, but the ideas are enough to pique our interest in the BattleLore system again, which has been a little slow in its development recently. We'll keep you posted of any more interesting news as more details emerge. Until then, here are the Expansion's official details:


"BattleLore: Heroes introduces player-created Leaders and Champions to augment your camp's forces in battles.

As with all journeys, the beginning is never easy. As a fledgling adventurer, you begin with a bare minimum of skills and artifacts to help you combat the enemy. Adventures have the potential to reward your intrepid Hero greatly if he performs well. But beware, battlefields are not without peril, and taking too many wounds may force your Hero into an unwanted early retirement.

Prepare yourself for the journey of a lifetime!

BattleLore: Heroes includes 10 unique Hero figures, a Rules booklet, 110 Skill, Artifact, and Landmark cards, and much more!"


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 22, 2009

Stay Frosty with Your Board Game News

FiresideChat.jpgWe interrupt our normal line of Board Game News updates for this important update...

Are you browsing the web like a sucker? Have you ever thought that you'd have a lot more free time in your day if you didn't have to go trough your daily rotation of web sites? Are you feeling stressed, experiencing hair loss, and generally bored with how you look in the mirror?

Well it's time to put the Internets to work for you.

Critical Gamers offers a wide variety of ways to deliver the latest latest Board Game news and previews delivered to directly to your Email Inbox, Twitter Homepage and/or RSS Reader (like Google Reader). Just click on your preferred method of delivery and chose 8 Track, Cassette or CD, and we'll ensure that your mailbox will be chalkfull of gaming news just in time for Bastille Day.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 18, 2009

The Skinny on WoW TCG Fields of Honor (June 30th)

HordeDeathKnight.jpgThe final set of cards in the World of Warcraft TCG PvP-themed cycle is slated to hit stores at the end of June. But while the PvP stuff seems cool, with some great new keywords and abilities, the real shining star of the upcoming Fields of Honor is the introduction of the new Death Knight class. That's right - death knights are coming to the WoW TCG, and they look to be glorious.

Upper Deck has started publishing Death Knight class preview articles alongside the standard Fields of Honor set previews (below), so we can get a full look at the new plate wearing casting class before they hit your table in just a few short weeks. The variety of their roles in battle from the WoW MMORPG are very well representated, with their debuffing and tanking Frost spec, Ghoul spawning Blood spec, and sheer dps Unholy spec skills all dealing a considerable amount of hurt. Your newly formed Death Knight should be up to speed, kicking the snot out of your friends heroes despite their back catalog of cards from sets passed.

  1. Death Knight Starter Previews - Knights of the Ebon Blade
  2. Death Knight Starter Preview - You Throw Like A Ghoul
  3. Death Knight Starter Preview - A Dark Presence
  4. Death Knight Starter Preview - Plagued Souls
  5. Death Knight Starter Preview - Cold Steel
  6. Death Knight Starter Previews - For the Alliance
  7. Death Knight Starter Previews - For the Horde

As you can see, to jump start your Death Knight Upper Deck will release a Death Knight starter set that lets you go either Horde (Blood spec) or Alliance (Frost spec) straight out of the box. We've yet to see a reference to any Unholy Death Knights, so they might not make an appearance until the Fall. Of course there could be more Death Knight heroes lurking elsewhere in the Fields of Honor set, too.

Here are some details for the Death Knight Starter, gleaned from one of the preview articles:

"So what do you get in the box? Each package comes with a 33-card Horde or Alliance Death Knight starter deck and 3 exclusive Ghoul Tokens. In addition to this, there is a bonus Death Knight pack containing another 17 cards (along with Alliance Death Knight allies if you want to change your deck to the blue side). Each non-hero card in the starter shows up twice, so you'll only need to get two copies to get full playsets of each card! As a freebie, we've even thrown in a Dark Portal starter deck in the product, so your Death Knight can begin beating down on your friends right out of the box. "

OK, enough about Death Knights for now. The set also expands upon the game in the same way as all of the previous expansion releases (the DK is just icing on the cake). Here are the official preview articles, along with details of the new card keywords: Escape Artist (Gnome Allies),
Escape Artist: When this Ally becomes targeted by an opposing card or effect, you may put it into its owner's hand

  1. The Honor Code
  2. Escape Artist
  3. Will of the Forsaken
  4. Find Treasure
  5. Location, Location, Location!
  6. Tooth and Maul
  7. Goofing Off
  8. The Fields on Fire
  9. That's Not a Pet... THIS is a Pet!
  10. Back Into the Light
  11. Burgle Me This!
  12. Axes and Armor
  13. Charmed I'm Sure
  14. Bring-A-Friend Program!
  15. Searching the Armory

Fields of Honor is scheduled for a June 30th launch date. Oh man, that's in like 2 weeks!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 17, 2009

MTG Duels of the Planeswalkers Hits XBox Live

MTGXboxLive.jpgA quick reminder that Magic the Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers (800 MS Points) is slated to hit Xbox live today! So fire up your 360 and get on with some CCG goodness. The release doesn't correspond to any of the recently MTG sets, but contains its own collection of cards, some available when you start playing and others unlocked as a reward for playing matches. The game also supports multiple multiplayer modes, including Two-Headed Giant versis AI, and versus other players, and free for all modes for 2-4 players. There are also two tournaments slated for over the next three weeks, and Future Expansions are also under development as well.

For more information about MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers, check our previous coverage: Magic the Gathering Injects Itself into Xbox Live June 17th. We'll see you online!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 16, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Expansion: Pegasus Announced

BSGBoardGameCover.JPGThis is perhaps the best board gaming we'll hear all year. Last year's Battlestar Galactica board game was probably our favorite release of the year, and now it's first expansion has been announced! Even better: it's coming out before the end of the year.

The title of the expansion "Pegasus" will be familiar to fans of the TV series. The Battlestar Pegasus was another Battlestar that survived the initial cylon attacks, though the Pegasus and Galactica were unaware of one another's existence, and each thought they were the sole survivors of the Human race. The disparity in the crew's philosophies ranging topics from the rights of cilivians, the impacts of martial law, and the question on how human cylons really are (and if they should be treated humainly), made for some pretty entertaining social and physical conflicts during the short run the Pegasus crew remained.. alive.

It'll be very interesting to see how the characters from the Pegasus' crew will mix with the ones of Galactica old. Surely they'll have some more aggressive and cylon-phobic tendencies, and maybe even a bit more firepower to boot.

Along with Pegaus flying along side Galactica, the expansion will comes with yet another companion board, sporting locations from the colony of New Caprica. Details are a bit sparse on how this will play with the original content, but the fact that its optional, and that it's generally MORE Battlestar Galactica goodness, has us excited.

More information, including images of the new board layout, can be found in the Fantasy Flight Games preview article Evolution and Rebellion. We'll also keep you posted as new preview articles are published on FFG's website.

Here are the expansion's official details:


This fall brings the first expansion for Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. The Pegasus expansion adds two new supplemental game boards featuring the Battlestar Pegasus and the planet of New Caprica, seven new characters, a new Cylon Locations overlay, two plastic Basestars, as well as new Destination, Crisis, Loyalty, Quorum, Super Crisis, and Skill cards.

The new Pegasus board can be used by itself or together with the New Caprica board to create the game you desire - use the Pegasus alone for the additional firepower she provides, or add the New Caprica board to simulate the rebellion on the human colony, bringing the game to an epic level.

New rules introduce the ability to play as a new character type - the Cylon Leader, with a new Treachery Skill card type.

How will the crews of the Galactica and the Pegasus mesh when they join each other on your game table? Will the Cylons be able to subjugate the human rebellion on New Caprica? Will an open Cylon Leader be able to vent the last remaining humans into space, giving the toasters control over the galaxy?

Pegasus will be FTL jumping into your friendly local game store this Fall. Be on the lookout for previews leading up to the expansion's release.


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 11, 2009

The Kids of Carcassonne - You Know, for KIds!

TheKidsOfCarcassonne.jpgIt's never too early to introduce kids to board gaming (unless they're hellbent on digesting a healthy variety of colored pieces of course) And now once they've conquered the traditional Candyland you can easily start your child's gaming tastes along the line of Eurogame titles that we know and love.

The Kids of Carcassonne [Amazon, Funagain] sports easier rules, always matching pieces,and is the perfect stepping stone to more advance Carcassonne titles. The game is also targeted for players Age 4 and up, which means it quite the sweet spot for the young ones.

Here are the official details:


"On 14 July, the national holiday in France, the sheep, chickens and cows are set free in the town of Carcassonne. The children have lots of fun catching the animals before dusk.

The players in turn draw a landscape tile and place it; unlike in normal Carcassonne, they always match. Amongst other features, the tiles show children in the player colors on the roads. Whenever a road is finished, every player places one of his meeples on each appropriate picture. The first player who manages to place all of his meeples wins the game."


Also checkout the Game's BGG Page for user reviews and more info. One of the most popular reviews there cites the game as "The perfect 'gateway game' for geek parents."

The Kids of Carcassonne is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 9, 2009

Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Horror Expansion

InnsmouthHorrorExpansion.jpg The H.P. Lovecraft themed horror board game series Arkahm Horror has just expanded, again, and it's another doozey. Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Horror Expansion [Amazon, Funagain] adds the sleepy coastal town of Innsmouth to your monster slaying adventures, including a new board extension, new monsters and 16 new cast members to a game that already has a surprising amount of depth.

The game can be used in conjunction with the other expansions, or can be mixed and matched with a subset of them as you see fit. Please note that you really don't have to play with all the expansions at once.. cause that's some serious time and table space. But sliding Innmouth in place of one the other jobbers, or using it to expand upon the original game, makes for some great gaming.

And of course Innsmouth isn't just a new board with purty pictures; it includes new gameplay elements on content up the wazzo. Most notable are the new character story cards (see preview article "Story Time") that include game mechanic hooks, not only for the new characters of Innsmouth, but for the main game and for characters from all past expansions to boot. Hows that for being thorough?

If you're thirsty for more speicifc details, Fantasy Flight Games have posted a series of preview articles regarding the new mechanics of the game, and a preview of some of the tentacly baddies that wait for you within:

  1. Story Time
  2. The Ancient Ones Rise from the Sea at Innsmouth
  3. Monstrous Awakenings
  4. Fresh Faces
  5. The Tide Is Rising


And of course, how could we forget the game's official details:


Innsmouth Horror introduces several new game concepts to the Arkham Horror board game, including Personal Stories unique to each investigator as well as the Innsmouth Look. The town of Innsmouth is hostile to the investigators, and they may well find themselves thrown in jail and fed to a Shoggoth while they search the town for evidence to call in the Feds. However, leaving Innsmouth to fester is a bad idea, since the Deep Ones will gather and rise, bringing with them the Ancient One.

Innsmouth Horror also adds 16 new investigators, eight new Ancient Ones, two new Heralds, Epic Battle cards for the new Ancient Ones, over 30 new monster markers, plenty of new encounters, and an expansion board featuring the town of Innsmouth. Over all, this expansion adds over 300 new cards to the base game.


Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Horror Expansion is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 5, 2009

Warhammer Renters the Chaotic World of Board Games

WarhammerChaos.JPG
More great news from Fantasy Flight Games - their board game division is working to bring the flavor of the Warhammer tactical tabletop game to our world of less-than-die-hard gamers. You know, those of us who don't find it worthwhile to spend hours painting an army of goblins and chaos priests.

Wait, that came out wrong. We didn't mean to alienate anyone. If that's you're thing, then rock. However, we prefer the boxed games with easy setup and take down times, one up front cost, and not quite the money sink. We already have enough problems.

Anyway, the newly announced Chaos in the Old World puts each player in control of competing gods. What's great is that you're not actually in direct competition, each god is trying to spread chaos across the Old World, but each on does it in their own way. We're a huge fan of these disjointed goal type games - when done properly - because the flavor of the competition is pitched on an angle, nuancey, and just isn't as 'in your face!' . Each god is doing their own thing within its own theme, and that just makes things more interesting throughout an entire gaming session. Anyway, here's a great description of the gods:


"Chaos in the Old World makes you a god. Each god's distinctive powers and legion of followers grant you unique strengths and diabolical abilities with which to corrupt and enslave the Old World. Khorne, the Blood God, the Skulltaker, lusts for death and battle. Nurgle, the Plaguelord, the Father of Corruption, luxuriates in filth and disease. Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways, the Great Conspirator, plots the fate of the universe. Slaanesh, the Prince of Pleasure and Pain, the Lord of Temptations, lures even the most steadfast to his six deadly seductions."
- The Ruinous Powers Descend From The North

Details of the game are still a bit up in the air, but Fantasy Flight Games have posted 2 previews. The Ruinous Powers Descend From The North announces the game and introduces the theme as a whole, and Word of the Creator further breaks-down your roll as a god of Chaos. What could be finer?

Currently FuangainGames lists the title as shipping in October, but given Fantasy Flight's recent October missed targets, we'd expect 1Q 2010 release. We'll let you know as more details emerge.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 4, 2009

Magic the Gathering Injects Itself into Xbox Live June 17th

MTGXboxLive.jpgIt's that time of year again: The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is in full swing in Los Angeles, and with it comes gobs of news of all sorts of games. We're most interested in the extension of board games and cards games, of course, and once again there's some great news to be had.

Now we all heard before that MagicThe Gathering was heading to an XBox near you, but it was a general "sometime" announcement without much detail. Well now the details are out (in this press release) and sometime soon is actually now really soon: June 17th.

It appears the game centers around 7 pre built decks that seed your collection, and then you unlock more cards as you play. Multiplayer is included, included the Two Headed Giant fiormat for 2v2. There are even tournaments planned soon after release: one on June 20th and antoher June 27th where you can players will be able to compete against Magic the Gathering League members and Developers of the game.

The game sports a slick trailer showing the game in action ( a must-see if you found the Magic Online interface a complete travesty ) More details can be round at the Magic the Gathering Duels of Planeswalkers website, and in the product's recent press release from E3. Here's a snippet from that:



Developed by Stainless Games, Ltd., Duels of the Planeswalkers, rated T-Teen, lets players simulate the Magic: The Gathering trading card game through lush interactive 3-D environments. The arcade-style game takes players on a journey through a vast Multiverse of unique worlds where they are deemed Planeswalkers, powerful mages who battle others for glory, knowledge and conquest.

Players can choose to battle against the computer or compete online against real-life opponents using Microsoft's Xbox LIVE Arcade. With numerous game play scenarios, including multiplayer game mode, Duels of the Planeswalkers offers an unrivaled depth in which each game is different from the last. Wizards of the Coast is supporting this release with an exclusive promotional card, which includes brand new artwork, making Duels of the Planeswalkers a game that both new and existing Magic players will enjoy.


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 1, 2009

Critical Gamers' May 2009 Board Game Roundup

AASpring1942.jpgSpring is in the air, and in the board gaming world that means releases are about to slow through the summer months. That's cool though, because this past Winter has had a lot of great releases. Spring also means that publishers are revealing new titles meant for Holiday 2009.

We've already gotten world of the next baseline iteration of Axis & Allies: 1942, which is based on the rules and alternative setup of the A&A 50th Anniversary Edition, and will replace Axis & Allies Revised as the new mainstay of A&A gaming.

Also recently announced, and soon to be published, is the cooperative board game Space Alert, which challenges players to keep their spaceship alive throughout a series of astro crises. Each crisis is pulled from a variety of decks, and is queued from unique audio CD which sports atmospheric music on special tracks, each one with a different pacing of events and card draws. Initial reports of the game have Space Alert being one of the best games of the year, and has already made the Dice Tower's Game of the Year Nominee list (the game had limited availability at trade shows last year).

This month also saw other notable announcements, like a new Lord of the Rings game Middle-earth Quest, the announcement that Death Knights will be rolled into the next World of Warcraft TCG release, and release of the latest Memoir '44 expansion: Tigers in the Snow & Operation Market Garden.

Good Gaming Folks!

Board Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming News

RPGs

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Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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