February 7, 2008

World of Warcraft Minis Announced - Joyous Seizures Ensue

WoWMinis.jpgHouston, we have a problem. Upper Deck has just announced another World of Warcraft gaming franchise: World of Warcraft Minis.

We haven't been into many other mini games. In general we enjoy collectable games partially for its library of binders filled with cards neatly tucked away on our bookshelves. Figurines.. can be a bit messy; amassing on the floor of our closet in droves. And that's compounded by the fac that we all live in a city so space is at a premium. But if the WoW Minis game follows suit with the level of quality and fun of the WoW TCG franchise, then we just might have clean house, get rid of our DVD collection, and make room for a new obsession come Fall 2008.

With Wow Minis product announcement Upper Deck has also launched WoWMinis.com, a website which currently hosts some preliminary details of what will be included in the game. It seems that Terrain will vary and play a role, and we're sure this will affect positional combat as players scramble to guard clothies with armored tanks slugging it out in 1v1. Raids will also be part of the deal, though no details yet on how many or what sort of raids from the WoW MMORPG will appear in the set.

Here are some details from the official announcement:

" Each premium pre-painted miniature will showcase a detailed version of an iconic World of Warcraft character and be mounted on a uniquely engineered removable base, allowing each figure to serve as both a game piece and a collectible. In the spirit of the action and adventure of the MMO, the World of Warcraft Miniatures Game will offer standalone raid and dungeon scenarios, letting players battle either individually or cooperatively against other teams of players or the game itself.

UDE will also launch a robust Organized Play structure for the new World of Warcraft® Miniatures Game, including everything from hobby and in-store tournament programs to Darkmoon Faire events and National and World Championship tournaments.
"

The WoWMinis.com website also makes special note to check back in for more details of the detachable bases that the models will be built on, which will sport some sort of announced feature. It seems that each figure - er mini - has the same exact foot stance, so perhaps these, too, will be interchangeable across all figures. Perhaps some bases themselves will be collectable and offer some sort of buff?

We'll let you know as soon as we find out more as the World of Warcraft Minis game marches toward release this fall.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 6, 2008

Risk: Black Ops Ties Up the Lose Ends of a Classic

RiskBlackOps.jpg Ah, yes, the classic game of world domination is getting a sweet facelift coming soon to a table near you. The goal over the overhaul: eradicate those Risk sessions that drone on for hours and hours as two armies march in a hypnotic waves of ebb and flow of continental conquest. In Risk: Black Ops players will be provided a common pool of goal cards dealt from to operations deck, like to take and hold one of the new Capital spaces littered throughout the map. Once a player has three goals the game ends. Yes, Risk now has dynamic goals and an end game. Heck yeah. From GamersWithJobs.com:
"Objectives are missions varying in difficulty, from Minor Objectives like "Control Europe" to Major Objectives like "Take Over Ten Territories in One Turn". There are twelve in all, although in a given game, you only play with eight randomly selected ones (four Major and four Minor). ... Each Objective also offers a randomly drawn Reward for its completion, which varies in value depending on the Objective's difficulty. Minor Rewards (for the Minor Objectives) bestow benefits like additional troop maneuvers or guaranteed cards, while Major Rewards (guess which ones those are for) offer juicy bonuses like an extra die for attack or defense."
Via Gamers With Jobs and Board Game News.
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 4, 2008

Culdcept Saga - Board Game meets TCG for the Xbox 360


Due out later this week Culdcept Saga for the Xbox360 mixes a 400-card set Trading Card game with a turn-based board game with Monopoly undertones. We've been totally addicted to the demo on Xbox live all week since downloading the demo, and we can see how this game will make a great translation to the multiplayer. Not only is there a relatively deep gaming aspect, but the ability to ante and win cards online is.. well it's awesome really. The movie above is a developer walk-through of one of the levels that you should really take a gander it. Sure, it doesn't seem all that exciting to watch, but playing the game is quite the experience. If you're into casual games and TCGs, and have a bunch of friends on Xbox Live, Culdcept S. seems like just the gift to get us through that dry spot between Christmas and Spring.
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 1, 2008

An Official Blue Moon City Expansion for Free

BlueMoonCity.jpgFantasy Flight games has posted 4 expansion tiles for their popular and critically acclaimed fantasy themed city building board game Blue Moon City

The expansion was original published in the German board game magazine Spielbox, and is now available for free in PDF form on the Fantasy Flight Games website.  Players have to print out the graphics of the 4 additional tiles, cut them out and glue them to cardboard, which doesn't seem so bad considering this stuff is free.

The building tiles and their rules in the expansion are:

  1. Hospital - A player who finishes his/her turn on the hospital draws two additional cards.
  2. Assembly Hall -  A player who finishes their turn on the Assembly Hall may immediately jump to any other building tile but cannot execute any further actions or use special abilities there.

  3. Golden Shrine - A player who finishes their turn on the Golden Shrine may immediately make an offering of crystals to the obelisk in order to place one of their player markers on the obelisk.

  4. Theater - There are no special rules here, but the popcorn is especially delicious.


Enjoy!!
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 25, 2008

Catan Dice Game Aims for May 2008 Release

Publisher Mayfair Games of Settlers of Catan fame is setting-out to lighten their venerable series for the gaming on the go, or for gamers with petite gaming tables. The Catan Dice Game is slated for a May 2008 release, and includes 6 resource-producing dice, a pad o’ town maps, and a set of instructions.

The game is meant for 1-6 players to toss about for up to 30 minutes.

The sad part is that’s all we know. As soon as we hear more from Mayfair we’ll fill you in with all the juicy details of this streamlined Catan title.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 19, 2008

BattleLore Scottish Wars Marches out of the Highlands

Days of Wonder released their latest expansion pack to their BattleLore Medieval / Fantasy themed wargame system. Now despite there being a bloodcrazed (and probably intoxicated) cow-riding dwarf on the cover of the box, Scottish Wars [Amazon, Funagain] includes mainly historic battles featuring the Scots and their fight against the English during the Medieval Period.

The dwarf figures represent the Scots here, but also serve to fill out the ranks of other fantasy-themed expansions to the BattleLore main set - like the Dwarven Battalion expansion.

We're not quite sure the Scots appreciate being constantly compared the dwarves - we think it stems from a Warcraft II & Shrek-applied relationship from the 1990's and the turn of the century, but that's grown a bit tired over the years. None of us have ever been to Scotland, but we've seen pictures with quarters and pencils used as scale and Scotts simply ain't that short. Call this a superficial complaint, but seriously the Scottish must be on the brink of furious revolt against their oppressors and their slightly-insulting stereotype.

But as usual - we digress. For further details check-out this very detailed BattleLore Scottish Wars post in the BGG forums. It includes extensive information on the expansion's scenarios and the unit details which isn't included in the product literature. The box just ain't that big, kinda like a red bearded Scotsman.

Here's the company line:

"The Scottish Wars expansion takes BattleLore players straight to historical highland battles, but with a new twist -- Dwarven armies. The Scottish Wars feature 42 new figures including: 6 Iron Dwarves Cattle Riders, 8 Iron Dwarves Clan Chiefs, 12 Mounted Knights, and 16 Iron Dwarves Spear Bearers; plus a rules booklet with 5 new adventures -- Stirling Bridge, Falkirk, Bannockburn, Dupplin Moor and Neville's Cross."
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 15, 2008

Top 10 Games of 2007 - The Dice Tower Lays it Down

Tom Vasel and Sam Healey of The Dice Tower put their top 10 games of 2007 to paper. Then they go above and beyond with focused lists of games in particular genres and award special achievements to those board game titles that went beyond the call of duty in the last year.

The other lists include Best Children's Game, Strangest Game, Gateway Games, and the most disappointing games of 2007.

Their top games include many titles that we've covered here over the last year, including: Age of Empires III, Zooloretto, Colosseum, Tide of Iron, and Fire and Axe. Don't ever tell us that we're steering you the wrong way.

Though in their eyes we do have to eat a little crow: Starcraft the Board Game from Fantasy Flight Games did make one of the Most Disappointing Games of 2007 list. They can't all be winners, right?

View the complete article here at the Dice Tower.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

Hamburgum - A Great Family Friendly Strategy Eurogame for the Winter

Don't let the funny burger-esque name or the happy-go-lucky German cover art fool you - this game has staying power.

Hamburgum [Funagain] builds a Eurogame cathedral & city builder around the Rondel turn order system, made famous by the war-themed strategy titles of Antike and Imperial.

It goes a little something like this: On your turn you have to chose of one of three free actions before your turn marker. Picking an action progresses you around the Rondel circle to that spot, thus opening up three different actions for your next turn, and making the action you just chose the furthest from being picked again.
And so you go, marching your pawn around a circle as you plan your moves and scheme your way through the game.

The game bridges many sets of players; Hamburgum has no dice - with the Rondel system a player's turn is in their own hands - which means that strategy gamers will be able to plot their moves and react to situations keeping their destiny in their own hands. But there are few rules, and the theme is light, so the game works well in those more relaxing Eurogame settings where strategy and social entertainment shake hands without diluting themselves individually.

ArrowContinue reading: "Hamburgum - A Great Family Friendly Strategy Eurogame for the Winter"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 11, 2008

Rome is in Dire Straits - Commands & Colors Ancients Expands Twice

Even the bloodthirsty Romans yearned for peaceful times. It wasn't all about conquest - sometimes Rome itself was the prize.

The award winning and amazing Commands and Colors Ancients line of wargames just got a whole lot larger today with two new expansions. Each brings new battles to the Roman Empire, and like the Commands and Colors Ancients base set, are aimed for two players to slug it out in about an hour mano e mano.

The C&C system forms the backbone of other wargame hits such as the fantasy wargame BattleLore and the WWII hit Memoir '44, both top of the line systems which seem to be more popular on the commercial front. Critically speaking though, the Command & Colors mechanics breathes life into the Roman era just as much, if not more, in the Ancients series.

Now Ancients is a block game - meaning the formations of units are represented by colored blocks with stickers on them which you push around to form battle lines instead of figurines. This may sound second-class but in reality it goes far to immerse historically-minded players into the ancient battles of Rome. Walls of troops and flanking maneuvers are far more visually obvious, and also physically gratifying as troops move around in formations across the map. The whole thing feels as though you're observing and planning the battle from an overlooking hilltop.

Commands & Colors Ancients: Rome vs The Barbarians [Funagain] kicks things off with 20 new scenarios focusing on Rome and the early Gallic invasion, the Servile War slave uprisings (I'm Spartacus!), and Caesar's conquest of Gaul.

Commands & Colors Ancients: The Roman Civil Wars [Funagain] is the next expansion and includes the bloody Roman on Roman action steming from power shifts within the Republic. Here's a snippet from the official game details:

"The Roman Civil Wars features familiar units with new capabilities. The Roman legions have evolved into the deadly fighting units of legend. In terms of Commands and Colors performance, the medium infantry units (representing less experienced legions) and heavy infantry units (representing the veteran legions) will now be able to move two hexes without engaging in close combat, or still move one hex and have close combat (as well as throwing their pilum -- a capability acquired in Expansion #2: Rome and the Barbarians). You will be able to fight battles with medium and heavy infantry as you have never fought them before!"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 7, 2008

Mayfair Clarifies Settlers of Catan 4th Ed. Compatibility Issues

CatanRelaunches.JPG

Mayfair Games, the publishers behind the deservingly oh-so-popular Settlers of Catan [Amazon, Funagain] line of Eurogames, has posted a Frequently Asked Question page. Currently the FAQ hosts only one interesting question/answer topic: the compatibility of the 4th Edition of Settlers of Catan, the 4th edition expansions, and their 3rd Edition counterparts.

Unless you're an early board game adopter who's way ahead of the curve then chances are you have the the 3rd Edition of Settlers, or the new 4th Edition released just before Christmas. Here's what Mayfair has said about using 3rd Edition expansions with your 4th Edition base set, or 4th Edition Expansions with your 3rd Edition base set:

Q: Can I use my 3rd edition pieces with the 4th edition sets?

A: As has been stated, the tiles are the same size between the two editions, so anything designed to work with 3rd edition tiles should continue to work with 4th edition sets. However, because the new set comes with a frame for the new board (replacing the water tiles), you will be unable to play Catan: Seafarers using 4th Edition base and 3rd Edition Seafarers (4th edition Seafarers includes only the water tiles necessary to add with the frame pieces included).

The resource cards have the same backs as 3rd Edition, but the development cards have changed backs. This means that you cannot mix the cards from 3rd Edition 5-6 Player Extensions and 4th Edition base sets (and vice versa).

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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