May 29, 2007

Age of Empires III Released

Age Of Empires III: Age of DiscoveryWhen Eagle Games closed its doors last year there were concerns that this aesthetically gorgeous game wouldn't ever see the light of day (back then we didn’t know anything about the rules, so AoE3 was pure eye candy at that point). But then Tropical Games picked up the slack, and here we are, nearly a year later, staring at the release version of Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery [Amazon,Funagain]

The game centers around the colonization of the Americas, where players build colonial infrastructure and send specialists into new terrain to claim land and resources in their country’s name. The buildings help supply the players with new explorers, workers, etc, with players scoring points based on the territorial control of their colonists at three different points in the game. The game doesn’t simulate any wars that eventually erupted out of historic conflicts of interest, but that doesn’t mean that players can’t angrily their shake fists at one other, or smack opponents across the face with a prized New England Cod (cod not included).

If you’re looking to do some more research about the game before you buy, then checkout this good user review at BGG which is at last somewhat critical of the game. Maybe not critical enough, but hey – the game scored very well in numerous play tests so maybe a ton of critiques aren’t necessary.

Continue on for a nice shot of the gorgeous board (click-it to expand), and the official company information about the title:

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Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 25, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Treasure Pack Card Previews

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30th

The WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck has been released, and is now available from Shopzilla and Funagain Games.

As we reported last week, the WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Official Website kicked off just over a week ago. You would think that with just under a week to go before the game's release on May 30th that the Official Website would be erupting with gobs of info about the title. But nearly a week has passed since the website went live, and they've had absolutely no updates. Zip. Zilch. It's as if the ground opened up and swallowed the webmasters whole.

Thankfully the official website has started to roll out a series of feature articles detailing the cards to be won in the Molten Core Treasure Packs. These serve as the well-deserved reward to those groups who defeat the raid deck (whatever challenges it may contain *hurmph*), and come in a presealed pack - only to be opened once Ragnaros has been laid to rest. Most of the cards fall into the Rare or Epic category (Blue/Purple), and those of you who played the Onxyia Raid Deck can attest that these cards can be pretty darn powerful if used in the correct situations.

The first few articles from this week focus on the weapons in the Molten Core set. And if you were to ask our opinion, they ramp up starting with the solid 'good' equipment in "Core Hound Tooth", eventually leading up to the more drool-worthy "Obsidian Edged Blade". This Friday (today) we see the first pieces of class-specific leg armor in "Tier Two Leggings" starting with the leg pieces for the Warlock and Shaman classes. They're definitely seem to impress us quite a bit more than the class-generic weapon cards that proceeded them, and we can't wait to see what sort of trinkets round off the set next week.

Here are the articles thus far:

As these articles are rolling out, the cards themselves are also being posted at the WoW TCG Database for your easy perusal; through two sets and a raid deck it remains our favorite place to research cards. Now if only Upper Deck could spill some details on the Molten Core Raid Deck gameplay. It's five days before release, and um... Tick Tock.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 24, 2007

Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG Rules Posted

Star Wars Pocket TCG is set to ship in June 2007WizKids has posted the rules of their upcoming "Star Wars Pocketmodel Trading Card Game" [Funagain] set to release in June. The instructions [pdf] are available after listening to the 1980's secret cereal prize voice on the game's official web page.

The gameplay seems relatively straight forward, and definitely on the lighter end of the spectrum - players create fleets of limited cost, then fly them at each other rolling dice to determine hits, and playing cards to augment battle results. We're expecting a light fun game, with some of the payoff being the assembly of ships picked from our favorite fantasy/sci-fi setting of childhood.

Return of the Jedit got something rightWho needs the characters of Star Wars anyway, or the horribly coreographed lightsaber batles of the original trilogy? The true star of the show is the large scale space battles and utilitarian/dirty ship design, and that's what we get here. To top it off we'll happily fill-in the Sound FX for this shrunken laundry incarnation of what is the epitome of 80's sci-fi movie craft. A lost art, indeed.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 22, 2007

"Warrior Knights: Crown and Glory" Released

Warrior Knights: Crown And GloryThe first expansion to the 2006 revised edition of Warrior Knights from Fantasy Flight Games has shipped. Entitled “Crown and Glory [Funagain] the expansion is somewhat modular in that it contains three ways to change the play of the game. The major beef of the expansion extends many of the existing mechanics, but the box ships with new optional twists to the end-game which can be mixed and matched with each other as players see fit. We’re especially interested in the optional hidden-goal gameplay elements which drive players to indirectly compete to fulfill secret victory conditions.

For more information about the expansion please check out story from last week: “Warrior Knights: Crown and Glory Rules Posted”, which should fill you in on all the nity gritty details. Here’s the official line:

The Original Warrior Knights

In the war-torn land of Warrior Knights, the conflict is far from over. The new Crown and Glory expansion provides contenders to the throne with a multitude of new options, additions, and variants. In the Crown and Glory expansion, a player can actually become King and attempt to prove that he has what it takes to retain the crown! The Crown of Glory expansion also includes Mission cards, which provide players with new paths to victory.
The Crown and Glory expansion features over 200 new cards including:
  • New actions that provide mobility and versatility
  • Garrisons that help defend your cities
  • Town levies that support your armies
  • New specialized mercenaries
  • A larger Fate deck allowing for bigger battles and new combat and Fate results
  • New rules for mercenary Nobles, a new resource, and much more
The Crown and Glory expansion provides Barons with indispensable new resources and options for consolidating their hold over the realm of Warrior Knights.

The Warrior Knights Crown and Glory Expanson is now shipping from Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 21, 2007

Colosseum Reviews

Colosseum from Days of WonderThe foundation that has been laid for the of the upcoming release of Colosseum [Amazon, Funagain] from Days of Wonder is a bit shaky. When the game was first announced back in January there was quite a bit of praise going on for the game’s components, gameplay, and generally the potential of this family oriented game. Plus, the game’s announcement was riding alongside the news that one of office’s favorite water cooler shows, Rome on HBO, was canceled. We suddenly found a gap on our ancient Roman interest, and Colosseum seemingly arrived just in time with swinging gladiators, artist performances, regal nobles, and dynamic amphitheater fun. There’s nothing quite like a extended bleacher section of bloodthirsty fans cheering on a gladiatorial battle of ravenous lions chewin' on men with sharp swords.

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Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 17, 2007

A Fantastic "Tide of Iron" User Review on BGG

TideOfIron.jpg

Tide of Iron [Funagain] - the WWII big box war game from Fantasy Flight Games - is slated for release any time now. In fact, a lucky consumer from down under got his hands on a copy yesterday and put the game's first scenario through it's paces with a few friends.

The resulting review is fantastic - it reads like WWII battle screenplay. Suppressing fire, motor teams, machine gun nests, elite troops and a rumblin' infantry killin' Panzer IV beast of tank blowing the crap out of battlefield already filled with craters, chaos and mayhem. After reading this article the World War II buffs at the Critical Gamers offices are walking around with a grin larger than the Magniot Line. We can't wait to get our hands on it and put it through our own crucible of criticism.

But everything about Tide of Iron isn't a glossy finish that smells like purty roses. It seems that the potential strength in the game's dynamic components - a built in mechanic that allows players to create their own infantry squads by sliding individual units into bases of four - might have bitten off more than it could chew. The pieces themselves seem too fragile to repeatedly snap into the base, and them pull them out again, so there are some definite concerns about the longevity of the game. This seems especially relative and disconcerting given that Tide of Iron is supposed to ship with an online scenario editor. New user content doesn't add to re playability if all your troops are all missing their legs.

Still, we can help but feel very enthusiastic about this one. We'll keep you posted on when the game official ships in the states. Should be any day now.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 16, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck May 30th

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30th

The WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck has been released, and is now available from Shopzilla and Funagain Games.

It’s May 15th today, which is the original ship date of the Molten Core Raid Deck for the World of Warcraft TCG, but Upper Deck has delayed the release by two weeks. The new date has the epic raid deck shipping just in time to be held by your shaking hands at the turn of the calendar.

Surprisingly Upper Deck hasn’t been very forthcoming with details on the raid deck. Its only two weeks away and there has be virtually no prerelease hype. We’re not quite sure who’s in charge of marketing limited edition product releases over at Upper Deck, but their lunchtime soft drink should be checked for scotch.

But there is some movement in the reeds – Upper Deck has launched the Official WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck website [link]. Currently it hosts some images of card art, but according to this post in the WoW TCG forums, the site should come alive with details by week’s end.

We’ll keep you apprised of the juicy details as Upper Deck’s marketing department sprints to release. Well, at this rate I’ll probably be a slow shuffle.

For now you can preorder the Molten Core Raid Deck [Funagain] at Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 15, 2007

Warrior Knights: Crown and Glory Rules Posted

Warrior Knights: Crown And Glory
Fantasy Flight Games has published the rules to the upcoming Crown and Glory [Funagain] release, which will expand the revised edition of Warrior Knights released last year. The rules are in PDF form (what else?) and are available to download from the FFG website here [pdf].

The boxed expansion includes three different ways to alter the game, each is optional and can be mixed and matched with other two. The main expansion is called the "For the Glory" variant. It includes new Agenda cards, Event cards, Action Cards, well, new cards to supplement pretty much all of the existing decks in the game. Also included is a new technological Advancement deck with cards that provide your faction bonuses to movement, combat, etc. The Fate deck is also completely replaced, and is expanded to 48 cards which should do a nice job at mixing up the game’s battles.

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Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 14, 2007

"BattleLore: Call to Arms" Expansion Released

BattleLoreCallToArms.jpgPublisher Days of Wonder has pushed out the first of what will be many expansions to their fantasy wargame system BattleLore. In this substantial release, Call to Arms [Amazon,Funagain] attempts to redefine the way players deploy their armies on the board through a formation-card drafting system. The system is optional of course, but the goal is to increase replayability as players can deploy a random, unique, and balanced army in very little setup time. Does it work? Reviewer Tom Vasel thinks so - he has given the expansion 5 stars out of a potential 5. That's full marks for those folks who just found they're bad at ratios.

The expansion also includes new terrain tiles, new units, and a set of new scenarios, too. For more information about Call to Arms, check-out our BattleLore coverage from last week. It's got all the good stuff. You can also check the official rules published here [pdf].

Those of you waiting for more BattleLore goodness should be well-satiated. Plus, even more mini expansions are coming down the pipe even as we speak. Good times.

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Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 11, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG: Onyxia's Lair Playmat

Onyxia Angry!
Those of you looking to offload the gobs of UDE points you've been hording from all your WoW TCG boosters now have a prize that’s not the standard fare of computer desktop wallpapers, in-game trinkets, and Ogre costumes. The new Onyxia's Lair Playmat has been pushed to the UDE points store, and is now available for purchase at the somewhat reasonable price of 12,000 UDE points.

The playmat has no real in-game functionality, so no - it doesn't help you organize your cards, it doesn’t automatically tap your allies when they run-in to deal pain, nor does it open beer bottles with worn teeth. But despite all these drawbacks we have to admit that the mat does look pretty snazy. Plus, what better way to make your hero look more bad ass than to have him standing above a hellish torrent of fire and brimstone? What’s that behind your opponent? Is that a well worn wood finish of a 1970’s card table? Yeah, real bad ass. Sucka.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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