June 5, 2006

Age of Empires III Boardgame Art

AoE_art_060406b.jpgA designer at Eagle Games has posted some "Artwork that will appear on the gameboard and in the manual" in the Eagle Games forums. We don't get a sneak peak at the board, or the pieces, but we'll be pretty darn happy if it matches this style. This shot to the right here has been halved so it'll fit our page, the full shot is twice as gorgeous.

Only a select few have played the prelease versions of the Age of Empires III board game. Their early reports suggest that the game leans more toward a Euro-style board game, shedding the army clashing and dice tossing gameplay of Eagle Games' other Ensemble RTS adaptation, Age of Mythology. In fact, some (but not all) of the AoE III gameplay elements regarding the colonization of North and South America have been closely compared to the construction elements of the award-winning eurogame Caylus. That's definitely a good thing considering how well that title turned out, and considering Eagle Games' track record of making some great board game adaptions.

Age of Empires III is set to ship in July.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 2, 2006

Battlestar Galactica CCG Released

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Ah yes, traditionally Fridays have been our BS:G CCG days because - well, BS:G usually airs on Fridays. Tricksy, huh? This Friday we're happy to report that the Battlestar Galactica Collectable Card Game has shipped and is now available in stores!

The Company Line: The Battlestar Galactica collectable card game (CCG) brings the tension and excitement of the hit television show to your table top, where the fate of humanity is in your hands! Protect the refugee fleet from Cylon attacks while dealing with internal politics and strife. Players face off against one another as they attempt to increase their influence over the fleet, and the ever-present Cylons threaten all players!

The Two Player Starter Deck contains everything two people need to learn the game easily and quickly. Two 31 card fixed decks provide players with an exciting introductory game. The cards can be combined to build a complete 61 card deck as well. Each starter contains 10 cards exclusive to the Starter (including 5 foil cards).

Starter Contents:

  • 10 exclusive fixed cards including 5 exclusive foil cards.
  • 52 fixed cards
  • Quick start rules
  • Rule book

We've done some fishing around to find the best launch prices online for the Starter Deck and Booster packs. IconUSA.com makes life easy for us - they seem to have the cheapest price for everything, including $6.99 starter decks (36 cards), $2.25 booster packs (15 cards), and $71.60 booster display boxes of 36 booster packs. The display box's MSRP is $125.64, so that's 43% off. We hereby label IconUSA - insane. Congrats.

If they sell-out then check TrollandToad.com. They're listing the Starter Decks at $9.49 a pop (with limited stock) If Toad's sells out and you don't mind paying the full $10.99 price, then Gamestop will surely have a ton of in stock.

While you wait for your shipment to arrive you could read-up on the game's design elements. Here's a list of the game's Official Feature Articles (for your enjoyment we've pruned the articles not related to BSG CCG gameplay):

Enjoy!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 31, 2006

May '06 Roundup for CriticalGamers.com

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We hope you dodged the miserable rainstorms that drenched the Northeast for half of May.. but then again, that stretch of gray was a perfect opportunity to dust off the ole dining room table and enjoy same gaming before the summer officially hits. Not that summer '06 will slow us down. We had some great reviews in May, and we hope to continue the trend through June. Tomorrow we'll kick-off the new month with a review of "Interact toGo", and later we'll roll-up our sleeves for a critical look at the board games "Carcassonne: The Tower", "Ticket to Ride: Märklin", and "Wildwords". We'll also post our initial impressions of the Battlestar Galactica CCG, to ensure that this collectible card game lives up to its namesake.

Wow, June looks like it's going to be a busy month of gaming. Heh, not that we're complaining.

Board Games

Collectible Card Games

Gaming Culture

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 26, 2006

Warhammer Online E3 Interview at Gamespot

WarhammerOnlineOrk.5.26.06.jpgGamespot.com has an absolutely fantastic interview with Warhammer Online Design Manager Paul Barnett. Paul eats Warhammer-Os for breakfast, sweats Warhammer design ideas out his eye sockets, and we're pretty sure he swallowed a vial of No-Doze before the interview, too. Just follow this link and click on "Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning 2006 Stage Show Demonstration" from May 11th, and you'll see what we're talking about.

Now, as a whole we're a bit burnt-out of all the Massively Online Role Playing Game madness, but the ideas in Warhammer sound fan-flipping tastic. Imagine a Goblin pet class where your 'pet' eats you, and you control it from the inside - pulling ligaments and intestines to steer the giant, romping, living siege machine as it smashes through trees and buildings. Awesome.

We'll let the video fill you in the other details, including the Player vs Player gameplay that includes city sieges where you can "blow the living hell out of everything". Sounds Warhammerish. Sounds fantastic.

Paul also has a series of Video Blog entries that he makes in the office with his cellphone camera. These aren't nearly as entertaining as the E3 interview, but if that video interests you then check-out his blog for some more cool tidbits.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 25, 2006

Settlers of Catan Expansion Ships in Games Quarterly Magazine

SettlersOfCatan.5.25.06.JPGWe just got word from Games Quarterly Magazine that issue #10 (August) will include a new Settlers of Catan expansion: "The Great River of Catan".

The Great River of Catan™ is a must for every player. It’s die cut with three new hexagonal board pieces exactly matching the game, ten new counters & special rules. Courtesy of designers Klaus and Guido Teuber and the great folks at Mayfair Games.

Gold! No word can inspire in quite the same way. Eager prospectors rush to the banks of the great river, pans in hand, hoping for a glimpse of the storied yellow powder! The gold rush in on in Catan. Can you profit from it? Find out with The Great River variant for The Settlers of Catan. A unique tile introduces the river to the island. Those who build along it’s banks stand to profit from the gold craze sweeping the land. But will it be enough to push you to victory?

A year's subscription to Games Quarterly Magazine is just under 16 bucks. That seems like a pretty good deal, too, considering that pays for a semi-official Settler's expansion, AND you'll get a four issues of game news, free games, and expansions. GQM also has hinted that an expansion will ship with November's issue for a nameless (surprise) Rio Grande Game... We're crossing our fingers for Carcassonne.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

Battlestar Galactica CCG - Building Military and Political Decks

BattlestarGalactica.3.21.06a.jpgThe official Battlestar Galactica Collectable Card Game website hosts two more feature articles about deck construction for the upcoming BS:G CCG release. Winning the Political Way is a very detailed description of a deck built to win the Influence game by hitting the triumphant 20-Influence high water mark. The deck also makes use of the "Manipulate" mechanic to stymie an opponent's military capacity in combat (remember that the victim of combat loses Influence points, and you're Colonial flotsam when your influence reaches zero).

When the game ships (which is like, nowish) there will be only one other major way to defeat your opponent - through military force, and that's where Building a Military Deck picks up where 'the Political Way left-off. Here, author Brook Willeford designs a deck around Security cards (read military cards) including famous personnel like show favorites Adama, Apollo, Starbuck and lesser characters like Helo, Gopher, and Joey Joe-Joe Shabado Sr (who cleans up C-Deck on third shift).

It's a shame that Willeford didn't hyperlink the card names to their online card database, because the articles fire a barrage of card names at the reader without any details about what each card actually does. Still - even without the juicy details these articles serve as great examples of deck construction, and more importantly how BS:G will play in a game session.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 10, 2006

D&D Sourcebook Review on Slashdot

DnD.5.6.06.jpgThe boys over at Slashdot games have done a great rundown the D&D and GURPS source books released during the last six months. They have a great opinionated synopses for each title, so you should give it a ready before you buy any of these following titles:

  • Spell Compendium
  • Races of the Dragon
  • Magic of Eberron
  • Heroes of Horror
  • GURPS For Dummies
  • GURPS Space
  • A Player's Guide to Ptolus

We're a bit surprised that they slammed the Sell Compendium so hard. It's actually pretty good deal considering you get all the spells from all the books, without having to buy the whole library. But to each their own.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 8, 2006

"Havoc: The 100 Years War" Expansion Ships

Havoc.4.18.06.jpgA few weeks ago we posted our hands-on of Havoc: The Hundred Years war. Overall we were impressed with the title. It's pretty solid and we'll certainly play it numerous times again for a full-on review.

Now, we were just on Funagaingames.com wasiting-away a Sunday afternoon checking-out what's new, and we stumpled upon news that the Havoc Expansion just shipped! Oh my! Where did that come from?

The Company Line: his is the first expansion for Havoc: the Hundred Years War. It includes a new type of character card, which is shuffled into the regular card deck and changes the game in interesting ways when one of them is drawn. For example, the John of Gaunt card, when drawn, joins the game as a player and starts a battle called The Chevauchées (a group of plundering raids.)

This expansion includes the premium cards that were given out at the game's release in Essen Germany in 2005, and at the first BoardameGeek Conference in Dallas, Texas. In addition to these, a new card not seen before has been added, as well as two extra Dogs of War which can be added to the game or used as blanks for players that want to try out character ideas of their own. The poly bag that comes with the expansion can also be used to store the tokens that come with the original game.

Sounds tasty. We'll make sure to devote some time to the expansion when we review Havoc next month. Until then, you can checkout the expansion yourself -- it's sold exclusively at FunagainGames.com (as is the original).

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 5, 2006

A Pair of "Storm of Swords" Preview Articles at Fantasy Flight

AGameOfThrones.3.16.06.jpgFantasy Flight is once again hard at work publishing details about their "Storm of Swords" expansion to the succesful "A Game of Thrones" strategy game.

Each article focuses on one of two Houses and how their House and leaders cards will effect game dynamics in the expansion. House Greyjoy's article details their mastery of the the quick raid, while House Martell loves the bring the full-on smackdown.

We have to be honest with you - if you're not already a fan of the Song of Ice and Fire novels from George R.R. Martin, and if you're not a fan of the A Game of Thrones games, then these articles don't have nearly enough substance to gather your interest. However, those true fans get a nice glimpse of the cool stuff coming down the pipe this June.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 1, 2006

April '06 Roundup for CriticalGamers.com

Roundup2.jpgIf we were to sum up April in one word, it would be "CCGs". Sure, there was great information about the board game expansions A Storm of Swords (a game of thrones) and the Battles of the Third Age (war of the ring expansion), but the beef of the new-product news came from the CCGs. Magic the Gathering released information about the final Ravnica set "Dissension", and the Battlestar Galactica CCG website continued churning-out feature articles for the game's May tour.

Speaking of May releases, Critical Gamers is set to have quite the month. Tomorrow we'll have a special treat - an interview with Wildwords' creator Peter Roizen about his board game that kicks Scrabble up to eleven. May should also host some major releases including Warrior Nights, Battles of the Third Age, the Battlestar Galatica Collectible Card Game May Demo Tour, and of course the release of Ravnica: Dissension.

Hold on to your butts!


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