September 4, 2007

August '07 Roundup: Starcraft, D&D 4th ED, and Fires of Outland

Roundup2.jpgSome big news went down this month. Things kicked off strong when the next installment in the A&A franchise - Axis and Allies Guadalcanal - began to take shape. Next, Margaret Weiss Productions awoke from their slumber an kicked off the covers for their upcoming retail release of the Battlestar Galactica RPG, and it's looking like it could be a solid title later this month. Then Fantasy Flight Games released a treatment on the upcoming Starcraft board game, which followed shortly after with fantastic news that the Fourth Edition of D&D will be released in Spring 2008. Holey Moley, talk about a tasty stew of news for some huge upcoming games!

This month also saw some great releases, the biggest two were Age of Empires III - which has some great community praise who are already whispering of a new classic - and the third edition to the WoW TCG: Fires of Outland. The Condottiere 3rd Edition card game of waring city states was also released, and we cannot stress enough that this little game truly shines for groups of 3-5 players.

Here’s the rest of the gaming news from August, from head to toe:

Board Games and Party Games


Collectible Card Games


RPGs

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 30, 2007

Our Top 5 Games for Labor Day Weekend '07

Narragansett Beach, Rhode Island

We’re about all packed and ready to head out to the beach house for Labor Day weekend, including our bag o’ games in tow. Yes life is tough. And hopefully you, too, will be take a nice relaxing weekend break.

Here is our selection of party games from gaming stack this year. Its a lighter set keeping in mind a we're trying to reminisce the lazy days of Summer with friends who aren't quite a group of heavy gamers:

  • Apples to Apples

    Can’t go wrong with this party game classic. Everyone and their mom like’s Apples to Apples after chilling on the beach – it’s light, funny, social, and easy to get into. This all adds up to an easy first selection from the the middle of the game stack.

  • Condottiere
    Before the boys withdraw to the withdrawing room for their late night poker tournament, this card game should be a great warm up for everyone. It lacks the chip gambling mechanics which makes it "nice" for those without the gambling fever, but there’s enough gameplay decisions and risks to make it attractive even for veteran poker fans. It walks that thin line so well.

  • Ticket to Ride Marklin
    When we're actually craving a game with a board, Ticket to Ride really delivers. This one supplants the classic Settlers of Catan, which has been played almost to detail. Marklin also remains our favorite of the Ticket to Ride series, even though the stock Ticket to Ride has been brought up to date with similar mechanics via the 1910 Expansion.

  • Celebrity
    We're not actually packing our favorite party game, 'cause there's nothing to pack! Celebrity is the perfect ice breaker for our friends who've just gathered again for the first time in a year. Funny, inventive, laid back; contains the greatest of things to get the weekend started.

Have a good weekend folks. See you on the other side when we enter the Fall season of games, and football season! Woot!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 29, 2007

The Simpsons Duff Dice

Beer Goes In Here
Before you roll your eyes at a cheap commercial dice game, know that The Simpsons Duff Dice [Amazon, Funagain] is based on the proven classic Liar's Dice. If you haven't heard it before then it goes a little something like this:

Everyone rolls Dice in a hidden cup, slapping the cup upside down onto the table like a drunken four-fingered pirate. Then each player growls at the other, sneaking a hidden peak at their dice to see how many common numbers came up in their cup. The round continues as players take turns estimating - or bluffing - how many dice across the entire table have a particular number.

Given a result of four "2"s in your cup, you might predict that there are eight two's in your five player game. The next player either calls your bluff, or increases the bid to beyond eight, using any dice result number he/she wishes.

If your bluff is called, then everyone lifts their cups. If you were found-out to be dead wrong, then chug your Duff. Otherwise the skeptic kicks back his own beer in frothy humility.

A simple, elegant, and proven party game (7.2/10 BGG) with a Simpson's motif. What could go wrong?

The Company Line:

The dice don't lie but you might have to in this fast-paced game of lyin' and guessin'. Do you have what it takes? To stay alive in Duff Dice, you must bluff -- or be bluffed. To win in Duff Dice you must lie, lie, lie your way to victory. Woo hoo!

Packaged as a four-pack of beer, this classic liar's dice game includes 4 collectible Duff Beer Cans, 20 custom dice featuring your favorite characters from Moe's Tavern and a Duff Beer shopping bag for easy storage.

Contents:

  • 4 beer-can dice cups
  • 20 custom dice
  • Rules

The Simpsons Duff Dice is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 27, 2007

Three-Dragon Ante - How to Spice Up Your RPG Encounters

Three Dragon AnteEver been part of the lamest and uninspired RPG encounters? You know, the ones where you have when matching wits with an NPC, which pretty much consists of acting stupid in front of your friends, threatening a ghost sitting in the vacant chair next to you, and then rolling a die to see if your melodramatic performance actually won you the intimidation check? You roll a 2. Exciting!

Well we're about to show you a great way to spice up the monotony of social-skill and wit dice checks. Three Dragon Ante [Funagain, Official] first started as an in-game card game which DMs could throw down on the mahogany, waxed dining room table table in order to give some grit and atmosphere to the room. Players can use it as an in-character card game to kill some time in a local tavern, or use it as a tool, customizing the deck so the player has to game the encounters through a quick hand. This - of course - goes to great lengths to keep the spice in the air throughout some otherwise trivial, boring, and anticlimactic encounters.

Here's the official word on Three-Dragon Ante from Wizards of the Coast

"The high-stakes game of chance preferred by D&D characters of all classes and levels!

Three-Dragon Ante is a fast-paced noncollectable card game based on the tavern games played by characters within the D&D game world. Three-Dragon Ante can be played as a standalone card game when there isn't enough time for a full-fledged D&D adventure, or it can be played as part of a roleplaying campaign-where a character's abilities can give him or her a unique winning edge.

For 2-6 players. Great for dedicated D&D gamers or anyone interested in a cool, fast, fantasy-based game of chance."

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 11, 2007

Scene It? Comes to the Xbox 360

The DVD Trivial Game Microsoft continues the trend of brining the world of Social Gaming to the Xbox 360 with a 360 version of the DVD trivia “Scene It?” [Amazon, Funagain], which was announced during last night’s Electronic Entertainment Expo Press Conference in Los Angeles, California.

It looks like the Xbox board game adaptations aren’t just limited to Xbox Live anymore, as Scene It? will ship in an off the shelf boxed version. Included in every package are four of these colorful remotes which you see here. Sure, they’re not made of rugged space-age durable plastic, but you get four in the same box as the game, and at the same price as a standard 360 title. For such lack of cost the visual quality seems A-OK for now-- maybe we’ll change our minds when we get our hands on them.

Step 2 is trying to find a place to hide them while we’re not playing trivial with the family. Talk about some ugly living room clutter.

ArrowContinue reading: "Scene It? Comes to the Xbox 360"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 22, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Hands On Part 2

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30thWhen sat down and talked about running through the World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Deck [Amazon,Shopzilla], with a party of five heroes, we unanimously decided to make a true challenge of it and go for the entire raid experience. That meant downing each of the raid's 10 bosses in a row, without rest, or heals, or reshuffling of decks. We were going to tackle this thing like a Forza 2 Endurance Race.

But the first night [part one] went much slower than anticipated. We were thinking the whole raid would be a three hour affair. But with five of us playing heroes, and a sixth pulling the strings of the Molten Core bosses and cannon fodder, the night stretched, and stretched, and stretched on and on, until we decided to call it quits 3.5 hours at 11:00pm. So we packed things up on the fifth boss - Baron Geddon.

We reconvened a week later for the final push. The group sat down, cracked some beers, setup the board as it was before, and in forced march sitting we put our heads down and pushed through the five remaining bosses: Shazzrah, Sulfuron Harbringer, Golemagg, Majordomo Executus, and the king of the first pits Ragnaros. Here's how evening two went down from th e perspective of Russ - the Critical Gamer who we placed in charge of running the Molten Core raid experience.

ArrowContinue reading: " WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Hands On Part 2"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 4, 2007

Now Shipping: "Scene It?: 007 Collector's Edition"

SceneIt007.jpgScene-It, the makers of the best-selling video trivia franchise, has hooked up with Q-Labs to bring you the 007 Collector's Edition [Amazon,Funagain] - a trivia game that plays on any common household TV and DVD Player. Think that you're a bigger bond fan than you're father, well now you can prove it.

And it's all here: from Gemini capsule eating rockets, to laser table death traps, to the casino-based ballistic defense simulation with pain amplifying joysticks. Classic.

And if you ever find yourself in a pinch, loosing the game to your kids (who were born in the Timothy Dalton era), then just activate the disc's self destruct mechanism. Simply whistle three times and say "Roger Moore" with a scotch laden slur, and grab some cover. Smashing, yes.

Here's are the officials:

The Only True Bond

The Company Line: A must for the true Bond aficionado, this Collector's Edition of Scene It? is loaded with new trivia questions, puzzlers, and clips, including images from Casino Royale. This game will even give seasoned Bond fans a run for their money.

Contents:
  • Collectible Tin
  • 1 DVD
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Flextime Game Board
  • Party Play200 Trivia Cards (25% more Trivia Cards)
  • 30 Q Cards
  • 4 Reference Cards
  • 1 Six-Sided Die
  • 1 Eight-Sided Die
  • Set of Game Rules

007 Collector's Edition [Amazon,Funagain] is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 16, 2007

Now Shipping: "Cineplexity"

Cineplexity from Out of the Box PublishingFrom the publisher of Apples to Apples (one of our favorite party games in a box) comes Cinepelxity [Amazon, Funagain]: the new creative title that will test your ability to make quips of general movie knowledge. This isn't a trivia game, but a word matching game, and so the you don't need to crack open a movie history book and study it for hours to compete. Instead you just need to shout out the first solution that comes to mind.

A solution to what? Well that's easy -- Name a Detective Movie set in Los Angeles! If you blurt out LA Confidential, or Chinatown, or Columbo: Columbo Goes to College, then you'd get a point (and potentially labeled as having no life). Quick! Name a Romance staring Arnold Schwarzenegger. You could shout.. errm.. Predator, or uh.. Total Recall..?

Maybe we should let the Out of the Box Publishing marketing describe the gameplay for this one.

The Company Line: Cineplexity brings movie fans together for delightful movie madness! Each round, players race to name a movie that includes elements from two Cineplexity Cards. Be the first to come up with a title and you win a point. With over 500 cards you’ll have hundreds of hours of fresh movie fun!

Cineplexity is now available from both Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 7, 2007

"Kill the Hippies" Announced and Arrives For Review

Kill the Hippies: A Satirical Card Game from Golden LaurelThere's only one reason why we can't say we're huge fans of Golden Laurel's releases, and that's because we haven't played one yet. Unfortunately the upcoming space strategy and political epic Galactic Destiny has been delayed due to production issues, so we haven't been able to sink our teeth into that juicy morsel. And even though "Kill the Hippies" has only been just-announced, we're lucky enough to get a preview copy here at CG, and we'll soon know exactly what Golden Laurel Entertainment's labs are capable of cooking up.

First thing to note is that the game's literature is firmly smacked with the disclaimers "ironic", "satirical", etc, so as to not offend half the planet. In a country of extremes, including an uncanny ability to take things extremely seriously, "Kill the Hippies" is smothered with slightly offensive material. But to anyone with half a sense of humor, this party game has plenty of flavor to make you smile and, potentially, laugh out loud.

ArrowContinue reading: ""Kill the Hippies" Announced and Arrives For Review"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 15, 2006

Critical Gamer's Holiday Gift Guide 2006 - WoW TCG, Board Games, and Party Gaming Gifts

HolidayBuyersGuide.11.15.06.jpg

Be sure to checkout our
2007 Holiday Gift Guide!

The Holiday Season is approaching all-too quickly. Soon the malls will be a swarm of ravenous consumers elbowing their way to the top-shelf merchandise.

In an effort to keep the world civil, here's our guide that will help you get around all of the holiday shopping mayhem.

Not all gamers are the same, so we've segmented our guide into a series of gamer stereotypes. Face it, when someone asks for Voltron for Christmas they mean the Lion Voltron, and they would be quite disappointed to unwrap the cheesy Car Voltron on Christmas morning. This guide will help you avoid such unpleasant mistakes by getting the best-fit gift into your loved-one's gaming hands come December.

We started things off with The Family Gamer, who's tired of television dominating their evenings and is looking for a game to throw-down on the dining room table after Wednesday's Prince Spaghetti Day. The Party Gamer wants to entertain her adult friends following dessert at a Dinner Party, or spice-up a New Years Eve with a humorous preamble activity that makes everyone laugh their gourd off. The Trading Card Gamer strives the mold a deck of cards into the best extension of his personality, and play in a community of other gamers doing the same. The Warmonger enjoys pushing plastic military figures to secure a hill and rolling dice to win the day on the tactical battlefield, while The Strategist is about a checkmate in 5 moves, or playing a game of worldwide CIA cloak and dagger.

Now all you have to ask is yourself: for whom am I buying a present for? Then read-on for some great gaming gift ideas:

ArrowContinue reading: "Critical Gamer's Holiday Gift Guide 2006 - WoW TCG, Board Games, and Party Gaming Gifts"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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