December 30, 2008

Whats Slated for the World or Warcraft TCG in 2009?

WoWTCGDrumsOfWar.jpgIt's hard to believe that we're entering the third year of World of Warcraft Trading Card Game is entering it's third year. Yep, our favorite modern TCG came out in '06 - if you can believe it - and with Drums of War we're already entered the third block of cards heading into the Winter.

The big question is what next? What have the Upper Deck designers concocted in that backroom laboratory of theirs to keep us focused on the TCG, especially when the new WoW Minis are the latest hot franchise that may distract us (WoW Mini's Review coming early in the new year).

Well the official Upper Deck feature article "World of Warcraft TCG 2008 Year in Review" has some answers. While it catalogs the year past, the latter half also lays down some expectations for the first half of 2009, and all the releases slated for this new set.

Some quick backstory: The main theme of the World of Warcraft massively online roleplaying game was centered around groups of players attacking AI controlled monsters through teamwork Later Player versus Player combat was added along with its perks: battlegrounds, honor rewards, and armor and weapon sets gained in the gladiator centric Arena battles.

The recently released WoW TCG Set: The Drums of War expansion began a new cycle, and it's centered on the Player versus Player material of the MMORPG. Continuing that line will be the Blood of Gladiators expansion slated for a March '09 release. It introduces elements from the World of Warcraft close-up and personal 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5 Arena combat. Then in June or July, Fields of Honor will include aspects of the MMORPG Honor System and larger scale PvP battlegrounds. The expansion will also include a new mini-game type modeled after one of the battegrounds: Warsong Gulch.

DeathKnight.jpgThe Wrath of the Lich King expansion that added gobs of new content to the MMORPG in November has introduced the Death Knight class to the game, and 2009 will see its introduction to the WoW TCG as well. The Death Knight Deluxe Starter is scheduled to ship in June '09, and comes with a kick-start to its set of cards to ensure your Death Knight is viable against your current hero collections. It also includes two Death Knights, one for Alliance and one for Horde, so it's a complete Death Knight kit in one. Should be an interesting New Toy to play around with, but of course we're concerned with the balance. Adding a whole new approach to battle with a new class is always a risk proposition.

Finally, a bit of interesting news that should shake things up: A new World of Warcraft TCG Game format will hit tables in May. Here are the details::


May 2009--Arena Grand Melee: A fun new way to use your World of Warcraft TCG cards! Mix in a little MMO humor, some crazy new mechanics, and a few friends--good times are sure to ensue. Tournament players will also get new content in the form of "preparation" cards for each class that can be played for free and two new heroes with a twist. Also included are two new mini pet cards.

Details are light for sure, but coupled with the Warsong Gulch mini game, this maybe just what the franchise needs in order to keep parity with the dynamics of the WoW Minis game, which has some pretty freeform rules that allow for all sorts of easily-created game types from the community base.

In all, the franchise seems strong. We weren't quite a fan of the Traitor Mechanics from the 'Burning Crusade block', but he last few expansions have remained strong, and we really liked the Drums of War release. Considering the pedigree, some team based mechanics and a continuation of top notch gameplay, art, and materials should knock us off our feet this year. iIt better, considering the number of games competing for our dollar these days.

Here's to next year!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 27, 2008

Critical Gamers 2008 Holiday Gift Guide - Board Games, Strategy Games, and Card Games Galore

HolidayBuyersGuide.11.15.06.jpgWe know how important it is to find the right game for the right person - it's hard work. And so once again we've lovingly crafted individual guides chalk full of selections tailored for various specific of gaming styles and genres.

Rest assured that you'll find the right game for the right person for some unwrapping goodness come December. Your anchor is this page. Everything you'll need to shop for a gamer spirals out from here, linking to all of our selections for best-bet titles to gift wrap this holiday season.

And here they are:

Critical Gamers 2008 Holiday Shopping Guides:

If you haven't found exactly what you're looking for then please also check out our 2006 Holiday Gift Guide and our 2007 Holiday Gift Guide. They're both also chalk-full of great game ideas with staying power - we still play many of these games even years later!

Happy Holidays folks!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 11, 2008

WoW Minis Launch Hub - Everything You Need to Know

WoWMinisPreviewtitle.jpg

It's here! The biggest release of the year is here!

World of Warcraft Minis follows hot on the heels of the successful Upper Deck smash-hit World of Warcraft the Trading Card Game, which has impressed us immensely from both a gamer's perspective and from a World of Warcraft fan's perspective.

Now it's time for Upper Deck to bring us into the world of World of Warcraft once again, and this time it's in 3D. WoW Minis sports spacial tactics, rarity scales, collecting, and even 100% cooperative raid content.

Just about every aspect of the game is top notch. We had a chance to put our hands on the game at this years Penny Arcade Expo, and we walked away very, very impressed and more excited than we had ever expected to be.

Today we'll cover all the info you need about WoW Minis to get started, including the various kits, rules, and a listing of all the official feature previews that have been published so far - all in a nice completely page of WoW Mini goodness. Enjoy!

ArrowContinue reading: "WoW Minis Launch Hub - Everything You Need to Know"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 29, 2008

WoW TCG: Drums of War

WoWTCGDrumsOfWar.jpgWhen it rainsit pours. Upper Deck has released the first installment in the 2008-2009 set of the World of Warcraft TCG. The Drums of War is looking nice. Real nice. Not only does it include a new Location Card Type, and faction-specific weapons, but the standard class roles are definitely kicked up a notch.

The set is available in three forms: a Drums of War Starter Deck [Amazon, Funagain], in standard individual Boosters of 19 cards [Amazon, Funagain], or the value saver Drums of War Box of Boosters [Amazon].

Like all new cycles Drums of War introduces a new set of keywords. Gone are the ways of the Traitor, now replaced by Shadowmeld, Diplomacy and Berserking.

An ally with Shadowmeld is both elusive and untargetable while it's in the ready state (ie: not exhausted). Get your Aldor Inspire ducks in a row. Example: Cymbre Shadowdrifter

WoWTCGSouthshore.jpgAn ally with Diplomacy lets you spend 1 less to recruit other allies of that same race or faction, depending on the card. This ties resource acceleration and themed decks together quite nicely.. though do we need stronger rush decks? Example: Envoy Samantha Dillon.

Finally, an ally with Berserking adds +1 to their attack value for each damage he's holds. Example: Nok'tal the Savage , a troll who plays quite well with Kray'zin Firetusk if we do say so. And we do.

You can check out the entire Drums of War set of cards on WoWTCGDB.com in a nice pictoral layout that's easy on the eyes. Man we love that site.

Here are the official details:

WoWTCGKrayzinFiretusk.jpg


"The thundering drums of war echo throughout the land of Kalimdor. New warlords ride through the gates of Orgrimmar, eager to serve the warchief and leave their marks on the pages of history. Small battalions of Alliance soldiers arrive at outposts throughout Azeroth. It is only a matter of time until the piercing battle cries, roaring magic, and crashing steel evoke the symphony of war once again. When the dust settles, will you be remembered, or will you fade into oblivion?"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 24, 2008

WoW Minis Preview Hits Stores This Weekend

WoWMinisStarter.jpgThe gaming news site GamingReport.com has seemingly posted verbatim what appears to be a press release from Upper Deck stating that demo kits of World of Warcraft Miniatures will hit stores this weekend.

So if you're looking to get an hands on experience with the game before it ships in a few weeks, then you're chance is now!

Here's the meat and potatoes of the press release on GamingReport.com:


" Make sure to add the new World of Warcraft Miniatures Game to your weekend plans! Starting this week, hobby stores around the country are offering free demonstrations of this brand-new game. Stop by your local hobby store and get a taste of all the amazing game-play action and high-quality figures that the World of Warcraft Miniatures Game has to offer. Visit WoWMinis.com to find a hobby store near you!

WoWMinis.jpgLaunching on Tuesday, November 11, World of Warcraft Miniatures Game will be available in four-figure Starter Sets and three-figure randomized booster packs, all featuring amazingly detailed figures and innovative, engaging game play. Visit WoWMinis.com for more information about this great new game!

Upper Deck has provided free World of Warcraft Miniatures Game demo kits to more than 1,500 hobby stores across the country. The kit includes a Starter Set, offering everything two people need to play right out of the box, and a four-page quick start guide, making this kit a great way to experience the most anticipated Minis game of the year.

Each of the 70 figures available in the World of Warcraft Miniatures Game reflects the imagery and style of the popular World of Warcraft online game characters, including such fan-favorite characters as Leeroy Jenkins, Warchief Thrall and Varimathras. Each miniature can be mounted on a uniquely engineered, removable base, allowing it to serve as both a game piece and a standalone collectible."


Have a good weekend!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 13, 2008

WoW TCG: Drums of War Preview Card in Stores Now!

LastBarov.gif

Upper Deck has just announced a slimline promotion for it's next World of Warcraft Trading Card Game release, Drums of War. Those of you interested in getting a nice special run of The Last Barov - with slick extended art that screams collectible - and you can't or don't want to attend any preview events, then things just got easy for you:


"Want to get your hands on an exclusive promo card from the upcoming WoW TCG expansion, Drums of War? Head in to your local store and spend $10 on any World of Warcraft Trading Card Game products, and you'll walk out with an Extended Art copy of The Last Barov!"

The card The Last Barov is surrounded by a family fued between the last remaining Barov Brothers. There are actually two remainng brothers, but one of them is a walking corpse named Aelxi who can't vote, hold his liquor (literally), nor get health insurance, so he's not technically part of society. Therefore we can only assume The Last Barov refers to his slightly more pompous brother Weldon. More information on the Barov family tree and their influence on the Drums of War expansion can be found in the official Upper Deck Preview Article Player vs. Player Hater.

And you in regard to the giveaway program, check to see if your local game store plans to participate here. Enjoy!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 24, 2008

The WoW TCG Black Temple Raid Deck

BlackTempleRaid.jpgIts time to put your PvP WoW TCG decks down and start building something that covers your friends back; another Cooperative World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Raid Deck has hit the shelves, and rush decks will get slaughtered.

the Black Temple Raid Deck [Amazon, Funagain] is the 4th installment in a long line of very unique Cooperative TCG game experiences, which has leaned heavily on World of Warcraft MMORPG cannon from the Onyxia, Molten Core, and Magtheridon's Lair raids dungeons.

Things aren't so ho-hum traditional here folks. The Raid Deck is stacked with Traitor Hero Only ally cards for each of the WoW classes. That means that once the raid deck has been defeated, and once you've unwrapped the loot cards, had a scotch, and you just don't know what to do with your cards but have them shine down on you from the top shelf of your collection - you can give them new life. Ayep, you can take the powerful traitor-only trash mobs from this raid deck and slide them them into your Traitor hero decks from the Servants of the Betrayer and The Hunt for Illidan. And here we thought the whole Traitor thing was short lived.

Speaking of backstabbing SOBs, this time around players take on the traitor himself, Illidan, in the far reaches of Outland in his penthouse apartment of the Black Temple. This raid traditionally caps of the end-game content of The Burning Crusade expansion to World of Warcraft, and ends the Outland cycle of the WoW TCG. From here the Traitors are left behind when things head into new territory with the Drums of War PvP battledeck expansion in November.

If you would like to read more on the deck before you put your paws on it, then continue on for the Official Deck Description. Additionally, you can check out a series of Upper Deck articles for a more in-depth preview of the raid's trash mobs and loot card rewards Enjoy!

Black Temple Raid Deck Preview Articles

  1. New Traitors Among Us
  2. Making Friends with Trash Mobs
  3. A Cursed Glimpse of Treasure
  4. Weapons of Choice
  5. Warglaives of Azzinoth
  6. Black Temple Raid Decks Available Now!


Black Temple Raid Deck Official Details


"The final barrier has been breached as the Horde and Alliance pour through the cracks in the walls of The Black Temple. Illidan's most trusted servants prepare to obliterate all those who would dare venture into the depths of his stronghold!

The Black Temple opens up an entirely new dimension of the World of Warcraft TCG as, for the first time, certain Raid Deck cards will be tournament legal outside of the Raid Deck format, while cards introduced in the Servants of the Betrayer expansion can be used to customize the Black Temple Raid Deck!"


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 15, 2008

WoW TCG: Darkmoon Faire Collector's Set

DarkmoonFaire.jpgThe World of Warcraft TCG has awoken from it's summer-long slumber with the release of a new mini-collection of cards. The new Darkmoon Faire Collector's Set [Amazon, Funagain] follows the same vein as last year's Feast of Winter Veil as a fixed collection of cards pulled straight from a seasonal event in the the World of Warcraft massively online RPG.

Now, don't be confused. While the Darkmoon Faire has traditionally been a WoW TCG card tournament and release event hosted by Upper Deck, this Darkmoon Faire collector's set is completely unrelated.

In World of Warcraft Mythos, the Darkmoon Faire is a traveling carnival (smells like cabbage), appearing at the front door of either Horde or Alliance cities every few weeks. This new WoW TCG collector's set includes a new series of pretty darn powerful cards that represent characters, items and events that any Faire-goer will quickly recognize

The Darkmoon Faire Collector's set includes the 5 cards of the promotional set(see below), 2 boosters packs, and a chance of drawing one of the rare loot cards from all previous sets. Thankfully, this doesn't include the ultra common cards - like Pet Biscuts - so we're talking about real loot here.

The set also includes a nice little nugget of goodness: A new card type! For the first time in the WoW TCG, the 'Location' card type appears, and surprise! It's the Darkmoon Faire!

On quick review it seems pretty darn tasty. On further review we're reaching for a ketchup-stained bib. Here's the skinny:

TheDarkmoonFaireLocationCard.jpg


"Introducing the World of Warcraft TCG's first new card type: locations. Locations represent your hero's base of operations or a place where he or she has recently visited or explored. From a gameplay perspective, locations are similar to quests in that you place them face up in your resource row. There are, however, two major differences between locations and quests:

1. When you complete a quest, you have to turn it face down. Locations have no such requirement. You can use a location's power over and over.

2. You can control only one location at a time, even if the locations have different names. If you ever control two or more locations, all but one of them (your choice) are immediately turned face down. Each player may control one location."



Along with the Darkmoon Faire location card, the set includes this other pretty sweet cards as well. Thankfully, unlike some choice cards from Feast of Winter Veil, these cards don't seem to break any of the raid decks.

  • Blastenheimer 5000 Ultra Cannon: Cost 7 Ability; Ongoing: 3, Tap, You may put an ally card from your hand into play. If you do, destroy it at the start of the next turn.

  • Sayge: Cost 4 Ally, At the start of your turn, remove the top card of target opponent's deck from the game. If it's an ability, ally, or equipment card, you may play it this game. (Pay costs as normal.)

  • Silas Darkmoon: Cost 6 Ally; Silas has ATK equal to the combined ATK of all other allies in your party, and health equal to the combined health of all other allies in your party.

  • Darkmoon Card: Madness; Cost 4 Trinket; On your turn: 2, Tap, Remove the top card of target opponent's deck from the game. If it's an ability, ally, or equipment card, he destroys a card of that kind he controls.

  • The Darkmoon Faire: Location; 1, Tap, Discard a card Draw a card.
    At the start of your turn, if you control cards in play with costs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, you win the game.

The Darkmoon Faire Collector's Set is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 1, 2008

Critical Gamers' July 2008 Gaming News Roundup

RoundUp.jpgAnother month of gaming down and five more to go. This month was pretty busy on the release front. The Settlers of Catan 4th Edition expanded with Catan: Traders & Barbarians, the new World of Warcraft Adventure Board Game was released, and the Merlin's Company Expansion finally ratcheted Shadows Over Camelot to eleven.

Meanwhile we're still ga-ga over the release of D&D 4th Edition last month. The first module was longer than we expected, which is good in many ways but we're lagging a bit behind on our progress through the second module Thunderspire Labyrinth. The third one is just around the corner, too -- the whole thing seems like more D&D content than we ever imagined, and if they keep on publishing top notch materials liek these, then D&D 4th edition should have some staying power in our group.

That's the bright side of the issue, now here's the dark: with the Closing of Gleemax, it seems as though Wizards of the Coast's digital department has fallen on hard times, and now the D&D Insider tools may be in jeopardy, too.

In other dark news we're still awaiting the release of Ticket to Ride Europe for Xbox Live Arcade, that was slated to ship on Wednesday. That's last Wednesday. Here's hoping it comes out sometime this month... though we probably shouldn't cross our fingers.

What We're Playing

Board Games

Card Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Gaming News

Party Games

RPGs

Variants

World of Warcraft TCG

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 11, 2008

WoW TCG: A Brief Look Back on Two Years of Gaming

HeroesOfAzerothStarter.jpgThe Hunt for Illidan is the third and final installment which completes the Burning Crusade Block. We can only assume the next block starts up in the Fall with three new expansions, which we assume mirror the new Frozen Throne expansion Block to release alongside the MMORPG expansion slated sometime near the end of 2008 (all things willing).

But today is now, and with this second year of the WoW TCG coming to an end Upper Deck has started to flex it's tournament muscles. Starting with the North American Continental Championship, Upper Deck will introduce a new WoW TCG Constructed Tournament Type: Block Constructed, in which only the cards released in Burning Crusade Block's are allowed. For the record that's March of the Legion, Servants of the Betrayer, and the new Hunt for Illidan.

We're not huge on the Tournament play ourselves. Too much stress, too far away, and we like to spread our gaming attention around to different titles rather than go die-hard and torso deep into just one title.

But that doesn't mean we're not paying attention. Upper Deck feature writer Jeremy Blair has written a great article "The Burning Crusade Block" that takes a look at the themes of the two different blocks. It serves as a great review of the intention of each block, the state of the game today, and where the game might be going in the future.

It's a hefty article that's definitely worth your time for a relaxing read over the weekend.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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