February 28, 2006

Official Battlestar Galactica CCG Website Launches

WizKids just launched an official website for the upcoming Battlestar Galactica Collectible Card Game. The site contains the latest preview news, some scattered card previews (the official card preview page is yet to come), and an example walk through of a few rounds of the game.

The game's initial release of cards is set during the first two seasons of the show. This was a period when the newly appointed President Roslin butted heads with the meatshield Admiral Adama over which direction to take the ragtag human fleet, both physically and socially. The game is most centered around this internal struggle, and not centered on the fight of Cylons vs Humans, which is a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully there will be an expansion, 'cause man, a clash of human-will versus the replicating Cylon threat would have been fantastic.

Anyway, enough fantasizing. In this game, you control a political or military leader vying for ultimate control of the fleet. Your deck will contain various personnel and ships which you can use to attack your opponent from two fronts. A successful attack against an opponent decreases their influence.

Each card in-play also increases the chance of a Cylon attack which would occur in the final phase of a turn. These attacks rain down on both sides as players take turns controlling the Cylons in an attempt to deal as much damage as possible. It's catchy a thing, though, because a successful counter of a Cyclon raid from one faction will increase that player's influence (and thus bring that player closer to winning the game).

This example play is fairly interesting. It pits Conflict-Stallin' President Roslin versus the Big-Mamma-Jamma Admiral Adama. The President's collection of cards boosts her influence through personnel staff actions (as opposed to ship combat), and weaken the opposition's influence via similar means. Adama has a weaker personnel pool, but stronger ships which stand-up better to the inevitable Cylon attacks. In fact, his cards seemingly provoke Cylon attacks as a tool to weaken his opponent. Since Adama has powerful ships, his ability to withstand the attacks means he has a better chance to increases his own influence during each raid. Now -- we haven't seen all the cards yet, so we're not completely certain how this would play-out in the long run, but as of not it seems like a major theme in the game.

Not everything comes up roses in this preview, and we have a few problems.. err.. questions with the setting of the game. Should Adama really send ships to attack President Roslin? That doesn't seem right. Last time we checked, Adama and Roslin were quite the chums. And since when did the President command ships in combat?

But these are petty questions amongst the whole scheme of cool things, and they'll probably fall out of the wash once we starting pulling cards off the deck. In all, this collectable card game seems relatively straight forward, fun, and quick to play.

We're looking forward to this release in the next couple of months. We'll have more news as things develop.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

February 27, 2006

World of Warcraft Boardgame Reprint Hits Retailers

WoW_Boardgame_2.27.06.jpgWorld of Warcraft The Boardgame (Fantasy Flight Games) was an immensely popular hit last year. Too popular, actually. Stores sold out of the game soon after its release, and Fantasy Flight's own inventory was stripped bare. The game has been quite a b... pain to get a hold of ever since (mainly it was exclusively available on the ebay auction hall).

But today Fantasy Flight Game's warehouses are chalk full of a second run of the game. Trucks are departing (as we speak) to bring additional copies World of Warcraft to retailers across the country. The folks at Funagain games have already listed their copies as available. Amazon is still bone-dry, but you should be able to order from Amazon here, once they get their shipments within the next few days.

The Company Line:World of Warcraft: the Board Game is a team-based fantasy adventure. The Horde and the Alliance factions must compete to be the first to defeat the invincible Overlord – be it the lich-king Kel'Thuzad, the dragon Nefarian, or the demon Kazzak – or, failing that, to be the last faction standing when it comes to all-out war. Battle opponents, gather treasure, and gain levels! Embark on quests to grow ever more powerful and compete to be the greatest hero in all the land. The epic World of Warcraft: The Board Game production will include gorgeously crafted components, including over 150 highly detailed, sculpted plastic figures representing the multiple races of the World of Warcraft. Players will be able to take the roles of all nine of the World of Warcraft classes, each with its own unique and fun talents and powers. The World of Warcraft Board Game is a massive production that will ship in FFG's signature Epic Style Box.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

February 24, 2006

New Releases - The Week of February 24th

Harry Potter makes a late Winter appearance this week, and Funagain restocks their shelves with Blokus and a remake of an old Roman War classic from Eagle Games.

* SceneIt_HP_2.24.06.jpg"Scene It?" released a Harry Potter edition of their popular line of DVD trivia games, and Amazon has it for the cheap. Man, Scene It? is on a serious roll.

The Company Line: Features questions and puzzlers from one of the most popular movie franchises in history! Includes real clips and content from the first four Harry Potter movies as well as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Includes a themed Flextime game board which enables players to choose the length of gameplay, high quality Harry Potter themed metal movers, oversized dice, 160 trivia cards, 30 Harry Potter themed Buzz cards, and a DVD with patented Optreve technology unique to Scene It? so you can play again and again without seeing the same questions repeatedly. For two to four players.

* Blokus.2.24.06.jpgFunagain Games have restocked their shelves with critically acclaimed Blokus, and at a price 5 bucks cheaper than Amazon's listing. Nice work!

The Company Line: "Develops logic and special perception while kids learn to be tactical. Players take turns placing pieces on their board, each starting from their corner. Each new piece must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but only at the corners! The goal is to get rid of all your pieces. The game ends when all players are blocked from laying down any more of their pieces. Includes one gameboard with 400 squares, 84 game pieces in four bright translucent colors, and an instruction guide. "

* ConquestOfTheEmpire.2.24.06.jpgAlso back at Funagain this week is Conquest of the Empire. This is great remake of the original Milton Bradley's Game Master Series version from 1984, and with Roman History more popular that ever, how could you go wrong?

The CL: Do you have what it takes to become the next Emperor of Rome? It is the 2nd century AD and the 200 year Pax Romana of Augustus Caesar has come to an end. With the death of the Philosopher-Scholar Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Empire is without a competent leader. Disorder reigns and civil war looms. Mars will * be pleased. It is a time for war. It is a time for Conquest of the Empire!

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

February 24, 2006

The Best of the Blogpire

Tvsnob 125 Macnn-2Another week and another Best of the Blogpire! Exciting things are happening at TV SNOB - we've just run a TVSnob Logo Contest so expect a new look and new stuff over at TV SNOB very soon. Also if you've seen the new Gillette Fusion Razor - Shaving Stuff has a review of the new Gillette Fusion Razor. Are you into Poker? If so and you've got your own home game going you may want to check out our review of the new Apache Poker Chips - Paulson Clay Poker Chips For Your Home Poker Game. Okay - now on with the Best of the Blogpire!

Single Serve Coffee
Review: Black & Decker Home Café One Cup Coffee Maker GT300 from Single Serve Coffee.com
Save 10% On All Single Serve Coffee Makers

Just The Chips
Casino Server for Poker Night
Beyond Tells: Power Poker Psychology

Kitchen Contraptions
Magnetic Fridge Clock
Fizz Keeper Pump & Pour

Shaving Stuff
The Art of Shaving - Now in Book Form
How To Say Moustache in Albanian
L'Oreal for Men

What's All the Racquet
Volkl's DNX Technology - Cool S#%&
James Blake is working with Prince to design a racquet

TV Snob
First Look: Toshiba's TDP-T95U XGA projector
TV-B-Gone: A Tool for the TV Vigilante

Shirt Snob
Wood Tank by Vince
New at Busted Tees

GPS Lodge
In-Car Navigation Systems; Dangerous?
Mio 350 and Mio 550

The Cooking News
Recipe News: Join the Mardi Gras fun with Cajun recipes
Coffee News: Coffee before exercise won't kill you

Liquor Snob
Are You Gonna Drink Vodka My Way?
Bar Bets You're Sure to Win

Really Natural
Is Organic Always a Good Thing?
Eating Organic Foods Eliminates Pesticides from Children's Bodies

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

February 23, 2006


NESBuckle.2.23.06.jpgHoly smack. Someone fished a truckload of NES Controllers out of the East River and put them to good use. NESBuckle.com pushes the edge of fashion while being retro at the same time. That's a delicate balance, and it's... intriguing.

Here's NESBuckle.com's company line:

Once brushed off as merely a myth in the video game world, the long rumored, much talked about NES Buckle is now available to grace your pants. Yes, it's a real Nintendo controller, yes, its a real belt buckle, and yes, it will actually hold up your trousers. Get your own now!

There are other varieties too, including controlers from the SNES and Genesis systems. They even have the old school one button Atari joystick (although a joystick-ing out of your lower abdomen is a bit obscene. Best not wear this belt with your Church's Sunday's best).

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

February 22, 2006

Urban Dead: 243,575 dead and rising.

urbandead.gif Urban Dead is a free massively multiplayer online web-based game set in the fictional (duh) post-apocalyptic zombie infested city of Malton. The struggle of humans versus zombies has been going strong for almost three quarters of a year now, and on any given day there nearly 50,000 players shooting, biting and infesting their way through hospitals, malls, police departments, libraries, mansions... you get the idea.

Urban Dead isn't something that you devote multiple hours of your day to. This is slow game played over months of your time. Each day the system grants you only 50 action points to spend as you see fit - either killing, searching for ammo, or running away from the zombie hordes. A day's turn usually last about 5-10minutes of real time.

Players drive both the Human and Zombie sides of the conflict, and are given an option to join either during character creation. When a Human dies, he's forced to join the zombie horde. However, dead characters arn't trapped in zombie form forever (thankfully). Players who work for the NecroTech Corporation can rummage through the post apocalyptic refuse to find revivification syringes. This are consumable items that bring other zombie-characters back to world of the living.

Each side's gameplay is considerably different. The Humans can operate guns, barricade buildings, speak to each other, and run relatively freely through the streets. Zombies spend more action points to lurch around from point-to-point, and can't use weapons.. which is a bit of a downer. On the upside a zombie's bite can infect humans, who'll bleed to death unless they find medical attention. And when a zombie dies, he can get right back up.. a hauntingly nonhuman 'skill '

The game's graphics are fairly nonexistent (A simple clickable map is used for navigation), but that's okay. This one is all about the fight of Zombies versus Humans, and the social dynamics that evolve out of that conflict!

Some recommendations:

  • Join a clan to make the game a more social and immersing experience. Clans use message boards to coordinate attacks, defenses, quick raids, etc, - which is an especially useful tool for the zombie hordes (Z's have very limited verbal skills). You can find a list of existing clans here. Clicking on any of the clan names brings you to their homepage.
  • Start as either a scout or a fireman. The scout lets you run between buildings without going outside. This means safer travels since you can circumvent locked doors which can lock you outside in the cold. The Fireman kit is a great first choice for the more aggressive folks. He starts with a fire axe; the best non-ammunition weapon around. Shotguns require to you find shells, pistols require clips, but a fire axe is always ready to hack away few more Zombie limbs.
  • Play with friends - this game could get old quick if you're not watching someone else's back, coordinating with other people, etc.
  • Don't rest for the night in Hospitals, Malls, or Police Stations. These are prime targets for zombie attacks.

Good luck. Try not to get any red on you.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

February 21, 2006

MTG Online Guildpact Release Schedule

The folks at MTG_Guidlpact.jpgWizards of the Coast have posted the Magic The Gathering: Online Guildpact Release Event Schedule. If you're a bloodthirsting magic junky like were are, then make sure to give this a quick glance-over.

Release events start Monday February 28th, at 9:00am, PST. Most events award players with new Avatars, and at least two times the normal prize payout of booster packs. Some of these tournaments pay-out 6x the normal boosters - that's 72 boosters for first place! Sweet mamma jamma.. that's a spicy pay-out.

If you're not familiar with the new Guildpact expansion, then we recommend reading over some of these fantastic articles written by the Magic designers, specifically this Guildpact Combo article. Beware the combos! Finally, here's a great summary of the new Guildpact rules including Haunt, Bloodthirst and Replicate.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

February 20, 2006

Review: "Carcassonne"

Carcassonne1-2-20-06.jpgWe're suckers for randomly placed boards.. especially if the gameplay includes the hands-on design of an entire cityscape from scratch.

Carcassonne is an elegant game with plenty of room for creativity. It's easy on the eyes, has so few rules, and so few pieces.

And we'd probably eat it if it came with a pouch o' frosting.

ArrowContinue reading: "Review: "Carcassonne""

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

February 17, 2006

What Makes a Eurogame Game?

MapOfEurope.JPGThe Games Journal recently posted another attempt at defining the qualities of a Euro Game. It's a pretty good writeup, and although we agree with most of the thirteen points, we'd probably remove point "11. Abstract to the point that the 'theme' appears to be tacked on", point "4. Uncertainty of information", and point "6. Very pacific".

Why trim these three? Well, mainly becuase 10-points lists have been the standard for thousands of years (ever since Moses dropped that third tablet), and this 13-point list makes our anal side claw at the walls. On top of that - Eurogames do have somewhat aggressive game elements. You're not slaughtering each other with table top muskets, sure, but take the thief of Settlers of Catan, or the ability to box-in farmers in Carcassone, etc. The "uncertainty of information" doesn't seem uniformly applicable, either.

We'd also like to add that Eurogames have seemingly evolved out of a social movement in German familes. From our understanding, one of the things that German familes do during their "together time" is huddle around a table for a board game or two. It's a pastime that's becoming increasing popular... and we definitely understand why. Eurogames light our engine, and we look forward to years of more great titles yet to come.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

The Best of the Blogpire & ReallyNatural.com

Reallynatural Blogad-1We're pretty excited here around the Blogpire. Over the past few months we've been cooking up a new site to bring to you - ReallyNatural.com. If you need tips on living naturally (Birkenstocks not required) - then this is the site for you. ReallyNatural.com is your resource for product reviews of all of those consumer food, health and beauty, and household goods marketed as 'natural', 'organic' and 'environmentally friendly'.

You'll learn as Liesel and Mikko test the waters and offer tips on what it means to 'live naturally.' And where else are you going to find a review on Ecover Ecological Toilet Bowl Cleaner or a nice Organic Wine: 2004 Jelu Malbec and perhaps your didn't buy the right gift on Valentine's Day and should have looked into Chocolate Bars For Your Eco-Conscious Honey. Whatever you're need to be more natural - ReallyNatural.com will have it.

Now on with the Best of the Blogpire!

Liquor Snob
Don Eduardo Silver Tequila Review
Cocktail Parties 101

Single Serve Coffee
Review: Tully's French Roast & Kona Blend K-Cups from Single Serve Coffee.com
Four New K-Cups from Green Mountain Coffee

Kitchen Contraptions
Folding Cutting Board
Pig Baking Dish

Shaving Stuff
"Buzzed" - a Shaving DVD
It's The Microfins, Not The Blades

TV Snob
Philips RC9800i Touchscreen Remote Control Review
American Idol Crushes the Winter Olympics in TV Ratings

Shirt Snob
Kimono Top by Geren Ford

GPS Lodge
TomTom now #2 in US for Mobile GPS
Magellan eXplorist 210 Outdoor Bundle

The Cooking News
Wine News: Selecting the Perfect Red Wine
Recipe News: Heart-healthy recipes

Just The Chips
The Book of Bluffs - How to Bluff at Poker
Small Stakes Hold 'em

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

February 14, 2006

A Facinating Story about the Electronic Football Underground

ElectricFootball.2.14.06.jpg ESPN's website publication "Page2" has a great little article regarding some rabid fans who obsess over Electronic Football. This was one of the best games to have growing-up.. but we haven't touched the rumbling Ralph Wilson Stadium in over 20 years -- ever since that tragic lemonade incident of 1986. Oh the humanity!

From Page2...

Next comes Larry Johnson. Buzz! The tiny running back darts across the metal surface, fast and straight and true. Revels grins.

'He's gonna take over,' he says. 'People think this is just guys running in circles. But you do this six, seven hours a day, and you learn how it works.'

Like the theory says - Out of the chaos, patterns emerge. And after 7 hours so does the vibrating likeness of Abe Lincoln's head, and Fat Elvis.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

February 10, 2006

The Best of the Blogpire

Shaving Stuff 125 Macnn-2You'll need to remember only one thing for the week ahead - VALENTINE'S DAY. Many of our blogs will be feature some tips and tricks for Valentine's Day so check them out. If you're looking to be nice and smooth - Shaving Stuff already has posted Valentine's Day Shaving Specials. Now on with the Best of the Blogpire!

Liquor Snob
Agwa de Bolivia Coca Leaf Liqueur Review
Ivanabitch Vodka: Yes, It's Called 'Ivanabitch'

Single Serve Coffee
Revisiting Tassimo: Suchard's Hot Chocolate Part III
Revisiting Tassimo: Making a Cappuccino Tassimo Style
Revisiting Tassimo: Hot Beverage System Part I

Just The Chips
Tri-fold Texas Hold'em pro poker top
Ace on the River: An Advanced Poker Guide

Kitchen Contraptions
Shabu-Shabu and B.B.Q. Pan
Can Colander

Shaving Stuff
The Official Gillette Fusion Website
Gillette Fusion - What's in the Box?

TV Snob
Turn your Flat into the Star Trek Enterprise: Go Bankrupt
Archos AV500 Mobile DVR Review

Shirt Snob
More at Threadless
Nailhead Cami by Ella Moss

GPS Lodge
TomTom Map Upgrades - Here's the story
GPS Review: Lowrance iWay 350c by GPS Lodge

The Cooking News
Coffee News: Starbucks Plans to Launch Iced Coffee
Wine News: 'Three Kisses of Wine' For Your Valentine

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

February 6, 2006

Paranoia Mandatory Cardgame

Paranoia.2.8.06.jpgWe just finished a power session of Paranoia and we thought we'd get some thoughts down while still riding-out that aggressive high. Paranoia is a simple card game set in the quirky future-world conglomeration of B-Side Sci Fi Horror; it's a future-time where civil liberties and common sense simply don't exist, and where an all-knowing machine assigns your group missions to complete for the 'betterment of society'. During these missions your goal is to appease the machine by completing missions detailed on a randomly drawn card, but you can also win points by identifying (or more like set-up) your friends as traitors to the all-seeing social machine. The computer will then kill-off your friends and reward your policing ways with a higher security level (read: more health and more traitor resiliency).

The game sounds complex, but it's very lighthearted and the cards have some hilarious flavor text. This is a game best played with a large collection (5+) of your angst-filled friends who've no qualms about selling you down the river. Now, everything about this game isn't Roses - This game could get old after 10 or so sessions when the quirky flavor text loses it's cutting humor. But if you play this game at a fast pace, and play it with folks who you've compiled notebook of vendettas against, then a night of Paranoia will be simply bleed-time away.

Of course, drinks don't hurt either.

Paranoia is definitely worth the money for a group likes to work-out stress in a deconstructive way. For us, it's a no-brainer -- officer Friendly told us to stop leaving those flaming bags of poo on Mrs Frosts' front porch, so we need something else to do. Err.. Not that those bags contained our feces, Friend Computer. We were simply trying to get rid of them in the most hygenic way possible.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

Rio Grande's Early-2006 Release Schedule

Rio Grande games released their product schedule for the first half of 2006. It includes a ton of new titles, quite a few reprints of current sold-out titles, and some reworkings of current titles with new pieces and rules. Let's see whats we gots to look forward to:

New Titles:
- Times Square
- The Difference Between Women and Men
- Carcassonne: The Tower

- Friedrich
- Funny Friends
- Gloria Mundi
- Masons
- Rum & Pirates
- Thurn & Taxis
- Toppo
- Zig Zag

- Carcassonne: The Castle
- Power Grid Expansion
- Puerto Rico
- Samurai
- That’s Life
- Yinsh

- Cartagena
- Clans
- Lost Cities

- Attika
- Coloretto
- Goa
- Master Thieves

Unknown re-release Date
- Java
- Kahuna
- Barnyard Critters
- Galloping Pigs

Rule/ Pieces Revision
- Caylus ~ March
- El Grande (includes all expansions) ~ April
- Medici ~ May
- Taj Mahal ~ May

Holy crap, I need to take a nap. That's a helluva lot of good Rio Grande gaming coming our way before Summer. Time to get the interns to brush away that pile of Super Bowl chicken carcasses from the table and get it prepped for some Carcassonne Tower action.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

February 3, 2006

February 1, 2006

Pass The Pigs

Pass the Pigs has been a favorite pastime of ours for years. Once a week we head to the bar to take-in one of the local bands. We show up on the early-side to grab good seats, and then break out da pigs to kill time. This is a great game for playing on-the-go while waiting for something (anything) to start - a concert, fireworks, or to entertain yourself on a long flight, train ride, etc.

The game is simple; toss a pair of pigs across the table and score points depending on how they land. Is a pig pulling a razorback? 5 points. Is he leaning a Jowler? 15 points. Continue to toss and score points until you call out a "Bank!" (Cardsharks anyone?), at which time you lock-in your score. Then pass the pair of pigs on to your friend. But don't get too greedy - if you Pig Out (one pig dot-side up , the other dot-side down) then you lose all the points you've accumulated since the last Banking. The first person to 100 points wins.

Yes - we realize we could play this same game with a simple set of dice, but where's the fun in that? Half of the game is tossing these little rubber pigs to see how they land, the other half comes from your ability to play against your friends' karmic potential.

Serious strategy gamers need not apply - Pass the Pigs is simple, social and fun.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

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