September 29, 2006

Time Spiral's Purple Hourglass and Keywords

TimeSpiralBooster.9.8.06.jpgThe Time Spiral pre-release weekend has come and gone, and Wizards of the Coast no longer has any reason to keep hush-hush over Time Spiral's inner workings.

Curious players can nwo sift through the alphabetical listing of all Time Spiral's 407 cards (yes 407) in the Time Spiral Sortable Spoiler. Those of you who hate spreadsheets can use Gatherer, the online searchable Magic the Gathering card database, to filter through card names, colors, etc.

Note that there are essentially two different sets of cards in the initial release of the Time Spiral Block. The "Time Spiral" set contains 281 new cards that introduce three new keywords (below) and borrow select keywords from past MTG blocks. Then there are the 121 "Time Shifted" cards, which are throwbacks to classic cards of old. The Time Shift cards have a new purple rarity symbol, evens the playing field across all these cards despite their past rarity levels. The purple cards will appear one per pack. Confused? Lead Designer Mark Rosewater explains the nitty gritty in his article for the week "Purple Reign".

So what are the new Time Spiral rule mechanics? Well, the major thing that we're excited about is seeing all of the old mechanics compliment each other in new ways. On top of that there's three new temporal rules that we all get to poke with a stick:

Suspend "Suspend N--[cost]" means "If you could play this card from your hand, you may pay [cost] and remove it from the game with N time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, if this card is suspended, remove a time counter from it. When the last time counter is removed from this card, if it's removed from the game, play it without paying its mana cost. ...If it's a a creature, it gains haste until you lose control of it."

You may play this card any time you could play an instant.

Split Second
As long as this spell is on the stack, players can't play other spells or abilities that aren't mana abilities.

You can find more official definitions of these rules in the Time Spiral Rules Primer.

Time Spiral goes on sale worldwide next Friday, October 6th.

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September 28, 2006

Now Shipping: "Emira"

Emira.9.28.06.jpgMayfair Games has announced that their new board game "Emira" [Funagain] is shipping to stores.

Players of take on the role of desert sheiks fighting for resources to build up their own fortunes, palace, and status. During each round, players try to woo once of a various princesses randomly drawn from a deck. The gameplay seems to have stripped-out the historically accurate objectification of women, but still incorporates something not very popular to some in the states - non monogamous marriages, and so the game has stirred a bit of controversy up until it's release. But initial reports suggest the gameplay is tastefully, and more importantly entertaining and rewarding.

The game reviewing machine (with a heart of gold) known as Tom Vasel has written an Emira review, which can be found here. It's a great read, as are the user comments pertaining to the potential knee-jerk reactions of the subject mater.

Emira is currently available to order from the Mayfair Games webstore, and is also available to preorder from Funagain Games, Ishak.Pasa.Palace.9.28.06.jpg
which should be shipping the game in the next few days. The Funagain game discounts the title's MSRP by about seven bucks, which is a pretty good deal so long as you don't mind a few day's wait.

The Company Line: Emira is a satirical, historically themed game about desert nobles trying to attract princesses to join their household. The game is also the winner of the 1st place prize at the 16th Game Authors Competition of the Hippodice Spieleclub e.V.!

As a wealthy desert sheikh, you have many needs. Perhaps you need a wise advisor, or a talented cook, or maybe a well-organized housekeeper? Or, maybe you seek the romance of a beautiful companion?

But are you attractive enough to convince the princess to join your house and provide you with the skills you need to achieve your secret goals? Only a lucky or resourceful sheikh can hope to welcome an Emira into his palace. Because in this distant desert land, it is the princess who chooses which palace she will join!

As a desert sheikh, you will need to invest in the lucrative spice trade to furnish yourelf with the wealth to improve your appearance, enlarge your palace, and expand your status in the kingdom so that the princesses will choose you instead of another sheik. But you will have to mind your funds carefully: these independent and self-confident princesses will not stay if you cannot provide them with the life of comfort that they have come to expect!

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September 27, 2006

Now Shipping: "Terra Nova"

TerraNova.9.27.06.jpgImmortal Eyes Games has shipped their latest board game title to stores. Terra Nova [Funagain, Amazon] is an area of control game where players push around fence building meeples to capture terrain. As soon a constructed fence corners off a part of the board, the meeples within are tallied, removed from the board, and scored based on the number of terrain types contained within.

Players must jockey for position across the map, creating their own fenced areas, infiltrating other players terrain with their own meeples, and building fences to impede an opponent's designs. Sounds good!

The Company Line: Players lead nations in this new world where the most valuable resource is the land itself. The clever system of movement and boundary-building gives you the tools you need. However, it is your strategic vision which will ultimately decide whether or not you will rule Terra Nova.


  • 1 game board
  • 80 border stones
  • 44 pioneers
  • 4 scoring markers
  • rules

Terra Nova is now shipping from both Funagain Games, and from

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September 26, 2006

"Lost the Game" Review

Lost.Boardgame.8.23.06.jpgAlmost everyone in our group is a fan of the TV Show Lost (almost). There's the quirkiness of the island, the crass wordsmithing of Sawyer's castaway nicknames, the looming arrogance of the Dharma Initiative, and the puzzling question -- how the heck can all these attractive people have so many freakin' coincidences?

We had doubts when we first heard that Lost had a board game treatment: "Lost the Game" [Amazon, Target]. Most of the time TV to board game tie-ins really lack .. goodness. They're often designed by marketers to lure customers into a purchase, but when the game is unwrapped the unknowing customer finds a monopoly board with cobranding stickers hastily slapped over the orignial Park Place property names .

Marketers realize that most board game purchases are made by the customer's opinion of the cover or media tie-in. There really hasn't be a long standing resource for consumers to research or read a review off of the shelf games. What's changing these days is that people are actually becoming choosy with their board game purchases. Customers now read sites like this one to search for good family board games, or are meeting on gaming nights and talking with their friends about different titles and genres within the gaming scene (which is not nearly as dorky as what it once was). The culture is growing, too, and now has an internal dialogue which keeps gamers from becoming hoodwinked, and that population now reaches across s gap that once separated them from the mainstream. American game marketers are awakening to realize that board gaming is no longer a commodity market.

Our initial impression before getting our hands on the product was that Lost The Game is another rushed-to-market title. But as we dove deeper into the game's history we found prerelease coverage suggesting the title was designed by a gamer instead of a by boardroom of suits. According to the game's designer himself ( Keith Tralins interview ) Lost The Game draws inspiration from such greats as The Settlers of Catan, Talisman and Magic: The Gathering. The coupling of elements from these games seems risky and unclear, yet potentially clever. Most conservative marketers probably wouldn't have signed-off on spending time and money investing on a risky idea, but times are changing, and here in our hands sits the end product "Lost The Game".

Does the Lost mass market tie-in board game designed by a gamer, for gamers, live up to the standards of the best games on the market today? Could Lost The Game actually be the Missing Link between American marketing and Eurogaming excellence?

ArrowContinue reading: ""Lost the Game" Review"

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September 25, 2006

BlogPire Podcast - Fall Product News and Guest Russell Neufeld from 09.25.06

Blogpire 144Special guest Russell Neufeld visits from and tells us about the latest shaving products. And of course, we have the latest news and views from around the 'pire including details on the new TiVo Series 3 and where to get great deals on the latest GPS devices. We also answer your questions from the past couple of weeks so keep sending them in to podcast at blogpire dot com.

[iTunes]Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
[RSS] Add the BlogPire Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator and have the show delivered automatically (MP3).
[MP3] Download the show (MP3).
[LISTEN] Listen to the show in your browser.

With Hosts: Russell Miner and Jay Brewer and guest Russell Neufeld

Program Details:

00:00:58 Introductions and Welcome to Russell Neufeld from
00:02:10 Excalibur Wine on Cheap Fun Wines
00:03:00 HD Tivo series 3
00:05:30 Upgrades for the Tivo Series 3
00:09:09 CBS shows in advance on all Tivos
00:11:00 with Russell Neufeld
00:13:00 Zirh Preshave Products
00:15:22 Zirh Scrub
00:17:05 Zirh Clean
00:19:17 Drink Liquor make more Money
00:22:48 The BeerClip
00:26:14 with Russell Neufeld
00:26:35 Shaving with Zirh Profucts
00:28:53 Zirh Prepare
00:30:57 Zirh Shave Gel
00:34:17 Zirh Defend
00:36:19 All about Keurig Including the B70
00:41:26 with Russell Neufeld
00:41:31 Menscience
00:43:03 Daily Face Wash with Brush
00:44:48 Menscience Shaving Cream
00:47:11 Menscience Post Shave Repair
00:48:52 Menscience Advanced Face Lotion
00:49:56 Spinach and You
00:52:28 Bamboo Dinner Plates
00:54:06 Edible Handmade Bracelets
00:55:12 Questions
00:55:21 Good Prices on GPSs
00:57:28 Non Shaving Products on
00:57:50 BY142 scar remover
01:02:20 Closing

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September 22, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG: Molten Core Raid Deck and Dark Portal Expansion


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

Upper Deck Entertainment started pinging retailers yesterday with product information about two World of Warcraft Trading Card Game releases. The World of Warcraft TCG is still not yet in stores, but set to ship in October of this year.

The first new release coming down the pipe is The Dark Portal Booster expansion, which is set to ship in March 2007.

The Company Line: A storm rages in the Blasted Lands as evil stirs within the Dark Portal. Bloodshed in Azeroth intensifies as the Blood Elves and Draenei join the fray. Already, the great conflict spills over into the other world . . . the Burning Legion looks on and plots its next move. Grab your weapons and make ready, the darkness is upon us!

Heroes will be made. Legends will be written.

Heed the Call! The Dark Portal Expansion includes everything one player will need to join the struggle.

The release of The Dark Portal falls somewhat in line (at least thematically) with the late November release of Burning Crusade expansion, which extends the World of Warcraft Massively Online RPG. In the Burning Crusade players will enter the Dark Portal to travel to new world zones (regions) of high-end content. Their characters will grow more powerful, gain new armor, weapons, spells and equipment as they play through the new content and level up their characters. A Dark Portal TCG tie-in seems like an obvious extension of the WoW TCG, and is well-timed for a few months after both the initial World of Warcraft TCG release the Burning Crusade expansion to the MMORPG.

Shortly after release of the the Dark Portal expansion, Upper Deck will release the second in the series of Raid Decks: The Molten Core Raid Deck.

ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft TCG: Molten Core Raid Deck and Dark Portal Expansion"

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UFS: TCG Climbs the Charts

Mitsurugi.9.22.06.jpgWord hit the press this week that Sabertooth Games has recently positioned itself as the Number Three competitor (in sales) in the Collectable Card Game war. That's pretty darn noteworthy in such a large market if you ask us.

The main Sabertooh gaming product is the Universal Fighting System which acts as a CCG card framework for any sort of themed fighting game. Currently Sabertooh has latched on to some of the more popular arcade fighting game franchise and has succesfully brought two in to the world of Collectable Card Games.

Thire current lineup includes the fighters and fighting styles of the arcade classic Street Fighter II, and Soul Calibur III. It's funny to think that during last game-night we actually debated which of these were the superior arcade rumbler. In the end we decided "to each their own" as each has a unique feeling and playstyle, and we're sure that Sabertooth is glad to have both popular sides of the arcade fighting genre under their belt.

Sabertooh Games intends to extend their franchise this Winter with the introduction of two more franchises: "Samuari Shodown V", and "The King of Fighters 2006". They also hint to more Fighter franchises in the future. We're crossing our fingers for a reincarnation of a Mortal Kombat CCG, but uh.. considering the market strength of that franchise, we won't hold our breath that Midway will outsource it any time soon.

The official press release from a proud Sabertooh's (regarding their market share) can be found here Other related links:

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September 20, 2006

"Marvel Heroes" Official Website Launches

MarvelHeros.3.16.06.jpgFantasy Flight Games has launched the official product website for the upcoming board game Marvel Heroes. The website has an extensive About page that does a great job of detailing the game from top to bottom. There is also a Marvel Heroes forum, which is realatively empty at this point ( it has the obligatory "First Post!"), but we're sure it'll become alive with strategies and variants as soon as the game ships.

Marvel Heroes looks to be a fast, but yet relatively complex game. Because it comes from the same design team responsible for the complicated (yet extremely entertaining) War of the Ring, we would have a hard time recommending this title to kids. However, young adults and Marvel comic book readers should definitely check this game out.

Most of the Marvel Heroes information released up until this point has come in the form of design articles by board game designer Roberto Di Meglio. If the new product page website suits your fancy then you should definitely give Di Meglio's articles a once-over.

Marvel Heroes is set to ship in November. It's currently available for preorder from Funagain Games.

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September 19, 2006

IGA 2006 Honors "Caylus" and "Twilight Struggle"

TwilightStruggle.8.14.06.jpgThe International Gamers Award 2006 commite has announced the winners of the Best Mulitplayer Game 2006, and the Best 2-Player Game 2006 in the category of General Gaming.

The cold war themed Twilight Struggle [Funagain] gets the honors for best 2-Player game of 2006, while the Cathedral construction game Caylus [Funagain, Amazon] walks away with the Best Multiplayer Game of 2006 award.

Twilight Struggle has already received honors for the IGA's Best Historical Simulation 2006.

The German game Calyus (which has english editions) has already won the 1st place prize in the Deutscher Spiele Preis 2006, and the Spiel des Jahres 2006 Special Prize for Complex Play. These are the two most prestigious board game award organizations in Germany, the country from which a majority of Eurogames (like Carcassonne and the Setlers of Catan) are shipped from.

Here's the details for Caylus and Twilight Struggle:

ArrowContinue reading: "IGA 2006 Honors "Caylus" and "Twilight Struggle""

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September 18, 2006

"Lost The Game" is Back in Stock

Lost.Boardgame.8.23.06.jpgA few weeks ago we mentioned that the TV Show Lost had received a board game adaptation. Usually we're skeptical of TV / board game cross overs, but apparently "Lost the Game" [Amazon, Target] has gotten some good press. At that time it was really difficult to get a your hands on a copy of the title, but it seems that more trucks rolled out of the warehouses and dropped their Lost cargo in stores. You can find it at both Target and Amazon, both having it in stock.

Our copy has just arrived, and before we throw it down on the table we wanted to let you know that we found some user-submitted rules that configure the game the run with only Season 1 content. If you're catching up on Lost then you're probably still making your way through the Lost Season 2 DVD that just came out. These rules will strip all of the Season 2 content form the game, making it relatively spoiler free. We're not sure if the altered game is well-balanced, however, so use at your own risk!

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September 15, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG - FAQ, Hero Builder and Interview


Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

The release of WoW is shaping up to be one of the biggest things in TCGs this fall, and we thought we'd end the week with some World of Warcraft TCG links that surfaced over the last few days. First up is an unofficial WoW TCG FAQ that an industrious dwarf named 'ripark' put together and then posted in the game's official forums. The FAQ borrows info from company literature, game manuals, and incorporates posts from WoW TCG Designers to create what seems like the most comprehensive guide about the game to date (other than the rules, of course). Here's a bit that we found settles a few questions that we had about the girth of the first release and future expansions for the game:

How many sets a year are going to be released? I can't keep up with 50 sets a year! Good news then, UDE has said that they will be sticking to a 2-3 set release schedule.

How many classes are going to be represented in the initial set?
All of them. There will be one Hero card for each class/faction combo. So, eight classes on Horde side and eight classes on Alliance side in the Hero card variety.

How many cards will be in the first set?

How about rarities?
Currently we are looking at 5 different rarities, each color coded based on how items are color coded in the WoW MMO. Common is white, uncommon is green, rare is blue, epic is purple and legendary is orange. There will be a little over 20 epic cards in the first set and will include the Thrall card and about 100 rares. The epics are printed at twice the rarity of a rare so you can expect around 3 epics per booster

Next up is a Hero builder. Those of you with your ear to the ground will recall that the focus of a WoW deck is the a hero. Each hero sports specific traits like race, faction allegience, class, class specializations and trade skills. Now, unlike most cards in the game, the hero cards don't seem to have rarities yet (so we don't think creating your own is that big of a problem). Also each booster will come with at least one hero, so they'll be gobs of heroes spilling out into your collection when the game ships. But due to randomness you might not get the hero card you're looking for. So why not create your own?

Enter The World of Warcraft TCG Database Hero Creator, which lets you customize your own hero card's name, art, specializations, ability text, the works. Don't want to play with Ta'zo the Troll Mage, but instead you want to throw down your Undead Warlock from the online game? No problem!!

Well, actually... slight problem. Not all of the race/class combinations have art assets yet, probably due to the lack of variety in the game's initial run of heroes. Still this tool is a pretty freakin cool way to bring your World of Warcraft MMORPG hero into the World of Warcraft TCG.

If you're still reading this that means you're truly interested in the WoW TCG, and we saved this last bit for you true believers. Fist Full of Comics, a comic book blog with a touch of gaming news, has a podcast interview with a few World of Warcraft TCG desginers. Now, these guys only have two TCG/CCG stories on their website, and they refer to World of Warcraft as "Worlds of Warcraft" in multiple locations, so don't expect this to be a punchy Tim Russert Interview full of hard hitting questions. The interview starts off relatively standard (and if you've seen the WoW TCG session video then some of it may seem repetitive), but there's still plenty of cool info to glean once the designers get going about half of the way through.

Enjoy the weekend!

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September 13, 2006

GQM Settlers of Catan Expansion - Last Chance!

GQM.9.13.06.jpgFunagian games has just restocked their shelves with the fall issue of Games Quarterly Magazine which contains the official Settlers of Catan [Funagain,Amazon] expansion: The Great Rivers of Catan. You can only get this expansion in GQM #10, so get it while the getting is good!

Holidays are coming, and this is a good four dollar expansion that could make a pretty sweet Christmas present for the die hard Cataniac who doesn't keep-up on these things as much as you do.

The Company Line: 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?

We'd like to take this time to remind that you GQM issue #11 will contain a twelve tile expansion to one of our all time favorites: Carcassonne. Issue #11 is set to ship this November.

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September 12, 2006

Now Shipping: "World War Z"

WorldWarZ.8.23.06.jpgA few weeks ago we reported on "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War" [Amazon], an upcoming Max Brooks' novel interviewing survivors of a zombie apocalypse. We thought you like to know that the book ships today!

The Company Line: "Ten years after the human victory over the world wide Zombie epidemic, referred to as World War Z, Max Brooks scours the world collecting the stories and experiences of those who have survived the conflict that almost eradicated humanity." ... Max Brooks’s previous book, The Zombie Survival Guide, formed the core of the world’s civilian survival manuals during the Zombie War. Mr. Brooks subsequently spent years traveling to every part of the globe in order to conduct the face-to-face interviews that have been incorporated into this present publication."

There's also an audiobook version of the novel for you elliterate types.

Again, we're not sure if every gamer loves zombies, but we sure as hell do. Well, maybe love is the wrong word, but were defiitely fascinated by anything that: is mindless, just won't die, wants to gnaw on our brains, and turns us into something that's mindless, won't die, and gnaws on brains. Yep, Zombies rate pretty and high on the anti-bladder-control scale of 1 to Whoops!!

Max Brooks also wrote the Zombie Survival Guide, a hilarious and informative reference that's a must for any zombie aficionado.

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September 11, 2006

Days of Wonder Announces "Battlelore"

BattleLore.9.11.06.jpgDays of Wonder, publisher of a boat load of great games such as Ticket to Ride, Shadows Over Camelot, and most importantly the highly successful Memoir '44 WWII tactical boardgame series, has announced a new tactical wargame for this fall. BattleLore is based on the historic military combat from the age of the Hundred Years War, but then skews down a path of alternate history which includes a bit of the fantastic. The game starts with a touch of fantasy elements (dwarven units) and then becomes heavily themed in a fantasy setting through a series of boxed and supplemental expansions. There are at least two expansions already slated for release, so the announcement of Battlelore is more like the unveiling of a new franchise than just a new board game title.

According to the designers, BattleLore was inspired by such greats as Warhammer, Chainmail and one of our favorite computer strategy game - Master of Magic (they really don't make games like that anymore). Funnily enough, Days of Wonder discovered an early version of BattleLore at a trade show, but then sat on it because they didn't have the experience to publish games of such complexity. But now that Memoir '44 is going strong, and now that they have semi complex games like Shadows of Camelot under their belt, they've finally been given the nod to put the finishing touches on BattleLore and get that puppy shipping.

Here's the word from the official Days of Wonder press release:

The Company Line: The world of BattleLore meshes history and fantasy together - putting players in command of a vast array of miniature troops on the battlefields of a Medieval Europe Uchronia at the outset of the Hundred Years War.

Drawing on the strengths of its own best-selling and critically acclaimed Memoir '44™, Days of Wonder's newest game takes the time-tested, card-driven mechanics to a whole new level and offers gamers and role-players a unique twist on epic fantasy. Game play takes place on a large-scale hex board filled with armies, legendary races and monstrous creatures that fight over varied terrain and landmarks to capture the enemy's banners in a series of unique Adventures.

Powerful Lore Masters, such as Wizards, Clerics, Warriors and Rogues gathered in customizable War Councils; Mercenary bands chosen from among mythical races such as the Iron Dwarves of Northern England; and Monstrous Creatures all complement the dizzying array of possibilities and tough choices that will face players as they venture in the World of BattleLore.

Building on years of experience producing the industry's most appealing board games, Days of Wonder raises the bar several notches higher with this new release. BattleLore's over two hundred miniatures use a new patent-pending, Banner Bearer™ mechanic to provide both a visually stunning new look to a players' armies and to display all the unit-specific information that was traditionally compiled in unwieldy army booklets, reference sheets, or hard-to-read wheelbases.

"Not just another game, or the latest game system fad, BattleLore is a foundation game for us - something we first envisioned long before we even started the company and that hearkens back to the days we first discovered Chainmail™", said Days of Wonder CEO, Eric Hautemont. "As a project, BattleLore has been years in the making, yet what we are delivering this fall only lays the groundwork for the future. The coming years will hold many surprises for both resellers and game enthusiasts worldwide."

BattleLore includes: over 210 highly detailed plastic miniatures, including 58 banner bearers; an extensive Player's Guide, with separate Adventures Booklet; a double-sided battlemap; 46 Terrain and Landmark tiles; 60 Command cards; 60 Lore cards; 48 Summary cards; 2 War Council sheets; 24 Lore Master Tokens; 12 Battle dice; and a Days of Wonder Online Access Number, giving players free access to the BattleLore Online Adventures Editor. BattleLore is for 2 players (or 2 teams), ages 10 and up and takes approximately 60 minutes to play.-From Official Battlelore Press Release

If the game follows the same format as Memoir '44 , then expect boxed terrain packs at least once a year. This could be something huge, potentially bringing in the fans of Memoir '44 and the fans of fantasy war gaming under the same umbrella. That's a large audience.

As a preview of BattleLore, Days of Wonder has opened a blog where designers will post news and previews.

Battlelore is set to ship in late November. We'll keep you posted of any cool preview developments as we get closer to release.

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September 8, 2006

Magic The Gathering: Time Spiral

TimeSpiralBooster.9.8.06.jpgThe four day week means it's TCG It's Friday again, and guess what! Wizards of the Coast has opened the lid on the latest Magic the Gathering block: Time Spiral.

For those new to Magic - WotC has a tradition of introducing new card blocks in the fall months. The first release sets the theme and contains about 200-300 cards. A smaller expansion then plays off the same theme in the Winter with about 100-200 cards. A final expansion caps it all of in the Spring, just as the crappy weather subsides and the outdoors become welcoming again. Yes, even the Wizards marketing team, of all people, hint that Magic Players should get some sun and fresh air in the summer weather.

Last year Wizards of the Coast shook up the design team a bit, and scored a hit with the block design of Ravnica: City of Guilds. Head Designer Mark Rosewater is also leading the way through the Time Spiral block, but this time he's not constructing an entirely new world from the ground up. Instead, he's revisiting the original Magic The Gathering world of Dominaria. We won't completely dork out on Magic The Gathering source materials, lore, etc, but for those of you who want to catchup on the story so far checkout the article "Time (Spiral) Is On My Side". It will fill you in on just about everything.

So what's new in Dominaria? Well, due to a few explosions at the tin foil mill, and an instant coffeee accident at a microwave factory, a fissure has emerged in the fabric of space time. The past has caught up with the present, the present has folded over the past, and it's raining bionic toads from the future. Total bummer, we know -- those things dent cars. So is there anything good to fall out of this Magic chronological stew?

ArrowContinue reading: "Magic The Gathering: Time Spiral"

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September 5, 2006

Now Shipping: "Wings of War: Recon Patrol Deck"

ReconPatrol.9.6.06.jpg"Wings of War:Recon Patrol Deck" [Funagain] from Fantasy Flight Games expands the standalone title "Wings of War: Famous Aces", a hybrid of board game and card game set in the frontier of WWI air combat. We haven't covered Wings of War [Funagain] yet, so if you're scratching your head right now then it's probably not lice (... probably). To solve that problem of the unknown, let's dive into some of the original Wings of War game play before covering the What's New in the Patrol Deck expansion.

The Company Line on Wings of War: Wings of War is a game series which merges card and board game mechanics to recreate aerial combat. The first series of Wings of War games focus on the "knights of the air" age, World War I, portraying the abilities of the fighting planes of this period. Each Wings of War set is a complete game for 2 to 4 players, which may be combined with additional sets, or with other copies of the same set, to play larger games. For that purpose, 23 planes with different colors are included in each box. Each plane comes with accurate historical documentation. Wings of War uses an innovative card-based movement mechanic. By selecting from his maneuver deck, each player can plot out the loops, rolls, and twists that his dogfighting plane will undertake. Each plane has a specific maneuver deck with its own unique options, so you'll fly differently from game to game. Outwit and outmaneuver your opponent, and you will reap the rewards!

In Wings of War players control planes of various classes. Some are more maneuverable, some faster, others can soak up the damage. During each round players play 3 maneuver cards from their deck. Some maneuvers may have their planes fly straight, others can have them pulling off loops, barrel rolls, stalls, etc. After each maneuver in the round the players will push their plane cards into position across the table, then check to see if their opponent is in range in one of their plane's firing arcs. If so, then the target player draws a damage card and applies physical damage, or they adhere to the special damage rules on the card such as gun jams, explosions, etc. The game is all about outwitting your opponent through feints and maneuvers, while predicting your opponent's actions in your attempts to line-up another shot.

WingsAtWar.9.6.06.jpgWings of War has three base sets: "Wings of War: Famous Aces" is the first title in the series; also "Wings of War: Watch Your Back" and "Wings of War: Burning Drachens" are both boxed stand alone games that can be used as addons to the original. Each title adds more planes and more scenarios.

That brings us today. Wings of War: Recon Patrol is an expansion (not a stand alone game) that adds to the card sets for any of the three boxed additions of the game. Here's the official info.

The Company Line on Wings of War: Recon Patrol: Wings of War: Recon Patrol includes the popular D maneuver deck, as well as the new K deck, for two-seater aircraft. It includes a variety of airplanes, from the Sopwith Triplane of Naval 1, planes from Richthofen's "Flying Circus," and even a Turkish Breguet Br.14 B2. Recon Patrol is a suitable addition to any of the three Wings of War base games.

Wings of War: Recon Patrol [Funagain] is shipping from stores now. The game will also break into the WWII era in October with "Wings of War: Dawn of War."

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World of Warcraft TCG: Downloadable Demo Decks


Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

The official website of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game has released two 100% complete, printable decks of for your downloading pleasure. The demo decks preview the Protection Warrior Dwarf named Warrax versus the omnipresent World of Warcraft media personality Ta'zo, the Fire Mage Troll.

Here's a the official line from the WoW TCG website:

Following the hugely successful, exclusive demos at Gen Con Indy, many motivated WoW TCG fans put together their own copies of the Ta’zo and Warrax demo decks. Armed with only paper, glue, and a dream, these dedicated players constructed their own makeshift demo decks to try out the WoW TCG themselves, and what they saw was good!

For the benefit of everyone else, however, we decided to make it a bit easier.

On this page, you’ll be able to download the two demo decks and try out the game for yourself. Soon enough, you’ll be burning with Mage abilities, or cracking skulls with Warrax’s Arcanite Reaper. - From "Download WoW TCG Demo Decks Here!"

The decks come in four printable sheets each in full-color PDF formats. They can be played as-is (after some cutting), but we recommend pasting them onto higher-stock, or at least slipping them into card sleeves to avoid the wet noodle feeling of regular paper. Nobody likes a sloppy, floppy, spineless deck.

It's cool to see some of the Warrior ability cards in action, not just warrior armor and weapons. Battle Shout and Demoralizing Shout seem a bit weak, but Cleave leans into an opponent pretty hard - it allows the warrior to hit two targets, dealing each of them weapon damage +1. When you consider the warrior's weapons weigh in at 3-5 damage, Cleave can be some powerful stuff.

Once you've printed your cards, make sure you take a look through the rulebook to figure out what's up and what's down. And, as always, play WoW responsibly.

The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game is scheduled for an October 2006 release.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

September 1, 2006

August '06 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgGenCon has come and gone. Although the conference has cemented foundation in RPGs, we were still lucky enough to catch some great glimpses of both the Marvel Heroes boardgame, and gameplay footage of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. Also, Tempus shipped in August, which has turned out to be a strong strategic and fun title for a midsummer release. We'll probably be playing it well into the fall.

But of all the gaming news that came out in August, we're most excited about something which some will find small and inconsequential - the pending release of three Eurogames for Xbox Live. There have been other computer game ports of popular board game titles in the past (Days of Wonder has quite a lineup themselves), but never has there been such as an exciting distribution market as Xbox live. That service is teaming with video gamers who are hungry and willing to drop a little bit of electronic cash for a bit of a quieter and more social gaming experience. In a world where social networks are growing faster than grandpa's big toenail, a more cerebral interaction point might be just what XBox live community is looking for.

We can't wait to watch Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne make their splash in that network, which will hopefully resonate into our genre with an influx of new gamers making their way toward a face-to-face style of gaming.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We'll keep the eye on the ball for September as: Settlers receives an expansion, the World of Warcraft TCG ramps up to release, and we try to get our hands on Lost The Game before the new season starts. Until then, this is what we were Critical about in August 2006:

Board Games & Party Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

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