May 30, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Released

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30thThe day is finally here. The second Raid Deck for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game is shipping from stores, and you could be taking on the Molten Core [Shopzilla, Funagain] with your friends as early as this weekend. And although the Official MC Website still remains somewhat dormant, the feature articles page of the Official WoW TCG site continues to churn out articles particular to this new raid experience.

And we're finally getting some fantastic details about the mechanics of the card game as well. It seems that not all raid decks (Onxyia, Molten Core.. Black Temple?) will be the same. Most of the mechanics of the single raid boss style of the Onyxia Raid Deck are thrown out the window. Instead players of Molten Core can chose to take on an abbreviated raid experience, by downing the first boss Lucifron, three random bosses chosen from random, and then the final boss battle with the Fire Lord Ragnaros. Alternatively, those with a passion for sagas can chose to play the long-game, downing each of the raid's 10 different bosses in order.

RagnarosSmash.jpgHere's a piece from the article:

"The first thing you’ll notice when you crack open your shiny new Molten Core Raid Deck is that there’s a ton of stuff inside. There are three different decks, ten oversize hero cards for the Bosses, a pile of two-sided ally tokens, seven rune cards, and a ten-card treasure pack." -From "Molten Core Walkthrough - Part 1"

There's more great info, too, including a catalog of the different decks and the number of cards in each. Most of the Molten Core bosses share a Main Deck and a Minion deck, but then the game switches a new deck in once Ragnoros has been summoned for your beating pleasure.

FirelordWe're really glad to see that all of the ten MC raid bosses made it into this raid deck - we would have hated if they abbreviated the various characters of the Molten Core cast. Plus, it somewhat validates all of the time and energy we spent in February on our Molten Core Boss Previews [part 1, 2 & 3].

We're also quite happy to see that the game mechanics are flexible and that the experience scales so that those with light equipment can have some fun in an hour, and those to with the uber equipment can try a full clear of the raid with their heroes on a rainy afternoon. Although the various TCG heroes of our collective bunch were in top shape before Onyxia was released, we're not quite sure we're up to a full clear yet. We now have something to grow into, tune for, spend time on, and something that'll be certainly be immensely gratifying once we accomplish it as a team. And really, isn't the essence of World of Warcraft raiding right there?

After the Onyxia Raid Deck [review] we were a bit concerned with the balancing of future raid deck releases. But now we're giddy once again. Expect a full review once we've cured Ragnaros' burning itch.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 30, 2007

Colosseum Released

Colosseum from Days of WonderHot on the heels of yesterday’s release of Age of Empires III comes another family friendly (probably more so) strategy game lifted out of history. Days of Wonder has officially released Colosseum [Amazon, Funagain], and it’s now available in stores.

In Colosseum players compete against one another to construct and upgrade Roman Arenas in an attempt to host the largest and most successful show. What sort of show depends on a public draft each turn where players walk bid on gladiators, animals to eat them, and actors – each of varying skill. Each turn players are awarded for attracting attendees to their Colosseum, then by parlaying their returns to grow their stadium. The game ends on the fifth turn where players try to put on the best show that their money can buy. Following the closing ceremonies the game’s winner is crowned.

You read-up on Colosseum by reading our previous preview articles (below). Our Colosseum Reviews page also has a collection of 3rd party reviews that we think serve to paint a good overall picture of the title.

Our Colosseum Previews Articles:

ArrowContinue reading: "Colosseum Released"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 29, 2007

Age of Empires III Released

Age Of Empires III: Age of DiscoveryWhen Eagle Games closed its doors last year there were concerns that this aesthetically gorgeous game wouldn't ever see the light of day (back then we didn’t know anything about the rules, so AoE3 was pure eye candy at that point). But then Tropical Games picked up the slack, and here we are, nearly a year later, staring at the release version of Age of Empires 3: The Age of Discovery [Amazon,Funagain]

The game centers around the colonization of the Americas, where players build colonial infrastructure and send specialists into new terrain to claim land and resources in their country’s name. The buildings help supply the players with new explorers, workers, etc, with players scoring points based on the territorial control of their colonists at three different points in the game. The game doesn’t simulate any wars that eventually erupted out of historic conflicts of interest, but that doesn’t mean that players can’t angrily their shake fists at one other, or smack opponents across the face with a prized New England Cod (cod not included).

If you’re looking to do some more research about the game before you buy, then checkout this good user review at BGG which is at last somewhat critical of the game. Maybe not critical enough, but hey – the game scored very well in numerous play tests so maybe a ton of critiques aren’t necessary.

Continue on for a nice shot of the gorgeous board (click-it to expand), and the official company information about the title:

ArrowContinue reading: "Age of Empires III Released"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 25, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Treasure Pack Card Previews

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30th

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

As we reported last week, the WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Official Website kicked off just over a week ago. You would think that with just under a week to go before the game's release on May 30th that the Official Website would be erupting with gobs of info about the title. But nearly a week has passed since the website went live, and they've had absolutely no updates. Zip. Zilch. It's as if the ground opened up and swallowed the webmasters whole.

Thankfully the official website has started to roll out a series of feature articles detailing the cards to be won in the Molten Core Treasure Packs. These serve as the well-deserved reward to those groups who defeat the raid deck (whatever challenges it may contain *hurmph*), and come in a presealed pack - only to be opened once Ragnaros has been laid to rest. Most of the cards fall into the Rare or Epic category (Blue/Purple), and those of you who played the Onxyia Raid Deck can attest that these cards can be pretty darn powerful if used in the correct situations.

The first few articles from this week focus on the weapons in the Molten Core set. And if you were to ask our opinion, they ramp up starting with the solid 'good' equipment in "Core Hound Tooth", eventually leading up to the more drool-worthy "Obsidian Edged Blade". This Friday (today) we see the first pieces of class-specific leg armor in "Tier Two Leggings" starting with the leg pieces for the Warlock and Shaman classes. They're definitely seem to impress us quite a bit more than the class-generic weapon cards that proceeded them, and we can't wait to see what sort of trinkets round off the set next week.

Here are the articles thus far:

As these articles are rolling out, the cards themselves are also being posted at the WoW TCG Database for your easy perusal; through two sets and a raid deck it remains our favorite place to research cards. Now if only Upper Deck could spill some details on the Molten Core Raid Deck gameplay. It's five days before release, and um... Tick Tock.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 24, 2007

Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG Rules Posted

Star Wars Pocket TCG is set to ship in June 2007WizKids has posted the rules of their upcoming "Star Wars Pocketmodel Trading Card Game" [Funagain] set to release in June. The instructions [pdf] are available after listening to the 1980's secret cereal prize voice on the game's official web page.

The gameplay seems relatively straight forward, and definitely on the lighter end of the spectrum - players create fleets of limited cost, then fly them at each other rolling dice to determine hits, and playing cards to augment battle results. We're expecting a light fun game, with some of the payoff being the assembly of ships picked from our favorite fantasy/sci-fi setting of childhood.

Return of the Jedit got something rightWho needs the characters of Star Wars anyway, or the horribly coreographed lightsaber batles of the original trilogy? The true star of the show is the large scale space battles and utilitarian/dirty ship design, and that's what we get here. To top it off we'll happily fill-in the Sound FX for this shrunken laundry incarnation of what is the epitome of 80's sci-fi movie craft. A lost art, indeed.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 23, 2007

Win $50 Bucks at Tool Snob

Toolsnobwebsite 052107 250 -1

Thanks for being an avid reader of our blog which is published by Blogpire Productions. We'd like to share with you a new title just launched this week - Blogpire Productions started to help homeowners, contractors, and hobbyists find, not only the tools that fit their needs, but to point out the ones that don't. The wrong tool can end up costing you time, money and hours of frustration. Tool Snob aims to be the most reliable and entertaining source for the latest power tool news and reviews.

Want a really good reason to visit? If you sign up for the Tool Snob newsletter by using the form below or on the Tool Snob web site, you'll be eligible to win a $50 gift certificate from That's right, all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter and be on the list when we pick the winner at the end of June.

Sign up for the Tool Snob newsletter and win $50 bucks.

Enter your Email

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

May 22, 2007

"Warrior Knights: Crown and Glory" Released

Warrior Knights: Crown And GloryThe first expansion to the 2006 revised edition of Warrior Knights from Fantasy Flight Games has shipped. Entitled “Crown and Glory [Funagain] the expansion is somewhat modular in that it contains three ways to change the play of the game. The major beef of the expansion extends many of the existing mechanics, but the box ships with new optional twists to the end-game which can be mixed and matched with each other as players see fit. We’re especially interested in the optional hidden-goal gameplay elements which drive players to indirectly compete to fulfill secret victory conditions.

For more information about the expansion please check out story from last week: “Warrior Knights: Crown and Glory Rules Posted”, which should fill you in on all the nity gritty details. Here’s the official line:

The Original Warrior Knights

In the war-torn land of Warrior Knights, the conflict is far from over. The new Crown and Glory expansion provides contenders to the throne with a multitude of new options, additions, and variants. In the Crown and Glory expansion, a player can actually become King and attempt to prove that he has what it takes to retain the crown! The Crown of Glory expansion also includes Mission cards, which provide players with new paths to victory.
The Crown and Glory expansion features over 200 new cards including:
  • New actions that provide mobility and versatility
  • Garrisons that help defend your cities
  • Town levies that support your armies
  • New specialized mercenaries
  • A larger Fate deck allowing for bigger battles and new combat and Fate results
  • New rules for mercenary Nobles, a new resource, and much more
The Crown and Glory expansion provides Barons with indispensable new resources and options for consolidating their hold over the realm of Warrior Knights.

The Warrior Knights Crown and Glory Expanson is now shipping from Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 21, 2007

Colosseum Reviews

Colosseum from Days of WonderThe foundation that has been laid for the of the upcoming release of Colosseum [Amazon, Funagain] from Days of Wonder is a bit shaky. When the game was first announced back in January there was quite a bit of praise going on for the game’s components, gameplay, and generally the potential of this family oriented game. Plus, the game’s announcement was riding alongside the news that one of office’s favorite water cooler shows, Rome on HBO, was canceled. We suddenly found a gap on our ancient Roman interest, and Colosseum seemingly arrived just in time with swinging gladiators, artist performances, regal nobles, and dynamic amphitheater fun. There’s nothing quite like a extended bleacher section of bloodthirsty fans cheering on a gladiatorial battle of ravenous lions chewin' on men with sharp swords.

ArrowContinue reading: "Colosseum Reviews"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 17, 2007

A Fantastic "Tide of Iron" User Review on BGG


Tide of Iron [Funagain] - the WWII big box war game from Fantasy Flight Games - is slated for release any time now. In fact, a lucky consumer from down under got his hands on a copy yesterday and put the game's first scenario through it's paces with a few friends.

The resulting review is fantastic - it reads like WWII battle screenplay. Suppressing fire, motor teams, machine gun nests, elite troops and a rumblin' infantry killin' Panzer IV beast of tank blowing the crap out of battlefield already filled with craters, chaos and mayhem. After reading this article the World War II buffs at the Critical Gamers offices are walking around with a grin larger than the Magniot Line. We can't wait to get our hands on it and put it through our own crucible of criticism.

But everything about Tide of Iron isn't a glossy finish that smells like purty roses. It seems that the potential strength in the game's dynamic components - a built in mechanic that allows players to create their own infantry squads by sliding individual units into bases of four - might have bitten off more than it could chew. The pieces themselves seem too fragile to repeatedly snap into the base, and them pull them out again, so there are some definite concerns about the longevity of the game. This seems especially relative and disconcerting given that Tide of Iron is supposed to ship with an online scenario editor. New user content doesn't add to re playability if all your troops are all missing their legs.

Still, we can help but feel very enthusiastic about this one. We'll keep you posted on when the game official ships in the states. Should be any day now.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 16, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck May 30th

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30th

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

It’s May 15th today, which is the original ship date of the Molten Core Raid Deck for the World of Warcraft TCG, but Upper Deck has delayed the release by two weeks. The new date has the epic raid deck shipping just in time to be held by your shaking hands at the turn of the calendar.

Surprisingly Upper Deck hasn’t been very forthcoming with details on the raid deck. Its only two weeks away and there has be virtually no prerelease hype. We’re not quite sure who’s in charge of marketing limited edition product releases over at Upper Deck, but their lunchtime soft drink should be checked for scotch.

But there is some movement in the reeds – Upper Deck has launched the Official WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck website [link]. Currently it hosts some images of card art, but according to this post in the WoW TCG forums, the site should come alive with details by week’s end.

We’ll keep you apprised of the juicy details as Upper Deck’s marketing department sprints to release. Well, at this rate I’ll probably be a slow shuffle.

For now you can preorder the Molten Core Raid Deck [Funagain] at Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 15, 2007

Warrior Knights: Crown and Glory Rules Posted

Warrior Knights: Crown And Glory
Fantasy Flight Games has published the rules to the upcoming Crown and Glory [Funagain] release, which will expand the revised edition of Warrior Knights released last year. The rules are in PDF form (what else?) and are available to download from the FFG website here [pdf].

The boxed expansion includes three different ways to alter the game, each is optional and can be mixed and matched with other two. The main expansion is called the "For the Glory" variant. It includes new Agenda cards, Event cards, Action Cards, well, new cards to supplement pretty much all of the existing decks in the game. Also included is a new technological Advancement deck with cards that provide your faction bonuses to movement, combat, etc. The Fate deck is also completely replaced, and is expanded to 48 cards which should do a nice job at mixing up the game’s battles.

ArrowContinue reading: "Warrior Knights: Crown and Glory Rules Posted"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 14, 2007

"BattleLore: Call to Arms" Expansion Released

BattleLoreCallToArms.jpgPublisher Days of Wonder has pushed out the first of what will be many expansions to their fantasy wargame system BattleLore. In this substantial release, Call to Arms [Amazon,Funagain] attempts to redefine the way players deploy their armies on the board through a formation-card drafting system. The system is optional of course, but the goal is to increase replayability as players can deploy a random, unique, and balanced army in very little setup time. Does it work? Reviewer Tom Vasel thinks so - he has given the expansion 5 stars out of a potential 5. That's full marks for those folks who just found they're bad at ratios.

The expansion also includes new terrain tiles, new units, and a set of new scenarios, too. For more information about Call to Arms, check-out our BattleLore coverage from last week. It's got all the good stuff. You can also check the official rules published here [pdf].

Those of you waiting for more BattleLore goodness should be well-satiated. Plus, even more mini expansions are coming down the pipe even as we speak. Good times.

ArrowContinue reading: ""BattleLore: Call to Arms" Expansion Released"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 11, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG: Onyxia's Lair Playmat

Onyxia Angry!
Those of you looking to offload the gobs of UDE points you've been hording from all your WoW TCG boosters now have a prize that’s not the standard fare of computer desktop wallpapers, in-game trinkets, and Ogre costumes. The new Onyxia's Lair Playmat has been pushed to the UDE points store, and is now available for purchase at the somewhat reasonable price of 12,000 UDE points.

The playmat has no real in-game functionality, so no - it doesn't help you organize your cards, it doesn’t automatically tap your allies when they run-in to deal pain, nor does it open beer bottles with worn teeth. But despite all these drawbacks we have to admit that the mat does look pretty snazy. Plus, what better way to make your hero look more bad ass than to have him standing above a hellish torrent of fire and brimstone? What’s that behind your opponent? Is that a well worn wood finish of a 1970’s card table? Yeah, real bad ass. Sucka.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 9, 2007

Rio Grande Games May 2007 Lineup: Notre Dame, Vikings, and Caylus Magna Carta Coming Soon

Notre Dame Will be Released May 2007The Publisher Rio Grande Games recently released their board game shipping plans for the month of May. Included on the list are some games that have tested very well at trade shows earlier this year as well as the English translation of some existing games that have done well in Germany.

Rio Grande Games has a long history of bringing fantastic Eurogames to the American market. We’re talking about classics like Carcassonne, Alhambra, Caylus, and the recently popular Thurn and Taxis. Now that the clock has struck May, we are on the eve of the release of some new - potentially modern classic – releases.

So shall we get down to it?

ArrowContinue reading: " Rio Grande Games May 2007 Lineup: Notre Dame, Vikings, and Caylus Magna Carta Coming Soon"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 7, 2007

Vasel Reviews "BattleLore Call To Arms" Expansion

BattleLoreCallToArms.jpgTom Vasel - the game reviewing machine with a heart of gold - got his hands on upcoming BattleLore [Funagain,Amazon] board game expansion set Call to Arms and ran it through its paces. This weekend he posted a great in depth review with details on the game, and his impressions of the new game mechanics and content.

Not to ruin the ending for you, but he freakin’ loved it.

Call to Arms is slated for a landmark release later this month (May 2007) and is the first expansion installment to the historic / fantasy BattleLore war board game that publisher Days of Wonder launched late last year. Included in the expansion are a few new terrain types and some new unit components which work off the game’s existing base. Also included are new Specialist cards that allow players to customize their armies - beefing particular units with better gear, stronger forces, or providing overarching strategy options such as free movement, enhanced reinforcement rules that allow a commander to field troops on the front line instead of marching them up from behind.

Also in this expansion is a new deployment mechanic that allows players to draft cards filled with various unit formations. Each player selects four cards from a series of decks, either completely randomly, or - if they’d rather a bit more control over their forces - players can select four cards randomly from two particular decks of their choice. Each card they pull specifies a group of forces that they can field, and the player selects to deploy their forces on the left flank, center, right flank, or in their reserves.

ArrowContinue reading: "Vasel Reviews "BattleLore Call To Arms" Expansion"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 4, 2007

Catan Xbox Live Impressions

'Catan' on Xbox LiveCatan officially launched on Wednesday. We didn't write a story then because we figured that our previous coverage from earlier this week already kept you on top of the news. Call us self-critical but we didn't want to sound like a loudspeaker bullhorn pumping out the consumer propaganda. At least not until we had a chance to wrap our hands around the game so we could give you our impressions, and let you know if it’s worth the 800 points on Xbox Live (~ $10.00 US).

The Good and the Bad
Catan Live is a great translation of the classic board game. Those who have played the Settlers of Catan enough to know the details of the game backwards and forwards will be very much satisfied with their play experience on Catan Live. However, those players who are unfamiliar with the Settlers of Catan board game might need to a bit of convincing to see where all the excitement is at.

This isn't really because Catan has any obvious shortcomings that shoot up a red flare of FAILURE. However as the first release of a board game on the Live service, this title might have a tough time luring a console gaming audience into the world of Catan – where most of the excitement comes from the outcome of a pair of dice - when many of the Xbox Livites thirst after explosions, chainsaw kills, gibs and car wrecks. Even worse, it's a bit confusing to determine exactly what's going in a game of Catan given the game's UI - the graphical presentation of card trades and gathered resources is done well, but it fades very quickly in order to keep the game moving at a good pace.

We think players new to board gaming like to learn by observation, keeping track of other players behave in certain situations, and that's pretty difficult to do for a beginner of Catan on Xbox Live. We could see how players new to Eurogames - who might be itching for any reason to dismiss the game - could get confused and lose interest almost immediately due the game's hasty presentation.

It took a while even for us to get used to what was going on. For instance, in a face to face game, there’s a part of each Settlers when people call out which resources they gathered after a dice roll. We’ve become used to this being a good thirty second production where excitedly demand their well-earned resource cards, etc. The audible and physical presence of the in-person Settlers makes each turn an event, and thus easy to remember ‘who got what?’ even from a few turns ago. But in the console Catan game, the whole resource awarding phase ends in about 3 seconds, and it takes a few games to realize that you’re not paying enough attention to a very important part of the game that almost seems to be brushed aside for the sake of efficiency.

ArrowContinue reading: " Catan Xbox Live Impressions"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 3, 2007

How to Keep Your GQM Subscription Alive

GamesQuarterly.7.28.06.jpgA month ago we were sad to report that Games Quarterly Magazine is no more. The bad news is that this is still the case. The good news is that current subscribers won’t be left hanging in the breeze.

The gaming mag Knucklebones has worked a deal to keep GQM alive just long enough to fulfill the magazine’s current subscriptions. But subscribers can’t sit back and their comfy chair and expect Mr Belveder to put on your breakfast table with the Times, a glass of OJ and half a fresh grapefruit. No, you’ll have to be proactive about it.

And to that end Jones Publishing asked us to forward the details on how readers can keep their subscription going. And how could we not post something with such great noble purpose?

So read on if you’re looking to keep your magazine subscription going.

ArrowContinue reading: "How to Keep Your GQM Subscription Alive"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 2, 2007

Icon USA Price Meltdown has a pretty hefty discount going on today. Some items that were already on sale are now discounted by 10% more. We’re too lazy to do the math to figure out if that 10% of the sale price, or the original price. Either way, there are some overstocked items for dirt cheap here, including LoTR TCG cards, Star Wars Attactix figures, as well as other collectibles as Icon USA clears through Inventory.

But the prize of this list is the Settlers of Catan 3-D 10th Anniversary Treasure Chest, which kicks the Settlers Experience up to 11 with a 3rd board and nice wooden carrying case. The chest is usually 400 bucks, which is crazy, but with this discount it’s a bit more manageable. As of today it’s about 250. Christmas shopping could never begin too early.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

May 1, 2007

WizKids Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG Game

Star Wars Pocket TCG is set to ship in June 2007IGN has written-up a nice little preview of the upcoming Star Wars PocketModel TCG which is coming our way this Summer. As huge fans of the *cough* original Star Wars franchise the idea of pushing little model ships around the table and shouting blaster noises seems like a pretty good time in a box. Time to rewrite Porkin's fate.

Actually, these things don’t come in a box. Each TCG package includes “four to eight styrene constructible vehicle models, six game cards, two micro dice, assembly instructions and complete rules.” That seems like a lot to fit into our back pocket, so we’re not quite sure how the quality of these materials will feel during play. But I think we’re at least willing to give it a shot to see how the game plays out.

Aside from the IGN preview - which includes some pretty good pics - you can check out the game’s official press release from Wizkids Games. The Star Wars PocketModel TCG is slated to ship in June.

Edit: It looks as though Game Trade Magazine is hosting a Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG Giveaway which you can enter here. The contest is a bit exclusive; those of you who live outside the two northern Americas will have have to spend hard-earned cash to get your mits on the game. Bummer. But given the odds of contests, most of us are in that same boat with ya.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

Mailing List
Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz
Subscribe - RSS

facebook_badge.jpg twitter_badge.jpg


Visit our other properties at!

Recent Reviews



This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 6.3
All items Copyright © 1999-2016 Blogpire Productions. Please read our Disclaimer and Privacy Policy