The folks over at Flying Frog Productions rocked our world last year with the incredible Zombie board game Last Night on Earth, and now they've come back with another monster braining goodness. This time it's A Touch of Evil [Amazon, Funagain] gracing our Halloween playing tables. IT includes a new series of evil archetypes that hit the dark streets of Shadowbrook, 'causing mayhem and giving the town a bad AAA rating. It's not just about lopping off the heads of zombies anymore, with the major cast of villains including Vampires, Werewolves, and maybe a headless horseman or two for good measure.
As with the previous Last Night on Earth, players will take control of a characters pulled from a B-Horror Movie. Each sports their own special powers and abilities. The characters either play cooperatively to take down a boss villain and his minions, or play against one other to the the first hero to take down a specific villain. Meanwhile other players pull the strings of the bad guys, ensuring that darkness enshrouds the village and everyone inside becomes food for your pets.
And, once again, actors were hired to pose in costume bring some humanity to the gaming materials. And it's executing in a brilliant tongue in cheek fashion.
Here are the official details.
Tis the dawn of the 19th century; an age of science, superstition, and witchcraft. Howling fills the night as a full moon rises over the small, secluded village of Shadowbrook. Gruesome murders have become a daily occurrence and terror haunts the streets at night. An evil creature has taken up residence here and the countryside is engulfed by a tide of darkness. But all is not lost...not yet. A small group of heroic individuals, with the courage and strength to fight, have arrived in town. Some just passing through while others have come with a purpose; but all will be put to the test as they race to save this cursed town from falling into darkness. It will take a cunning mind and strength of spirit to determine who is friend and who is foe... to solve the mysteries and hunt the beast to its lair. But the secrets of Shadowbrook run deep. Gossip and rumors run rampant and these few Heroes may soon discover that they are outsiders here and this town is already so rotten from within there is little left to save.
In this fast-paced game of fiendish creatures, dashing Heroes, and high-adventure, each player takes on the role of a unique monster-hunting Hero, racing against time to stop the forces of darkness from claiming another foothold in the world of man. Players can race competitively to be the first to defeat the Villain and save the town, or work together cooperatively to defeat a much stronger Villain.
A Touch of Evil features a gameboard map of Shadowbrook and its surrounding countryside, eight Heroes to choose from, and four different Supernatural Villains to hunt, each with its own host of unique Minions and powers to drastically change the game.
Its time to put your PvP WoW TCG decks down and start building something that covers your friends back; another Cooperative World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Raid Deck has hit the shelves, and rush decks will get slaughtered.
Things aren't so ho-hum traditional here folks. The Raid Deck is stacked with Traitor Hero Only ally cards for each of the WoW classes. That means that once the raid deck has been defeated, and once you've unwrapped the loot cards, had a scotch, and you just don't know what to do with your cards but have them shine down on you from the top shelf of your collection - you can give them new life. Ayep, you can take the powerful traitor-only trash mobs from this raid deck and slide them them into your Traitor hero decks from the Servants of the Betrayer and The Hunt for Illidan. And here we thought the whole Traitor thing was short lived.
Speaking of backstabbing SOBs, this time around players take on the traitor himself, Illidan, in the far reaches of Outland in his penthouse apartment of the Black Temple. This raid traditionally caps of the end-game content of The Burning Crusade expansion to World of Warcraft, and ends the Outland cycle of the WoW TCG. From here the Traitors are left behind when things head into new territory with the Drums of War PvP battledeck expansion in November.
If you would like to read more on the deck before you put your paws on it, then continue on for the Official Deck Description. Additionally, you can check out a series of Upper Deck articles for a more in-depth preview of the raid's trash mobs and loot card rewards Enjoy!
"The final barrier has been breached as the Horde and Alliance pour through the cracks in the walls of The Black Temple. Illidan's most trusted servants prepare to obliterate all those who would dare venture into the depths of his stronghold!
The Black Temple opens up an entirely new dimension of the World of Warcraft TCG as, for the first time, certain Raid Deck cards will be tournament legal outside of the Raid Deck format, while cards introduced in the Servants of the Betrayer expansion can be used to customize the Black Temple Raid Deck!"
While we're excited to start hacking and slashing in the Forgotten Realm campaign setting, Scepter Tower has come under a bit of fire. Like other official adventures, the module packs just about everything you need to run the adventure from the DM's perspective, from room and character descriptions, to maps, to monster encounters, etc. The chief complaint that we've been hearing about Scepter Tower is in the organization - you may find yourself flipping around quite a bit from maps to encounter descriptions, which honestly has been a problem in all 4th Edition module releases up until now. Additionally, Scepter Tower's backstory is a bit lacking, and the module is mainly a series of combat encounters that lack significant installments ont he Role Playing encounter front.
Thankfully we're a big fan of the combat encounters, so this last complaint falls on deaf ears in our group.
"A Forgotten Realms adventure for 2nd-level characters.
A mysterious presence has taken up residence in one of the towers of Spellgard, and now its dark minions plague the Gray Vale!
Scepter Tower of Spellgard is the first full-length Forgotten Realms adventure published for 4th Edition D&D.; When paired with the adventure that appears in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, this adventure provides the Dungeon Master with all he needs to get his campaign started. This stand-alone adventure is designed to take characters from 2nd level to 5th level."
Similar to the hit Shadows Over Camelot, the Battlestar Galactica board game puts players in control of the cannon's tier-one characters as they struggle to survive on the run as the life of the last human colony . Each character has a suite of abilities that could come in handy in political situations, or in combat situations whenever a Cylon base star warps-in to hose everyone down with nukes. Certain characters will also need to position themselves to repair any and all damage done to Galactica to ensure its survival until the convoy finds Earth.
Although the players will be striving together for a common goal, things aren't always so warm and fuzzy in post apocalyptic space. At the start of the game one player is secretly made a Cylon agent, and must work to sabotage the player's goals without giving away his/her true identity. Then, later in the game a player controlling a human character may also find out he's a Cylon who has just be activated, too, which means you could have two double agents running around your ship. Paranoia will ensue, and trust will become a major factor in the game.
"Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is an exciting game of mistrust, intrigue, and the struggle for survival which places each player in the role of one of ten of their favorite characters from the show. Each playable character has their own abilities and weaknesses, and all must work together in order for humanity to have any hope of survival. However, one or more players in every game secretly is secretly a Cylon, and wants the humans to perish."
We really weren't expecting this. After releasing both the Ticket to Ride the Card Game, which sometimes gives us a headache after repeat plays with all it's state memorization, and the worldwide release of Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries just a few months ago, publisher Days of Wonder is throwing another Ticket to Ride title at us: Ticket to Ride the Dice Game [Funagain].
We think we may have one more Ticket to Ride sideshow in us, but if another looms on the horizon shortly afterward, then we may raise the white flag and declare the franchise has fully run it's course.
Thankfully the Dice Game doesn't seem nearly as dry as the Ticket to Ride Card Game. Instead of reinventing the Ticket to Ride formula we've all grown to love with a card based solitare / gin abstraction, Ticket to Ride the Dice Game simply replaces the standard turn mechanic of each of the Ticket to Ride Board Games with a little random spice. Oh, and it's compatible with all Ticket to Ride board game releases (original, Europe, Marklin and Nordic), which is actually quite nice.
Here's the general gist of how it works: Players will toss 5 dice instead of drawing train cards. The players may spend his/her dice result to claim routes, claim route tokens (which you'll need to collect in order to 'afford' the longer routes), collect route cards, etc. Other wildcard dice will permit players to use the special option specific to each of the major releases, like build tunnels in Europe / Nordic, build stations, or move passengers, etc.
At first glance it may seem that the dice completely strip the critical suite of decisions a Ticket to Ride player would make: Should I draw another set of cards or play a route before that captain claims it for his own? And we're not quite sure we like the idea of completely removing the colorful train cards. Oh we like them so; collecting them is half the fun!
Here's the upside though: The randomness of trying to draw the right color of train card to complete your collection has been replaced with the randomness of rolling the correct series of dice to claim a route. Any route. Things could get pretty cutthroat.
We'll have a better understanding and our thoughts when the game releases in October. Here are the official details to tide you over until then:
"In this expansion, players still attempt to complete their Destination Tickets and claim routes and block each other on the map. But rather than draw and collect Train cards, they roll five custom Train dice each turn.
Depending on the outcome they can reroll some or all, then use the dice to claim routes on the board; grab Route Tokens for future use; or draw more Destination Tickets.
For board maps that feature Tunnel routes, such as Ticket to Ride Europe, 3 Tunnel dice are also included.
This expansion requires trains, Destination Tickets and a board map from any of the Ticket to Ride series.
The Dice Game Expansion is multi-lingual with rules in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Finnish, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian."
The World of Warcraft TCG has awoken from it's summer-long slumber with the release of a new mini-collection of cards. The new Darkmoon Faire Collector's Set [Amazon, Funagain] follows the same vein as last year's Feast of Winter Veil as a fixed collection of cards pulled straight from a seasonal event in the the World of Warcraft massively online RPG.
Now, don't be confused. While the Darkmoon Faire has traditionally been a WoW TCG card tournament and release event hosted by Upper Deck, this Darkmoon Faire collector's set is completely unrelated.
In World of Warcraft Mythos, the Darkmoon Faire is a traveling carnival (smells like cabbage), appearing at the front door of either Horde or Alliance cities every few weeks. This new WoW TCG collector's set includes a new series of pretty darn powerful cards that represent characters, items and events that any Faire-goer will quickly recognize
The Darkmoon Faire Collector's set includes the 5 cards of the promotional set(see below), 2 boosters packs, and a chance of drawing one of the rare loot cards from all previous sets. Thankfully, this doesn't include the ultra common cards - like Pet Biscuts - so we're talking about real loot here.
The set also includes a nice little nugget of goodness: A new card type! For the first time in the WoW TCG, the 'Location' card type appears, and surprise! It's the Darkmoon Faire!
On quick review it seems pretty darn tasty. On further review we're reaching for a ketchup-stained bib. Here's the skinny:
"Introducing the World of Warcraft TCG's first new card type: locations. Locations represent your hero's base of operations or a place where he or she has recently visited or explored. From a gameplay perspective, locations are similar to quests in that you place them face up in your resource row. There are, however, two major differences between locations and quests:
1. When you complete a quest, you have to turn it face down. Locations have no such requirement. You can use a location's power over and over.
2. You can control only one location at a time, even if the locations have different names. If you ever control two or more locations, all but one of them (your choice) are immediately turned face down. Each player may control one location."
Along with the Darkmoon Faire location card, the set includes this other pretty sweet cards as well. Thankfully, unlike some choice cards from Feast of Winter Veil, these cards don't seem to break any of the raid decks.
Blastenheimer 5000 Ultra Cannon: Cost 7 Ability; Ongoing: 3, Tap, You may put an ally card from your hand into play. If you do, destroy it at the start of the next turn.
Sayge: Cost 4 Ally, At the start of your turn, remove the top card of target opponent's deck from the game. If it's an ability, ally, or equipment card, you may play it this game. (Pay costs as normal.)
Silas Darkmoon: Cost 6 Ally; Silas has ATK equal to the combined ATK of all other allies in your party, and health equal to the combined health of all other allies in your party.
Darkmoon Card: Madness; Cost 4 Trinket; On your turn: 2, Tap, Remove the top card of target opponent's deck from the game. If it's an ability, ally, or equipment card, he destroys a card of that kind he controls.
The Darkmoon Faire: Location; 1, Tap, Discard a card Draw a card.
At the start of your turn, if you control cards in play with costs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, you win the game.
We haven't been writing about this game before release, for a few reasons:
It's not a board or card game, but a PC Game - the horrors!
It had so much prerelease hype that it was bound to not meet such high expectations when it launched earlier this week (and it sooo doesn't); and
We weren't quite sure that folks you and us would be interested.
We'll you darn well should be because Spore [Amazon] is a really wonderful thing.
If you haven't heard anything about Spore and it's promised riches, here's a quicky summation:
Spore starts you off a one planet in a galaxy of millions, which has just been hit by a comet that has deposited life first life into its oceans. The gameplay kicks-off with you in the control of a small organism as it attempts to fend for itself as a little bugger in a very, very large pond. You'll direct your cute cellular self as it swims away from the bigger mouths trying to consume him, and toward the smaller pray for food, or steer him around the ecosystem of the early oceans collecting plant matter like a cellular Pac Man.
You can customize almost every facet of the creature in a very powerful and simple to sue creature creator. You're almost design this creature out of clay, pulling the spine here, attaching spikes, eyes, mouths and antennae there, etc. Each element you add alters the the creature's ability to swim, defend itself, attack and eat. You can even choose if your creature is a herbavore, carnivore or omnivore. The combinations are nearly endless.
As you continue to play you'll continue to evlove your creature by dding more expensive body parts, changing its shape, etc. And you'll keep this this until it's complex enough to evolve legs, and climb up of the seas. This is where the gameplay shifts to a tribal face where you beging to evolve your creature's social skills with your kin, and then technology, and eventually you'll evolve your creature into the space age.
Yes, the game spans the life of your creature from the dawn of time on your home planet until it can venture out into that galaxy of millions of planets and start new colonies of its own. Watch out though, there can be other hositle creatures created by other players (like us, for instance) that are waiting to eat you in the much, much, larger pond of space.
We haven't played enough of the game to do a full a review, but we're giving it a preliminary 4 stars out of 5 after having toyed with it for the last few days. The game is entirely approachable, strokes the creative side of your brain with a comb made of feathers, and is incredibly fun rewarding. Check it out:
After taking control of the Days of Wonder fantasy warfare board game franchise BattleLore two weeks ago, Publisher Fantasy Flight Games has posted a FAQ regarding the fate of the BattleLore [Amazon, Funagain] franchise.
The FAQ includes 7 questions in all, but here are the select important parts:
Q. Will Richard Borg be involved in the development of new content?
A. Yes, we are very excited to be working with Richard on creating new content and products for BattleLore.
Q. Is FFG planning to release the BattleLore expansions that DOW already had in the works?
A. Yes, we will be releasing the expansions which were already being manufactured by DOW. These are the Heroes expansion and For Troll and Country, which we hope to ship sometime this Fall.
Q. When will FFG announce their future plans for BattleLore?
A.We intend to have more details on our support and release plans for BattleLore around the time of the Essen Game Fair (towards the end of October.) Around that time, please stay tuned to the FFG website for more information. " - Fantasy Flight Games
Fantasy Flight also recognizes that the online BattleLore community that's well integrated in the Days of Wonder website may take some time to migrate to Fantasy Flight's side. Not only will they have to bring over the scenario editing tools, but also migrate a database full of existing scenarios, which is something that could be pretty darn tricky if they don't have the staff on-hand to do the work for them.
In the end, though, we like what we see. New Content, no new re envisioning of the series, and the original designer Richard Borg is on board to lead the franchise through the transition.
This fall the British are coming, WWII Style. Yes for the first time ever the approachable Memoir '44 tactical war from Days of Wonder will include the British, and this October its 8th Army will hit the sands of North Africa on a table top near you to fight the good fight against Rommel and his Afrika Korps.
"On the day war broke out, few nations imagined they would soon be forced to conduct land warfare outside of Europe. As a result, when the war reached North Africa, both men and machines were ill-prepared for the harsh demands of a desert campaign.
But history is a testament to the caliber of leadership, ingenuity and resolve of those who fought under such harsh conditions. Thanks in part to its long-established presence in far-flung corners of the globe, no army would display these qualities better than the British Commonwealth Forces.
A complete British Army set including: 42 British infantrymen, 24 Crusader tanks, 6 25-pounder guns and 3 anti-tank weapons
New rules including: the "Stiff Upper Lip" so common to the British Commonwealth Forces, the Motorized Divisions and "Artillery Bravery" of the Italian Royal Army, and a new class of embedded equipment pieces - the Special Weapon Assets!
10 Round Markers: British medals, minefield tokens and "Exit" markers
4 Obstacles including: desert bunkers and roadblocks
14 new Special Forces badges including: including the British SAS, Royal Engineers, and an assortment of Italian badges
8 Historical Scenarios: from the tank disaster of Operation Battleaxe at Halfaya Pass to the relief of the Siege of Tobruk in Operation Crusader; 5 scenarios cover the drawn-out engagement of the Battle of Gazala!"
Every year we take stock in two major game awards groups. One is the International Gamers Awards, while the other is the coveted Spiel des Jahres, or the Germany Game of the Year.
And the 2008 winner is: Lost Cities the Board Game! We must admit, this one took us off guard, seeing that it's a derivative of the original card game [Amazon, Funagain] of the same name. And as you know, sometimes derivatives - no mater what the medium - don't compare well against their predecessor than - say - other fresher titles that inject fresh gameplay elements into the genre.
As you may know EuroGames - the genre of board games Spiel de Jahres tends to cover - are the leading edge of Family Friendly and most importantly well balanced and fun games that were spearheaded by a German movement nearly two decades ago. These games include such classics as Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Puerto Rico, and countless others. If you have any titles from Rio Grande or Mayfair games, then chances are you're a Eurograme fan.
So when the panel of gaming critics convenes in Germany to announce the best games of 2008, we stand up and take notice. Our friends over at Funagain Games say it best:
"The German Spiel des Jahres is perhaps the world's most prestigious game award. Founded in 1978 by a group of German game critics to promote awareness and to increase the cultural value of games, the award recognizes outstanding games based on originality, playability, and educational value of the game idea; organization, clarity and understandability of rules; packing and layout of the gameboard and the game rules; and functionality and overall quality of the game materials included. " - Funagain Games
Here are a majority of the runners up and recommend titles from this year's award ceremony that are currently available stateside:
It's crazy to think that the Summer is officially unofficially over. Its sad to look over our shoulder and wave goodbye to the crazy nice weather, but there is a bright sight waiting for us just a few paces onward: with Fall comes the holiday release season where gobs of games race to be published before shopping commences!
That includes a the new Battlestar Galactica board game, more D&D; 4th Edition goodness, and a new WoW TCG set release, Raid Deck, and a new line of World of Warcraft Miniatures.
Thats on top of the standard Eurogame releases from Rio Grande and Mayfair, and the Days of Wonder updates to both BattleLore and Memoir '44.
We need to take a nap just thinking about the major publishers and the amount of titles they're pushing out this year. And then hopefully a dark horse will emerge and surprise us as well, and freshen things up from offstage.
But before we start chomping at the bit, lets first wipe the drool away and slowly digest the interesting month that was August 2008: