January 28, 2010

"Runewars" the Empire Adventure Board Game Hits Shelves

The newest epic board game experience from Fantasy Flight Games is now in stores. Runewars [Amazon, Funagain] is a full-fledged fantasy empire simulation and an adventure game with heroes all rolled into one. The game board is setup in a random tile draw like fashion, with a strategic placement phase for that each player. These tiles include terrain elements that effect movement and resource collection, so the implications of each tile's placement will have an impact throughout the entire game.

The has four factions each with their own flavor making up a full spectrum of classic fantasy elements. There's the human sword and board human faction, a slow acting undead faction with elements of regrowth, an elf faction that's quick and fast but paper thin, and a brutal magic wielding faction that don't believe in shirts. Not quite sure why.

RunewarsTiles.jpgThe game sports a whole bunch of other interesting mechanics, like four seasons seasons to the year. This doesn't only just effect when and where you can move (rivers freeze over and become passable in the winter) but it's coupled with different playable cards for each season. You'll have to plan out your year of conquest ahead of time given the hand you've been delt. The board, itself, also has 3D mountains for that extra flair. Interestingly hero units are more about special tactics than leading armies to victory. Neutral monsters are on the board and be can be tamed and brought o your side. There's just tons of cool stuff going on here.

For a good discussion and for more details of the game checkout this user review and its subsequent comments. For more product information check out the Runewars Preview Trailer and this lengthy product description article on the official Rune War website.

Here's the official product description:

RuneWars is an epic board game of diplomacy, combat, and quests for two to four players. Designed by Corey Konieczka, RuneWars pits players against each other in a strategic game of battles and area control, where they must gather resources, raise armies, and lay siege to heavily fortified cities.

RuneWars includes over two hundred beautifully rendered cards and as many tokens, as well as nearly two hundred finely-detailed plastic miniatures, but perhaps most exciting are the modular hexagonal map pieces. Featuring stunning three-dimensional mountain terrain, these map pieces ensure that no two games are ever the same!

RuneWars takes place in the same popular fantasy universe as the best-selling board games Runebound and Descent: Journeys in the Dark, and dozens of fan-favorite heroes and monsters play their part. The wars for the dragon runes are beginning, and only one faction will emerge victorious. What would you do to claim the ultimate power?

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

January 25, 2010

Mystery Express Announced, Rekindles the Classic Clue

MysteryExpress.jpgDays of Wonder, makers of fine board games like our favorites Ticket to Ride, Shadows of Camelot and Small World, have announced their first title of the year. Mystery Express has players traveling along the Orient Express, racing to correctly accuse a murderer among the passengers before the rail terminates in Istanbul Hungry.

The game has been designed in part by Serge Laget who worked on Shadows Over Camelot, and at first thought we dreamed that perhaps one of the players would take on the hidden role of the murder (aka Shadow's Traitor) who would use social misdirection to ensure that he or she isn't caught. However, from the breakdwon of the press release, this just seems like a classic Who Done It clue gathering game with a time table. That is: the game ends after a series of turns, and the player with the most uncovered clues is the winner. However, unlike the actual title Clue, you won't have to put all of your eggs in one basket at the end, just get the most clues correctly guessed.

Overall, the game sounds great, and the newly launched Mini Website sports some great artwork. Here are the details from the official press release:

"Players board the famous Orient Express in Paris just as a murder occurs. The rest of the trip - through Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest and their final destination of Istanbul - is consumed with determining the who, what, when, where and why of the crime. Players use their special powers of deduction; information gleaned from others in various train cars; and investigative actions to determine the exact circumstances of the murder. The one who correctly identifies the most elements of the crime by the time the train reaches Istanbul wins the game.

Mystery Express is a classic Days of Wonder design made up of top-notch components and unique, period-perfect illustrations. Along with the Mystery Express board map detailing its itinerary from Paris to Istanbul the game features: 5 resin character figures and matching character tokens; 5 Ticket wallets that include a description of each character's special power; 100 Deduction sheets that players use to keep track of their deductions; 72 Crime cards; a Mystery Express miniature train to track the Mystery Express's journey on the map; a Conductor figure; 2 small passenger tokens, a miniature travel bag, a train whistle and rules booklet. Mystery Express is for 3-5 players and will be available worldwide in April 2010. Price is $50/€45."

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January 22, 2010

Greed Corp: Chess Meets The Golden Child Meets Guns

Long time readers know that we don't shy away from computer games that emulate board games (see Empire Total War). Well Greed Corp looks to become one of those successful, yet lighter, bridges. The game involves elements of simplistic combat and movement, coupled with guns and a deeply strategic harvesting process that both reshapes and ultimately destroys the board. The winner is he who doesn't fall into the abyss.

Looks pretty sweet, and a nice little game for the online gaming console market place.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

January 19, 2010

Mayfair Games Announces Pillars of the Earth: Builder's Duel

BuildersDuel.jpgIt's been a while since we've heard of anything really worthwhile from Mayfair games other than the Pillars of the Earth franchise (the latest World Without End) or the rehashing of the classic Settlers of Catan. Now we have word that the next title that's soon to be released is a Pillars of the Earth rehash. Surprise!

Builder's Duel is a 2 player card game that pits the two major figureheads of The Pillars of the Earth storyline against one another. One player takes on the role of Prior Phillip, a respected member of the church who's in control of the monastery building the cathedral, and the antagonizing Bishop Waleran who's pushing his own ego upon the construction project. It's a game of competition in resource collection and the playing cards to convert those resources into various subprojects of the cathedral's construction.

There's a bit of an annoying gameplay element that we should mention which centers around tossing awkward gameplay components for a random result. This ... poor design can somewhat iced over by replacing it with a simple dice role. We thought it was worth mentioning, however.

Here are the game's official details. For further research there's a great rundown of user impressions found on BGG.

Builders Duel™ is a two player card game based on Ken Follett's award winning book Pillars of the Earth.

England in the 12th Century. The players take on the roles of Prior Philip and Bishop Waleran. Philip wants to build the most beautiful cathedral in England. Waleran is planning his own project, a mighty fortress.

Both players try to simultaneously build their buildings. To construct your building, you must obtain raw resources and convert them into building materials. You are supported by your friends and powerful allies, but are constantly opposed by dangerous foes. If you manage to overcome and build your building first, you win!

Pillars of the Earth Builder's Duel is slated to ship later this week. We'll let you know when it's actually sighted on shelves!

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

January 14, 2010

Runewars Rules Published Online

Runewars.jpgWe drooled over the trailer for Runewars [Amazon, Funagain] , and since then we've been waiting impatiently for more details to emerge before the game's release later this Winter. Well, we didn't have to wait long, did we? Fantasy Flight Games has posted the rules to this game in PDF form on their website.

This is definitely one of the higher complexity games in the traditional Fantasy Flight Games style. It's seemingly like Twilight Imperium meets Tide of Iron in the grand scheme of things. That is, a notch more complex than the recent Warhammer Chaos in the Old World that we truly love, or place it on the complexity spectrum near a comparable location to the Battlestar Galactica board game. Of course, that's expected since Runewars is slated to be one of those epic war games.

Thankfully it doesn't look as complicated as the original Warcraft Board game, which was mind numbingly hellish.


Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

January 12, 2010

Straight Up Chess: An Elegant Proposition


Straight Up Chess is ingenious. Just look at it. A wall display of the ancient classic, and nothing is sacrificed for the perfect view of the board. There's no complicated pieces or chintzy Star Trek 3D chess chotchkies diluting the gameplay. Best of all its comparable in price to a good sturdy chess set.

Ponder a play when you wake up or go to bed. Challenge your coworkers to and ole fashioned throw down of wits and strategery, and score a fantastic talking piece all at the same time. Yes please.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

January 8, 2010

Warhammer Invasion LCG Battle Pack 2: Path of the Zealot

Path of the Zealot [Amazon, Funagain], the second Battle Pack for the Warhammer LCG, is now out on shelves! (actually has been for a few weeks, but with the holidays and all). We're really digging this game with its interesting placement mechanics, disparate factions, the deck building implications of the various races, and generally its fresh strategic view of the Collectible Card Game type gameplay. Plus life is cheaper in its Living Card Game format.

Invasion was one of our favorite releases from last year, and we're keeping a careful eye on it as it evolves over this first cycle release.

Before we get into the details we would also like to note that Fantasy Flight Games has announced that they're changing the format of these battle packs for all of the LCG games. In Future Cycles (Path of the Zealot is pack 2 in the 5 pack Corruption Cycle), the prices will increase to 15 bucks (from 10) but you'll get more copies of the powerful cards. The idea being that you won't have to shell out for mutliple packs in order to stack your deck with the good stuff.

In principal this sounds great. We'll see how it pans out.

Anyway, here are the official Path of the Zealot details from FFG. You can read more about the expansion from the official preview article Walk the Path.

"This latest addition to the exciting card game of kingdoms, questing, and combat brings a host of new deck building options to your Warhammer: Invasion game. Poison Wind Globadiers rain death upon the heads of their opponents, as they can corrupt themselves to deal damage. The Chittering Horde tactic brings more Skaven into your fold, as it allows you to search a portion of your deck for ratmen recruits.

Path of the Zealot is the second monthly battle pack installment of The Corruption Cycle, the first linked expansion series for Warhammer: Invasion, a card game of intense warfare, clever kingdom management, and epic questing. This 40 card pack contains 20 different never-before-seen cards designed to augment existing decks and add variety to the Warhammer: Invasion metagame. Head to your local game store or our webstore and pick up your copy today!"

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

January 5, 2010

Runewars: An Epic Strategic Board Game Coming Soon

Fantasy Flight Games is at it again with yet another gigantic box full of bits of plastic that deal war with each other. We were getting a bit tired of the formula.. until we watched this trailer. Simply put Runewars [Amazon, Funagain] looks simply awesome.

What tickles us? The theme of kingdom growth, harvesting resources, and putting them to use in your army. It reminds us of the turn based strategy games of old on the PC, like Age of Wonders or even the older Master of Magic. On top of that are tons of strategic layers, from decks of cards for all four seasons (which you have to play ahead of time to effect your campaigns throughout the year) to varying factions and a randomly drawn, but strategically placed, board. No two games will be the same. On top of all that you have hero units that level up in this chaotic world.

We want Runewars and we want it now. This could easily be the go-to game for our gaming weekends in 2010.

Runewars is slated to ship in February, but we all know that these things can slip. We'll keep you posted as we get closer to release.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

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