April 29, 2010

Age of Empires III Board Game Sale at Tanga

AgeOfEmpiresIII_Holiday.jpg Age of Empires III [Amazon, Funagain] has a storied history. After nearly being canned when the owning publisher shut its doors just months before release, this strong title endured and was finally published in 2007. It was welcomed with open arms, too, winning nominations for best board game of the year and strategy game of the year in 2007, as well as winning the Origins Historic Board Game of the Year.

To sum up: this is a solid game. And we just learned that there's an expansion due out this year. All these things make today's Tanga sale of the Day quite noteworthy. An excellent strategy game for sale at only 50% off, placing it in the attractive $30 price range, and a stepping stone to more content in a few short months. This really is a no brainer.

Here are the game's official details:

It is the late 15th century and a new age is dawning. While searching for a new trade route to India, explorers have discovered a new land. The first reports tell of strange creatures, exotic people, and fabulous wealth. Captains and adventurers flock to these new lands in search of gold. They are quickly followed by colonists, soldiers, merchants, and missionaries all seeking wealth of one kind or another. Colonies begin to spring up, and soon competition among the great nations of Europe begins.

Take the role of one of Europe's colonial powers and stake your claim in the New World. As the leader of your nation, there are many paths that lead to victory: Discover and colonize new lands; acquire trade goods that will build your economy; develop new technologies and infrastructure in your home country; build your merchant fleet to dominate the trade routes; and build your army to defend what is rightfully yours!

The triumphant revel in riches and glory, while the vanquished become a footnote in the history books. It is an Age of Discovery... it is an Age of Empires!

For more Information about Age of Empires III, checkout the Tanga Sale of The Day Page, and its Board Game Geek Page. Enjoy!

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April 28, 2010

Thunderstone: Wrath of the Elements Card Montage

ThunderstoneWrathOfElements.jpgWe have mixed feelings about Thunderstone [T&T;, Funagain]. On the plus side the game takes Dominion to all new levels of awesomeness. By ingeniously incorporating the card buying / deck building, hero progression, and then dungeon crawling themes, the game turns a fun romp in economics into a race to beat up on the most bad guys with the best tools.

Unfortunately the original installment has its issues that surface after repeat play (and thus Dominion remains king of the genre).

For one, there really aren't that many times where you have to carefully weigh a decision regarding one of the major mechanics: deciding on 'going into town' to buy new cards , or attack the cave full of bad guy every turn is pretty much straight forward math. If your hand can deal enough damage to a bad guy then you'll almost certainly let lose on him instead of wasting your turn going into town. Mostly you'll find yourself with only one obvious decision here.

Secondly, and most importantly, the cards that you use don't have nearly as many interesting card combinations, 1-2 punches, and chains as its spiritual forerunner Dominion. After a while we found ourselves getting a tad bored with Thunderstone due to this flatness, where as Dominion remains fun and interesting.

But we love the system. We love the idea of Thunderstone. And we hope that new content from the upcoming expansion will flesh out the erected skeleton of awesomeness, and potentially sprout it into something bigger than anything the deck building genre has seen before.

While there aren't any official previews of Thunderstone: Wrath of The Elements, there is this gallery of cards that has surfaced at Board Game Geek. If your thirsting for more information about where Thunderstone is going then you should definitely check it out. We already see some interesting combos developing.

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April 26, 2010

Blokus Now on your iPad and iPhone

BlokusiPad.jpgJust a quick heads up that the incredible entertaining - and Mensa Best Mind Game of the Year 2003 - Blokus [Amazon, Funagain] has been ported to the iPhone and iPad platforms [AppStore]. (Ed: native iPhone app, simulated fullscreen on the iPad.)

The game challenges you to strategically cram your Tetris-like pieces on the board (on the diagonal of existing pieces, not packing them together), while meanwhile preventing your opponents from doing the same. This digital title sports AI if you're home alone, or you can play up to 4 people through a local wireless network.

The only complaint we have about the game is that there's no hotseat multiplayer. Bummer.

Here are the official details:

The new award-winning hit board game arrives on the App Store! Play with your friends in local or online Multiplayer mode at one of the 4 game variations!

Rules are simple!
The winning strategy: Block your opponents so they cannot add anymore block on the board!
Blokus™ is a strategy game that will captivate you and get into your mind.

Each game variation requires a totally different strategy:

  • 4 players control each one color,
  • 2 players control each two colors,
  • 4 players play in teams,
  • Blokus Duo™: There is only 2 different colors, the board is smaller and the start position is in the middle of the board.

Blokus for the iPhone/iPod &iPad; is available the Apple App Store.

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April 23, 2010

Vasel Tells Us Why Cardcassonne is Worth Your Time

We've always had a soft spot for Carcassonne, which was our second gateway game after Settlers of Catan. But lately the Carcassonne franchise has flown the coup (or so we've recently thought.)

We have to be honest, 2008's Carcassone The Catapult had as much ingenuity and design as an inanimate carbon rod, and so we filed the lazily named Cardcasssonne under "who cares" when it was subsequently announced.

Watching Tom Vasel's review on The Dice Tower makes us feel like we made a big mistake. This stand alone title seems both clever and interesting. We're not quite sure how it fits the theme of Carcassonne, but we don't care. The game simply looks great! We're picking up our copy this weekend.

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April 22, 2010

Fury of the Bear Expands Tide of Iron this Fall

FuryOFTheBear.JPGMan Fantasy Flight Games is on a roll. They've just announced an expansion to our favorite figure-based war game game system on the market today. Grab your hats, your boots, and your motorcycle, because Tide of Iron is marching east.

Yep, sometime this late summer or early fall Germany is going to invade Russia WWII style, and Russia is going to make them pay. You'll plan out every move right down there in the tactical level in some of the Eastern Front's major battles. The expansion will ship with all the Russian troops and equipment required, and some new units for Germany, too (read: you'll still need the base set to play). The game will have an emphasis of the massive tank battles on the Russian plains, and we expect massive artillery barrages, mine fields, human wave tactics and mud. Lots and lots of mud.

The game will also ship with new decks of cards including counter intelligence, nine new game boards, new unit types, and three fingers of vodka. That's all we know as of now, but FFG has promised previews galore all summer long so we'll keep you posted.

For more information check out Fury of the Bear's announcement article.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

April 20, 2010

Warhammer Invasion LCG Warpstone Chronicles Released

WarhammerLCGWarpstoneChronicles.jpgThe penultimate expansion to the premier Warhammer Living Card Game cycle has just been released. By now your library should be fleshed-out with the previous expansions and your main forces are all assembled and sitting restless, waiting for a fight in your hand-tailored decks. Enter the Warpstone Chronicles [Amazon, Funagain], a set which focuses on outfitting your troops with powerful relics to boost their strength in battle. Some even resurrect your troops that have fallen victim to death. Nasty.

The following preview articles go into the in-depth gritty details of three of the twenty different cards you should expect to get in the expansion:

  1. A Worthy Death
  2. Charging to the Front Line
  3. A Dangerous Development

And here's the official product description:

"The War Crown of Saphery... Basha's Bloodaxe... The Rune Fang of Solland... The forces of Order and Destruction have turned to the ancient relics of the Old World in the hope of gaining a deadly advantage in the ongoing war.

The Warpstone Chronicles is the fifth 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.


The Warpstone Chronicles are now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

April 19, 2010

Horus Heresy Wargame Hits Shelves

HorusHeresyBox.JPGThe latest and greatest epic war board game from Fantasy Flight Games has hits shelves, and score! it's set in one of the most rich sci-fi gaming settings of all time. Horus Heresy [Amazon, Funagain] is set during an epic show down in the Warhammer 40k history, and involves massive firefights, explosions, and tide-turning acts of betrayal.

Aside from a solid war game this title has a quite a few interesting mechanics in it. Like, for instance, after each scenario setup, the game goes through a traitor mechanic. Here, the superior forces sitting all high and safe in their the superior fortifications might find that some of their comrades are suddenly in control of the opposing faction. Awkward. There's also some interesting initiative mechanics that you'll have to consider that playing an amazing card might force you to sit on the bench for a few turns. It had better be worth it.

We haven't gotten our mitts on this game ourselves, but it looks awesome. For more information checkout our previous coverage Horus Heresy Redux Coming Your Way Shorlty from FFG. Also checkout the game's components in this nice Horus Heresy unboxing video, and - of course - the game's official website.

Here's the official line:

"In the greatest betrayal the universe has ever known, the Warmaster Horus - once humanity's greatest general, now corrupted by Chaos - has turned against the Emperor and hurled the Imperium of Man into ferocious civil war. The galactic conflict has risen to its climax. The Warmaster's ruinous legions have assaulted Holy Terra itself, the Emperor's seat. Here the fate of humanity hangs in the balance during the greatest military campaign ever seen.

In the Horus Heresy board game, this legendary battle unfolds across the razed plains of Terra and in the frozen orbit above. Deadly fighting ranges from the Emperor's golden Inner Palace to Horus's flagship, the Vengeful Spirit. Taking the side of either traitor or loyalist, two players control either fearless Space Marine legions or deviant Chaos Space Marines, mighty Titans, Imperial Armies both loyal and traitorous, and a fearsome array of other units, including the Emperor and Horus themselves.

An innovative order and initiative system forces each side to carefully consider the commands they issue to their troops. A dramatic, card driven combat system incorporates escalating damage, gives players the opportunity to allocate resources between attack and defense, and brings to bear the unique special powers of each unit type, from fortification-destroying Titans to the perverse daemons of Chaos. Brother fights brother, and the universe hangs in the balance!

Horus Heresy includes over 120 detailed miniature models including 10 plastic terrain pieces, and more than 200 cards to bring this sweeping conflict to life on a stunning map of the war-torn Terra."

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April 15, 2010

Constantinopolis Board Game Announced

Constantinopolis.JPGA slick title was just announced by Fantasy Flight Games. Taking place following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Constantinopolis puts players in leadership roles of one of the most influence trading ports of the first millennium. Buying goods, manufacturing them and sending them out for a profite seems to be the main beef of the game.

Hosting up to 5 players, taking 90 minutes to 2 hours, and a game about incoming goods manufactured into outgoing goods? Gee, on the surface this reminds us very much of 2008's La Havre. This was a fantastic little game if you recall. While a repolished version of that game in a more timely setting might seem derivative, we have to take a look at who's doing the polishing. Fantasy Flight Games sure knows how to make a game's components shine and understands the intricacies of building on familar mechanisms in interesting ways. And their inspiration was one of the best games of that year. They're like the Blizzard of board games.

Considering these things.. Constantinopolis might be a nice little game to add to the FFG repertoire.

For more information about Constantinopolis (oomph that's tough to type) check out the game's official website. Also, here's the official company line:

Can you become the most famous trader in Constantinopolis? Effectively build up your trade district to produce goods, generate money, and earn fame points to ensure that your name stands above the rest!

Constantinopolis is a board game of economy and trade for 2-5 players. With light rules and a moderate play time of 1-2 hours, Constantinopolis is the perfect game for aspiring 7th century merchants.

Constantinopolis features a colorful game board and five detailed player sheets to immerse you in the intriguing world of Byzantine trade. With over 125 tiles and tokens, as well as more than 150 cards and 125 wooden pieces, Constantinopolis is an engaging and accessible entry into the world of European-style board games.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

April 14, 2010

WoW Adventure Board Game Character Pack Blowout

TangWoWBGCharacterPack.jpgA few weeks ago we posted that Tanga had the World of Warcraft Adventure Board Game on sale for the cheap. We got our order in and it was all sealed in a nice Fantasy Flight Games shipping box, which probably means that FFG is clearing its inventory.

Today they're following up with a really slick deal for you collectors. The complete set of character addons is on sale today-only at Tanga, too. Normally this would cost about $80-$100 bucks, but all eight of these characters are bundled together for 40 bucks on Tanga.

Total score if you ask us. Here's the details:

All Eight World of Warcraft Adventure Game Character Packs!

In the world of Warcraft, there are many heroes and many perils. As each foe falls, a new enemy is revealed; as each hero falters, a new champion stands forth. Now, a new hero has risen to take his place in the Hall of Legends!

Each order contains Eight Character Expansion Packs:

Each Character Pack contains:

  • 28 Challenge Cards
  • 23 Ability Cards
  • 9 Character Tokens
  • 4 Character Cards
  • 1 Character Miniature
  • 4 Quests
  • 4 Discovery Tokens

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April 13, 2010

Civilization Revolution for the IPad is Stunning

CivIpad.jpgNow bear with us here. Civilization Revolution for the iPad is a port of the Console Version of the PC Version of the Board Game Version of Civilization. You got it? Good, get it.

We have loved, LOVED, every iteration of Sid Meier's Civilization for the PC. We were actually reluctant to even try Civilization Revolution - the console version - because we feared that Firaxis would dumb-down too may of the interesting systems that made the PC version oh so great. We almost boycotted it based on such snobbish principals.

But we're also consumerist, and when Civilization Revolution launched in 2008 the consume-all portions of our psyche won out in the end and we snatched it up. And boy are we glad we did. The game was simplified or "streamlined", for sure, but the game still remained the fun, "just one more turn" Civilization at heart and we milked hours of enjoyment out of it. And it was balanced oh so well, too. Games went faster, presumably becuase the couch sitting audience was a more casual audience. This makes it sound inferior to the PC version, but it worked on its own as a separate take on Civ, and it worked well.

And now it's here for the iPad. Only tweaked a little here and there for the new touch interface and the iPad's graphics capabilities, and it's just as fun as ever.

Currently the latest version of the game has some bugs that cause it to unexpectedly quit on saves. This is indeed a problem, and considering Firaxis' gung-ho effort to develop the game for iPad's release we assume they're currently hard at work trying to fix the issue. This isn't a show stopper, either, so feel free to game on!

Here are the official details.

"Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution comes to the iPad, extending the award winning Sid Meier's Civilization® series to Apple's newest device. While offering all the great features of the award winning console game, the iPad version introduces the exclusive World/Scenario Creator.

The World/Scenario Creator is an entirely new feature for Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution which allows players to customize the world and game parameters to create hundreds of different scenarios and game types, providing limitless hours of entertainment. Additionally, Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution has been updated and optimized for the iPad's larger 1024x768 pixel high resolution screen, with an enhanced user interface that improves the fidelity of world map tiles, leader portraits, icons, and a broader view of the world map enabling increased vision and strategy for tactical gameplay. "

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

April 12, 2010

Dominion Alchemy Expansion Is Nigh

DominionAlchemy.jpgRumor and scuttlebutt has it that the highly anticipated expansion for the new Rio Grand Games flagship Dominion should be shipping to stores soon, very soon. Some local stores have it shipping April 15, 2010 (link). This seems a tad early to us, but it's not completely out of the question considering that some people have already picked up a copy at a few toy shows (link). There's also word that the game will be demoed in toy shows in April in Germany, and go on sale in that massive board game market in the middle of May (link)

Finally, and most importantly, Amazon is accepting preorders for an early May Ship Date (link).

So expect to have the latest and greatest Dominion set of cards in your hands before the Summer officially begins. Boosh! And in case you missed our previous coverage of Dominion Alchemy, here are the official product details.

"There are strange things going on in your basement laboratories. They keep calling up for more barrels of quicksilver, or bits of your hair. Well it's all in the name of progress. They're looking for a way to turn lead into gold, or at least into something better than lead. That lead had just been too good of a bargain to pass up; you didn't think, where will I put all this lead, what am I going to do with this lead anyway. Well that will all be sorted out. They're also looking for a universal solvent. If they manage that one, you will take whatever they use to hold it in and build a castle out of it. A castle that can't be dissolved! Now that's progress."

Dominion Alchemy is available from preorder from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

April 8, 2010

Invasion from Outer Space Coming Soon

InvasionFromOuterSpace.jpgRemember how amazingly well themed and entertaining Flying Frog Production's cooperative zombie board game Last Night on Earth was? Yeah, well now they're back another zany and outrageous setting (we weren't strong enough fans of the theme of 2008's classic monster mashup).

Survival horror will soon hit all new levels of craziness when 1950s styled Martians make landfall on earth. Too bad they picked an open field next to a circus tent jam packed of humans with quirky superhuman qualities. And were' not just talking about mundane circuis jerks or monocled grifters guessing weights, either. We're talking strong men in wide striped bathing suits, and yes, even you, too, could play as JoJo the Dancing Bear.

And the best news yet? The game will be compatible with Last Night on Earth. So you could mix Circus Freaks and Zombies, or perhaps a Martian versus Zombie apocalypse. Dibs on the movie rights.

Here are the official details:

"Invasion From Outer Space, The Martian Game is a fast-paced game of fiendish Martians, Big Top Heroes, and SciFi Movie Action. Players take on the role of either the Carnival Heroes, using their special talents and working together to fight off the Martian Invasion; or as the invaders themselves, waves of Martian Soldiers and Flying Saucers, blasting Humans with Ray Guns and unleashing their vile alien technologies upon the Earth.

Featuring a modular game board, eight Carnival Heroes to choose from (such as the Fire Breather, Strongman, or Jo Jo, the dancing Bear), an army of Martians to start the invasion (including Martian Champions such as the dreaded Zard Beast), and several different Scenarios to play that drastically change the game; Invasion From Outer Space is designed to create a cinematic feel as the story and game unfolds."

We'll let you know when this puppy gets a shipping date. So far all we know is 2010. We're thinking summertime.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

April 7, 2010

Mystery Express a Fantastic Who Done It Board Game

MysteryExpress.jpgPublisher Days of Wonder has shipped their first, and the latest and greatest, take on the classic Who Done It board game. Mystery Express [Amazon, Funagain] takes the murderer deduction game to the Orient Express.

The game features the heavy production value that attain a level that only Days of Wonder can achieve, and the gameplay matches that high level of craftsmanship. Fans of Clue, Mystery at the Abbey, or .. well, Whodunit? should find a game that's a more complex (and therefore interesting) deduction game, and definitely worth your time.

And here are some resources for you to check out. First up is Our Previous Coverage about the game. Also, checkout this great user review that Compares Mystery Express with other leading deduction games. Finally there's Dice Tower's Video Review which are always great to watch to get a grasp on gameplay.

And finally here are the game's details from the game's official website:

"Mystery Express is a whodunit deduction game from Days of Wonder. The murder that takes place on the Orient Express incorporates 5 different elements represented by a set of Crime cards. Players take on the role of one of 5 traveling characters, each who has their own special powers of deduction. The player who figures out the who, what, when, where and why of the murder before the end of the journey wins.

Designed by Antoine Bauza and Serge Laget, Mystery Express is an imaginative new take on the classic deduction board game, made up of top-notch components and unique, period-perfect illustrations."

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

April 6, 2010

Combat Commander Normandy Review on BGN

CombatCommanderNormandyFFG.jpgThe serious gaming lads over at Board Game News have posted a a very in-depth review of the Combat Commander Normandy board game expansion to the original Combat Commander system.

Overall the review is extraordinarily positive, as we knew it would be. Combat Commander really is the current high watermark of WWII tactical gaming systems that's in depth yet approachable at the same time. The review hits all of the important parts, from new terrain rules, combat rules, and a review of the scenarios and the campaign, so it's definitely worth your while.

Here's a snippet:

"So what's to be found in the innocent-looking, tranquil-green folder? Eight new maps, all about Normandy (with bocage galore); a metric ton of new markers, with more new leaders than you can shake a BAR at; 17 new scenarios to get your Ranger adrenaline pumping (get those gliders ready); and special rules to cover situations specific to the Normandy topographical and military situation, including a unique rule set for a multi-scenario campaign game.

If that's not enough, you can go sit on a Teller mine. "

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

April 5, 2010

Battles of Westeros Continues to Intrigue Us

The preview details of the Battles of Westeros (the Song of Ice and Fire wargame system) continue to march on. Previous installments have spoken to the game's combat mechanics, the roles of battle leader's, and the various terrain we'll encounter in the board game.

The latest installment of the preview series "Control in the Field" details the numerous ways you'll control your force on the board. Like most FFG war games, tokens will be placed on activated units showing you that you've moved them this turn. Troops moved in this most basic way can be do their most basic things, like attack, pet their direwolves, and swear at mummers.

There's a bit of added complexity at this level, and we're not quite sure how it's going to pay off. Various troop types require different colored tokens to move. Green troops of the lowest veterancy (we assume) are activated by green tokens, but there are also blue, red and purple tokens as well, which are used to activate other levels of troops. We'll get back to this in a second.

But then there are the leaders, which is where things get pretty freaking interesting. Leaders can control forces within a small range around them (presumably earshot) and are activated with cards from your hand. These will let troops to some extraordinary things. Some will require you to have placed a certain number of specific color activation tokens on the board first, which is pretty interesting. A card might require you to have certain quantities of spare veteran troop movement tokens left over before using it, but that means that for this turn, some of your veteran troops might have to sit on the sideline.

The article mentions this level of balance that you have to consider each turn. When to commit certain forces to either force your opponent's hand, or to enact your will upon your enemy. All the while you're working at the goal of getting the correct number of certain color activation tokens to time your special leader abilities in your hand. Meanwhile, your opponent might be playing a cat and mouse game waiting to pounce on you, too.

That sounds really deep. And really darn exciting.

For more information checkout the Battles of Westeros official website. We'll keep an eye peeled for more insightful articles as they're published.

Critical Gamers Staff Permalink social bookmarking

April 2, 2010

Small World Hits iPad on Launch Day. Crazy!

SmallWorldIPad.JPGWow. We've always admired Days of Wonder to be one of the more tech savvy board game publisher. Each of their titles ships with a codes printed on their instructions that let you play their games on their online game site. That means that for every game they work to produce in card board form, there's another incarnation brewing in their computer lab, too.

So if any one publisher was going to make a shift to the iPad, we suppose it would have been Days of Wonder. No surprise there. But to have a game on iPad launch day? Crazy.

Check out the official website for more information on Small World for iPad. Or checkout the 'analog' version of the boardgame at Amazon or Funagain Games.

Here's the official word:

Small World is an award-winning fantasy game where players vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate all of the zany races such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs and even humans that inhabit it. Sitting across from each other around the iPad, you will use your troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other players' races off the face of the earth, in this rip-roaring fun digital board game.
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