May 27, 2010

DowntimeTown Reviews Horus Heresy

As a companion piece to the review: publisher FFG just released a movie that details the backstory to their latest big box wargame Warhammer 40K: Horus Heresy [Amazon, Funagain]. While our previous coverage of the game has detailed the mechanics of the wargame, the FFG official 10 minute long featurette does a much better job of setting the stage for one of this year's biggest releases.

Back to the movie at the top: You just Gotta love DownTime Town's reviews. We sit around staring at the website test pattern waiting for another one to air. Welcome back! Oh, and ooo zaaa.

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May 25, 2010

Talisman: The Highland Expansion Released

TalismanTheHighland.JPGFFG has released another expansion to it's Talisman 4th Revised Edition dungeon romp adventure game. Talisman: The Highland [Amazon, Funagain] hits the rugged windswept mountaintops and can be enjoyed with a nice peaty scotch.

So what should you expect? "The Highland" adds on to the game board, introduces new characters, adds new end-game conditions, 100 new cards, new figures... in other words gobs of new content in highfalutin FFG style. Coupled it with the previous The Dungeon Expansion and you have yourself a nice rainy day gaming weekend.

Here's the official word:

Clouds enshroud the mountain's peak... Exhausted from the long ascent, you barely keep your grip as the stones beneath you give way and tumble perilously down the slope. But you still keep climbing... ...for the Highland beckons you!

Talisman: The Highland adds a new Region to the game for heroes to explore. A custom-fitted map board and over 100 new cards bring this mountainous realm vividly to life, while six brand-new characters, each represented with a superbly detailed plastic miniature, offer fantastic new playing experiences. Climb as high as you dare, and lay claim to the unimaginable wealth that awaits atop the tallest peak in the world of Talisman!

Also checkout this great Talisman: The Highland First Impressions from the BGG forums. Finally, FFG has also released a long line of preview articles. If you're looking to no more about the expansion before plopping down your cash, then look no further:

  1. Scale the Mountain's Peak Expansion's Announcement
  2. All That Glitters.. Characters
  3. Mistress of the Night Characters
  4. A Hearty Adventurer Characters
  5. Relics of the Eagle King Relics
  6. Sent From Above Characters
  7. A Map of the Summit Rules
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May 24, 2010

A Slew of Board Game Commercials from Your Childhood

Remember when board games actually had marketing budgets large enough to hit the air waves? Mr Mouth, Bed Bugs, and Wrestling Superstars, all had mass media time slots.

And the blog urlesque has thrown together a list of 31 board game Commercials from ages past. It really has refreshed our memory of the olden days.

While there were a few gems here and there the rest of the product lines were quite sickening in retrospect. Remember the Musical jingles contracted by cheesy production houses done in between cutting tracks for crappy cartoon intros or public service announcement raps about plagiarism? See 1992's Crossfire, for instance. Remember the linear game play with tacked on gimmicks to hold kids short attention spans, like Playdoh bits that squished and died for your entertainment? It's amazing that board games made enough money to be on TV.

We also love how some lawyer thought it would be a good idea to remind us that the "Guess Who?" stickers don't actually talk. Holy litigation prevention. That commercial must have come out around the same time someone sued McDonald's 'cause their coffee was too hot. Still is too hot, BTW.

All of this giltz and glamor we're glad to have gone the way of the Dodo. Thank goodness for the Eurogame revolution to bring us out of that dark age of soulless board games production.

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May 21, 2010

Dominion Alchemy Expansion Hits Shelves

DominionAlchemy.jpgHappy day of days. The long awaited 2010 expansion to the best game in years (that is Dominion) has been sighted in stores and is now shipping from online retailers.

Dominion Alchemy [Amazon, Funagain] pushes us into the laboratories of mad scientists as they try to use common potions to plot and scheme the uses of transmutation to create bigger and better things. And after all, isn't that the whole theme of Dominion in the first place?

We should note that this is a half-sized expansion (larger ones to come later this year), and so it requires either Dominion or Dominion: Intrigue to play. But hey, if you don't already have one of those then you have a lot of great gaming to pickup (start with the original Dominion).

Here are the official details about Dominion Alchemy:

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.

This is the 3rd addition to Dominion. It adds new Kingdom cards to Dominion. As it is an expansion, you will need Dominion, or Dominion: Intrigue to play the game.

Dominion: Alchemy is an expansion, and can't be played by itself; to play with it, you need Dominion, or a standalone expansion to Dominion (Dominion: Intrigue). Those provide the Basic cards you need to play (Treasure, Victory, and Curse cards), as well as the full rules for setup and gameplay. Dominion: Alchemy can also be combined with any other Dominion expansions you have.

Dominion Alchemy is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games. For more information please see our previous coverage: Dominion Alchemy Teasers, Dominion Alchemy Expansion is Nigh and Designer's Breakdown of Dominion Alchemy.

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May 19, 2010

Small World Tales and Legends Announced

SamllWorldTalesAndLegends.jpgDays of Wonder has announced another expansion to its award winning Small World [Amazon, Funagain] board game. Tales and Legends features a new deck of event cards to add a flavored twist to each turn, and was also spawned from the user homebrew contest that was sponsered last year, which was the catalyst for the game's three mini expansions last fall.

It seems that designer Philippe Keyaerts has also played a part in polishing up the expansion for a mass market release.

Here's a snippet from the press release:

"Days of Wonder announced Small World - Tales & Legends - an expansion to the award-winning board game in which players vie for conquest and control over a fantasy world that is simply too small to accommodate all the zany characters that inhabit it. This expansion introduces 54 large-format Event cards that can dramatically change the storyline of Small World. Each Tales & Legends Event card features a unique illustration that matches the light-hearted fantasy theme.

Event cards are organized into 6 different themes, each with its own unique flavor. The cards are also rated by their impact on the game: Little Lore cards have only a minor effect; Tall Tales have worldly consequences; and Lordly Legends are guaranteed to turn your Small World upside down!

Tales & Legends is easily integrated into the game play. At the start of each turn (except the first) a new event card is drawn and put into play. The next Upcoming Event is also visible, so players know what faces them on the next turn. Two blank cards have been included, enabling players to create their own Tales & Legends events."

Small World Tales & Legends is slated for release this July.

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May 14, 2010

The Dice Tower Releases Game of Year 2009 Nominees

DiceTowerGOTYNominees.gifThe Dice Tower today announced their Best Game of the Year 2009 nominees. Actually, that's a half truth; they've announced a veritable hit list of the best games of the last year in a ton of different categories.

But first the cream of the crop. The Dice Tower Nominees for Best Game of the Year 2009 are:

Our money is on Chaos in the Old World. That game is fan-freaking-tastic.

Anyway, The Dice Tower folks are serious gamers and we've trusted the opinions for years. Therefore if your shopping around for a new, high-quality game to pickup, then be sure to check out their full list of nominations. For a taste checkout their extensive list of categories:

  • Best Family Game
  • Best Game Designer
  • Best Game Reprint
  • Best Production Values
  • Best Small Publisher
  • Best Party Game
  • Best Game Expansion
  • Most Innovative Game
  • Best Game Artwork
  • Best War Games

Have a good weekend folks!

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May 13, 2010

Runewars Board Game Review on Board to Death

Board To Death has put together a very sweet review of the fantasy war and quest game Runewars [Amazon, Funagain].

We've written quite a bit about the title already so we won't talk you ear off today. Picture Twilight Imperium, set in a fantasy setting, and mixed with the adventuring aspects of Runebound, and you'll get the quick foundation of the elevator pitch. We'll let fill in the details.

Here's the game's official 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?"

Runewars is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

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May 11, 2010

Battles of Westeros Board Game Unit and Leader Previews

The previews for the upcoming Song of Ice and Fire war game system Battles of Westeros (Game of Thrones et al) continue to march on this month. If you missed the previous entries then also checkout Part One and Part Two.

First up is a look of the various troop types in the base set in "The Right Tool For The Job". As a reminder the first boxed set of the franchise focuses on the houses of Lannister and Stark, and both of those will have the standard complement of infantry, cavalry and ranged units. However, life isn't completely balanced. Aside from mixing and matching various scenario and map setups to keep things interesting on repeat plays, the two factions will have their own unique types of units, too. House Lannister, with their bountiful riches, will have heavy infantry. Fitted with some of the best armor money can buy these special troops will provide a stringy defense making them harder to hit. Meanwhile the Starks get Kennlmasters who release their ravenous attack dogs at range to harass enemy troops. These dog attacks can effectively shoot through friendly units (dogs running through friendly troop formations). However, these dog attacks are a bit more chaotic, and effective results may vary.

Second up is is a detailed look on how the various personalities from the books will effect the game. "The Lives of Many Lay in the Hands of a Few" runs down the different abilities and passive buffs these field commanders sport. The two examples given are the leaders of the two waring houses: Rob Stark and Jamie Lannister. Interestingly it seems that scenarios will involve numerous commanders, and each commander will also sport his or her own deck of 5 cards. Mixing and matching these cards during the battle is a gameplay element that FFG is currently focusing on.

We'll keep you apprised of more information about the Battles of Westeros in the coming weeks, including whenever a concrete release date is announced.

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May 10, 2010

Designer's Breakdown of Dominion Alchemy Cards

DominionAlchemy.jpgWe like 2008's Dominion. Heck, we'd even say we love Dominion. It remains both the breakout game of the deck building genre, and also the leading franchise, too. Approachable, fun, deep, and extraordinarily repayable. And we're now on the eve of the launch of Dominion's third expansion: Dominion Alchemy. We're giddy with delight.

So what better treat than to read a preview of the new set's cards? How about one that's written by the game's designer himself?

And here it is: Donald X. Vaccarino's "The Secret History of the Alchemy Cards" post in the BGG forums.

Now the post goes into the nitty gritty details about the history of the Dominion franchise, including how it came to be, how it was broken into expansions, and why we're starting to see mini expansions instead of full fledged sets (blame some of the game's publishers). If you want to skip all that then just scroll down to where you start seeing the bold card games. Once there you'll get right to the nitty gritty details of what cards to expect, how they'll play with each other, and how they'll fold in mechanics of the existing sets.

We can't wait to get our hands on Dominion Alchemy. Some lucky ducks have found a few copies in their local gaming stores. If you act quick you might even be able to nab one. If not, we expect a full shipment to hit the major stores next month.

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May 7, 2010

Dungeonquest Remake Announced for 2010

DungeonQuest.JPGFFG has announced another title remake that'll fold into their line of fantasy adventure board games. DQ finds its origin in the original "Dragon Fortress". Created in Sweden way back in 1985, the game was later brought over to the table tops of English speaking gamers by Games Workshop just a years later.

In both editions Dungeon Quest merged the adventure and exploration aspects of fantasy RPGs experiences with the structured rules and goals of Board Gaming.

Now under Fantasy Flight Games' wing, Dungeonquest is getting a face-lift and will be tied into the publisher's franchise fantasy setting of Terrinoth (Descent: Journeys in the Dark and Runebound). The upcoming release will continue to sport the traditional gameplay elements of the original, but they will be thoroughly overhauled.

The game pits 1-4 players against the dungeon that's run entirely by set of rules and random elements, so there will be no single player antagonist. Instead each player will make their way through this random dungeon. The player who obtains the most riches and makes it out of the dungeon alive (before the dungeon's doors close at sunrise) will be named the victor.

Not much more about the remake is known at this point. What we do know is that the original had some pretty interesting mechanics. Most importantly the dungeon was drawn at random, with tiles flipped over each turn and placed by players. We really hope this dynamic dungeon building system survives the mechanics overhaul because it was - well - awesome.

There are two webpages where you can read for more information. First is the announcement article "A Brutal Test of Courage". The other is the Official Dungeonquest product details. Here's a snippet:

"In DungeonQuest, players must guide their heroes through the twisting halls of Dragonfire Dungeon in pursuit of unimaginable riches hoarded by the Dragonlord Kalladra. Whoever can amass the most wealth and make it out of the dungeon before the closing of the doors seals their doom will emerge victorious. However, merely surviving the harrowing dungeon is a feat all its own...

While many similar games rely on a player to control the machinations of the dungeon, Dungeonquest is unique in that the dungeon essentially runs itself. No one at the table knows what lies around the corner, creating a new play experience every time. Additionally, DungeonQuest also includes rules for solo play, so you can even challenge Kalladra's keep on your own!

Great riches and everlasting glory await if you can survive Dragonfire Dungeon. The Dragonlord Kalladra has challenged all heroes of Terrinoth to test themselves against the most dangerous dungeon in all the realms.

Dare you face the dragon's challenge?"

We'll keep you posted of more details as they emerge. No release date has been announced, so we'll be sure to watch out for that, too. Have a good weekend!

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May 5, 2010

WoW TCG Wrathgate Expansion Previews Begin

LichKing.jpgCryptozoic Entertainment from 10,000 feet must look like a busy hive of army ants. In the last few months they've not only have they spun-off the traditional design team and publishing rights into a new company when Blizzard and Upper Deck parted ways in February, they've also worked on the next expansion of the WoW TCG in that time, too. Somehow, amidst all the turmoil they've found enough time to appease the audience with some nice previews of the upcoming Wrathgate set, too, which is slated to ship in just a few short weeks on May 25th.

Now, to be honest, their blog isn't kind to the eyes, at least not for disseminating large amounts of information. Their blog is boxed and framed in some crazy style sheet that's smaller than a postage stamp on a hunger strike. Somethings lost when viewing the cards' gorgeous art when you can only see 1/3 of a card at a time. We hope they work on that.

Until then here links to the full-page format articles:

  1. Wrathgate Previews - The Drawing Board
  2. Class Captains
  3. Blessings and Burst
  4. Recruitment, Death Knight Style
  5. Get the Powerup; Win the Game

What does the expansion hold of us? It seems the design team isn't introducing any new keyword mechanics. Instead they're toying with varying combinations of keywords in the current toolbox o' fun.

For instance, some allies with sport both Mend and Assault abilities. Death Rattle has jumped off Abilities cards and landed on allies. This means your armed supporting forces will have nice effects both in life, and in death, and isn't that what Northrend and the Wrath of the Lich King Expansion are all about?

Speaking of which, looks like there will be an emphasis on cultivating your own pile of friendly corpses, too, as many cards will become even more powerful when your graveyard is bursting at the seams.

Finally the Argent Crusade's cast and crew will be joining the fight. Unfortunately their appearance pushes out any hopes for a strong showing from the killer Nerubian faction. Considering that Wrathgate will probably be the last we'll see of the Nerubians for a while we would have hoped that the designers would have fleshed out this faction a bit more. With the current set of cards they seem like a smaller, flat, brute force choice when weighing them against the Aldor or Scryer factions, which have more personality and are far more more nuanced.

We'll keep you posted of any more interesting tidbits as they surface close to Wrathgates's launch. Till then, cheers!

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May 4, 2010

Warhammer LCG Assault on Ulthuan Box Set Hits Stores

WarhammerLCGAssaultOnUlthuan.JPGAhh yes, the next chapter of the Warhammer Invasion Living Card Game has hit shelves. The Assault on Ulthuan Expansion [Amazon, Funagain] brings two new capitals to the game that square off against one another: the Dark Elves and the High Elves. Plus, like the original Warhammer Invasion LCG base set, this expansion includes two 40 card decks to kick start your core collection for these new factions factions.

And if you've been playing the LCG over the last half year or so then you're collection of cards will be very applicable here. All of those supporting cards from those two factions will find a home in focused decks with well maintained themes here instead of manning peripheral roles in your current collection.

If you're new to the LCG then you'll still need to pick up the original Warhammer Invasion LCG Core Set. Trust us, you'll be happy with that purchase; it includes the home cities for the Empire, Dwarf, Chaos, and Ork factions, as well as all of the damage tokens you'll need to play.

For the rest of you, here are the details on the new Assault on Ulthuan expansion:

"The Assault on Ulthuan expansion explores the bitter enmity between the Dark Elves and the High Elves. The Dark Elves are a cruel race who excel at taking prisoners, sacrificing them, and inflicting vast amounts of pain on enemy units through hit point reduction. This treacherous faction seeks to enslave the other races of the Warhammer world. The High Elves are a proud, powerful race who rely on card denial, cancellation, healing, and ranged attacks. They work to heal damage to the world and unlock the ancient mysteries of the arcane. Both will raise mighty kingdoms and venture out on perilous quests as they seek the power to stand victorious. Can either faction rise to dominance over the other, or will they both succumb to another foe altogether?"

The Warhammer LCG Assault on Ulthuan Box Set is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain.

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May 3, 2010

Critical Gamers' Board Game Roundup April 2010

Constantinopolis.JPGTons of gaming news this month. Tons. We have new announcements from Fantasy Flight Games like the mouthful Constantinopolis, a new Tide of Iron expansion Fury of the Bear, and even more information about the upcoming Song of Ice and Fire wargame system Battles of Westeros. Oh, and how can we forget the epic Warhammer 40k board game Horus Hersey also hit shelves.

We saw the launch of the iPad which already sports board games like Small World, and a new version of Civilization Revolution. Days of Wonder's new murder mystery board game Mystery Express, and for the deck building faithful we started seeing information about both the new Dominion Alchemy expansion, and Thunderstone's first expansion Wrath of the Elements.

Like we said: tons of gaming. And May really shouldn't be any different. Here are our stories for April:

Board Games

Card Games

Cheap Deals & Sales

Gaming News



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