October 29, 2010

Dust Tactics Board Game Hits Shelves

The alternate history tactical WWII board game with the kick-ass models has hit storefronts. Dust Tactics [Amazon, Funagain] is here!

While you may ooh and ahh over the walking tanks (a new technology path gleaned from salvaged UFO technology), the truth of the matter is that it's not a gimmic - this is one of the sweetest game systems around. The rules are easy to pickup and the combat is fast, furious.. and bloody. Oh man, it's a slaughter fest out there.

Like most other FFG tactical wargames the turns last until all of the units have been activated and then a new turn starts anew. Unlike other FFG tactical games, however, games are quick to setup and take under and hour to play. It's like someone spilled Memoir '44 all over a slick tactical wargaming IP from FFG. The results are epically sweet.

We have to warn you about one thing though. The glamor shots of this game include pictures of the prepainted miniatures edition of the game which costs *gulp* upwards of 200-300 bucks. The standard version includes all of the detailed modeling at a fraction of the price but the painting is left as an exercise to the player. Or, of course, you could just forget about painting like we always do and enjoy the game with the default plastic sculpts.. which are still some of the best looking models in a board game to date. The tanks even having moving parts!

Ok, enough gushing. For more information about Dust: Tactics checkout these links:

Here are the game's official details:

"1947. The Second World War rages on. Unfathomable artillery machines march across the globe, leaving a wake of destruction. In Antarctica, a secret research base forms the center of a covert battle between allied and axis forces. will you protect the secrets of this hidden base from the invading Allies or liberate its contents from the hands of the Axis?

Based on DUST comics world created by Paolo Parente, Dust Tactics introduces an exciting, alternate vision of WWII, with amazing machines, roughneck grunts, and stalwart commando leaders, each dedicated to the cause, patriots in the war for world domination.

This boxed set comes with two, ready-to-play armies, as well as a scenario booklet and modular board."

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October 26, 2010

Cadwallon: City of Thieves Hits Shelves

FFG's latest old school cloak and dagger fest Cadwallon: City of Thieves [Amazon, Funagain] has hit shelves. Problem is, it's not quite enough cloak and dagger and more pacman meets back alley brawl.

When we first started reading about City of Thieves we had thought we had just been introduced into an awesome backstabbing game of dark subterfuge. Pull off heists in a series of dynamic maps and scenarios? Awesome. The idea of individual characters slinking through pre modern cities, breaking into houses to steal itmes based on various personal-level quests sounds so freaking tastey that we're drooling over the idea even now. Imagine getting an order from a crime boss where you're tasked to steal a series of goods, and you're in the dark about whether you're the only player striving to steal these goods or if you're secretly competing against another player on a subset overlapping missions. Being in the dark and competing against one another by either racing to steal the specific items first, or waylaying the opponent after he's done all the heavy lifting for you... that - friends - sounds like an awesome game.

Unfortunately City of Thieves dilutes the theme down to the very essence of 'stealing crap and getting out' and there aren't enough hood ornaments tacked onto the game to make things interesting. There's very little skill in entering houses and stealing things. A mini game or something adventurous here would have made the game sail, but alas the implementation is as flat as a saltine pizza. The luxurious treasures are just just randomly assigned for you to steal, and there are numerous versions of the same thing littered around the map of Cadwallon. There's nothing really special about any one place or any one treasure in the game. It's basically a smash and grab and fisticuffs board game.

So we're sad that we're not all ga-ga over this game. Some might like it, perhaps a younger audience in their early teens who don't thirst after the complexity that we do. In fact we would highly rate the game in that regard. It has amazing components with a slick art style and streamlined rules. Just not enough going on to make any particular basktab more worthwhile.

This is odd considering that FFG is usually near the Complicated end of the complexity scale. Perhaps City of Thieves is an attempt to broaden the fan base across all age groups. Afterall, FFG's lineup this year is absolutely huge.

For more information check out City of Thieves Components Breakdown in HD, and our original Cadwallon: City of Thieves Unveiled at Gencon. Here are the game's official details:

Cadwallon: City of Thieves is a fast-paced game of cunning thievery and ruthless skullduggery in a fantasy city steeped in magic and intrigue. Two to four players each control their own gang of four thieves, competing to amass the greatest haul of loot from the many carefully locked chests scattered about the board. This is no friendly competition, however, and there is little loyalty among thieves in Cadwallon! The most successful players are as likely to claim their loot from the other gangs as they are to do the time-consuming legwork themselves. And always there is the Guild, directing the gangs from the shadows, and offering rich rewards to those who follow its will. But there is little time to waste; even the slow-witted militiamen will eventually raise the alarm... and woe be upon any thief who fails to creep away before the lawmen seal the district!
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October 21, 2010

Find A New Game to Love


An amazing new world of board gaming has exploded over the last decade. If you're new to the game then you might have missed some hit of years past. This slick new site Find A New Game makes searching the halls of awesome games passed easy and fast.

All you need to do is tell it a list of board games that you love and any board games that you hate. Then using the Board Game Geek Database the site enters into a Netflix-like suggestion system that populates a list of game suggestions custom tailored to your profile.

How awesome is that?

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October 20, 2010

Civilization Board Game Video Preview

We really try not to write about a single game twice in the same week but we couldn't just sit on this video. It incorporates many facets of the preview articles we posted about on Monday, but then also includes spots from the various designers and imagery of the game in action. The game is looking really, really sweet. High quality pieces, clean art style across the numerous components (maybe too many components), and a design team that really seems to "get it".

The trailer leaves with a final note that rings home with us: they want you to think about how you'd play your next game while you're still striving through your current game. That is - what new strategies did you learn about that you can't wait to drive home when you start your civilization fresh. That notion of deep down excitement over potential and of emerging strategies is what catching the Civ bug is all about.

We seriously cannot wait for this one to hit our table.

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October 18, 2010

Civilization Board Game Previews Are Tasty

civilizationboardgame.jpgOur brains are knee deep in the mechanics of Civilization 5. Everyone here has their own game going, or has a sidecar multiplayer game developing. It's Civ 5 madness and we're loving every minute of it. And so we wait on baited breath for any and all details about the upcoming Civilization board game.

We should admit that we were a bit concerned about the game when we first heard of its upcoming release. Fantasy Flight Games is notorious for deconstructing games and then spinning complexity into the re-imagined product, either for better or for worse. Anyone who's played Civilization on the PC knows of the systems upon systems that make the series oh so sweet and complex enough to take months to master.

FFG has recently started positing some preview articles to shed some light on the game's various systems and we really like what we've seen so far. "Remaking History" kicks things off with a brief look at the numerous victory conditions for players to persue and all of the modern victory paths are there in one form or another: Technology, Culture, Economic, Military. We're stoked: another game where numerous players compete for resources but who strive for orthogonal goals. Oh how we love that stuff. And thankfully the way all these systems work have been simplified a bit for the board game.

Want proof? Checkout "On the Shoulders of Giants" which details the system of the game's technology tree. To simplify things the tech tree is actually a pyramid with interchangeable techs - no one tech leads directly to another, but a tier two tech must have two tier 1 techs in place beneath it. The whole thing seems like a really nice, elegant solution to a potentially complex mechanic.

Finally there's "Pinkies Out!" which delves into the power of Culture. This one is implemented with a progression track similar to a victory point track. Every few spaces there's a reward in th form of - what seems to be - very powerful cards to entice players to grow the civilization culturally.

Civilization the Board Game could have been a mind frag of complexity and tabulation but this incarnation is looking promising,. We like to see a bit more information regarding production counters and monies, and if that's going to turn into a swarm of tokens. Everything else though? Awesome.

We'll keep you posted as more previews are published.

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October 14, 2010

Funagain Games Essen Trade Show Board Game Preorders

EarthReborn.jpg The premier game show for all things Eurogames - Essen - is just around the corner. Gobs of games will be released from all corners of the industry, and Funagain Games has opened up their webstore so that you can preorder any or all of them from the comfort of your couch.

They currently have around 130 titles listed as titles they can purchase for you. They'll run the floor of the show, pickup the title, and send it off to you in a box. More titles will be added to their list as they work to confirm inventory and pricing from the genre's various publishers.

These aren't just new titles but other games that may have been on short supply at gaming stores. Publishers love to show up with new stock for the show's attendees and now you can get your mits on them without booking a flight to Germany.

And best of all - the prices are guaranteed to drop if the publisher designs to cut the cost of the title before the show. We're like kids in a candy store right now!

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October 12, 2010

Dominion Prosperity Expansion Hits Shelves

DominionProsperity.jpgFrom what we've heard the Dominion Prosperity Expansion [Amazon, Funagain] is the best one yet. Conversely this is probably the final expansion for our collection of the Dominion card game ... unless the designers start adding laser beams or carnivorous unicorns. Why? Well there are just so many cards you can add to your collection before the entire collection becomes completely muddled, or when portions of your collection becomes untouched for months.

Heck, we don't even bother with the Seaside Expansion anymore. There are just too many different things in that expansion that create numerous moving parts that don't really jive with the other expansions.

But Prosperity is different. Instead of tacking on a crazy pirate theme, or an alchemy theme, Prosperity invigorates a subsystem that has always had a huge part of any game of Dominion: the economy. Prosperity focuses on the upper echelon of inhabitants in the medieval dominion. There's the normal rich philosophy of "more money is better" across the basic spectrum as expected. Like the new Platinum card that supersedes the top tier cash of Gold, and the new Colony victory point card that costs 11 bucks for 10 victory points. Crazy.

And you're not going to save up to buy these cards simply by stocking up on platinum. Nope, there are tons of event cards that snowball your economy. Like the garden or the pirate ship of old, there are cards like Trade Route that get more powerful as play goes on, specifically focused on boosting your own economy. But they're capped in interesting ways, either via increased price or by adding negative aspects like a Forced Trash action to certain cards.

Add to do that a slew of treasure cards that have special actions, special buy rules, or special values, and you get a high quality Dominion expansion that tickles your money bags.

For a full review of of the game checkout The Dice Tower's Dominion Prosperity Review. It includes a very brief review of the cards themselves, too.

Here are the official details:

Ah, money. There's nothing like the sound of coins clinking in your hands. You vastly prefer it to the sound of coins clinking in someone else's hands, or the sound of coins just sitting there in a pile that no-one can quite reach without getting up. Getting up, that's all behind you now. Life has been good to you. Just ten years ago, you were tilling your own fields in a simple straw hat. Today, your kingdom stretches from sea to sea, and your straw hat is the largest the world has ever known. You also have the world's smallest dog, and a life-size statue of yourself made out of baklava. Sure, money can't buy happiness, but it can buy envy, anger, and also this kind of blank feeling. You still have problems - troublesome neighbors that must be conquered. But this time, you'll conquer them in style.

This is the 4th addition to the game of Dominion. It adds 25 new Kingdom cards to Dominion, plus 2 new Basic cards that let players keep building up past Gold and Province. The central theme is wealth; there are treasures with abilities, cards that interact with treasures, and powerful expensive cards.

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October 8, 2010

Battle Map for the iPad Looks Killer

We've been lusting over the implications of the Philip's haplessly named Entertaible and Microsoft's Surface in regards to the future of home gaming for years now. An interactive display for conveying information and tracking character movements in strategy games, RPGs, the works, and downloadable modules for various titles. Oh man, the future is now! The problem: the software base (ie: the modules) isn't exactly churning off the assembly lines, and the hardware costs an exorbitant 10K just to get it in-house. Good luck with that.

How about we meet half way with Battle Map by Razeware - an iPad application that lets GMs, DMS, whoever, carve out maps with the touch of their fingers. Characters and protagonists can be added to the screen, complete with line of sight tools, and then tossed on a giant display like a flat screen TV for all the gamers to see. And the best part yet: The iPad can run in GM mode (who see's everything on the device) while the main TV display runs with a fog of war mode where players can see only what the GM Wants them to see.

Ho baby, sign us up.

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October 7, 2010

BGN Reviews Catan Histories: Settlers of America

Thumbnail image for CatanHistoriesSettlersOfAmerica.jpg
The latest Settlers incarnation is one of the Histories series. These games take the Settlers formula and apply it to a specific time period. Previous entries included Struggle for Rome which put players in charge of the 'barbarian hordes' who pillaged the cites of Ancient Rome throughout Gaul, and who eventually settled to make settlements of their own.

This year Catan is heading to the new world with Settlers of America: Trails to Rails [Amazon, Funagain]. Players are tasked with settling the USA from East to West during the industrial age, founding towns that collect resources and the like. The goal, is to develop your economy through your network of towns and to finally ship goods inland on your own rail networks. Dubbed the Catan Train Game by many, Settlers of America is one of those nice hybrid titles that takes the best from both settlement and economic genres.

And now Board Game News has a review. It does a great job of breaking down the game from stem to stern and talks about its pitfalls (some darn long games) as well as its shining points. Here's an excerpt:

"While it has many similarities and familiar mechanisms to its ancestors, Settlers of America has enough new twists and concepts to give it a fresh feel. Players must be adept at balancing all of the different aspects, and there are important timing considerations. The ability to bounce back and forth between the different actions - building, trading, moving - allows players wide creative latitude and provides ample opportunity for clever play. All of these are big plusses and would appear to make this new version one of the best in the series."

Check out the full review here.

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October 4, 2010

Small World Expands Again, and for Free!

SmallWorldNecromancerIsland.jpgVery, very interesting. Days of Wonder has announced an expansion for release this fall for the award winning Small World. Necromancer Island is a scenario expansion for 3 to 6 players with one player playing the role of the Necromancer who spawns units from siphoning off the souls of the other player's fallen units. If he's able to place all of his ghosts before the end of the game -- he wins! Opponents, in the meantime, are playing their own game of Small World, squaring off normally as they would otherwise. However, as they fight over the island against other opponents, the group as a whole must work together to keep the Necromancer's ghost population from becoming overwhelming.

A nice intriguing little expansion. Most noteworthy, though, is that Small World Necromancer will be FREE in game stores this fall. We'll keep you posted regarding when the boxes start appearing on shelves. Until then checkout the Days of Wonder Blog for all the details.

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October 1, 2010

Mansions of Madness: Horror Mystery Board Game in a Box

MansionsOfMadness.JPGOh man, yet another game on the horizon that we're absolutely shaking to get our hands on. Reading about Mansions of Madness gives us flashbacks to the incredible experience that is the Buffy the Vampire board game, a superb title (before we encounter Eurogames) regardless if you liked or disliked the TV series. Players in that title and in Mansions will have to cooperate to scour the board for tools to defeat the player controlled the antagonist. Unlike Buffy, though, the antagonist's plans aren't at all obvious.

And that's what makes Mansions of Madness so intriguing. There are various scenarios, but even in those scenarios the four protagonist players wont' know what the 1 antagonist player is doing behind the scenes to win the game. The antagonist is given options of a branching story, each with different end goals that he attempts to attain. He must then scatter the board with clues to his motives. The 'good guy' players must then discover the various clues, piece them together, and stop the evil master plan.

Seriously, could it get any better than this? Yes, it can. The game is set in H.P. Lovecraft's Akrham Massachusetts the horror suspense universe. The game is also designed by Corey Konieczka who carved out the Battlestar Galactica Board Game and the recent Space Hulk: Death Angel Card Game.

This title has so many things going for it: good setting, a great publisher, great mechanics and an outstanding designer. For more preview information check out the game's announcement, and the preview article "The Origins of Evil". Here are the game's official details:

"Horrific monsters and spectral presences lurk in manors, crypts, schools, monasteries, and derelict buildings near Arkham, Massachusetts. Some spin dark conspiracies while others wait for hapless victims to devour or drive insane. It's up to a handful of brave investigators to explore these cursed places and uncover the truth about the living nightmares within.

Designed by Corey Konieczka, Mansions of Madness is a macabre game of horror, insanity, and mystery for two to five players. Each game takes place within a pre-designed story that provides players with a unique map and several combinations of plot threads. These threads affect the monsters that investigators may encounter, the clues they need to find, and which climactic story ending they will ultimately experience. One player takes on the role of the keeper, controlling the monsters and other malicious powers within the story. The other players take on the role of investigators, searching for answers while struggling to survive with their minds intact.

Do you dare enter the Mansions of Madness?"

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