Hot on the heels of the release of Nightfall, the highly received card game, Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced a stand-alone expansion called Martial Law. Martial Law will bring an additional 300 cards of new spell powers, vampires, werewolves, hunters, and ghouls. The expansion also adds the new "Feed" mechanic adding new tactics and strategies. Martial Law looks to continue the story as well as expand the game and will contain the great art we have come to expect from Nightfall. Expect Martial Law to be available for purchase in July 2011.
While at PAX East, I was fortunate enough to play Spot It, from Blue Orange Games. This extremely fast paced matching game was a total blast to play. There were 3 of us playing at PAX and 2 more joined later, but the game is meant for 2-8 players and a round can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes to play. The game comes with 55 cards with 8 images on each card, and according to the publisher, "there is always one, and only one, matching symbol between any 2 cards." While I haven't spent the time to verify this, there was never a time where there wasn't a match somewhere. Each of the 4 different game variations will have you testing your visual perception and matching skills, while also verifying that you can be quick on the draw. The game comes in a small cylinder that is great for traveling and is a great way to have some family fun with the kids. For $10, it makes a great gift, stocking stuffer, or reward for a good report card.
As if 2011 couldn't get any better, and if we didn't have enough on our want list here at Critical Gamers, Fantasy Flight Games announces an expansion to Twilight Imperium. In Shards of the Throne players will be able to control three new races, the Arborec, the Nekro Virus, and the Ghosts of Creuss. The expansion will also introduce a host of new options for your galactic conquering needs, from new alternate strategy cards, new units and technology, to the new races. With the new Political Intrigue mechanic, players have the option to try and control the Galactic Council or undermine the opponents. Fantasy Flight does not seem to be holding back any punches on Shards of the Throne and we cannot wait to get our hands on a copy later this spring. Check out their website for more details.
Gary Games has announced a June store date for the Return of the Fallen expansion. Return of the Fallen is the first expansion for the hit deck-building game Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer. The expansion will add 65 new cards to the Center Deck, the new Fate mechanic, and adds expanded gameplay for 1-6 players when added to the base set. With deck-building card games gaining more traction and additional titles in 2011, Gary Games is looking to get a head start on what appears to be an expanding market in the near future.
Rio Grande Games has released their first newsletter of 2011 and has some great news for us gamers. Here is the latest information about what we can expect in 2011:
Dominion continues to grow in popularity and size: by the end of 2010, we had sold over one million copies of Dominion in its various langauges and expansions. And, we have two more expansions and another promo card planned for this year.
In 2011, we plan to begin releasing our line of new designer games. These are the result of several design contests we have sponsored in the past few years and our attempt to encourage new game design in the US. Of course, we will continue to support our existing game lines and partnerships with new products. For example, this spring we will release Dominion: Cornucopia, Carcassonne: 10 year edition, Carcassonne Dice game, and Carcassonne translucent follower pack (with rules for their special use). We are also very close to completing Arctic Scavengers, our second deck-building game. In the next few months we will release Rails of New England, Heavens of Olymous, Cavemen, Airlines: Europe (Alan Moon's latest take on Airlines/Union Pacific), Carcassonne: the Castle Falcon expansion, Carcassonne: City 2 (same insides as Carcassonne: the City, but in a cardboard box), Those Pesky Garden Gnomes, Rattlebones, Credit Mobilier, Mogul, Monster Factory, and several others.
Zombie Dice is a fun, easy to learn, and quick to play action packed dice game published by Steve Jackson Games in 2010. It is a 3-8 player game that takes about 10-20 minutes to play. Zombie Dice is a great party game and with the zombie theme, everyone should be having a blast in no time. For only $10 you can't go wrong.
Legions of Darkness is the new 8th installment in the States of Siege solitaire line from Victory Point Games. Designed by Chris Taylor, Legions looks to take the series into the fantasy realm with a small rag-tag band of defenders and heroes trying to hold off the advancing fronts of the greenskin or undead armies. Will Legions of Darkness hold off the adversary or will the walls crumble under the pressure?
Wings of War WWI: Famous Aces recreates World War 1 aerial combat by using card and board game mechanics. Famous Aces features five exciting airplane types: the Spad XIII, Albatros D Va, Sopwith Camel, Fokker Dr1 and the Sopwith Triplane. Each one was flown by an ace: Baracca, von Richtofen, Rickenbecker, Fonck, Olieslagers and Baker. Released in 2004 by Nexus Games International, it was brought to the US in 2008 by Fantasy Flight Games and has taken its hold on the wargaming and miniatures fans alike. With multiple expansions, miniatures, and booster packs, there is plenty of content to get into.
So what does Olivia Munn choking a chicken have to do with board and card game news you ask? Well, nothing really, I just wanted to get your attention and until I come up with a nice Critical Gamers news picture, randomness will have to do for now. It's been a few weeks since we have done a Newsapalooza post, so there is some catching up to do. Let's do this!
While attending PAX East '11 this weekend in downtown Boston, I was fortunate enough to sit down with Lorien Green, the filmmaker for the board gaming documentary "Going Cardboard". We both have roots in the video gaming industry and shortly discovered we had both worked at the same company! She had left the company only a few months before I started there. While having something in common like that can help break the ice, there was no doubt in my mind that Lorien would have been just as friendly had that connection been missing. She was undoubtedly enthusiastic about her project, the status of the gaming industry, and her experiences throughout the film making process. For some background about Lorien and the documentary, I suggest visiting her Hustream video, which can be found here - Introducing Going Cardboard: A Board Game Documentary.
Having fought the deciding battle and finding out that it led to my team's victory in my absence, I now had time to think about my experience with Warparty. First and foremost, it was fun! It was balanced, extremely well-polished, and fast paced. I had enjoyed a two hour game session and left wanting to play longer. There were multiple strategies and races that I had yet to experience. The inflation component of the resource and purchase structure was a great way to force action and strategic thinking. I would have liked to experience another one of the races like the Dwarves and tried out the research component or gone dungeon diving with my heroes to see what kinds of treasure I could uncover. Even better, I would have had a massive battle in the middle of the map for the precious +3 resources as the rest of the map is occupied. I left wanting more and now I understood why the guys came back to play again.
The showdown was about to begin. Man's forces were split into two armies, as were mine. I was not in a good spot as Man was able to collect more resources per turn and would soon have a stronger army if we continued the standoff. All that stood in the way of a massive clash was a mountain range, but a move had to be made and I had to make it soon.
Designer Chris Taylor has busted down the walls here at VPG yet again, and has brought forth the solitaire, fantasy States of SiegeTM game, Legions of Darkness. Until reinforcements can arrive, you must survive the relentless attacks from ghastly creatures and monsters for three days and two nights.
Besieged on all sides by dark legions, with limited supplies and even fewer defenders to man the walls of Highmoor Castle, you must make many wise decisions. Strategize how to marshal your heroes, where to plan your attacks, what spells to cast, and which deadly traps to build at your castle.
Pitted against hordes of undead skeletal riders, giant armored orcs, and even the fearsome dragons, can you withstand the siege? Defend your castle and survive the Legions of Darkness!
Last episode (found here), I had shown up at the Holiday Inn hotel in Mansfield, MA where Total Confusion XXV was being held. There were a lot of people playing a lot of games all over the place, from pen & paper RPGs, to all out mini Wargames, to popular Euro and Ameritrash. Everyone was having a great time, myself included. While perusing the scene, I came across an unmanned table with what appeared to be a prototype map. I read the flyer and check out the map as Larry Bogucki approached and began to explain the game of Warparty. He explained to me that it is a combination of RTS, RPG, and Wargame that pits teams of opposing armies against each other in order to capture the enemy capital. I signed myself up for a demonstration play and continued to examine the convention while I waited for the assigned play time.
If you have never heard of Ian Volkwein, then I suggest you remember his name. Ian has accomplished something that a lot of others have been unable to do; that is self-publish a mechanically sound, high quality, fun and exciting pirate themed card game. Castaways of Deadmans Bay is the first game published by the newly founded PonderZombie Games. I think I see a meme trend here. Pirate themed game card game and Zombie named company, all thats missing is a Ninja based board game and the trifecta will be complete.
Mansions of Madness is an all-new board game designed by Corey Konieczka (Battlestar Galactica and Runewars), based on the beloved Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Every game tells an engrossing new story and presents a deep mystery to solve. The game contains 32 detailed plastic figures, over 300 cards, over 200 tokens, nearly 70 puzzle tiles and much more. Check out the trailer video from Fantasy Flight Games and order your copy today!
Editor's note - This game is in high demand so expect to see a lot of stores with back orders.
In a tucked away little corner of Mansfield, Massachusetts stands a modest looking Holiday Inn hotel. However, from Thursday February 24th to Sunday the 27th, the inside of the hotel was anything but modest. It was at this hotel and at this time that the Total Confusion XXV convention was held. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the entire duration, but was fortunate enough to get to spend my Saturday there. The convention was great, with about a couple hundred gamers coming together for friendship and for a weekend of RPGs, miniatures, eurogames, ameritrash, war games, panels and tourneys. Unless you were in the bathroom, then a game session was taking place with intensely focused faces. Also, for a industry that thrives on competition, there really couldn't be a friendlier group of people.
Mojang, the company founded from the massive indie success of Minecraft, has announced, at GDC this week, that they are working on a new game called Scrolls. John Walker over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun was fortunate enough to get to visit the Mojang headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and get a sneak peak of the game and interview with the guys. According to interview, the game will be a mix of a collectible card game and board game, but played on a PC or Mac. The player will take their set of cards and play them against what is happening on a board. This seems like an interesting meld of three different genres/industry and will have to see what Mojang is able to come up with considering the current state of the online CCG market. Head over to Rock, Paper, Shotgun and check out the interview with Mojang and find out for yourself about Scrolls.
Critical Gamers had a great month of February with lots of board game news and reviews. Expect lots of gaming news in the coming month as we'll be attending several gaming shows and conventions, including PAX East!