July 31, 2011

July 2011 Monthly Round Up for Critical Gamers


Board Games

Card Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Gaming News

Our Game Reviews




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July 30, 2011

Magic: The Gathering 2012 Event Decks Coming Mid-Aug


As seen on Gamesalute - http://www.gamesalute.com/?p=16745

Magic 2012 is about to become more eventful! In mid-August 2011, Wizards of the Coast will release two Magic 2012 Event Decks to stores. Have you been wanting to try out Standard? Here's your chance! These pre-constructed event decks are a great introduction into Standard format. They're designed specially for players to hop right into a game and have a fair chance at winning.

Magic 2012 Event Decks come with 60-cards each, a 15-card sideboard, a spindown life counter and a fancy card box to store your cards in.
Following the release of Magic 2012 Event Decks, Friendly Local Game Stores will be hosting Magic Game Days! August 13th-14th, standard tournaments will be held at participating locations. Learn to play standard and get awesome cards with these Magic 2012 Event Decks.

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July 28, 2011

Kickstarter Projects Worth Backing! - 7/28/11

Thumbnail image for kickstarterlogo.jpg

There has been a rash of great titles that have found their way onto the Kickstarter site. I can't highlight all of them for you here, so I'll pick a couple that I think are a few of the best. I really hope that this trend continues as I love to see the underdog succeed and this can really only continue to help our industry grow in scope of content and hopefully player base as we hit larger target audiences. One of the limitations of this service is that advertising for these campaigns will mostly have to be by word of mouth, hopefully that's where I can come in. Please, if you see a title that I advertise on here, make sure you tell your friends. That is the only way we will continue get great independent titles to market.

ArrowContinue reading: "Kickstarter Projects Worth Backing! - 7/28/11"

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July 25, 2011

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition Coming Q4 2011


Fantasy Flight Games, looking to capitalize on the massive craze that's been going on, has announced a second edition release of A Game of Thrones board game. While the card game version has had many content updates, the board game market has been overlooked until now, outside of the Battle for Westeros. The last update to the board game was the expansion A Storm of Swords released in 2006. The update contains the following (taken from the product announcement page):

The updated second edition brings a host of enhancements to your A Game of Thrones experience. It includes elements from the A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords expansions, including ports, garrisons, Wildling cards, and Siege engines, while introducing welcome new innovations like player screens and Tides of Battle cards. This, along with updated graphics and a clarified ruleset, means the time has never been better to take control of Westeros.

At A Game Of Thrones: The Board Game

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July 22, 2011

Review: Politics - Unpretenious Package But Packs Plenty of Punch


There are only a few topics that are commonly understood to be taboo during discussions at work or in public areas, at least in the United States: sex, religion, and politics. There are some valid reasons for this forbiddance, most notably that most wars that are waged are because of these subjective topics. The fate of the Earth even seemed to come into question due to a significant difference in political ideals during the Cold War and the threat of nuclear winter. Politics, designed by John Ruf under No Mana Games, won't put the fate of humanity in the palms of power hungry politicians, it will, however, cause debates, strife, and backstabbing (so choose your players carefully)!

Critical Gamers would like to extend a special thank you to John Ruf for supplying us the review copy.

ArrowContinue reading: "Review: Politics - Unpretenious Package But Packs Plenty of Punch"

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"The Alamo Remembered" Released from Victory Point Games


Victory Point Games has announced the release of the fifth installment of the Historic Gaming series entitled The Alamo Remembered. From their official press release -

The Alamo Remembered, a redesign of The Alamo from Conflict magazine, is a quick, 1-2 player, historical game covering those dramatic minutes when legends were made at the Alamo. In this game of bluff and counter-bluff, command the Texian or Mexican units, defending or attacking the walls of the Alamo.

With no dice rolling, rules to cover many variable conditions during this historic assault, and a "Last Stand" climax to the game, the birth of Texas is yours to relive. As the Texians, can you hold out at the Alamo to the last, or as the Mexicans quickly breach walls for glory? Find out in The Alamo Remembered!

Check out their official product page - The Alamo Remembered

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July 20, 2011

White Goblin Games Announces Six Titles for Release During Spiel 2011


White Goblin Games has a significant lineup ready for release for Spiel '11 in Essen in October. From the official press release -

Rattus Africanus
First and foremost, there's a new Rattus expansion up for release! Rattus Africanus will mark the introduction of a caravan, as well as diplomats. This will add more strategic possibilities to the game and with the introduction of region cards, players will have more control on possible outbreaks of the Black Death. Rattus Africanus will make playing Rattus feel like a completely new experience! Besides that, this expansion also makes it possible to play the game with 5 and 6 players. Rattus, the basic game by Ase & Henrik Berg, has been a big hit internationally so far and by adding a whole new playing experience to the Rattus-family, the success of this game will become even bigger.

Lost Temple
Secondly, there's Lost Temple. In this game by Bruno Faidutti, 2 to 8 players are explorers looking for a mysterious lost temple. To find it, they must cross the jungle of southeast Asia and get help from the indigenous people. The first player to reach the temple on the last space of the track wins the game. The game uses a character selection rule similar to Bruno Faidutti's Citadels, and the game includes nine different characters: Shaman, Thief, Seer, Priest, Elder, Craftsman, Scout, Canoe and Child. Can you outwit your opponents and claim the discovery of the Lost Temple? This game will definitely attract all the fans of Citadels.

And then there's Revolver. This is a non-collectable card game for 2 players by Mark Chaplin and the game is set in the Old West. Consisting of two balanced 62 card decks, the game pits two players against each other in a life or death struggle. One player takes the role of Colonel Ned McReady and his lawmen, and his opponent assumes control of the notorious and deadly Colty gang. At their disposal, the Colty gang - the meanest bunch of low down dirty dogs in the West - have a roster of weaponry to bring down the lawmen on their tail: .38 Specials, .45 Long Colts, 1866 double barrel Derringers, and even a Gatling gun! The Colonel player's objective is to eliminate all the gang members before they can escape across the Mexican border. The game has an asymmetrical design, with both decks featuring different cards and abilities. Primarily a combat-driven card game, each player must manage his deck of cards effectively to win. Revolver is played using a 5-column system, representing consecutive gunfights in the following battlegrounds: The Bank at Repentance Springs, Whiskey Canyon, Buzzard Point, Rattlesnake Creek, and the 3:15 Express from Rattlesnake Station. Gameplay is quick. Numerous tricky decisions must be made throughout.

Panic Station
Earlier this year, White Goblin Games released the crazy squirrel game Get Nuts by designers Tom Luyckx and David Ausloos. Also from Ausloos is Panic Station, a partly cooperative game for 4 to 6 players of growing paranoia in which no one can truly trust anyone. As a member of the Extermination Corps, you as well as your android are sent out by the government to investigate the presence of fiendish alien life forms in a base. Players need to move both their Androids and Troopers through this base, exploring and gathering equipment that will help them to complete their mission: to find and destroy the Parasite Hive hidden somewhere in the inner depths of this hell. When a player manages to get his Trooper into the Hive location and play three gas can cards to fuel his Flamethrower, he wins the game for the humans. However, one of the players is a Host. He must keep this identity secret, infecting as many team members as possible to gain allies and prevent the humans from completing their mission. Only players who carefully watch the behaviour of team members and find a good balance between cooperation and paranoia will stand a chance against the infected players and roaming parasites. The game uses a unique exponential traitor-system and combines tactical play with a compelling psychological mind game amongst players. Can you maintain your sanity and destroy the source of this evil?

Singapore is a game by Peer Sylvester and in this game, the 3 to 4 players are rich merchants who are trading to develop a small outpost into a metropolis. Although the legal trade flourishes, the opium trade increases as well. In this game the players will have the opportunity to participate in these illegal, profitable activities. However, the risk of being caught increases as more illegal activities take place... In this game, you'll definitely experience the intense tension once you have opted for very profitable, but also illegal activities!

Dragon's Gold
Last but not least, there's a re-release of Bruno Faidutti's 'Dragon's Gold'. In this highly interactive game, you have to beat the dragons and seize the treasures. Each player plays with a team of heroes intent on only one goal: collecting lots of magical objects and treasures. Beating a dragon is quite simple. But then comes the real challenge: reaching an agreement on the distribution of the loot. This negotiation mechanism makes this game really stand out from the rest: players have to come to an agreement under time pressure. If they don't agree, nobody gets anything! Besides new artwork, there's also a more strategic variant for players who don't like negotiating.

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July 18, 2011

An Open Letter to Victory Point Games


Dear Alan Emrich and Victory Point Games,

You have recently announced plans to expand to the digital application realm in a recent news post - 3 July Update That Was the Fortnight That Was VPG's "Appy" Future. First, I applaud you for your plans to expand to an area that is outside of your business model and is one of the fastest growing markets out there. As an avid video and tabletop gamer, the proposition of being able to do both is highly appealing as such a creation would be the best of both worlds to me. While I currently find the digital realm somewhat void of solid tabletop to digital translations, I believe with the proper vision and development, this won't be an issue for much longer. That being said, I implore you to take a thorough examination of porting your States of Siege solitaire line to the digital media. The solitaire functionality of the lineup with the typically single player of the mobile digital devices makes for a perfect marriage of playability and portability. We here at Critical Gamers would like to thank you for taking a risk to appease us gamers who enjoy your products and want to take them with us wherever we may go.

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July 16, 2011

Runewars Expansion Banners of War Announced


Fantasy Flight Games has announced that they will continue to support Runewars and in doing so have informed us of Banners of War, the latest expansion. Here is the official announcement from FFG -

War continues to ravage the continent of Terrinoth. The free cities change hands and tyrants bleed the land dry with a death toll that has not been seen since the great wars of ages past. Each nation knows it cannot slow the passage of time, or the armies of their enemies without help. Therefore, each nation has made pacts of allegiance with entities who, until now, have remained passive. The once dormant Great Wyrms flap their long dead wings on blackened skies, while the ancients of the forest march forward against battalions of Novice Wizards who can finally practice their arts in the open, under political jurisdiction. They will be needed if the Sisters of Blood, who now march out from their mysterious Convent of Blood are to be defeated.

Fantasy Flight Games is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of Banners of War, an expansion for Runewars! With over 50 new figures and hundreds of new cards and tokens, Banners of War builds on the strategy and diplomacy of the war for the dragon runes.

n Banners of War, players take fate into their own hands by adding new units to their armies, conscripting heroes to lead them, employing new tactics against their foes, and seeking out a legendary Lost City that promises untold treasure to the ruler who takes control of it. The way shall not be easy, however. It will take keen leadership and tactics to best the rival armies. They too are raising their banners to prepare the march, ready to meet your legions head on.

Mighty Rocs and ambitious Novice Wizards join the ranks of the Daqan Lords, while the Latari have formed a pact with ancient forest spirits, enlisting the aid of the mighty Leonx...and even the trees themselves. Meanwhile, the Uthuk sink ever deeper into corruption; covens of blood witches call upon ancient evils, including demons of gluttony with an insatiable appetite for suffering. And the lands of the Great Betrayer bear witness to further sacrilege: the Vampires of Bilehall have allied themselves with Waiqar, and the massive Great Wyrms, long-dead relics of the Dragon Wars, are rising again!

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July 13, 2011

New WoW:TCG Expansion Announced Named Aftermath: Throne of the Tides


First seen at ICv2 - http://icv2.com/articles/news/20525.html
Cryptozoic has announced the latest in the massive lineup in the World of Warcraft trading card game aptly named Aftermath: Throne of the Tides. If you weren't quite sure based off the name of the expansion, I will be happy to report that the expansion will contain the ever loved and hated Murlocs. Players of the MMO will know what I mean when I say that I am glad these cards don't have sound effects and voice overs applied to them. In addition to the Murlocs, players can also expect Naga and Ogre heroes. The packs will come in the typical 36 pack booster box, 16 cards per pack, $3.99 USD per booster pack. Another option is the $34.99 MSRP priced Epic Collection. The collection contains a reusable card storage box with dividers, a playmat, deck box, six booster packs, 5 foil heroes, and the Fish in a Bubble common loot card. You also might be lucky enough to pull one of the other as well new loot cards:

  • Epic - Tallstrider Mount
  • Rare - Throwing Star Fish
  • Common - Fish in a Bubble

Players will also get to experience four new card mechanics:

  • Delve - Allows players to manipulate top of draw deck
  • Empower - Play allies of another class to gain access to that class's abilities
  • Enrage - Gives allies bonus attack and ferocity
  • Eternal - Abilities grow in power as the game goes on and shuffle themselves back into the deck each time they are played so one card can be used multiple times in a single game

And last but not least is Murloc Swarm. A card with Murloc Swarm gives itself and all other Murlocs +1/+1. So while not necessarily a huge threat in and by itself, get a swarm of these creatures together and the kiddie gloves come off. Expect the new expansion to be available early October.

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July 12, 2011

The Hunt for Gollum Ships This Week


The Hunt for Gollum, the highly anticipated first content pack to the living card game, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, is set to be shipped off to retailers this week. Expect the first adventure pack to become available July 22nd. From the Fantasy Flight press release -

The Hunt for Gollum sets heroes on their way into the Shadows of Mirkwood, the first series of Adventure Packs. Gandalf requests the assistance of heroes to search for the elusive creature known as Gollum. The search begins in the Anduin Valley between Mirkwood Forest and the Misty Mountains. The Hunt for Gollum relates the first of six chapters in a sweeping narrative arc.

To complete the Adventure Pack's new Quest, heroes must find clues to put them on Gollum's trail. It is not an easy task, though, as the search leads your heroes to dangerous new locations where they will engage powerful enemies. Your heroes also run the risk of finding false clues, and if they follow bad leads, they may tire as the threat grows and lose Gollum's trail entirely.

At The Hunt for Gollum

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July 9, 2011

Tasty Minstrel Games Expands to iPad with Brain Freeze


Tasty Minstrel Games has expanded into the digital realm with their first ever iPad release called Brain Freeze. Brain Freeze is a 2-player pattern matching game that requires recognition, speed, and bluffing in order to come away victorious. I like the fact that publishers are working their way to the mobile digital realm which allows us to play and enjoy titles wherever we may go. The great thing about Brain Freeze, it's free! No joke. If you have an iPad and you are looking for some more games to play around with, go get this one, it's a risk free investment. Now if they just released it for the Android as well, darn iPads are so expensive.

At Brain Freeze

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July 7, 2011

FFG's Dust Tactics Mini Painting Contest Winners


We don't normally post specifically about miniatures here at Critical Gamers but that doesn't mean we don't like or appreciate them. Quite the contrary to be exact. It's hard not to point out well designed and manufactured miniatures that are included with titles that are published or call out low quality pieces as well. In addition, miniatures, in their raw form, can add a significant mechanic and/or experience to a game. What adds even greater depth to the gameplay experience of a title that uses miniatures is to turn those raw forms into colorful, realistic (as much as possible) portrayals out of those game elements.

This art form has been around for a while and has a significant community following and many artists have refined their ability to a significant degree. It is contests like the one that Fantasy Flight Games recently had for Dust Tactics that really helps expose some of the best in the community. And even I, with such little artistic ability/eye, couldn't help but want to share what they have produced after seeing the results. So without further ado, the winners from the contest -

ArrowContinue reading: "FFG's Dust Tactics Mini Painting Contest Winners"

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July 6, 2011

Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror Expansion Now Available in Stores


Arkham Horror is one of the most expanded upon titles with 13 expansions counting the investigator additions and revised addition to Curse of the Dark Pharaoh. Today marks the release of the 14th expansion, Miskatonic Horror. Miskatonic is not like the other expansions as it is essentially a supplement for all of the existing expansions. It contains nearly 450 new cards and several new sheets, including:

  • New Skill, Gate, and Mythos cards for the Arkham Horror base game

  • Additional Exhibit Item cards for Curse of the Dark Pharaoh

  • New Injury, Madness, Dunwich Location, and Dunwich Horror cards for Dunwich Horror, as well as an all new Dunwich Horror Herald sheet

  • More Blight and Act cards for The King in Yellow

  • New Kingsport Location, Epic Battle, Blessings of Noden, and Visions of Hypnos cards for Kingsport Horror

  • Over 20 new Cult Encounter cards for The Black Goat of the Woods

  • New Innsmouth Location and Innsmouth Look cards for Innsmouth Horror

  • Additional Relationship cards and Reckoning cards for Lurker at the Threshold

  • Plus new Player Reference sheets and a new Institution variant!

I am not sure that I agree with the way that Fantasy Flight Games has set this up. I do agree that they should expand the game without adding new areas and increasing the size of the board as they have previously; however, is it really fair to charge a player full price for a title that they can only get the full value out of if they own all of the prior expansions? Price per content value tells me that only the most hardcore Arkham Horror players will purchase this at full retail price. I am going to wait until I can get a used copy or it drops in price.

At Miskatonic Horror

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July 5, 2011

Memoir '44 Online Now Available as a Free Download


Days of Wonder has finally released their online version of Memoir '44 as a free download from their website. The game uses a pay-to-play model where users spend purchasable Gold Ingots to play matches against opponents. Days of Wonder does generously give players 50 Gold Ingots to start out with for free, which will account for "hours and hours of free play". The online game is very similar to the board game as it uses elements like cards, dice, and plastic models but expanding upon for online play and matchmaking. Also included is a ranking system that players can progress through and can be changed from an American ranking system to British, Russian, French, German, Japanese or Italian. In addition is a pretty extensive Achievements system that is posted on the site. If you have ever wanted to play Memoir '44, enjoy the board game and are looking for additional ways to play or more players to play with, or love wargaming in general, I highly suggest heading over to the Days of Wonder site and downloading the free client. See you online!

At Memoir '44 Online

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July 3, 2011

Z-Man Games Sold to Canadian Publisher Filosophia


I apologize for being late to the party on this one, I spent the last week on vacation with little and unreliable internet access, but I feel this is an important piece of news that must be shared. Late last week we received word that Z-Man Games, publisher of many hit titles and imports like Pandemic and Agricola, was purchased by the Canadian publisher Filosophia. From what we have heard, Zev Schlasinger (the 'Z' in Z-Man) will remain at the helm and the new entity will be a publishing conglomerate that will cover both Canada and the U.S. for shipping and help facilitate English/French translations. In addition, having a larger publishing region will allow for greater licensing rights so there is a good chance we will see more from the duo.

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CCG Newcomer Conquest Tactics Gets Release Date


Back in April, we gave our readers a first look at Conquest Tactics, the strategy CCG from Zeitgeyser LLC which can be read here - An Early Look at Conquest Tactics Collectible Card Game. We have received word that the game is now available for pre-order and will be available online and in stores on July 20th. Conquest Tactics looks to blend the depth of miniature based strategies with a CCG card game that uses a grid based movement system. They have also created an instructional video to help us become familiarized with the game concepts which is embedded below. We are looking forward to the opportunity to get our hands on Conquest Tactics and will try to get a review up in the near future.

Editor's Note - I just got word from Zeitgeyser that once normal sales begin the starter sets will contain 2 of 4 randomly selected promo cards; however, if you pre-order before July 20th, the starter sets will contain all 4 cards.

Pre-orders at Conquest Tactics Store

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July 2, 2011

June 2011 Monthly Round Up for Critical Gamers


Board Games

Card Games

Cheap Deals & Sales

Gaming Culture

Gaming News

Our Game Reviews


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July 1, 2011

Gryphon Games Launches Mirror, Mirror Kickstarter Page


Kickstarter is becoming so popular as a crowd-funding solution that even some of the smaller publishers are starting to use it to as a tool. Granted this is their third Kickstarter project, the fact that Gryphon Games continues to use it for their ideas speaks volumes about the success they have been seeing, it's a self-created P500 list for individual titles. Mirror, Mirror is their latest addition to their Kickstarter funding efforts and attempts to turn chess upside down, or should I say reversed. Players must intercept and find your opponents letter to the Princess so yours may reach her and win her heart and hand. There are three different courtiers: Knights, Ladies, and Masters. Knights move just like Knights in chess, Masters move like the King, and Ladies more like a checkers piece by jumping over an existing piece. Each of their pieces has a mirror on the back and players must maneuver accordingly to identify and intercept the letter.

At Mirror, Mirror

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