November 12, 2010

November 13th 2010 is National Board Gaming Day

NationalBoardGame2010.JPGNow here's a movement that we could get behind. Tomorrow in libraries across the United States kids will be able to join together for gaming goodness in what we hope will be a reoccurring national day of gaming. We're not just talking one or two cities, but 1,800 different libraries across the country. How brilliant is this?

Here are some of the details:

"Libraries will offer a variety of activities throughout the day, including modern board games, traditional games (such as chess and checkers) and two national video game tournaments that will pit players at dozens of libraries against each other for bragging rights to the ultimate Rock Band and Super Smash Bros. Brawl crowns.

Through a generous donation from North Star Games, 1,500 of the participating libraries are receiving a free copy of the game Wits & Wagers Family, specifically for play during National Gaming Day."

You can easily check here for libraries near you. For more information check out the official announcement here.

This of course begs the question: why isn't there a library for games? Is your game night coming up ? Check out a game and bring it back the day after! We smell a franchise brewing.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 10, 2010

The Betrayal at House on the Hill finds its Rennisance

Click. The door to the neighborhood's creepy mansion has just locked behind you and your friends. It's up you to search the mansion for a way out.. or is it just to survive? Through the exploration of a modular board you and your fellow players will build the map of the mansion room by room, picking up useful items and discovering evil omens as you go. Everything is eerie but not too dangerous.. at least not until the haunting is revealed.

That's when the betrayer is revealed in The Betrayal at House on the HIll [Amazon, Funagain]. Depending on the omen card drawn, and the player who drew it, one player becomes the Traitor and one of fifty horrific scenarios will be unleashed. Yes, fifty. Hello replay value! Things like a giant blob that grows out of control, converting everyone it touches into a blob person, or a zombie attack, demonic sacrifice, the works! Defeating this ultimate evil is in the cards. Players must scramble through the mansion to search rooms and assemble the correct items to defeat the traitor and his army of evil, either through force or subtlety (depending on the scenario) before it's too late.

This game was a huge success (despite some major misprint problems) when it was released in 2004 but it's lately become short in supply. Now Avalon Hill has reprinted the game, released it with new high-quality materials and tweaked the gobs of scenarios. Despite its age this reprint is one of the forefront releases of the year. The game is just that good.

For more information about the game checkout Betrayal's BoardGameGeek page and the Component Breakdown Video from drakkenstrike (now in HD!)

Here are the official details:

"New spooky nights await you and your friends!

The creak of footsteps on the stairs, the smell of something foul and dead, the feel of something crawling down your back - this and more can be found in the exciting refresh of the Avalon Hill favorite Betrayal at House on the Hill. This fun and suspenseful game is a new experience almost every time you play - you and your friends explore "that creepy old place on the hill" until enough mystic misadventures happen that one of the players turns on all of the others! Hours of fun for all your friends and family.

Designed for 3-6 players aged 12 and up, this boardgame features multiple scenarios, a different lay-out with every game, and enough chills to freeze the heart of any horror fan."

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 4, 2010

Battlestar Galactica Exodus Expansion Announced

BattlestarGalacticaExodus.JPGThis one took us very much unawares. We had though that the Battlestar Galactica board game line of expansions was dead in the water. First of all, the show's been off the air for quite some time. Secondly the Pegasus Expansion was a bit... too much. It felt as though a fragile layer of complexity was quickly slathered onto every facet of already complicated game, and at the end of the day it didn't sit very well in our stomachs. Kind of like a chili dog milk shake. Two great things that look sweet on a shelf, but blending them together with a bunch of rotating blades and you're in for one nasty looking 3000 calorie meal.

So we're a bit wary of another BS:G expansion. It'll have to tuned to sing right out of the bat or we'll be tossing it aside for some other interesting cooperative board game with a slick dynamic. After all, they're nearly a dime a dozen these days.

So what's in Exodus aside for new cards for every deck? Well it looks like the space combat system has been given an overhaul. The Cylon fleet will no longer be completely dormant while the Galactica is sailing in clear skies. Instead they'll be cranking up the tension dial by amassing ships on a separate board, forming up to pounce all at once.

They'll have to do something to balance this new sudden armada of ships that'll jump (instead of the nigh trickle before) and that's where the new officer title comes into play. Along with the President and Admiral there will be a Combat Air Group (CAG) Officer to call the shots at the tactical level. We haven't been briefed on the full details, but it sounds like the CAG officer will have more control over the the unmanned ships in the Viper fleet once the crap hits the fan. Expect the space combat mechanics to be more on-stage in this new refined BS:G board game system.

Also of note are new hidden aggendas for even the loyal humans, who were pretty vanilla in the past. We don't have any of the specifics on what sort of hidden agendas everyone will have, but we do know that there's a penalty for these loyal humans when they're force to reveal their loyalty card to another player. That means humans and cylons alike will be shying away from the dreaded cylon detectors, which will only make it seem like everyone is a cylon! The paranoia will be mindbogglingly twisted. Best to stay sober for this one.

We'll keep you posted as more details emerge. Until then, checkout the official Battlestar Galactica: Exodus expansion announcement. Also, here are the official details:

"Humanity has escaped from the Cylons and renewed its quest for the the legendary planet Earth... but their former captors will never relent. For the human race to survive, the mighty Battlestar Galactica must protect the handful of ships carrying humanity on their journey through space.

And yet, even if the men and women who serve on Galactica can elude the Cylons, can they outrun their own flaws? When put to the test, will they be able to overcome their own painful secrets and stand together against their enemies? What if one of these individuals were to discover that his memories of a human life were a lie, and that he was instead one of the mysterious Final Five Cylon models?

The Exodus Expansion for Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game brings players to the next chapter of the popular Syfy series. In addition to more characters, Destination, Crisis, Super Crisis, Loyalty, Quorum, and Skill Cards, this expansion offers three exciting new options for play that may be used in any combination. Create the Battlestar Galactica experience you want!"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 2, 2010

Battle Cry Civil War Board Game Coming November 23

BattleCry.jpgThe original Battle Cry is one of those gems that everyone interested in tactical war gaming recommends you play but man! -- you can't find around anymore. Now here's your chance (and our chance) to get our collective hands on this International Gamers Award winner and grand daddy of the modern tactical war gaming.

The first Battle Cry hosted numerous American Civil War battles and was based on the popular and easy to learn Command & Colors battle system (BattleLore, Memoir '44, Battles of Westeros). The title was a tactical board game breakthrough when it arrived on the scene in 2000 due to its approachability and streamlined play. Now it's returning again with 30 scenarios - that's twice the number as before, new artwork an a few rule tweaks, all set for publication in late November 2010 from Wizards of the Coast (ex Avalon Hill).

We're a bit concerned about how Wizards will handle the components for this release, because they've been.. how do you say... cheap over the last few years. Still, this is going to be a must by for anyone who hasn't tried out Battle Cry and is looking for a good, solid, tactical level historic war board game that will stick out in the sea of fantasy releases over the last few years.

Here are the official details:

"From 1861 to 1865, the United States was at war with itself. The battles of the American Civil War have taken a place in the fabric of American history. And here is your chance to recreate 15 of those Civil War Battles.

Battle Cry elegantly and simply recreates the Civil War experience. The gameboard can be setup with woods, hills, houses, and other features to recreate the specific terrain of the battle. The game system involves using cards to issue orders to specific units on the board. Combat dice decide the outcome of an attack, modified for terrain, distance, and other factors. Whenever a unit is completely destroyed, the victor gets the flag from that unit. Collect six flags first and win the battle.There are also rules for campaign play. "

We'll let you know when Battle Cry starts appearing in stores in just a few more weeks.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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."

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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!
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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?

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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