September 10, 2010

Small World Expansion "Be Not Afraid" Announced

SmallWorldBeNotAfraid.jpgThe award winning Small World board game from Days of Wonder was a smash hit last year. Not only was the original release a top notch 1v1 board game, but game quickly shipped some new expansions to make the game even deeper and interesting than before.

Now we're getting some new goodness. Be Not Afraid will include 5 new races, and a new storage case to organize all of the previous expansions. Here's the details:

There are many frightening inhabitants of Small World, but to survive you must Be Not Afraid...! This expansion for Small World includes a nasty lot of five new Races including Barbarians, Homunculi, Pixies, Pygmies, and greedy little Leprechauns. You'll also get five new Special Powers among which Catapult which allows you to leap over regions to conquer new lands.


  • 5 new Race banners and tokens (Barbarians, Homunculi, Leprechauns, Pixies & Pygmies)
  • 5 new Special Power badges (Barricade, Catapult, Corrupt, Imperial & Mercenary)
  • 1 spare Race Banner & 1 spare Special Power badge
  • A tray to store the tokens from all expansions released to date

Small World's Be Not Afraid expansion should ship to stores in October.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 3, 2010

Civilization 5 Shakey Cam Previews


Part 1
Part 2

Civilization 5 - the PC Game not the Board Game - is slated to ship to stores later this month. Now, if you're not already a Civlization fan then you're in for a treat... but the above movie is probably not for you. Instead checkout our previous story Civilization 5 Preview Debuts at E3 for a nice introduction about what to expect from a game int his venerable series.

So with the utter flop of the recently released turn based strategy game Elemental War of Magic, CIV 5 has become our bright shining hope for strategy games on the PC. Shoveled in behind the standard hype machine facade of any PC game releases is the fact that every installment of the Civilization franchise has soaked up at least a hundred hours of our time. Now throw in the potential for multiplayer (which Civ 4 had but we had horrible problems with it) and we have our strategy game fix for probably the next six months.

And This new Civ installment looks fantastic. Everyone makes note of the lack of unit stacking and the new hex setup that sprawls armies across the country side. That surely will add depth to the tactical aspects of the military game, but other aspects of the strategic game look amazing as well. You can now further customize your nation beyond the standard leader selection with the new Social Projects feature. These are elements that you can pursue that add even more traits to the various military, cultural and economic aspects that steer your civilization. Ever installment provides 'a new, dynamic diplomacy system' and for once Firaxis might have nailed it. Autonomous City States will be scattered throughout the world, each adding narrative elements to the map by requesting help from other civilizations, or via trade requests, etc. It's a sort of quest/reward system that compliments your nations epic journey and adds sideshow, short term goals to your overarching strategy.

Checkout the videos above for more information. They're shakeycam but they're so worth the muted sound and unstable bounciness. And if the graphics of the living world look this good here then they should be stunning when you're playing the game in full 1900x1200 detail in just a few weeks.

Enjoy the weekend!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 1, 2010

Critical Gamers' Board Game Roundup August 2010

AnAEurope1940.jpgAugust was an interesting month. It was a mix of upcoming and new releases. First up the game announcements which we're few but pretty big. Civilization the Board Game was released to the public for scrutiny. The title looks pretty complicated, lots of bits and dynamically randomized setup, but if it captures the feeling of the Civilization line of PC games then we're all aboard.

Also filed under major preview news is the new Dominion expansion Prosperity. This installment is a large format box of 20+ cards and turns the series' theme toward the bean counters of yesteryear. Cards will be focus on snowballing your personal wealth, which, of course, allows you to buy more and more powerful cards. It would be interesting to see how this balances with the traditional sets when random cards are selected across the full breadth of Dominion, especially since some of the Prosperity cards cost an arm and a leaper to purchase.

As for the releases? Oh boy. We've pined over the idea of shoving Axis & Allies Europe 1940 into Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 and then blacking out for a weekend-long WWII fest -- and now we can. Europe came out just over a week ago. Also hitting the shelves is a cooperative board game that's one part Pandemic and one part Fantasy. Shake vigorously and hold on because Defenders of the Realm is a swank title in a big box. Finally, after delays and misleading promises, the deck building game Thunderstone got its first expansion Wrath of the Elements. We'll put putting it through its paces on Tuesday. Can't wait.

Here are all the stories for September, in neat order:

Board Games

Card Games

Gaming News

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 30, 2010

Space Hulk Death Angel the Card Game Up and Coming

SpaceHulkDeathAngel.jpgCooperative games are all the rage these days. So are card games in a box. And now with the latest Space Hulk board game, and the release of Starcraft II, nothing says loving like a mechanized space marine pumping ravenous aliens full of lead until their primordial goo.

Space Hulk Death Angel looks to be a mix of all these things. The game supports 1-6 players in a difficult ballet of cooperation, and the threat assessment. Players will have to chose between either shooting down hordes of vicious aliens, supporting their allies or moving closer to the final exit of the game. Action cards for these options are selected and placed face down, and the resolved all at once. Choices made on one turn may not be selected for the immediate subsequent around, so choice wisely.

The actual baddies, the Genestealers, are controlled by a deck of cards instead of a player fulfilling the role of the antagonist. While this may make them slightly unguided in some facets, it also allows everyone to be on the same side. If the team loses then there isn't a gloating dork with Brain 1 sitting in the corner; you can only take the anger out on yourself. We like that.

Like the recently released Space Hulk board game the new Death Angel Card Game sounds amazingly simple to play, and from what we've heard, a damn hard experience to win. All this cooperation against the face of adversity is brought to you by designer Corey Konieczka who hammered out one of our favorite cooperative games ever: Batltestar Galactica. The theme, the mechanics, the ability to support up to 6 players, and all for 25 bucks makes this upcoming game shine bright solid gold on our radar. Too many other titles top out at 4 seats these days and for 60 bucks. It's an annoying trend we wish would cease immediately.

For more information about this upcoming release, check out the following FFG preview articles:

  1. Announcing Death Angel, a Space Hulk card game coming this summer
  2. A Look at Action Cards in Death Angel
  3. A Look at Genestealers and Movement in Death Angel
  4. A look at combat in Death Angel
  5. A look at locations and events in Death Angel
  6. A preview for Death Angel
  7. The rules for Space Hulk: Death Angel - The Card Game are now online!

And here's the official description:

"Players choose from six different combat teams, each consisting of two Space Marines with different abilities. Each player receives three Action cards for each of his combat teams. After all of the Space Marines have fallen into formation, prepare for the first wave of Genestealers!

Action resolution keeps all players involved while the overwhelming odds inspire them to work together to survive. The Action Resolution Phase consists of each player revealing and carrying out their chosen Action. The lowest number card goes first, which means Attacks are resolved after Supports. Support tokens enable Space Marines to reroll, so make sure to cover your fellow Blood Angels!

The Genestealer Attack Phase happens after all the Actions have been resolved, so hopefully you thinned out the swarms since you have to roll higher than the number of Genestealers in the swarm to successfully defend. Finally, an Event card is drawn to spawn more alien adversaries. Once all the Genestealers have emerged from the darkness, its time to move forward, drawing a new location card. And then it's back into the fight!"

We'll let you know as soon as this puppy starts appearing on shelves.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 26, 2010

Axis & Allies Europe 1940 Board Game Hits Shelves

AnAEurope1940.jpgSweet day in the morning. Axis & Allies Europe 1940 [Amazon, Funagain] is out. This is huge. We love the latest and greatest A&A; games. Sure some of the components have sucked it up (getting rid of money, really?) but the maps, the units, the sheer scope have only gotten bigger.

Now we're diving down to zoom in on the multinational European Front. Tanks, massive amounts of infantry, an African side show, strategic bombings, full on amphibious invasions, the works.

And of course the main event. You can ( and we immediately will ) combine last year's A&A; Pacific 1940 with the new Axis & Allies Europe 1940 to make the largest, most involved, and most intricate A&A; game yet. Even bigger that the Monolithic Behemoth that is the Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition. So if you missed out on that limited run release, then just scoff off a laugh and pickup these baddies.

For more information on A&A; Europe 1940, checkout our previous coverage:

Here's the official line

"With the invasion of the Low Countries and the allied evacuation from Dunkirk, the German army is poised to march on Paris. Axis & Allies Europe 1940, designed and developed by Larry Harris, builds on the success of the acclaimed A&A; Anniversary Edition. France appears for the first time in Axis & Allies and will represent a new playable ally! Italy will be included as a second Axis power along with Germany. The UK, USSR and the US find themselves vulnerable at this early and uncertain point of the war. Two new combat units that debuted in Axis & Allies Pacific 1940, Tactical Bombers and Mechanized Infantry, will also appear in this game.

Axis & Allies Europe 1940 features an oversized board that measures 35" wide by 32" high. With over 550 combat units, deluxe game components and local storage boxes, this game will raise the standard established by A&A; Anniversary Edition. All new rules for neutral nations, naval & air bases, and convoy disruption will add even more depth and historical accuracy to this giant game.

Finally, this deluxe theater-level game is designed to play together with Axis & Allies Pacific 1940. Together these two games will create the greatest Axis & Allies experience to date, with a combined board measuring 5' wide by 32" high and over a thousand sculptured combat units. Both games are designed to play alone or together to offer the 2-6 player global 1940 scenario, complete with weapons development, and national objectives."

Axis & Allies Europe 1940 is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 18, 2010

Cadwallon: City of Thieves Unveiled at Gencon

CityOfTheives.jpgWe love to backstab each other -- we grew up playing Diplomacy after all. So we got excited when we heard that Cadwallon: City of Thieves is cast as a tactical board game of thievery, dynamic quests, scenarios, backstabbing, and backstabbing (two daggers just to be sure). A game like this fits the dynamic of our group perfectly.

Players compete to haul in the most loot stolen throughout the city, and are given four thugs to scour the city scape. Monies could be collected by looting the houses of Cadwallon, by fulfilling random quests decreed by the local thieving guild, or by pouncing on your opponents who've done all the hard work for you. Players have a tastey amount of strategic choices in each game, being able to tackle the ultimate goal in numerous ways, while toying with the tactical execution of their four servants in the field. Action points are shared amongst your pawns, which can be spent on movement, picking locks, trashing doors, grabbing loot, etc.

Picking a successful strategy, implementing it at the tactical level, and avoiding your foes attempting to achieve their own goals while undermining yours .. sounds like the perfect game.

We'll let you know more about when this exciting game is slated to hit shelves. For more information check out the Cadwallon: City of Theives website.

Here are the 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

August 17, 2010

Gen Con Coverage from The Dice Tower

Tom Vasel just sent us a line that he's back from Gen Con and he has video coverage to prove it. While some of the coverage includes some knife juggling and uncomfortable cos play that, frankly, we'll never understand, most of the video is focused on the good stuff: upcoming board games from Fantasy Flight, Mayfair, Zman, and Rio Grande Games. Man, what a year for gaming.

We just had our own local Gen Con ourselves. Simply Coincidental. We wear our nerd on our sleeves so we simply called it Dork Fest Summer 2010. Great games, great beer, and more Funions than you can shake a stick at. We'll soon post our thoughts on the new games we played. Stay tuned.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 13, 2010

Dominon's Prosperity Expansion Reviewed at BGN

DominionProsperity.jpgNow that the small-ish Alchemy expansion is behind us it's time to move on to bigger things. The next expansion tot the venerable Deck Building Genre King Dominion has hit players' hands at Gen Con, and Board Game News has a full review.

While Dominion has always been about snowball your economic powers, Prosperity will shoot that up with 500cc of strontium 90. The set focuses specifically on turning a meek pittance into a Scrooge McDuck fortune, and it even ships with new money type: Platinum. This baby costs 9 and is worth 5, and you'll need them to buy some of the more expensive cards in the set. After all, what's the point of Prosperity if it doesn't lead you to bigger, better, and more costly things?

Check out the BGN review for more details. This one looks juicy.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 11, 2010

Axis & Allies Europe 1940 Previews

AnAEurope1940.jpgWe're only a few weeks away from the release of the landmark A&A; Europe 1940. Tick freakin' Tock.

We normally consider ourselves lucky folks, but it's our friends over at have gotten their lucky mitts on a review copy of the game. They're not sitting back and gloating, but instead releasing preview details of the game's components and rules.

The game looks stunning. Despite this we may never play A&A; Europe 1940 -- at least not as it's known. Instead we plan to ram A&A; Pacific 1940 into the boards of Europe 1940 and have a giant, world dominating slugfest (the game ships with rules on how to do this). All of the intricate details, specific units, and flavored rules of a theater level of A&A; game but on a global scale with the combined board size of a mulberry. That's pure A&A; bliss right there.

If you're looking to purchase A&A; Europe 1940 as a stand alone game, or combine it with your Pacific 1940 purchase from last year, then definitely checkout the following A&; previews:

  1. Out of the Box
  2. French and Italian units
  3. The RulesThe Global Rules

We'll let you know as soon as we see this puppy showing up in stores.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 9, 2010

Defenders of the Realm Cooperative Board Game Released

This title answers the question "What happens when you mix the cooperative board game Pandemic with a hero based fantasy themed adventure board game?" Pretty much right there you know that Eagle Games' new Defenders of the Realm [Amazon, Funagain] is something special.

Board to Death does a good job of breaking down the game in its review (above). If you want an even more in depth review, including a once in a lifetime (hopefully) board game seduction and birthing scene involving Dungeon Quest and Pandemic, then checkout the Board Games with Scott Video Review. Yikes. Best skip to 1:50 unless you're a true board game geek.

Now while Defenders of the Realm is easily compared with Pandemic, we should note that games take a lot longer to play. There's also more stuff going on, so the complexity lever is elbowed up a few clicks. If you're friends aren't into the fantasy setting, or slightly more complex games, then you might want to save yourself some money. However, if they're willing to give the game a chance then you've hit pay dirt.

Lets just put it this way : we won't be playing Pandemic again any time soon.

Here's the official details on Defenders of the Realm:

"Our Liege is in desperate hour! From what grievous cause have these accursed races arisen? Orcs, Dragons, Demons and the Dead make haste towards Monarch City. The King and Countryside of Monarch City are in need of valiant Heroes!"

Will you answer the King's call?

In the ancient Citadel of Monarch City, the King calls to arms the finest Heroes to defend against a Darkness that engulfs the land. You and your allies must embark on a journey to defend the countryside, repair the tainted lands, and defeat the four creature factions before one of them enters the City, and they approach from all sides -- fast populating Orcs! fierce Dragons! Undead that bring terror! And demons! -- all tainting the land in their wake. There are several paths to defeat, but only one path to victory, and only the most valiant Hero will be named King's Champion.

Defenders of the Realm is a cooperative fantasy board game in which 1-4 players take a role as one of the King's Champions (Choose from Cleric, Dwarf, Eagle Rider, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer and Wizard). You, as one of the King's Heroes make use of strategy, special abilities, cooperation, card play and a little luck in Defense of the Realm for a unique experience every adventure. But be forewarned! There is never time to rest. As each Enemy General is struck down in battle, the remaining dark forces only grow more difficult to vanquish and their march to Monarch City gets faster with each Hero victory!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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