July 13, 2010

Battles of Westeros Wargame System Hits Shelves

All of you Game of Thrones fans: it's time to get your dork on. Fantasy Flight Games has released the flagship installment of their new Song of Ice And Fire wargame System.

Based on the succesful BattleLore gaming system, Battles of Westeros [Amazon, Funagain] focuses on the battles and campaigns between House Stark and House Lannister from the G.R.R. Martin Book Series. The set includes armies from both factions, customizable game boards, a book of scenarios depicting battles from the novels, varying unit types, and characters from the series who lead their armies with their own custom strengths.

We've kept a close eye on this title, and we would put it in the moderate complexity for war games. The title incorporates some interesting things like command radius from your leaders, their ability to command various types of units, and faction-based unit statistics and abilities. Combat dice and all that lot seem pretty straight forward.

Being a FFG wargame, it's pretty obvious to say that it's more complicated than Days of Wonder's Memoir '44 and Westeros' sister franchise BattleLore, but less complicated than FFG's own Tide of Iron. That's a pretty nice sweet spot if you think about it.

For more information about the new system, checkout our previous coverage:

And here are Battles of Westeros' official details:

"Unfurl the banners of the Great Houses of Westeros! To secure power in the Seven Kingdoms and to ensure the survival of their lines, the Houses of Westeros each follow very different paths. Some forge strategic alliances, some create complex political intrigues, and still others use deceit and betrayal. But there is no more direct or lasting path to power than taking to the field of battle.

In Battles of Westeros, two players recreate the military conflicts set in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, taking part in battles directly from the books... or designing their own. In this epic board game of battlefield tactics, players control either House Stark, the wards of Winterfell who have called their hearty allies to defend their honor and lands, or House Lannister, an aggressive force funded by Casterly Rock's endless supply of gold."

We'll keep you posted of more details as the wargame system matures. While this first installment is all about Stark V Lannister, future installments should incorporate some of the other major houses of Westeros -- and there sure are lot of them.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 7, 2010

Carcassonne Sale on Tanga.com

CarcassonneBundle.jpgIt's been a while since Tanga has had a worthwhile sale! Well today they've hit a softt spot with us, right on the money, with the Carcassonne Board Game Bundle.

Repeat readers know that Carcassonne is one of our favorite titles, ever. It still remains in the forefront of our gaming play list.. especially since Carcassonne for the iPhone hit the Internets a few short weeks ago.

Now Tanga is bundling both the main set and the Traders & Builders Expansion. If you're new to board gaming and you're looking for a great neo-classic pickup for cheap, then look no further. This bundle also makes the perfect gift for families looking to get into board gaming (Ages 8+).

Here are the details:

"Carcassonne is a clever tile-laying game. The southern French city of Carcassonne is famous for its unique Roman and Medieval fortifications. The players develop the area around Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, in the cloisters, and in the fields. The skill of the players to develop the area will determine who is victorious.

Traders & Builders is the second major expansion to the original game of Carcassonne, containing 24 tiles with new features such as Bridges and Cities.

Some tiles also feature symbols for the goods Wine, Cloth and Wheat. Players collect one of these goods when the feature that has it on the tile is scored. Players with the most of each type of good gets bonus points at the end of the game. There are also two new wooden playing pieces in this expansion. The Builder is like a meeple in that it may be placed in a city or road as a kind of supervisor. A subsequent tile extension of the feature the Builder is in allows the player another tile placement. Farmers will also be able to place a new Pig pawn in a field for extra points at the end of the game.

Finally, Traders & Builders comes with a large cloth bag. Not only does this makes it easier to keep and handle the tiles, but it also removes the problem of having non-identical backsides.

The game is playable with or without the first expansion." - Tanga.com

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 2, 2010

Axis & Allies Europe 1940 Details Emerge (Finally)

AnAEurope1940.jpgWe've been waiting with bated breath about details of A&A; Europe 1940 ever since A&A; Pacific 1940 came out last year, and it's not because the Pacific edition blew us out of the water.

Pacific was a substantial release that incorporated a lot of the giant format design from the especially large A&A; Anniversary Edition (limited). The game sported a 35"x32" board that had a great, well balanced, detailed look at the pacific theater of WWII. Not quite as epic as the Anniversary, but just as much fun, and just as enthralling.

But the true qualities of A&A; Pacific 1940 had yet to shine. Buried in an interview with lead Axis & Allies designer Larry Holland were the promises of something more. The ability to combine A&A; Pacific 1940 with an upcoming A&A; Europe 1940.

Think of that prospect. Not only would you get all of the custom rules and intricate island hopping and fleet movement tactics of a Pacific Campaign, but we'd also get a future large format installment that involves the bloody eastern front, the blitz of England, the troop build up of USA, and the battle of the Atlantic.

And we'll be able to combine both boards to create the largest, most epic A&A; experience to date.

We're working on converting our basement to look like a Churchill's bunker right now, complete with a giant war desk, black rotary phone, and reaching canes. Bring on the A&A; Europe 1940!

is it August 27th yet?

Here are the full official details from the Game's Website.

"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 will feature 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.

Europe 1940 details:

  • Deluxe version of Axis & Allies Europe originally released in 1999
  • Stand alone game that can also combine with A&A; Pacific 1940
  • Two new combat units: tactical bombers and mechanized infantry.
  • New playable power: France.
  • Updated A&A; rules as debuted in Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition
  • Game board measures 35"w x 32"h. Designed to join with A&A; Pacific 1940 board.
  • Over 550 game pieces plus new models for tactical bombers & mechanized infantry.M
" -Wizards of the Coast

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 1, 2010

Critical Gamers' Board Game Roundup June 2010

CarcassoneIPhone.jpgThere has been a ton of news this month, but if we were to sum it up with one word it would be: Carcassonne for the iPhone. Sure that's not one word, but we don't care -- the game is something spectacular.

For one the game is highly polished. It oozes awesometown. Sure, it's still just Carcassonne at its essence. The key here is how its so accessible. We're able to play so many games online with friends at our own pace, anywhere, any time, or with randomly matched strangers in some competitive sit down ranked matches. It's so easily accessible that its become more than just playing, it's become like a study of Chess. Akin to what GamesByEmail did for Axis & Allies in letting us flush out the bad strategies, and hone the good ones into some slick moves.

Here's the rest of the True News

Board Games

Card Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming News

Party Games




Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 28, 2010

Risk: Factions Quick Look on Giant Bomb

We were traditionally computer gamers before we got sucked into the awesome world of board gaming, and so we keep our ear to the ground on the latest of computer and video games, too. This is especially true when computer games blend seamlessly with table top board games. Risk: Factions (Xbox Live Arcade) is looking to do just that. It sports the baseline fundamentals of Risk, but then adds layers onto it that way a computer game can easily do.

Features like controllable structures like barracks and cities that produce extra troops each turn. Or varying AI generals with different special powers. Hilariously tragic battle animations, involving robot armies, etc. There's also a short campaign that strings a series of different custom map challenges together, each map sporting themed mechanics and objectives.

For instance the quick look (above) includes footage of a short ranged controllable rocket barrage. If you can wrest enough control structures from your opponent then you direct direct attacks on your offensives, providing an extra die roll when attacking neighboring territories.

It's the little things like this that spice Risk up nicely without diluting the original core game. That's exactly what we look for in a computer game adaptation of board games, that and the multiplayer from the couch.

Risk: Factions is currently available on the Xbox 360 Arcade Marketplace. Enjoy!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 25, 2010

Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries Slated for Mass Market

TicketToRideNordicCountries.jpgOver the last few years Days of Wonder has released a few Ticket to Ride installments targeting certain markets. There is the top notch Ticket to Ride Marklin, which is set in Germany and it's probably our favorite Ticket to Ride installment to date. But there haven been even more finer focused games meant for fewer players, like Ticket to Ride Switzerland and Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries.

The problem with the later is that it was also meant for a targeted release in Scandinavia only. The title sold like hot cakes there and gamers from around the world wanted in on the action, so in 2008 Days of Wonder printed another running for world wide distribution. Ooops.. they didn't print enough, and many gamers were SOL.

Now Days of Wonder is righting a wrong -- they're printing another run of this 2-3 player Ticket to Ride installment, and it's slated in time for the fall gaming season. It almost could make a nice stocking stuffer considering its holiday theme.

Here are the game's official details:

"Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries takes you on a Nordic adventure through Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden as you travel to the great northern cities of Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki and Stockholm. Visit Norway's beautiful fjords and the magnificent mountain scenery on the Rauma Railway. Breathe in the salt air of the busy Swedish ports on the Baltic Sea. Ride through the Danish countryside where Vikings once walked. Hop-on the Finnish railway and travel across the Arctic Circle to the land of the Midnight Sun.

Players collect cards of various types of train cars that enable them to claim railway routes and pass through tunnels and onto ferries, as they connect cities throughout the Nordic Countries.

As with previous versions, the game remains elegant, can be learned in 5 minutes and provides hours of fun for families and experienced gamers alike.."

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 21, 2010

A First Look at Battles of Napoleon

Thumbnail image for BattlesOfNapoleon.pngBoard Game News has posted a great first-impression preview of the upcoming Battles of Napoleon. The article paints a pretty positive picture of the new historic war games system, and includes commentary on the turn order, rules, board pieces, and overall gameplay.

No Fantasy Flight strategy game is destined for gold medals. Sometimes their rules can be complicated for the sake of instilling a feeling of chaos (War of the Ring's fate dice). Or they layer systems onto other systems to breed deep levels of strategy, but only serves to muddle the gameplay (Warcraft Board Game, original). We've been hoping that Battles of Napoleon goes the Tide of Iron route which just simply nails it in beautifully. More complicated than your average board game wargame, but less mind numbing than your epic war simulation.

We'll keep you posted on when this new wargame system ships later this month. Until then checkout our previous coverage: Battles of Napoleon Series Announced by FFG and The Napoleonic Battles of the The Eagle and the Lion .

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 18, 2010

Days of Wonder iPad Give Away

Publisher Days of Wonder has promised a free iPad to anyone playing in the 20,000,000 game in their online board game system. This was announced a while ago, back when the counter was pretty far off from the end goal. But now the counter is getting really dang close. So start doing the tough work of playing excellent games to get you chance to what will probably become the first home-electronic board game platform!

If you haven't played on the Internets through Days of Wonder then you're really in for a treat. Dust off any of your Days of Wonder games in your closet and look for your online play code on the manual. Punch it at the Days of Wonder website and you've unlocked the ability to play that game online, anytime, with strangers and friends, for free.

And this is a stand up service. Days of Wonder has some great coders working for them. Anyone who has played on the online service, or has downloaded the Small World iPad App, will agree with us.

Good luck!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 16, 2010

Civilization 5 Preview Debuts at E3

It's Electronic Entertainment Expo again and that means all the news about this years releases for the PC gaming and console gaming market are hitting the newsstands right now. And as part of the show the game designing house Firaxis has released more details about the next installment in the Civilization series that's due out this fall.

Back in the early 90s Sid Meier's brought a turn based board game that put you control of a budding civilization that emerged out of the prehistoric age. Through your strategic planning of economies, population growth, scientific research and militaristic conquest, you could guide your civilization from the early age of horse back riding and writing to the space age. Every game was truly epic and engrossing, creating this well-known "just one more turn" addiction.

This upcoming 5th installment of the franchise streamlines the interface to allow players to focus much more on the tactical gameplay. Gone are the square spaces that dotted the land, and instead are the more wargame centric hex tiles, which should allow more free form and fluid movement. Also unit stacking is no longer allowed, so armies will need to take the field in carefully organized formations that guard each others backs, keeping those high priced catapults in the center of your army.

We'll have more news about all of the upcoming features of Civilization 5 before the release in September. For now just sit back and enjoy this sweet little Civ 5 Featurette.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 10, 2010

Carcassonne Makes it to the iPhone, iPad to Follow

Game.jpgWe heard earlier this week that our favorite modern classic Carcassonne [Amazon, Funagain]" had finally made its way to the iPhone/iPod Touch. We held off pushing the story to the web so we could put it through our paces and decided to either endorse it or pan it.

Well good news! The Coding Monkeys have made a heckuva port of Carcassonne. The game is smooth, clean, intuitive, and polished. It even has voice overs in the tutorials! How about them apples?

You can play in a special solitare mode, or against AI. You could even create a game with your friends over the Internets and the the server will give you push notifications when its your turn. How cool is that?

Other features include online ranking, 8 different AIs to play against, and the promise of new expansions moving forward. Not bad for 5 bucks.

Finally something else worth noting: The Coding Monkeys are working on an iPad version of the game. If you order the iPhone/iPod Touch version now then you'll be able to download the iPad version for FREE later on. Now there's a nice consolation prize.

Carcassonne for the iPhone/iPod Touch
is available from the Apple App Store, and it's definitely worth your time if you or your family is into Carcassonne.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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