June 7, 2010

A Preview of Battles of Westeros' Scenarios

BattlesOfWesterosBoxFA.jpgThe line of Battles of Westeros previews continues. This latest installment "A Clash of Swords" delves into what you should expect from the games various scenarios.

The article provides an example of the components and flavor of an early battle between the House of Stark and Lannister. And while the game will feature a long line of set pieces between these two Houses lifted straight from the Song of Ice and Fire series of novels, with new Houses to come in subsequent expansions, this base set will also ship with the framework to create random skirmish scenarios, too.

The selection and placement of a balanced series terrain tiles, victory conditions and commanders will be determined with the random draw of cards from the skirmish deck. Very interesting stuff.

Please see our previous coverage for more information about The Battles of Westeros:

We'll check back in with you once the title gets an official ship date. Until then here are the game's 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..."

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 1, 2010

Critical Gamers' Board Game Roundup May 2010

May was a a great month for news and releases. The was the continuing coverage of the upcoming Game of Thrones wargame Battles of Westeros. Talisman expanded again with even more dungeon exploration goodness. Dominion got it's first expansion in quite some time with the much anticipated Dominion Alchemy. Oh and Crytpozoic got their website into gear and started posting some great previews of the Wrathgate expansion.

But there was more than just that, including game reviews and board game announcements. Here's the full list:

Board Games

Card Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Gaming News

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 27, 2010

DowntimeTown Reviews Horus Heresy

As a companion piece to the review: publisher FFG just released a movie that details the backstory to their latest big box wargame Warhammer 40K: Horus Heresy [Amazon, Funagain]. While our previous coverage of the game has detailed the mechanics of the wargame, the FFG official 10 minute long featurette does a much better job of setting the stage for one of this year's biggest releases.

Back to the movie at the top: You just Gotta love DownTime Town's reviews. We sit around staring at the website test pattern waiting for another one to air. Welcome back! Oh, and ooo zaaa.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 25, 2010

Talisman: The Highland Expansion Released

TalismanTheHighland.JPGFFG has released another expansion to it's Talisman 4th Revised Edition dungeon romp adventure game. Talisman: The Highland [Amazon, Funagain] hits the rugged windswept mountaintops and can be enjoyed with a nice peaty scotch.

So what should you expect? "The Highland" adds on to the game board, introduces new characters, adds new end-game conditions, 100 new cards, new figures... in other words gobs of new content in highfalutin FFG style. Coupled it with the previous The Dungeon Expansion and you have yourself a nice rainy day gaming weekend.

Here's the official word:

Clouds enshroud the mountain's peak... Exhausted from the long ascent, you barely keep your grip as the stones beneath you give way and tumble perilously down the slope. But you still keep climbing... ...for the Highland beckons you!

Talisman: The Highland adds a new Region to the game for heroes to explore. A custom-fitted map board and over 100 new cards bring this mountainous realm vividly to life, while six brand-new characters, each represented with a superbly detailed plastic miniature, offer fantastic new playing experiences. Climb as high as you dare, and lay claim to the unimaginable wealth that awaits atop the tallest peak in the world of Talisman!

Also checkout this great Talisman: The Highland First Impressions from the BGG forums. Finally, FFG has also released a long line of preview articles. If you're looking to no more about the expansion before plopping down your cash, then look no further:

  1. Scale the Mountain's Peak Expansion's Announcement
  2. All That Glitters.. Characters
  3. Mistress of the Night Characters
  4. A Hearty Adventurer Characters
  5. Relics of the Eagle King Relics
  6. Sent From Above Characters
  7. A Map of the Summit Rules
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 24, 2010

A Slew of Board Game Commercials from Your Childhood

Remember when board games actually had marketing budgets large enough to hit the air waves? Mr Mouth, Bed Bugs, and Wrestling Superstars, all had mass media time slots.

And the blog urlesque has thrown together a list of 31 board game Commercials from ages past. It really has refreshed our memory of the olden days.

While there were a few gems here and there the rest of the product lines were quite sickening in retrospect. Remember the Musical jingles contracted by cheesy production houses done in between cutting tracks for crappy cartoon intros or public service announcement raps about plagiarism? See 1992's Crossfire, for instance. Remember the linear game play with tacked on gimmicks to hold kids short attention spans, like Playdoh bits that squished and died for your entertainment? It's amazing that board games made enough money to be on TV.

We also love how some lawyer thought it would be a good idea to remind us that the "Guess Who?" stickers don't actually talk. Holy litigation prevention. That commercial must have come out around the same time someone sued McDonald's 'cause their coffee was too hot. Still is too hot, BTW.

All of this giltz and glamor we're glad to have gone the way of the Dodo. Thank goodness for the Eurogame revolution to bring us out of that dark age of soulless board games production.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 21, 2010

Dominion Alchemy Expansion Hits Shelves

DominionAlchemy.jpgHappy day of days. The long awaited 2010 expansion to the best game in years (that is Dominion) has been sighted in stores and is now shipping from online retailers.

Dominion Alchemy [Amazon, Funagain] pushes us into the laboratories of mad scientists as they try to use common potions to plot and scheme the uses of transmutation to create bigger and better things. And after all, isn't that the whole theme of Dominion in the first place?

We should note that this is a half-sized expansion (larger ones to come later this year), and so it requires either Dominion or Dominion: Intrigue to play. But hey, if you don't already have one of those then you have a lot of great gaming to pickup (start with the original Dominion).

Here are the official details about Dominion Alchemy:

There are strange things going on in your basement laboratories. They keep calling up for more barrels of quicksilver, or bits of your hair. Well it's all in the name of progress. They're looking for a way to turn lead into gold, or at least into something better than lead. That lead had just been too good of a bargain to pass up; you didn't think, where will I put all this lead, what am I going to do with this lead anyway. Well that will all be sorted out. They're also looking for a universal solvent. If they manage that one, you will take whatever they use to hold it in and build a castle out of it. A castle that can't be dissolved! Now that's progress.

This is the 3rd addition to Dominion. It adds new Kingdom cards to Dominion. As it is an expansion, you will need Dominion, or Dominion: Intrigue to play the game.

Dominion: Alchemy is an expansion, and can't be played by itself; to play with it, you need Dominion, or a standalone expansion to Dominion (Dominion: Intrigue). Those provide the Basic cards you need to play (Treasure, Victory, and Curse cards), as well as the full rules for setup and gameplay. Dominion: Alchemy can also be combined with any other Dominion expansions you have.

Dominion Alchemy is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games. For more information please see our previous coverage: Dominion Alchemy Teasers, Dominion Alchemy Expansion is Nigh and Designer's Breakdown of Dominion Alchemy.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 19, 2010

Small World Tales and Legends Announced

SamllWorldTalesAndLegends.jpgDays of Wonder has announced another expansion to its award winning Small World [Amazon, Funagain] board game. Tales and Legends features a new deck of event cards to add a flavored twist to each turn, and was also spawned from the user homebrew contest that was sponsered last year, which was the catalyst for the game's three mini expansions last fall.

It seems that designer Philippe Keyaerts has also played a part in polishing up the expansion for a mass market release.

Here's a snippet from the press release:

"Days of Wonder announced Small World - Tales & Legends - an expansion to the award-winning board game in which players vie for conquest and control over a fantasy world that is simply too small to accommodate all the zany characters that inhabit it. This expansion introduces 54 large-format Event cards that can dramatically change the storyline of Small World. Each Tales & Legends Event card features a unique illustration that matches the light-hearted fantasy theme.

Event cards are organized into 6 different themes, each with its own unique flavor. The cards are also rated by their impact on the game: Little Lore cards have only a minor effect; Tall Tales have worldly consequences; and Lordly Legends are guaranteed to turn your Small World upside down!

Tales & Legends is easily integrated into the game play. At the start of each turn (except the first) a new event card is drawn and put into play. The next Upcoming Event is also visible, so players know what faces them on the next turn. Two blank cards have been included, enabling players to create their own Tales & Legends events."

Small World Tales & Legends is slated for release this July.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 14, 2010

The Dice Tower Releases Game of Year 2009 Nominees

DiceTowerGOTYNominees.gifThe Dice Tower today announced their Best Game of the Year 2009 nominees. Actually, that's a half truth; they've announced a veritable hit list of the best games of the last year in a ton of different categories.

But first the cream of the crop. The Dice Tower Nominees for Best Game of the Year 2009 are:

Our money is on Chaos in the Old World. That game is fan-freaking-tastic.

Anyway, The Dice Tower folks are serious gamers and we've trusted the opinions for years. Therefore if your shopping around for a new, high-quality game to pickup, then be sure to check out their full list of nominations. For a taste checkout their extensive list of categories:

  • Best Family Game
  • Best Game Designer
  • Best Game Reprint
  • Best Production Values
  • Best Small Publisher
  • Best Party Game
  • Best Game Expansion
  • Most Innovative Game
  • Best Game Artwork
  • Best War Games

Have a good weekend folks!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 13, 2010

Runewars Board Game Review on Board to Death

Board To Death has put together a very sweet review of the fantasy war and quest game Runewars [Amazon, Funagain].

We've written quite a bit about the title already so we won't talk you ear off today. Picture Twilight Imperium, set in a fantasy setting, and mixed with the adventuring aspects of Runebound, and you'll get the quick foundation of the elevator pitch. We'll let BoardToDeath.tv fill in the details.

Here's the game's official description:

"RuneWars is an epic board game of diplomacy, combat, and quests for two to four players. Designed by Corey Konieczka, RuneWars pits players against each other in a strategic game of battles and area control, where they must gather resources, raise armies, and lay siege to heavily fortified cities.

RuneWars includes over two hundred beautifully rendered cards and as many tokens, as well as nearly two hundred finely-detailed plastic miniatures, but perhaps most exciting are the modular hexagonal map pieces. Featuring stunning three-dimensional mountain terrain, these map pieces ensure that no two games are ever the same!

RuneWars takes place in the same popular fantasy universe as the best-selling board games Runebound and Descent: Journeys in the Dark, and dozens of fan-favorite heroes and monsters play their part. The wars for the dragon runes are beginning, and only one faction will emerge victorious. What would you do to claim the ultimate power?"

Runewars is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 11, 2010

Battles of Westeros Board Game Unit and Leader Previews

The previews for the upcoming Song of Ice and Fire war game system Battles of Westeros (Game of Thrones et al) continue to march on this month. If you missed the previous entries then also checkout Part One and Part Two.

First up is a look of the various troop types in the base set in "The Right Tool For The Job". As a reminder the first boxed set of the franchise focuses on the houses of Lannister and Stark, and both of those will have the standard complement of infantry, cavalry and ranged units. However, life isn't completely balanced. Aside from mixing and matching various scenario and map setups to keep things interesting on repeat plays, the two factions will have their own unique types of units, too. House Lannister, with their bountiful riches, will have heavy infantry. Fitted with some of the best armor money can buy these special troops will provide a stringy defense making them harder to hit. Meanwhile the Starks get Kennlmasters who release their ravenous attack dogs at range to harass enemy troops. These dog attacks can effectively shoot through friendly units (dogs running through friendly troop formations). However, these dog attacks are a bit more chaotic, and effective results may vary.

Second up is is a detailed look on how the various personalities from the books will effect the game. "The Lives of Many Lay in the Hands of a Few" runs down the different abilities and passive buffs these field commanders sport. The two examples given are the leaders of the two waring houses: Rob Stark and Jamie Lannister. Interestingly it seems that scenarios will involve numerous commanders, and each commander will also sport his or her own deck of 5 cards. Mixing and matching these cards during the battle is a gameplay element that FFG is currently focusing on.

We'll keep you apprised of more information about the Battles of Westeros in the coming weeks, including whenever a concrete release date is announced.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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