December 31, 2009

Twilight Struggle Deluxe Reinvigorates the Cold War

TwilightStruggle.jpgGMT Games has just released the new Twilight Struggle Deluxe [Amazon, Funagain]. The deluxe portion of this new edition doesn't pack too much of a punch : an updated board with better backing and some new cards. But this is a substantial release all the same.

That's because the award winning 2 player game from 2006 has been out of print and in high demand for years. Copies of the original were selling for $200+ bucks on Amazon... which is crazy for such a simple game with few materials. We suppose that's just a testament to how good this game really is.

Here are the title's official details:

In 1945, unlikely allies toppled Hitler's war machine, while humanity's most devastating weapons forced the Japanese Empire to its knees in a storm of fire. Where once there stood many great powers, there now stood only two -- the United States and the Soviet Union. The world had scant months to collectively sigh in relief before a new conflict threatened. Unlike the titanic struggles of the preceding decades, this conflict would be waged not primarily by soldiers and tanks, but by spies and politicians, scientists and intellectuals, artists and traitors. Twilight Struggle is a two-player game simulating the 45-year dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the USSR and the USA. The entire world is the stage on which these two titans fight. The game begins amidst the ruins of Europe as the two new superpowers scramble over the wreckage of WWII and ends in 1989, when only the United States remained standing. Twilight Struggle inherits its fundamental systems from the card-driven classics We the People and Hannibal. It is a quick-playing, low-complexity game in that same tradition. The game map is a world map of the period, whereon players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower.

Twilight Struggle's Event cards add detail and flavor to the game. They cover a vast array of historical happenings: the Arab-Israeli conflicts, Vietnam, the peace movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and other such incidents that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Subsystems capture the prestige-laden Space Race as well as nuclear tensions, with the possibility of game-ending nuclear war. Can you, as the U.S. President or Soviet Premier, lead your nation to victory? Play Twilight Struggle and find out."

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 22, 2009

World Without End Board Game Hit Shelves


Squeezing in as a release just before Christmas is probably one of the nicest treats to end the year. The World Without End [Amazon, Funagain] is a board game adaptation to the Ken Follet novel of the same name, and is a sequel to the amazing Pillars of the Earth board game (and novel).

Now in the original Pillars players worked to refined raw resources to construct various portions of the cathedral in the fictitious English town of Kingsbridge. Everyone was in direct competition to get their hands on the mines, smiths, and workshops, and to employ the best artisans on the board before their competitors snatched them up. In World Without End, players vie for prestige in the same town 200 years later, all while staving off their opponents progress, and avoiding outside determents like, say, the Plague. That jerky plague.

The good news is that this title doesn't seem to be a mindless sequel to the original. Instead there are great new turn mechanics, a sizeable random event deck, and interesting cooperative and competitive elements in every single turn. And that's on top of the resource management elements and area of control elements that were such a success in the first title.

For a better idea on what we're talking about, checkout this great user review on BGG. It sums everything up nicely.

Here are the game's official details:

"England in the early and middle 14th Century! Journey to Kingsbridge, England, where 200 years ago Prior Phillip oversaw the building of the cathedral renowned as "The Pillars of the Earth." Now farmers, wool dealers, and builders seek wealth and prestige amidst a rivalry between the priory and merchants. As the plague reaches town, nothing remains as it once was. World Without EndTM is based on Ken Follett's best-selling novel. Strive to navigate turbulent events, ensuring and balancing your food supply, income, and prestige. Piety and loyalty remain vital, for you must cater to the upper classes. And precious medical knowledge is your greatest weapon against the Black Death. So, gather your power and spirit and rise above your rivals into legend! World

Without End contains:

  • 1 game board
  • 30 gold markers
  • 100 cards (4 summary, 4 event, 48 action, 4 chapter)
  • 57 markers (20 medical, 11 plague, 12 piety, 14 loyalty, 1 favor)
  • 10 die-cut tiles (7 building project, 3 covering)
  • 41 wooden resource cubes (25 wood, 15 stone, 1 metal)
  • 37 wooden commodity pieces (10 grain, 15 wool, 12 cloth)
  • 16 wooden house pieces
  • 1 wooden start player piece
  • 4 wooden scoring tokens
  • 4 player screens
  • 1 tax die
  • game rules
  • bag

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 14, 2009

Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 Board Game is Now Shipping !

AA25Pacific.jpgIt's the ides of December, and that means only one thing: the new massive Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 version of our favorite wargaming franchise is shipping from stores. You can order your copy from Amazon and Funagain Games and still get it under the Christmas Tree if you act fast! We hate to sound like a board gaming infomercial but, well, there you go.

This is a substantial release. Pacific 1940 incorporates the new rules from last year's limited Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition. That edition sold so well that it's nigh impossible to get your hands on it unless you're willing to shell out 200 bucks.

So what does this game have over the recently released Axis & Allies Spring 1942 Well this puppy has a new large format board, new - and more importantly, interesting - rules surrounding the war in China, new units, the combat rules, new damage rules, the works. And everything is souring-high with top notch production values, too.

And most interesting is the Pacific theater of the game. Fleet and invasion combat is always fun, but now you're fighting over a huge version the Pacific. Guadalcanal is just a blip on the radar of an epic land, air and sea campaign ranging all the way from the USA, to Australia ( who plays a role in this title) on up to the Philippians, Burma, China, and rolling on into Japan. And lead designer Larry Harris has gone on the record that A&A; Pacific 1940 will work in conjunction with an upcoming European Theater Release next year.

Man, we can't wait to get those two in a room together. Seriously, talk about epic.

For more information about Axis & Allies Pacific 1940, please see our previous stories:

  1. Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 Details
  2. Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 Previews at
  3. Axis & Allies Campaign Setting Timeline

Here are the official details:

Axis & Allies celebrates 25 years of strategy war gaming with the release of this deluxe theater-level game in December 2009. Axis & Allies Pacific 1940, designed and developed by Larry Harris, utilizes the updated rules established in the A&A; Anniversary Edition.

Two new combat units debut in this game, Tactical Bombers and Mechanized Infantry. Australia and New Zealand, joined together as the ANZAC forces, debut as a new playable ally. China fields more forces than ever before, but will need all the help they can get from their allies the United States, ANZAC and the UK to withstand the might of Imperial Japan.Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 features an oversized board that measures 35 wide by 32 high. With over 450 pieces, deluxe game components and local storage boxes, this game raises the standard established by the A&A; Anniversary Edition.

All new rules for neutral nations, naval & air bases, kamikaze attacks and convoy disruption add even more depth and historical accuracy to this giant game.For 2 - 4 players.

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

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 8, 2009

"Board to Death" Board Game Video Review Site Launches looks like it means business. While it only just recently launched, they've already churned out numerous good board game reviews. Above is their review of our favorite game over the last year: Dominion. We haven't seen it so clearly and quickly explained anywhere. Also we love the driving music in a lot of the reviews, which makes some of the reviews pop.

On the downside some of the vocals in the earlier reviews seem a bit forced and over enunciated. You can tell the hosts are reading from a sheet while also trying to maintain a level of excitement. Slight bickering, for sure, but hey we are CriticalGamers. Over time the reviewers have really honed their skills, though, and the latest reviews are a lot better in this regard.

Nice work guys. Keep up the good work! We can see this being one of the go-to video review sites for board games as we roll into the next decade.

Other recent reviews of games that might interest you:

We'll keep you posted as more interesting video reviews emerge.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 5, 2009

Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 Previews at

AA25Pacific.jpgOur friends over at have started a drum up to this year's biggest A&A; release: Axis & Allies Pacific 1940. The first two articles are a series of images of the components of the game, including detailed images of the various factions' unit sculptures, the board, the rules, national setups, the works:

  1. A&A; Pacific 1940 Preview 1: Japan Units, Box, Rulebook, and Bits
  2. A&A; Pacific 1940 Preview 2: Units and Setup for USA, ANZAC, UK, and China

And they promise that there's more info to come as we approach Axis & Allies Pacific 1940's release on December 15th.

Just a quick lowdown on the game: this installment is essentially the spirited offspring Axis and Allies Anniversary Limited Edition drilled-down to the Pacific Theater only. It features rules and large format board just like it's predecessor, but will hopefully have a more extensive production run (last year's 50th Edition is selling for 170 bucks + these days).

Then next year, in an exciting move, Avalon Hill will release a second installment for the European theater. Nigh-official scuttlebut has it that this European edition will be compatible with this Pacific Edition, and combining the two will create the largest most epic A&A; experience to date.

For more information about A&A; Pacific 1940, please also see our previous story: Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 Details

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 30, 2009

A Huge Cyber Monday 2009 Board Game Sale at Amazon

Dominion.jpgAmazon is having a sweet sale today putting a lot of their board game stock down at discounted prices. Click here to enter the sale page.

Titles on sale include the flagships of board gaming, including the Settlers of Catan 4th Edition, Apples to Apples, and Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne and this year's biggest hit Dominion all at 25% off.

Both Battlestar Galactica and Puerto Rico are still some of the best games around, and they're at 50% off, as are some of the old school games like Monopoly, Yahtzee -- in case you want to impart some classic gaming on your kids or grand kids.

Be sure to checkout our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide for more gift ideas.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

Cyber Monday Board Game Sale at Funagain Games

CyberMonday3.jpgThe good folks at Funagain Games have posted their Holiday Buyer's guide (not to be confused with ours). You can check it out here.

Some of the games are on the older side, but they're still some of the best classics around. Games like Ticket to Ride, Puerto Rico, and Power Grid (which made our Holiday Guide, too).

But that's from their General Holiday Guide. They also have Holiday Guides for kids, family games, party games - the works. Just check the bottom of the page here.

Be sure to checkout our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide for more gift ideas.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

Cyber Monday 2009 Board Game Sale at FFG

LOTRConfrontation.jpgOne of the top notch board game and card game publishers is Fantasy Flight Games, and their Holiday Sale is already in full swing.

For board games they have Lord of the Rings expansion, Lord of the Rings Confrontation expansions, Cave Troll, and World or Warcraft board game expansions on sale. There's also a huge sale on A Game of Thrones Collectible Card Game, the Call a Cthulu CCG, and Mutant Chronicles Miniatures game.

There's a lot going on here!

Be sure to checkout our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide for more gift ideas.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 27, 2009

Critical Gamers' 2009 Holiday Gift Guide


Welcome to the one-stop index page for all of our Holiday Board Game Gift Ideas for 2009! There have been some tremendous games that were released this year. Some released created new genres of games, others lovingly refined old formulas. We'll break down these top releases and let you know the perfect present for your gaming friend or love one, all while avoiding the frenetic crowds and annoying cell phone vendors at your crazy local mega mall.

So lets kick things off with our favorite game of the last year, Dominion, which has two new expansions this year!

ArrowContinue reading: "Critical Gamers' 2009 Holiday Gift Guide"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 25, 2009

Cosmic Encounter to Expand with Cosmic Incursion

CosmicEncounter.JPGThe release of Cosmic Encounter [Amazon, Funagain] under the Fantasy Flight Games line has been a great success. The components of this version are top notch, the game feels fresh, and FFG instills that distinct level of confidence that the future of rekindled classic is in good hands going forward.

And it seems that we won't have to wait too long for an update to the game 'cause the first expansion Cosmic Incursion was just announced.

The official preview articles have kicked off with "In Space No One Can Hear You Whine" which is a quick breakdown of what to expect in the expansion: 24 new alien races, a new game variant, and best of all, support for an additional player bringing the total number up to six.

Sweet day in a box. With a trend of 4 player games expanding only to 5, a clean six player game is so very much welcomed. It pushes Cosmic Encounter to be that catch-all game it deserves to be on a crowded game night.

We'll keep you posted on the details of this expansion as it gets closer to release.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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