October 15, 2009

Small World Wins Big Acclaim

SmallWorldRaces.jpgThe approachable yet surprisingly deep civilization growth and conquer game Small World [Amazon, Funagain] has won Games Magazaine's 2010 Game of the Year Award. They cited the title's approachability and replayablity as two major strengths. You can read their entire review of the game here.

This is the second nod to Small World this year, which also was a multiplayer game of the near nominee by the International Gamer Awards 2009.

For more information about this impressive game of the year - including the user-created expansions soon to be published by Days of Wonder - checkout our previous coverage:

  1. Small World coming this May from Days of Wonder
  2. Small World Board Game Previews
  3. Small World Board Game Released and Reviewed
  4. Small World Contest Spawns Three Mini Expansions
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 12, 2009

BattleLore Heroes Expansion Hits Shelves (Finally!)

battleloreheroes.jpgFans of the BattleLore franchise have been sitting in longer duration hold pattern for some new toys to play with for a while. There was a drought for Battlelore even before the change of hands from publisher Days of Wonder to Fantasy Flight Games last year, and there hasn't been a significant release for the franchise since then either. But now BattleLore Heroes [Amazon, Funagain] is here, and while the $40 MSRP might not be reflected in the raw materials you get (that is: there aren't that many), you can be sure that the expansion is a great first step to refresh the wargaming system

Just a quick recap on the state of things: The BattleLore wargame system is set during the Hundred Years War. Despite the gruesome historic context the game plays relatively light and is shares rules with the approachable Memoir '44 (WWII) and Commands and Colors (Ancient) dice war game systems. The idea was to create an accessible medieval war franchise, and then introduce packs of new units to further the 100 Year War time line and to - with an intriguing twist - dabble in some Fantasy characters, too. Giant spiders, some trolls and goblins, and a few dwarfs entered the mix, but honestly, not much more than that.

But now with BattleLore Heroes players can create persistent characters that not only wander the battlefield, leading their troops on or laying waste to enemy forces, but earn experience throughout multiple fights. More experience and treasure snowballs into new abilities and powers, and so players can further customize their units throughout their campaign.

Very interesting stuff that adds an epic narrative to a series of otherwise independent scenarios.

Here are the full details:

"This BattleLore expansion introduces player-created Leaders and Champions to augment your camp's forces in battles.

As with all journeys, the beginning is never easy. As a fledgling adventurer, you begin with a bare minimum of skills and artifacts to help you combat the enemy. Adventures have the potential to reward your intrepid Hero greatly if he performs well. But beware, battlefields are not without peril, and taking too many wounds may force your Hero into an unwanted early retirement.

Prepare yourself for the journey of a lifetime!

BattleLore: Heroes includes 10 unique Hero figures, a Rules booklet, 110 Skill, Artifact, and Landmark cards, and much more!"

For more information about BattleLore Heroes or the BattleLore Wargame system, checkout the games' official website.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 5, 2009

Le Havre wins International Gamer Award for 2009

LeHavre.jpgWhile we can't say that we were shocked that Le Havre [Funagain] got some accolades for the International Gamer Awards, first surpassing Battlestar Galactica for the best Multiplayer Game, we were a bit shocked that Le Havre beat out our recent favorite Dominion, too! So here's some respect to Le Havre and Lookout Games who have established themselves as a prime time gaming publisher.

Le Havre is set its namesake, the second largest port city of France, and centers around resource management and the manufacture and sale of goods. With that in mind, here's why the International Gamer Awards gave it the nod for 2009:

"In the Multi-Player category, the award goes to Le Havre, the creation of German designer Uwe Rosenberg and published by Lookout Games and Ystari Games. Set in the enchanting French port of Le Havre, the game challenges players to properly manage their harbor by securing goods, converting these into resources, purchasing buildings, and shipping goods to other ports for handsome profits. Le Havre is quite challenging, and the abundance of choices gives players wide latitude in pursuing their strategies. The game has earned the IGA in the General Strategy, Multi-Player category, and marks the second IGA for designer Rosenberg and Lookout Games, who captured the award last year with Agricola."

For more information about Le Havre, please see our previous coverage: Le Havre Board Game - A Destined Classic. And for more information about how Le Havre was selected, or details on the runners up for 2009, check out the official story Recipients Announced for 2009 International Gamers Awards - General Strategy Category.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 30, 2009

Critical Gamers' September 2009 Board Game Roundup

PandemicOnTheBrink.jpgGaming season is officially upon us (it's true! look it up) and as such this month can be summed up by three major title releases:

  1. Warhammer Chaos in the Old World
  2. Pandemic Outbreak
  3. Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus Expansion

Now if you're thinking to yourself "Jimminy Jillickers! Only three major things happened? What a crank shaft of a month!" then you'd be three slices o' cheese short of a proper egg sandwich (you need at least 5). Keep reaching for that rainbow.

Here are the other noteworthy stories from September:

Board Games

Cheap Deals & Sales

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Gaming News


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 28, 2009

2 Great Chaos in the Old World Movies For You


The Warhammer board game Chaos in the Old World [Amazon, Funagain] hit shelves a few weeks ago, and has been well-received and it's climbing the sales charts. The title sports a 8.0+ rating on BGG.com, and that's a serious statement. Fantasy Flight Games has a hit on their hands, once again.

We're really digging the game ourselves, which is why we thought we'd dig up some great videos for you to 'peruse' the game if you haven't already. First up is a full fledged feature preview trailer from the backlot of Fantasy Flight Games. These guys actually have their own filming studio, and it shows.

Now just a refresher, each player plays the role of one of the Chaos Gods in the Warhammer setting, vying for control of the world through conquering the map and beating the snot out of his three other opponents (2-4 players). Each god is also well-themed, and has their own alternative victory condition based on who their personality and M.O. The disease0ridden god could win the game by spreading their corruption across the world, another is the blood god who gains points for slaying enemy beasties, etc. So all players must be aware of their opponent's successes not only in the main game, but in each of their own side games as well -- and those orthogonal conditions are just what make this game sooo much fun, and highly replayable.

Now grab some popcorn, and with that in mind enjoy our first Featurette: "Chaos in the Old World: by Fantasy Flight Games." Roll that beautify game footage...

Sweet. But most things are directly from the bears mouth, no? That's why it's great to have a critical eye take a look at things for you. You know, from the outside.

And this next featurette is really Out There for sure. The folks over at DowntimeTown have put together a fantastic breakdown of the game's rules, components, and most importantly the title's gameplay. Don't be alarmed, it's pretty whacky, but if you can stay through it you'll see one of our favorite game reviews all year. Dim the lights, please, and roll it. DOWN IN FRONT. Freaking interns.

Ok, that does it. If these videos don't fit your fancy then maybe Chaos in the Old World isn't for you. And if that's true, then you'd better take two of these and check your pulse, you might just be dead.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 26, 2009

Pandemic: On the Brink Expansion Hits Shelves


The first expansion to the cooperative board game hit Pandemic has hit shelves, and it's a doozy. The Pandmic: On the Brink [Amazon, Funagain] expansion ups the potential number of participants up a notch from 4 to 5. That's a real nice feature, but the expansion s also chalk full of new rules and game modes that should bring the fun formula of Pandemic to a whole new level.

First off, there are expansion includes a whopping 8 new roles for players, like the Archivist who has a massive hand size and can pull city cards out of the discard pile, or the Troubleshooter who gets to peek at the top of the Infection Deck, and travel to any city has has the card for - for free. Perhaps most interesting is the Field Operative who sucks up samples of diseases off the board to decrease the number of cards he needs to discard to find a cure. It's win-win people. There's definitely some interesting stuff going on in these new roles, and the new massive total number of roles will certainly make each play-through a unique experience.

The game also has three new well-themed challenges that you can play with, either independently or simultaneously, to add an interesting twist to the experience, or just to make things generally more difficult. The new Virulent Strain challenge, Mutation Challenge, and the Bio-Terrorist Challenge (which pits one player against everyone else) are detailed in our previous coverage Pandemic: On the Brink Rules Preview so we won't dive into them here.

The quick-playing Pandemic was always on our shortlist of titles to play. On the Brink pushes it to the top of the stack. Not to spoil anything, but 'Brink will be near the top our Holiday Gift Guide, too.

Here are the official details:

"Pandemic: On the Brink is an expansion to our popular cooperative game, Pandemic, wherein players take on roles to work together to fnd cures to 4 diseases. This expansion to Pandemic includes new event cards, new role cards, rules for five players, and optional game challenges to increase the difficulty, such as the 'Legendary' difficulty level, the Virulent Strain challenge, the Mutation challenge, and the Bio-Terrorist challenge. These challenges can be mixed together to make the game even harder. .............. In this expansion you will find six new roles (plus 1 revised OpEx and a Bio-Terrorist), eight new special events, and several challenge kits to be added to the basic game play. Virulent Strain challenge: makes one disease become particularly deadly in unpredictable ways. Mutation Challenge: adds a fifth (purple) disease that behaves differently than the original four. Bio-Terrorist Challenge: pits one player against the others! You may also play with 5 players and play on Legendary level! Other components include: 12 purple disease cubes, 12 pawns in a smaller size, petri dishes to store your diseases and pawns, a bio-terrorist pad for that player to record his actions." -Z-Man Games
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 23, 2009

Ticket to Ride World Championships Announced


You think you're hot gaming stuff? Have you been playing Ticket to Ride [Amazon, Funagain] long enough to know your way from NYC to Dallas to LA like it was the back of your hobo hand? Well now you can put those skills to good use.

Publisher Days of Wonder has announced a new series of local Ticket to Ride tournaments in a city near you. Head over there for some fun, and if you win some matches you might find yourself on a flight to Paris. If that's not a prize enough (trust us, it is) then if you win in Paris then you'll find yourself chugging through Europe on the luxurious Orient-Express. Boy howdy.

Full details can be found in the Contest's Official Website. Here are the interesting bits:

"2009 marks the 5th anniversary of the original release of Ticket to Ride. To celebrate, Days of Wonder is hosting a yearlong series of tournaments to determine the top players in the world and crown the first Ticket to Ride World Champion!

Now through early 2010, Regional tournaments will be held throughout the world to determine qualifiers to play in National Championship events in North America (both US and Canada), France, Germany, UK, Spain, Benelux countries and Poland. The National Champions will be invited to Paris in June of 2010 for the Ticket to Ride World Championship and a chance to win the Grand Prize - an unforgettable trip for two on the Orient-Express."

Good luck!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 16, 2009

Warhammer Chaos in the Old World Back In Stock (Hurry)

WarhammerChaosInTheOldWorld.jpgThe acclaimed Fantasy Flight Games board game release Warhammer Chaos in the Old World shipped to stores just over a week ago. Problem is - the game is sold out just about everywhere

Currently one of our orders at Amazon (which was out of stock) received an updated status that it won't ship until - get this - the end of October. What the blood clot? Meanwhile every store seems to be sold out of the title as well, except for Funagain Games which is uncharacteristically charging top dollar for the title. They must know their cache is the last stack standing.

Well not exactly. We just got word that Troll and Toad put up 10 copies for sale. We got one, and so did 2 others. There are now seven copies of the game available at the time of this article's printing, Mop 'em up while the moppings good.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 14, 2009

Small World Contest Spawns Three Mini Expansions


The family friendly and sightly quirky civilization board game Small World [Amazon, Funagain] is one of the more solid titles of the year. It's mix of maps, elegant empire building rules, and random racial elements all add up to be a fun yet strategically satisfying board game session of (small) world domination.

A few months ago the publisher Days of Wonder held a contest for the best user generated content the game's followers could produce. Now, only a short time later, the cream of the crop has been weighed, measured, and hand picked for release in the form of three mini expansions How cool is that?

Here are the details pulled from the official press release:

"The Grand and Secondary Prize entries will be released in 3 different Small World mini-expansions this year. The first two expansions will debut at Essen. The Grand Dames of Small World will feature the Priestesses, White Ladies, and Gypsies, along with Historian and Peace-loving Special Powers. Cursed! introduces the Kobolds and Goblin races along with 5 Special Powers: Cursed, Hordes of, Marauding, Ransacking, and Were-. Both of these Small World mini-expansions will be available for sale at Essen and shortly after in game stores around the world for the MSRP of $10/€8.

The Leaders of Small World is a special game play option that players can choose when picking a new Race/Special Action Combo. The Leaders expansion will be sent free of charge, as a thank you to all those who submitted an entry in the Small World Design Contest. Small World fans worldwide who did not enter the contest will also be able to get a copy exclusively from BoardGameGeek.com in November for a small shipping and handling fee."

Of course we'll keep you posted of any more details as they're released.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 9, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Pegasus Expansion has Shipped

PegasusBox.JPGThe much anticipated expansion to the Battlestar Galactica board game has hit store shelves! Battlestar Galactica Pegasus [Amazon, Funagain] includes gobs of new mechanics, such as sympathetic or antagonizing Cylon Leaders, a new Treachery Deck, new characters, a new Pegasus Board that adds new spaces, and even a New Caprica end game.

That list is extensive, and that's just glossing over stuff -- like the interesting nuance that while the new Pegasus abilities are brutal, they're also not very exacting. Like striking a nail with a sledge hammer, some would say. Sure, you might hit the target, but you might also break something else in the process, like a kitten, or a face.

For instance: you could all vote to jettison one of your crewmates out the rusty old airlock. If he's a cylon, then nice work. If he was a human, well he's dead...and morale suffers (the player with the deep space frozen eyeballs draws another character card, but is also severely crippled until his next turn).

For more information and all the prerelease nitty gritty info on the title, checkout our other stories:

Here is the official product information:

The Pegasus expansion adds two new supplemental game boards featuring the Battlestar Pegasus and the planet of New Caprica, seven new characters, a new Cylon Locations overlay, two plastic Basestars, as well as new Destination, Crisis, Loyalty, Quorum, Super Crisis, and Skill cards.

The new Pegasus board can be used by itself or together with the New Caprica board to create the game you desire -- use the Pegasus alone for the additional firepower she provides, or add the New Caprica board to simulate the rebellion on the human colony, bringing the game to an epic level. New rules introduce the ability to play as a new character type -- the Cylon Leader, with a new Treachery Skill card type.

How will the crews of the Galactica and the Pegasus mesh when they join each other on your game table? Will the Cylons be able to subjugate the human rebellion on New Caprica? Will an open Cylon Leader be able to vent the last remaining humans into space, giving the toasters control over the galaxy?


Battlestar Galactica board game is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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