August 12, 2009

Ticket to Ride : Europa 1912 Announced


It's been a while since we've had any notable Ticket to Ride news. We were holding out for the next next big thing, but Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912 should be more than enough to tide us over.

This expansion is set to include a whopping 101 route cards to play with the original copy of Ticket to Ride Europe, and it'll ship with three different configurations: combine a subset of the new cards with the original route cards to spice up your original Ticket to Ride Europe; go all Tabula Rasa and ditch those old routes and use the whole new collection or routes; or combine both full sets to get a library of route cards so large that'll make your head spin.

This is fantastic in our eyes because the weakest element of Ticket to Ride Europe was the routes (which is why Ticket to Ride Marklin remains our favorite of the franchise). The 1910 expansion for the original Ticket to Ride also did wonders to rebalance and open the board, and we have high hopes Europa will do the same the old continent.

The expansion includes some new interesting mechanics, too. We'll let publisher Days of Wonder present them:

"This expansion also introduces Warehouses & Depots - new game rules and pieces that create an additional strategic layer and can be played with any of the Ticket to Ride maps. Wooden Train Depots are placed on cities selected by each player. Throughout the game, each player's Warehouse will accumulate Train cards and those who have the foresight, clever timing, or just plain good fortune to build a route to a Depot can make off with a fistful of Train cards. Depot placement and skillful Warehouse tactics become a key part of a winning Ticket to Ride strategy!"

Seems like quite the deal for 20 bucks. Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912 is scheduled for an October release. Pictures of the pieces and a further description of rules can be found on the game's official website.

We'll let you know as soon as it ships!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 10, 2009

Warhammer Invasion LCG Rules are Online

WarhammerInvasionBox1.jpgBoy howdy, that was fast. The rules to the Warhammer Invasion Living Card Game are already online. You can peruse the 24 page rulebook here.

The rules themselves are very clear, and well formatted, and aren't a dry read as some other leading CCG brands. The game actually looks very, very interesting, too. (for general information on Warhammer Invasion and Living Card Games, checkout our previous article "First Details" ).

Unlike other CCGs and TCGs where players protect a hero, players of Warhammer Invasion control and upgrade a home city. Different facets of the home city can be built-out, strenghting buildings and upgrading production capacity (by playing cards face down in the different zones), and these various facets help buff a player's war machine. The city is also the main target of your opponent; if 3 sections of your home city are razed, then you lose. End of story.

Players will play cards representing Units (allies and heroes), Actions (Abilities or Spells), Quests, and Support Cards (Enchantments, Artifacts and other ongoing goodness) to build out their war effort. At the end of a player's turn he/she declares a zone of an opponent's capital city to fight over. Any Units defending this area will enter into battle to protect the city, absorb damage, and deal hurt back to the attacker. And so the larger battle of two major cities unfolds over numerous turns.

The cards a player selects to build their deck is tied to a faction included in the base set, which encompass all the major parties of the Warhammer Fantasy setting: Empire, Choas, Dwarf, Orc, High Elf and Dark Elf. Most of these factions start with their own captial city setup, save for the two Elf factions who'll get their just deserts in an expansion later this year.

The first set's keywords are easily approachable:

  • Counterstrike: The Unit deals immediate unpreventable damage to an attacking character, then the counterstriking character enters battle normally.
  • Scout: A scout who survives a battle forces the opponent to discard a card.
  • Toughness: Prevents a set amount of damage during combat.

Seems simple enough, and playing off these combos could be interesting enough, too.

The initial Warhammer Invasion LCG base set is slated for a November release. We'll let you know if any interesting info hits the net before then. This will surely make a killer stocking stuffer come Christmas. For one the game has a great setting, seems approachable, and has the rule set to grow in complexity. And two: the game is a LCG, which has a lot less wallet impact that a Trading Card or Collectible Card game... oh baby, late 2009 is going to be nice.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 6, 2009

Wits & Wagers Expansion 1 Released

WitsAndWagersExpasnsion1.jpgThe first expansion to the sweet Trivia game Wits and Wagers h as been released. The expansion, named Wits & Wages Expansion 1 [Amazon, Funagain] adds some 700 questions to the game.

Trivia fans who haven't played Wits & Wagers should definitely check it out. The questions are hard, near impossible hard, and that's the point.

Relax though -- players aren't expected to get the answers right, but instead players guess or approximate the answers. For instance, "In what year did Ben Franklyn run his famous Kite Experiment". Players then write down answers, sort them chronologically and bet 'points' on which answer is closest to the actual answer. The true answer is revealed, and the player's bets are paid out based on odds.

Sounds complicated. It's not. It's actually a pretty sweet idea. The only drawback are the components, which are themed and get the job done, but they really are fairly low budget. Thankfully the gameplay itself is probably the best of all Trivia Games on store shelves.

And it just got bigger. A lot bigger; the expansion sports 700 new questions that we bet you won't know the answer to. And unlike the perennial edition of Trivial Pursuit, there's no way in Hades you'll ever remember all the the obscure answers all these obscure questions for the second playthrough. It's the gift that keeps giving!

Here are the details:

Wits & Wagers Expansion Pack 1 features 700 new and intriguing questions for Wits & Wagers, the most award-winning party game in history. This expansion gives Wits & Wagers fans more of what they love most -- pop culture, everyday life, animals & nature, and even the outrageously zany. In Wits & Wagers Expansion Pack 1, there's something for everyone!

So, how many licks does it really take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Get Wits & Wagers Expansion Pack 1 and find out!!!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 5, 2009

Axis & Allies Spring 1942 User Review and Images


Our friends over at Axis & have fished up the first user review of the upcoming Axis & Allies 1942 Edition due out in just a few weeks. You can read about it here, and don't forget to check out the slick shot of the board.

The reviewer gave this new A&A; baseline installment - the 25th Anniversary Edition of the A&A; franchise - high marks for Gameplay, Clarity of Rules and approachability for new players.

There are two major beefs, however. While the game's components sport the same sleek look and high quality of the awe inspiring A&A; 50th Anniversary Edition, the board is a tad too small to fit the pieces in and around Europe (hasn't that always been the case?), and Avalon Hill seems to have skimped out on some of the components, too. There's no more battle board (but a battle strip on the main board), there are hardly enough stackable white chips that come with the set (the ones that aid in keeping track of your soldiers) and there's no money included in this addition. *serious gasp* No Money?! We know things are tough, but that's a pretty sour thing to do Avalon Hill!

But you can just grab a stack of money from your own set, or use some Monopoly money from the basement.. that's fine. Or if you're really in bad shape you can do what the game suggests and drag out a pencil and some paper. Nontraditional but utilitarian.

The mere fact that this installment is a (cheaper) cousin of the out of print A&A; 50th Anniversary mixed with the older & also out of print A&A; Revised edition should make it quite the looker, and the gameplay should be much more involved than your father's A&A;.

If you happen to be that father.. then it's cool and no hard feelings. We are, too.

Well let you know as A&A; Spring 1942 ships to stores.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 4, 2009

Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus Previews Galore

PegasusBox.JPGWe now totally expect the Battlestar Galactica board game expansion Pegasus to be a box load of awesome. Why? Well because the original game was awesome, and after leaning more and more about the upcoming Pegasus release, it seemingly remains so. After three preview articles (the first of which can be found here), we've seen enough to blow our paranoid cylon accusing minds.

So we already know from before that the expansion contains new cylon types, a new type of dastardly skill card, and a cast of new characters. That's already a pretty good expansion right there, and it could be stand as a credible fresh air of new material just on its own.

The second preview article "Reckless Tactics" delves into the Pegasus and its' crew. The ship itself has four new spaces that have a great mix of powerful abilities that come with the arrival of the more powerful Battlestar Pegasus. The trade off for these more powerful ship controls are a slew of negative side effects which seem appropriate for the aggressive and overly militaristic Pegasus Crew. Things like, more powerful guns that may or may not also hit a civilian ship in the process. Or a new Brig like ability that jettisons players out of the airlock instead of just locking them up.

Yep, it's true - with the addition of Pegasus on the scene, it seems that you can now die in the Battlestar Galactica board game (well your character can anyway). Side effects of death seem include the discarding of your hand, and the potential loss of pulse. Upside: a substantial tax break.

ArrowContinue reading: "Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus Previews Galore"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 1, 2009

Critical Gamer's July 2009 Board Game Roundup

DominionIntrigue.jpgTraditionally July has been the lazy middle part of the year the slowly rolls into the August, the end of which is the leading edge of preview central -- you know that time when all the publishers scramble to educmacate we gamers on their upcoming Holiday releases.

But it seems that leading edge has bounced out of late August this year and now firmly rests lodged in the skull cap of July. Fantasy Flight in particular has started things early not only with their new game announcements, but a slew of in depth preview articles (in the true FFG way). On top of that, this month hosted substantial releases from two of our other favorite publishers. Board gaming hasn't been this good in a long time.

At the top of the release list was the Dominion expansion Dominion: Intrigue that hit shelves just a few weeks ago, and let us tell you that it's flat-out awesome. More top notch and well conceived cards means even more ways to play this already expansive 'collectible card game' in a box. And speaking of card games, Fields of Honor capped off the PvP themed series of World of Warcraft TCG cards with yet another great set of interesting allies abilities. The fraternity of Arena Allies that premiered with this latest series will be skulking through our decks in useful ways for years. Plus now we have our hands on the coveted Death Knight class and we can't wait to see what new avenues that brings up in both casual and Dungeon Raid play.

And last but even most substantial is the release of the Eberron Campaign Guide for D&D; 4th Edition. Finally, a year after the 4th edition's release, DMs get a huge injection of useful source materials to carve our their own adventures in probably the most popular D&D; setting.

Board game aficionados listening patiently should note that there are some great titles coming down the pipe in the next few months. Pandemic fans should have their hands full saving the planet from viral beasties when the On the Brink expansion hits stores this month. The new MiddleEarth Quest franchise is also slated for an August release. Further out: fans of the Battlestar Galactica board game (and that should be just about anyone with a pulse) are poised to feast on all the great things inside the Battlestar Galactica Pegus expansion. We'll have more information on this expansion shortly. And players of the BattleLore fantasy board game system are getting an epic upgrade with persistant heroes and their individual campains with the BattleLore Heroes expansion this fall.

Perhaps we're gushing at this point, but this fall is going to be sweet. Let's not forget that Warhammer is getting two treatments from Fantasy Flight Games, including a the new Invasion living card game, and a traditional board game Chaos in the Old World. The Axis and Allies franchise is about to set it's new standard for the next half decade with Axis & Allies Spring 1942 Edition, and last but not least we can't forget that Call of Duty is receiving a fast paced actiony card game that should ship sometime before the end of the year.

*gasp* That is a lot of AAA gaming right there. 2009 is half over, but it looks like the best is yet to come. Here are our stories for the last month.

Board Games

Card Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Gaming News



World of Warcraft TCG

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 29, 2009

Pandemic: On the Brink Rules Preview


Please Note: Pandemic On the Brink has been released!Click Here for Full Details

The cooperative board game Pandemic [Amazon, Funagain] was one of those clean and simple hit games from last year, putting players in control of a team of scientists trying to eradicate the world of numerous viral and bacterial outbreaks. The game sported simple rules, colorful components, and fast gameplay. Plus, cooperative board games have become all the rage lately.

Now it's only a few short weeks before the Pandemic's expansion On the Brink [Amazon, Funagain] hits shelves (August 2009), and as a nice treat the Pandemic rules are on the game's official preview page.

We had already written about some of the details of the new expansion back in April, including some of the card previews. But now we have all the rules to peruse. So what's new? First, the game allows five players to participate now instead of the old four. This rocks of course, since 4 players is a tad too small for most gaming groups.. like, say, ours. The game also sports 8 new Roles that players fulfill, each including special rules, or special actions that the player can use to contribute to his or her team's success.

But some of the coolest new aspects are in the expansions new game modes, which have been dubbed Challenges, that can be mixed and matched to make the game more difficult or interesting. The Virulent Strain Challenge takes one of the game's existing viruses and randomly makes it even more potent and difficult to control and cure. The Mutation Challenge adds a fifth (purple) disease that latches on to other diseases, spreading along with them.

The Bio-Terrorist challenge is the most unique. It sets a fifth player the role of a bioterrorist antagonist who's running around the planet infecting cities, destroying research facilities and just causing general havoc. The bioterrorist remains hidden from view from all the players (its controller keeps track of his/her position on a special map pad) and 'surfaces' whenever they're in the same city as the other players, which should keep things pretty interesting... so long as you don't play with a cheater!

While the original Pandemic is a fun romp, these new features should definitely bring the game to new heights without making things complicated. We're looking to getting our hands on it thi August. We'll let you know as soon as it starts shipping.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 27, 2009

Settlers of Catan Coming to iPhone

Catan4thEdCover.jpgA small blurb of an Annoucnment on has word that the Settlers of Catan will be heading to a front pocket near you, and sometime this Summer to boot. Now there has been a generic Catan Clone on the iPhone app store for some time, but this is the real license thing... hopefully with a bit more polish.

Of course that remains to be seen -- details on the official Catan port are pretty light:

"This summer the official version of the board game classic "The Settlers of Catan" will be released for Apple's iPhone. The game is being developed by Exozet Games in collaboration with Catan designer Klaus Teuber, and published by United Soft Media. More informations and screenshots will follow soon!"

Sadly, that's it. We'll keep you apprised of the concrete details once they're announced.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 23, 2009

Warhammer: Invasion LCG First Details

Some more information has been posted about the upcoming Warhammer: Invasion Living Card Game announced earlier this month. The preview article "The Invasion Is Coming" doesn't yet start breaking down the detailed rules, or card types, or anything that partciular and juicy, but sets the expectations of what this LCG product line will look like over its life time.

The game will ship with a core set that has decks for 4 different races on the side of Order (Dwarfs & Empire) and Destruction (Orcs & Chaos). The core set will include cards for both the High Elves and Dark Elves, too, but these guys won't receive a full showing until a later expansion down the road. The core set will also include all of the play materials for each of the four races, and enough materials for 2 players.

What sort of materials? Well the game isn't like Magic the Gathering or WoW TCG where players simply play allies and spells to beat the living snot out of each other. Instead this game combines those elements with elements of the old Lord of the Rings CCG, where players expand their kingdom, its economy, etc, all being tracked on a series custom of boards and pieces laid before each player. Here's some of the skinny on why the designers chose that path:


Although the goal of the game is quite clear and exactly what you'd expect (burn down your opponent's capital), I wanted players to have more to worry about than simply massing troops to kill each other. You need to defeat your opponent, but have to worry about managing your own kingdom while you're at it. If you don't have enough resources to build an army, you can't win. And if you can't have your units complete quests, you won't be able to draw enough cards to give you the options you need.

Of course you want to do all of these things, but therein lies the dilemma: which careful balance do you want to strike in order to defeat your opponent?"

So you have the base set of cars, that includes 4 different decks to play with. Then what? Well in the Living Card Game fashion, each month will see new, 'cheap' injection of cards that will update your collection, tell more of the overarching game's story, and add new mechanics to the game. Traditionally these packs sell for around 10 bucks, and deliberately include every single card so there's no wasted money pinata hunting for epic rares.

One last major thing of note: the game is designed around 2-Players for the start, and it won't ship with any multiplayer rules out of the box. This is a bit of a let down - our TCG nights always become cumbersome when an odd number of players show up to the table, and we'd love to see one of these new-fangled card games break that legacy problem. Instead they keep making the same mistake.

Still, the game looks very promising, and we're going to continue following the details as the emerge. Warhammer Invasion is slated for a release later this year.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 16, 2009

Carcassonne Coming to Nintendo DS in 2009


Word is circulating the Video Gaming Blogs (#1 | #2) that the classic tile laying Eurogame Carcasonne will soon be making it's way onto the Nintendo DS.

Like the Xbox Live version pictured above, Carcassonne DS will feature the original game along with the Rivers expansion. Featuers will also include 3 different 'worlds' - you got us what that means - as well as multiplayer and a story mode. This should push the feature set beyond the limited bounds of the the Xbox Live model, which is great. We hope the graphics are just as bright.

Carcassonne for the Ninendo DS should ship later this year -- we're thinking near The Holidays.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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