July 20, 2011

White Goblin Games Announces Six Titles for Release During Spiel 2011


White Goblin Games has a significant lineup ready for release for Spiel '11 in Essen in October. From the official press release -

Rattus Africanus
First and foremost, there's a new Rattus expansion up for release! Rattus Africanus will mark the introduction of a caravan, as well as diplomats. This will add more strategic possibilities to the game and with the introduction of region cards, players will have more control on possible outbreaks of the Black Death. Rattus Africanus will make playing Rattus feel like a completely new experience! Besides that, this expansion also makes it possible to play the game with 5 and 6 players. Rattus, the basic game by Ase & Henrik Berg, has been a big hit internationally so far and by adding a whole new playing experience to the Rattus-family, the success of this game will become even bigger.

Lost Temple
Secondly, there's Lost Temple. In this game by Bruno Faidutti, 2 to 8 players are explorers looking for a mysterious lost temple. To find it, they must cross the jungle of southeast Asia and get help from the indigenous people. The first player to reach the temple on the last space of the track wins the game. The game uses a character selection rule similar to Bruno Faidutti's Citadels, and the game includes nine different characters: Shaman, Thief, Seer, Priest, Elder, Craftsman, Scout, Canoe and Child. Can you outwit your opponents and claim the discovery of the Lost Temple? This game will definitely attract all the fans of Citadels.

And then there's Revolver. This is a non-collectable card game for 2 players by Mark Chaplin and the game is set in the Old West. Consisting of two balanced 62 card decks, the game pits two players against each other in a life or death struggle. One player takes the role of Colonel Ned McReady and his lawmen, and his opponent assumes control of the notorious and deadly Colty gang. At their disposal, the Colty gang - the meanest bunch of low down dirty dogs in the West - have a roster of weaponry to bring down the lawmen on their tail: .38 Specials, .45 Long Colts, 1866 double barrel Derringers, and even a Gatling gun! The Colonel player's objective is to eliminate all the gang members before they can escape across the Mexican border. The game has an asymmetrical design, with both decks featuring different cards and abilities. Primarily a combat-driven card game, each player must manage his deck of cards effectively to win. Revolver is played using a 5-column system, representing consecutive gunfights in the following battlegrounds: The Bank at Repentance Springs, Whiskey Canyon, Buzzard Point, Rattlesnake Creek, and the 3:15 Express from Rattlesnake Station. Gameplay is quick. Numerous tricky decisions must be made throughout.

Panic Station
Earlier this year, White Goblin Games released the crazy squirrel game Get Nuts by designers Tom Luyckx and David Ausloos. Also from Ausloos is Panic Station, a partly cooperative game for 4 to 6 players of growing paranoia in which no one can truly trust anyone. As a member of the Extermination Corps, you as well as your android are sent out by the government to investigate the presence of fiendish alien life forms in a base. Players need to move both their Androids and Troopers through this base, exploring and gathering equipment that will help them to complete their mission: to find and destroy the Parasite Hive hidden somewhere in the inner depths of this hell. When a player manages to get his Trooper into the Hive location and play three gas can cards to fuel his Flamethrower, he wins the game for the humans. However, one of the players is a Host. He must keep this identity secret, infecting as many team members as possible to gain allies and prevent the humans from completing their mission. Only players who carefully watch the behaviour of team members and find a good balance between cooperation and paranoia will stand a chance against the infected players and roaming parasites. The game uses a unique exponential traitor-system and combines tactical play with a compelling psychological mind game amongst players. Can you maintain your sanity and destroy the source of this evil?

Singapore is a game by Peer Sylvester and in this game, the 3 to 4 players are rich merchants who are trading to develop a small outpost into a metropolis. Although the legal trade flourishes, the opium trade increases as well. In this game the players will have the opportunity to participate in these illegal, profitable activities. However, the risk of being caught increases as more illegal activities take place... In this game, you'll definitely experience the intense tension once you have opted for very profitable, but also illegal activities!

Dragon's Gold
Last but not least, there's a re-release of Bruno Faidutti's 'Dragon's Gold'. In this highly interactive game, you have to beat the dragons and seize the treasures. Each player plays with a team of heroes intent on only one goal: collecting lots of magical objects and treasures. Beating a dragon is quite simple. But then comes the real challenge: reaching an agreement on the distribution of the loot. This negotiation mechanism makes this game really stand out from the rest: players have to come to an agreement under time pressure. If they don't agree, nobody gets anything! Besides new artwork, there's also a more strategic variant for players who don't like negotiating.

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July 16, 2011

Runewars Expansion Banners of War Announced


Fantasy Flight Games has announced that they will continue to support Runewars and in doing so have informed us of Banners of War, the latest expansion. Here is the official announcement from FFG -

War continues to ravage the continent of Terrinoth. The free cities change hands and tyrants bleed the land dry with a death toll that has not been seen since the great wars of ages past. Each nation knows it cannot slow the passage of time, or the armies of their enemies without help. Therefore, each nation has made pacts of allegiance with entities who, until now, have remained passive. The once dormant Great Wyrms flap their long dead wings on blackened skies, while the ancients of the forest march forward against battalions of Novice Wizards who can finally practice their arts in the open, under political jurisdiction. They will be needed if the Sisters of Blood, who now march out from their mysterious Convent of Blood are to be defeated.

Fantasy Flight Games is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of Banners of War, an expansion for Runewars! With over 50 new figures and hundreds of new cards and tokens, Banners of War builds on the strategy and diplomacy of the war for the dragon runes.

n Banners of War, players take fate into their own hands by adding new units to their armies, conscripting heroes to lead them, employing new tactics against their foes, and seeking out a legendary Lost City that promises untold treasure to the ruler who takes control of it. The way shall not be easy, however. It will take keen leadership and tactics to best the rival armies. They too are raising their banners to prepare the march, ready to meet your legions head on.

Mighty Rocs and ambitious Novice Wizards join the ranks of the Daqan Lords, while the Latari have formed a pact with ancient forest spirits, enlisting the aid of the mighty Leonx...and even the trees themselves. Meanwhile, the Uthuk sink ever deeper into corruption; covens of blood witches call upon ancient evils, including demons of gluttony with an insatiable appetite for suffering. And the lands of the Great Betrayer bear witness to further sacrilege: the Vampires of Bilehall have allied themselves with Waiqar, and the massive Great Wyrms, long-dead relics of the Dragon Wars, are rising again!

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July 6, 2011

Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror Expansion Now Available in Stores


Arkham Horror is one of the most expanded upon titles with 13 expansions counting the investigator additions and revised addition to Curse of the Dark Pharaoh. Today marks the release of the 14th expansion, Miskatonic Horror. Miskatonic is not like the other expansions as it is essentially a supplement for all of the existing expansions. It contains nearly 450 new cards and several new sheets, including:

  • New Skill, Gate, and Mythos cards for the Arkham Horror base game

  • Additional Exhibit Item cards for Curse of the Dark Pharaoh

  • New Injury, Madness, Dunwich Location, and Dunwich Horror cards for Dunwich Horror, as well as an all new Dunwich Horror Herald sheet

  • More Blight and Act cards for The King in Yellow

  • New Kingsport Location, Epic Battle, Blessings of Noden, and Visions of Hypnos cards for Kingsport Horror

  • Over 20 new Cult Encounter cards for The Black Goat of the Woods

  • New Innsmouth Location and Innsmouth Look cards for Innsmouth Horror

  • Additional Relationship cards and Reckoning cards for Lurker at the Threshold

  • Plus new Player Reference sheets and a new Institution variant!

I am not sure that I agree with the way that Fantasy Flight Games has set this up. I do agree that they should expand the game without adding new areas and increasing the size of the board as they have previously; however, is it really fair to charge a player full price for a title that they can only get the full value out of if they own all of the prior expansions? Price per content value tells me that only the most hardcore Arkham Horror players will purchase this at full retail price. I am going to wait until I can get a used copy or it drops in price.

At Miskatonic Horror

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July 5, 2011

Memoir '44 Online Now Available as a Free Download


Days of Wonder has finally released their online version of Memoir '44 as a free download from their website. The game uses a pay-to-play model where users spend purchasable Gold Ingots to play matches against opponents. Days of Wonder does generously give players 50 Gold Ingots to start out with for free, which will account for "hours and hours of free play". The online game is very similar to the board game as it uses elements like cards, dice, and plastic models but expanding upon for online play and matchmaking. Also included is a ranking system that players can progress through and can be changed from an American ranking system to British, Russian, French, German, Japanese or Italian. In addition is a pretty extensive Achievements system that is posted on the site. If you have ever wanted to play Memoir '44, enjoy the board game and are looking for additional ways to play or more players to play with, or love wargaming in general, I highly suggest heading over to the Days of Wonder site and downloading the free client. See you online!

At Memoir '44 Online

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July 1, 2011

Gryphon Games Launches Mirror, Mirror Kickstarter Page


Kickstarter is becoming so popular as a crowd-funding solution that even some of the smaller publishers are starting to use it to as a tool. Granted this is their third Kickstarter project, the fact that Gryphon Games continues to use it for their ideas speaks volumes about the success they have been seeing, it's a self-created P500 list for individual titles. Mirror, Mirror is their latest addition to their Kickstarter funding efforts and attempts to turn chess upside down, or should I say reversed. Players must intercept and find your opponents letter to the Princess so yours may reach her and win her heart and hand. There are three different courtiers: Knights, Ladies, and Masters. Knights move just like Knights in chess, Masters move like the King, and Ladies more like a checkers piece by jumping over an existing piece. Each of their pieces has a mirror on the back and players must maneuver accordingly to identify and intercept the letter.

At Mirror, Mirror

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June 30, 2011

The First Mansion of Madness Expansion Available


Fantasy Flight has released it's first expansion for Mansions of Madness called Seasons of the Witch. Seasons is not your typical expansion in that it uses FFG's Print on Demand system, not to be confused with Print and Play, where players purchase the expansion and then the order for print is entered. This helps FFG's overhead of having to produce a significant amount and hope they can sell through. The quality received is not going to be compromised and players should still see the quality we expect from FFG. The expansion contains the following:

  • Three double-sided reference sheets
  • Two Keeper Action cards
  • Five Event cards
  • Three Objective cards
  • 37 Clue and Exploration cards
  • 11 Lock and Obstacle cards

Here is the teaser text from the official product page -

A bright young Miskatonic University student has disappeared, having checked in to an infamous Arkham boarding house to study its reported supernatural properties. Now, as the celebration Walpurgis Eve approaches, you and your fellow investigators are tasked with venturing into the decaying Witch House and solving a mystery that has plagued Arkham for generations. But are you prepared to face the horrors that await you?

I am personally a big fan of Mansions of Madness (you can read my review here - Mansions of Madness - It's a Madhouse with a Few Squeaky Floorboards) and am looking forward to this expansion, if anything to produce more variety for the awesome fans who create user generated scenarios.

At Seasons of the Witch

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June 27, 2011

Next D&D; Board Game: The Legend of Drizzt


In the wake of the Conquest of Nerath release, details about the next Dungeons & Dragons are beginning to leak out. First we know it is going to be called The Legend of Drizzt and will be based around the adventures of Drizzt Do'Urden from R.A. Salvatore's best selling Forgotten Realms series. We also know that LoD will be compatible with both the Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon titles and should be available this October. What we don't know is what other heroes will be available beside the legendary drow ranger, but we have speculation based off hints -

  • Wulfgar - A human barbarian
  • Catti-Brie - A human who has been known as both being proficient with archery and spell casting in different books
  • Regis - A halfling rogue

Even without the hints of such prominent supporting heroes, having such a strong story behind the game will undoubtedly increase anticipation for release. If Wizards of the Coast can find ways to incorporate and engross players into the story while playing and keep with the solid mechanics that has made Ravenloft and Ashardalon successful, then I expect a runaway hit that will stand out from their existing lineup. We will just have to wait until October to find out.

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June 24, 2011

Victory Point Games Latest Offering Available


There is no question about it, the deck building genre is very hot right now, so it comes to no surprise that even Victory Point Games is trying to get in on the action. However, it should also come as no surprise that they are immediately trying to break the mold as VPG is known for taking risks and thinking outside the box. For the Crown is their third installment of the Casual Cards line, but the first in the deck building category. The difference is that they have mixed it with Chess-like gameplay. Victory will require planning, strategy, militaristic maneuvers, and tactics. Not only is it their most recent release, it's also $5 USD off right now.

At For the Crown

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June 22, 2011

Letters From Whitechapel - A Cat and Mouse Game of Jack the Ripper


Jack the Ripper. Everyone knows the name, everyone knows about what occurred during those tense nights in 1888 in the district of Whitechapel. Not everyone knows about the cat and mouse game that occurred between the Ripper and the police of Scotland Yard. This meta game is what At Letters From Whitechapel from Nexus Games is all about. One player plays Jack and secretly tries to move about Whitechapel while the other players control the police trying to trace Jack's movement, pinpoint his hideout and make an arrest before he makes it back. This game has a fairly mature theme so please take consideration when playing with a younger audience but it is listed as 14+ by Nexus Games. This 2-6 player title takes about 90 minutes to setup and play. Stay tuned to Critical Gamers for a full review on Letters From Whitechapel in near future.

At Letters From Whitechapel

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June 19, 2011

Review: City Square Off - If You Build It, Fun Will Come


City Square Off is a recent release from Gamewright that was showcased during the New York Toy Fair back in February. Designed by Ted Cheatham, City Square Off is a spacial recognition, tile placement, and puzzle game (ala Tetris) that puts 2 players against each other to plan and build their city in the most efficient manner possible. Each game takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes with very little setup required and is meant for ages 8+, however I think with a little guidance a 6 year old could grasp the concepts. Critical Gamers would like to extend a special thank you to Gamewright for providing the copy we used to review this game.

ArrowContinue reading: "Review: City Square Off - If You Build It, Fun Will Come"

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