February 20, 2008

Lascaux - A Bidding War Over Ancient Cave Art

Lascaux [Funagain] is about a 30 minute contest that pits 2-5 players against one another as they bid on cave drawings of the ancient caves of Lascaux in southwestern France. Players earn points by building collections of cards that depict particular animal paintings as they were rendered by what are commonly dubbed humankind's first artists 10,000 year ago. Aside from the visuals on the cards, the game's theme doesn't go much deeper into the lives of the Lascaux cave dwellers.

The core of the gameplay comes from bidding smartly in each round and reading your opponent's motives. The game requires you to create your collection of cards, but starve you opponent of the ones they require. Now we've heard mixed-things about the game due to its thin façade of a theme, but in this dry-season Lascaux might hit just the right spot for a somewhat light family-friendly game.

The official details:

"In 1940 four teenagers discovered a complex of caves in southwest France, at Lascaux. The caves are famous for their paintings, consisting mainly of realistic images of large animals which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. They date back to the Upper Paleolithic era, somewhere between 13,000 and 15,000 B.C.

In Lascaux, the game, the players place a certain amount of cards in the center of the table at the start of each game turn. Each card depicts an animal and two colors. The players secretly choose one color and then place stones into the ceremony bowl. As more and more players drop out, some will win the animal cards at the end of each game round. At the end of the game each player receives points for animal "types" in which he has a majority. The winner is the player with most points."

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February 14, 2008

Immortal Eyes Games' demo team Wants You!

UncleSamWantsYou.jpgOur friends over at Winning Moves and Immortal Eyes Games are looking for a few good gamers to help demo their lineup of games. These "Immortals" will get a free copy of either Terra Nova or Conquest of Pangea, a demoing T-shirt and some gaming materials to spread the good word IG. Points are awarded for each demo, which can be scheduled for game clubs, recreation centers, classrooms, even your own game group.

And of course the points can be redeemed for complimentary games from any product in the Winning Moves / Immortal Eyes catalog.

If you're interested in learning more, then please contact Craig Brooks who will send even more nitty-gritty details. He also had these nice pleasantries to say:

"To help in getting the Immortal Eyes name and games more public, we¹re starting up a volunteer demo team called the Immortals. Immortals will receive a starter kit with a T-shirt, copy of a game (either Terra Nova or Conquest of Pangea), game aides, small posters, and an easel display. The hope is that Immortals will go to local stores, conventions, game days, etc. and demo and/or hold tournaments. In exchange, Winning Moves will compensate with points that can be turned in to receive any product in our catalog, T-shirts, and more.

Thank you very much and keep on gaming!"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 13, 2008

Tide of Iron WWII Board Game System Expands Big Time with Days of the Fox

TideOfIronDaysOfTheFoxPrototypeCover.jpgSweet day of days. The Expansion to Tide of Iron - our favorite wargame of 2007 - has shipped to stores. Days of the Fox [Funagain] includes gobs of new armor units, vehicles, and a new set of board tiles for the North African Campaign scenarios included within. The game also ships with a few Panther Tank pieces for future expansions and custom scenarios ( since the Panthers didn't quite make it to Africa

As you may recall in our prerelease coverage the game also ships with new Anti Tank guns, which could be quite the explosive joy to play with. The King of the Battlefield in the traditional Tide of Iron game was the machine gun nest which pinned down and mowed through infantry squads (especially lethal when combined with a mortar barrage). Now we have a new dynamic - Anti Tank weapons donning hillsides and covering open stretches of both the barren African terrain, and the green fields of France and Belgium in the original Tide of Iron set. Things are going to go big badda boom.

So many new possibilities and new scenarios of fantastic WWII action that it makes our heads spin.

DaysOfTheFoxBox.jpgHere are the official details:

"Across the Mediterranean lie the deserts and mountains of North Africa where soldiers of the British and German armies fight the greatest war in human history. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel leads a brilliant offensive against Commonwealth forces, far exceeding his orders and earning himself the nickname "The Desert Fox".

The Tide of Iron line expands with the addition of Days of the Fox. This first expansion for Tide of Iron features the introduction of the British army and the North African campaigns, including new terrain tiles, new rules, new units, and new scenarios.

  • Nine new geomorphic double-sided map boards.
  • The all-new British army, including new soldiers and vehicles.
  • New rules, new scenarios, and new units.

Tide of Iron Days of the Fox is now shipping from Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 11, 2008

Growing Hunger's Zombies Loom on the Horizon


The Last Night on Earth was one of those perfect surprises in box form. Released near Halloween the customizable Zombie board game was wonderfully produced, dripped theme, and delivered a perfect zombie movie experience - in board game form - at just the right time of year.

And it didn't stop there: the Last Night on Earth is one of the better board games to come out of 2007. Yes, the whole year. Not only did the scenarios and mechanics play off our the stories and horrifying scenes of the best zombie movies from childhood past, but every session unfolded in it's own entertaining story. Each time we pick-up the game it became a complete different zombie-braining experience, and we're still active playing it, and that's saying something.

We're hungry for more like a fire axe longs to be embedded into a zombiefied brain, and it looks like our thirst for braining will soon be fulfilled. The first Last Night on Earth expansion Growing Hunger is slated for a release in March. Here are some of the official details:

"As the living nightmare of the Zombie attack continues, the bitter struggle for survival grows increasingly deadly. Desperate for flesh, Zombies swarm over the town of Woodinvale, leaving a gruesome wake of death and destruction in their path. With nowhere to hide and a renewed determination, the remaining Heroes add more survivors to their ranks and find new weapons to fight back the growing hunger of the dead.

The Growing Hunger Expansion introduces new game mechanics and three exciting new Scenarios to challenge players as well as a two-player mini-game. Take control of four new Heroes, each with a highly-detailed plastic miniature as well as seven new Red Zombies for use as Plague Carriers, Grave Dead, or to increase the Zombie Horde. New modular game board sections expand the town and feature unique buildings such as the Supermarket, Library, and Antique Shop. New game cards give Zombies a chance to steal weapons from the Heroes and add powerful Double-Handed weapons to the Heroes' arsenal, such as Garden Shears and the Fence Post."

Last Night on Earth Growing Hunger is currently slated for a March release, and is now available to preorder from Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 8, 2008

Battlestar Galactica Board Game - First Details!


Two days in a row we've hard some great game announcements surrounding two of our favorite franchises. Yesterday it was Upper Deck's announcement of the upcoming World of Warcraft Minis game, and today we're treated to some great news from Fantasy Flight Games: the announcement of a Battlestar Galactica board game for the Fall of 2008.

There aren't many details in the the press release, but from the sounds of it the BS:G board game will contain some similar refined cooperative gameplay themes and elements from Days of Wonder's Shadows Over Camelot. In Battlestar players will work cooperatively to ensure that safety of the Colonial fleet, as it tries to survive both inner political turmoil and the physical destruction by the Cylon fleets hunting it down. And in true BS:G fashion, one of your friends is secretly a cylon agent trying to tear things apart from the inside out.

From the official press release:

""Battlestar Galactica's rich storylines and compelling characters provide the perfect playground for a totally immersive gaming experience," said Adam Stotsky, Executive Vice President of Global Brand Strategy and Market Development for the SCI FI Channel. Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game will be a semi-cooperative game, in which players work together to solve problems confronting the fleet, ranging from mechanical to political issues, all the while remaining vigilant for Cylon attacks. However, suspicion clouds the ship and its crew, as one or more players may indeed be a Cylon!

We'll definitely keep you posted on this one as further information is released. Looks like this fall is already shaping up to be one of the better fall gaming seasons in years.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 6, 2008

Risk: Black Ops Ties Up the Lose Ends of a Classic

RiskBlackOps.jpg Ah, yes, the classic game of world domination is getting a sweet facelift coming soon to a table near you. The goal over the overhaul: eradicate those Risk sessions that drone on for hours and hours as two armies march in a hypnotic waves of ebb and flow of continental conquest. In Risk: Black Ops players will be provided a common pool of goal cards dealt from to operations deck, like to take and hold one of the new Capital spaces littered throughout the map. Once a player has three goals the game ends. Yes, Risk now has dynamic goals and an end game. Heck yeah. From GamersWithJobs.com:
"Objectives are missions varying in difficulty, from Minor Objectives like "Control Europe" to Major Objectives like "Take Over Ten Territories in One Turn". There are twelve in all, although in a given game, you only play with eight randomly selected ones (four Major and four Minor). ... Each Objective also offers a randomly drawn Reward for its completion, which varies in value depending on the Objective's difficulty. Minor Rewards (for the Minor Objectives) bestow benefits like additional troop maneuvers or guaranteed cards, while Major Rewards (guess which ones those are for) offer juicy bonuses like an extra die for attack or defense."
Via Gamers With Jobs and Board Game News.
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February 4, 2008

Culdcept Saga - Board Game meets TCG for the Xbox 360

Due out later this week Culdcept Saga for the Xbox360 mixes a 400-card set Trading Card game with a turn-based board game with Monopoly undertones. We've been totally addicted to the demo on Xbox live all week since downloading the demo, and we can see how this game will make a great translation to the multiplayer. Not only is there a relatively deep gaming aspect, but the ability to ante and win cards online is.. well it's awesome really. The movie above is a developer walk-through of one of the levels that you should really take a gander it. Sure, it doesn't seem all that exciting to watch, but playing the game is quite the experience. If you're into casual games and TCGs, and have a bunch of friends on Xbox Live, Culdcept S. seems like just the gift to get us through that dry spot between Christmas and Spring.
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Cities and Knights of Catan

Wild barbarians, attracted by the wealth of Catan, sailed to attack the country. Fortunately, warning has given Catan time to meet the danger. The size of the barbarian army corresponds to the number of cities in Catan. Thus, for Catan to fend off the barbarian attack, the players must form a knight force as strong as the barbarian force. In addition to fending off the barbarians, players compete to build the 3 great metropolises of Catan. Each of these magnificent centers are worth 2 additional victory points. To build a metropolis, players must invest in city improvements. To acquire these improvements, players must acquire the 3 new types of Trade Cards: Coinage, Paper, and Cloth. These cards can only be gained by building a city next to mountain, forest, or pasture hexes.

At Cities and Knights of Catan

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February 1, 2008

An Official Blue Moon City Expansion for Free

BlueMoonCity.jpgFantasy Flight games has posted 4 expansion tiles for their popular and critically acclaimed fantasy themed city building board game Blue Moon City

The expansion was original published in the German board game magazine Spielbox, and is now available for free in PDF form on the Fantasy Flight Games website.  Players have to print out the graphics of the 4 additional tiles, cut them out and glue them to cardboard, which doesn't seem so bad considering this stuff is free.

The building tiles and their rules in the expansion are:

  1. Hospital - A player who finishes his/her turn on the hospital draws two additional cards.
  2. Assembly Hall -  A player who finishes their turn on the Assembly Hall may immediately jump to any other building tile but cannot execute any further actions or use special abilities there.

  3. Golden Shrine - A player who finishes their turn on the Golden Shrine may immediately make an offering of crystals to the obelisk in order to place one of their player markers on the obelisk.

  4. Theater - There are no special rules here, but the popcorn is especially delicious.

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January 2008 Roundup for Critical Gamers


We've finally made it through the holiday feasts of December, and we're starting to game at full speed again.  Thankfully we feel like we have a strong foundation of titles to work through after that line of great board game releases last Fall.  Coupled with the World of Warcraft TCG Raid Deck: Maghteridon's Lair this may have been the heaviest month of gaming we've had yet.

Oh and by the way, in regards to Mag's Lair: some people have had an easy time dispatching this four legged beastie from the depths of hell, and we've seen the complaints every which way in the WoW TCG forums about how the raid doesn't scale to challenge those groups with good card collections.  But we've taken matters into our own hands, and have crafted-up some Maghteridon's Lair house rules to even the playing field.

With these rules Magtheridon's Lair might be our favorite raid deck release to date - it's more lethal than the 1/1 Whelp-happy Onyxia's Lair, and has a stronger consistent theme as the epic grind of the 10 bosses of Molten Core.  And considering how well the March of the Leigon set release was, we're thinking the World of Warcraft TCG isn't some passing fancy.  This is a solid TCG series.

This month we're looking forward to getting our hands on the Tide of Iron expansion: Days of the Fox and fighting some intense tank battles through the expansive north African wilderness.  We're also looking forward to hearing more about the Heroes of Might and Magic Kingdoms massively online webgame, which definitely seems like the looker.  And it just so happens that our interest in Travian is starting to fade - you probably won't see it on our "What we're playing" list next month.  Speaking of which...

What We're Playing:

January's Board Game News:

January's TCG and RPG News:

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