March 28, 2007

Tide of Iron Delayed 'Till May 2007

TideofIronRules.JPGNot a happy bit of news, but it's news all the same. Fantasy Flight Games has decided to delay the release of Tide of Iron [Funagain], a big box WWII war game set in the Western Europe that we've been drolling over for almost a year! According to the official website, Fantasy Flight had encountered some difficulties from the initial run of the game: the boards warped easily. And instead of the PR nightmare of releasing a shabby war game system, they've elected to retool the factory machines to produce boards of higher stock. A good bit of news there, if you're an optimist.

So now the release of the game is set for early May, 2007. Patton would scowl and squat a brick on this delinquency, but he'd also probably slap a Warped, Spineless Board, too. 'Lack of quality is a lack of good, morale fiber!' /George C. Scott.

So.. we'll just have to sit quietly and be content with our WWII at Games By Email for now.

In the meantime feel free to peruse our previous coverage of Tide of Iron from the last few months:

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 27, 2007

Freeverse Launches Big Bang Board Games Beta

Big Bang Board GamesThe company Freeverse, who are responsible for numerous casual online and Play By Email games, has just launched their latest service: Big Bang Board Games. The software is only in Beta for now, but it’s free, and you can read more about joining it by checking out this post in the Freeverse Forums.

What’s so special about Big Bang Board Games? Glad you asked. The service integrates with iChat, iTunes, and iSight, which means you can easily play a game of chess to complement your normal everyday discussions with your friends. And because BBBG is a framework, look for more advanced titles to start making their way onto the service.

BBChess.jpgAnd that’s probably the biggest draw for us: the potential. Most people have a piece of software on their machines that’s a gateway to communicating with friends, and now comes a framework that we’ve wanted for years. BBBG is something that fits into the normal communication tools and allows you to play a few games of Chess, with people in your social circle without a huge front end. And who knows, soon we might be able to play a Risk variant , or maybe eventually stuff like Carcassonne, Axis and Allies, or Twilight Imperium ..? Heh, a game that complex is wishful thinking, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Here’s to the future!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 21, 2007

Four New Kids Titles from Blue Orange Games

Froggy BoogieWe love war games, we love strategy games, adventure games, party games (especially those that involve beer), and maybe an R rated movie or two. And though we cover Family Games, most titles have a complex set of rules requiring players to reach the wise old age of 8. Doogie Howser and Mitch Taylor, excluded.

But as our group continues to squirt out the little hooligans we're becoming a bit more sensitive to the fact that our board game coverage is leaving our titles for young kids. Of course we assume the little geniuses aren't reading our site, but parents are. And in a time of war, political scandals, and football's off-season roster movements, won't someone please think of the children!?

And this of course leads into four new kids titles that shipped this week from publisher Blue Orange Games. We don't have to tell you game-players that board games teach social respect, sharing, turn taking, planning, and math skills. Plus they're colorful, and fun to boot. Some even taste good.. better than paste and construction paper sandwiches, and spicy thumbtack surprise.

Here are four of their latest:


Bendomino Jr. [Amazon,Funagain]

Easy to learn, Bendominoes play just like regular dominoes. Watch a new pattern being created each time you play as pieces will curve and twirl around the table. The curved pieces can also block your opponents if they don't have the bendomino that fits. Bendominoes' original design creates a fun and twisting game that is entertaining for the entire family!

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Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 20, 2007

Now Shipping: "Axis & Allies Naval Minatures: War at Sea"

Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures: War at SeaWWII History Buffs listen up. It's 1940, the sea lanes aren't safe, and Eleanor Roosevelt just smashed a champagne bottle across your ugly bow. Abide the no wake signs, then hit the open ocean - it's time to take your battleship for a 28 knot tour and kick some butt.

Axis & Allies Miniatures just shipped "War at Sea", and now you can recreate some classic naval battles from WWII history. The set includes 64 painted ship types, including: destroyers, cruisers, battleships, and the newest king of the taskforce: aircraft carriers and their supporting cast of fighters and attack planes. All of the major WWII naval powerhouses are represented here, and even the Italians are given some love for their action in the Mediterranean. If that's not thorough then we don't know what is!

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Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 15, 2007

Alan R Moon's Four Years at Avalon Hill

Avalon Hill.JPGAlan R. Moon, the designer of some classic board game titles like the Ticket to Ride series, and the WWII strategy game Midway, has dropped off a bit of a historical treat in the Board Game Geek forums.

We've all had our slow starts, working for less money that we'd like to, sacrificing financial security for a more fulfilling work day. And although we don't want to throw words into Alan's mouth, it seems like he was paid peanuts at AH. The major driving force in his early days was his love of the genre.

And to ensure that he won't forget those good glory days from 20 years ago, he's created a list of the titles he helped shape during his stay at Avalon Hill. His narrative spans from the early weeding-out of classic titles from unsolicited fan submissions he found in a forgotten AH storage closet, to play testing other Avalon Hill titles in development. Like the classic Civilization, for instance, which has had a massive impact on the gaming community for decades.

Altogether Alan R. Moon has thrown together a great catalog of gaming history.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 13, 2007

BattleLore Epic Adventure Rules Released

BattleLore:  A Fantasy Combat SystemIf your group of friends is a ravenous bunch of BattleLore [Amazon,Funagain] hooligans, then you have some good days ahead of you. Days of Wonder has released the rules to BattleLore Epic Battles, where up to six players can combine their BattleLore sets to form a gigundo map and compete in battles of massive scale.

With football season over we've already set aside a Sunday afternoon to have a battle royal, with the losers buying beers, and wings, and nachos *drool* And as always, underage drinking is a no no -- kids should sip Juicy Juicy margaritas, no salt.

Here's the official word:

The Company Line: "The Epic BattleLore expansion offers experienced players the opportunity to conduct battles on a grand scale by combining multiple board maps into a single, over-sized battlefield.

Epic Adventures' larger format allows up to six players to join in and experience the fun of mass combat on a grand scale.

All you will need to play is this downloadable game supplement, a second board map and a few coins or markers (to serve as additional Lore tokens).

To download Epic BattleLore rules, you need to be a registered player of BattleLore."

If you're looking through your gamer stack and finding BattleLore missing, then you're in for a treat. Check out our previous coverage of the fantasy/historic wargame system by clicking here.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 12, 2007

Critical Gamer's Weekly Digest

A Letter From the EditorAttention K-Mart Shoppers!

We want to keep you up to date on the best gaming news and views from around the world. And to that end, we've been hard at work in the back room creating tools that'll make your reading experience more enjoyable and even easier than ever.

Our solution is the Critical Gamers Newsletter: a weekly email digest of the posts on Critical Gamers signed, sealed, and delivered directly to your email inbox every Monday morning. That way, you can keep up with every bit of gaming news you might have missed during your busy work week.

We promise not to bombard you with email or sell your name to evil marketers. We just want another way to communicate with you - our reader. So checkout the right sidebar and enter your email in the Mailing List section to join our weekly digest, simply click here.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 9, 2007

Now Shipping: "Settlers: The Fishermen of Catan Expansion"

Games Quarterly Magazine #12Gamers looking to update their ole Catan board with some new pieces won't find the latest and greatest sitting on a shelf at their local gaming store. Instead they might want to check the magazine rack. Games Quarterly Magazine has once again sandwiched an expansion to a classic board game between its front and back covers, this time adding Fish as a resource in the Settlers of Catan economy.

Fish are generated from new Fishing ground tiles, which replace a few of the empty sea spaces in the board setup phase. Players can spend their collected fish to toy around with some of the original title's game mechanics. Players can spend fish to push the robber back into the desert, or steal a random resource card from a player, or... wait, what?? Buy roads? (weird.) And of course the most powerful options require more fish!

The expansion has been out for a while - but in Europe - and this is one of the first fully english printings that you'll find on the market.

You can find out more about the Fishermen of Catan expansion at the game's page here at Board Game Geek. Games Quarterly Magazine #12 [Funagain] is available to order from Funagain Games.

Also on the front of Catan news: The Great River of Catan [Funagain] expansion that shipped in Games Quarterly Magazine last year is now available in a standalone version. If you missed it then check it out at Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 8, 2007

Tide of Iron Initial Thoughts on the DT Podcast

TideofIronRules.JPGThe latest episode of The Dice Tower podcast has the initial impressions of hosts Tom Vasel and Same Healey first session with the WWII wargame Tide of Iron [Funagain] from Fantasy Flight Games. And in the world of gaming we hold the opinions of Tom and Sam in the highest regard ( especially for people we've never met. )

So how did ToI pan out for 'em? They found their first session of to be very entertaining, with a detailed and streamlined gameplay, and a lot of potential for replayability given the dynamic board, customized units and varying scenarios. The one true complaint seems to stem from the swappable unit bases where you can make squads of four with various different unit figures. The material of the miniatures is a little weak, so it's a bit stressful to push down hard on these things.

The review starts at 45:40 in the podcast, but we don't endorse skipping the whole thing. There's tons of gaming goodness in these podcasts. Here are the complete show notes for Episode #90: Tide of Iron:

"In this episode, we give our top ten games for a church gaming group; and continue our contest for 24/7 and Incan Gold. We have a discussion about whether or not free review copies sway the opinion of the reviewer, with input from Moritz, Greg Schloesser, Sam and myself. Mary reviews Crokinole and gives us the news, and we finish out the show with a preview and session report of the brand new Tide of Iron!"

See, just one day after our news on Kill the Hippies we counterbalance it with Church Group games. Well...isn't that special?

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 6, 2007

Puerto Rico to Join Xbox Live Eurogames, But at a Cost

SMASHThere were rumors going around late last week that the acclaimed board game Puerto Rico was going to join Catan, Carcassonne, and Alhambra in the new line of Eurogames titles on Xbox Live.

We've made it pretty clear that we're a huge fan of playing these social board games on the Xbox Live service. Our group keeps losing players to distant parts of America with cheaper real estate, warmer weather, and fewer taxes. These Xbox Live titles will be a great way for us to continue playing some of our Eurogame favorites in a clean, easy to setup environment. And with voice chat, we might add.

But The addition of Puerto Rico to the Xbox Live roster has a very unfortunate side effect -- Xbox Live has snatched up exclusive rights for the online version of Puerto Rico. Key word there: exclusive. The rug has been pulled-out from beneath the feet of those fine folks who played Puerto Rico on other online web services, like

There's a huge potential audience of players in Xbox live who haven't been introduced to Eurogames, and the horizon for Eurogames on consumer electronics is looking bright. But do video gaming mega corps really need to snatch up exclusive rights to these titles? We're pretty sure the and the Xbox Live gang aren't eating at the same diner, so why can't both groups have their 'Rico and play it, too?

So now we're back to being less enthusiastic about Xbox Live Eurogames. In one hand is an exciting newborn puppy, cute and innocent, full of potential, but we're using the other hand to feed it the freshly killed corpses of established Eurogame communities.

This is the sort of stuff that keeps us up at night.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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