November 7, 2006

Now Shipping: "World of Warcraft: Shadow of War" Expansion

WoW.ShadowOfWar.11.6.06.jpgFantasy Flight Games has just released the first expansion to their acclaimed World of Warcraft - The Board Game. The World of Warcraft: Shadow of War [Amazon,Funagain] expansion extends the original big box game with more power cards, class talents, items. The game also introduces new destiny cards and end-game raid overlords Nefarian, Lord Kazzak, and Kel'Thuzad, who are all waiting in the shadows for you to lay the smackdown.

The expansion's Official Rules (pdf) have been posted to the Fantasy Flight Game's website, so you can check them out to see if the game fits your fancy. While you're there also check-out the new design article "Destiny of War " which breaks down the new Destiny Cards. The cards act as the Overlord's hands guiding the game, playing sinister tricks on the players (like holding them hostage or killing them off) - at least until you put the overlords six feet underground.

Here's the official word:


The Company Line: Shattered Kingdom is the first card expansion for the best selling World of Warcraft: The Board Game. This expansion contains hundreds of new cards, both expanding the base game and introducing several innovative concepts. The new item deck rewards players with interesting trinkets and artifacts. A new quest deck puts a bounty on independent creatures, rewarding characters for defeating blue creatures. Each class deck also receives ten new powers and ten new talents, further developing the character's arsenal of abilities and creating a richer gaming experience.

But the players are not the only ones with powerful new resources at their disposal. Each Overlord now has their own special cards that are shuffled into the event deck. If the players do not keep these minions in check, the Overlords can become even more dangerous!


  • 90 power cards (10 for each class)
  • 90 talent cards (10 for each class)
  • 198 item cards
  • 25 blue quest cards
  • 26 event cards
  • 39 destiny cards
  • 1 rulebook

The World of Warcraft Shadow of War expansion is now shipping form both Amazon and FunagainGames.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 6, 2006

Now Shipping: "Carcassonne Big Box"

CarcassonneBigBox.11.6.06.jpgNow here's a treat. Rio Grande Games has packaged the Eurogame classic Carcassonne with all four of its expansion into a nice Carcassonne Big Box Edition [Funagain,Amazon]. And it's arriving just in time for the Holidays. Something just clawed it's way to the top of our Christmas wish list.

Carcassonne is not only one of our favorite Eurogames, it' one of our favorite games, period. It's got all of the qualities that we like about gaming - an elegant tile-flipping area of control game that's simple to learn, yet it there's tons of of room for strategy. And the board grows into an unique, fascinating, organic-looking medieval cityscape through the course of play. Yes. please!

Here's the official product description:

The Company Line: This special limited edition has the basic game and river expansion as well as the four major expansions: Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, Princess & Dragon, and The Tower. Each has its own compartment in the box and the tiles for each expansion are marked with special symbols to make them easy to distinguish for separation after a game. The rules are expanded to include more information on how the expansions interact and there is also a sheet with pictures of all the tiles for all expansions and the base game.
Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 2, 2006

Battlelore: Terrains, Landmarks and Lairs

BattleLore.9.11.06.jpgNow back from the Essen game expo in Germany, the Designers of the upcoming Days of Wonder flagship "Battlelore" [Funagain] war gaming system are back at work publishing preview articles on the game's official blog. The latest installment gives some cool details about the gameplay effects of the board's four terrain tile types.

The game's terrain tiles are used to configure the otherwise bare landscape of the board for each of the the ten different scenarios, and can effect troop movement and visibility. Some special abilities in the game effect troops who stand in specific a terrain types - the article uses an example of the "Rogue's Den" which can accelerate the withdraw of troops from a forest hex to a location many hexes away.

Trees and lakes aren't the only notable things littering the battlefield. Your troops might also take shelter in another one of the game's "landmarks" tiles, which include rock formations, tower fortifications, and buildings - some have unique abilities that effect various parts of the game. Here's a snippet:

"What nature does not provide, the ingenious talent of man will usually build. As a result, many distinctive Landmarks dots the battlefield.

Unless specified otherwise, Landmarks provide advantageous defensive capabilities to their occupiers, since a landmark’s occupant usually becomes Bold by the sole virtue of occupying said landmark, regardless of adjacent troops’ support or not.

In BattleLore, Landmarks often confer to their owners unique advantages, making them heartily contested and prized possessions." - From Terrains, Landmarks and Lairs

Battlelore is scheduled to ship in November, and is available for preorder from Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 1, 2006

October '06 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgThis is it - we're heading into the Holiday season. Halloween was just a gateway event - a relatively sideshow compared to the upcoming Holiday season. We're about to head into bigger and better things as the Fall season releases continue.

Days of Wonder is boxing up the very large, and very delicious looking Battlelore. Rio Grande Games is prepping Yspahan, and is stuffing all of Carcassonne and its five expansions into one Big Box. Mayfair Games is churning-out copies of there upcoming titles Anasazi and Justinian, and Fantasy Flight Games is putting the finishing touches on Marvel Heroes and expansions for Wings of War, Twilight Imperium, and World of Warcraft.

Speaking of WoW, the TCG is selling like hotcakes. The game's retailers are having a hard time keeping the product on the shelves, and prices are skyrocketing with news that the Upper Deck factory warehouse has been stripped completely bare. We knew that the WoW TCG was going to be huge (and if our excitement over the title hasn't been obvious, then you're in optical prescription is past-due), but we didn't quite realize that the game would sell out in a matter of days. Hopefully this isn't a press stunt that was designed to garner publicity. At any rate, let's not make rain when there's the potential for some pretty intense sunshine. We'll have word on our WoW TCG experiences shortly.

Until then let's take a stroll down October lane to remember those calmer days of fall:

Board Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 31, 2006

Eurogames Article from AimlessWords

Europe.10.31.06.jpgThe blog Aimless Words has published a great article "Eurogames - Join the Boardgaming Revolution" describing why every gamer and their mother should take notice about the emergence of Eurogames in the American market. The article also does a nice job explaining why all of these great family-games are coming out of Germany:

"It seems the Germans have a long and exciting history of gaming within the family; a practice that died a horrible death in United States in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Today, the true heart and spirit of boardgaming exists not within the hollow facade of Hasbro but inside the halls of dozens of much smaller companies in the U.S. and Europe such as Rio Grande Games and Mayfair Games. Rio Grande is an American company that was formed by Jay Tummelson for the purpose of publishing English language versions of German or Euro-games. Jay has experienced great success with Rio Grande and several other American companies have been founded recently to focus on this sector of the games market." - From: "Eurogames - Join the Boardgaming Revolution"

It's true that Rio Grande Games and Mayfair Games are both great Eurogaming publishers, but there are some also fantastically polished games coming out of American Companies, too. Most notable of which is Days of Wonder - those guys have a great line of titles, and their releases can stand toe-to-toe with anything that comes out of the German import market.

We're not nit-picking - we love both Rio Grande and Mayfair - we're just adding another to the list of the great modern American game publishers in right now.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 30, 2006

Top Ten 2-Player Games

Number 1: Lost CitiesGame players from all corners are submiting their picks for their favorite two player games in a very popular forum thread at BGG. This is a perfect time to check the pulse of what's popular in gaming right now -- you know, in case you're tired of playing Mastermind with Uncle John.

Here's the top ten games from the list right now.

-- Players' Choice of Top 2-Player Games --

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 26, 2006

"Leonardo da Vinci" Released

DaVinci1.10.12.06.jpgPainter, sculptor, anatomist, engineer of both civil machines and war machines, lover, fighter, not a meat biter (vegetarian), Da Vinci was the MacGyver of Renaissance Florence. And now Mayfair Games has released a board game inspired by the man who invented a paper bag to invent himself out of - "Leonardo Da Vinci" [Funagain].

Mayfair games is the publisher responsible for some major smash-titles such as the Settlers of Catan, and Tigris & Euphrates, but let's be honest - that doesn't mean that Da Vinci is going to match those standards.

But the initial word paints a picture of the game that's pretty freakin' good. As of right now there are two reviews on, one is authored by a play tester of the game, and the other is from a gamer who's tired of all board game web-hype. (hey!) The game also has a rating of 7.9, which is definitely noteworthy.

Here's the official description from Mayfair Games.


The Company Line: Compete to be known as the most ingenious inventor in Leonardo Da Vinci, the new exciting game from Mayfair and daVinci Games. In Leonardo Da Vinci, players must gather materials to complete inventions for the lord of the city in exchange for florins as payment. The lord of the city gives rewards for the rapid completion of a project. The player with the most florins at the end will be crowned winner by Leonardo Da Vinci! If you are excited to try this new game, which emphasizes hand management, please stop by your local retailer and ask them about, Leonardo Da Vinci

Product Description: As an ingenious Renaissance inventor in 15th century city of Florence. Construct amazing machines for the lord of the city. Become a protagonist of this age of unbelievable discoveries, by building your inventions! Can you marshal your workers in the most advantageous laboratories, workshops, and in palace plots? Only the best can complete with the great Leonardo!

Compete to be known as the most ingenious. The lord of the city gives rewards for the rapid completion of a project. The player with the most Florins at the end will be crowned winner by Leonardo daVinci!

"Leonardo Da Vinci" is now shipping from Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 25, 2006

Review: "Ticket to Ride: Marklin"

Ticket to Ride: Marklin [Amazon,Funagain] is hands-down fantastic. Days of Wonder once again shows that they can produce a well balanced, high-quality title with staying power. Don't let the happy train model cover fool you - although this is a game chalk-full of content geared toward train enthusiasts (Marklin is gigantic train hobbyist company out of Germany), it is absolutely not a niche game. Ticket to Ride: Marklin has enough depth and replayability for the strategy gamer in you, and yet is light and simple enough that families shouldn't feel at all nervous about throwing its board down onto the dining room table to play a round with their kids.

In Marklin players collect and play train cards of various colors to construct a strong rail network connecting the towns of Germany. Then, once their empire is established, players can send passengers along their network, collecting points for each city they visit on their way. The turns are fast. The game is colorful, dynamic, and most importantly - a blast to play. Here's why:

ArrowContinue reading: "Review: "Ticket to Ride: Marklin""

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 23, 2006

"Battlelore" Primer

BattleLore.9.11.06.jpgIt's been a while since we first checked-in on this upcoming wargame, rpg, card game hybrid, and it looks as though the folks at Days of Wonder are molding their preeminent fall franchise into one heck of a battle system. The game's producers are taking their final steps toward release very carefully, pulling resources away from other Days of Wonder product lines in order make Battlelore the most polished title possible. They seem to think they have a huge hit on their hands - and even though the system is only in the prerelease phase - we tend to agree with 'em.

But don't take our word for it, check it out for yourself: the Battlelore Primer has been published and is available for your perusal on the game's new official website. It details everything from the game's various inspirations, to the colorful units, art, morale system, etc.

There's a lot going-on in any one scenario of Battlelore (the base set will ship with 10), but every rule is very simple to remember and more importantly, simple to resolve. The morale system promotes the clumping of units into formations so that they might withstand a full-on attack without running for their lives, so battle lines will march across the field much like those famous engagements of medieval history. The colorful unit banners are more than just eye candy - the can be swapped between unit figures to customize the attack and morale values for all units in that space. And to keep things fresh, the spirit of the game shifts from a Hundred Years War wargame into a fantasy combat game as more complexity is added - from various creature units to loremasters that acts as powerful generals effecting the entire battleground.

The guys at 2d6 Feet in a Random Direction recently had a hands-on session with the game, and they've included some juicy details in their latest podcast. Fast forward to 14:26 to hear their opinions and specific remarks, all of which paint the game in a very positive light.

Here's one cool bit from them: we learn bits about the game's Epic Battles which are played by friends flipping over two ore more Battlelore boards and locking them together, making an even larger battleground. Hells yeah.

Battlelore is now available to preorder from Funagain Games and from the Battlelore Official Website. The game is set to ship in late November.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

October 17, 2006

Halloween Game Buyer's Guide: Arkham to Werewolves

The sweet smell of rotting leaves is in the air, both 'Thriller' and (regrettably) 'Monster Mash' are making their annual run up the charts, and costume shops are sweeping druggies out of empty store lots normally vacant ten months out of twelve. Yes, Halloween is coming, and we thought it was high time to go through a list of our favorite monster smashing games.

Most of these titles have seen a few fall seasons but they still stand strong against the test of time. We've also noted if a game has any noteworthy expansions - so even if you own the original there might be something new lurking in the darkness that spices it up.

And without further ado:

ArkhamHorro.10.17.06.jpgArkham Horror [Amazon, Funagain]

The town of Arkham, Massachusetts is in a panic. Horrific and bizarre events have begun to occur with increasing frequency -- all seeming to point towards some cataclysmic event in the near future that may spell disaster for everyone. Only one small band of investigators can save Arkham from the Great Old Ones and destruction!

Arkham Horror was originally published by Chaosium, Inc. almost two decades ago. This new, updated edition features stunning new artwork and graphical design as well as revised and expanded rules! No fan of the Cthulhu Mythos will want to miss this opportunity to acquire this classic Call of Cthulhu boardgame!

We should note that Arkham Horror is currently on schedule for a reprint, which should hit store shelves before Halloween. So if this title is currently out of stock, then check back at your store daily!

Expansions: "Arkham Horror: Curse of the Dark Pharaoh (2006)"[Amazon,Funagain]

Betrayal.10.17.06.jpgBetrayal at House on the Hill [Amazon,Funagain]

Build a House of Terror. Tile by Tile.

It's never the same game twice. As one of twelve mysterious characters, you'll explore a house filled with deadly secrets. As you play, you'll build the house. But beware! One of your fellow players will betray you. The traitor will test your sanity as you use all your skills to survive.

With fifty fiendish scenarios, Betrayal at House on the Hill puts you face-to-face with legendary monsters, modern nightmares ... and your friends.

There have been some considerable changes that the publisher has made to patch this title, so make sure you check out the Official FAQ and Updated Rules Errata to make the game a smoother and more enjoyable experience.

Fearsom Floors [Amazon,Funagain]

It was fabulous! Fearlessly, you found the 3 fetishes in the Finnish fjord. With light-footed and foxy feints you ferry the fetishes to prince Fieso in France to free the fascinating faerie Fabula. But Fieso is not fond of foreigners, what a fiasco! You land freezing and foolishly find yourself trapped in a frightful fortress with sinister corridors. Now you must flee Fiesos trap. Furunkulus, the monster, is a frightening freak, especially fond of foolish foreigners. He will feed on you if he is able. So you want to fool Furunkulus and flee to freedom.

Fearsome Floors is a race game in which the players must move through a dungeon as fast as possible - or at least within 14 turns - before it crumbles over their heads. This could be done in 7 turns if everything was peaceful and quiet, but unfortunately is the dungeon also the home of a very hungry monster! Players must maneuver their disks through the dungeon trying to manipulate the movement of a monster who is always after fresh prey. Players can try and lead the monster to their opponents' pieces, but may find themselves eaten instead! Pieces might slide along blood slicks, or be crushed between a boulder and a wall. You can even try to get the monster to teleport to another part of the board, where he will fall upon his next victim. This family strategy board game is for 2-7 players and takes about an hour to play, and it can be learned in 10-20 minutes.

Werewolves.10.17.06.jpgWerewolf [Amazon,Funagain]

For some time, the village of Millers Hollow has been afflicted by werewolves who attack each night. The village inhabitants must find out who among them are werewolves before they all fall victim to the evil creatures...

Werewolf or villager?
You draw a card which determines your secret identity. You play out your role under the direction of the game leader.

You are a werewolf.
Your goal: To eat a villager each night. During the day you are an honorable citizen.

You are a villager.
Your goal: To discover the werewolves and to convince the other players to take them out (and make sure you don't get mistaken for a werewolf). No easy task. But fortunately there are a few villagers with special abilities: The old seer, the hunter, the witch... They will be helpful in defeating the werewolves

This is a great party game classic for 8+ players. In fact the more people, the better. Simple rules, and no board nor confusing pieces, so just about anyone get pick it up and start playing - even the usual non gamer!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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