July 28, 2006

Carcassonne Expansion Ships in Games Quarterly Magazine

GamesQuarterly.7.28.06.jpgWe just got word that the next issue of Games Quarterly Magazine (November 8th) will ship with an official expansion to one of our favorite Eurogames, Carcassonne [Amazon, Funagain].

Of course GQM has to tease us first. Today's news mainly focuses on the sole fact that they're printing an expansion, but no word yet on exactly what the expansion is. Still, it's grabbed our attention.

"Games Quarterly #11 will feature a brand new Expansion for Rio Grande's award winning game Carcassonne™, exclusively in Games Quarterly.

The Expansion For Basic Carcassonne will include 12 new tiles, never before seen, perfectly matching your Carcassonne game. Rio Grande is keeping the look of the expansion, and it's name, secret for now.

Games Quarterly has great coverage of all types of non-electronic games. With fantastic extras like The Great River of Catan™ in GQM10 and the Basic Carcassonne™ Expansion in GQM11 it’s worth far more than cover price.

Also in GQM11:

  • Interviews with NPR’s Puzzlemaster & NY Times Crossword Editor Will Shortz and TV’s CSI Creator Anthony Zuiker on his new CSI: SENSES The Game by SBG/b EQUAL.
  • Detailed plans for the huge Games Expo 2007
  • Days of Wonder unveils their next incredible game
  • Front Porch Classics’ Word Count
  • Profiles of National Games Week Sponsors
  • Word Up! Games to build vocabulary in the classroom
  • Coverage of all kinds of non-electronic games.
  • All your favorite columns plus a few surprises we’re cooking up right now.

Games Quarterly #11 also has a new cover price of $4.95, $5.95 Canadian.
A free countertop display is shipped with each order of 12 copies.

Available November 8, 2006."

Hmm.. wonder what the new Days of Wonder title will be.

If you recall, about two months ago we heard that the latest issue of GQM includes an official expansion for the monster hit Settlers of Catan [Amazon, Funagain]. That issue is on shelves now, and more information can be found on the Games Quarterly Magazine website.

This is a very smart move on their part to move more magazines. And we hope the expansion trends continue, too, because let's be honest - $5.00 (newsstand price) for an official expansion is dirt cheap.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 27, 2006

Monopoly and Visa - Is Nothing Sacred?

7.27.06.jpgOh boy. It seems as though The Man has gotten control of Monopoly. Hasbro has decided to get rid of the paper money from the game that taught us all about cash and bartering. In place of the game's low value paper bills, kids will learn the valuable lesson of debit cards, complete with Visa co-branding and the bells and whistles of a nifty card swiping gadget.

"We started looking at what Monopoly would look like if we designed it today," said Chris Weatherhead, a U.K.-based spokesman for Hasbro Inc., which makes the best-selling board game. "We noticed consumers are using debit cards, carrying around cash a lot less."

British players might not be the only ones switching to plastic. Officials at Pawtucket-based Hasbro say they're considering a similar change for American versions. From the Boston Globe

Organizing stacks of Monopoly moola and shoving them halfway under the board was always a wonderful feeling. And counting the individual bills was not only a great math exercise for kids, but made for some fantastic gloating moments. Now the game turns cold, and in a day and age when credit card debt is running rampant, do we really need to shove a toy debit card in to the hands of our kids at such an early age?

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 26, 2006

Now Shipping "Battlestations: Pax Galacticum" Expansion

BattleStationsCover.7.26.06.jpgPublisher Gorilla Games have released their latest expansion to the cooperative rpg / board game hybird "Battlestations". "Pax Galacticum" (Adventures in the Verdant Nebula) comes with a new setting, new ship tiles, rules, and hero skills. Here's the official line:

Adventure beyond combat in the second exciting supplement for Battlestations! Challenges of skill, rescue missions and puzzling space anomalies will add intrigue and depth to your adventures. New Combat skill actions and equipment allow an easy translation for 'marines' to become brave rescue workers! (The adventures, equipment and bonus modules are completely compatible with the basic game.)


  • 1 rulebook
  • 6 double-sided modules
  • 30 double-sided markers
  • 16 fungaloids

The "Pax Galacticum" expansion is now shipping from Funagain Games and the online at the official Battlestations! store.

For those of you new to Battlestations - the game is a cooperative hybrid board game where players work together to control a starship of their design. The design is decided by the group, and reflected in the placement of the various ship tiles, including rooms like the Helm, Missile Bay, or Science Bay. Players control custom hero characters who walk around the various rooms of the ship pushing buttons, putting out fires, operating the zero-G toilet, firing weapons, and pushing back alien boarding parties. BattleStationsCover2.7.26.06.jpgPicture a board game where players fulfill the officer roles of Star Trek (but in a more colorful universe) and you can see where this game gets its popularity. Here's the Battlestation's official description:

Battlestations is a pulp sci fi adventure boardgame. Ongoing adventures feature simultaneous ship-to-ship and boarding combat in space. Players work together as a starship crew aboard a ship of their own design facing referee-controlled forces. You’ll track the heroes' positions on the starship layouts and the starships’ positions on the space map. The action in Battlestations is character driven. If you want the ship to turn, speed up, or launch a missile or blast the enemy ship, a hero has to take an action to make it so.

Take action to defeat enemy warships, resolve alien encounters or adventure through uncharted astral phenomena.

With the expanding Battlestations universe, there's always a new adventure in the stars!


  • 48 double-sided 3.5" Starship Modules
  • 8 8.5" x 11" Hex Maps
  • 160 Die Cut Counters
  • 32 Die Cut Hexagonal Markers
  • 10 Glass Marker Beads
  • 6 Dice
  • 128 cardboard Fold-up Heroes
  • 112-Page Adventure Book

Tastey. The original Battlestations starter set is also available at FunagainGames. Also, read more about the game at the official Battlestations website.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 24, 2006

World of Warcraft Board Game "The Shadow of War" Official Expansion Preview

WoWShatteredKingdom.7.24.06.jpgPublisher Fantasy Flight Games has posted a preview article regarding the upcoming expansion for the World of Warcraft board game [Funagain]. "The Shadow of War" doubles the number of cards of the original monster of a title, adding new: trinkets, quests, equipment, the works. Here's a snippet:

One of the expansion’s biggest additions is that each class receives 10 new powers and 10 new talents. The new class cards flesh out the characters’ strengths and compensate for some of their previous weaknesses, not to mention adding a ton of flexibility and replay value to each class. Some of the powers are not combat-related, but are just as powerful and add variety for players that are looking for interesting new tricks.

The preview feature was written by the aptly name John Goodenough - this is a very straightforward and vanilla article. It does a great job of running through the new features, but if you aren't a World of Warcraft board game aficionado then this preview certainly won't turn you into one. If you're interested in reading about the successful WoW boardgame first, check out this great BGG forum post review of the game.

"Shadow of War" [Funagain (preorder)] is at the printers now, and should be available for purchase this September.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 19, 2006

"Thurn & Taxis" wins Spiel des Jahres Award

ThurnAndTaxis.7.10.06.jpgLast week we reported that "Thurn & Taxis" shipped from Rio Grande Games. Not to toot our own egos for being on top of stuff, and junk, but we wanted to let you know that "Thurn & Taxis" just won the Spiel des Jahres - the German Game of the Year.

Why do we care what the Germans think? Well for one they throw an absolutely swinging World Cup, but more appropriately they're one of the driving factors for the reemergence of board games as a popular past time. One of the activities German families love to do on family-night is toss down the latest board and play some constructive social gaming goodness.

Yes, we know that sounds corny. If our parents dropped "Sorry!" on the kitchen table instead of taking us out for pizza and Bomb Jack, then there would have been hell to pay. But consider the incredible series of Eurogames to come out of Germany in the last 10 years, like: Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan, Tigris & Euphrates, and Attika. If 'Pa through down those titles then he certainly would have received our full attention.

We digress. "Thurn & Taxis" is by Andreas Seyfarth (Puerto Rico, Manhattan ) and his wife Karen. They received the the official Spiel des Jahres award in German, as should be the case. Unfortunately only one of us speaks German, and it's only a little German at that, so we left it up for AltaVista's Babel Fish to translate the official announcement. The result is a bit broken, but that's what gives it character.

"The outstanding board play "Thurn and taxi" reminds those already of the inventors of the modern postal service, end 15. Century organized a functioning delivery of letters. Task of the players is it to develop a Postkutschenbetrieb in Bavaria and Umgebung. In addition the correct distance maps must be collected and out-played in sequence. Who does this in time, can post office stations into one of the 22 cities on the plan set. But there are points - whenever in all cities of a region own stations are located. The race with the competition around the suitable maps, the longest distances and the largest kutschen is high-exciting. That folds with each player number and is for few players as for professionals a genuine challenge. "Thurn and taxi" have that things to the long-lasting phenomenon. From: The Babel Fish Translation of the Spiel des Jahres website

JA! "Thurn u. Taxis" ist ein gutes Brettspiel. Kaufen Ihre kopie heute! (translate)

Also see:

  • What Makes a Eurogame Game?
  • Now Shipping: "Thurn & Taxis"
  • The 2005 Meeples' Choice Awards are in

    Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking
  • July 17, 2006

    Now Shipping: "A Game of Thrones: A Storm of Swords" Expansion

    AGameOfThrones.3.16.06.jpgFantasy Flight Games has released the second expansion to their A Game of Thrones [Funagain] boardgame line. A Storm of Swords [Funagain] includes a impressive set of new content ( including 42 new house cards, and 40 Westernos cards ) to expand upon the existing individual factions, turn rules and game mechanics.

    A brand new board details the northern half of Westeros. Gone are the naval vessels of the original game, so no more sneaking around the front line to attack the exposed underbelly of your opponent. Instead combat is focused inward. The game board still does have a sense of fringe territories (like the islands of the original) as weather patterns can unexpectedly impede movement onto the various fjords on Westeros' extreme coast.

    Players may deploy garrisons on the board to defend their cities, and call upon the new faction leaders to give their armies that extra bit of offensive oomph on the front lines. As an added dynamic to battle system, leaders are captured when defeated in battle, and can be ransomed back to the controling player for a price. Leaders who stay in captivity for too long face the growing risk of execution from one of the game's 40 new Westeros cards.

    The game also adds a new "Tactical Card" gameplay element. Each turn players chose from one of 8 cards in their hands, each provides their faction a focused boost in various elements of the game. Tactical cards can be used to augment the offensive or defensive values of armies, or rescue a captured leader, or recruit the aid of the various new allied factions.

    A Storm of Sword's rulebook provides details on how these new pieces and gameplay elements can be used to play with the original A Game of Thrones board game. A Storm of Swords also includes content for House Martell which was introduced by the Funagain"A Clash of Kings expansion [Amazon,Funagain]. However, a Clash of Kings is not required to play this second expansion.

    The Official Line: The land of Westeros is about to get a lot more interesting. The A Storm Of Swords expansion for the A Game Of Thrones board game offers two different gaming experiences. First, the expansion features a brand new 4-player game, including new components, new victory conditions, and a plethora of strategic options. Second, the expansion includes rules on how to incorporate many of these new options into the classic A Game Of Thrones game.

    The new Storm Of Swords game board depicts the Trident Riverlands area of Westeros. New Tactics cards allow you to gain combat bonuses, make your armies more mobile, or gather more power. New Ally cards enable you to gain the support of lesser houses, hardened mercenaries, and cold-blooded outlaws. New Leaders allow you to march devastating forces into battle, and you can make your opponents beg for mercy when you take their Leaders hostage.

    The expansion also includes new House cards for all six of the great houses, an alternative set of Westeros decks, and rules on how to incorporate Tactics cards, Leaders, and other new mechanics into the original A Game Of Thrones board game. Tons of new options and two different gaming experiences are all found in the Storm Of Swords expansion.

    The expansion's rule book is posted online, so you can check out even more of the game's details before you buy it.

    "A Storm of Swords" and "A Game of Thrones" are now shipping and are available for purchase from Funagain Games.

    Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

    July 14, 2006

    "Ticket to Ride: USA 1910" Announced

    USA1910.7.14.06.jpgDays of Wonder has announced a new expansion to their popular (and fantastic) board game Ticket to Ride [Funagain]. Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 supplements and extends the original Ticket to Ride board game by: replacing the game's old deck with new large-format cards, expanding the destination tickets by an additional 35 cards, and adding two new ways to play the game.

    The Company Line: USA 1910 consists of 181 new large format cards (the same size as the cards in Ticket to Ride Europe and Märklin) including 35 new "Destination Tickets," a new "GlobeTrotter" bonus card for completing the most tickets, plus a complete replacement deck for all the cards from the original game deck.

    The USA 1910 Expansion, which comes in a small metal box, also includes a new rulebook that gives players three new ways to play the game including 1910 rules. Players can choose to use only the new "Destination Tickets," or play a "Mega Game" featuring all the tickets, or just a "Big Cities" version, which uses only tickets to certain large cities.

    Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 is set to ship in October '06, and is already available to preorder from FunagainGames.

    Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

    July 12, 2006

    Monopoly: Pirates of the Caribbean

    PiratesMonopoly.7.12.06.jpgPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is kicking booty at the box office. We haven't seen it yet, and although we've heard mixed things from friends, there's one thing for sure - kids absolutely love that movie.

    Case and point: This weekend a pack of six-year-old schoolyard chalk hooligans tagged a road in our neighborhood with the message "Pirates: Beware!!" We didn't know hot-pink was a proven pirate deterrent, but it seems to have worked ( so far ).

    Anywho - we just came across the Pirates of the Caribbean flavored Monopoly board game [on Amazon] , and it hit us that this could be the perfect time to introduce the kids to the classic game that taught all of us the basics of money handling. We're not quite sure why pirates are eating-up real estate, but hey, that's not really the point, is it?

    In the Company Spokesman's best pirate voice: Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me! The fate of the Caribbean lies in your hands now, matey. Buy, sell and trade key locations from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movies -- Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man's Chest -- including Port Royal Prison, Barbossa's Treasure Grotto and Tia Dalma's Shack. Are ye brave enough to outwit yer scurvy opponents and avoid the legendary Kraken as ye battle for total control of the pirate-infested Caribbean? Argh, properly warned, ye be, says I.

    The Pirates of the Caribbean edition of America's favorite board game comes complete with 6 collectible pewter tokens featuring Jack Sparrow's compass, Pirate skull, the dog with keys, the Black Pearl cannon, Davy Jones' chest, and Jack the Monkey. Rules include a 60-minute speed play option for a shorter game with the same amount of fun. Set sail for the adventure of a lifetime with Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones, Barbossa and all your favorite sword-wielding pirates in this Pirates of the Caribbean Collector's Edition of the world's most popular board game, Monopoly. Savvy?

    Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

    July 10, 2006

    Now Shipping: "Thurn & Taxis"

    ThurnAndTaxis.7.10.06.jpgRio Grande Games' "Thurn & Taxis" [Funagain] has shipped to retailers and is now available in stores. The game is set in the late 15th century and has players carving routes out of German towns for the then-budding postal service.

    Players collect cards (which contain a series of city names) in an attempt to link together a postal route across the board. When a chain is finished, the player gains points and also places a pair of post offices to claim territories along the route. When a territory has been fully populated by a player then he/she snags even more points.

    The general gameplay is similar in style to the award winning Ticket to Ride, but the game plays quite a bit differently. Players must collect specific city names, instead of running a series of colors as in Ticket to Ride. This makes card selection a far more focused task. There are also some disconnected aggressive elements where players can clear the pool of selectable cards, ruining the day of any player lusting over a face-up card they needed to extend their postal network. Finally, the placement of a route in a game of Thurn & Taxis doesn't eliminate the potential for other players laying that same route down the road. Player's aren't racing to lay track over physical spaces on the board before their opponents, but instead indirectly competing to connect as many cities as possible before their opponents do.

    Here's the game's official description:

    In 1490, Kaiser Maximilian I awarded Franz von Taxis the contract to deliver mail between the Kaiser's residences in Innsbruck and Brussels. He did such a good job, that postal services in the country continue to be connected with the name Thurn and Taxis. With the introduction of postal carriages in the middle of the 17th century, members of the family were raised to Count status and given the hereditary title of Postmaster General. The game begins at this point in history.

    Can you emulate the achievements of this family and build a successful postal network? Do you have the talent to connect the right cities to create an effective network and not lose sight of the need to acquire new carriages when they are needed? Plan your moves carefully and watch your opponents' moves carefully, so you are prepared to respond to them.

    The game takes you back in time and gives you challenges that will bring you back to the game over and over.

    Thurn & Taxis was created by designer Andreas Seyfarth who created the award-winning title Puerto Rico [Funagain]. Initial impresssions of the game have been very positive, and it looks like Seyfarth may have another award winner with Thurn & Taxis [funagain].

    Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

    July 7, 2006

    The 2005 Meeples' Choice Awards are in

    MeeplesChoice.7.7.06.jpgWe may be critical, but we don't have giant egos. When another game group comes together as a collective voice to select the very best, we listen.

    Spielfreaks, a Yahoo Games group formed in 2000 to discuss Eurogames, polled it's readers to see which titles they felt were the cream of the crop of 2005. Selections from past years include Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne [Our Review], Puerto Rico, and Ticket to Ride.

    If you've enjoyed those titles then you know the Spielfreaks' list has weight.

    So which titles rest atop the slew of new games from 2005?

    ArrowContinue reading: "The 2005 Meeples' Choice Awards are in"

    Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

    Mailing List
    Enter your Email

    Powered by FeedBlitz
    Subscribe - RSS

    facebook_badge.jpg twitter_badge.jpg


    Visit our other properties at Blogpire.com!

    Recent Reviews



    This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
    Powered by
    Movable Type 6.3
    All items Copyright © 1999-2016 Blogpire Productions. Please read our Disclaimer and Privacy Policy