July 6, 2006

"Marvel Heroes" Preview Part 4: Combat Mechanics

MarvelHeros.3.16.06.jpgFantasy Flight Games' boardgame designer Roberto Di Meglio has posted Part 4 of his Marvel Heroes preview article to the Boardgame Geek forums. This time he focuses on the game's quick combat mechanics.

The article goes into details, but here's a summary -- Superhero and Villain characters have one or more super/evil power. Players must chose one of these powers to use in each round of combat. The power has varying ranks of three elements: Attack, Defense and Wits. Attack and defensive values affect the number of dice tossed when they two super hero and villan are slugging it out. A battle of Wits follows up the fisticuffs (if both characters are still standing), with the winner scoring another hit and also gaining initiative for the next round of combat.

It seems simple enough, with the dice randomness (blech) controlled by the gaminess of power selection (cool). The point was to keep combat simple, fun, and quick so other players aren't doing their taxes between rounds. Here's a snippet:

Designing the combat system for our Marvel Heroes boardgame was one of our 'challenges'. This is a multi-player game, and it was not acceptable to have each combat to be too long. Also, too much detail on the combat would have detracted from the need of creating a larger story than a head-to-head bashing.

At the same time, super-heroes are different, with different super-powers, levels of strength, special abilities, and combat is an important element in many comics, so we had to get enough detail and strategy to give the right feeling and fun factor.

In the desingn, we also wanted to avoid a common pitfall of other super-hero games from the past, where the different power level of the abilities of a super-hero made the choice of a certain strategy too obvious. From Marvel Heroes: "A Preview (part 4)" by Roberto Di Meglio

Part 4 of the Marvel Heroes preview can be found here. The game is slated for a Fall 2006 release, and will be published by Fantasy Flight Games.

Also see:

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 5, 2006

Now Shipping: Rum & Pirates

RumAndPirates.7.5.06.jpgRio Grande Games has released Rum and Pirates [Funagain], a simple board game set at night in a coastal pirate town. Players take turns moving pirates around town in attempt to gain renown by: collecting rum, fighting town guards, finding pieces of treasure maps, recruiting more pirates, etc. This isn't the most complicated of all games, but that makes it a great title for family gaming night or for leisurely gamers. Here's the official line:

The players take on the roles of pirates.They move the captain along the alleys of the pirates nest, looking for treasure maps and treasure chests. Or they meet the city guard and deal with them if they can. Naturally, they will visit the few pubs to gather and drink some rum together. They will also have opportunities to acquire the special wares needed by pirates like wooden legs and eye patches. At the end of the day, they head back to the ship and wrangle for the few sleeping places available there. All these activities earn the players tiles, which are worth honor points - most positive, but some are negative. These honor points are tallied at game end.

The player who ends the game with the most honor points is the winner!

2-5 players, aged 9 +;
Length: 60 minutes;
author: Stefan Feld.

Rum and Pirates is now shipping from the Rio Grande Games warehouse, and is available to order from Funagain Games.

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July 2, 2006

June '06 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgWow, what a month. Not only did the long-awaited Battlestar Galactica CCG finally ship to stores, but there was a good-deal of board game release news. Shots of the Age of Empires board art were 'leaked' in the game's official forums, and Fantasy Flight Games kept us busy with War of the Ring: Battles of the Third Age and preview details of their upcoming Marvel Heroes board game release.

More importantly, we've been in the news for most of the second half of June, and it's been a big month for increases in our readership. For those of you new to the site - welcome! For those of you who've been with us for a while - thank you, and expect more product reviews that ever before as we roll into the lazy-gaming days of July.

Board Games

Party Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 30, 2006

Battles of the Third Age: The Battle of Gondor Details

BattlesThirdAge.3.2.06.gifThe first expansion to highly successful
War of the Ring [Amazon, Funagain] strategy board game is now in stores. Battles of Third Age [Funagain] contains adjustments to the epic gameplay of the original War of the Ring grand strategy game, and adds two smaller conflicts to the mix: The Battle of Rohan and the Battle of Gondor. The expansion includes new unique pieces for each of these battles, new game boards, and a slew of new game mechanics.

For the second part of our two-week series we'll look into the gameplay and features of the Battle of Gondor portion of the expansion, the setting for the climactic (and largest) battle of the Lord of the Rings trilogy - Minas Tirith.

ArrowContinue reading: "Battles of the Third Age: The Battle of Gondor Details"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 29, 2006

Now Shipping: Arkham Horror - "Curse of the Dark Pharaoh" Expansion

DarkPharaoh.6.28.06.jpgFantasy Flight Games has released an expansion to the very popular Arkham Horror, an H.P. Lovecraft themed cooperative board game. "Curse of the Dark Pharaoh" is the first expansion to the modern revision of Arkham Horror [Amazon, Funagain], and includes gobs of new cards and locations. Here's the official line:

It seems harmless enough. Just a room full of dusty old antiquities, dug up from some old tomb in Egypt. Miskatonic U's faculty are all a tizzy, of course, but why did Professor Armitage go all pasty-white when he saw the Pharaoh's sarcophagus?

The weirdness didn't start until the next night ...

Curse of the Dark Pharaoh is the first expansion for Arkham Horror! Focusing on the thematic game play, amazing art, and strange tales that made the original game such a fan-favorite, this expansion includes 166 new cards!

  • 22 Exhibit Items, ancient relics from the visiting exhibit.
  • 18 "Barred from the Neighborhood" cards for unlucky investigators.
  • 4 Benefit and 4 Detriment cards with new and intriguing effects.
  • 45 new Arkham Location cards, 27 new Gate cards, 18 new Mythos cards, 21 new Spells, and 7 new Allies to make Arkham Horror bigger, scarier, and more exciting than ever before!

Curse of the Dark Pharaoh is now available to order from the game's official site, and is available to preorder for cheap from FunagainGames (if you don't mind waiting for them to get the title in stock).

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 26, 2006

"Marvel Heroes" Preview Part 3 from Fantasy Flight Games Designer

MarvelHeros.3.16.06.jpg A few weeks ago we reported on the two preview articles of Marvel Heroes (Fantasy Flight Games) written by game desginer Roberto Di Meglio had surfaced in the Boardgamegeek forums. We're not really comic book readers here, but we're excited that Marvel Heroes has the same design team that worked on "War of the Ring" [Amazon,Funagain] - a game that we hold in high regard. And those two preview articles painted quite the pretty picture for the team's next project.

Shortly after Roberto's first 2 posts, he threw up a third about the game's mission system (called "Headlines") which includes some juicy details about how to resolve the random setting of the game's battles. As in - who's the super villain, what's he doing in Time Square, and why is he wearing purple fishnet stalkings? Here's a snippet:

The first thing that happens when a Hero (or group of Heroes) try to solve a Headline is to generate how much Trouble he's getting into: this is done with a roll of the special dice included in the game. There are a few cards which can affect this roll, but most important is that on a Mastermind Headline the Nemesis of your team may put his own weight and try to increase the trouble by performing "Scheming" actions.

Every villain has his specialties, so of course expect bigger problems when facing a Crime headline if Kingpin is your Nemesis! After trouble is generated, the Hero uses HIS ratings to reduce it. If it's now zero, great! The mission is solved. But most often you will have trouble left: this means that some nasty super-criminal is in action and you've got to fight... From Marvel Heroes: "A Preview" by Roberto Di Meglio

We didn't post this one right away because we hoped Robert would toss-up a fourth installment shortly thereafter, and we wanted to digest this stuff instead of pinging you every time with a new article. But the fourth installment (on the combat system) never arrived. We'll keep an eye-out for it, and uh, ping you, when it does.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 22, 2006

Battles of the Third Age: The Battle of Rohan Details

BattlesThirdAge.3.2.06.gifThe first expansion to highly successful
War of the Ring[Amazon,Funagain] strategy board game is now in stores. Battles of Third Age [Funagain] contains adjustments to the original epic gameplay of the War of the Ring grand strategy game, and adds two smaller conflicts to the mix: The Battle of Rohan and the Battle of Gondor. The expansion includes new unique pieces for each of these battles, new game boards, and a slew of new game mechanics.

As part of a two week series we'll look into the features of the two new battles contained within the expansion. This week we'll kick it off by taking a close look at the rolling plains of Rohan, the gorgeous vacation lands of Middle Earth nestled between the feet of two mountain ranges, and capped by a forest where the trees come alive and beat the living snot out of you. We recommend traveller's insurance.

ArrowContinue reading: "Battles of the Third Age: The Battle of Rohan Details"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 15, 2006

Age of Empires 3 Board Images

AgeOfEmpires3Board_fish.jpgPublisher Eagle Games, who released select illustrations of the upcoming Age of Empires 3 board and documentation a few weeks ago, have now also released an image of the entire game board. You can check it out in this forum post here.

The board does a great job to match the style of the nautical maps from age of exploration and early colonial periods. One thing we're miffed about though - all these regions of the Americas have really cool exports like Furs, Silver and Gold, Indigo, etc, but they smacked a giant cod down onto our hometown Boston. We realize that the New England fish industry was substantial during that time period, but did Eagle Games need to make the fish look like the President of the New England Colonies?? Look at him all smug in circular framing. Besides, New England has other great exports, too... like wood, and uh... neco wafers. Crap, they got us.

Anyway, you might have noticed that the board's spacing doesn't quite present itself to good wargamming play - that's because Age of Empires 3 has more of a Eurogame builder gameplay style (like Caylus) rather than a Risk-esque slugfest. Looking at the board in this context, it's really quite a pretty thing.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 14, 2006

Now Shipping: Memoir '44: Pacific Theater

Memoir44.3.31.06.jpgThe latest Days of Wonder expansion to their Memoir '44 [Amazon,Funagain] WWII tactical board game is now shipping to stores. Memoir '44 Pacific Theater [Amazon, Funagain] includes 8 historic scenarios including the battles of: Wake Island, Guadalcanal, Guam, and Iwo Jima. Of course the title adds new pieces (what expansion wouldn't?) including new destroyers, aircraft carriers, and for you land lubbers the new map add jungles, rice paddies, cave networks, field hospitals and HQ supply tents to the mix.

The Official Line: From the jungles of Japanese-occupied Burma to the desolate slopes of long-forgotten atolls, discover this latest exciting expansion for Memoir '44! The Pacific Theater expansion introduces new units (Chindits, Japanese Giretsu Special Forces, US Marines), new weapons (Mobile Artillery, Flame throwing Tanks), new terrains and features (rope bridges, aircraft carriers, warships, caves...) and new figures (Japanese Infantry, Ha-Go Light Tanks and 75mm AA Guns), and more...

Revive some of the most ferocious battles of WWII like Iwo Jima or Okinawa! Use new rules, like the Japanese "Banzai!" war cry or the Marines' "Gung Ho" rally cry to win the battle!


  • A complete Japanese Army set including 48 Japanese infantrymen,
  • 12 Type 95 "Ha-Go" light tanks and 6 Type 98 75mm anti-aircraft guns
  • New rules including: the Seishin Kyoiku Doctrine, Banzai & Gung-Ho War Cry!
  • New Night Attacks Data Sheet
  • 44 new double-sided Terrain tiles including: jungles, cave networks, rice paddies, HQ-Supply Tents & Hospitals
  • 10 Round Markers including: Japanese medals, targeting cross-hairs, camouflage battle stars & minefield tokens
  • 4 Obstacles including: rope bridges, & new War Ships - destroyers & aircraft carriers
  • 14 new Special Forces badges: including the Chindits, Japanese Giretsu & more
  • 8 Historical Scenarios: from the early landing on Wake Island to the heavy fighting off the slopes of Guadalcanal, from the Japanese counter-attack on Guam to the Meat Grinder at Iwo Jima. Also includes the landing at Peleliu in Overlord format!

Memoir '44: Pacific Theater is available from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

Off His Gourd

DocBrownB.6.14.06.jpgHasbro is working on yet another Monopoly board game remake, this time focusing on that smoggy isle that never sleeps - Manhattan.

That's not the crazy bit.

Here it is:

According to Yahoo News Donald Trump, king of Manhattan, is shopping-around a new reality television series based on the new Monopoly remake. Yeah, you heard us right... and no, we have no idea how the show would work, either. He also has renowned TV documentarist R.J. Cutler involved in the production, too, which is probably the best of the news.

Why are we so bitter? Monopoly is an abstraction of reality, and to fold it back to reality again on a Produced TV set seems.. uh.. just a bit contrived. We also hate such Frankensteinian co-branding. And frankly, prime time TV doesn't need any more reality shows. Oh yeah, and it's our opinion that Trump's taste is tackier than a powder-blue tux at a viking funeral. Other than that -- it's a smashing idea.

Read more about this story on Yahoo News

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