July 1, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Review

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30thIn our review of the World of Warcraft TCG: Molten Core Raid Deck [Amazon,Shopzilla] we offer our final impressions on the second - in what we hope to be a long line - of cooperative WoW TCG experiences out of Upper Decks lab of mad scientist .

Of course this article serves as the final act in a tree part series. Our step-by-steb impressions from the two prior Molten Core articles: WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Hands On Part 1 and Part 2 walked through the extended raid experience of ten boss battles in a row. Today we offer some insights and reflections on the good bits, the bad bits, and some suggestions on how you might sculpt the raid to get thoe m most challenging and entetaining experience for your WoW TCG group.

The only question we still have in our group of five, is "what's next?"

ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Review"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 28, 2007

Handoff! Football Card & Dice Game Enters Beta

Handoff! Enters BetaAttention football fans: training Camp is now in full swing, which means we simply have to manage the crucible of a few hot summer months before the autumnal battles of football echo in living rooms across America. Hard hits, coffee table throw downs, spicy wings and erratic heartbeats will follow. Consult your physician now.

Independent Gamers, Inc is preparing themselves, honing their upcoming Football Card & Dice Game - "Handoff!" - and is looking for a few good beta testers to give feedback on the title's gameplay. Interested parties should visit the Founder's Blog (the official website should launch soon) to learn how to apply for your own Official Handoff! Beta Tester Kit. The kit includes a mini version of the game, and a feedback form so your active participation can make the game go the distance.

We're working to get our own copy of the game in-house to run it through its paces. Keep your eyes peeled for more football gaming goodness coming your way soon.

Go on three. Ready -- break!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 22, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Hands On Part 2

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30thWhen sat down and talked about running through the World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Deck [Amazon,Shopzilla], with a party of five heroes, we unanimously decided to make a true challenge of it and go for the entire raid experience. That meant downing each of the raid's 10 bosses in a row, without rest, or heals, or reshuffling of decks. We were going to tackle this thing like a Forza 2 Endurance Race.

But the first night [part one] went much slower than anticipated. We were thinking the whole raid would be a three hour affair. But with five of us playing heroes, and a sixth pulling the strings of the Molten Core bosses and cannon fodder, the night stretched, and stretched, and stretched on and on, until we decided to call it quits 3.5 hours at 11:00pm. So we packed things up on the fifth boss - Baron Geddon.

We reconvened a week later for the final push. The group sat down, cracked some beers, setup the board as it was before, and in forced march sitting we put our heads down and pushed through the five remaining bosses: Shazzrah, Sulfuron Harbringer, Golemagg, Majordomo Executus, and the king of the first pits Ragnaros. Here's how evening two went down from th e perspective of Russ - the Critical Gamer who we placed in charge of running the Molten Core raid experience.

ArrowContinue reading: " WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Hands On Part 2"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 15, 2007

Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG

Han SoloWhen we were 25 years younger Star Wars was everything. We had our parents take us to see the movie time nad time again, watching giddily with excited eyes as Han and Luke swatted down pesky TIE Fighters from the Falcon's turrets. We slept in Star Wars sheets, ate from our Star Wars lunch box, and even sat in attention whenever R2 and 3P0 appeared on TV to help fight the war against big tobacco.

The best part of our lazy childhoodod of the early 80''s was on Saturdays, when we'd all convene at the basement of the mother who drew the shortest straw, and reenact the battles of the movie with Kenner Action Figures and giant vehicles. We could barely lift the Faclon and the AT-AT was out of control - and that's exactly what made it so freakin' cool.

Fast forward two and half decades, and the Star Wars the Pocketmodel TCG arrives on the scene. The title isn't shipping with a starter deck, but it comes in two offerings: Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG Boosters [Amazon,Funagain] , and Pocketmodel TCG Powerup Pack [Shopzilla,Funagain] which includes a preconstructed Imperial Star Destroyer.

Now, we to be a bit critical here: the rules and the game system aren't quite as deep as we would have hoped for in a Star Wars strategic space battle offering, and the models are a 'tad small. But that isn't giong to stop us from designing our own large mass battles of Rebel fleets on hit and run raids against Star Destroyers, or pulling Crazy Wookies to spin around our YT-1300 and line up a run between the gun arcs on a Corellian Corvette. wARRnung!

Punch it.

Here are the official details:

Star Wars Pocket TCG is shipping to stores

"The Star Wars PocketModel TCG combines the best features of classic TCGs with those of constructible strategy games (CSGs), a category that WizKids pioneered for kids. This TCG innovation allows players to use characters and action scenes from the movies on their cards to help control their fleets of PocketModel ships as they attempt to destroy each other's objectives. This exciting, easy-to-learn game derives its content from all six Star Wars movies, making it possible for fans of all generations to enjoy battling for control of the galaxy!

Following in the tradition of WizKids' successful Pirates CSG, no Starter is required for game play.

The Power Up Pack includes a pre-constructed Imperial Star Destroyer (not available in the booster pack). The card distribution includes 3 other ships not available in the booster packs."

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 13, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Hands On Part 1

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30thAfter a week of prep work and rules research, a pesky bachelor or two, and some inevitable schedule juggling, we finally sat down last night to put the World of Warcraft TCG Molten Core Raid Deck [Amazon,Shopzilla] through its paces.

We were eager to see how Upper Deck handled this second raid deck installment -- we had some problems with the Onyxia deck which seemed far too easy for five of our finely tuned veteran solo decks. This time around we decided to switch things up by adding a few alternate characters to the mix . Our classic Fire Mage was benched for an alternate Frost Mage (which seemed more appropriate for running the fiery chasms of the Molten Core, anyway), and our main rogue was swapped out for a Holy Paladin with the in hopes of adding that extra healing oomph that we’d need to survive the upcoming marathon of ten major boss battles.

MCFireLord.jpgWe put Critical Gamer Russ – our WoW expert - in charge of pulling the strings of the Molten Core Bosses. Last night for two hours our flock of Heroes danced around and smacked Russ in the face as we downed the raid’s first five bosses. In the following article he recounts the night’s battle from the eyes of the antagonist, and comments on the Molten Core Raid Deck’s success and failures of adapting the 40-man online raid into a card game for the WoW TCG.

ArrowContinue reading: "WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Hands On Part 1"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 7, 2007

Randy Gallegos: Dreaming in Black and White

DreamingIng in Black and WhiteAcclaimed artist Randy Gallegos has compiled and bound a selection of his art fantastic creations commissioned for the World of Warcraft TCG, Magic the Gathering, and D&D; source materials for your viewing pleasure. The first book of his collection The Art of Gallegos: Dreaming in Black and White is slated to ship in July, and even dons Randy Gallegos signature!

Here are the juicy details:

"Daydream Graphics is pleased to announce the publication of The Art of Gallegos: Dreaming in Black and White, a 64-page perfect-bound softcover book featuring over 100 drawings and sketches from Magic: the Gathering, World of Warcraft, Dungeons & Dragons, and many other venues, even including artwork appearing in this summer's MtG Tenth Edition and recent WoW sets Dark Portal and Molten Core.

This is the first collection of Randy Gallegos' artwork, and retails for $19.95, signed by the artist. For a limited time, orders placed prior to the book's release on 7/26 will have the option of including an original sketch inside.

More information can be found at the artist's website: http://gallegosart.com"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 1, 2007

May '07 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgWow, anyone else notice the mad congo line of releases during this post Memorial Day Week? And with there being only four days, we didn't even get a chance to report that two more titles - Notre Dame and Age of Discovery - have both been released.

We also hear that Tide of Iron should be washing up on our doorsteps sometime in the next few days! And the WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck just arrived. Oh boy, what a sweet week for gaming.

So hopefully we'll have some good reviews for you in June, including a review of the WoW TCG expansion Through the Dark Portal, and the intergalactic space opera game of diplomacy and warfare in the upcoming Galactic Destiny board game from Golden Laurel.

And at some point in June we plan to sleep, too.

Game Releases

Board Games

Collectible Card Games

Gaming Culture

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 30, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Released

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30thThe day is finally here. The second Raid Deck for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game is shipping from stores, and you could be taking on the Molten Core [Shopzilla, Funagain] with your friends as early as this weekend. And although the Official MC Website still remains somewhat dormant, the feature articles page of the Official WoW TCG site continues to churn out articles particular to this new raid experience.

And we're finally getting some fantastic details about the mechanics of the card game as well. It seems that not all raid decks (Onxyia, Molten Core.. Black Temple?) will be the same. Most of the mechanics of the single raid boss style of the Onyxia Raid Deck are thrown out the window. Instead players of Molten Core can chose to take on an abbreviated raid experience, by downing the first boss Lucifron, three random bosses chosen from random, and then the final boss battle with the Fire Lord Ragnaros. Alternatively, those with a passion for sagas can chose to play the long-game, downing each of the raid's 10 different bosses in order.

RagnarosSmash.jpgHere's a piece from the article:

"The first thing you’ll notice when you crack open your shiny new Molten Core Raid Deck is that there’s a ton of stuff inside. There are three different decks, ten oversize hero cards for the Bosses, a pile of two-sided ally tokens, seven rune cards, and a ten-card treasure pack." -From "Molten Core Walkthrough - Part 1"

There's more great info, too, including a catalog of the different decks and the number of cards in each. Most of the Molten Core bosses share a Main Deck and a Minion deck, but then the game switches a new deck in once Ragnoros has been summoned for your beating pleasure.

FirelordWe're really glad to see that all of the ten MC raid bosses made it into this raid deck - we would have hated if they abbreviated the various characters of the Molten Core cast. Plus, it somewhat validates all of the time and energy we spent in February on our Molten Core Boss Previews [part 1, 2 & 3].

We're also quite happy to see that the game mechanics are flexible and that the experience scales so that those with light equipment can have some fun in an hour, and those to with the uber equipment can try a full clear of the raid with their heroes on a rainy afternoon. Although the various TCG heroes of our collective bunch were in top shape before Onyxia was released, we're not quite sure we're up to a full clear yet. We now have something to grow into, tune for, spend time on, and something that'll be certainly be immensely gratifying once we accomplish it as a team. And really, isn't the essence of World of Warcraft raiding right there?

After the Onyxia Raid Deck [review] we were a bit concerned with the balancing of future raid deck releases. But now we're giddy once again. Expect a full review once we've cured Ragnaros' burning itch.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 25, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Treasure Pack Card Previews

Molten Core Raid begins on May 30th

The WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck has been released, and is now available from Shopzilla and Funagain Games.

As we reported last week, the WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck Official Website kicked off just over a week ago. You would think that with just under a week to go before the game's release on May 30th that the Official Website would be erupting with gobs of info about the title. But nearly a week has passed since the website went live, and they've had absolutely no updates. Zip. Zilch. It's as if the ground opened up and swallowed the webmasters whole.

Thankfully the official website has started to roll out a series of feature articles detailing the cards to be won in the Molten Core Treasure Packs. These serve as the well-deserved reward to those groups who defeat the raid deck (whatever challenges it may contain *hurmph*), and come in a presealed pack - only to be opened once Ragnaros has been laid to rest. Most of the cards fall into the Rare or Epic category (Blue/Purple), and those of you who played the Onxyia Raid Deck can attest that these cards can be pretty darn powerful if used in the correct situations.

The first few articles from this week focus on the weapons in the Molten Core set. And if you were to ask our opinion, they ramp up starting with the solid 'good' equipment in "Core Hound Tooth", eventually leading up to the more drool-worthy "Obsidian Edged Blade". This Friday (today) we see the first pieces of class-specific leg armor in "Tier Two Leggings" starting with the leg pieces for the Warlock and Shaman classes. They're definitely seem to impress us quite a bit more than the class-generic weapon cards that proceeded them, and we can't wait to see what sort of trinkets round off the set next week.

Here are the articles thus far:

As these articles are rolling out, the cards themselves are also being posted at the WoW TCG Database for your easy perusal; through two sets and a raid deck it remains our favorite place to research cards. Now if only Upper Deck could spill some details on the Molten Core Raid Deck gameplay. It's five days before release, and um... Tick Tock.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 24, 2007

Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG Rules Posted

Star Wars Pocket TCG is set to ship in June 2007WizKids has posted the rules of their upcoming "Star Wars Pocketmodel Trading Card Game" [Funagain] set to release in June. The instructions [pdf] are available after listening to the 1980's secret cereal prize voice on the game's official web page.

The gameplay seems relatively straight forward, and definitely on the lighter end of the spectrum - players create fleets of limited cost, then fly them at each other rolling dice to determine hits, and playing cards to augment battle results. We're expecting a light fun game, with some of the payoff being the assembly of ships picked from our favorite fantasy/sci-fi setting of childhood.

Return of the Jedit got something rightWho needs the characters of Star Wars anyway, or the horribly coreographed lightsaber batles of the original trilogy? The true star of the show is the large scale space battles and utilitarian/dirty ship design, and that's what we get here. To top it off we'll happily fill-in the Sound FX for this shrunken laundry incarnation of what is the epitome of 80's sci-fi movie craft. A lost art, indeed.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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