May 16, 2007

WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck May 30th

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.

It’s May 15th today, which is the original ship date of the Molten Core Raid Deck for the World of Warcraft TCG, but Upper Deck has delayed the release by two weeks. The new date has the epic raid deck shipping just in time to be held by your shaking hands at the turn of the calendar.

Surprisingly Upper Deck hasn’t been very forthcoming with details on the raid deck. Its only two weeks away and there has be virtually no prerelease hype. We’re not quite sure who’s in charge of marketing limited edition product releases over at Upper Deck, but their lunchtime soft drink should be checked for scotch.

But there is some movement in the reeds – Upper Deck has launched the Official WoW TCG Molten Core Raid Deck website [link]. Currently it hosts some images of card art, but according to this post in the WoW TCG forums, the site should come alive with details by week’s end.

We’ll keep you apprised of the juicy details as Upper Deck’s marketing department sprints to release. Well, at this rate I’ll probably be a slow shuffle.

For now you can preorder the Molten Core Raid Deck [Funagain] at Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 11, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG: Onyxia's Lair Playmat

Onyxia Angry!
Those of you looking to offload the gobs of UDE points you've been hording from all your WoW TCG boosters now have a prize that’s not the standard fare of computer desktop wallpapers, in-game trinkets, and Ogre costumes. The new Onyxia's Lair Playmat has been pushed to the UDE points store, and is now available for purchase at the somewhat reasonable price of 12,000 UDE points.

The playmat has no real in-game functionality, so no - it doesn't help you organize your cards, it doesn’t automatically tap your allies when they run-in to deal pain, nor does it open beer bottles with worn teeth. But despite all these drawbacks we have to admit that the mat does look pretty snazy. Plus, what better way to make your hero look more bad ass than to have him standing above a hellish torrent of fire and brimstone? What’s that behind your opponent? Is that a well worn wood finish of a 1970’s card table? Yeah, real bad ass. Sucka.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 1, 2007

WizKids Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG Game

Star Wars Pocket TCG is set to ship in June 2007IGN has written-up a nice little preview of the upcoming Star Wars PocketModel TCG which is coming our way this Summer. As huge fans of the *cough* original Star Wars franchise the idea of pushing little model ships around the table and shouting blaster noises seems like a pretty good time in a box. Time to rewrite Porkin's fate.

Actually, these things don’t come in a box. Each TCG package includes “four to eight styrene constructible vehicle models, six game cards, two micro dice, assembly instructions and complete rules.” That seems like a lot to fit into our back pocket, so we’re not quite sure how the quality of these materials will feel during play. But I think we’re at least willing to give it a shot to see how the game plays out.

Aside from the IGN preview - which includes some pretty good pics - you can check out the game’s official press release from Wizkids Games. The Star Wars PocketModel TCG is slated to ship in June.

Edit: It looks as though Game Trade Magazine is hosting a Star Wars Pocketmodel TCG Giveaway which you can enter here. The contest is a bit exclusive; those of you who live outside the two northern Americas will have have to spend hard-earned cash to get your mits on the game. Bummer. But given the odds of contests, most of us are in that same boat with ya.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 30, 2007

April '07 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgWow, this was a busy month. A solid set of game releases, and tis the season for the release schedule updates, new game announcements, etc. Fantasy Flight Games dropped their release schedule onto the table last week, but we're also pretty darn excited about the announcement of Axis & Allies Guadalcanal. That series just keeps on kicking.

Meanwhile we've been playing quite a bit of the WoW TCG Through the Dark Portal Expansion. We're a bit iffy on the set as a stand alone thing, but the expansion shines-well as a complement to the original Heroes of Azeroth. We suppose that’s true of all TCG Expansion set releases, but a voice in the back of our collective heads (aka: Intern Ronnie) thought it was worth mentioning. In some ways the Expansion is a must-have if you want to keep your deck lean n' mean -- some of Azeroth's cards have become outdated by the 1:1 mapping of the card in the Dark Portal, which usually has the same amount of power but can be played for less cost. We're not quite sure how we feel about that.

We’ve also been throwing down some more Settlers of Catan: Struggle For Rome as we’ve realized the game definitely has some legs. It’s been a good month overall, but we’re anxiously awaiting some June / July releases including the BS:G RPG and Tide of Iron. They’re so close we can almost taste ‘em.

This month we’ll try to throw down a board of Galactic Destiny from Golden Laurel. Let the backstabbing begin! Also up this month we’ll break up Catan Live! to see how well a virtual board game can play on the Xbox Live service. Inquiring minds want to know. And we’ll continue to plug Through the Dark Portal, expansion to the WoW TCG, to see if we can find any obvious holes in the game’s second set release. It’s going to be a good one.

Game Releases

Board Games

Collectible Card Games

Gaming Culture

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April 27, 2007

Fantasy Flight Games 2007: Starcraft, Tide of Iron, Beowulf and WoW Expands

Starcraft BoxWoW being World of Warcraft, of course. Fantasy Flight Games has published their intended release schedule for the rest of 2007. Heading of the charts is a new Reiner Knizia release: Beowulf the Movie Board Game, which should hit stores around the same time as the major motion picture hits Hollywood Blvd in November.

Between now and then Fantasy Flight Games plans to shove a lot more down the release pipe. The World of Warcraft board game will be expanded with The Burning Crusade expansion, which extends the game into Outland, adding the new races of Draenei and Blood Elves, and the option of high speed flying mounts (of course). Those WoW players who find the original World of Warcraft board game to be rather.. large, will be able to sink the teeth into a new World of Warcraft Adventure Game. This time around the digested content should allow players to wrap a game in only an evening without fear of all-afternoon gaming hangovers. Sometimes our brains don't need that much exercise on the weekend.

But those gamers with a whole afternoon to burn will find all-new content in Fantasy Flight's latest Big Box Game centered around Blizzard's other Crafty franchise: Starcraft. Somewhere out in the vastness of space players will compete for control of a tactical battlefield, pushing their armies of Humans, Zerg, and Protoss to conquer resources, build forces and work down through tech trees. The gory details of this title are still a bit sparse, but with a gobs of pieces and a componentized/dynamic board we picture a more zoomed-in and strongly flavored verison of Twilight Imperium. Starcraft is currently scheduled for a late 2007 September release, and hopefully this will hold up; the game didn't quite make its original ship date of: last year, delayed for polish in true Blizzard fashion.

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April 11, 2007

"World of Warcraft TCG: Through the Dark Portal" Hits Stores

World of Warcraft TCG Through the Dark Portal ships in AprilThe friendly Winter armistice is bursting at the seams with the burden of cabin fever and internalized anxiety. Soon the blood feuds will begin anew. Your best friends will become your worst enemies. New vendettas will form, erupting with the pounding fury of angry fists on oak. Drinks will tumble. Words will be said, faces slapped. Cards will fly. The stage is set for a series of brutal summer evenings.

Or maybe you don't take this stuff as seriously as we do.

Either way - the Wow TCG is back, and The World of Warcraft TCG: Through the Dark Portal [Starter, Booster] has shipped to stores! In it you'll find 319 new cards, including new abilities, races, quests, allies, weapons and equipment for your Hero, all pulled from the World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Expansion.

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Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 6, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG: Official Podcast Launches

World of Warcraft TCG Through the Dark Portal ships in AprilIt was only a matter of time, really. In a world where a trading card game spawns from a virtual online entity, you should have been scratching your head wondering why this wasn’t started at the game’s original launch last year. But now we’re at the eve of the second set, and Upper Deck is starting to roll out a community friendly underground marketing tool to do things right this time around. And we’re pretty excited, because now we can hear words of wisdom directly from the mouths of the game’s designers. And that’s never anything to shake a stick at.

The inaugural podcast [link] interviews Brian Kibler – Lead Developer of the WoW TCG – about the upcoming release of the WoW TCG Through the Dark Portal expansion. Can’t say that we’re not surprised since the expansion is set to ship Wednesday, April 11th – in 5 days.

Specific Topics include the new paradigm of WoW TCG set releases, which should be released every four months from now on, the adaption of new class abilities like Dual Wield, and their ideology of translating the established content from the MMORPG while keeping it fresh, and new in the TCG.

The hosts also discuss the new Racial Champions that will be in the upcoming release. These guys are powerful ally cards that can only be played by particular races. The goal is to make each race/class combination unique, and bring a bit of story and gaming context to the various races of Warcraft in the TCG. Currently they’re just pretty pictures, so this is a step in the right direction in our opinion.

Also this week: the Upper Deck website has posted new official articles around the new upcoming Through the Dark Portal set:

  • Head of the Class: Rogue Boost: details the new Rogue hero cards, some of their new abilities. More interesting - though - is how the existing abilities from the Heroes of Azeroth block will complement the new cards in Through the Dark Portal.
  • Back to the Future: breaks down how the class/faction specific cards really open up now that the Allies can play Shamans, and now that the Horde can build Paladin decks.

Have a good weekend!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 1, 2007

March '07 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgMarch was a month of ups and downs. More ups then downs, really, when you consider how many new releases there were. Things kicked off with the Catan-like , and was followed by the party game Cineplexity from the makers of Apples to Apples. Then Mayfair finished off the month with their cathedral builder Pillars of the Earth, which is more approachable than similar themed Caylus, but yet delivers a game with enough depth to keep things interesting in the long run.

But then Tide of Iron was delayed, and some unrelated news broke that Microsoft's Xbox Live service is snatching up the exclusive rights to make popular board game titles. On one hand we love the idea of a new market for board game players, but on the other hand they're destroying numerous communities in the name of 'progress'. It's like tearing down forests to build schools for little children. The whole thing leaves a bad taste in our mouth in "Puerto Rico to Join Xbox Live Eurogames, But at a Cost".

But Spring has sprung and not everything is dreary and gray. The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game expansion: Through the Dark Portal ships this month. So does Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Agmar - which is something that we haven't talked about much, but we'll be sure to clue you in on our thoughts regarding the latest and greatest MMORPG from Turbine. And of course we'll keep you up to date with the latest in board game news throughout the month of April!

Speaking of which, don't forget to sign up for our weekly digest. Coffee on Monday morning is a heckofalot better when there's a slew of gaming news waiting for your in your mailbox!

Game Releases

Board Game News

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 30, 2007

World of Warcraft TCG: Through the Dark Portal

World of Warcraft TCG Through the Dark Portal ships in AprilFinally the concealing smock has been lifted from the World of Warcraft TCG: Through the Dark Portal expansion display table, and the juicy details from WoW TCG official website have started to flow. It’s been quite a long time coming, as the expansion has been not only highly anticipated, but the internals have been a closely guarded secret. Only now, months after the original Heroes of Azeroth release, can we finally focus our keen eyes on the new series of cards marching their way toward release this April.

The thing that has us a bit disheartened, though, is that this initial series of previews (links below) don't introduce any new gaming elements that significantly change the way we play the game. Instead it seems like the expansion provides more content based on the same systems from the initial release. In comparison, the Magic: The Gathering preview articles have always started-off with the introduction of 3-4 new keywords that seriously switch-up existing elements of the game. But with this round of WoW TCG class preview cards, we see a bit more of the gameplay elemets as before. Perhaps Upper Deck is trying to 'take it slow’ as to not alienate those players who are just starting out in the world of TCGs? Or maybe their holding onto their new ideas until after this weekend’s Sneak Preview Event. Either way we wouldn't mind seeing the game kicked up a notch, if not only a small one.

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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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