September 5, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG: Downloadable Demo Decks


Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

The official website of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game has released two 100% complete, printable decks of for your downloading pleasure. The demo decks preview the Protection Warrior Dwarf named Warrax versus the omnipresent World of Warcraft media personality Ta'zo, the Fire Mage Troll.

Here's a the official line from the WoW TCG website:

Following the hugely successful, exclusive demos at Gen Con Indy, many motivated WoW TCG fans put together their own copies of the Ta’zo and Warrax demo decks. Armed with only paper, glue, and a dream, these dedicated players constructed their own makeshift demo decks to try out the WoW TCG themselves, and what they saw was good!

For the benefit of everyone else, however, we decided to make it a bit easier.

On this page, you’ll be able to download the two demo decks and try out the game for yourself. Soon enough, you’ll be burning with Mage abilities, or cracking skulls with Warrax’s Arcanite Reaper. - From "Download WoW TCG Demo Decks Here!"

The decks come in four printable sheets each in full-color PDF formats. They can be played as-is (after some cutting), but we recommend pasting them onto higher-stock, or at least slipping them into card sleeves to avoid the wet noodle feeling of regular paper. Nobody likes a sloppy, floppy, spineless deck.

It's cool to see some of the Warrior ability cards in action, not just warrior armor and weapons. Battle Shout and Demoralizing Shout seem a bit weak, but Cleave leans into an opponent pretty hard - it allows the warrior to hit two targets, dealing each of them weapon damage +1. When you consider the warrior's weapons weigh in at 3-5 damage, Cleave can be some powerful stuff.

Once you've printed your cards, make sure you take a look through the rulebook to figure out what's up and what's down. And, as always, play WoW responsibly.

The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game is scheduled for an October 2006 release.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 1, 2006

August '06 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgGenCon has come and gone. Although the conference has cemented foundation in RPGs, we were still lucky enough to catch some great glimpses of both the Marvel Heroes boardgame, and gameplay footage of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. Also, Tempus shipped in August, which has turned out to be a strong strategic and fun title for a midsummer release. We'll probably be playing it well into the fall.

But of all the gaming news that came out in August, we're most excited about something which some will find small and inconsequential - the pending release of three Eurogames for Xbox Live. There have been other computer game ports of popular board game titles in the past (Days of Wonder has quite a lineup themselves), but never has there been such as an exciting distribution market as Xbox live. That service is teaming with video gamers who are hungry and willing to drop a little bit of electronic cash for a bit of a quieter and more social gaming experience. In a world where social networks are growing faster than grandpa's big toenail, a more cerebral interaction point might be just what XBox live community is looking for.

We can't wait to watch Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne make their splash in that network, which will hopefully resonate into our genre with an influx of new gamers making their way toward a face-to-face style of gaming.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We'll keep the eye on the ball for September as: Settlers receives an expansion, the World of Warcraft TCG ramps up to release, and we try to get our hands on Lost The Game before the new season starts. Until then, this is what we were Critical about in August 2006:

Board Games & Party Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 25, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Session Video


Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

We realize that it was only two weeks ago when we covered a lot of the World of Warcraft TCG for our first TCG It's Friday installment, but we were sucked back in with some cool news that we couldn't just sit on. To be honest, it wasn't hard to go back - we haven't been this excited about a release since Belichick put Brady in for the playoffs and set Bledsoe out to footballer's pasture (sorry Buffalo - the fact that he didn't then take an early retirement was his own doing).

The video (which comes from includes about 20 minutes of footage from Gen Con last week. The reporter plays as a Warrior against Upper Deck Entertainment Product Manager David Hewitt, who pulls the strings of a fire tossing Mage. The coverage includes an entire game played from start to finish with open hands, and also contains a few thoughts from David Hewitt about the Onyxia raid deck. The video is free to download, doesn't require any registration or other bueracratic / marketing nonesense, and .. what the heck are you waiting for?

Here are some notes we took while watching the game session so that you can join in the fun even if your computer doesn't have any speakers, or if you're running on a Apple II GS and can't watch those new fangled moving pictures.

ArrowContinue reading: "World of Warcraft TCG Session Video"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 21, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Official Rules


Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

The producers of the World of Warcraft TCG website have posted a link to the game's official 48-page rulebook. The rules are very simple to understand, precise, and go into the details of the seven card types that we had covered a week ago. The rulebook also contains new content including a clear description of the game's turn order and multiplayer rules, and includes detailed descriptions of the keywords for the WoW TCG Series-One cards.

We thought we'd include the keywords and definitions here since they're all very much tied into the flavor and presentation of the game. Some of the keywords are your standard TCG notions of Instant abilities and Unique cards, so we've pruned those snoozers out.

A special note about the rules of the "Protector" keyword - in combat it's usually the the attacking player who choses both the attacking and defending hero and ally. The "Protector" ability breaks that rule.

  • Bear Form: Some Druid abilities give your hero bear form. While in bear form, your hero has protector. When you play a non-Feral ability or strike with a weapon, you must destroy any ability cards in play that give your hero bear form.
  • Elusive: An elusive hero or ally can’t be attacked. However, it can still attack as usual. It can also be targeted by abilities as usual.
  • Ferocity: An ally with ferocity can attack on the same turn that it joins a party. However, even an ally with ferocity can’t use activated powers unless it has been in your party since the start of your turn. An ally with ferocity can still use regular payment powers that don’t require an activation.
  • Long-Range: Some weapons give your hero long-range. While a hero with long-range is attacking, defenders deal no combat damage to it.
  • Protector: A hero or ally with protector can defend in place of a proposed defender in combat.
  • Stealth: Some Rogue abilities give your hero stealth. While a stealthed hero is attacking, opposing heroes and allies can’t protect. As soon as your hero deals damage, you lose stealth and must destroy any card that gives you stealth.
  • Totem: A Totem is a special kind of Shaman ongoing ability. A Totem has a health value in its lower right corner. Totems can be attacked in combat or targeted by anything that would normally target an ally.
  • Unlimited: When a card has the “unlimited” keyword, you can put any number of them into your deck. For example, you could have 60 Orgrimmar Grunts cards in your deck instead of the normal maximum of 4.

Links to the online versions of the World of Warcraft TCG rulebook can be found here. We'd also like to make special note about the art of the "Battle of Darrowshire" , a Quest card detailed on the WoW TCG website this last week. The arrows to the neck is a perfect import from the undead models of the MMORPG, and that background is the coolest subtle, yet terrifying, background we've seen of a Trading Card in a long while. Totally fits the game's October release, too.

Can't wait!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 18, 2006

Dreambade: A Primer

Unspeakable FreakIn our second installment of TCG: It's Friday we'll take a look at some of the mechanics of Dreamblade, the hot ticket collectable miniatures game just released by Wizards of the Coast. It's what all the kids are talking about; it's all that WotC is talking about. It's what we're talking about.

A game of Dreamblade is about a conflict that takes place within the dreamscape - the shared unconsciousness of every sleeping person in the world. It seems that some mad scientists wanted to tap into our nightly horrorshow fantasies and watch how we retreat from the stresses of a normal work day. You know the dream they're after - You hear a crack as you bite into a old pretzel and realize your teeth are about to fall out, but then Chuck Norris swings down and saves you from the pit of ravenous squirrels only to be impaled on the mandebles of the giant soldier ants hellbent on taking over the government and installing an ironfist communist regime. When will those ants learn that it's a two party system?! Bah!

But we digress. The dreamscape of Dreamblade is represented as a board and starts as a neutral territory at the start of the game. Players spawn creatures in a race to be the first to gain control of the plane of unconsciousness. The presence of your creatures on specific places of the board will increase your control (read: score). Of course, your opponent is hellbent on doing the same thing, and can use his creatures to solidify his place in the dreamscape, or he could use them to attack your creatures in his attempt to kick you out of the plane once a for all.

Players collect creatures of various forms of dreams (Fear, Passion, etc) by buying them in booster packs. The player is then tasked with making a deck with a strong enough combinatoin of creatures to defeat his opponent through force or through trickery. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

ArrowContinue reading: "Dreambade: A Primer"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 11, 2006

TCG It's Friday: World of Warcraft Card Types

Warchief Thrall

Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

In our first installment of 'TCG Friday' we thought it would be wise to catchup with the World of Warcraft TCG (one of the biggest releases slated for this fall) by reviewing the official websites previews the game's card types. We've already reported on the two official WoW TCG articles which previewed the Hero and Ability cards. Since then the WoW website has continued to turn out the previews, publishing six articles for each of the remaining five card types ( do the math, something doesn't add up...). Together these previews give us a great glimpse at how this game system will ultimately end up.

So uh, if you don't mind, let's start glimpsing.

ArrowContinue reading: "TCG It's Friday: World of Warcraft Card Types"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

A Letter From the Editor - Trading Card Game Fridays

LetterFromEditor.8.11.06.jpgWe had a meeting early this week decussing the potential for a regular installment article for Friday afternoons. A few theme ideas went around the table, with the most popular being an article on Trading / Collectable Card Games.

We're not really a website that focuses too much on the genre, but we realize that there are cool things coming down the pipe during the second half of this year. We thought that one TCG day out of five was probably a good ratio. So from here till Christmas expect our Friday stories to revolve around all things cool in TCGs.

If you have any requests or suggestions for TCG articles, or if you want to give us heads-up on news or rare TCG games that you're following, etc, please let us know!


David DB
Editor at

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 4, 2006

Xeko Trading Card Game

Xeko.8.4.06.JPGWe were surfing when we ran into Xeko, a trading card game for kids with a 'learn about the environment' theme. The first set is centered around the rare animals and unique ecosystem of the inbred cousin of Africa, Madagascar. The game reminds us of those National Geographic animal cards that were around when we were younger. In that series, each card detailed an animal (usually from Africa) including its habitat, behavior, and a purty color photo.

Xeko is like that, but makes a game out it, where players fight to create the strongest ecosystem. Man, this would have been fantastic when we were younger.

Here are the details:

Based on the Legend of Xeko and conservation hotspots, Xeko ignites imaginations and sends the next generation of heroes on an adventure to save the world.

The Xeko game features remarkable plant and animal species from Earth's biodiversity hotspots first identified by Norman Myers and recognized by Conservation International. Currently numbered at 34, the hotspots contain 75 percent of the planet's most threatened mammals, birds and amphibians while covering just 2.3 percent of the Earth's surface. An estimated 50 percent of all vascular plants and 42 percent of land vertebrates exist only in these hotspots.

Preserving our planet's biodiversity is Xeko Mission: Critical.

Every Xeko player is an eco-hero. Every game purchase helps fund conservation efforts in the field.

The Xeko motto: Have fun, do good!

Xeko's official website has more information, including a demo of the game. Also, here's a KidsWorld review of the game here, and it looks like a store called Queen Anne Books sells the game online.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 3, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Website Reveals Cards


Want to get started playing the WoW TCG? Then pick up a Starter Deck and a few booster packs. Also check-out Our Review.

Finally, the official World of Warcraft TCG website has started to reveal some of the game's cards. First up on the docket are the game's hero cards. These cement a player's deck, dictating what type of armor, weapon, ally and ability cards that the player can use in any game.

Example: The fugly Troll Mage Ta'zo to the right here. He's a fire mage for the Horde, with enchanting and tailoring skills which allow him to play and use enchanting and tailoring items and abilities. His class (Mage) and race (Troll) dictate the type of spells, abilities, and allies that he can take into a fight. Ta'zo also has a special ability to burn a target for 3 damage - but he can only do it once per game.

When a player uses his hero ability, he flips the hero card over. And in a nice execution of design, the back sides of hero cards have all of the same information as the front, but the design crops-out the special ability (since it's been used) and repositions the rest of the card information into a small heads down display, making room for the card's killer art. Nice. Check out the backside of Ta'zo. Err.. the backside of his card.

There's another post featuring the Ability card "Gouge", which is something for the rouges of the world. The Gouge card lets Rogues exhaust (tap) a target Hero or ally. Other than that, there really isn't much going on here, but the article goes WoWCardGouge.8.3.06.jpg through the anatomy of the ability card type. Also worth mentioning is that this article let's us now know that there are two classifications of Abilities: the standard, and the Instant ability which can be played at any time. Also, we get a look at the WoW TCG card rarity scale works:

"A white number means the card is common. (Gouge is a common.)

A green number means the card is uncommon.

A blue number means the card is rare.

A purple number means the card is epic.

An orange number means the card is legendary. (The legendary cards in the Heroes of Azeroth set are alternate versions of regular cards. They come with a special code you can enter in the WoW online game that gives your character cool new stuff.)"
From "World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Preview: Ability"

The "number" refers to the card's index into the complete block. Gouge is card 99 out of 381 in the Azeroth block.

It looks as though things are shaping up nicely for the WoW TCG. The card art is top notch (as expected), and the information / rules on the cards is concise and easy to read, and they have good flavor text. And what would WoW be without it's insanely deep flavor?

We'll keep you posted when the site reviews the armor, weapon, item, ally and quest card types.

Also see:

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 31, 2006

July '06 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgJuly flashed before our eyes. Pretty soon we'll be admist the dog days of August, lazily sitting and watching the twilight of Summer go by. It's sad really. But at least it's almost time for Football!

Thankfully we're far from bored. We had two great family board game releases this month with "Rum and Pirates", and the Spiel des Jahres Award winning "Thurns and Taxis". The World of Warcraft TCG prerelease media is finally starting to ramp up. And, we've been busy slugging it out in the War of the Ring expansion "Battles of the Third Age". We'll have more of that tomorrow (but here's a preview: we like what we see).

Board Games

Party Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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