April 3, 2006

March '06 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgMarch was quite the busy month at Critical Gamers. We received the first good details of the upcoming World of Warcraft CCG. Battlestar Galactica also became credible when their website launched and their feature articles started pouring out, and Fantasy Flight Games revealed a monster lineup of boardgames scheduled for a 2006 release. We're pumped.

But most important of all -- Critical Gamers (that's uh, this site) officially launched mid March. It's been a long time coming and we're damn glad to be here. *sniff*

Ok, hug-time is over. Let's get down and boogie:

Collectible Card Games

Board Games

Gaming Culture

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 28, 2006

Battlestar Galactica CCG: "Focus on Resources"

BSG.CCG.3.28.06.jpgThe official website of the upcoming Battlestar Galactica Collectible Card Game has posted their second feature article "Focus on Resources" which discusses the game's resource-card mechanics.

Think of resource production in BS:G as your faction's ability to gear-up for war. Your main base (the Battlestar Galactica, for instance) will be your major production house at the start of the game. Each turn it'll produce some of the game's various resource types (3 in all) which you spend to bring more cards into play.

Some of your other cards will be specialized production houses of their own that add to your resource-pool each turn. These production centers are important since you'll need their extra oomph to play the game's beefier, more powerful cards.

If you find yourself in a resource rut, then you can also discard any card from your hand and place it face-down underneath one of your existing resource producers. This destroys your discarded card for all intents and purposes, but grants that resource production stack a +1 bonus on all subsequent turns. You can continue to grow any one or you stacks by repeatedly burning cards to boost its power.

From "Focus On Resources" In the Battlestar Galactica™ collectable card game (CCG), controlling the flow of resources is just as important. There are three resources: persuasion, logistics, and security. Persuasion is linked to the decisions made by influential individuals, and it also illustrates the insidious plans of the Cylons. Logistics covers the management of supplies and equipment. Security is primarily the projection of military force, using fighters, scout craft, and heavily armed pilots and marines.

The game's mechanics seem to be shaping up quite nicely. We now have fewer questions about gameplay, but the ultimate question still remains: Does the game have enough content and twists to be a fun game for the long-run.

We need to see more cards to answer this question. Unfortunately, the official site's card gallery isn't up yet.

Inquiring minds want to know!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 26, 2006

"Axis & Allies Miniatures Contested Skies" Released

P51DMustang3.26.06.jpgThe collectible game Axis and Allies Miniatures expands this weekend with 45 new units in the new "Contested Skies" booster series. The main focus is on the main fighter and ground attack aircraft of WWII: The United States receives the P-51D Mustang (of course), the Soviet Air Force - the IL-10 Sturmovik, the Germans get both the JU 87G Stuka diver bomber and the Bf109E fighter, and the Japanese receive the Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

The expansion includes ground forces for each these factions, and more (!), including the lumbering French bathtub Char B1 tank, and various anti-aircraft guns and vehicles. The official website has a complete Gallery of the 45 miniatures which make-up the set, and also lists each piece's rarity (note: all aircraft are 'rare').

The Contested Skies expansion ships in the form of booster packs, which are on sale now.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 21, 2006

Battlestar Galactica CCG: "Welcome to the Combat Information Center"

BattlestarGalactica.3.21.06a.jpgThe first feature article on the official BS:G Collectible Card Game website has been published. "Welcome to the Combat Information Center" does well to solidify game details which have already been released in fractured previews here and there, and it lays the groundwork for future upcoming feature articles. If you haven't read-up on this game yet then "Welcome to the Combat Information Center" serves as a great starting point.

From "Welcome to the Combat Information Center": The complex storyline of Battlestar Galactica call for constantly changing situations. We create a similar experience in the game by providing an interactive sequence of play. So, instead of using the terms “your turn” and “my turn,” we use the term “our turn.”
See, space isn't so vast and lonely if we all gather around for a quick hug every once in a while. But don't cluster -- Cylons have nukes.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 20, 2006

World of Warcraft TCG Interview

World_of_Warcraft_Logo.3.6.06.jpgWe're big fans of the World of Warcraft online role playing game, so the WoW TCG has always been more than just a blip on our fall '06 radar. And when GamingReport.com posted this great WoW TCG interview with Upper Deck's Cory Jones (Director of New Product Development), we frothed at the mouth, read it thrice, and then enjoyed a cigarette for peaceful reflection. World of Warcraft the TCG is a huge title coming down the pipe with what seems like tons of content and a very strong backing from Upper Deck, and reading this great stuff only makes us want it more.

The interview brings special attention to how well the card-art is shaping up for this game. Upper Deck has signed famous talents like Spawn artist Todd McFarlane, fantasy artist Boris Vallejo, and the guys at Penny Arcade to make art for the individual cards. Upper Deck hasn't had problem signing artists for two reasons: there are a ton of famous artists who love the World of Warcraft Massive Online PC Game, and who are more than willing to contribute to the TCG version, and also because it's rumored that Upper Deck has spent four times the art budget of any of the previous titles in their "Vs." line of trading card games. Four Times!

WoW_Mike.3.20.06.JPGAs a cool variant to normal gameplay, the WoW TCG will also have Raid Decks (the dragon Onyxia was named for example). In a raid you and your friends will customize your character decks to work together as a party to solve specific challenges of the raid. Each raid deck will come with a gold foiled wrapped treasure chest collection of cards that will contain special item rewards for your group when it completes the challenge. It was slightly unclear if raids will only be held at sanctioned tournaments, or if these raid decks will be available for personal purchase (hopefully). Either way, it's a freakin' cool side mechanic, and it complements the game's overarching character development.

Some products will also have special scratch card rewards, either as part of purchased decks, or as tournament rewards. These scratch cards will contain codes that unlock content for players in the PC version of WoW.

The WoW trading card game is shaping up to be fantastic blend of social card gaming and World of Warcraft character building goodness, and every new bit of information makes this game sound better and better. Read more of the interview here.

The WoW TCG is currently slated for a late-September/early-October 2006 release.

That's Sarya in bear-form. She likes to gnaw on the heads of children who dont sit still.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 13, 2006

MT:G Guidpact Draft Strategies

MagicGuildpactIzlet3.13.06.jpgWe've played enough Guildpact (via Magic Online) to have hit that "comfortable" level of card knowledge. Replicate has been a cinch since day one, but Haunting no longer scares us, and we've learned that the 'trick' to Bloodthirst isn't knowing when to use it, but knowing how to defend against it.

Now It's time to put a draft-tournament together to see which critical-genius is the alpha male of the 'pact.

It's funny how well things fall into place in life. Synchronicity I suppose - 'cause Wizards of the Coast just posted a great feature article regarding Guildpact Drafting Strategies. This is only part one of two, so the article doesn't march headstrong toward a end-all conclusion, but there's still some great tidbits in here.

This seems like Noah Weil's first article for official Magic:TG website, and yet he's got the saphrolings to flatout rank the Guildpact faction from best to worst: 1.Izzet (Red/Blue) 2.Gruul (Red/Green) 3.Orzhov (White/Black). A fairly lbrave move I must say, but he describes why he's made his selections, and his reasons are hard to disagree with.

Click here to read the full article.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 6, 2006

World Of Warcraft CCG Survey

World_of_Warcraft_Logo.3.6.06.jpgUpper Deck is asking for 15 minutes of your time to help shape their upcoming World of Warcraft Collectible Card Game. Twelve lucky participating surveyors will receive a free WoW CCG Starter Pack when the game is released.

Meld a game to your liking, and receive free booty?? Not too shabby.

Click here to participate in the survey.

Edit: It seems that the website is very hit or miss this evening. If it won't load then you should check back with them tomorrow.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 1, 2006

Guildpact Hits Magic Online

RumblingSlum.jpgOkay, okay. Guildpact MTG:O went live on Monday, but today the bell strikes leagues o'clock. We're not rich enough to throw money at online just-for-fun-cards, but now we gots a reason to pay and play. Leagues!

The Leagues open at noon PST, which is only a short time from now. You'll need the normal Event Tickets (2), Ravnica Tournament Pack (1), and Guildpact Boosters (3), all of which are available via the MTG:O webstore.

Each league will launch when full (256 players), and is scheduled to last one week with a total of 5 matches to play. These Release Leagues pay 2x the normal prizes, and also unlock avatars for participation. And If you're so freakin' good that you can go 5-0, then you'll get a special avatar: Rumbling Slum. He sounds gorgeous.

The other Release Event signups open at 9:00am PST and include draft tournaments and Flights that pay 2x, 4x, or 6x the normal number of booster pack prizes. See the Magic Online Guildpact Release Event page for a complete list of relaese events requirements, schedules, and payouts.

Good luck in the pact... but not too much luck. We'd hate to lose to you.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 28, 2006

Official Battlestar Galactica CCG Website Launches

WizKids just launched an official website for the upcoming Battlestar Galactica Collectible Card Game. The site contains the latest preview news, some scattered card previews (the official card preview page is yet to come), and an example walk through of a few rounds of the game.

The game's initial release of cards is set during the first two seasons of the show. This was a period when the newly appointed President Roslin butted heads with the meatshield Admiral Adama over which direction to take the ragtag human fleet, both physically and socially. The game is most centered around this internal struggle, and not centered on the fight of Cylons vs Humans, which is a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully there will be an expansion, 'cause man, a clash of human-will versus the replicating Cylon threat would have been fantastic.

Anyway, enough fantasizing. In this game, you control a political or military leader vying for ultimate control of the fleet. Your deck will contain various personnel and ships which you can use to attack your opponent from two fronts. A successful attack against an opponent decreases their influence.

Each card in-play also increases the chance of a Cylon attack which would occur in the final phase of a turn. These attacks rain down on both sides as players take turns controlling the Cylons in an attempt to deal as much damage as possible. It's catchy a thing, though, because a successful counter of a Cyclon raid from one faction will increase that player's influence (and thus bring that player closer to winning the game).

This example play is fairly interesting. It pits Conflict-Stallin' President Roslin versus the Big-Mamma-Jamma Admiral Adama. The President's collection of cards boosts her influence through personnel staff actions (as opposed to ship combat), and weaken the opposition's influence via similar means. Adama has a weaker personnel pool, but stronger ships which stand-up better to the inevitable Cylon attacks. In fact, his cards seemingly provoke Cylon attacks as a tool to weaken his opponent. Since Adama has powerful ships, his ability to withstand the attacks means he has a better chance to increases his own influence during each raid. Now -- we haven't seen all the cards yet, so we're not completely certain how this would play-out in the long run, but as of not it seems like a major theme in the game.

Not everything comes up roses in this preview, and we have a few problems.. err.. questions with the setting of the game. Should Adama really send ships to attack President Roslin? That doesn't seem right. Last time we checked, Adama and Roslin were quite the chums. And since when did the President command ships in combat?

But these are petty questions amongst the whole scheme of cool things, and they'll probably fall out of the wash once we starting pulling cards off the deck. In all, this collectable card game seems relatively straight forward, fun, and quick to play.

We're looking forward to this release in the next couple of months. We'll have more news as things develop.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 21, 2006

MTG Online Guildpact Release Schedule

The folks at MTG_Guidlpact.jpgWizards of the Coast have posted the Magic The Gathering: Online Guildpact Release Event Schedule. If you're a bloodthirsting magic junky like were are, then make sure to give this a quick glance-over.

Release events start Monday February 28th, at 9:00am, PST. Most events award players with new Avatars, and at least two times the normal prize payout of booster packs. Some of these tournaments pay-out 6x the normal boosters - that's 72 boosters for first place! Sweet mamma jamma.. that's a spicy pay-out.

If you're not familiar with the new Guildpact expansion, then we recommend reading over some of these fantastic articles written by the Magic designers, specifically this Guildpact Combo article. Beware the combos! Finally, here's a great summary of the new Guildpact rules including Haunt, Bloodthirst and Replicate.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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