February 14, 2011

Design Your Own Ticket to Ride Map and Win $10,000

Ticket To Ride.jpg

In preparation for their 10 year anniversary, Days of Wonder (DoW) has announced a $10,000 design contest. Contestants must design their own Ticket to Ride map and DoW will select the best fan-made map to win. The winner will receive $10,000 and the map will be added as part of a Ticket to Ride Map Collection to be revealed at Essen Spiel 2011, alongside new maps designed by Ticket to Ride creator Alan R. Moon. For official rules and entry form, visit the Days of Wonder design contest page.

At Days of Wonder $10,000 Map Design Contest

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February 13, 2011

Be the Envy on the Block with Laser Cut Catan Tiles

Catan Laser Cut.jpg

It's pretty cool to own Settlers of Catan, one of the games that began the Eurogame craze in the United States but it's pretty amazing to own a version with laser cut tiles. Thanks to jmne over at Thingiverse, you can make your own set. You supply the material (wood, acrylic, aluminum, etc.) and the laser cutter, they supply the printer files. Check out the red acrylic version, pretty sweet.

At Thingiverse

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 3, 2011

Monopoly Mapped to Modern Games

Scott Nicholson of ex Board Games with Scott fame has put together a video that really rings true with us. It tackles the game Monopoly, the classic monolith of board gaming from our youth. Now, we roll our eyes at this title mainly because it has numerous outdated mechanics. Things that - if you think about it - really rub you the wrong way and have been since fixed by the evolution of new mechanics that emerged over the last decade through the Renaissance of board gaming.

Scott has put a list of his own often groan-worth Monopoly mechanics, and the good mechanics, and recommends new games that emulate and fix these elements. It's a great primer for those of you looking to get back into gaming, or for a shotgun blast of interesting titles that have refined games that you may look fondly back to.

Nice work Scott! Especially since you just retired? :) Maybe the videos were posted out of order.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

November 12, 2010

November 13th 2010 is National Board Gaming Day

NationalBoardGame2010.JPGNow here's a movement that we could get behind. Tomorrow in libraries across the United States kids will be able to join together for gaming goodness in what we hope will be a reoccurring national day of gaming. We're not just talking one or two cities, but 1,800 different libraries across the country. How brilliant is this?

Here are some of the details:

"Libraries will offer a variety of activities throughout the day, including modern board games, traditional games (such as chess and checkers) and two national video game tournaments that will pit players at dozens of libraries against each other for bragging rights to the ultimate Rock Band and Super Smash Bros. Brawl crowns.

Through a generous donation from North Star Games, 1,500 of the participating libraries are receiving a free copy of the game Wits & Wagers Family, specifically for play during National Gaming Day."

You can easily check here for libraries near you. For more information check out the official announcement here.

This of course begs the question: why isn't there a library for games? Is your game night coming up ? Check out a game and bring it back the day after! We smell a franchise brewing.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 21, 2010

Civilization 5 is Out, Productivity Nosedives

Civilization5.jpgOh sweet day of days Civilization 5 [Amazon] is out. Sure the line of Civilization games by Sid Meier aren't technically board games but the franchise lineage is everything a board game on PC should be, and more. Strategic depth, tactical combat, developing technology, disparate cultures, military and diplomacy engines, dynamic terrain environments, fog of war, random events, space races, atom bombs and green energy *gasp*... Civilization incorporates every cool facet of growing an empire from stone age to space age and animates it on your computermatrix.

And now a new Fifth Installment is here. Upgrades from the amazing 4th edition include a new graphics engine with varying tilesets based on different continents, a hex based map, combat with new tactical depth (no more unit stacking), new elements in the mechanics of culture and ethics, new AI and more intriguing options when it comes to diplomacy, city states, new tech trees.... oh man. The list goes on and on.

And you know whats even better? It's 5:00 which means it's officially quitting time. The night will be filled with Just-On-More-Turn-itis, and a pot of coffee is already brewing. See you tomorrow (maybe).

Here's a great Civilization 5 Video Review by GameTrailers. And, as always, here are the game's official details:

Sid Meier's Civilization® V is the fifth offering in the multi-award winning Civilization strategy game series featuring the famous "just one more turn" addictive gameplay that has made it one of the greatest game series of all time. Become Ruler of the World by establishing and leading a civilization from the dawn of man into the space age: Wage war, conduct diplomacy, discover new technologies, go head-to-head with some of history's greatest leaders and build the most powerful empire the world has ever known.
  • Successful diplomacy will depend on players carefully managing relationships with other leaders, trading items and land, plying them with gold, and deciding if they are friend or foe
  • Expanded visuals and immersive audio invite would-be kings to take up the reigns of power and forge a mighty empire. Civilization V offers a limitless variety of vast, realistic and diverse landscapes for players
  • An intuitive interface eases both new players and Civ veterans into the game. Guided by a set of trusted advisors who will explain game functionality and provide counsel for significant decisions
  • The addition of ranged bombardment allows players to fire weapons from behind the front lines, challenging players to develop clever new strategies to guarantee victory on the battlefield
  • Write your own epic story each time you play. Choose one of eighteen historical civilizations to lead from the stone-age to the space age on your quest to build the world's most powerful empire

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May 24, 2010

A Slew of Board Game Commercials from Your Childhood

Remember when board games actually had marketing budgets large enough to hit the air waves? Mr Mouth, Bed Bugs, and Wrestling Superstars, all had mass media time slots.

And the blog urlesque has thrown together a list of 31 board game Commercials from ages past. It really has refreshed our memory of the olden days.

While there were a few gems here and there the rest of the product lines were quite sickening in retrospect. Remember the Musical jingles contracted by cheesy production houses done in between cutting tracks for crappy cartoon intros or public service announcement raps about plagiarism? See 1992's Crossfire, for instance. Remember the linear game play with tacked on gimmicks to hold kids short attention spans, like Playdoh bits that squished and died for your entertainment? It's amazing that board games made enough money to be on TV.

We also love how some lawyer thought it would be a good idea to remind us that the "Guess Who?" stickers don't actually talk. Holy litigation prevention. That commercial must have come out around the same time someone sued McDonald's 'cause their coffee was too hot. Still is too hot, BTW.

All of this giltz and glamor we're glad to have gone the way of the Dodo. Thank goodness for the Eurogame revolution to bring us out of that dark age of soulless board games production.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

May 13, 2010

Runewars Board Game Review on Board to Death

Board To Death has put together a very sweet review of the fantasy war and quest game Runewars [Amazon, Funagain].

We've written quite a bit about the title already so we won't talk you ear off today. Picture Twilight Imperium, set in a fantasy setting, and mixed with the adventuring aspects of Runebound, and you'll get the quick foundation of the elevator pitch. We'll let BoardToDeath.tv fill in the details.

Here's the game's official description:

"RuneWars is an epic board game of diplomacy, combat, and quests for two to four players. Designed by Corey Konieczka, RuneWars pits players against each other in a strategic game of battles and area control, where they must gather resources, raise armies, and lay siege to heavily fortified cities.

RuneWars includes over two hundred beautifully rendered cards and as many tokens, as well as nearly two hundred finely-detailed plastic miniatures, but perhaps most exciting are the modular hexagonal map pieces. Featuring stunning three-dimensional mountain terrain, these map pieces ensure that no two games are ever the same!

RuneWars takes place in the same popular fantasy universe as the best-selling board games Runebound and Descent: Journeys in the Dark, and dozens of fan-favorite heroes and monsters play their part. The wars for the dragon runes are beginning, and only one faction will emerge victorious. What would you do to claim the ultimate power?"

Runewars is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 8, 2010

The Ballad of Catan

The name says it all.

It's funny... the Settlers of Catan had fallen off our game table a few years ago, but now it's back in our psyche in style. First lifted by the iPhone Settlers of Catan game, and now news of the upcoming Catan Histories: America.

Just when we thought we were out, Catan pulls us back in. Its like Lost meets the Godfather.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 23, 2010

Napoleon Total War Released - Time to Lose Sleep

Napoleon Total War for PC [Amazon]

Sweet day of days. Last year we fell in love with Empire Total War, an 18th century turn-based board game mixed with real time tactical combat simulation chalk full with musket fire, mortars explosions, cavalry charges and fleet actions. Usually a year late the Creative Assembly produces an expansion pack with new maps and new campaigns, but this time they've taken a much larger step forward.

Today the series tackles the story of Napoleon Total War [Amazon] as the French Emperor marches through early 19th century Europe. The game is told via three new campaigns: Italy, Egypt, and the continental map of Europe. Standing in his way is a coalition of forces with such major players as England, Prussia, Austria and Russia. Play as either Napoleon in his epic military campaign (and try to do him one better) or try to successfully put up a road block bring France down to its knees.

NapoleonTotalWarCannon.jpgThe game also iterates on the already incredible tactical battle engine and campaign engine. For one, and perhaps the most exciting, Campaigns can be played with 2 people over the Internets. You can play either cooperatively or competitively on the campaign map, forging improbable alliances or sticking with this historic stuff - it's up to you. And on your turn, if you strike a battle with an opponent, your friend will control the opposition on the battlefield while you try to carry the day. Nobody sits there with bored eyes waiting for a battle to end; everyone is involved.

Other new features include more smoke effects, better garrisons of buildings during firefights, new troop types, better technology, a narrative campaign, a new suite of 19th century historic battles, unit attrition in enemy territories, and nuanced campaign maps including mountain pass choke points, four seasons to the year, and a higher level of detail.

NapoleonTotalWarEgypt.jpgThe game came out today.. so you might be asking yourself how we could know all this stuff. Well the software team behind the game has published a series of preview movies like the one above. Give them a gander, they're well worth your time:

We'll quickly let you about our initial impressions of this Total War installment near the end of the week. If we're enthralled, then we'll post another series of Empire Total War Tips to go along with it.

Until then, enjoy the viewings!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 22, 2010

Greed Corp: Chess Meets The Golden Child Meets Guns

Long time readers know that we don't shy away from computer games that emulate board games (see Empire Total War). Well Greed Corp looks to become one of those successful, yet lighter, bridges. The game involves elements of simplistic combat and movement, coupled with guns and a deeply strategic harvesting process that both reshapes and ultimately destroys the board. The winner is he who doesn't fall into the abyss.

Looks pretty sweet, and a nice little game for the online gaming console market place.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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