August 9, 2010

Defenders of the Realm Cooperative Board Game Released

This title answers the question "What happens when you mix the cooperative board game Pandemic with a hero based fantasy themed adventure board game?" Pretty much right there you know that Eagle Games' new Defenders of the Realm [Amazon, Funagain] is something special.

Board to Death does a good job of breaking down the game in its review (above). If you want an even more in depth review, including a once in a lifetime (hopefully) board game seduction and birthing scene involving Dungeon Quest and Pandemic, then checkout the Board Games with Scott Video Review. Yikes. Best skip to 1:50 unless you're a true board game geek.

Now while Defenders of the Realm is easily compared with Pandemic, we should note that games take a lot longer to play. There's also more stuff going on, so the complexity lever is elbowed up a few clicks. If you're friends aren't into the fantasy setting, or slightly more complex games, then you might want to save yourself some money. However, if they're willing to give the game a chance then you've hit pay dirt.

Lets just put it this way : we won't be playing Pandemic again any time soon.

Here's the official details on Defenders of the Realm:

"Our Liege is in desperate hour! From what grievous cause have these accursed races arisen? Orcs, Dragons, Demons and the Dead make haste towards Monarch City. The King and Countryside of Monarch City are in need of valiant Heroes!"

Will you answer the King's call?

In the ancient Citadel of Monarch City, the King calls to arms the finest Heroes to defend against a Darkness that engulfs the land. You and your allies must embark on a journey to defend the countryside, repair the tainted lands, and defeat the four creature factions before one of them enters the City, and they approach from all sides -- fast populating Orcs! fierce Dragons! Undead that bring terror! And demons! -- all tainting the land in their wake. There are several paths to defeat, but only one path to victory, and only the most valiant Hero will be named King's Champion.

Defenders of the Realm is a cooperative fantasy board game in which 1-4 players take a role as one of the King's Champions (Choose from Cleric, Dwarf, Eagle Rider, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer and Wizard). You, as one of the King's Heroes make use of strategy, special abilities, cooperation, card play and a little luck in Defense of the Realm for a unique experience every adventure. But be forewarned! There is never time to rest. As each Enemy General is struck down in battle, the remaining dark forces only grow more difficult to vanquish and their march to Monarch City gets faster with each Hero victory!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 6, 2010

Dust Tactics Miniatures Board Game Featurette

This is a week of things we love. Yesterday we swooned over the Civilization series. The day before that we professed our love for zombies (not in that way). And now we're adding another thing to the list: we obsess over WWII.

But the world of Dust isn't exactly WWII. It's more an alternative history where technology salvaged from crashed flying saucers early on in the conflict. The end result? Walking Tanks and slick infantry rifles throughout the war torn battles of 1947.

Dust Tactics packs in some incredible detailed models, and for good reason. While this is a board game system release with promised 'easy to learn rules' (we'll wait and see FFG), it also includes rules for a full on table top miniatures game. The models themselves are primed for painting so you can craft your own style of uniforms, equipment and battle-worn tank plating. We thought our days of painting miniatures had long passed, but these models and figures are so detailed that it seems like it will be hard to resist.

Checkout the movie above for more information about the upcoming Dust Tactics. The official website also has a few interesting preview articles, too.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 5, 2010

New Civilization Board Game Announced

civilizationboardgame.jpgOh boy. We're HUGE fans of the Civlization line of PC games (loyal readers might note that we're stoked about next month's upcoming Civilization 5). The series plays like a board game on your PC, which makes sense considering it was based on a board game in the first place.

But it's been a long time since the early 1990s when the first Civ game came out for Windows. The series has evolved considerably over the last few decades, incorporating new ways to win the game, new ways the sow the lands, new cultural elements, new armies and discoveries. Aside for striving to be the most influential Civilization in human history, from stone age to space age, the latest incarnations of the Civilization line of PC games are nothing like the oldies.

So is it time to remake the series into a board game? Heck yeah. And who better to do it than the masters of complex game elements: Fantasy Flight Games.

Below are the details. For more information check out the game's Product Description on FFG. We'll keep you posted as more information is released by way of preview articles. Enjoy!

"Designed by Kevin Wilson, Civilization: The Board Game is inspired by the legendary video game series created by Sid Meier. Players are tasked with guiding an entire civilization throughout the ages, taking ownership of your people's technology, economy, culture, and military, as well as all the choices that go along with them. There are four different paths to victory, and each is riddled with opposition.

In Civilization: The Board Game, 2-4 players take on the roles of famous leaders in charge of historical civilizations, each with their own abilities. Players will be able to explore a module game board, build cities and buildings, fight battles, research powerful technology, and attract great people by advancing their culture. No matter what your play style is, there is a civilization for you!"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 3, 2010

Zombie State: Diplomacy of the Dead is On Our Radar

ZombieStateOfDeplomacy.jpgLast night was a crazy blur, well for one of us. For a lack of a better name let's call him Russ. Well Russ was minding his own business at a party last night, hanging out by the cheese log and grapes, admiring the high quality disposable tablecloth. Meanwhile across the room Russ' wife let loose that he's a Critical Gamer. Normally that means bubkis, but suddenly before Russ knew what hit him there was an overly excited gamer in his face spitting Ritz as he gushed over 2010's quite release of Zombie State: Diplomacy of the Dead [Amazon]

Now we haven't played this title yet, but from what Russ could gather between dodging food particles and drunken hand gestures is this potential gem of the year is a mix between Diplomacy and Pandemic. That is: while everyone is dealing with an world wide outbreak, the game is not entirely cooperative to seal the disease off. Instead everyone serves their own best interest. Plus, Zombies. Gotta love the zombies.

Players acts as leaders of different regions of the world, complete with distinctive population levels, wealth for armies, and natural resources that aid in researching zombie killing technology, But war isn't forged amongst these disparate regions. Instead zombie outbreaks pop up and plague different portions of the planet. While you may let a zombie out break stew in foreign lands while you sit pretty and become more powerful, you may want to start lending a hand to an opponent in case the Z really hits the fan and zombies start pouring over your borders, too. Hence, the delicate balance of Diplomacy in a world stricken in zombie Apocalypse.

Details of the game intrigue us. Enough so that we've ordered a copy of the game, and its going to be the centerpiece for our August 2010 Dorkfest coming up in just a few weeks.

If you want more details on the game then checkout the game's rulebook, and the game's official website. We'll let you know how our Apocalypse turns out in a few weeks.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 2, 2010

Critical Gamers' Board Game Roundup July 2010

CatanHistoriesSettlersOfAmerica.jpgMan, what a summer for board gaming. Usually we're outside soaking in the rays, but spending any length of time under the sun this summer would turn us into crispy pieces of human bacon. Thankfully there have been gobs of great releases to keep us busy in the sanctuary of indoors.

Mainly the new Settlers of Catan game Settlers of America. That title is a throwback blue ribbon prize wrapped in a blanket of awesome new game mechanics. And July also saw two major wargame system releases for the tacticians out there: The Song of Ice and Fire themed Battles of Westeros, and the inaugural release of the Battles of Napoleon wargame system: Eagle and the Lion. We love high-caliber system releases like these because you just know that expansions, new content and new factions are already in the works.

August is looking pretty darn sweet, too, with the mass distribution of the Thunderstone Wrath of the Elements expansion, and with the release of Axis & Allies Europe 1940 which, when combined with Pacific 1940, should prove to be as epic as One Man On a Bench versus a Fifteen Foot Long Sandwich. Can't wait.

Here are our stories for July:

Board Games

Card Games

Cheap Deals & Sales

Gaming News

Party Games

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 28, 2010

Stonghold: Undead Announced

Stronghold.jpgThe first expansion to 2009's highly successful castle siege board game Stronghold has been announced. Where as the original title (scheduled to be reprinted at the end of the year) pitted human defenders against the forces of orcs and trolls, Stronghold Undead does something unexpected: throws in legions of the undead skeletons under the control of an evil Necromancer.

OK, so maybe that was pretty expected. In fact, it was inevitable. Undead are all the rage these days...what's unexpected is that they weren't in the original game. So prepare for some more Stronghold awesomeness coming later this year!

BoardGame News has the Full Story.

We'll keep your apprised of the official game details as they're released. For a great review of the original Stronghold, check out Tom Vasel's Review.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 26, 2010

Catan Histories: Settlers of America

Ah finally. The next game installment of the Catan Histories line of games is shipping from stores right now. Catan Histories: Settlers of America [Amazon, Funagain] has been dubbed the Catan Train Game, a mocking and dismissive moniker at first glance but damn enticing one once the idea stinks in fully.

We've liked the previous Catan Histories games, particularly Struggle for Rome. They tend to keep the resource gathering and building mechanics that make The Settlers of Catan so fun an approachable, and add just enough oomph of extra sophistication to make the game really, truly shine.

So now Catan is heading across the Atlantic, with the themed now centered around the delivery of goods from the coast of North America into the budding towns deeper inland. Of course, its up to the players to settle these budding towns. I mean, what would a Catan game be without constructing your own towns and cities.

At first you can push goods west over muddy roads with simple settlers. As play progresses, and players gather resources from their settlements, they will be able to upgrade and link towns with rail systems. These, of course, make the delivery of goods faster and more efficient. The winner is the player who delivers all of his / her resources to settlements out west, be them to their own cities or to their opponents settlements.

The rules of the game (which can be downloaded from the game's official website) also comes with historical details of all of the game's various components and action cards. This makes Catan Histories: Settlers of America Trails to Rais not only a fun, interesting game, but also an educational tool perfect for classrooms, too. Score!

Here are the title's official details.

The 19th Century has arrived and America is heading west. Wagon trains form on the frontier. Settlers seeking fresh lives and opportunities strike out to tame wild lands and build new cities. These new cities rely on young railroads for vital goods. Trails become rails and create great wealth.

While the crowded East still offers options, its resources dwindle. Look west to make your fortune. Smart money seeks rich, unclaimed land and hungry new markets. Finance your settlers as they head west to build capitals of tomorrow. Link these cities with rails of steel. Operate your railroad to supply the townsfolk with goods. Go west. Settle the wide, open land. Claim your destiny!

Settlers of America, Trails to Rails™ utilizes the simple, fun Catan hex-tile grid to map the young United States. Collect and trade resources in order to purchase and move settlers, build cities, lay rails and acquire and move trains. Create rail links to acquire gold, which lets you buy resources and use opponents' rails. Use trains to distribute goods to rival cities. But, as your settlers populate the West, they deplete the resources of the East. Still, your options always abound.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 23, 2010

Axis & Allies Europe & Pacific 1940 Combined Fact Sheet


It's almost August and that means we'll soon be pushing together last year's Axis & Allies Pacific 1940 edition with with the upcoming late August release of A&A; Europe 1940. Yep, both theater level editions will combine into a new A&A; global game that's larger and more intricate than even the Anniversary Edition.

Axis & has a full breakdown of what to expect in this amazing configuration. Not only is the original post at the top of the thread worthwhile, but lots of facts bubble up about the combined sets through the posts by other users in the forum. We especially like this bit:

"In the Global game the US gets a war time bonus income of 30IPCs. That means she's pulling down around 80+ IPCs. The US can, as you suggest, throw their entire global income in one direction if it likes. Fact is, it can purchase and place as it sees fit. This may concern some of you... but rest assured... the US is going to be dealing (in a real way) with both the European and Pacific theaters. As per the design, it cannot neglect either theater except at great peril. I really don't think a KGF, and throwing ALL, will work very well. Those Japanese forces are some mean sons of *bleep*"

While "Europe First" was usually the best option for the States in previous versions, it looks as though USA will have to make some carefully thought out and tough decisions in order to keep the balance of the war... in the balance, sort to say. Sounds freaking awesome.

Is it August yet?

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 22, 2010

Thunderstone Wrath of Elements Spoilers Posted

ThunderstoneWrathOfElements.jpgWe're day away from the first Thunderstone expansion hitting the shelves. If you're jonesin' for the next latest and greatest experience in the deck building genre like we are, then you might want to to peruse this entire list of cards in the set. It details everything from card names, their frequency, to their cost and powers, all in one nice neat location.

If you're looking for the art, too, well then you might just have to wait a few days till your box arrives.

The original Thunderstone left us concerned after a few repeat plays. While the base mechanics were interesting, the content in the cards didn't leave much for fun and interesting combinations. And, to us, that's half the point of any deck building game.

Our first peruse of the Wrath of the Elements set hasn't completely put our mind at ease but the cards read like they have pretty good potential. The Tax Collector and some of the weapons look very interesting, as do some of the heroes like the Diin. It looks like the game is slated to step up the interaction level between players. That's definitely good news. We're still trying to find the clever combos.. maybe this isn't the game for them.

We'll let you know when Wrath of the Elements hits shelves. From what we've heard, the game is shipping from the factory now.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 21, 2010

Fresco Board Game Review on BGN

Here's another great video review, this time coming from Ted Cheatham of BoardGameNews.

Fresco [Amazon, Funagain] features gameplay that reminds us quite a bit of the award winning Pillars in the Earth. Aside from the similar theme of building a major project out of human history, you're also jockeying for position to place workers to gather resources, or assigning them to refine base elements into better things, and then racing to apply your efforts to complete projects before your opponents do. The gameplay is definitely more competitive than Pillars, with a greater chance of butting heads with other players who strive the complete some of the same elements of the painting as you.

Fresco is prefect for family gamers and looking for soimething more complex (Ages 10+) Heck, the game even plays really well with gaming groups. It's nice to see a high quality title like this in a year so heavily populated with war games and new entries into the deck building genre.

Here's the game's official info:

"The ceiling in the cathedral is getting on a bit and is in urgent need of restoration. The bishop is awaiting important visitors and wants to show off his church from its best side. The players slip into the role of the fresco painters in this colorful family game and have to prove their abilities: But only the player who plans cleverly can win!

This fascinating game already contains 3 expansion modules which can be combined with the basic game in any desired manner to influence the scope of the game. Elaborately structured game cards, additional colored pieces and lots of bonus counters provide even more excitement!"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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