July 19, 2010

Battles of Napoleon: Eagle and the Lion Hits Shelves

BattlesOfNapoleon.pngIt seems that 2010 is the year of the war game system. Last week we reported that G.R.R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire received its own starting war game system with Battles of Westeros. Now, just a few days later, fans of history are treated with a swank new Napoleonic Wars system.

Battles of The Eagle and the Lion [Amazon, Funagain] is the first base set it what will probably be a long running franchise. It features 10 scenarios from the era and focuses on the English vs French conflicts. Other smaller factions play smaller supporting roles in this first set, including troops from the Kingdom of Hanover and Portugal. Future full-featured armies will follow in new expansion sets, so we shouldn't have to wait too long for the Prussians, Austrians and of course the Russians enter the mix.

Overall the system has been received extremely well. Case and point: this User Review on BGG. Sporting high-levels of production, clear and interesting rules, and a gaming system designed to be expanded upon, Battles of Napoleon could be one of the best wargames to pickup this year.

For more information please see our previous news stories related to the system:

And, of course, here's the company line:


For twenty years, from 1796 until the final defeat at Waterloo in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte and his generals fought on the battlefields of all Europe. Battles of Napoleon is a gaming system that allows two players to recreate the most important historical battles the era. The Eagle and the Lion, the first game in the Battles of Napoleon series, gives you all you need to recreate many of the major clashes that saw the French and English armies -- sworn enemies -- face each other on the battlefields of Belgium, Spain and Italy. No less than 10 battles are featured, each of them based on a major historical event. In Battles of Napoleon -- The Eagle and the Lion, the two players control the French and English armies (sometimes supported by allies of other nationalities) in a specific battle. Planned as the first in a series of products that combine principles and mechanics from board and miniature games, each subsequent release will be standalone two-player games that can also be combined with others for larger battles.

Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 13, 2010

Battles of Westeros Wargame System Hits Shelves

All of you Game of Thrones fans: it's time to get your dork on. Fantasy Flight Games has released the flagship installment of their new Song of Ice And Fire wargame System.

Based on the succesful BattleLore gaming system, Battles of Westeros [Amazon, Funagain] focuses on the battles and campaigns between House Stark and House Lannister from the G.R.R. Martin Book Series. The set includes armies from both factions, customizable game boards, a book of scenarios depicting battles from the novels, varying unit types, and characters from the series who lead their armies with their own custom strengths.

We've kept a close eye on this title, and we would put it in the moderate complexity for war games. The title incorporates some interesting things like command radius from your leaders, their ability to command various types of units, and faction-based unit statistics and abilities. Combat dice and all that lot seem pretty straight forward.

Being a FFG wargame, it's pretty obvious to say that it's more complicated than Days of Wonder's Memoir '44 and Westeros' sister franchise BattleLore, but less complicated than FFG's own Tide of Iron. That's a pretty nice sweet spot if you think about it.

For more information about the new system, checkout our previous coverage:

And here are Battles of Westeros' official details:

"Unfurl the banners of the Great Houses of Westeros! To secure power in the Seven Kingdoms and to ensure the survival of their lines, the Houses of Westeros each follow very different paths. Some forge strategic alliances, some create complex political intrigues, and still others use deceit and betrayal. But there is no more direct or lasting path to power than taking to the field of battle.

In Battles of Westeros, two players recreate the military conflicts set in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, taking part in battles directly from the books... or designing their own. In this epic board game of battlefield tactics, players control either House Stark, the wards of Winterfell who have called their hearty allies to defend their honor and lands, or House Lannister, an aggressive force funded by Casterly Rock's endless supply of gold."

We'll keep you posted of more details as the wargame system matures. While this first installment is all about Stark V Lannister, future installments should incorporate some of the other major houses of Westeros -- and there sure are lot of them.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 9, 2010

Ascension - A New Deck Building Card Game on the Horizon

AscensionReactorMonk.jpgWe're quite happy to see a potential triple-A title breaking into the Deck Building Genre, a format of game spearheaded by 2008's Dominion. Ascension is under development by a bunch of ex Magic the Gathering pro players. And by the looks of it, some old school Magic the Gathering artist aficionados, too.

Ascension seems like it's a refined and yet more fleshed-out version of Thunderstone, but where as Thunderstone lacks depth (hopefully resolved in its upcoming expansion), Ascension will ship well structured and complete faction decks with full-bore back stories.

Players will select a themed deck and place face down as a shuffled pool in the middle of the table. The game starts by dealing out a series of cards from the pool. These are placed face up in shared area.

Turns proceed where players either purchase an item (if they can afford it) or attack creatures from this shared pool. One a card is purchased, it goes into the player's discard pile, later to be reshuffled into his deck. At this time another card from the pool be drawn and placed into the shared area play.

The pool seems to differ considerably from the Dominion and Thunderstone system. Where as before every card type was available for purchase at any time, it seems that the Ascension system will keep things interesting by creating a randomly selected subset of cards to choose from. And if you're eyeing something then you better snatch it up quick , because it might not be there by the time your next turn rolls around.

Checkout the Ascenion Official Website for more information about this upcoming title, including and overview of the rules and more information about how each of these themed decks will play. It looks awesome.

We'll keep you posted of more information as its released. Till then, have a good weekend!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 7, 2010

Carcassonne Sale on Tanga.com

CarcassonneBundle.jpgIt's been a while since Tanga has had a worthwhile sale! Well today they've hit a softt spot with us, right on the money, with the Carcassonne Board Game Bundle.

Repeat readers know that Carcassonne is one of our favorite titles, ever. It still remains in the forefront of our gaming play list.. especially since Carcassonne for the iPhone hit the Internets a few short weeks ago.

Now Tanga is bundling both the main set and the Traders & Builders Expansion. If you're new to board gaming and you're looking for a great neo-classic pickup for cheap, then look no further. This bundle also makes the perfect gift for families looking to get into board gaming (Ages 8+).

Here are the details:

"Carcassonne is a clever tile-laying game. The southern French city of Carcassonne is famous for its unique Roman and Medieval fortifications. The players develop the area around Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, in the cloisters, and in the fields. The skill of the players to develop the area will determine who is victorious.

Traders & Builders is the second major expansion to the original game of Carcassonne, containing 24 tiles with new features such as Bridges and Cities.

Some tiles also feature symbols for the goods Wine, Cloth and Wheat. Players collect one of these goods when the feature that has it on the tile is scored. Players with the most of each type of good gets bonus points at the end of the game. There are also two new wooden playing pieces in this expansion. The Builder is like a meeple in that it may be placed in a city or road as a kind of supervisor. A subsequent tile extension of the feature the Builder is in allows the player another tile placement. Farmers will also be able to place a new Pig pawn in a field for extra points at the end of the game.

Finally, Traders & Builders comes with a large cloth bag. Not only does this makes it easier to keep and handle the tiles, but it also removes the problem of having non-identical backsides.

The game is playable with or without the first expansion." - Tanga.com

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 6, 2010

Fictionaire - A 'New' Party Quiz Game Announced

FictionairePress.jpgPublisher Days of Wonder describes the upcoming party game Fictionaire (4-7 players) succinctly:

"You may know it as dictionary, fictionary, Balderdashâ„¢... or even "Call my Bluff", the classic British TV game show; but it could just as easily be called "the making up lies to fool your friends" game!"
- Days of Wonder

And it makes us wonder a few things. One, if the game has been all these things before, then why do we need another installment? Two: why would Days of Wonder, a maker of such unique, high-quality and well-balanced titles, push what's essentially a re0randing of such a long heritage of incredibly similar games?

We can't quite figure it out. Days of Wonder is quick to note that this title distinguishes itself in a few ways, but they're all related to the production materials and not in the game itself.

For one, each installment will come in a pack of cards the size of a cigarette pack that has been stylized like it's chalk full of ye olde cigarettes. Secondly there will be multiple installments centered around different themes. First up is the 'classic dictionary game', but other installments will be themed Tall Tales, Fool Science with quirky science history, and Naturals which tasks players to crafty zainy definitions of things straight out of the natural world.

But with only 120 cards in each pack, it might not take too long to start iterating over the same questions. And once everyone knows the true definition, or true background of scientific oddities, then it the replay value might not have the staying power.

You can read more information about the title in the official Fictionaire Press Release. Also, Days of Wonder has posted a nice little Preview Website here.

We'll keep you posted about more Fictionaire news as it nears release.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

July 2, 2010

Axis & Allies Europe 1940 Details Emerge (Finally)

AnAEurope1940.jpgWe've been waiting with bated breath about details of A&A; Europe 1940 ever since A&A; Pacific 1940 came out last year, and it's not because the Pacific edition blew us out of the water.

Pacific was a substantial release that incorporated a lot of the giant format design from the especially large A&A; Anniversary Edition (limited). The game sported a 35"x32" board that had a great, well balanced, detailed look at the pacific theater of WWII. Not quite as epic as the Anniversary, but just as much fun, and just as enthralling.

But the true qualities of A&A; Pacific 1940 had yet to shine. Buried in an interview with lead Axis & Allies designer Larry Holland were the promises of something more. The ability to combine A&A; Pacific 1940 with an upcoming A&A; Europe 1940.

Think of that prospect. Not only would you get all of the custom rules and intricate island hopping and fleet movement tactics of a Pacific Campaign, but we'd also get a future large format installment that involves the bloody eastern front, the blitz of England, the troop build up of USA, and the battle of the Atlantic.

And we'll be able to combine both boards to create the largest, most epic A&A; experience to date.

We're working on converting our basement to look like a Churchill's bunker right now, complete with a giant war desk, black rotary phone, and reaching canes. Bring on the A&A; Europe 1940!

is it August 27th yet?

Here are the full official details from the Game's Website.

"With the invasion of the Low Countries and the allied evacuation from Dunkirk, the German army is poised to march on Paris. Axis & Allies Europe 1940, designed and developed by Larry Harris, builds on the success of the acclaimed A&A; Anniversary Edition. France appears for the first time in Axis & Allies and will represent a new playable ally! Italy will be included as a second Axis power along with Germany. The UK, USSR and the US find themselves vulnerable at this early and uncertain point of the war. Two new combat units that debuted in Axis & Allies Pacific 1940, Tactical Bombers and Mechanized Infantry, will also appear in this game.

Axis & Allies Europe 1940 will feature an oversized board that measures 35" wide by 32" high. With over 550 combat units, deluxe game components and local storage boxes, this game will raise the standard established by A&A; Anniversary Edition. All new rules for neutral nations, naval & air bases, and convoy disruption will add even more depth and historical accuracy to this giant game.

Finally, this deluxe theater-level game is designed to play together with Axis & Allies Pacific 1940. Together these two games will create the greatest Axis & Allies experience to date, with a combined board measuring 5' wide by 32" high and over a thousand sculptured combat units. Both games are designed to play alone or together to offer the 2-6 player global 1940 scenario, complete with weapons development, and national objectives.

Europe 1940 details:

  • Deluxe version of Axis & Allies Europe originally released in 1999
  • Stand alone game that can also combine with A&A; Pacific 1940
  • Two new combat units: tactical bombers and mechanized infantry.
  • New playable power: France.
  • Updated A&A; rules as debuted in Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition
  • Game board measures 35"w x 32"h. Designed to join with A&A; Pacific 1940 board.
  • Over 550 game pieces plus new models for tactical bombers & mechanized infantry.M
" -Wizards of the Coast

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 29, 2010

Dixit Wins Germany's Game of the Year

Dixit.jpgAs you may recall, we posted some news about Dixit just a few weeks ago. Well now the sages of the German Game of the Year have just given this party game title the best game of 2010. Board Game News has the full story.

So whats so big about the Spiel des Jahres? Think about it like this: one of the major reasons we're playing all of these cool new games and not reiterating over Battleship or college campus reflavorings of the same old Monopoly is because of the Eurogame revolution in the 90s (washing up on our shores more recently). That revolution all started when German families decided enough was enough, started shutting off the TV, and focused on spending quality time with their families. And thus a new generation of board games were born. Games that kept everyone involved from start to finish, and everyone interested on every player's turn -- even when it wasn't theirs. Almost all of the new classics have these qualities.

So when the judges on the graduation class of games comes out and says "this is the best of the year" then we take notice. For 2010 it's Dixit [Amazon, Funagain], a party game that has been fully endorsed world wide.

Here are the game's official details:

"Storytelling is the name of the game in Dixit, winner of both the French and Spanish board game of the year. On each turn, one player becomes the storyteller. This player makes up a sentence from one of the six interesting and abstract images in his hand. The other players select from amongst their six images the one that best matches the sentence made up by the storyteller. They each then give their chosen image to the storyteller who shuffles and lays the images down on the table. Everyone then votes on which image they think is the storyteller's. Points are scored (or not scored) based on vote tallies. The game ends when the last card has been drawn. The player who is the furthest on the scoring track wins Dixit!

Dixit makes a great party game and is perfect for family game night!"

Contents of Dixit:

  • 1 Game Board
  • 84 Cards
  • 36 Voting Tokens in 6 Different Colors
  • 6 Wooden Rabbits
  • Instructions in English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 25, 2010

Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries Slated for Mass Market

TicketToRideNordicCountries.jpgOver the last few years Days of Wonder has released a few Ticket to Ride installments targeting certain markets. There is the top notch Ticket to Ride Marklin, which is set in Germany and it's probably our favorite Ticket to Ride installment to date. But there haven been even more finer focused games meant for fewer players, like Ticket to Ride Switzerland and Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries.

The problem with the later is that it was also meant for a targeted release in Scandinavia only. The title sold like hot cakes there and gamers from around the world wanted in on the action, so in 2008 Days of Wonder printed another running for world wide distribution. Ooops.. they didn't print enough, and many gamers were SOL.

Now Days of Wonder is righting a wrong -- they're printing another run of this 2-3 player Ticket to Ride installment, and it's slated in time for the fall gaming season. It almost could make a nice stocking stuffer considering its holiday theme.

Here are the game's official details:

"Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries takes you on a Nordic adventure through Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden as you travel to the great northern cities of Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki and Stockholm. Visit Norway's beautiful fjords and the magnificent mountain scenery on the Rauma Railway. Breathe in the salt air of the busy Swedish ports on the Baltic Sea. Ride through the Danish countryside where Vikings once walked. Hop-on the Finnish railway and travel across the Arctic Circle to the land of the Midnight Sun.

Players collect cards of various types of train cars that enable them to claim railway routes and pass through tunnels and onto ferries, as they connect cities throughout the Nordic Countries.

As with previous versions, the game remains elegant, can be learned in 5 minutes and provides hours of fun for families and experienced gamers alike.."

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 23, 2010

Thunderstone's Wrath of Elements Expansion in July

ThunderstoneWrathCover.pngWe got word today that the upcoming Thunderstone expansion Wrath of the Elements is officially coming out in July. While this isn't that much of a surprise since June is just about done, it's good to know Alderac has at least tacked down a new shipping schedule.

Thunderstone is in second place when it comes to our ranking of games in the deck building genre. The veritable grand dad of all - Dominion - still leads th way. We thought that while the original Thunderstone laid the groundwork to something special, the variety and balance still wasn't the cool cucumber that Dominion was at launch, and continues to be through expansions.

So we have high hopes for Thunderstone to refine the deck building and dungeon romping experience in July with their first expansion Wrath of the Elements. Here are the official details:

"Thunderstone returns with all new monsters, heroes, equipment, and now... traps! Thunderstone brought dungeon crawling to the deck-building game genre, and Wrath of the Elements takes Thunderstone to a new level. With four new heroes, six new monsters, and many new village cards, Wrath of the Elements can be stand alone or mixed in with classic Thunderstone for a larger experience. Wrath of the Elements also introduces Traps. This new card type creates perlious dangers for your adventuring party when revealed from the Dungeon Deck. Can you overcome the new monstrosities and claim the Thunderstone?

Wrath of the Elements also features an attractive and durable card box large enough to hold both Wrath of the Elements and classic Thunderstone, and is even more compact and easy to transport! The box also comes with all new labelled card-type dividers for both the new cards and classic Thunderstone cards. Jason Engle returns again with more amazing art as well.

2-5 Players | 12 and up | 45 minutes"

For more information about Thunderstand and Wrate of the elements, please check our previous stores: Thunderstone: The Next Deckbuilding Game After Dominion, and Thunderstone: Wrath of the Elements Card Montage.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

June 21, 2010

A First Look at Battles of Napoleon

Thumbnail image for BattlesOfNapoleon.pngBoard Game News has posted a great first-impression preview of the upcoming Battles of Napoleon. The article paints a pretty positive picture of the new historic war games system, and includes commentary on the turn order, rules, board pieces, and overall gameplay.

No Fantasy Flight strategy game is destined for gold medals. Sometimes their rules can be complicated for the sake of instilling a feeling of chaos (War of the Ring's fate dice). Or they layer systems onto other systems to breed deep levels of strategy, but only serves to muddle the gameplay (Warcraft Board Game, original). We've been hoping that Battles of Napoleon goes the Tide of Iron route which just simply nails it in beautifully. More complicated than your average board game wargame, but less mind numbing than your epic war simulation.

We'll keep you posted on when this new wargame system ships later this month. Until then checkout our previous coverage: Battles of Napoleon Series Announced by FFG and The Napoleonic Battles of the The Eagle and the Lion .

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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