March 17, 2010

Memoir '44 Breakthrough Expansion Announced

Memoir44Breakthrough.jpgA new giant map expansion of WWII battlefield tactics game Memoir '44 is coming this May. While Breakthrough promises a plethora of scenarios the most intriguing element of this expansion are the 4 new giant maps. Printed on 2 double-sided 9 panel boards, the maps incorporate sand, grasslands, arctic and beach locales, and promise to "stretch the limit of current printing technology." We can only assume, then, that they're about as big as an elephant's ear.

While the expansion should work with one set of Memoir '44, Days of Wonder have interestingly suggested that some of the scenarios might work better if you have their series of expansions. Basically it would be nice to have all the extra pits of Russia's pieces in the Eastern Front, for instance, for any and all Russian battles within the 15 supplied scenarios.

It makes sense, but also means that the expansion is probably only best suited for those with Memoir '44 collections already in full swing.

Those seeking the official details can find them here. The Memoir '44 Breakthrough Kit is slated to an MSRP of $30.00 and should begin shipping in may.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 16, 2010

"Sword And Poker" Stabs Its Way Into Our Hearts

SwordNPoker.JPGThis iPhone/iPod Touch game is something special. It's so simple, yet enthralling, highly addicting and fun. It's even got that "just one more turn" feel that make so many of the classic games .. well, classics.

Here's the elevator pitch: Sword & Poker one part an RPG character-building dungeon crawl, including gathering treasure and parlaying your riches into better items like armor and weapons, and one part Poker Matching Game.

And yes, the beef of the game is on a grid like poker board. You and a monster square off mano e monstero, taking turns trying to match 2 cards from your hand to make poker hands with the 3x3 grid of cards on the board. If you can make a match either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally then you deal damage to your opponent. Keep it up and soon you'll find yourself with a dead monster at your feet and a vast dungeon chalk full of riches waiting just for you.

SwordNPokerSS1.jpgThe amount of damage you do for any given hand depends on the rarity of the hand you played and the weapon you have equipped. At first scoring One Pair may knock the monster in the chin for 1 point of damage. But save up your dungeon booty, upgrade to a samurai sword, and soon you'll be hacking 10 points out of the baddie with a single pair of 2's. Something like a Flush may net you 30 damage, slicing some of the mid ranged monsters in half.

Of course the monsters are doing their best to deal damage back at you, and their abilities and capacity for hurt are closely tied to the type of critter you're fighting.

The game is well-flavored here. Heavy hitting monsters are the most straight forward. Hulking minotaurs and shambling mummies deal massive amount of damage with simple brutish hands. Dark, slinky creatures might not put up such a powerful upfront fight, but they'll make up for it with vampiric powers that siphon off your health, or through sneaky trixy plays like stealing cards from your hand. There are even funky spells that rearrange cards on the board halfway through a round, or spells that heal and steal. It's all there, and it's balanced very, very well.

Therefore we cannot recommend this game enough. If you have an iPod, if you like poker, and salivate over grinding through better equipment RPG style, then this game is totally for you. We give it 4.5 stars.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 15, 2010

World of Warcraft TCG Put On Life Support

CGram.jpgWord came out last month that Upper Deck Entertainment (the current publisher of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game) was sued last month by Konami. Apparently there was some allegation that Upper Deck had counterfeited Yu Gi Oh cards in China and were brining them into American Markets. Yikes. The lawsuit ended in a settlement, which doesn't bode too well for Upper Deck's Innocence.

We don't know the details. We don't care about the details. Whats important is that Blizzard Entertainment (who owns all things World of Warcraft) took notice and decided that it was time they ended their deal with Upper Deck. We assume that this wasn't a trust issue, but more a deal was truck to cut risks from both sides, with Upper Deck pouring millions of dollars out in the settlement and all.

So where does that leave the World of Warcarft TCG? Good question. As of now we don't know. The good news is that Blizzard has created a New WoW TCG Forum in their standard World of Warcraft gaming site. There are only two official posts in there, and one quickly notes that Blizzard has started shopping around for a new card publisher:

"As some of you may already be aware, we will not be renewing the World of Warcraft: The Trading Card Game license with Upper Deck. We want to assure you that we are committed to supporting the TCG, and players can look forward to new content and strong organized play support in the near future. We will share additional details about the game's transition to a new partner as soon as possible. For those awaiting tournament prizes, we will ensure you receive them."

We'll keep you posted once we have word where the WoW TCG lands. We hope it land gently. Oh please land gently.. we love that game.

In the meantime it might be wise to blow all your Upper Deck Points on that Ogre Costume while you still can.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 12, 2010

The Napoleonic Battles of the The Eagle and the Lion


Alright you history buffs. The scenarios that will be part of the upcoming first installment of the Battles of Napoleon board game have been announced and await for your perusal. We should note that the entire system will follow a timeline of Napoleon's battles, but The Eagle and the Lion release will depict a set of specific major battles between Le Petit Dude Mort against the forces of the English.

Other minor powers will be involved, too, but you know... as minor players. Interestingly is that the larger battles are broken up into a few scenarios, with the fateful Waterloo getting three installments. Talk about a long day of fighting.

Here are the scenarios:

  1. Maida (Battle of Maida - Italy, July 4, 1806)
  2. Cerro De Medellin (Battle of Talavera - Spain, July 28, 1809)
  3. Miranda De Azan (Battle of Salamanca - Spain, July 22, 1812)
  4. Los Arapiles (Battle of Salamanca - Spain, July 22, 1812)
  5. Garcia Hernandez (Battle of Garcia Hernandez - Spain, July 23, 1812)
  6. The Road to Namur (Battle of Quatre Bras - Belgium, June 16, 1815)
  7. The Woods of Bossu (Battle of Quatre Bras - Belgium, June 16, 1815)
  8. Jerome (Battle of Waterloo - Belgium, June 18, 1815)
  9. The Attack of the 1st Corps (Battle of Waterloo - Belgium, June 18, 1815)
  10. The Miserables (Battle of Waterloo - Belgium, June 18, 1815)

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 11, 2010

Deathmaster's Dance Jigs Your Way for Warhammer Invasion

The latest expansion to the Warhammer Invasion Living Card Game has hit shelves. The Deathmaster's Dance [Amazon, Funagain] is the game's 4th release and includes 40 more cards to fill out the premier Corruption Cycle.

And of course in true FFG style there are preview articles for you to read and get a taste before you buy. First up the Chaos get a giant Nurgle of doom with the Great Unclean One. We dare you to french kiss that hot sauce. Meanwhile the Empire previews include the group buffing Ulric's Fury which gives a band of your defenders a temporary counterstrike ability, Flagellants meat shield.

Here are the expansion's official details:

"The Order forces have put up a valiant fight against the relentless spread of the Skaven, but now a new threat has arisen, a threat that goes by name of Deathmaster Sniktch...

The Deathmaster s Dance is the fourth monthly Battle Pack installment of The Corruption Cycle, the first linked expansion series for Warhammer: Invasion, a card game of intense warfare, clever kingdom management, and epic questing. This 40 card pack contains 20 different never-before-seen cards designed to augment existing decks and add variety to the Warhammer: Invasion metagame."

For more information about the expansion check out the official FFG Article: The Master of the Pack. The Deathmaster's Dance is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 10, 2010

Catan Histories: Settlers of America Details Released

SettlersOfAmerica.jpgBoard Game News has reported that the official product description of the upcoming Catan Histories series of games Settlers of America have been released. Summed up as the Catan Train Game, Settlers of America puts players in the control of creating the idustrial railways that expand America west into their frontier.

Here's the official Spiel

The 19th Century has arrived and Americans are heading west. Wagon trains are forming up and heading out to settle new lands and build new cities. These new cities will need railroad lines to bring in new people and necessary goods. Some head west for the adventure, some to start a new life, still others to find work.

Look west to make your fortune. As the population grows, resources will dwindle and the smart money seeks new sources and new markets. Finance your settlers as they head west to build the cities of tomorrow. Link these cities with rails of steel and operate your railroad to supply the townsfolk with goods. To the west lie lands to settle and fortunes to be made!

Settlers of America: Trails to Rails utilizes the familiar Catan hex-tile grid to present a map of the United States. Players collect and trade resources, in order to purchase, migrate and build settlements, forge railroads and acquire locomotives. Railroads are used to distribute goods to the interconnected cities. As westward locations are settled, old sources of resources deplete. The addition of gold adds to the depth of play and increases options for the players.

Expect a June release for this title, with the default out of the box configuration supporting 2-4 players.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 4, 2010

Battles of Napoleon Series Announced by FFG

BattlesOfNapoleon.pngNapoleon has surface in our lives in a big way. Last week we say the release of the strategic and tactical wargame Napoleon Total War for the PC. Now we have word that Fantasy Flight Games plans to release a series of tactical board games based on the Napoleonic Age.

And sweet mamma pajama it looks awesome.

The first edition of Battles of Napoleon series is dubbed The Eagle and the Lion and incorporates 10 historic battles from the Napoleonic Wars with the major players being that of England and France. Fans of the other empires of the time should know that other powers will play some minor roles in the varying scenarios of this release. Hopefully we'll see a stronger showing of Austria, Prussia, and Russia in future expansions, too.

BattlesOfNapoleonDessertBattle.pngWe're not entirely sure what the list of scenarios are at this point, and if the first edition will contain the finale at Waterloo against England and Prussia, or if the series will iteratively work its way through Italy, and on into Russia before tackling that fateful battle. What we do know is the product information page has a battle image that seemingly takes place on sandy terrain, so it seems that the we're heading to Spain or Egypt. There will be 4 game boards in all, each double sided, and with terrain tiles to boot, so we fully expect to be all over Europe, too.

The initial announcement also hints to an interesting command and control scheme where orders will be divvied out to sub commanders who in turn lead divisions of troops. These orders might be confused or misinterpreted based on the battle situation, event cards, and the morale of the troops involved. Adapting to your foes moves, artillery, and calvary checks is only part of the game, the general chaos of the battle is another major player. Very interesting.

For more information on The Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion check out the Product Description Page on the FFG website. We'll keep you apprised of more details as they come to light, and rumor has it that they're looking for an Early Summer release. We're stoked!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

March 1, 2010

Critical Gamers' February 2010 Board Game Roundup

iPhoneCatan.jpgFebruary might be the shortest month of the year but it was jam packed with excellent gaming news. For those Dominion Card Game fans we had news about another game that a similar vein with Thunderstone, and the news of not just one Dominion Expansion: Alchemy, but a hint of at least 2 years of the Dominion franchise expanding and evolving with more and more releases.

Board gamers got news of an epic Warhammer wargame with Horus Heresy, and announcements from Mayfair Games about their spring lineup. This includes another release in the Catan Histories series, which bridges Settlers of Catan mechanics with the American expansion west during the Industrial Revolution. We really liked Struggle for Rome, so we have high hopes for Catan Histories: Settlers of America which is slated for release later this year.

February also presented us the strategic board game and real time tactical battles of Napoleon Total War for the PC. We've been playing this over the last week and it's really an amazing step up for last year's 18th century based Empire Total War. And considering how much we loved that game, it's only testament of how much a beast Napoleon Total War really is. Anyone with a PC, an interest in history, and some mouse skills should definitely pick it up.

Here's to a dry March!

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Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 25, 2010

A Song of Ice and Fire Wargaming System Announced!

AGameOfThronesBookCover.jpgIn an unexpected move publisher Fantasy Flight Games has announced that an upcoming themed franchise of the BattleLore streamlined war game system is going to take place in the intriguing fantasy world of the G.R.R. Martin novels A Song of Ice and Fire. Dubbed the Battles of Westeros. The first core set will pit the two major protagonist and antagonist houses against each other on a configurable battle board with multiple scenarios and units lifted straight from the novels.

Here are the first details:

"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.

Featuring over 138 detailed plastic figures and bases, 110 cards, a gorgeous double-sided six-panel board, over 32 map overlays, and much more, Battles of Westeros provides everything players need to relive the excitement and intrigue of the wars for the Iron Throne... and with their favorite Stark and Lannister characters."

Currently there isn't much meat and potatoes behind the details of this release, but that doesn't matter. The mix of the proven, customizable and extendable BattleLore wargame system with theme of G.R.R. Martin's novels had us at "hello."

For more information check out these two feature articles, and the official product description:

  1. A Guide To Westeros
  2. There Is No Middle Ground

We'll keep you apprised of the nitty gritty details as we get closer to release later this year.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 24, 2010

Catan Histories: Settlers of America Announced!

Settlers of Catan Box Shot - 4th EditionWell look at that. Just when we thought the Catan Histories series of games that mixed the Settlers of Catan mechanics with historical settings both began and died with Catan Histories: Struggle for Rome, publisher May Fair Games decides to make us look like idiots.

Catan Histories: Settlers of America has just been demoed at the New York Toy Fair, and is detailed as part of a larger fair coverage story by BoardGameNews. The game centers around the production of goods on the east coast of the United States in the 19th century. Players will parlay their goods into building railroad tracks to push further west, for both delivery points and for increasing their production areas. As players push west they will remove production points from the lands to the east and place them on the burgeoning frontier. At this point we're not quite sure if they'll be able to reduce the amount of production from their opponent's lands, or from only their own, but either way it's pretty intriguing mechanic.

For now the details are about that sparse. For all the information that's available today checkout the BoardGameNews article, and the Mayfair Games official story. We'll keep you posted of more details as we get closer to Settlers Of America's launch in June! Sweet!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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