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

January 19, 2010

Mayfair Games Announces Pillars of the Earth: Builder's Duel

BuildersDuel.jpgIt's been a while since we've heard of anything really worthwhile from Mayfair games other than the Pillars of the Earth franchise (the latest World Without End) or the rehashing of the classic Settlers of Catan. Now we have word that the next title that's soon to be released is a Pillars of the Earth rehash. Surprise!

Builder's Duel is a 2 player card game that pits the two major figureheads of The Pillars of the Earth storyline against one another. One player takes on the role of Prior Phillip, a respected member of the church who's in control of the monastery building the cathedral, and the antagonizing Bishop Waleran who's pushing his own ego upon the construction project. It's a game of competition in resource collection and the playing cards to convert those resources into various subprojects of the cathedral's construction.

There's a bit of an annoying gameplay element that we should mention which centers around tossing awkward gameplay components for a random result. This ... poor design can somewhat iced over by replacing it with a simple dice role. We thought it was worth mentioning, however.

Here are the game's official details. For further research there's a great rundown of user impressions found on BGG.

Builders Duelâ„¢ is a two player card game based on Ken Follett's award winning book Pillars of the Earth.

England in the 12th Century. The players take on the roles of Prior Philip and Bishop Waleran. Philip wants to build the most beautiful cathedral in England. Waleran is planning his own project, a mighty fortress.

Both players try to simultaneously build their buildings. To construct your building, you must obtain raw resources and convert them into building materials. You are supported by your friends and powerful allies, but are constantly opposed by dangerous foes. If you manage to overcome and build your building first, you win!

Pillars of the Earth Builder's Duel is slated to ship later this week. We'll let you know when it's actually sighted on shelves!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 14, 2010

Runewars Rules Published Online

Runewars.jpgWe drooled over the trailer for Runewars [Amazon, Funagain] , and since then we've been waiting impatiently for more details to emerge before the game's release later this Winter. Well, we didn't have to wait long, did we? Fantasy Flight Games has posted the rules to this game in PDF form on their website.

This is definitely one of the higher complexity games in the traditional Fantasy Flight Games style. It's seemingly like Twilight Imperium meets Tide of Iron in the grand scheme of things. That is, a notch more complex than the recent Warhammer Chaos in the Old World that we truly love, or place it on the complexity spectrum near a comparable location to the Battlestar Galactica board game. Of course, that's expected since Runewars is slated to be one of those epic war games.

Thankfully it doesn't look as complicated as the original Warcraft Board game, which was mind numbingly hellish.


Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 12, 2010

Straight Up Chess: An Elegant Proposition


Straight Up Chess is ingenious. Just look at it. A wall display of the ancient classic, and nothing is sacrificed for the perfect view of the board. There's no complicated pieces or chintzy Star Trek 3D chess chotchkies diluting the gameplay. Best of all its comparable in price to a good sturdy chess set.

Ponder a play when you wake up or go to bed. Challenge your coworkers to and ole fashioned throw down of wits and strategery, and score a fantastic talking piece all at the same time. Yes please.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 8, 2010

Warhammer Invasion LCG Battle Pack 2: Path of the Zealot

Path of the Zealot [Amazon, Funagain], the second Battle Pack for the Warhammer LCG, is now out on shelves! (actually has been for a few weeks, but with the holidays and all). We're really digging this game with its interesting placement mechanics, disparate factions, the deck building implications of the various races, and generally its fresh strategic view of the Collectible Card Game type gameplay. Plus life is cheaper in its Living Card Game format.

Invasion was one of our favorite releases from last year, and we're keeping a careful eye on it as it evolves over this first cycle release.

Before we get into the details we would also like to note that Fantasy Flight Games has announced that they're changing the format of these battle packs for all of the LCG games. In Future Cycles (Path of the Zealot is pack 2 in the 5 pack Corruption Cycle), the prices will increase to 15 bucks (from 10) but you'll get more copies of the powerful cards. The idea being that you won't have to shell out for mutliple packs in order to stack your deck with the good stuff.

In principal this sounds great. We'll see how it pans out.

Anyway, here are the official Path of the Zealot details from FFG. You can read more about the expansion from the official preview article Walk the Path.

"This latest addition to the exciting card game of kingdoms, questing, and combat brings a host of new deck building options to your Warhammer: Invasion game. Poison Wind Globadiers rain death upon the heads of their opponents, as they can corrupt themselves to deal damage. The Chittering Horde tactic brings more Skaven into your fold, as it allows you to search a portion of your deck for ratmen recruits.

Path of the Zealot is the second 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. Head to your local game store or our webstore and pick up your copy today!"

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 5, 2010

Runewars: An Epic Strategic Board Game Coming Soon

Fantasy Flight Games is at it again with yet another gigantic box full of bits of plastic that deal war with each other. We were getting a bit tired of the formula.. until we watched this trailer. Simply put Runewars [Amazon, Funagain] looks simply awesome.

What tickles us? The theme of kingdom growth, harvesting resources, and putting them to use in your army. It reminds us of the turn based strategy games of old on the PC, like Age of Wonders or even the older Master of Magic. On top of that are tons of strategic layers, from decks of cards for all four seasons (which you have to play ahead of time to effect your campaigns throughout the year) to varying factions and a randomly drawn, but strategically placed, board. No two games will be the same. On top of all that you have hero units that level up in this chaotic world.

We want Runewars and we want it now. This could easily be the go-to game for our gaming weekends in 2010.

Runewars is slated to ship in February, but we all know that these things can slip. We'll keep you posted as we get closer to release.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 31, 2009

Twilight Struggle Deluxe Reinvigorates the Cold War

TwilightStruggle.jpgGMT Games has just released the new Twilight Struggle Deluxe [Amazon, Funagain]. The deluxe portion of this new edition doesn't pack too much of a punch : an updated board with better backing and some new cards. But this is a substantial release all the same.

That's because the award winning 2 player game from 2006 has been out of print and in high demand for years. Copies of the original were selling for $200+ bucks on Amazon... which is crazy for such a simple game with few materials. We suppose that's just a testament to how good this game really is.

Here are the title's official details:

In 1945, unlikely allies toppled Hitler's war machine, while humanity's most devastating weapons forced the Japanese Empire to its knees in a storm of fire. Where once there stood many great powers, there now stood only two -- the United States and the Soviet Union. The world had scant months to collectively sigh in relief before a new conflict threatened. Unlike the titanic struggles of the preceding decades, this conflict would be waged not primarily by soldiers and tanks, but by spies and politicians, scientists and intellectuals, artists and traitors. Twilight Struggle is a two-player game simulating the 45-year dance of intrigue, prestige, and occasional flares of warfare between the USSR and the USA. The entire world is the stage on which these two titans fight. The game begins amidst the ruins of Europe as the two new superpowers scramble over the wreckage of WWII and ends in 1989, when only the United States remained standing. Twilight Struggle inherits its fundamental systems from the card-driven classics We the People and Hannibal. It is a quick-playing, low-complexity game in that same tradition. The game map is a world map of the period, whereon players move units and exert influence in attempts to gain allies and control for their superpower.

Twilight Struggle's Event cards add detail and flavor to the game. They cover a vast array of historical happenings: the Arab-Israeli conflicts, Vietnam, the peace movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and other such incidents that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. Subsystems capture the prestige-laden Space Race as well as nuclear tensions, with the possibility of game-ending nuclear war. Can you, as the U.S. President or Soviet Premier, lead your nation to victory? Play Twilight Struggle and find out."

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 28, 2009

Naxxramas Descends Upon WoW TCG

We got word from the ether that the WoW TCG Naxxramas Raid Deck [Troll&Toad;] has shipped over the holiday break. In fact, our copies should be arriving at our office any time around now.

This is of course the first raid deck for this Scourgewar Cycle, which pits the heroes against the undead hordes of the Lich King. First up is the floating Citadel of Naxxramas, home of countless evil undead and demony bosses, who are all lead by the lich Kel'thuzad. (Wow, we can't believe we just spelled that correctly).

So what's new in this raid? Tons. Gone is the old Trash Mob mechanic. Instead expect more powerful bosses and their flavored minion entourage. Also, Naxxramas departs from the old linear raid and lets players tackle up to four wings of the dungeon before taking on the boss. Each wing comes with its own overaching challenge, like decreasing the attack of your heroes until you defeat the last boss. However, once you clear a wing, you'll get a buff that will stick with you for the rest of the instance.

Balancing out how many buffs you acquire before you take on the Kel'thuzad in the final boss showdown, with how spent your heroes are, is all part of the game.

Other new elements include a Raid Leader who represents the heroes during important Events in the raid. Also, shipping alongside the raid are Individual Treasure Packsfor about 10 bucks. You can use them as rewards for your party as they tackle each section, or refresh an already conquered raid to reward repeat players who make repeat runs, or you could simply extend your collection by buying your own pack on the side. Slick little move Upper Deck, we applaud it.

For a more indepth preview of the raid check out the Official Page (including a link to the rules), or read the two preview articles: Naxxramas Preview - Introduction... to Doom! and How Eventful!

Good luck!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 22, 2009

World Without End Board Game Hit Shelves


Squeezing in as a release just before Christmas is probably one of the nicest treats to end the year. The World Without End [Amazon, Funagain] is a board game adaptation to the Ken Follet novel of the same name, and is a sequel to the amazing Pillars of the Earth board game (and novel).

Now in the original Pillars players worked to refined raw resources to construct various portions of the cathedral in the fictitious English town of Kingsbridge. Everyone was in direct competition to get their hands on the mines, smiths, and workshops, and to employ the best artisans on the board before their competitors snatched them up. In World Without End, players vie for prestige in the same town 200 years later, all while staving off their opponents progress, and avoiding outside determents like, say, the Plague. That jerky plague.

The good news is that this title doesn't seem to be a mindless sequel to the original. Instead there are great new turn mechanics, a sizeable random event deck, and interesting cooperative and competitive elements in every single turn. And that's on top of the resource management elements and area of control elements that were such a success in the first title.

For a better idea on what we're talking about, checkout this great user review on BGG. It sums everything up nicely.

Here are the game's official details:

"England in the early and middle 14th Century! Journey to Kingsbridge, England, where 200 years ago Prior Phillip oversaw the building of the cathedral renowned as "The Pillars of the Earth." Now farmers, wool dealers, and builders seek wealth and prestige amidst a rivalry between the priory and merchants. As the plague reaches town, nothing remains as it once was. World Without EndTM is based on Ken Follett's best-selling novel. Strive to navigate turbulent events, ensuring and balancing your food supply, income, and prestige. Piety and loyalty remain vital, for you must cater to the upper classes. And precious medical knowledge is your greatest weapon against the Black Death. So, gather your power and spirit and rise above your rivals into legend! World

Without End contains:

  • 1 game board
  • 30 gold markers
  • 100 cards (4 summary, 4 event, 48 action, 4 chapter)
  • 57 markers (20 medical, 11 plague, 12 piety, 14 loyalty, 1 favor)
  • 10 die-cut tiles (7 building project, 3 covering)
  • 41 wooden resource cubes (25 wood, 15 stone, 1 metal)
  • 37 wooden commodity pieces (10 grain, 15 wool, 12 cloth)
  • 16 wooden house pieces
  • 1 wooden start player piece
  • 4 wooden scoring tokens
  • 4 player screens
  • 1 tax die
  • game rules
  • bag

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

December 18, 2009

WoW TCG Naxxramas Previews Come Just Before the Storm

NaxxramasRaidDeck.jpgWe thought we'd be playing the Naxxramas Raid Deck by now. We're jonesin'. At first we heard it was slated for release on Tuesday of this week, but now we see that Troll and Toad has it listed for December 24th. A game scheduled to ship from warehouses on Christmas Eve? Who thought that was a good idea? Seriously.

Well there's good news in this. Upper Deck has decided to tide us over with another peek at the raid with "Naxxramas Preview - How Eventful!" Those with pun detectors and raid experience might have picked up that this is all about the raid's Event cards, which are usually dolled out when one of the minor bosses hits the ground with double X eyes.

The main interesting thing we see here is the new role of the Raid Leader. One player will be placed in charge of speaking for the team when it comes for confrontations with the player controlling the bosses. Interestingly enough there's an event - which are normally evil - that makes the Raid Leader choose from drawing multiple cards for himself, or letting his teammates draw cards.

An event that puts cards into your hand? These things usually cause you pain; we can't see why Upper Deck would make life easier for the raid. Now, there is another event card that forces players take damage if you're holding too many cards, but this seems ... not so severe, and the combo would have to be drawn just-right from a deck of shuffled cards. Interesting.

Anyway... the raid launches next week. For reals (we think). We'll let you know when it actually starts shipping from stores. Until then, happy holidays!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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