September 26, 2009

Pandemic: On the Brink Expansion Hits Shelves


The first expansion to the cooperative board game hit Pandemic has hit shelves, and it's a doozy. The Pandmic: On the Brink [Amazon, Funagain] expansion ups the potential number of participants up a notch from 4 to 5. That's a real nice feature, but the expansion s also chalk full of new rules and game modes that should bring the fun formula of Pandemic to a whole new level.

First off, there are expansion includes a whopping 8 new roles for players, like the Archivist who has a massive hand size and can pull city cards out of the discard pile, or the Troubleshooter who gets to peek at the top of the Infection Deck, and travel to any city has has the card for - for free. Perhaps most interesting is the Field Operative who sucks up samples of diseases off the board to decrease the number of cards he needs to discard to find a cure. It's win-win people. There's definitely some interesting stuff going on in these new roles, and the new massive total number of roles will certainly make each play-through a unique experience.

The game also has three new well-themed challenges that you can play with, either independently or simultaneously, to add an interesting twist to the experience, or just to make things generally more difficult. The new Virulent Strain challenge, Mutation Challenge, and the Bio-Terrorist Challenge (which pits one player against everyone else) are detailed in our previous coverage Pandemic: On the Brink Rules Preview so we won't dive into them here.

The quick-playing Pandemic was always on our shortlist of titles to play. On the Brink pushes it to the top of the stack. Not to spoil anything, but 'Brink will be near the top our Holiday Gift Guide, too.

Here are the official details:

"Pandemic: On the Brink is an expansion to our popular cooperative game, Pandemic, wherein players take on roles to work together to fnd cures to 4 diseases. This expansion to Pandemic includes new event cards, new role cards, rules for five players, and optional game challenges to increase the difficulty, such as the 'Legendary' difficulty level, the Virulent Strain challenge, the Mutation challenge, and the Bio-Terrorist challenge. These challenges can be mixed together to make the game even harder. .............. In this expansion you will find six new roles (plus 1 revised OpEx and a Bio-Terrorist), eight new special events, and several challenge kits to be added to the basic game play. Virulent Strain challenge: makes one disease become particularly deadly in unpredictable ways. Mutation Challenge: adds a fifth (purple) disease that behaves differently than the original four. Bio-Terrorist Challenge: pits one player against the others! You may also play with 5 players and play on Legendary level! Other components include: 12 purple disease cubes, 12 pawns in a smaller size, petri dishes to store your diseases and pawns, a bio-terrorist pad for that player to record his actions." -Z-Man Games
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September 23, 2009

Ticket to Ride World Championships Announced


You think you're hot gaming stuff? Have you been playing Ticket to Ride [Amazon, Funagain] long enough to know your way from NYC to Dallas to LA like it was the back of your hobo hand? Well now you can put those skills to good use.

Publisher Days of Wonder has announced a new series of local Ticket to Ride tournaments in a city near you. Head over there for some fun, and if you win some matches you might find yourself on a flight to Paris. If that's not a prize enough (trust us, it is) then if you win in Paris then you'll find yourself chugging through Europe on the luxurious Orient-Express. Boy howdy.

Full details can be found in the Contest's Official Website. Here are the interesting bits:

"2009 marks the 5th anniversary of the original release of Ticket to Ride. To celebrate, Days of Wonder is hosting a yearlong series of tournaments to determine the top players in the world and crown the first Ticket to Ride World Champion!

Now through early 2010, Regional tournaments will be held throughout the world to determine qualifiers to play in National Championship events in North America (both US and Canada), France, Germany, UK, Spain, Benelux countries and Poland. The National Champions will be invited to Paris in June of 2010 for the Ticket to Ride World Championship and a chance to win the Grand Prize - an unforgettable trip for two on the Orient-Express."

Good luck!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 21, 2009

Dungeon Master's Guide 2 Hits Shelves

DMG2_4thEd.jpgWhile this is a welcomed treat we're wondering if the DMG 2 4th Edition is a little bit behind the curve. Even the slowest, most casual Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition groups is into the double digit levels by now. Hopefully not too far though, 'cause the Dungeon Master's Guide 2 [Amazon, Funagain] is chalk full of rules, adventure ideas, loot and and materials for a D&D; group at the Paragon stage: levels 11-20.

While we like RPGs, we're don't claim to be the source on all things .. RPG. We're more a mixed collection of egotistical gamers with with tastes that spread around all genres, some of them happen to be in the RPG. So instead of giving our 2 cents, we'll leave it to The RPG Athenaeum who have a quick review of the DMG 2. Enjoy!

Here's the book's official details:

"This 224-page, hardcover core rulebook for the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game features advice and rules for Dungeon Masters of all levels of experience, with a particular focus on running adventures and campaigns in the paragon tier (levels 11-20).

It includes advanced encounter-building tools (including traps and skill challenges), storytelling tips to bring your game to life, new monster frameworks to help you craft the perfect villain, example campaign arcs, a comprehensive look at skill challenges, and a detailed "home base" for paragon-tier adventurers -- the interplanar city of Sigil."

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 17, 2009

WoW TCG Scourgewar Set to Unleash November 24th

WoWTCGScourgeWarSpectralKitten.JPGNothing says Scourgewar like a toy kitten. It's true!

This new World of Warcraft set expansion Scourgewar is officially pinned on the release calendar, so pack your bags and extra sweater for Northrend. Scourgeware will kick-off a new three set cycle set around the events of the World of Warcraft MMORPG expansion Wrath of the Lich King. The 'scourge' refers to the evil undead menace that have pledged their allegiance with the undead Lich King himself. Don't confuse these baddies with the Undead faction of the Horde, though, who are upstanding citizens, at least for the most part.

Details on the set are still light. We expect to see plot lines of a few of the new secondary races, like perhaps the murloc cousin Oracles, or the badger folk Wolvar. Perhaps we might see seeds of the Worgen, too, a werewolf like race recently announced as a playable faction in next year's World of Warcraft expansion 'Cataclysm' (and who played a minor role in Lich King). And since we're entering the land of the Death Night we figure we're sure to get a substantial boost to the content for those new kids on the block, too.

Now the first Featured Preview Article is the Loot Card Preview (hence the cute kitten) so official details are still sparse. Honestly, the article came out a while ago and we've been holding back a few days to see if any other juicy tidbits would come out. Unfortunately: bubkis. Hopefully things will pick up next week.

The biggest news for us was the confirmed release date. Gotta say that it fights our schedule nicely considering it gives us amble time to play the massive amount of fall releases before we get sucked back into WoWage.

As always we'll keep you posted of more details as they emerge.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 16, 2009

Warhammer Chaos in the Old World Back In Stock (Hurry)

WarhammerChaosInTheOldWorld.jpgThe acclaimed Fantasy Flight Games board game release Warhammer Chaos in the Old World shipped to stores just over a week ago. Problem is - the game is sold out just about everywhere

Currently one of our orders at Amazon (which was out of stock) received an updated status that it won't ship until - get this - the end of October. What the blood clot? Meanwhile every store seems to be sold out of the title as well, except for Funagain Games which is uncharacteristically charging top dollar for the title. They must know their cache is the last stack standing.

Well not exactly. We just got word that Troll and Toad put up 10 copies for sale. We got one, and so did 2 others. There are now seven copies of the game available at the time of this article's printing, Mop 'em up while the moppings good.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 14, 2009

Small World Contest Spawns Three Mini Expansions


The family friendly and sightly quirky civilization board game Small World [Amazon, Funagain] is one of the more solid titles of the year. It's mix of maps, elegant empire building rules, and random racial elements all add up to be a fun yet strategically satisfying board game session of (small) world domination.

A few months ago the publisher Days of Wonder held a contest for the best user generated content the game's followers could produce. Now, only a short time later, the cream of the crop has been weighed, measured, and hand picked for release in the form of three mini expansions How cool is that?

Here are the details pulled from the official press release:

"The Grand and Secondary Prize entries will be released in 3 different Small World mini-expansions this year. The first two expansions will debut at Essen. The Grand Dames of Small World will feature the Priestesses, White Ladies, and Gypsies, along with Historian and Peace-loving Special Powers. Cursed! introduces the Kobolds and Goblin races along with 5 Special Powers: Cursed, Hordes of, Marauding, Ransacking, and Were-. Both of these Small World mini-expansions will be available for sale at Essen and shortly after in game stores around the world for the MSRP of $10/€8.

The Leaders of Small World is a special game play option that players can choose when picking a new Race/Special Action Combo. The Leaders expansion will be sent free of charge, as a thank you to all those who submitted an entry in the Small World Design Contest. Small World fans worldwide who did not enter the contest will also be able to get a copy exclusively from in November for a small shipping and handling fee."

Of course we'll keep you posted of any more details as they're released.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 11, 2009

D&D; Online is now Free. It's True!

Attention KMart Shoppers. The monthly subscription PC game Dungeons and Dragons Online has been relaunched by Turbine as a subscription free service as D&D; Online Unlimited. Quite the amazing little feat if you ask us. You can download the game's client here (Windows PC).

D&D; Online sticks you in the world of Eberron and lets you and your friends run instanced dungeons and quests as you level up your character in the 3.5 ruleset (though the server takes care of most of the dirty work in real time) Combat is positional, with quite a few distinctions than your standard MMO. For instance - you actually have to click your mouse to swing and actively block, Battles are very dynamic, instead of tank and spank, as fighters maneuver to intercept mobs and act as meat shields, clerics position themselves to heal, and rogues dodge and parry their way behind baddies to get some nice damage bonuses. And of course there are the Mages with their bag of tricks for any situation, and traps that only the rogue can sniff out and disable. Very interesting stuff.

We played D&D; Online back when it first launched a few years ago. We enjoyed our time but a low level cap and a lack of long term content eventually turned us away. Now, years later, expansions have come out, the level cap has been raised, and best of all - it's free! Heck yeah. We're already planning an alternative D&D; night where we all get online and bust heads as a party. Can't wait.

Click here for more information about D&D; Online, and for that all important Download Link

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 9, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Pegasus Expansion has Shipped

PegasusBox.JPGThe much anticipated expansion to the Battlestar Galactica board game has hit store shelves! Battlestar Galactica Pegasus [Amazon, Funagain] includes gobs of new mechanics, such as sympathetic or antagonizing Cylon Leaders, a new Treachery Deck, new characters, a new Pegasus Board that adds new spaces, and even a New Caprica end game.

That list is extensive, and that's just glossing over stuff -- like the interesting nuance that while the new Pegasus abilities are brutal, they're also not very exacting. Like striking a nail with a sledge hammer, some would say. Sure, you might hit the target, but you might also break something else in the process, like a kitten, or a face.

For instance: you could all vote to jettison one of your crewmates out the rusty old airlock. If he's a cylon, then nice work. If he was a human, well he's dead...and morale suffers (the player with the deep space frozen eyeballs draws another character card, but is also severely crippled until his next turn).

For more information and all the prerelease nitty gritty info on the title, checkout our other stories:

Here is the official product information:

The Pegasus expansion adds two new supplemental game boards featuring the Battlestar Pegasus and the planet of New Caprica, seven new characters, a new Cylon Locations overlay, two plastic Basestars, as well as new Destination, Crisis, Loyalty, Quorum, Super Crisis, and Skill cards.

The new Pegasus board can be used by itself or together with the New Caprica board to create the game you desire -- use the Pegasus alone for the additional firepower she provides, or add the New Caprica board to simulate the rebellion on the human colony, bringing the game to an epic level. New rules introduce the ability to play as a new character type -- the Cylon Leader, with a new Treachery Skill card type.

How will the crews of the Galactica and the Pegasus mesh when they join each other on your game table? Will the Cylons be able to subjugate the human rebellion on New Caprica? Will an open Cylon Leader be able to vent the last remaining humans into space, giving the toasters control over the galaxy?


Battlestar Galactica board game is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

September 4, 2009

Warhammer Chaos in the Old World Board Game Released

WarhammerChaosInTheOldWorld.jpgDon't ignore this game if you're not a Warhammer fan - it's that good. And if you happen to be a fan of the Warhammer universe, then rejoice.

Warhammer Chaos in the Old World [Amazon, Funagain] pits 4 players against each other, each player fulfilling the role of an old God. Blood, Pestilence, Change, Pleasure, all four gods try to spread their influence over the world to win the main game.

But as an added bonus, each God has their own separate alternative victory track, and each one is very well tied to their particular theme.

For instance, the Blood god try to conquer the world, or pursue his secondary victory track - the path of blood. His goal: kill as many baddies as he can. Fill his coffers with the blood of his smitten enemies, and he might just win the game without the use of all this willy nilly influence. Meanwhile the other Gods will try to play-off against what they believe the other Gods are doing. For instance, the Pestilences God may start running away from the Blood God (if the Blood God can't kill then there's no blood to be had), and leave behind a path of illness and refuses, corrupting the land with disease in his wake. And of course, this helps the Pestilence god reach his secondary Victory condition.

ChaosPieces.jpgThe whole game has some great combat rules, simple to play, and it's a very dynamic 1-2 hour session. Throughout the game players will reposition themselves to block the progress of one victory path for another player, thus opening up room for the a alternative victory path, or open up room for another God to make a push in another portion of the world, with other ulterior motives, etc. There's a lot of jockeying, reaction, and exploitation, and it's all so much chaotic fun. Plus, everyone gets to play as the baddies. There will be Blood!

Here are the game's official details:

In the Warhammer world, four Gods of Chaos battle for supremacy. Khorne, the Blood God, the Skulltaker, lusts for death and battle. Nurgle, the Plaguelord, the Father of Corruption, luxuriates in filth and disease.Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways, the Great Conspirator, plots the fate of the universe. Slaanesh, the Prince of Pleasure and Pain, the Lord of Temptations, lures even the most steadfast to his six deadly seductions. In the Chaos in the Old World board game, each player takes the role of one of the malevolent Lords of Chaos. Each god's distinctive powers and legion of followers give the controlling player unique strengths and heretical abilities with which to corrupt and enslave the Old World. Yet, as the powers of Chaos seek domination by corruption and conquest, they must vie not only against each other, but also against the desperate denizens of the Old World who fight to banish the gods back to the maelstrom of the Realm of Chaos... for now.

Warhammer Chaos in the Old world is published by Fantasy Flight Games, and is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

August 31, 2009

Critical Gamer's August 2009 Board Game Roundup


The September weather has capped-off the month of August earlier than the actual Calendar has. It's been downright cold, or rainy, or cold & rainy up here in Boston the last few days. While it may be a bit of a downer to think the weather is already turning its back on Summer, it's exciting to think we're heading straight on into prime board game playing season.

And the drum-up to the Holiday releases has started. Details have been 'printed' on the upcoming Warhammer Living Card Game, Ticket to Ride : Europa 1912 Expansion, Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus Expansion, and BattleLore Dragon Expansion have seriously made us start to drool. I mean, look at that lineup for the fall! Plus Middle-earth Quest and Axis & Allies 1942 are already out. Oh man, it's going to be one heck of a fall. Start playing the titles as they come out, 'cause there might not be enough months in the year to accommodate all the gaming goodness heading our way.

Here are our stories for August 2009, the year of the ox:

Board Games

Card Games

Cheap Deals & Sales

Gaming Culture

Gaming News

Party Games

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