May 5, 2009

WoW TCG Death Knights Coming this June

ArthasDeathKnight.jpgThe World of Warcraft Trading Card Game has been our TCG of choice for two years now. Even so, there are been points where we feared the game's stagnation, but just as those fears became frustrations, Upper Deck injected something new to not only hold our attention, but excite us to boot.

Now they just dropped a whopper. We had already begun questioning why the Death Knight - a class introduced to World of Warcraft via the Wrath of the Lich King expansion of the MMORPG - hadn't arrived in the WoW TCG. Well now have to wait just two short months before we get our grubby hands on them.

In the final part of "Caverns of Time - Our History Thusfar" - a WoW TCG and WoW Mini restrospective and state of the union - Upper Deck has announced that a the new Death Knight class will be introduced in the next WoW TCG set this June. Here's the snippet containing the details near the end of the article:

"Even with nearly three full years of sets and products in the books for the World of Warcraft games, the games show no signs of stagnation or slowing down. Wrath of the Lich King's release shattered record books for Blizzard Entertainment and video gaming as a whole, much due to the introduction of the incredible Death Knight class. From the corpses of those slain by the Forsaken, the Death Knights in the TCG will be released this June. The plate-wearing, disease-spreading hybrid class will be the tenth class in both the Minis and TCG games. Plus, as always, we have infinite more loots to slip into packs of our WoW Minis and WoW TCG product. Who knows what items will be available in the future? All I know is that our WoW MMO characters want them ASAP!"

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May 4, 2009

Axis & Allies Spring 1942 Announced

AASpring1942.jpgAxis & Allies fanatics who missed their chance at the gigantic monolith off Avalon Hill 50th Anniversary Edition goodness (its single printing sold out last month) may get a chance to redeem themselves, at least partially. The newly announced Axis & Allies 1942 edition incorporates new rules and pieces introduced by last year's Anniversary Edition, but reduced down to normal Axis & Allies size.

While the standard size means the game will clock-in at the reasonable ~$30 price tag, the scaling obliterates the intricate board layout of Anniversary. Instead the title will adopt 2004's Axis & Allies Revised board layout.

We understand why this happened -- you can't shrink an intricate board and expect the layout to remain the same, but it makes us sad all the same. Anniversary has some great nuanced territory layouts that does some amazing things in the Pacific theater with its new frontier battles in China, and the addition of Italy as a faction was a breath of fresh air as well.

It's said that the 1942 Edition will become the new de facto Axis & Allies much like Revised did half a decade ago. So, seemingly, the advancements of Anniversary might be lost forever. Try to get your hands a copy of that one if you can (check ebay), 'cause they certainly will be THE collectors item in a few short years. And if not, then be satiated by what will surely be another great experience.

Here are the board game details so far:

Axis & Allies celebrates it's 25th Anniversary in August of 2009 with a new and updated edition of it's original classic game. Axis & Allies 1942, designed and developed by Larry Harris, will utilize the updated rules established in A&A; Anniversary Edition. Cruiser class ships will make their debut in A&A; 1942, forever changing the naval line-up. Newly sculpted playing pieces and all new packaging will position this game as the cornerstone of the Axis & Allies game line for years to come. Decide the fate of a nation in a few short hours!

Axis & Allies: Spring 1942 details:

  • Rulebook updated by Larry Harris, creator of the Axis & Allies game system
  • Packaging, play components, and game board map feature updated art
  • 370 game pieces featuring refreshed sculpts plus new models for cruisers
  • Updated naval unit rules as debuted in Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition

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May 2, 2009

Critical Gamers' April 2009 Board Game Roundup

CatanGeographiesGermany.jpgMan, quite a busy month int the board gaming world. Some high quality titles were announced, like a new Settlers of Catan installment, new WWII Miniatures for Wings of War, and the next set of WoW Minis started grabbing the preview spotlight.

Shipping news centered around the 4th Edition of the cult classic Talisman receiving its first expansion, and the family friendly civilization growing Small World, which has gotten some really strong preliminary reviews. It's currently clocking nearly an 8 on BGG, and that's quite impressive.

By the time you read this we'll already be elbow deep in our first annual board gamefest in the hills of Montpelier Vermont. On slate we'll be playing gobs of Imperial, Pandemic, Axis &Allies; 50th Anniversary Edition, WoW TCG, Talisman, and some Battlestar Galactica, of course. We'll try to upload some shots if any good ones come through the Cheetos encrusted lens.

Otherwise, here's to a good May!

Board Games

Cheap Deals & Sales

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

Gaming News



World of Warcraft TCG

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April 30, 2009

Pandemic: On the Brink Board Game Expansion Details


Please Note: Pandemic On the Brink has been released!Click Here for Full Details

Its Friday afternoon here and word has it the Swine Flu pandemic might soon attain Level 6 (out of 6) on the World Health Organization's pandemic defcon track of disasterous disasters. Don't panic yet though. Scientists are saying the disease isn't as lethal as first reported, and certainly not as big as the Spanish Flu that swept the world in the early 20th century.

Unfortunately they've also said that the these diseases could mutate at any time. So we decided that this weekend we'd head up into the hills of Vermont and throw down a board of the cooperative game Pandemic [Funagain] to celebrate the end of the beginning of the end. Unless it doesn't mutate, then it'll just be the end of the weekend, which would be great.

Now as if on-queue, the makers of the original Pandemic [Amazon] have released details of their upcoming expansion Pandemic On the Brink. The expansion will include new player roles, special events, and challenges, including a new game mode that pits one player against all others.

Full details on the expansion and a great sampling of cards can be found on the official Pandemic: On the Brink website.

Have a good weekend, and cover you mouth for goodness sake!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 29, 2009

D&D; 4th Edition Player's Handbook Miniatures

PHBMiniatures.jpgWe've been complaining a bit over the last year since the release of the D&D; 4th Edition. See, the game puts a huge emphasis on tactical combat, with square maps in the all the modules, and all those rules that have you map out spacing and ranges to determine area of effects.

The problem is, there hasn't been a great official way to represent your characters on your table top. Sure, you could have blindly bought D&D; Miniature boosters in hopes you would get someone cool and that slightly resembled your character's class, race, and gender, plus looked cool to boot, but that was a total crap shoot.

Finally, ten months later, Wizards of the Coast has a nice little gift for you. Behold: prepackaged miniatures of all the classes and races of the Players Handbook, presented in clear plastic so you know which miniature your dropping your cash for:

  1. Player's Handbook Heroes - Arcane Heroes #1 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Includes: Female Eladrin Wizard
    Male Tiefling Warlock
    Male Half-Elf Bard

  2. Player's Handbook Heroes - Arcane Heroes #2 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Male Human Wizard
    Female Eladrin Sorcerer
    Male Half-Elf Fighter / Warlock

  3. Player's Handbook Heroes - Divine Heroes #1 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Male Human Cleric
    Female Halfling Cleric
    Male Dwarf Paladin

  4. Player's Handbook Heroes - Martial Heroes #1 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Female Dragonborn Rogue
    Male Human Fighter
    Male Elf Ranger

  5. Player's Handbook Heroes - Martial Heroes #2 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Female Eladrin Fighter
    Male Tiefling Warlord
    Male Dwarf Rogue

  6. Player's Handbook Heroes - Primal Heroes #1 [Amazon, Funagain]
    Female Elf Druid
    Male Human Barbarian
    Male Goliath Barbarian

Not every class combo is there, but you should be able to make do with what's available. Unless you're picky, which would really stink since you've waited almost a year for this moment. We feel for ya. Wait, no we don't, stop dilly dallying. Just pull the trigger, have a cold one, relax and work on your anxiety problems.

Here are the official details:

The Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1 expansion for the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game features high-quality miniatures representing iconic player character races and classes described in the Player's Handbook and Player's Handbook 2 core rulebooks.

There are six booster packs in all: 2 packs of martial heroes, 2 packs of arcane heroes, 1 pack of divine heroes, and 1 pack of primal heroes. Each booster pack contains 3 visible, high-quality, non-random plastic miniatures representing D&D; player characters, plus an exclusive power card not available elsewhere! Each miniature comes beautifully painted and fully assembled.

Fully assembled miniatures. Sweet. Put away your exact-o knife and sniffing glue.... err.. gluing glue.

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Talisman: The Dungeon Expansion Released


Fantasy Flight Games has just released the Talisman: The Dungeon [Amazon, Funagain] expansion to the dungeon romping Talisman 4th Edition. The Dungeon is a remake of one of the original Talisman expansions released nearly 22 years ago (aka Back in the Day) that adds a L shaped dungeon area to the board standard game board. Adventures who head in will find new encounters including new monster types, traps, and swine flu laded burritos. And, of course, players should expect new rewards to boot.

In true Fantasy Flight Fashion, the expansion is well previewed on the Fantasy Flight Game's website in a series of articles:

  1. Descend Into The Dungeon
  2. The Path Ahead
  3. Digging Deeper
  4. What Lies Beneath...
  5. Going Further Into The Darkness
  6. Light Your Torches (the rules for Talisman: The Dungeon)

Ok, so the collection of titles doesn't have a top shelf level of awe inspiring inventiveness. Thankfully each of the previews itself is a great read complete with rules and flavor. And while they might tell you all you've ever wanted to know about the game and more, we're still going to quote the rounded off product details, 'cause maybe you're in a hurry, but more importantly it's like, our 'thing'.


Talisman: The Dungeon features five new characters, including the Gladiator and the Philosopher, 20 new Spell cards, 10 new Adventure cards, and 10 new Treasure cards. The expansion also features a board expansion, the Dungeon, which adds a whole new area of exploration, and 128 Dungeon cards, featuring events and encounters that only occur in the Dungeon. Game Contains:
  • Game Contains:
  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Dungeon Board
  • 128 Dungeon Cards
  • 20 Spell Cards
  • 10 Adventure Cards
  • 10 Treasure Cards
  • 5 Character Cards
  • 5 Plastic Figures

Talisman: The Dungeon is now shipping from Amazon and Funagain Games.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 27, 2009

Holy Bucky Balls

Words cannot describe how cool things little nobblets are. If you're into creating tricky stuff with your hands, or into things produced by or puzzles with no end, then this is right up your alley.

The shapes these hands sculpt-out melt our brains like the end sequences of 2001. We want to go there.

Here are the official details:

"Imagine a Rubik's Cube that actually makes you smarter; an Erector Set that never stops erecting; a Hula Hoop you don't look ridiculous playing with; Silly Putty that isn't silly; cram it all in a jar, turn the fun up to 11, and you've got BuckyBalls!

Each set contains 216 powerful rare earth magnets that can be shaped, molded, torn apart and snapped together in UNLIMITED WAYS. Make sculptures, puzzles, patterns, shapes, stick stuff to the fridge, invent a new game--trying to find something more useful is useless."

You can get your jittery hands on Bucky Balls through the official website, or through Busted Tees. The latter is a bit less infomercialish.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 23, 2009

Small World Board Game Released and Reviewed

Small World [Amazon, Funagain] is the Days of Wonder fantasy themed spiritual successor to the critically acclaimed Vinci, which is amazingly 8 years old this year. And hey, not it's finally in stores!

We've written quite a bit about Small World in our previous coverage, including praise for Days of Wonder for being the pinnacle of quality these days, so check our other stories (below) for all of the game details and previews. Also, BGN is quick on the trigger with Small World Board Game Review already posted n their site. It's more of a testimonial of a session than a full on critique, but it's a great read none the less.

Here are the game's official details:

In Small World, players vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all.

Designed by Philippe Keyaerts as a fantasy follow-up to his award-winning Vinciā„¢, Small World is inhabited by a zany cast of characters such as dwarves, wizards, amazons, giants, orcs and even humans; who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer adjacent lands in order to push the other races off the face of the earth.

Picking the right combination from the 14 different fantasy races and 20 unique special powers, players rush to expand their empires - often at the expense of weaker neighbors. Yet they must also know when to push their own over-extended civilization into decline and ride a new one to victory!

For more information about Small World, check out our other stories:

  1. Small World coming this May from Days of Wonder
  2. Small World Board Game Previews
  3. Small World Hitting Shelves April 22nd

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April 21, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Board Game FAQ Update


Thought we'd send a shout out on Caprica day that the FAQ and Rules Errata for the Battlestar Galactica board game have been updated on the Fantasy Flight Games website.

The new additions to the FAQ have the standard set of new questions answered, but most of the content comes in an on a whole new section dealing with the secrecy rules of the game (more on that below). Here are the standard QA updates:

Q: What happens to a viper if the piloting character reveals himself as a Cylon?
A: The viper is returned to the Reserves.

Q: Can multiple Centurion tokens be on the same space of the Boarding Party track?
A: Yes. They do not push each other, or prevent other tokens from being placed on their space.

Q: Can a player use the "Command" location to launch a viper and then move or attack with the same viper?
A: Yes. There is no limit to the number of times an unmanned viper may be activated per turn.

Q: What happens to the Sympathizer card once it is revealed?
A: It remains in play, but is unaffected by abilities that normally affect Loyalty cards. For example, if an opponent is able to look at one of his random Loyalty cards, the Sympathizer card is excluded.

As we mentioned, the FAQ also has a section of Zen guidance tailored for groups who've encountered a bit of trouble agreeing to games oh-so-important rules of secrecy. If you find yourself wondering just how many adjectives players may use to describe the strength of cards they've played in crisis checks, or how to deal with leading comments from players peeking at the Destination deck or Loyalty cards, then this section should help keep your BS:G experience fair and even.

The entire section is too big for us to describe here, so we'll just show you the gist via the introduction:

Secrecy Clarifications

This section of the FAQ further clarifies the Secrecy rules found in the rulebook. It covers general secrecy as well as specific rules that apply to unique situations and components. This section is only intended for play groups who have trouble agreeing on what should and should not be allowed under the current Secrecy rules."

Check the entire Battlestar Galactica FAQ and Rules Errata for all the FAQ and Secrecy entries. It's a great guide to have with you throughout your play session.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

April 20, 2009

WoW Minis Spoils of War Previews


The Spoils of War expansion is out. For more information please release story.

Upper Deck will release the first expansion to the World of Warcraft miniatures table top game that launch last fall. Devout readers may note that while we enjoyed the internal mechanics of the franchise, we thought it had some problems. For one there just wasn't enough interesting content and game modes to keep our attention for long.

We're hoping that this next release will have the standard clean injection of new characters, abilities, etc, but more importantly, we're keenly looking for some map kitss. Something official that we don't have to buy $30 boxes to randomly collect from a set of 3, and which match the theme and balance of World of Warcraft PvP. So far, in the previews, we haven't seen it, and we've been forced to buid our own, and that gets tiring after a while.

Despite the dearth of cool battlegrounds, there's still still some pretty interesting things coming down the pipe in Spoils of War [Amazon, Funagain]. For one we're treated to new Weapon and Armor items that can be placed in your character's action bars. These things are so powerful that they actually contribute to the hero's honor value, so use them wisely. This could be a pretty nice addition if executed well.

Spoils also includes new Channeling powers, which generally continue to deal damage so long the caster stops, concentrations, and essentially doesn't do anything else for the duration. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out considering the game's already strong strategic depth the cost / turn mechanic where choices on what to do, when, and where play an extremely interesting role in the game.

Other than that, the set release is all about the content. Here are the preview articles so far, which mainly focus on previews of the new figures themselves. And when we say 'figure previews', it's the whole thing from 3D imagery of sculpts, all the way down to tick powers and strategy.


  1. Spoils of War Coming on May 5!
  2. Spoils of War Preview: Equipment

Mini Previews:

  1. Cairne Bloodhoof [Tauren Warrior]
  2. Vigor Darkbreeze [Night Elf Druid]
  3. Sha'do [Troll Rogue]
  4. Felguard Legionnaire [Demon]
  5. Lady Jaina Proudmoore [Human Mage]
  6. Conqueror Aluna [Blood Elf Hunter]
  7. Deathwhisperer [Demon]
  8. Ixamos the Redeemed [Draenei Shaman]
  9. Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider [Blood Elf Mage]
  10. Champion Shadowsun [Blood Elf Priest]
  11. Vindicator Kaustron [Hunter Draenei]
  12. Razaani Nexus Stalker [Ethereal Mage]

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