November 7, 2007

Axis & Allies Guadalcanal: Near Release Preview Blitz

Axis and Allies Guadalcanal.jpg

We’re are beginning to get more details on this year’s installment of the Axis and Allies franchise: Axis & Allies Guadalcanal [Funagain] as we march closer to its release on November 16th. First a new feature article has been written by the A&A; lead designer Larry Harris, and then some news follows that with who has gotten their lucky hands on a review copy of the game and started releasing some preview articles of their own..

The Larry Harris feature article A Guadalcanal Diary sets the mood on the Avalon Hill official website website This isn't a standard developer's release diary, but instead 'diary' refers to his father’s war diary which was written when he served in the navy during World War II and includes notes and reflections on his experiences of the true battle of Guadacanal. Mr Harris (out of respect) has created a great series of Axis & Allies games reaching far into our early years of gaming, but this latest installment - which includes the first major American Marine action in the Pacific - strikes home for him more than any other to date.

At that time the American forces were only just starting out on their strike-back campaign against the Japanese Empire, who had all the momentum and combat experience heading into the fight. Moreover, at this point in thime the conclusion of the war was far from inevitable, and this first major land, air and navy coordinated offense pitted the green American forces against a very balanced and tough Japanese defense. The table was set for a for a difficult struggle from both sides.

Of course this lends itself perfectly to the opening of a classic strategy board game. And our friends over at have started churning out the preview articles of the game itself. We've reported on Part 1 before, so don't do a double take. Part 3 is where we think things become really interesting. Here they are to date:

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November 6, 2007

WoW TCG Release Dates Shift: Feast of Winter Veil and March of the Legion in November, Maghteridon's Lair Delayed

Upper Deck has reshuffled some release dates for their upcoming products. Once again another Raid Deck is delayed as Magtheridon’s Lair silently slips it’s scheduled release until January 2008.

It’s a bummer for sure - not the end of the world but our eyelid still twitches in frustration. This “announcement” comes buried in the Upper Deck forums with no news on the official website news page, nor an article or a press release. So, last night we begrudgingly dusted off The Molten Core and attempted to rerun it with our alternates. We got smoked, so we have set a goal for ourselves to accomplish and that should keep us busy for the next few months.

We’re sorry to say that some stores don’t know the raid has been delayed and still list the expansion as either an October 2007 / November 2007 release, probably because they don't read the forums. And why should they? Upper Deck should be responsible and let the anxious gaming public know what's what. Blizzard doesn't pull this stuff with their original World of Warcraft franchise, nor does Fantasy Flight games with their Warcraft board game franchise. Upper Deck - once again - looks like it needs more staff in their PR department.

Anyway, the short of it: don’t be fooled by any November release dates!

Here's the updated schedule:

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November 5, 2007

Starcraft the Board Game

Starcraft the board game is out! Published by Fantasy Flight games, Starcraft [Amazon, Funagain] extends the collection of deep strategy titles of the publishers big box series of well-themed strategy war games. Supporting up to 6, players of Starcraft the board game take on the role of Human space marines, the zealous and high tech alien race of the Protoss , and the brooding insect-like Zerg as they fight over a board comprised of dynamically placed planetary systems. Players build up their faction’s tech level, construct units and conquer planets, wresting control of resources and coveted victory points from their competitors. The player who stockpiles the most victory points wins, but a few faction-specific victory conditions keeps the game from becoming straight forward and predictable.

This is a top notch title with high quality pieces, solid rules, and gobs of gameplay. It’s also a pretty serious game for some pretty serious strategy game fans, or for those who love the Starcraft Universe. Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t quite the die hard chit wargame with all the fixings of heads-down calculations, slide rules, and line of sight calculation, but a good Starcraft session could have a lot of ebb and flow and take around 3-4 hours to complete. And considering the fact that the dynamic board means that no two games will be the same, this is a lot of gaming in one box.

Highly recommend for those who like the following games: Twilight Imperium, Axis and Allies, Warcraft the Board Game and Civilization.

For more information about Starcraft the board game, please see our other related stories:

  • Starcraft the Board Game Trailer
  • Starcraft: The Board Game Preview News
  • Starcraft the Board Game Review from Gen Con
  • Starcraft The Board Game Official Details Released

    Read on for the Stracraft the board game official details:

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  • October 29, 2007

    Starcraft the Board Game Trailer

    In a standard move of the great prelease lead-ups from Fantasy Flight Games, a trailer of the upcoming Starcraft the Board Game [Amazon, Funagain] has been released. The preview trailer – made in the same vein as the well-produced Tide of Iron trailer and the Tannhauser trailer – does a great job of overviewing the game. Included is a general break down of the gameplay, details of the interesting board setup and mechanics, a slight preview of the factions, and a walk through of the general overarching rules. It’s worth the time of any fan eying the upcoming Starcraft release. And hey, it's definitely a lot more interesting that simply reading the rules.

    But in the end it does feel a little dry because all it does is detail the framework of the game. So we thought you might enjoy a bit of a companion piece to complement the movie: a great Starcraft the Board Game session report on Board Game Geek. It’s probably one of the most detailed session reports that we’ve seen, and it doesn’t bog down in any rules details either.

    Recently we’ve been playing a lot of Fantasy Flight's WWII epic Tide or Iron -- getting in the mood for another involved strategy game from Fantasy Flight’s big box division, and we now we can’t wait to get our hands on the sci-fi themed Starcraft. Currently it’s slated for release on October 31st ! You can preorder it now from Amazon and Funagain Games.

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    October 26, 2007

    Hasbro's Holiday 2007 Board Game Sale at Amazon is running an exclusive Holiday 2008 Sale on all of the Hasbro line of bookcase styled board game titles. Their list includes all the old school classics from Monopoly, to Scrabble, to Yahtzee, and everything in between.

    Those of you looking to replace your family heirloom of busted cardboard boxed games will find these sturdy replacements in these wooden box varieties. And though we don’t have a bookcase full of classic literature to slide these games into, the leather-bound styling still seems somewhat classier than the blinding glitz of the overproduce box covers shipping with the standard titles today.

    It’s crazy that we’re in the holidays already, but we suppose it’s true – Christmas is just inside of two months away. And considering how compact these titles store away on a bookshelf, how cheap they are, and they should keep for quite a while, these titles should make great gifts for budding families whose parents wouldn’t mind revisiting the gaming lessons gleaned from the tried and true board game classics of their youth.

    The exclusive sale includes the following Hasbro titles:

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    October 22, 2007

    The Burning Crusade World of Warcraft Board Game Expansion

    Fantasy Fight Games has released The Burning Crusade [Amazon, Funagain] - an amazingly heavy expansion to the already obscenely large World of Warcraft board game. Not only does Crusade expand upon gameplay facets and already deep content of the original game, including quests, class abilities, encounters, etc, but it adds so many, many more things. Things Like:

    • New Classes: In true Burning Crusade fashion the Alliance faction can now play as a Shaman, and the Horde has access to a Paladin character sheet through the Blood Elf race.
    • New Level Cap: The game allows players to reach Level 6, and gain flying mounts which are used to explore regions of Outland.
    • New Map: There’s a new board containing the regions of Otuland, which players can explore Outland once they’ve reached a high enough level.
    • Purple Quests: a new level of Quests go beyond the difficulty of the Blue level quests.
    • Dungeons: New three stage boss battles with minions provide item rewards, and make leveling up much more dramatic.

    Those of you who’ve played the original World of Warcraft Board Game might think back to some really long play sessions, and those of you who have a life might wonder why adding a whole new level would be “fun”. Thankfully the expansion comes with a new abbreviated experience track which has been gauged so that reaching Level 6 is actually attainable within a sane amount of time.

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    October 17, 2007

    Magic: The Gathering Lorwyn

    Wizards of the Coast has released the next cycle to the Magic The Gathering Collectible Card Game to stores. MTG: Lorwyn attempts to return to the roots of the franchise with a classic fantasy-centric card game, tossing off some of the other directions the game has taking over the last few years. Most notable is the fact that there’s not one Human creature card in the deck.

    It’s not 100% classic though. First off all of the creatures are straight out of a fantasy story, including Goblins, Elves, Giants, etc – but there’s not one Human Creature card in the set. Secondly there’s a new card type called a Planeswalker which straddles the line of enchantment and creature, and could provided some interesting game dynamics.

    While in play they can trade-off counters for performing some pretty slick abilities, like giving players card advantage, resurrecting creatures from the graveyard, etc. Each Planeswalker has three abilities, one of which has a relatively weak effect but adds counters to the ‘walker in return. These counters build over time and can be spent on some of the more game changing effects. Counters are also removed when the Planeswalker takes damage – and yep, the hazy bastage dies when the last counter is removed from the card.

    Each land type gets a different Planeswalker in the Lorwyn base set, but each are rare so we probably won’t see too many in any series of games. However, they seem to be the flagship dynamic Lorwyn.

    There’s a new keyword action “Clash” as well, which pits each player in a war-draw. Both players overturn the top card of their deck, the winner of the Clash is the player who drew the card with the highest converted mana cost. If the player who played the Clash card wins, then he/she is rewarded with a little extra oomph of something special.

    The complete card list can be found here on Gatherer. Read on for details on all 5 of the Lorwyn theme decks.

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    October 12, 2007

    Illuminati: Bavarian Firedrill

    The release of Bavarian Firedrill [Funagain] this week marks the first expansion to the classic Illuminati [Amazon, Funagain] card game from Steve Jackson Games in three years.

    We were quite the fans of the dark humored game full of liars and backstabbers when it was re-released in the Illuminati Deluxe Edition just as we were exiting college. At that time we full of vim and vigor - we were raring to take on the sinister puppet masters of the world economies and social movements, and drink beer, and Illuminati totally played into our egotistical lifestyles. We haven’t picked it up in a while, but now it seems time to dust it off.

    Bavarian Firedrill updates the game to make it more appropriate for the later years of current decade. The frankenstien monster that is FEMA is now a gropu, so are Bloggers and a new gameplay mechanic of scientific and religious artifacts enters the scene. Here’s the company line:

    ”Control new and terrifying groups like Bloggers, Reality Shows, and Intelligent Design. Will you use Embedded Reporters and FEMA to destroy the Webcams, or will you be defeated by Bird Flu and Bobbleheads? Fans of the mega-hit INWO will recall the Deprogrammers and Science Alarmists, as well as more of the best groups from the best-selling conspiracy CCG. BFD also introduces a new kind of card: Artifacts! Some are magical, some are technological, some are just... strange. But all of them give their owners an unfair advantage in the struggle for world domination. Hitler's Brain, the Spear of Longinus, the Screaming Meme and these are just the beginning. Bavarian Fire Drill. You know what it means, but your cover demands you pretend not to... "


    • 110 cards
    • rules

    Illuminati: Bavarian Firedrill is now shipping from Funagain Games.

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    October 8, 2007

    Starcraft: The Board Game Preview News

    Starcraft The Board Game

    A heads up today on the progress of Starcraft: The Board Game [Amazon, Funagain] prerelease media news. Early last week Fantasy Flight Games started posting feature preview articles about the various factions that inhabit the game: the Terrans, Zerg and Protoss, and an article about the design philosophies of the upcoming Big Box adaptation of the massively popular RTS computer game.

    The individual faction articles detail each of the units which have made the leap from the PC Game but not much else on their play style and role in the overarching story. Those familiar with Starcraft will find an instruction-booklet like description of the vehicles and troops they’ve grown to love, but little else in terms of the gameplay details.

    One thing that seems glaringly missing from the catalog of units are the gremlingesque zerglings, which are the rushing grunt troop for the Zerg race (duh). Oh you cute mass-attack fodder units, wherefore art though sweet brooding creep?

    The Designing the Game preview article goes into some of the considerations made while the producers crafted-up the game’s art assets, and while designing the main theme of skirmish combat over the large battle combat we're used to seeing in the Starcraft RTS.

    ” While we wanted to capture the theme of the video game, we also wanted to create a unique StarCraft experience that could not be found anywhere else. At the same time, it was important for it to feel like StarCraft. While walking this razor's edge, we brainstormed and formed the core ideas of what the game would be all about.”

    There’s some great info on what seems to be a pretty cool card component to unit combat. Some unit types have a hand of cards to act as a persistent level of integrity, instead of keeping track of the state of damage. For example: a Protoss carrier is rather beefy, and has a lot of protective cards in its deck, but playing those cards from the hand bleeds away the carrier’s ability to take hits, and makes it more susceptible to destruction by even the weaker opposing units as time progresses.

    Finally, the Starcraft board game is now available to preorder from Fantasy Flight Games directly [details]. If you preorder the game through Fantasy Flight then you will also receive three art prints from the upcoming Starcraft 2 RTS game for the PC. Those looking for a cheaper alternative can forgo the art prints and preorder Starcraft: The Board Game from Funagain Games, which currently has it at 16 bucks off the MSRP.

    Starcraft: The Board Game is slated to ship later this month, in October 2007.

    Other Starcraft The Board Game stories of interest:

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    October 4, 2007

    Carcassonne Travel Edition

    Nearly a year after Carcassonne Big Box was released with four large expansions contained within one shiny blue wrapper, the original Carcassonne has now been reduced over constant heat, pressed form all sides, and emerges in the Carcassonne Travel Size [Amazon, Funagain] brick form for those who like to play on the go.

    This of course suits all sorts of gaming locales for us - camping, evenings in a motel on a long road trip while running from the law, heading out to the bar to relax with a few drinks after work, etc.

    It's funny, because we've stuffed our luggage with the full-sized Carcassonne on quite a few trips already since it's a great way to relax. It's especially good overseas where the talking heads on TV speak in foreign tongues, or domestically when all that's on is a local news station's expose on the safety in handing cheese.

    Here are the official details:

    "Now you can take Carcassonne everywhere you go. The scoring track is printed on the cloth carrying sack, which has room for all the tiles and followers. Of course, all components are a bit downsized to make it more convenient to carry along, but the game is the same great game that won the Spiel des Jahres award in 2001!"

    Carcassonne Travel Edition is now shipping from Amazon and from Funagain Games.

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