March 20, 2007

Now Shipping: "Axis & Allies Naval Minatures: War at Sea"

Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures: War at SeaWWII History Buffs listen up. It's 1940, the sea lanes aren't safe, and Eleanor Roosevelt just smashed a champagne bottle across your ugly bow. Abide the no wake signs, then hit the open ocean - it's time to take your battleship for a 28 knot tour and kick some butt.

Axis & Allies Miniatures just shipped "War at Sea", and now you can recreate some classic naval battles from WWII history. The set includes 64 painted ship types, including: destroyers, cruisers, battleships, and the newest king of the taskforce: aircraft carriers and their supporting cast of fighters and attack planes. All of the major WWII naval powerhouses are represented here, and even the Italians are given some love for their action in the Mediterranean. If that's not thorough then we don't know what is!

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March 16, 2007

Now Shipping: "Cineplexity"

Cineplexity from Out of the Box PublishingFrom the publisher of Apples to Apples (one of our favorite party games in a box) comes Cinepelxity [Amazon, Funagain]: the new creative title that will test your ability to make quips of general movie knowledge. This isn't a trivia game, but a word matching game, and so the you don't need to crack open a movie history book and study it for hours to compete. Instead you just need to shout out the first solution that comes to mind.

A solution to what? Well that's easy -- Name a Detective Movie set in Los Angeles! If you blurt out LA Confidential, or Chinatown, or Columbo: Columbo Goes to College, then you'd get a point (and potentially labeled as having no life). Quick! Name a Romance staring Arnold Schwarzenegger. You could shout.. errm.. Predator, or uh.. Total Recall..?

Maybe we should let the Out of the Box Publishing marketing describe the gameplay for this one.

The Company Line: Cineplexity brings movie fans together for delightful movie madness! Each round, players race to name a movie that includes elements from two Cineplexity Cards. Be the first to come up with a title and you win a point. With over 500 cards you’ll have hundreds of hours of fresh movie fun!

Cineplexity is now available from both Amazon and Funagain Games.

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March 12, 2007

Critical Gamer's Weekly Digest

A Letter From the EditorAttention K-Mart Shoppers!

We want to keep you up to date on the best gaming news and views from around the world. And to that end, we've been hard at work in the back room creating tools that'll make your reading experience more enjoyable and even easier than ever.

Our solution is the Critical Gamers Newsletter: a weekly email digest of the posts on Critical Gamers signed, sealed, and delivered directly to your email inbox every Monday morning. That way, you can keep up with every bit of gaming news you might have missed during your busy work week.

We promise not to bombard you with email or sell your name to evil marketers. We just want another way to communicate with you - our reader. So checkout the right sidebar and enter your email in the Mailing List section to join our weekly digest, simply click here.

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March 9, 2007

Now Shipping: "Settlers: The Fishermen of Catan Expansion"

Games Quarterly Magazine #12Gamers looking to update their ole Catan board with some new pieces won't find the latest and greatest sitting on a shelf at their local gaming store. Instead they might want to check the magazine rack. Games Quarterly Magazine has once again sandwiched an expansion to a classic board game between its front and back covers, this time adding Fish as a resource in the Settlers of Catan economy.

Fish are generated from new Fishing ground tiles, which replace a few of the empty sea spaces in the board setup phase. Players can spend their collected fish to toy around with some of the original title's game mechanics. Players can spend fish to push the robber back into the desert, or steal a random resource card from a player, or... wait, what?? Buy roads? (weird.) And of course the most powerful options require more fish!

The expansion has been out for a while - but in Europe - and this is one of the first fully english printings that you'll find on the market.

You can find out more about the Fishermen of Catan expansion at the game's page here at Board Game Geek. Games Quarterly Magazine #12 [Funagain] is available to order from Funagain Games.

Also on the front of Catan news: The Great River of Catan [Funagain] expansion that shipped in Games Quarterly Magazine last year is now available in a standalone version. If you missed it then check it out at Funagain Games.

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March 8, 2007

Tide of Iron Initial Thoughts on the DT Podcast

TideofIronRules.JPGThe latest episode of The Dice Tower podcast has the initial impressions of hosts Tom Vasel and Same Healey first session with the WWII wargame Tide of Iron [Funagain] from Fantasy Flight Games. And in the world of gaming we hold the opinions of Tom and Sam in the highest regard ( especially for people we've never met. )

So how did ToI pan out for 'em? They found their first session of to be very entertaining, with a detailed and streamlined gameplay, and a lot of potential for replayability given the dynamic board, customized units and varying scenarios. The one true complaint seems to stem from the swappable unit bases where you can make squads of four with various different unit figures. The material of the miniatures is a little weak, so it's a bit stressful to push down hard on these things.

The review starts at 45:40 in the podcast, but we don't endorse skipping the whole thing. There's tons of gaming goodness in these podcasts. Here are the complete show notes for Episode #90: Tide of Iron:

"In this episode, we give our top ten games for a church gaming group; and continue our contest for 24/7 and Incan Gold. We have a discussion about whether or not free review copies sway the opinion of the reviewer, with input from Moritz, Greg Schloesser, Sam and myself. Mary reviews Crokinole and gives us the news, and we finish out the show with a preview and session report of the brand new Tide of Iron!"

See, just one day after our news on Kill the Hippies we counterbalance it with Church Group games. Well...isn't that special?

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March 7, 2007

"Kill the Hippies" Announced and Arrives For Review

Kill the Hippies: A Satirical Card Game from Golden LaurelThere's only one reason why we can't say we're huge fans of Golden Laurel's releases, and that's because we haven't played one yet. Unfortunately the upcoming space strategy and political epic Galactic Destiny has been delayed due to production issues, so we haven't been able to sink our teeth into that juicy morsel. And even though "Kill the Hippies" has only been just-announced, we're lucky enough to get a preview copy here at CG, and we'll soon know exactly what Golden Laurel Entertainment's labs are capable of cooking up.

First thing to note is that the game's literature is firmly smacked with the disclaimers "ironic", "satirical", etc, so as to not offend half the planet. In a country of extremes, including an uncanny ability to take things extremely seriously, "Kill the Hippies" is smothered with slightly offensive material. But to anyone with half a sense of humor, this party game has plenty of flavor to make you smile and, potentially, laugh out loud.

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March 6, 2007

Puerto Rico to Join Xbox Live Eurogames, But at a Cost

SMASHThere were rumors going around late last week that the acclaimed board game Puerto Rico was going to join Catan, Carcassonne, and Alhambra in the new line of Eurogames titles on Xbox Live.

We've made it pretty clear that we're a huge fan of playing these social board games on the Xbox Live service. Our group keeps losing players to distant parts of America with cheaper real estate, warmer weather, and fewer taxes. These Xbox Live titles will be a great way for us to continue playing some of our Eurogame favorites in a clean, easy to setup environment. And with voice chat, we might add.

But The addition of Puerto Rico to the Xbox Live roster has a very unfortunate side effect -- Xbox Live has snatched up exclusive rights for the online version of Puerto Rico. Key word there: exclusive. The rug has been pulled-out from beneath the feet of those fine folks who played Puerto Rico on other online web services, like

There's a huge potential audience of players in Xbox live who haven't been introduced to Eurogames, and the horizon for Eurogames on consumer electronics is looking bright. But do video gaming mega corps really need to snatch up exclusive rights to these titles? We're pretty sure the and the Xbox Live gang aren't eating at the same diner, so why can't both groups have their 'Rico and play it, too?

So now we're back to being less enthusiastic about Xbox Live Eurogames. In one hand is an exciting newborn puppy, cute and innocent, full of potential, but we're using the other hand to feed it the freshly killed corpses of established Eurogame communities.

This is the sort of stuff that keeps us up at night.

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March 5, 2007

Now Shipping "Grænaland"

Greenland: Bring a Parka!Catan is a cold and lonely place, isn't it? Maybe you should try something with warmer weather. Something.. Greener, where waterfalls provide fresh, running water, where the deer and the antelope play, and where the fish are pleased to jump out of the water and straight into your boat! Yes, everything is happier on Greenland.

Settlers of Catan fans listen up! Publisher Czech Board Games has just released the viking saga Greenland [Funagain], a colonization title that builds on the groundwork of the classic Settlers of Catan game style.

However, instead of villages producing resources, the tiles do. Players then divy up the resources using a simple voting mechanic: every town on the tile gets a vote, and every player with a wandering viking hero on the title gets a vote. A diplomatic sharing of resources could work out in the long term, or a raiding viking could throw the whole uneasy balance into a chaotic pillagefest.

Check out the rules posted at BGG here [pdf]. And, as always, here's the official word:

The Company Line: In 982, a Viking jarl called Erik the Red sailed from the western coast of Iceland and discovered a new land. He named it Graenaland, a green land. Four years later the first colonists arrived to Greanaland and founded settlements that lasted more than four centuries. Take the role of one of the jarls leading their clans to the new home. You have to settle the coast and to agree with your neighbors on how to distribute the spare resources the land is giving away. As Eric wants no fights amongst Vikings, any conflicts are solving by voting. You could improve your position in order to gain more votes; however, you can also try to be righteous and to keep good relations with all your neighbors. Cooperating with them, you can fertilize and improve the land easier than when struggling for influence; just keep your position strong enough for the case something goes wrong.

Greenland (or Grænaland, if you prefer) is now shipping and available at Funagain Games.

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March 2, 2007

Colosseum Rules Released

Colosseum from Days of WonderWe've covered Colosseum before, and the game looks fantastic. Not only does the subject matter have our undivided attention, but with Days of Wonder as the publisher we already know that the pieces and board are going to be of the highest quality. And now that we've read over the rules (which can be found here) we're even more excited.

In Colosseum players will construct and upgrade Arenas in an attempt to host the largest and most successful spectacle. After five turns whoever has the largest turnout of attendees for a given spectacle is the winner.

But this isn't just a game of economic expansion. Every turn players buy events from a pool of cards drawn randomly from the deck, performers who enact the production are then purchased via a player auction system. Senators roam the streets looking for something to tickle their fancy in their otherwise rich, mundane, shallow lives, and players trade away gladiators for gold. It seems that each game will vary significantly between every play, whether it comes from dynamic player interactions or random event draws. Good stuff.

Colosseum is set to ship in April 2007 and is available to preorder from Funagain Games.

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February 28, 2007

February '07 Roundup

Roundup2.jpgFebruary is cold, sleepy and if it isn't snowing, or raining, or sleeting, then there's slush melting in the backed-up street gutters. Thank goodness that month is over!

We have to be honest, even given the short month, the number of releases in February didn't blow our minds. The most substantial was the release of the next title in the long line of Catan games: Catan Histories: Struggle for Rome. Romping through the Apennine Peninsula should tide us over until Spring when even more titles start churning off the factory line, including Days of Wonder's stadium building title Colosseum, the space opera Galactic Destiny, and the WWII tactical wargame system Tide of Iron. Plus we'll be soon slaying demons and kicking WWI butt in the upcoming Fantasy Flight translation of Tannhauser, and how could forget the long awaited news on the upcoming World of Warcraft TCG expansion The Dark Portal. It's about time Upper Deck loosens its lips about that title and spills the details; the set is due April/May, so if not March then when?

Even more important is this: When will then be now?

Board Games

Collectable Card Games

Gaming Culture

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