March 1, 2006

Guildpact Hits Magic Online

RumblingSlum.jpgOkay, okay. Guildpact MTG:O went live on Monday, but today the bell strikes leagues o'clock. We're not rich enough to throw money at online just-for-fun-cards, but now we gots a reason to pay and play. Leagues!

The Leagues open at noon PST, which is only a short time from now. You'll need the normal Event Tickets (2), Ravnica Tournament Pack (1), and Guildpact Boosters (3), all of which are available via the MTG:O webstore.

Each league will launch when full (256 players), and is scheduled to last one week with a total of 5 matches to play. These Release Leagues pay 2x the normal prizes, and also unlock avatars for participation. And If you're so freakin' good that you can go 5-0, then you'll get a special avatar: Rumbling Slum. He sounds gorgeous.

The other Release Event signups open at 9:00am PST and include draft tournaments and Flights that pay 2x, 4x, or 6x the normal number of booster pack prizes. See the Magic Online Guildpact Release Event page for a complete list of relaese events requirements, schedules, and payouts.

Good luck in the pact... but not too much luck. We'd hate to lose to you.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 28, 2006

Official Battlestar Galactica CCG Website Launches

WizKids just launched an official website for the upcoming Battlestar Galactica Collectible Card Game. The site contains the latest preview news, some scattered card previews (the official card preview page is yet to come), and an example walk through of a few rounds of the game.

The game's initial release of cards is set during the first two seasons of the show. This was a period when the newly appointed President Roslin butted heads with the meatshield Admiral Adama over which direction to take the ragtag human fleet, both physically and socially. The game is most centered around this internal struggle, and not centered on the fight of Cylons vs Humans, which is a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully there will be an expansion, 'cause man, a clash of human-will versus the replicating Cylon threat would have been fantastic.

Anyway, enough fantasizing. In this game, you control a political or military leader vying for ultimate control of the fleet. Your deck will contain various personnel and ships which you can use to attack your opponent from two fronts. A successful attack against an opponent decreases their influence.

Each card in-play also increases the chance of a Cylon attack which would occur in the final phase of a turn. These attacks rain down on both sides as players take turns controlling the Cylons in an attempt to deal as much damage as possible. It's catchy a thing, though, because a successful counter of a Cyclon raid from one faction will increase that player's influence (and thus bring that player closer to winning the game).

This example play is fairly interesting. It pits Conflict-Stallin' President Roslin versus the Big-Mamma-Jamma Admiral Adama. The President's collection of cards boosts her influence through personnel staff actions (as opposed to ship combat), and weaken the opposition's influence via similar means. Adama has a weaker personnel pool, but stronger ships which stand-up better to the inevitable Cylon attacks. In fact, his cards seemingly provoke Cylon attacks as a tool to weaken his opponent. Since Adama has powerful ships, his ability to withstand the attacks means he has a better chance to increases his own influence during each raid. Now -- we haven't seen all the cards yet, so we're not completely certain how this would play-out in the long run, but as of not it seems like a major theme in the game.

Not everything comes up roses in this preview, and we have a few problems.. err.. questions with the setting of the game. Should Adama really send ships to attack President Roslin? That doesn't seem right. Last time we checked, Adama and Roslin were quite the chums. And since when did the President command ships in combat?

But these are petty questions amongst the whole scheme of cool things, and they'll probably fall out of the wash once we starting pulling cards off the deck. In all, this collectable card game seems relatively straight forward, fun, and quick to play.

We're looking forward to this release in the next couple of months. We'll have more news as things develop.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 27, 2006

World of Warcraft Boardgame Reprint Hits Retailers

WoW_Boardgame_2.27.06.jpgWorld of Warcraft The Boardgame (Fantasy Flight Games) was an immensely popular hit last year. Too popular, actually. Stores sold out of the game soon after its release, and Fantasy Flight's own inventory was stripped bare. The game has been quite a b... pain to get a hold of ever since (mainly it was exclusively available on the ebay auction hall).

But today Fantasy Flight Game's warehouses are chalk full of a second run of the game. Trucks are departing (as we speak) to bring additional copies World of Warcraft to retailers across the country. The folks at Funagain games have already listed their copies as available. Amazon is still bone-dry, but you should be able to order from Amazon here, once they get their shipments within the next few days.

The Company Line:World of Warcraft: the Board Game is a team-based fantasy adventure. The Horde and the Alliance factions must compete to be the first to defeat the invincible Overlord – be it the lich-king Kel'Thuzad, the dragon Nefarian, or the demon Kazzak – or, failing that, to be the last faction standing when it comes to all-out war. Battle opponents, gather treasure, and gain levels! Embark on quests to grow ever more powerful and compete to be the greatest hero in all the land. The epic World of Warcraft: The Board Game production will include gorgeously crafted components, including over 150 highly detailed, sculpted plastic figures representing the multiple races of the World of Warcraft. Players will be able to take the roles of all nine of the World of Warcraft classes, each with its own unique and fun talents and powers. The World of Warcraft Board Game is a massive production that will ship in FFG's signature Epic Style Box.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 24, 2006

New Releases - The Week of February 24th

Harry Potter makes a late Winter appearance this week, and Funagain restocks their shelves with Blokus and a remake of an old Roman War classic from Eagle Games.

* SceneIt_HP_2.24.06.jpg"Scene It?" released a Harry Potter edition of their popular line of DVD trivia games, and Amazon has it for the cheap. Man, Scene It? is on a serious roll.

The Company Line: Features questions and puzzlers from one of the most popular movie franchises in history! Includes real clips and content from the first four Harry Potter movies as well as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Includes a themed Flextime game board which enables players to choose the length of gameplay, high quality Harry Potter themed metal movers, oversized dice, 160 trivia cards, 30 Harry Potter themed Buzz cards, and a DVD with patented Optreve technology unique to Scene It? so you can play again and again without seeing the same questions repeatedly. For two to four players.

* Blokus.2.24.06.jpgFunagain Games have restocked their shelves with critically acclaimed Blokus, and at a price 5 bucks cheaper than Amazon's listing. Nice work!

The Company Line: "Develops logic and special perception while kids learn to be tactical. Players take turns placing pieces on their board, each starting from their corner. Each new piece must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but only at the corners! The goal is to get rid of all your pieces. The game ends when all players are blocked from laying down any more of their pieces. Includes one gameboard with 400 squares, 84 game pieces in four bright translucent colors, and an instruction guide. "

* ConquestOfTheEmpire.2.24.06.jpgAlso back at Funagain this week is Conquest of the Empire. This is great remake of the original Milton Bradley's Game Master Series version from 1984, and with Roman History more popular that ever, how could you go wrong?

The CL: Do you have what it takes to become the next Emperor of Rome? It is the 2nd century AD and the 200 year Pax Romana of Augustus Caesar has come to an end. With the death of the Philosopher-Scholar Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Empire is without a competent leader. Disorder reigns and civil war looms. Mars will * be pleased. It is a time for war. It is a time for Conquest of the Empire!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 23, 2006

NESBuckle.2.23.06.jpgHoly smack. Someone fished a truckload of NES Controllers out of the East River and put them to good use. pushes the edge of fashion while being retro at the same time. That's a delicate balance, and it's... intriguing.

Here's's company line:

Once brushed off as merely a myth in the video game world, the long rumored, much talked about NES Buckle is now available to grace your pants. Yes, it's a real Nintendo controller, yes, its a real belt buckle, and yes, it will actually hold up your trousers. Get your own now!

There are other varieties too, including controlers from the SNES and Genesis systems. They even have the old school one button Atari joystick (although a joystick-ing out of your lower abdomen is a bit obscene. Best not wear this belt with your Church's Sunday's best).

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 22, 2006

Urban Dead: 243,575 dead and rising.

urbandead.gif Urban Dead is a free massively multiplayer online web-based game set in the fictional (duh) post-apocalyptic zombie infested city of Malton. The struggle of humans versus zombies has been going strong for almost three quarters of a year now, and on any given day there nearly 50,000 players shooting, biting and infesting their way through hospitals, malls, police departments, libraries, mansions... you get the idea.

Urban Dead isn't something that you devote multiple hours of your day to. This is slow game played over months of your time. Each day the system grants you only 50 action points to spend as you see fit - either killing, searching for ammo, or running away from the zombie hordes. A day's turn usually last about 5-10minutes of real time.

Players drive both the Human and Zombie sides of the conflict, and are given an option to join either during character creation. When a Human dies, he's forced to join the zombie horde. However, dead characters arn't trapped in zombie form forever (thankfully). Players who work for the NecroTech Corporation can rummage through the post apocalyptic refuse to find revivification syringes. This are consumable items that bring other zombie-characters back to world of the living.

Each side's gameplay is considerably different. The Humans can operate guns, barricade buildings, speak to each other, and run relatively freely through the streets. Zombies spend more action points to lurch around from point-to-point, and can't use weapons.. which is a bit of a downer. On the upside a zombie's bite can infect humans, who'll bleed to death unless they find medical attention. And when a zombie dies, he can get right back up.. a hauntingly nonhuman 'skill '

The game's graphics are fairly nonexistent (A simple clickable map is used for navigation), but that's okay. This one is all about the fight of Zombies versus Humans, and the social dynamics that evolve out of that conflict!

Some recommendations:

  • Join a clan to make the game a more social and immersing experience. Clans use message boards to coordinate attacks, defenses, quick raids, etc, - which is an especially useful tool for the zombie hordes (Z's have very limited verbal skills). You can find a list of existing clans here. Clicking on any of the clan names brings you to their homepage.
  • Start as either a scout or a fireman. The scout lets you run between buildings without going outside. This means safer travels since you can circumvent locked doors which can lock you outside in the cold. The Fireman kit is a great first choice for the more aggressive folks. He starts with a fire axe; the best non-ammunition weapon around. Shotguns require to you find shells, pistols require clips, but a fire axe is always ready to hack away few more Zombie limbs.
  • Play with friends - this game could get old quick if you're not watching someone else's back, coordinating with other people, etc.
  • Don't rest for the night in Hospitals, Malls, or Police Stations. These are prime targets for zombie attacks.

Good luck. Try not to get any red on you.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

February 21, 2006

MTG Online Guildpact Release Schedule

The folks at MTG_Guidlpact.jpgWizards of the Coast have posted the Magic The Gathering: Online Guildpact Release Event Schedule. If you're a bloodthirsting magic junky like were are, then make sure to give this a quick glance-over.

Release events start Monday February 28th, at 9:00am, PST. Most events award players with new Avatars, and at least two times the normal prize payout of booster packs. Some of these tournaments pay-out 6x the normal boosters - that's 72 boosters for first place! Sweet mamma jamma.. that's a spicy pay-out.

If you're not familiar with the new Guildpact expansion, then we recommend reading over some of these fantastic articles written by the Magic designers, specifically this Guildpact Combo article. Beware the combos! Finally, here's a great summary of the new Guildpact rules including Haunt, Bloodthirst and Replicate.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 31, 2006

Take Me On in "Scene It: Music Edition"

The popular DVD Trivia franchise "Scene It!" recently released their Music Edition of their game to the feathered-hair masses. The Scene-It line of approachable titles couple DVD Technology! (tm) with the standard Trivia board game, and are great for dinner parties, the lake house, rainy days, etc. This musical flavor is an obvious no-brainer for anyone raised by the surrogate-parent of the 1980s, MTV -- which is just about everyone who popped a zit in that decade.

Here's the company line:

Now Music Scene It? turns a flat board game into a 3-D multimedia match with unforgettable songs, favorites and classics old and new. Features real clips from the best music labels and artists. Includes music game DVD, Flextime game board, one six-sided dice, one eight-sided dice, four metal musical character movers, four category reference cards and 160 trivial cards with three questions each and an additional 30 music buzz cards. For two or more players.

You can order it online at Funagain Games or Enjoy!

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 26, 2006

MTG Online Guildpact Beta Signups

We just found this one in the MTG Online Forums. If you're hankering for some prerelease Guildpact, and if you don't mind a potentially bug-ridden Magic The Gathering: Online client interface, then you'll definitely want to fill out the MTG:Online Guildpact Beta Forum. There's no word on when the beta will start, but it should to be soon; the Guildpact Ravnica expansion is slated for an online release on February 27th, and that date is coming up quick.

We feel we must warn you that the beta application includes a trixy 10 question quiz. It mentions some older cards, and unless you're Rainman then you'll probably need to consult the card rule text in order to get these questions right. Thankfully all of the cards are easily available through the official Gatherer Online Database of Magic Cards.

Good luck, and we'll see you inside the beta.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

January 24, 2006

Carcassonne The Tower Images

Some new Official Pictures have surfaced of the latest expansion pack for Carcassonne. "The Tower" includes new pieces that bring the game into the exciting world of 3D (so '80s!). Players continue to build their city outwards with the normal game-tiles, but then also construct towers... which hopefully don't require a balancing act to complete, nor topple with a bump of the table. Speaking of clumsy-assed selves, the game will also ship with a tower-shaped tile holder to get those tile stacks out of the way once and for all.

We'll have more news on this title (including a review) when Carcassonne The Tower ships this February.

Critical Gamers Staff at Permalink social bookmarking

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