Dec 142012
 

Managing to actually beat the next Star Wars films into the world, the Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG base set has, shockingly, arrived earlier than expected.  Copying the Pathfinder Beginner Box method of release, Star Wars Edge of the Empire is also released in a beginner box format, coming with all the essentials for play.  Included in the box is a quick-to-learn rule booklet that will teach anyone, even the most uninitiated roleplayer, how to play the game.  Dice, pre-generated character sheets (which are ready-to-play), an adventure book, tokens, and much more are also included.  Create your own galaxy far, far away by picking up this one, catch-all Beginner Box.

Maybe you haven’t heard, but there’s this movie called The Hobbit coming out this weekend.  I don’t know, people are excited.  In a brilliant stroke of cross-marketing, Fantasy Flight has released a new Hobbit trick-taking card game.  A head-to-head battle of good versus evil, The Hobbit card game has players taking on the roles of Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin to take on the forces of Smaug and Bolg.  Each card has its own special abilities as well as associations with good or evil, which will benefit or harm them depending on the items being attached to them.  Trust me, you’re going to need something to keep you and your five friends busy while your sitting in line waiting for tickets.

In an effort to make an RPG system for every corner of the Warhammer 40K universe, the Only War Core Rulebook drops today.  Focusing on the Imperial Guardsmen, Only War allows players to control any of the twelve specialties, whether that’s the powerful Heavy Gunner or the beneficial Medic.  The game also supports all forms of interaction with easy-to-understand rules capable of handling conversations to mass battles.  Also, by the weird possibility that you’re playing a 40K game without knowing anything about the universe, this rulebook comes with complete background details on the Imperial Guard and all their enemies.

The fire is rising, brother.  And you just read that in Bane’s voice.

Though he, technically, has nothing to do with Dominare, Bane’s general revolutionary plan does share some similarities with the gameplay.  It’s all about influencing the citizens of Tempest with secret backdoor dealings, underhanded treachery, and cunning.  Each player controls different agents of the underworld, sending them into eight different city districts to begin spreading rumors of a conspiracy that will upset the city’s balance.  In the end, its all about control and who possesses it.

Ticket to Ride continues to trek across the globe for its most recent map expansion packs, this time landing in Africa.  Ticket to Ride: The Heart of Africa (beside being a minor reference to Joseph Conrad’s famous short story) features an entirely original map of the country, complete with new terrain cards which specific different track colors for different geographical regions.  Players can multiply their points by using them in conjunction with particular routes.  As Ticket to Ride is one of the best family games on the stands since forever, so keep it fresh and interesting for yours by picking up this new expansion.

Wares!  Fine wares!  Get your fine wares right here!

Continuing from Catan Histories previous releases, Merchants of Europe is the newest stand-alone Catan edition.  This augmentation of the basic Settlers of Catan rules has players controlling merchants and trading posts in various cities in Europe, attempting to expand their mercantile reach ever further.  Ultimately, your goal should be to recruit as many new merchants as you can in an effort to build trading posts further from your original locations and acquire different commodities (i.e. sugar, wood, sheep, etc.) for trade and sale.  Along with this, players must also build trading routes over which they will need to transport their goods, hoping they’ve built them in safe areas or else have their product pillaged from under them.

Nov 182011
 

Claim your dominion over the hinterlands by picking up Dominion: Hinterlands!

The newest expansion to the popular deck building game, Dominion: Hinterlands adds twenty-six new cards to the game.  As each expansion set has a theme to them, Hinterlands focuses on cards that give immediate satisfaction by enacting actions the moment you buy them or receive them.

A personal sidenote, regular customer Eric J. Carter created artwork for a number of cards in this set (building off his card from Dominion: Prosperity), so show him some love and pick up a copy.

Are you a refined individual?

Do you like the premium things in life?  Well, Magic the Gathering has the deck for you.  The new Graveborn Premium All-Foil Deck is a pre-built theme deck constructed around zombies, resurrection, and the undead.  With cards like Entomb, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, and Animate Dead, all foils mind you, this sucker’s a force to be reckoned with.

That and, with cards going for around $40 right now, it worth a crap ton of money.  So, even if you don’t want to play the deck, you might find it worth your while to pick up a copy, sit on it, and sell it off for a mint price later.

Speaking of collectible card games, what’s more collectible than the game where you gotta catch’em all?  Yes, Poke fans, we received an new booster box of the most recent Pokemon booster set, Black & White: Noble Victories this past Wednesday.  This set should be noted for a couple of reasons.  One, this is the third set in the Black & White trilogy, two, it introduces new Restored Pokemon cards, and, three, contains the only Rare Ultra Trainer Card ever.

As they should always be mentioned in the same breath (and I know some people will want to kill me after saying that), it should be noted that we also have a new booster box of Yu-Gi-Oh: Photon Shockwave.  Let the CCG rivalry begin!

Of course, the logical place to go after Pokemon is zombies.  Hey, that new set does have a Restored Pokemon card, so it’s not too much of a stretch.

Anyway, it has been a year since Outbreak: Undead made its way onto the indy RPG scene.  In that time, the creators of the game have released a slew of content on their website.  The new Outbreak: Undead Annual volume 1 collects all these expansive supplements, including new missions, horror traits, zombies, and One Big Monsters.

Joining the few and far between collection of co-operative play games in the world, Panic Station might be one of the first to throw horror into the mix.  Set in a futuristic base where an alien threat has broken loose, players have to work together to find the alien hive and destroy it.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Wrong.  Within the group of four to six players will be an infected member who must keep their identity secret as they slowly and purposefully infect the other players, attempting to thwart the humans’ mission altogether.

If you’re looking for a paranoia-filled version of Forbidden Island, this very well might it.

If you’re looking for a pre-generated adventure for you tenth level character in Pathfinder, the new Forest of Spirits can offer it to you.  Containing the aforementioned adventure, crafted by Richard Prett, a mysterious study of the kami, protectors of the forest, crafted by Mike Shel, an equivalent look into the Minkai by Jesse Benner, along with a crap ton of other info on Oda’s gambling house, monsters, and geisha’s.

Let your war banner fly with the new Runewars: Banners of War expansion.

Containing eight new unit types (that’s two for each faction, folks), new development cards that allow you to improve existing units as well as gain faction-specific abilities, and the Commanders of the Battlefield variant that lets you assign certain heroes to lead your forces, this is an expansion to be reckoned with.

Seriously, I saw it knock a dude out the moment it popped out of the shipping box.  

You’ve got your banner, you’ve got your premium deck, and you’re headed to the Hinterlands, but have you got your ticket?

That’s okay, because the new Ticket to Ride: Asia is in stock.  This expansion (you’ll need the base game or Ticket to Ride: Europe to play) supplies two entirely new boards for play.  One being the Team Asia board where players compete against each other in teams as they build railways across greater Asia.  The second is Legendary Asia, which offers easier routes, but beware the mountain routes.  If you’re looking for a way to alter your experience with one of the best board games ever, then board the train and settle down for the journey.

May 142011
 

Hopefully you have about a month to kill, because this post is going to be like the War and Peace of game posts.

Let’s jump right in with a restock (sort of) on the freshly reprinted Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG.  The classic Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone created series has been picked up by Arion Games, updated, and reprinted.  Based around single player adventuring, this core rulebook contains everything you’ll need to start up.  That’s hero creation rules, game rules, spells, powers, and all the monsters, dungeons, and adventures you could shake a battle axe at.  A perfect way to get into roleplaying, if you’re looking to start.

Just in time for the Thor movie, YggdrasilZ-Man games (so you know it looks a’very nice) releases this one, which has players taking on the role of gods in the defense of the world tree, Yggdrasil.  Yes, Ragnarok is on the way and you have to take three actions each time your turn comes up.  Actions include conversing with dwarfs, elves or Valkyries for benefits, fight frost giants, and/or venture to Asgard and fight against the baddies.  If you dig Norse mythology and smashing things, this is for you.

Okay, here’s a short one.

Age of Steam:  Germany & France Expansion pack.  It combines the maps of Germany and France for you to play on…that’s it.  Done.

D&D The Shadowfell:  Gloomwrought and Beyond has dropped onto the shelves.  Inside its box-y confines are all the contents giving you the ability to play in the city of Gloomwrought.  These contents include:  a campaign guide, a 32-page book of encounters, a lovely map of the city and other areas, character and monster tokens, and 30 cards to enhance your encounters.  D&D knows what’s up, so these box sets always treat you right.

Very inventive game here.  Pastiche revolves around art and its creation.  Players select a card that displays a famous work of art, underneath it is a set of colors that were used in the palette.  Players then attempt to “mix” colors by placing tiles.  Simple yet strategic and, yet, still fun for the whole family.

Another Call of Cthulhu offshoot, The Legacy of Arrius Lurco is set in the Cthulhu Invictus universe.  The story follows Arrius Lurco who has vanished and returned recently only to start having nightmares.  This softcover contains a campaign divided into four sections set in ancient Rome, Rome, and Cyrenaica.  Expect all the creepy, disturbing monsters and horror of any Lovecraft offshoot.

If you’re Jonesing for a good screw-your-opponent game, then you’ve just found FaceEater.  A card game, FaceEater involves time travel, face melting, nerve gas, and a number of other horrible tortures.  Each player tries to earn the most points while screwing their opponents up as much as they can.  Inside the box are 192 cards to create a deck from.  Dark, funny, and addictive.

The rulebook for Mercs, a new futuristic miniature game, shipped, along with a number of the stats cards that are necessary for play.  As always, the rule book, through detailed instruction and bright, stylish pictures and artwork.  Why not check it out?

Merkator is next.  Players control merchants during the Thirty Years’ War who are working to complete contracts based around requested goods.  After you finish a contract, you gain another, more lucrative, one.  But you’ll find that global travel may be necessary to locate the goods you need.  Above all, though, time is of the essence.

More traveling in this travel game about traveling called Travel Blog:  Europe & USA.  That’s lots’a travel.  And, as I said, the game is about traveling across the world, but hinges on your knowledge of the globe.  You pick up cards that link countries, basically choosing the route of your trip, and attempted to do it quicker than your opponent.  The game can be used as a learning tool, as well, because it focuses heavily on world geography and the names of countries.

Troyes is a game divided into card and dice control.  Centered around the construction (over four centuries) of Troyes, France, the game has players controlling a portion of the population (the dice) which will fall into one of three categories, civil, religious, or military.  Through them, players choose what options to perform that will assist them in building the city.

Another perfect family game, Simpatico, is all about strategic movement of cards.  The game consists of 84 cards that have various images and colors on them.  Placed on a game mat divided into three sections, gamers move the cards up to the top row, where they’ll gain points, by placing them on top of other cards that have the same shape, color, or quantity.  A fast, portable game like Treehouse, Fluxx, or Archeology.

Winner of a New Worlds of Gaming Spiel Des Jahres award, Space Alert is a game that demands your attention.  Suitable from one to five players (always nice to see a single player game), Space Alert is similar to Red November, but with one major change:  CDs.  Yes, included CDs control how the space mission the players are on occurs.  Also, the game is team based, so the crew of the ship needs to work together if they have any hope of surviving.

An investment, currency control game, at heart, Airlines:  Europe has gamers bidding, buying, and controlling the beginning stages of the commercial aviation business in Europe.  If your airline performs better than others, investors will flock to you, earning you further influence and success.  Of course, the most impressive profit is always the end goal.

The Secret of Monte Cristo builds off of Alexandre Dumas’ famous story.  The game’s premise revolves around searching for hidden treasure in that the Count left in his former prison.  Turn order fluctuates, giving one active player the chance to place explorers, based off a new marble rolling system.  The game may sound a bit odd, reading it on here, but once you’ve seen it in person you’ll realize the genius in its design.

Another game based on a classic literary tale, The Three Musketeers:  The Queen’s Pendants offers a hell of a lot more fun than reading words.  Heh, who does that any…Oh.  Uh, keep reading.  Anyway, some players take on the roles of the Musketeers while one controls Cardinal Richelieu.  As the Musketeers fight to make it through the Louvre so that they may give the diamonds back to the Queen Mother, Richelieu chases them, attempting to find and steal the diamonds first.  Action, adventure fun.

Bueller?  Bueller?