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Tag: Fantasy Flight Games (page 1 of 9)

All About Living Card Games

Introduced by Fantasy Flight Games  all the way back in 2008, the Living Card Game (LCG) model of distribution is an innovative alternative to the widespread collectible card game model.  Anyone who has played Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon will know the sting that competitive play can bring to your wallet, as you try and track down those rare competitive cards whose prices make money strapped gamers sad. The LCG model was the answer to this, beginning with A Game of Thrones and Call of Cthulhu back in 2008, with many more games joining the fixed distribution model later on.

For those who don’t know what the main draw of an LCG is, it’s quite simple; no random packs. Before you purchase a product, you know exactly what you’re going to get. No more chasing down those money cards and forking out ludicrous amounts of money just for the right to compete. Just work out which pack the cards you want are from and grab that. Or just grab everything; keeping up with an LCG is really not an expensive venture, and they combine excellent gameplay with their lowered barriers to entry to create a healthy and thriving scene.

If you’re not sure which LCG is for you, then you’ve come to the right place; I’ll be looking at each LCG that is currently in print and still continuing to release product (as well as one upcoming one), giving a brief rundown on my own thoughts on the game, as well as a quick recommendation on who I believe it’s suitable for. Note that this article doesn’t cover the LCG-like games of other companies (Doomtown: Reloaded and VS2PCG come to mind), but only those offered by Fantasy Flight Games.

I’m going to use the generic terms “Pack” and “Deluxe” to represent the smaller sixty card expansions (well, three times twenty different card) and the larger box expansions respectively. They are called different things depending on the game, but for the sake of simplicity, I will be using these two terms instead. If you’re thinking about getting into the LCG, click on the title just before their respective sections. Without further ado, let’s get into it, starting with:

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (2011)

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Lord of the Rings is an interesting product in that whilst it has been out the longest and has far and away the most product available for it (currently 33 Packs and 12 deluxe expansions), it is also the game that has the lowest barrier to entry, a virtue of the fact that the game is entirely co-operative. You need not be concerned with needing everything; you can grab everything at your own pace and slowly discover the game. In fact, the Core Set itself contains so many powerful cards that with the Core Set and even just a handful of packs, you can build decks to take on any adventure.

The game has really ramped up in the last few years. I found the initial quests in the early cycles to be a bit lacking, but the last three cycles have been absolutely amazing, as have the Fellowship adventures, which allow for a campaign mode as well. And boy oh boy have the quests gotten harder; even with well tailored decks and experienced players, the game is very difficult, just as a co-op game should be.

A great option for solo-play and even as a pseudo board game on its own, Lord of the Rings is definitely worth a look into if you’re looking for a readily expandable cooperative experience that’s thematic, challenging and innovative. Probably one of the further advantages of the game is that even if your area lacks a playgroup, you’re still able to enjoy all of the game by yourself, or even with friends; you don’t need a community for the game to be at its best. A good entry point would be two Core Sets and some of the Fellowship deluxes, Alternatively, one cycle of six packs plus the deluxe to go with it can replace the Fellowship deluxes. An important thing to note is that each cycle is tied to a deluxe, thus you’re better off not buying random packs without the corresponding deluxe. As far as cycles go, I was a huge fan of the Land of Shadow, and am really liking the interesting direction the designers have taken with the Grey Havens, so either of those would make for awesome places to begin your adventures in Middle-Earth.

Android: Netrunner (2012)

Android: Netrunner

I will freely admit that Netrunner is one of the few LCGs I haven’t had much experience with. An asymmetric card game set in a cyberpunk world, one player plays as the hacker trying to bypass all of the traps and blockades set up by the corp played by the other. It’s certainly a very unique game, forgoing much of the standard spend resources, play character of other games and replacing it with a game full of risk management, bluffing and constant tension. Sure, cards still cost money, but the main driving force of the game is action and risk management.

Netrunner has easily seen the most success out of all the LCGs, with hundreds of players turning up for its largest events.  Now many cycles in, the game is very deep and deck possibilities are vast and varied. That, however, comes at a cost, and the entry point at the moment is intimidating. In my own experiences, it’s the type of game that you have to make your main game to truly enjoy it;  the hidden knowledge component of the game means that not being up to date with the cards is going to cost you even more than in other games, and the risk management/math heavy nature of the game means that in order to get the most out of Netrunner, you have to invest yourself in it,

Thankfully, the community resources are far and away the most expansive of the LCGs, and you will likely have no issue finding tournaments or competitive-minded players to play against. I would recommend Netrunner to the competitive card gamer looking for something to throw themselves into, but definitely not for those looking to just dabble and play for fun; to me, the game just doesn’t quite do casual well, and shines brightest in the heat of competition.

Star Wars: The Card Game (2012)

Star Wars: The Card Game

Yet another asymmetric game, though not quite to the extent of NetrunnerStar Wars: The Card Game  has had a bit of a tumultuous history. After an excellent and interesting core set, the first cycle was rather weak, and that coupled with delays meant that many became disillusioned with it. As a point of comparison, Star Wars and Netrunner were released in the same year, but Star Wars is seven packs behind! This means that it’s much more difficult to find a tournament for Star Wars.

That said, the game is not without fantastic mechanics that, again, got much better as time went on (the second cycle was magnificent). If you’re a true fan of the license, you can have a lot of fun with this game, and there are a whole heap of viable options for deckbuilding at a casual, fun level. There is a bit of a thematic disconnect which a lot of people have taken issue with (an X-Wing blasting down Darth Vader, or the Executor being poked by Ewoks for example) but with two core sets and two Edge of Darkness expansion packs, a lot of fun can be had. It pains me that I can’t recommend this higher, given how interesting the game play is (really, if you like game design, try play a game of it) and how much I like the license, but you can’t win ’em all.

Warhammer 40000: Conquest (2014)

Warhammer 40,000: Conquest

Speaking of excellent game design, the LCGs continue to deliver with Eric Lang’s Warhammer 40000: Conquest. Much like Netrunner, Conquest really lends itself to tournament play above anything else; you can certainly play the factions you like, but due to the super tight game play, not playing with competitive options means you’re going to get crushed quickly. With a much more spacial aspect than the other LCGs (fitting given the license) and the extremely innovative and well thought out simultaneous decision making mechanic, Warhammer 40000: Conquest has a lot going for it gameplay-wise for a start.

What’s more, on top of the strong license, great gameplay  and fantastic artwork is the relatively low price point of the game at the moment. With only two deluxes and thirteen packs, you can have everything in the game for a relatively low entry point. Whilst recent developments on the game have been slow and it lacks the same consistent community which both Netrunner and the next game have in spades, you could do far worse as far as great, skill intensive competitive games go.

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition (2015)

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

Wasting no time after ending First Edition, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition (AGOT 2.0) is running pretty hot at the moment. If you’re a fan of the source material, you’ll find all of your favourite characters faithfully represented in AGOT 2.0, which currently has a heavy focus on these unique fan favourite characters going into various challenges against one another as you struggle for the Iron Throne. With a healthy mix of luck and skill, relatively simple mechanics, a healthy and steadily growing community and the fact that it’s currently FFG’s youngest LCG, AGOT 2.0 is definitely the game to get into at the moment if you’re on the fence about all the others (or you’re just a mega-fan of the series).

Much like Netrunner and ConquestAGOT 2.0 is primarily a competitive game. The first of two game modes, Joust is the more common of the two and is  a traditional one versus one affair. In addition, casual play is much more encouraged mechanically than in any other LCG, at least in my opinion. This is further exemplified by the wilder, more chaotic Melee format, where three to four players struggle for the throne, forging alliances only to break them off just as quickly. The melee option even works quite well as just a family board game on its own, making AGOT 2.0 one of the easier games to sample first before committing.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game (4th Quarter 2016-Early 2017)

The only LCG not yet released that we’ll be looking at today is the mysterious Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Not too much is known about this game yet, but early reports point towards a hybrid LCG/roleplaying experience unlike any other game on the market. I’m incredibly curious to see how much FFG has learned about making a cooperative LCG from Lord of the Rings, and if they can get it right from the beginning, the popular theme and innovative design space may prove to be a winner!

Whichever LCG you do end up choosing, I hope you have an amazing time with the diverse, thematic experiences awaiting you in each and every box. Fantasy Flight Games have done a wonderful job with the core of each of their card games, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this innovative model of card games (there are two more upcoming LCGs, but they’ll have to wait for another article).

Fulfill Your Destiny with Star Wars: Destiny!

There has been an awakening!

For those of you who aren’t aware, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) released an article about an upcoming dice-based collectible game. Oh, and it’s from a pretty cool IP too.

Star.  Wars.  Destiny.

swd01_cardfan_1_good
I’ve taken the time to pull apart all the information from the original release article and the product page in order to extrapolate as much as possible about the rules of the game and what we can expect.  Without for ado, let’s get into it.

1. It’s collectible!

FFG is quite well known for creating new games using their existing LCG system. For those that don’t know, this meant that there were no randomised booster packs or collectible aspects to a game; instead, you simply purchase an expansion pack and bam, you have a playset of every card (most of the time). It’s a great system for fostering healthy game environments and keeping the cost barrier to card games lower than CCG counterparts.

I believe that FFG saw the incredible success of Wizkids’ Marvel Dicemasters (which literally sold out everywhere and became impossible to acquire initially) and began to ponder the viability of a collectible dice game. The strength of Marvel Dicemasters was definitely its license (some may say that designer Eric Lang was also a big drawing point, but lets face it; Generic Heroes Dicemasters would have faired far worse), and if FFG has anything going for it at the moment, it’s access to some of the biggest licenses possible (Game of Thrones and Star Wars most prominently). The little spiel by the designer about the game only working as a collectible game is certainly a stretch, as the success of Quarriors (of which Dicemasters was a successor) can show.

Regardless, I personally have no issue with FFG experimenting with a collectible game again, and from a business perspective, it makes absolute sense. I can see people easily going nuts over it, just as they did with Dicemasters.

swd01_mystery_booster

2. It’s NOT a Quarriors or Dicemasters Clone

Star Wars: Destiny has eschewed the Quarriors model of “dice-building” and replaced it instead with something more akin to a miniatures game. You begin with all of your characters in play, and as the battle goes on, you get rid of your opponents as they try and get rid of yours. You win the game by eliminating all of your opponent’s characters. Let’s take a quick look at a character card:

swd01_character-card_diagram

Now, the article mentions a few things regarding the cards in the game. There are three colours of characters (red for Commanders, yellow for Rogues and blue for Force Users) split between Heroes and Villains. Apart from the Hero/Villain divide, you are free to construct your force as you please. However, also note that there are point values in the bottom left (two in fact, separated by a slash). From viewing videos and thinking logically, I predict that the higher point value allows you to play a second dice of the same character (in one of the videos, you can clearly see a second Kylo Ren dice being rolled). Point Values also implies a build limit, again, much like a miniatures game. A key aspect of the game will be attacking the units which are key to the strategy of the opponent; do you focus on taking out lower health units to take them out of the game and cause your opponent to have fewer actions to take, or do you try and take out the bigger, more powerful units? Colour me intrigued.

3. Destiny is a hybrid card/dice game.

Continuing in their trend from Imperial Assault, Destiny features not only face-up open information character cards but also a deck of extra supporting cards, mixed with support and event cards. One of the dice faces in the game provides you resources which presumably you can spend to play these. Like the characters, they are also split into colour and faction. Note below the spoiled card “The Best Defense…” is a Red Villain Event:

The BEst Defence

This means that, like Imperial Assault, there are lots of hidden surprises just below the surface of what may appear to be a mostly puzzle-like experience (that is, simply calculating the best play given there are no tricks to be seen). I applaud this move; adding this extra element to the game not only vastly expands customisation options, but also adds tension and far more replayability to the game. I haven’t played Dicemasters at any competitive level, but I can easily see it becoming incredibly samey each and every game. Destiny, however, just like any other card game, allows you to see different outcomes and options each and every game.

4. It Features Characters from All the Star Wars Movies

Some may hate on Episodes I. II and III but no-one can deny that there are characters from it which are extremely popular. While it’s easy to cite Jar Jar as one of the most annoying characters in the series and a permanent stain on the series, it’s hard to find any fan who doesn’t think that Darth Maul and his double-bladed lightsaber, or Mace Windu and his purple lightsaber are not iconic parts of the franchise. Forget the flavour; I look forward to taking Jango, Boba and other villainous rogues into dice-chucking combat!

In summary, Destiny might look like the type of game that will be quickly be brushed aside (anyone heard anything about Warhammer Diskwars in a while?) but given the strength of the license, the excitement of finally being able to crack packs, and the simple yet innovative looking gameplay, I know that Star Wars: Destiny is something that’s going to be on my radar. As soon as I get my hands on some starters, there’s gonna be dice flying all over the place!

Excited about Star Wars: Destiny? You can pre-order it and check out some of the other games mentioned in this article:

Dungeoneering 101

What’s new?

Dragon Shield sleeves for all you TCG fans. Personal favourite brand of mine as they feel amazing and last forever. Also they are are made by Arcane Tinman who develops Spoils, one of my

all time fave TCG’s.

For the kids: Chupacabra  which is a new dice game based on surviving fantastical monster attacks.

New Chapter packs of A Game of Thrones LCG and Call of Cthulhu LCG

 Small World Realms and Descent are the big ones. Descent preorders have all been served with airfreighted stock.

Also new preorders such as Dominion: Dark Ages, DC deck building game and 3012: Deckbuilding game

 What we played!

Lunch Time Descent! Although not every day, we throw caution to the wind and play a scenario from Descent 2nd edition. It is our express goals to make this into a regular-ish thing we can do when we aren’t swamped with work. Last week was First Blood, the starting scenario involving Mauler letting his goblin followers escape while the heroes break up his pow wow.

Enter Syndrael, Alaric and Avric

Knight, Necromancer and Disciple intervening on Maulers party by unloading alot of flame and steel upon the horde of goblins. We didn’t finish the session but ended it with the heroes bogged down under an avalanche of dead ettins and goblins.

 

The game plays really well and fast. There is a tonne of variation in the box, a plethora of play with a full campaign already included in the box filled with player choices on what to do. There is an interesting mix of mission objectives, I only thought the adventurers would be mindlessly killing things but I was glad to see missions about grabbing vegetables and suck. Only problem I have is that there is no finality in the game aside from defeat, with the heroes constantly enduring all manners of punishment to grind the overlords minions to dust.

Mind you I LOVE miniatures. They are pretty much on the amazing side and having two dragons is always better than none.

Anyone for a Game of Thrones?

A Game of Thrones

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, which began with A Game of Thrones in 1996, is a hugely successful fantasy series that has gripped the imagination of readers, boardgamers, roleplaying gamers and television audiences—and soon, video gamers as well.

Fantasy Flight Games have been releasing games based in this rich melieu for some time now, and with the release of the second edition of the A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame, it’s the perfect time to have a look at them!

A Game of Thrones LCGIt all started in 2002 with the release of the A Game of Thrones LCG: Core Set. This endlessly engaging Living Card Game (expansion sets are a fixed number of cards of the same type; no random collecting) has won two Origins Awards, and FFG run regular tournaments. Players assume the leadership of one of the great houses of Westeros, each with a different play style, and by exercising military might, intrigue, or diplomacy, they compete for power. In addition, a special plot deck brings in thematic effects that can greatly affect the game. The game can be played by two players or more, and with three or more players, each chooses a role at the start of the each round which engages with the other roles in interesting ways. The great thing about the game is that it acomodates a whole range of different playing styles, whether you prefer military conquest, diplomatic manoeuvring, or underhanded scheming… And with six deluxe expansions and over 40 ‘Chapter Packs’ of 60 cards each, the variety is staggering.

I’ve gone into some detail before about the ‘BattleLore’ game Battles of Westeros, but if you’re a fan of the Command & Colors games such as Command & Colors: Ancients, Memoir ’44, Battle Cry and BattleLore, you can’t go past this fresh new take on the system. Not only is it full of the character of the books, with a big emphasis on the leader personalities and their impact on the battles, but the system moves away from the ‘play a card to activate units on a particular flank’ system, and gives the player a lot more flexibility and choice. I’ve found it to be a very strategic game with a lot of tactical complexity to explore, and very different from the other games in the C&C system series.

There’s also a great range of expansions available so your armies and strategies can grow: Wardens of the West gives you Lannister reinforcements; Wardens of the North more troops for House Stark; Tribes of the Vale lets you add clansmen as allies to your force; Lords of the River adds House Tully as allies; and the upcoming Brotherhood Without Banners introduces even more new units and commanders.

Game of ThronesThe latest exciting release in FFG’s stable of Westeros-based games is the return of their much-praised game A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame, in a spectacular new second edition that incorporates much of the original game’s expansion material. It’s the perfect time for new fans—those who have discovered the melieu through the incredibly impressive HBO television series, for example—to start gaming in the world of Westeros.

A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame sees three to six players take on the roles of the great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, as they vie for control of the Iron Throne through the use of diplomacy and warfare. It’s an epic boardgame that requires more than military might to win—much as in the books, there are many ways to achieve your goals, and strategic planning, masterful diplomacy, and clever card play will all be required. And with totally updated components covered with stunning artwork, new innovations, and the best bits from the original two expansions, this is the definitive edition of the game.

As you can see, if you’re a fan of A Game of Thrones and a strategy gamer, there’s a wealth of good gaming to be had. Just remember: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”

What’s Hot: Arcana Revised Edition

Are you ambitious and cunning enough to rule the city of Cadwallon?

ArcanaIn Fantasy Flight’s stunning new revised edition of Arcana, 2-4 guild leaders send their loyal agents into the districts of Cadwallon to entice, bribe, or win over powerful citizens, buy precious treasures, and utilize locations. Whichever player earns the most victory points wins!

This vibrant game creates a fantastical atmosphere for players to enjoy while they attempt to best their opponents through strategic card play.

Make your guild the most influential by winning stake cards and strengthening your deck with impressive personalities, advantageous locations, or tempting relics to use in bribery.

The revised edition of Arcana introduces two new guilds, and six new rule options for players to choose from, or play with them all for a more challenging experience.

Arcana includes: 6 Guild Crest cards, 120 Guild cards, over 100 Stake cards, over 60 cards for game variant play, and 1 rulebook. The beautiful illustrations that are so unique to this enjoyable card game are featured throughout.

Old fans of this game, and gamers who have yet to discover its fun cardplay and unique atmosphere, will be eager to enter the city of Cadwallon with this new edition!

A Very Gamey Halloween!

Halloween

If there’s one night of the year that’s perfect for getting friends and family together to play boardgames, it’s Halloween night! Boardgames are perfect for horror and supernatural themes, and there’s monsters and zombies galore out there if you like a few chills with your gaming. Prepare yourself, and together we’ll investigate a few …

Elder SignWhen it comes to horror on Halloween, Fantasy Flight Games has it covered. Of course there are the old classics Fury of Dracula and Arkham Horror, but the latest addition to the horror boardgaming pantheon is Elder Sign, and it’s perfect for fun, fast halloween dice-rolling fun! Elder Sign is a cooperative dice game of supernatural intrigue for 1-8 players by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson, the designers of Arkham Horror. Players take the roles of investigators racing against time to stave off the imminent return of the Ancient One. Armed with tools, allies, and occult knowledge, investigators must put their sanity and stamina to the test as they adventure to locate Elder Signs, the eldritch symbols used to seal away the Ancient Ones and win the game.

If you like Arkham Horror you’ll love Mansions of Madness, a macabre game of horror, insanity, and mystery for 2-5 players. Each game takes place within a pre-designed story that provides players with a unique map and several combinations of plot threads. These threads affect the monsters that investigators may encounter, the clues they need to find, and which climactic story ending they will ultimately experience. One player takes on the role of the keeper, controlling the monsters and other malicious powers within the story. The other players take on the role of investigators, searching for answers while struggling to survive with their minds intact. If you feel like re-enacting an H. P. Lovecraft story on Halloween with some friends, this is the game for you. Comes with 32 detailed plastic miniatures of the investigators and the horrors that await them (check out our painting guide).

The stars are right, and terrors from beyond space and time or breaking through… when Cthulhu rises, we’re all doomed… but whose downfall will be the most entertaining? In Atlas Games’s Cthulhu Gloom you control the fate of your Lovecraftian protagonists, guiding them down a path of horror and madness to an untimely death. Meanwhile, you’ll play positive cards on your opponents to keep them happy, healthy and annoying alive. The transparent cards reveal or obscure the effects of cards below, and the totals showing through determine your score. When one group finally falls prey to the interdimensional doom that awaits us all, whoever has suffered the most terrifying tale wins! The Cthulhu mythos is a perfect fit for the hilariously dark card game of Gloom, a game that brings new meaning to the description ‘dark humour’. This new standalone version of Gloom features Transformation cards that mutate a character for the remainder of the game, no matter which modifiers might come its way later; and what’s more, the character’s image is replaced with ‘something hideous and slimy’. Perfect for Halloween!

Betrayal at House on the HillAnother Halloween classic is Betrayal at House on the Hill, and the second edition is here from Wizards of the Coast. The creak of footsteps on the stairs, the smell of something foul and dead, the feel of something crawling down your back – this and more can be found in the exciting refresh of this Avalon Hill favorite. This fun and suspenseful game is a new experience almost every time you play—you and your friends explore ‘that creepy old place on the hill’ until enough mystic misadventures happen that one of the players turns on all of the others! Multiple scenarios and a different layout for every game cover just about every B-movie horror situation you can imagine—and then some! Hours of fun and chills for all your friends and family, and the ideal laugh-out-loud game for Halloween.

In Eaten By Zombies!, the brand new deck-building game direct from Essen, players strive to survive as the horde of the living dead make it their goal to force you to join the crowd. You must work with or against the other survivors to be the last one standing. No… not standing, cowering in the corner crying for their mommy.

This well-reviewed game is a combination of card drafting, hand management and survival horror with a few dirty tricks and a healthy dollop of dark humour thrown in. With a set of over thirty different cards to start with, no two games will ever be alike. Every turn you must venture out from your safe house and scavenge for Swag. But not so fast, because the undead have other plans for your brains. Every day a horde of fresh zombies will be waiting for you, and over time the threat gets greater. With the help of your swag (the cards in your hand) you must survive any way you can, and if you can escape or kill the horde, you may scavenge the remains of the desolate suburbs for more swag. With the right stuff and a few good friends to outrun, you may just make it through this alive… well, no probably not. But being the last one to die a slow, painful death means you can claim sole victory!

There’s just a few of the many, many boardgames available that are perfect for a scare and a laugh on Halloween night. Plan your scary boardgaming evening now!

What’s Hot: Lord of the Rings LCG – The Hills Of Emyn Muil

Hills Of Emyn MuilLord of the Rings: The Card Game fans rejoice! The latest adventure pack, The Hills Of Emyn Muil, is here!

Having lost Gollum’s trail at the Carrock, then embarked on a mission of mercy to Rhosgobel, the heroes now come to the hills of Emyn Muil, where they have only one objective: to find Gollum.

The Hills of Emyn Muil is the fourth Adventure Pack in the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle of expansions for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game! The hunt for Gollum continues in this exciting expansion, which includes a Quest card and its related Encounters, as well as new Hero, Attachment, and Ally cards. This engaging Adventure Pack contains the first ever single-card quest, in which players must gather victory points by exploring a wide range of dangerous locations.

With 60 new cards for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, The Hills of Emyn Muil will augment existing decks while providing players with entirely new challenges for their heroes. Can you scour Emyn Muil and determine Gollum’s whereabouts before it’s too late?

Blood Bowl Team Manager is Here!

Blood Bowl Team Manager

Blood BowlFans of the Games Workshop classic Blood Bowl—and gamers who love the crazy concept of fantasy football set in an ‘alternate’ Warhammer world—have been eagerly awaiting kick-off for the Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game, and it’s finally here! Yes, the whistle has been blown and it’s time to grab a copy of this fantastic foray into violence, cheating and, occasionally, goal scoring by your favourite Warhammer fantasy football teams.

For those of you who arrived late to the stadium, Blood Bowl is a game originally released way back in 1987, which has gone through several versions since then and still lives on as a fan favourite today—in fact the rules for the game are currently at version 6! The game pits teams of humans, orcs, skaven, elves, and other fantasy races against each other in vicious games of fast-paced and violent football—an unholy mix of American Football and Rugby, with a lot more injuries! Teams are represented by miniatures which you can paint in your team colours, and different teams have different abilities and strengths—orcs, obviously, are not known for their subtle play, elves tend to be agile, fast and light on their feet, and skaven just cheat!

From the simple first edition with a board and cardboard pieces, through the second edition with its spectacular polystyrene moulded board, to the sweeping rules changes of the third edition, Blood Bowl has always been a much loved game and one particularly popular in tournaments and league play. There’s even a World Cup tournament in England, with teams coming from as far afield as here in Australia!

There have been several attempts to bring Blood Bowl to the computer as a video game, culminating in the very successful video game released in 2009 by Cyanide Studio, which is now available for PC, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable and XBox 360.

Blood Bowl

Which brings us to the latest game set in the alternate fantasy universe of Blood Bowl; a result of the alliance between Fantasy Flight Games and Games Workshop that is bringing us such excellent games set in the Warhammer universes as Chaos in the Old World, Warhammer: Invasion, Space Hulk: Death Angel and Horus Heresy. Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game is a bone-breaking, breathtaking card game of violence and outright cheating for two to four players. Chaos, Dwarf, Wood Elf, Human, Orc, and Skaven teams compete against each other over the course of a brutal season. Customize your team by drafting Star Players, hiring staff, upgrading facilities, and cheating like mad. Lead your gang of misfits and miscreants to glory over your rivals as you strive to become Spike! Magazine’s Manager of the Year!

The season is starting. What kind of team will you build? You can choose from six teams: the versatile humans of the Reikland Reavers; the short, tough, well-armoured Dwarven Grudgebearers; the athletic Wood Elf Athelorn Avengers; the sneaky Skavens of the Skavenblight Scramblers; the violent Orcs of the Gouged Eye; or the even-more-violent, cheating, and downright nast Chaos All-Stars. You have five weeks (or game turns) to groom your team for the final Blood Bowl tournament in head-to-head highlights—accumulating fans, gathering payouts and rewards and upgrades.

For old Blood Bowl fans this game is a no-brainer, but if you’re after a fast, thematic, and highly amusing card game with a unique atmosphere, you can’t go past Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game. Let the season begin!

Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game includes: over 150 Player and Matchup cards; 4 Scoreboards; 2 Tackle Dice; Rulebook; over 50 Team and Staff Upgrade cards; and over 50 Customized Tokens.

What’s Hot: The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus

Pyramid of HorusDescend into an ancient Egyptian pyramid in The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus, a standalone board game of danger and exploration for 2-6 players. In this fast-paced and tense experience, whichever player escapes from the pyramid alive and with the highest treasure value wins. Will you emerge bearing priceless archeological treasures or will you succumb to the mortal dangers waiting inside?

Players can choose from eight different Adventurers, each with their own backstory and special ability, as they commence their expedition. Once inside the pyramid, you and the other Adventurers search for archaeological relics hidden or buried in four chambers or corridors. But beware! Each room carries with it unique perils that can hinder or ultimately finish you, from the bite of a cobra to the haunting touch of a wandering mummy.

The Pyramid of Horus

Once a benevolent god of the desert, Seth’s envious nature transformed him into the god of chaos. Unfortunately for you and the other Adventurers, the pharaoh dedicated his pyramid to Horus, Seth’s sworn enemy. To appease his dark god, pharaoh’s architect and secret cultist, Imhotep, consecrated the pyramid’s ceiling to Seth. But Seth cannot be appeased; he has decided to direct his fury at you and the other invading Adventurers hoping to seal you inside.

From the moment you enter, Seth shakes down the pyramid around you with his thunderous anger; stone blocks randomly fall during each turn. You are in constant danger of being wounded, crushed, or worst of all forever trapped in the pyramid if the falling stones obstruct the only way out. How much time do you have to explore the pyramid before there’s no escape? No one knows!

The game ends when all the Adventurers have either narrowly escaped to safety or been sealed inside by the stone blocks. Unfortunately, successfully leaving the pyramid is only half the battle: to win, you must also have the highest value of treasure looted from the tomb.

You can search for treasure everywhere in the pyramid, beginning in the antechamber, but the farther you descend the higher the value of treasure you find. The pyramid is home to necklaces, treasure-laden sarcophagi, and even sacred idols that are worth a fortune…but also cursed. Of course, you are only capable of carrying a certain amount of treasure which is symbolized by a load level that cannot exceed 12. An adventurer’s load level also determines his speed: the more treasures he carries, the higher his load level and the slower he moves. Sometimes greedy adventurers will be forced to discard some of their treasures to move faster. So do you ditch some of your prizes, or can you get out in time?

Nothing is ever free, and that includes loot. Beyond Seth’s falling stones you must also be wary of hidden threats that can wound you and living mummies who roam the corridors. Wounds will also affect your movement, slowing you down. A wound counts as part of an adventurer’s load level, and constricts the amount of treasure he can carry. Of course, a brave and wise adventurer doesn’t let physical injury stand in the way of fortune. Adventurers can heal themselves by searching for and using equipment. However, the equipment resources are limited—so use caution!

The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus has a tense and immersive playing atmosphere; racing against an unknown time limit pits you against your opponents in a cutthroat competition. What’s more, the beautifully-sculpted Adventurer and Mummy miniatures that accompany the colorfully illustrated cards and detailed game board will draw you into the thrilling danger before you.

Disturbing a cursed pyramid has its hazards, but there is no adventure without risk. Can you make it out alive and wealthy or will this ancient Egyptian tomb be your final resting place?

The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus includes: 8 unique Adventurer cards, 8 beautifully-sculpted Adventurer figures, 3 detailed Mummy figures, 9 easy-to-attach bases, 5 colored dice, and over 100 colorfully illustrated cards.

What’s Hot: Hey, That’s My Fish!

Hey That's My FishHey, That’s My Fish! is an engaging, award-winning board game of strategic fish hunting, in which 2-4 players control determined penguins hungry for their next meal on a bustling Antarctic ice floe. Since Hey, That’s My Fish! was originally published in 2003, it has become widely popular as an engrossing and strategic board game for casual family and tactical play, and it was nominated in 2006 for the Speil des Jahres award.

Your job seems simple: race across a random arrangement of icy fish deposits with a colony of up to four penguins, as you attempt to seize the most fish. But watch out! Competing penguins will try to block you off while the ice floe around you shrinks away. Grab the best fish and outmaneuver your opponents to ensure victory. Whichever player’s penguins collect the most fish by the end of the game is the winner!

Hey, That’s My Fish! is infinitely replayable. The 60 hexagonal tiles that each display 1-3 fish are used to randomly construct the board, which will have your penguins traveling a differently shaped path every game. As you hone your strategy with every new map, will the icy shapes lead to your demise or will you claim victory?

Hey, That’s My Fish! is frenzied fun for any setting, from a light and family-friendly experience to a tense and strategically satisfying face-off. Easy to learn, this exciting board game is accessible for players of any experience level, from casual to competitive gamer.

In this definitive edition of the game, Hey, That’s My Fish! has been repackaged in an easily storable small box. The new penguin miniatures are colorful, more detailed than ever before, and bursting with individual personality. The new art commissioned by Fantasy Flight Games for the compact set of ice tiles clearly displays the number of fish on each tile with lively and colorful renditions.

With plucky bands of penguin miniatures to choose from and high-quality hexagonal tiles with which to create your fishing grounds, players will be engrossed by this Antarctic adventure from their first catch. Outmaneuver the competition and lead your penguin clan to a full-bellied conquest!

Hey, That’s My Fish! includes 60 hexagons to create your ice floe with new artwork renditions of fish, 1 rules sheet, and 16 newly sculpted colorful and animated penguin miniatures.

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