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Tag: Fantasy Flight Games (page 2 of 9)

What’s Hot: Gears of War

Gears of WarFor a time, the humans of Sera knew peace… then Emergence Day came. The Locust horde arrived without warning, and countless horrors spilled forth from their underground burrows. The Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) struggled to fend off the subterranean threat, but their defenses were quickly crushed. With billions dead, humans turned their weapons of mass destruction on their own cities to deny the enemy control. Now the long struggle against overwhelming odds approaches one final, desperate stand.

After a long, long wait Gears of War Board Game has finally arrived, and it’s landed here at Games Paradise! Fans of theme-heavy combat games like Doom and Descent will definitely want to grab a copy of this game from Fantasy Flight Games, designed by Corey Konieczka and based on the incredibly popular third-person shooter by Epic Games.

One to four players take on the roles of COG soldiers cooperating to destroy the relentless and virtually unstoppable subterranean Locust horde, and must work together to complete missions against an ingeniously challenging and varied ‘artifically intelligent’ game system. In Gears of War: The Board Game, you’ll relive classic moments from the video game. Roadie run into cover, spray your enemy with blind fire, or rip him in half with your Lancer’s chainsaw!

There are seven randomly constructed missions (and you can even play solo) with a variety of challenging objectives and a randomised map setup, so no two games of Gears of War: The Board Game will ever be alike. From scouting a path for future offensives to breaching the underground stronghold of the Locusts, your objectives will take cooperation and determination to complete. But if you want to test your mettle in the most challenging mission available, face wave after wave of incoming Locusts in the merciless Horde Mode! With adjustable degrees of difficulty for the truly insane, this relentless onslaught doesn’t stop until one side is utterly obliterated.

Featuring over 30 highly detailed plastic figures, and over 200 cards, Gears of War: The Board Game is the science-fiction combat extravaganza that thematic boardgamers have been waiting for. So what are you waiting for, soldier? Grab a copy and fight the Horde!!

Guest Video Review: Black Gold

Black GoldThe year is 1922 and the Texas Oil Boom is in full swing. Prepare to head West, surveying the Permian Basin for profitable gushers and gaining more wealth than your fellow prospectors. Are you part of a burgeoning oil family fixed on becoming a dynasty, or a shrewd yankee, tired of watching southerners making their fortune? Whatever your reasons, join the race to become the wealthiest son of a gun in West Texas.

Black Gold is a board game of drilling and discovery for 2-5 prospectors, and play can last from 1-2 hours. Competitors attempt to claim the best wells, bid wisely against their neighbors, and sell their oil at the highest price in order to finish the game with the most money when the Oil Baron’s train reaches the last track.

Our talented guest video reviewer, Drakkenstrike, brings us this detail review of an underrated and very different recent release from Fantasy Flight Games. Thar’s gold in them there hills!

What’s Hot: Curse of the Dark Pharoah (Revised)

Curse of the Dark PharoahIt seems harmless enough. Just a room full of dusty old antiquities, dug up from some old tomb in Egypt. Miskatonic U’s faculty are all a tizzy, of course, but why did Professor Armitage go all pasty-white when he saw the Pharaoh’s sarcophagus?

The weirdness didn’t start until the next night …

Arkham Horror: Curse of the Dark Pharaoh Expansion (Revised Edition) is an updated version of the original The Curse of the Dark Pharaoh expansion released in 2006.

The original Curse of the Dark Pharaoh was the first of Arkham Horror’s many successful expansions, and has seen a great number of printings since it was originally published almost five years ago. However, as FFG developed the Arkham Horror play experience over the years, this expansion came to become the one that deviated most from their later design vision for the game, and over time came to stand apart from the Arkham Horror family as a whole.

With this Revised Edition, the Arkham Horror design team has remade Curse of the Dark Pharaoh from the ground up, incorporated errata, re-balanced cards to better fit with Arkham Horror’s current ecosystem, and added new game elements.

Focusing on the thematic game play, amazing art, and strange tales that makes the original Arkham Horror game such a fan-favorite, this expansion includes 166 new cards:

22 Exhibit Items, ancient relics from the visiting exhibit.
18 Barred from the Neighborhood cards for unlucky investigators.
4 Benefit and 4 Detriment cards with new and intriguing effects.
45 new Arkham Location cards, 27 new Gate cards, 18 new Mythos cards, 21 new Spells, and 7 new Allies to make Arkham Horror bigger, scarier, and more exciting than ever before!

What’s Hot: Ventura

Ventura“Dove l’oro parla, ogni lingua tace.”
“Where gold speaks, every tongue is silent.”
-Italian proverb

It is an age of great battles, valiant leaders, and unscrupulous mercenary armies. The Italian landscape is littered with noble houses vying for economic and territorial supremacy. The most cunning Captains of Fortune (Capitani di Ventura) have the power to lead the most ambitious of these houses to victory.

Ventura is a new strategic board game for 2-4 players from Fantasy Flight Games. Each player leads a noble family, mustering armies, hurling them into battle, conquering territories, and managing their wealth and resources wisely. Whoever has the best army stands the best chance of conquering. But the best armies are also the most expensive!

Each player assumes command over a unique and historical noble family: Este, Gonzaga, Medici, and Visconti. The oldest of the four—the Este family—was known for their political importance. Ruthless in their scheming for control, they were rewarded by the pope, who bestowed upon them the office of vicar. The Gonzaga family, previously landowners, gained power through a coup d’état. They were known for their civil and intellectual splendor, and diverse skills. Arising from a lineage of bankers, the Medici family gained and consolidated power through cunning and charisma. With a multitude of supporters, the family overthrew the territory’s republic and established a dukedom. The Visconti family were preeminent and powerful artistocrats. They successfully spread their dominion over other cities through the ‘Visconti strategy’.

In order to lead their house to glory, players will have to balance their finances with the development of their armies, while also establishing control across the map. Gameplay unfolds over a series of rounds broken up into phases, with each player recruiting, annexing, expanding, conscripting, mobilizing, and managing their troops before moving on to the next round.

“E un gran pacier la morte.”
“Death is a great peacemaker.”
-Italian Proverb


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Update

I’ve written a couple of articles about Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the fantasy role-playing game by Fantasy Flight Games set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer world. Check out my Introduction to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and leanr all about the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Guides and Vaults. But what’s been happening in the world of WFRP since we last visited? With the release of the new Black Fire Pass supplement, it seems a good time to check out the range as it stands, and explore why this is one of the most attractive and innovative role-playing systems around.

FFG has followed an interesting format for their main supplements; each features one of the four Ruinous Powers as a framework for expanding a particular sphere of the game, and each includes a small adventure based on that Power and its diabolical machinations. The first of these was The Winds of Magic, which gives players important background and setting information on the Colleges of Magic, some expanded optional rules and additional tools for wizards to practice their art, dozens of new spells across all eight College Orders, and more suggestions and guidance for playing wizard characters. Of course the Ruinous Power Tzeentch is also a master of magic, and he is covered in detail here.

Next came Signs of Faith, a treatise on religion in the Old World and new rules for priests and blessings, and suggestions on playing priestly characters. The daemonic Power explored in this supplement is Nurgle, the Plaguefather, and rules for disease are included to make the setting just that little bit more grim and perilous.

Omens of War covers the art of war in the Empire, new martial options, rules for mounted combat, and new fighting styles—including over 50 new Action cards. The matching Ruinous Power is of course Khorne, and this supplement explores his plans and minions. Give your players a shock with new Severe Injury rules that threaten characters with grisly fates and debilitating wounds, making combat even deadlier.

You can preorder now the newest supplement, Lure of Power, which covers the insidious Ruinous Power of temptation, pleasure and corruption, Slaanesh. Since Slaanesh is especially favoured by the decadent noble classes, this supplement is the perfect opportunity to explore their world, along with supplying new rules for social encounters.


A game of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay in full swing. Beer for the over 18s only of course! There are many different ways of setting up a game, so this is just one way of playing: I’ve added a map and miniatures, my own reference sheets, special character tins, and other bits and bobs to personalise our games. The most important ingredient is not shown—imagination!

Beyond this series has been several adventures to get you roleplaying in the Old World with a minimum of effort: the short campaign The Gathering Storm, the city adventure The Edge of Night, and an adventure in the Cursed Marshes near Marienburg, The Witch’s Song.

Black Fire PassThe newest release is of course a fascinating look into the dwarves and their culture in Black Fire Pass. The dwarf player in our game will be grunting with happiness at this release! Black Fire Pass presents a wealth of new information concerning dwarfs, the hold of Karak Azgaraz, and Black Fire Pass itself. The Book of Grudges features rules for runesmithing, dwarf engineering, ten brand-new dwarf careers, and much more; and also included are details on the history and geography of Black Fire Pass itself, with adventure and episode ideas for GMs and a complete adventure.

As you can see, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is still going strong. In fact I’ve played all three versions of the game since its release way back in 1987, and two of the players in our current group were playing the game when we started! If you’d like to read about the adventures of our group, our blog is here—but be warned, despite it being a fantasy adventure story, it’s not for children, has a language warning, and it’s also full of spoilers!

Games You May Have Missed

Conquest of Planet Earth and Isla Dorada

As gamers, we tend to be obsessed with the latest releases and whatever game is generating the biggest ‘buzz’ at the moment. But I find there are lots of games that get a bit neglected as a result, and don’t get the ‘table time’ they deserve. Games You May Have Missed will be an irregular series of articles looking at games you may have overlooked the first time around, but deserve some more attention. You may discover a lost gem of a game that grows to become a favourite of your collection!

Last night I brought out two games that have been languishing unplayed on my shelf for a while now—Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game by Flying Frog Games and Isla Dorada by Fantasy Flight Games/Fun Forge. Strangely, I’d found the time to paint the figures in both games, create a foamcore insert for one, and make rules summaries for both, but hadn’t yet played them! Both are really fun, luck-based, thematic games that possibly got lost in the cloud of hype surrounding other releases at the time. Let’s revisit them now!

Conquest of Planet EarthConquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game is a little bit different from other Flying Frog releases, and may have been neglected because it was released very close to their other game that features invading aliens, Invasion From Outer Space. That and Flying Frog’s other games: Last Night on Earth and A Touch of Evil, share a similar graphic style (retouched photos of actors instead of illustrations) and style of play (characters move about a map playing thematic cards and fighting). Conquest of Planet Earth, however, is a bit different, though there’s still a heavy reliance on cardplay and combat. The first thing you’ll notice is that it features colourful, cartoony art instead of photos! You choose an alien race (your ‘character’ in the game) that has several special abilities, and begin the game with four flying saucers on your landing site. The board is made up of a central board and one board for each player, each divided into seven locations.

During your turn you secretly bid for how many Action points you will spend during the turn, and the player bidding the least number becomes first player. You can then spend Action points on your turn, moving your saucers to other locations, replacing destroyed saucers, buying tokens to fuel special abilities, or playing event cards that cost Action points to play. When your saucers move to a new location, you draw a Location card, which may represent anything from a military base to a small town to empty countryside. If there is a Resistance value on the location, you draw Resistance cards one at a time, in number equal to the value, fighting each card as it is turned up in an attempt to conquer the location. Depending on how populous the location is, you get Terror points for a conquered location.

So the rules themselves are pretty basic and easy to pick up; but where this game really shines is the fantastic variety of Event cards and ‘Space Stuff’ cards, that cover probably just about every alien invasion B-movie situation you can think of—and then some. You can drop an Atomic Bomb on a location to clear it of rival aliens; spread a Contagion to wipe out the human resistance; try Eating Kittens (‘Now that’s just wrong!’) to increase your Terror level; or play We Come in Peace to automatically win a fight. You might be joined by a Giant Robot ally in your quest to conquer the humans, use Disintegration Beams or a Death Ray to increase your fight strength; or deploy a Massive Blob to wipe out resistance.

The game is hilarious and fun, and as an extra bonus it has rules for both Cooperative and Competitive play—and you can even play solo. We had a great time playing this last night, and I’ll definitely be bringing it out on the table more often when I feel like like a good laugh and a light game.

Conquest of Planet Earth

Painted Ally miniatures (front and back shown) representing classic movie monster aliens (supplied unpainted in the game).

Isla DoradaThe second game of the evening was Isla Dorada, designed by Bruno Faidutti (of Citadels and Ad Astra fame) by Fantasy Flight Games/Fun Forge. Faidutti considers it his best design, and I think it’s a very clever and very interactive game that is perfect for families, in the vein of Ticket to Ride—in fact it very much feels like a DOW game rather than a FFG one.

The main mechanic of Isla Dorada is a bidding one. You have a single expedition figure on the island map, and each turn players bid a number of cards to control the expedition for that turn and move it where they want to go. Different cards are used to bid for different types of paths—mountain, jungle, desert, river, and sea paths, and even air travel by giant bird or zeppelin. Of course there’s also a plethora of special cards that can do things like stop another player from bidding, convert cards to different types, and keep the expedition moving past the next location on the route. At first it all seems a bit daunting as all these cards have different semi-imaginary names in keeping with the ‘lost pacific island’ theme; but an excellent pictorial reference sheet helps you pick it up very quickly and before long you’re remembering which card is which with ease.

So why do you want to control the expedition’s destination? Well, at the start of the game, and at two points during it, you receive Treasure cards keyed to various locations. You also get a Destiny card, which gives you points for visiting a particular series of locations, and you can get Curse cards, which can reduce your points if you go to those places. So each player has very definite ideas indeed about where the expedition should go on the island! It’s a chaotic and crazy game with a little bit of what gamers call ‘screwage’ (ie, you have opportunities for making things tough for other players), all wrapped up in colourful and light-hearted artwork. There’s even three beautiful large miniatures incuded; one for the expedition and two for the Bigfoot and Leviathan, which can be played to block map routes.

Isla Dorada

Painted Isla Dorada miniatures (supplied unpainted in the game).

I thoroughly enjoyed playing these two games and they’ll definitely be seeing more table time in the future. It just goes to show that occasionally you have to step back from the ‘new stuff’ and have a look at what else is out there. That’s why these articles will be here to keep you updated with games you might have missed! Good gaming!

You can find rules summaries and reference sheets for both of the games at my blog if you follow these links: Conquest of Planet Earth and Isla Dorada.

What’s Hot: Lord of the Rings Conflict at the Carrock Adventure Pack

Conflict at the CarrockThe second of the Adventure Packs for The Lord of the Rings Card Game is here: Conflict at the Carrock!

You’ve joined in The Hunt for Gollum, and now the second Adventure Pack in the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle beckons. Hot on the trail of Gollum, the heroes venture down the banks of the Anduin, only to hear whispers of a new threat looming.

Conflict at the Carrock Adventure Pack contains 60 fixed cards from the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle, continuing the heroes’ quest to find and apprehend the creature Gollum. A new hero joins the quest, along with three copies of nine new player cards from all four spheres, a new deck of Encounter cards, and the Conflict at the Carrock Quest cards.

A variety of new player cards offer exciting deck-building options, featuring new and familiar faces. Frodo Baggins is beginning to feel restless in the Shire while the Beorning Beekeepers offer their assistance to anyone willing to help drive the troublesome Trolls away. A Long-beard Mapmaker discovers a hidden Dúnedain Warning that just might help the heroes avoid defeat.

Conflict at the Carrock focuses on the lumbering Trolls terrorizing the Beornings, and while facing them in combat is fearful enough, Sacked! cards will endanger your heroes at every turn. Muck Adders will snap at your heels while you try to navigate the difficult locations surrounding the Carrock.

This is not a stand-alone deck. A copy of The Lord of the Rings: The Core Set is required to play.

Keep a weather eye out for the next Adventure pack, coming soon: A Journey to Rhosgobel. Preorder now so you don’t miss out!

Guest Video Review: Cosmic Encounter

Cosmic EncounterCosmic Encounter is a bona-fide classic in the boardgaming world, and after several companies releasing it since the mid-70s, Fantasy Flight’s is universally recognised as the definitive version.

If you’ve never played this fantastic, fun, incredibly sociable game you’re really missing out. Drakkenstrike’s comprehensive video is the perfect way to find out all about this classic. Many thanks again to Drakkenstrike for his video reviews!

Remember there are two expansions to the base game available: Cosmic Incursion and Cosmic Conflict.

What’s Hot: Black Gold

Black GoldThe year is 1922 and the Texas Oil Boom is in full swing. Prepare to head West, surveying the Permian Basin for profitable gushers and gaining more wealth than your fellow prospectors. Are you part of a burgeoning oil family fixed on becoming a dynasty, or a shrewd yankee, tired of watching southerners making their fortune? Whatever your reasons, join the race to become the wealthiest son of a gun in West Texas.

Black Gold is a board game of drilling and discovery for 2-5 prospectors, and play can last from 1-2 hours. Competitors attempt to claim the best wells, bid wisely against their neighbors, and sell their oil at the highest price in order to finish the game with the most money when the Oil Baron’s train reaches the last track.

To secure wealth, players explore the terrain of the modular map tiles for oil wells, and survey and build their derricks. Map tiles are double-sized and modular, ensuring a unique experience every time. Money is made if a player can transport his oil to one of three oil companies, and win the right to sell at auction. The Oil Baron’s train moves nearer every turn, counting down the rounds of the game; all the while it begs you and your fellow prospectors to ask the question: am I making enough money?

The landscape of the Texas Oil business can be fickle and lonely as it is arid. Players can strategize against their opponents, and upset their play through special actions. During auctions players can even lie about the value of their Sales Licenses in order to force their neighbors to bid more! But careful, you future tycoons; if you’re caught bluffing, you’re penalized.

Although Black Gold is a satisfying bidding game, it is also an exciting contest of strategy and exploration. Every game variable can offer an advantage or variation in play each round. The round’s starting player has the first choice for powerful Action cards, which dictate his options for that round. Subsequent prospectors can be savvy and alter their exploration based on other players’ surveying, or the last player could choose to sell his oil at a different company than his neighbors and find an easier auction at which to bid.

Black Gold is easy to learn, but offers an abundance of intriguing gameplay choices; and the game also gives players optional rules that can shorten or extend game play, increase the challenge, give experienced players a handicap, or even reduce the randomness of well distribution. With all of these options players will discover that Black Gold is a new experience every time, even offering unique variation depending on player number, map tile setup, and well placement.

Are your fingers itching to make your fortune? When the Oil Baron arrives will you be ridin’ high? Prepare to get your hands dirty as you survey the barren landscape in search of Black Gold!

Black Gold

GenCon 2011 Roundup

GenCon 2011

GenCon Indianapolis, the largest and most well-known gaming convention in the US, has just closed for another year after four days of the latest and greatest in role-playing games, miniatures wargames, board games, live action role-playing games, collectible card games, non-collectible card games, and strategy games.

There were lots of new games and exciting announcements, so let’s round up some of the most important information so you can start drooling over the cool new games that are coming your way over the next six months.

Fantasy Flight Games just seems to be growing bigger and bigger every year, and this year they made some big announcements and launched some very cool new games at their huge booth. The big news is their acquisition of the Star wars licence, and at genCon they were already showing advanced prototypes of Star Wars: The Card Game, a new cooperative LCG, and X-Wing, a tactical miniatures game with pre-painted miniatures of Rebel X-Wing and Imperial TIE fighters battling it out in space. The Star Wars stuff all seems to be set in the framework of the original 3 films, which I personally think is a clever decision because the new films were terrible. You may heartily disagree with me in the comments of this post, of course! 🙂

X-Wing Demo

X-Wing demo (photo courtesy of The Hopeless Gamer).

Two unexpected surprises came in the form of a brand new edition of the Tom Jolly classic Wiz War, and the new version of the much-loved Dune, which has been ‘rebranded’ to take place in the Twilight Imperium universe and is now called REX. Another surprise was a new second edition of Descent, featuring 8 new heroes and 40 monsters in 9 different new types, plus campaign rules. Thoughtfully, they’ll also be a Conversion Kit so you can easily use all your existing Descent stuff with the new streamlined system.

Wiz-War and REX

Wiz-War and REX (photo courtesy of The Hopeless Gamer).

Of course advance copies flew out the door of such new games as Elder Sign and Gears of War, and other new games were on display such as Ventura, Blood Bowl Team Manager card game, Rune Age, The Adventurers: Pyramid of Horus, A Game of Thrones Board Game 2nd edition, Dust Warfare, the new tabletop miniatures system for Dust Tactics, and Black Crusade, the new W40K RPG.

Now, onto other companies! Asmodee released the new expansion for their excellent dungeon-crawler Claustrophobia, which is called De Profundis and includes a new 55-card deck, new demons, events, and objects; 10 new room tiles, 4 painted figures and 12 new scenarios.

Plaid Hat, makers of Summoner Wars, released their new game Dungeon Run, a fast-paced, dice-rolling dungeon crawler (or should I say runner?) They also have a new Summoner Wars: Master Set packed with six new factions and storage for your existing factions.

Flying Frog Games had their highly-anticipated new game Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game for sale. This is an Indiana Jones-style game of worldwide pulp action and adventuring and—you guessed it—cliffhangers set in the late 1930s. As usual for this company, the game is dripping with theme and in their trademark style of photographic illustrations of actors playing the characters.

Fortune and Glory

Fortune and Glory – back of the box.

Z-Man Games sold out of 50 pre-release copies of their new game Ninjato (for which, I’m proud to say, I created the graphic design) in the first five minutes of GenCon, so here’s hoping it will be a big hit! In the future I’ll have lots more information about this exciting game set in medieval Japan. They also showed off Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame, set in Sir Terry Pratchett’s fantasy city of Ankh-Morpork and featuring artwork by Discworld illustrator Stephen Player.

Whizkids had a couple of new releases, notably Quarriors, a deckbuilding, dice battling game, and Star Trek: Fleet Captains, a fleet exploration and combat game set in the ‘pre-new-film’ Star Trek universe.

Well there you go, just a brief look at all the fantastic new games that will be coming your way over the next few months. No shortgage of great gaming there then!

Now I want all my readers to start lobbying Games Paradise to send me to the convention next year so I can give you a ‘from-the-showroom-floor’ report next time! 🙂

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