The Crystal Ball: January

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Well, it’s that time again! Let’s take a look into the crystal ball to see what kind of gaming goodness is being conjured up for your entertainment…

Recommendation Ratings:

1) Pass it by; nothing interesting here…

2) Only buy it if you’re REALLY a fan of a genre

3) Not a hot item, but worth having; Put it on the “to buy” list.

4) Rave reviews or a great addition to an existing game! Get it soon!

5) Must Buys; Either a hot new game you MUST have, or the next great expansion you can’t wait to pick up and play.

MAGE WARS: FORCE MASTER & WARLORD 2-MAGE EXPANSION

This expansion is already mine...it just doesn't know it yet.

This expansion is already mine…it just doesn’t know it yet.

Play as the enigmatic Forcemaster, a master of telekinetic force and mind magic. The Forcemaster can push enemies aside with a glance, or hold and crush them with invisible force. She manipulates the minds of enemy forces, rendering their creature’s harmless or turning them against their master!

Or play as the fearsome Warlord, a commander of troops and a master of battle tactics. His ranks are augmented by massive war machines, fearless legendary heroes, and a colossal Earth Elemental! He calls upon the power of Akiro, God of War to give his soldiers favor in battle. Read more for details on these powerful new mages, and learn what comes in the set!

Components: 2 Spellbooks, 216 spell cards, 2 Mage cards, 2 Ability cards, cardboard markers, and rules.

MSRP $39.99

Recommendation: 5/5 (A must have for any Mage Wars fan, and if you aren’t a fan yet, you SHOULD be!

HIRELINGS: THE ASCENT

Nodwick finally decides to get the heck out of Dodge.

Nodwick finally decides to get the heck out of Dodge.

Deep in the underground lair of the foul dragon Rovert is a vast treasure that had been sought by a group of the most daring adventurers. Valiantly they made their way down to depths of the Earth and readied themselves to defeat the dragon, hoping to earn glory and riches – but the mighty creature was waiting, breathing a blast of heat and fire upon them, leaving only their boots!

No one will remember the tale of these unlucky heroes except the hapless group of awestruck hirelings now standing in Rovert’s lair, frozen with fear. Feeling helpless as the dragon moves closer and curls his tail behind them, the survivors tremble. The snorting dragon crawls right up in front of them, but instead of breathing fire, it opens his mouth menacingly, as if to draw another breath – or maybe to eat them! At that moment, the bravest of the group yells, “Run!”

In an instant, the terrified hirelings scramble away, seeking the quickest way out of the dragon’s lair. Unfortunately, that’s not the way the heroes brought them in, but a new escape route fraught with danger! Their only hope of survival is to use their quick feet and the items strapped to their backs. Unfortunately, they are not too bright (and not very fast) and they have no clue how anything they’re carrying might help them. Will they make it out? Only you can determine their fate…

Hirelings: The Ascent is a board game for 2 to 6 players who become the frantic escapees, trying to find and fight their way back above ground. As a hapless hireling, will you be able to make it out? Can you win the game by being the first one out of danger?

MSRP: $27.99

Recommendation: 3/5 (A great family game)

RISE OF THE ZOMBIES

Like the undead that inspire these games...they just keep coming and won't die.

Like the undead that inspire these games…they just keep coming and won’t die.

In Rise of the Zombies, a fast-paced card game of zombie survival, players play Location cards to form a path from the Safe House to the Rescue Helicopter, while fighting off hordes of zombies. The players must also play fast because they are racing a real-world timer. If time expires, the Survivors are left behind and die.

Players play cards during a common “Survivor Turn”. At the start of the Survivor Turn, all players can discard and draw until the number of cards in their hands is equal to their Hand Sizes. There are no player turns. Declare what you are doing, which card you are playing, and which zombie you are attacking, and roll dice. This simulates the chaos of combat. Most cards can be used to perform more than one function. You can perform as many actions during the Survivor Turn as your cards can support. You can even trade weapons and items with other Survivors in your Location.

Once all players have resolved their actions, the Zombies get to attack.

The game is co-opish… how you play the game is up to you. You don’t gain anything by having other Survivors die, but if you spend too much time trying to help others, it might cost you your own survival.

Help them? Leave them behind? It’s all up to you.

MSRP: $31.99

Recommendation: 2/5 (Pick it up if you REALLY love zombie games)

TALISMAN: THE CITY EXPANSION

I ask you, Glenn Frey: If she belongs to the City, how can she also belong to the Night?

I ask you, Glenn Frey: If she belongs to the City, how can she also belong to the Night?

The City provides those who live within it a chance to pursue their lives with a modicum of safety and comfort. However, though the outside world is kept outside, any alert adventurer strolling through the City Gate will feel the tension humming in the air.

Talisman (fourth edition): The City Expansion provides players with six new characters, three alternative endings, its own deck, and a host of shops for all your questing needs. Collect bounties listed on the Wanted Posters at the City Gate and fill your pockets with gold before doing some serious spending. Secure a steed from the Stables, pick up Pets or Potions, or head to the Armoury and the Magic Emporium. Visit The City in Talisman as you compete for the Crown of Command!

Components

  • 1 City Board
  • 82 City Cards and 89 Other Cards
  • 6 Character Cards and Plastic Figures
  • Rulebook

MSRP: $39.95

Recommendation: 5/5 (Instant buy for every Talisman fan out there, there’s plenty of cool stuff to be had!)

 

MANSIONS OF MADNESS: CALL OF THE WILD EXPANSION

You should have stayed inside...

You should have stayed inside…

“Briefly summarized, it hinted at a hidden race of monstrous beings which lurked somewhere among the remoter hills – in the deep woods of the highest peaks, and the dark valleys where streams trickle from unknown sources. These beings were seldom glimpsed, but evidences of their presence were reported by those who had ventured farther than usual up the slopes of certain mountains or into certain deep, steep-sided gorges that even the wolves shunned.” –H.P. Lovecraft, “The Whisperer in Darkness”

Venture into the unknown with Mansions of Madness: Call of the Wild! Five new scenarios and eleven double-sided board tiles plunge investigators into the mysterious backwoods, shaking the foundations of what players have come to expect. The keeper has even more surprises at his disposal, and at times must solve ritual puzzles and seek out clues. A focus on outdoor maps encourages non-linear exploration, and new Allies assist in combat while driving the macabre narrative. Survive the wilderness in Call of the Wild!

Components

  • 295 Cards
  • 88 Tokens and Markers
  • 11 Double-sided map tiles
  • 1 Rulebook and 1 Keeper Guide
  • 4 Investigator and 11 Monster Figures

MSRP: $59.95

Recommendation: 5/5 (Mansions of Madness takes the game outside the Mansions! This is a no-brainer!)

 

FFG LIVING CARD GAME EXPANSIONS

NETRUNNER: TRACE AMOUNT DATA PACK

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The cards in Android: Netrunner – Trace Amount – the second Data Pack in the “Genesis Cycle”, with sixty cards (three copies each of twenty different cards) – enable players to dabble with bold new deck configurations, even as they reinforce the core mechanisms and personalities of the game’s seven factions. Runners gain new events while corporate executives look to fund new operations. Players will also find new hardware, resources, icebreakers, ice, agendas, assets, and upgrades. Trace Amount is a perfect Data Pack for fans of bluffing as its many events and operations open new surprises and synergies, and prove in more than one way that a card in the hand is worth two or more actions on the table. And as one might expect, in a Data Pack all about bluffing and surprises, Jinteki features prominently, gaining a new identity.

GAME OF THRONES: PIRATES OF LYS CHAPTER PACK

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As the Great Houses head to sea, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game – The Pirates of Lys – the third Chapter Pack from the “A Song of the Sea” cycle – develops deep synergies between their characters, events, and locations. The naval challenge enhancement features prominently, appearing on several characters and interacting with new events and locations. Finally, a new agenda promotes the cycle’s themes of naval exploration and encourages radical new deck designs.

LORD OF THE RINGS: THE STEWARD’S FEAR ADVENTURE PACK

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The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Steward’s Fear, the first Adventure Pack in the “Against the Shadow” cycle, is a tale of corruption within the heart of Gondor that follows immediately after the events of the Heirs of Númenor expansion. Its sixty new cards include a new hero, three copies of each new player card, and a clever new scenario. When Middle-earth’s heroes investigate a plot against the realm of Gondor, their search for clues leads them out of the main streets and back alleys of Minas Tirith – deep into an underworld where nefarious plots and deadly villains await them.

ALL MSRP: $14.95

RECOMMENDATIONS: 4/5 (Expansions to LCGs are always cool to complete a continuing storyline, or to give your deck a facelift)

The crystal ball grows foggy, and the hour grows late. Tune in next moon for more predictions into your adventuring future!

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Posted on January 16, 2013, in Board Games, Living Card Games, News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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