While at New York Toy Fair this week, we got a sneak peek at some of the Munchkin-related goodies coming out from Steve Jackson games in the near future. The June 2011 releases were previewed, starting off with a deluxe version of the base Munchkin game geared at those who have not played the classic game before.

Over ten years after its original release, this deluxe set comes with 168 full-color cards, one six-sided die, six plastic pawns, six player card and a 20” x 10” mounted game board. The addition of these new components gives Munchkin a board game feel, allowing players to race along the track in pursuit of Level 10 status. It also makes the game a complete package, with everything needed to play in one box, so there will be no more losing track of someone’s progress in this game.
Also releasing in June will be two Munchkin Cthulhu transport cases, each a sturdy cardboard box that is capable of holding 500 cards. This allows players to easily combine not only Munchkin Cthulhu but all of its expansions into the two boxes. As an added bonus, two exclusive promo cards will be included in the package.

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After several decades, the classic puzzle video game Tetris has finally arrived in board game form with Tetris Link, expected to hit store shelves this Spring. We stopped at the Techno Source booth during New York Toy Fair for to play a few rounds, and the game plays like a mashup of Connect 4 meets Blokus. That comparison speaks volumes, as the rules are easy enough for a child to understand, but there is enough strategy to keep adults at the table. As far as hobby gaming is concerned, file this one away as a game you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy. In fact, with a table of adults it can be downright cutthroat!

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In a grueling best-of-seven matchup, Brad Nelson defeated Guillaume Matignon. For the first time, the Player of the Year title was decided through a one-on-one matchup. Traditionally, pro tour points earned throughout the year are added up to determine who the title will be awarded to, but at the conclusion of the 2010 season, both competitors were locked at 66 points. Naturally, a playoff format was devised to break this tie.

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In the buildup to next week’s New York International Toy Fair, Mayfair Games has let loose their full release schedule for the rest of the year. Highlights for 2011 include several new games building off of the mega-popular Settlers of Catan property, one a dice game and the other a multiplayer card game with already-planned expansions.

For the deep strategic gamer, Mayfair is also adding to their hit train franchises 18xx and Steam. The former will be getting a new edition of 1830, while the latter will be receiving its first map expansion. There are plenty of original titles in the mix too, which we’ll be taking a closer look at during Toy Fair and in the months approaching their release. Read More...

The geeks have taken over Paris, and it feels like home. This weekend, MTV Geek is on location at the 2011 Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour in Paris, France. The first of many Magic Weekend events throughout 2011, this event marks the start of Pro Tour and continues the Grand Prix competition that began in Atlanta earlier this year.

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As Nightfall quickly approaches its Spring 2011 release window, AEG has begun to release a series of preview cards to give players a peek into what this game will entail. After its initial announcement back in December, some new important gameplay details have surfaced. The main mechanic for NightfallI will be direct player combat and defense. Surprisingly enough given the surging popularity of deck-building card games, this is a first for the genre. AEG takes a truthful jab at other games on their website by referring to them as “multiplayer solitaire”, with Nightfall and its heavy player interaction being pitched as the remedy to this boredom. Whether this will be the case has yet to be proven, but you can be the judge by gleaming some of the gameplay elements from these first five preview cards below.

#1 – Zacharias Sands

“Zacharias does not play well with others. He'll hit a minion for two damage upon coming into play, and if you get the kicker he'll outright destroy them, regardless of their health. Very good for clearing out problem blockers like Bad Smoke or Vulko.” Read More...

As part of the upcoming New York International Toy Fair 2011, Mayfair Games and Gen Con LLC will be holding an event at The Compleat Strategist in New York City. From 6PM to 8PM on February 15th, there will be games, activities, free refreshments and ten 4-day Gen Con pass giveaways. Following the meet up, there will be a NYC-wide scavenger hunt where additional 4-day passes will be given out. The locations of these additional giveaways will be hinted at in clues on the Mayfair Games and Gen Con Twitter feeds.

Gen Con Indy will take place at the Indiana Convention Center August 4-7, 2011. Running since 1968, Gen Con is one of the largest annual gaming conventions in North America. In 2003, the convention moved to its permanent home in Indianapolis, where it has thrived. Attendance figures from recent cons have topped 30,000 individuals.

Mayfair Games, one of Gen Con’s official sponsors for 2011, has been publishing board games and roleplaying games in the USA since the early 1980s. They are most famous for their licensing of German-style board games, specifically the Settlers of Catan series largely credited for the recent resurgence in board game popularity.

Related Posts:
Hobby Game News Round-Up: Munchkin Zombies, Mouse Guard RPG, and more

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If you missed the announcement earlier in the week, Wizards of the Coast is planning the launch of Dungeons and Dragons Fortune Cards later this month. The first set, Shadows Over Nentir Vale, will contain a mix of attack, defense and tactic cards that expand player options during encounters. Sold in 8-card randomized booster packs, player will assemble their own decks to add a trading card game element to regular RPG action.

Since news of these cards hit, players have been wondering what the specific powers are that these cards will grant. Today we’ll be revealing four cards from this series: “Inner Strength”, “Opportunistic Fate”, “Go For It!” and “Watchful Approach”. Also of note when looking at these images is that the set has been numbered to 80 cards.

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Feel like mixing some trading card game mechanics into your role-playing experience? Get ready for D&D Fortune Cards. Now players can expand their play options through the use of attack, defense and tactic cards that might give your character enough of a boost to escape a sticky situation. The first series of fortune cards, Shadows Over Nentir Vale, will be sold in booster packs that contain 8 cards of varying rarity. Packs retail for $3.99 each and will be released on February 8th.

For those curious about exactly how the cards will work in play, the full rules have been posted online. In short, though, each player builds their own decks, which can vary in size using any multiple of ten cards. Players then draw one card at the start of each encounter, and can choose from the following three actions at the beginning of each turn:
• Discard the card in your hand and draw a new one.
• Draw a new card if you don’t have one in your hand.
• Keep the card that’s in your hand if you haven’t played it.
Players can only ever have one fortune card in their hand, and can play one card per round. The cards require no action to play, and details such as what effect it has and when it can be played will be written on each individual card.

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It’s a good time to be a fan of Middle Earth, as the famous J. R. R. Tolkien license is being put to work on both a new card game and miniatures battle game. First up is a “Living Card Game” from Fantasy Flight Games, but where this game differs from other LCGs is that it will be the first co-operative game for this format. Players build their decks, and then select a scenario that defines the victory conditions for the group. When the game is finished, everyone will either win or lose together.

The LCG format is increasingly popular due to its non-collectible nature. Players will still have to assemble decks from the cards they own, but the key difference between an LCG and a CCG is that there is no random card purchasing in LCGs. The core set includes 226 pre-determined cards for $39.95, and the game is expanded with monthly “Adventure Packs”. These packs contain a selection of new cards, usually with multiple copies of each to allow for easy incorporation into decks. Since there are no random cards, players can pick and choose which packs to purchase. The Lord of the Rings LCG is set to debut in April of this year. Read More...

Sony Online Entertainment has teamed up with Wizards of the Coast to redefine what players can expect from a Magic: The Gathering video game. While, previous efforts have been focused around digital versions of the card game playing experience, Magic: The Gathering: Tactics makes a genre leap into online tactical combat.

Players will compete either in single-player campaign missions or head-to-head online matches. The game embraces many of the common conventions seen in MMOs, such as the leveling of user accounts to unlock new skills on a tree, but the direct player-versus-player nature and lack of a true online world prevents it from receiving full MMO-classification. Read More...

After the Dominion brought the concept of a deck-building card game to market, Thunderstone was one of the first games to build upon that concept and help turn that simple mechanic into a complete genre. Following a lukewarm reception to the base set, Thunderstone has improved with each of its expansions, Doomgate Legion and Wrath of the Elements. Now it looks as though AEG is seeking the title of top deck building card game by launching Dragonspire, a full stand-alone expansion to Thunderstone complete with over 500 cards. The hook here is the addition of campaign rules and experience collection. Clearly, this is an attempt to blend in RPG elements, so it’s exciting to see Thunderstone live up to its potential and embrace the fantasy setting. Here is the full announcement from AEG:

Press Release:
The Doomgate is open, and Doom has been released into the world! The forces of destruction stalk the lands, destroying all they touch. There is but one dim flicker of hope: the Thunderstones, scattered at the dawn of time. Two lie hidden deep within the Dragonspire. Will your heroes be the first to reach them? Read More...

Fluxx, the card game with ever-changing rules, is a proven commodity. Over the past few years, it has spawned several versions including Martian Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, and Monty Python Fluxx. With over half a million total Fluxx games sold, Pirate Fluxx has some large footsteps to follow in, so how does this latest iteration stack up? Read on for the full review.

Just the Facts
Players: 2-6
Playing Time: 10-40 minutes+
Age: 8 to adult
Publisher: Looney Labs
MSRP: $16
Release: Feb 11th, 2011

Gameplay:
Fluxx is not your average card game. To start, each player is dealt a hand of three cards. On their turn, they will draw one card and play one card. Throughout the game, players will lay down four basic types of cards:
• Keepers –Played in front of you to show you have possession of them
• New Rules – Played in the center of the table to modify the rules of the game. It may institute a hand limit, increase the number of cards players draw or play on a turn, or change the game in more creative ways.
• Goals – Set the victory criteria for the game. Usually this will be some themed combination of two or more Keeper cards.
• Actions – One-time use cards that give the player the power to take some special action, such as stealing a card from another player’s hand or digging through the discard pile to bring an already-played card back into the game. Read More...

Days of Wonder, the board game company behind such popular titles as Ticket to Ride and Small World, has started off the year right by announcing two new products. The first is an expansion to Ticket to Ride entitled Alvin & Dexter: A Ticket to Ride Monster Expansion, and the name is quite literal. Alvin & Dexter are two monsters, a dinosaur and an alien UFO, which any player can use to terrorize a particular city.

Compatible with any Ticket to Ride map, Alvin & Dexter are placed by the last two players, and half the value of any city they occupy. Later in the game, player can cash in wild cards to relocate the monsters, bringing a side game of “hot potato” into the mix. The expansion contains 2 detailed monster figures, 40 Monster cards and 2 Bonus cards. Expect to see Alvin & Dexter on store shelves sometime in February, retailing for $13. For more details as this expansion comes closer to release, keep your eye on the official Alvin & Dexter page. Read More...

Occasionally, we get holiday cards from the various geeky companies we tend to write about, but none of them quite match up to this offering from Wizards of the Coast:

While most of the USA east of the Mississippi was getting blanketed by winter weather, this foil card showed up in my mailbox. Snow Mercy adds a bit of holiday fun to Magic: the Gathering, with no better time to enjoy games than when you can’t even leave your house.

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