There are many different ways to enjoy "Dungeons and Dragons," the hobby gaming property most known for its core roleplaying game. For instance, take the newly-released "Dungeon Command" miniatures game. As a skirmish-scale combat game, "Dungeon Command" aims to break down some of the barriers of miniatures gaming by using pre-painted figures in small 12-on-12 battles.

Complete armies (known as warbands in "Dungeon Command") are sold in ready-to-play faction packs, with options to further expand and customize a warband in advanced play. Today, we'll be reviewing those first two faction packs: "Heart of Cormyr" and "Sting of Lolth."

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Perhaps you haven't heard of "Fiasco." If so, throw out what you think you may know about roleplaying games, and instead, absorb this simple description from it's designer, Jason Morningstar: "You’ll play ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control. There will be big dreams and flawed execution. It won’t go well for them." It's commonly referred to as a "create your own Cohen brothers film" kit, but with some free supplements released this month, players will be creating horror movies in no time.

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Each fall, Luke Crane (designer of the "Burning Wheel Fantasy Roleplaying System" and the "Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game") brings RPG players together in New York City for one intense weekend of gaming. The event is called Burning Con, and it is unlike any other RPG convention. In order to attend, players must step up to the challenge of running their own game. What's more, players are limited to running games designed by Crane and his special guests. This year, Vincent Baker ("Apocalypse World") and John Harper ("Danger Patrol") are joining the event, making Burning Con a spectacular celebration of Indie RPG talent.

But one weekend is not long enough to run an extended RPG campaign, and as such, Burning Con attendees will have to run one-shot scenarios. With that in mind, Luke Crane has taken to the Burning Wheel Blog and provided attendees with some sharp advice on crafting RPG scenarios.

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Fantasy Flight Games may be making a name for itself beyond the core hobby gaming community by producing games based on hit properties such as "Game of Thrones" and "Star Wars," but that doesn't mean these products are designed without serious competition in mind.

From November 9th to 11th, gamers will converge on the Fantasy Flight Games headquarters and event center in Roseville, MN, to participate in the inaugural World Championship Weekend. They'll be hoping to claim titles in the following games: "A Game of Thrones: The Card Game," "Android: Netrunner The Card Game," "Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game," "Dust Tactics," "Dust Warfare," "Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game," and the "Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game."

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Wizards of the Coast is about to try something very different with "Magic: The Gathering," and Director of R&D Aaron Forsythe spilled all of the details to fans this week. "Modern Masters" will be a 229-card set reprinting popular cards from "Eighth Edition" through "Alara Reborn." This is not the first time that WotC has reprinted "Magic" cards, but "Modern Masters" is without a doubt a unique product; this admittedly experimental release breaks the mold for what players can expect from a "Magic" set.

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If video games can't make themselves into great movies, at least they can fall back on becoming board games. It seems that hobby gaming publishers just can't resist the urge to draw from the digital domain, as we've already been treated these past few years to tabletop versions of "Resident Evil," "Gears of War," and "Uncharted." Let's not even get into the legion of non-licensed titles that draw heavy inspiration from video game aesthetics and play styles. Next spring, "Crysis" and "Bioshock: Infinite" are hoping to up the ante with their own cardboard implementations.

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You may think that you know Dungeons & Dragons, but then again, you haven't peeked inside the mind of Forgotten Realms creator Ed Greenwood.

Back in January at the Dungeons & Dragons new products seminar, lead developer Mike Mearls gave fans of a preview of the D&D supplement "Elminster's Forgotten Realms." Mearls told the crowd that Wizards of the Coast staff approached Greenwood to ask "why don't you take all your campaign notes, all the information you've been putting together for your FR campaign and lets compile it into a book? Show us the realms as you've developed it in your campaign setting and lets get that to everybody." It's not often that fans get such an inside look at the creation of one of their favorite settings, but "Elminster's Forgotten Realms" completely pulls back the curtain on Greenwood's design.

Hitting store shelves today at 192 pages, the hardcover "Elminster's Forgotten Realms" will retail for $39.95, and manages to cram in an impressive amount of information. Let's take a look at what's inside.

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Call of Cthulhu, prepare to meet the call of the wild. Mansions of Madness, a Mythos-themed adventure board game from Fantasy Flight Games, will be leaving the eponymous mansion and venturing into the great outdoors with its second major expansion, Call of the Wild.

The expansion looks to make some significant improvements to Mansions of Madness, such as a new non-linear approach to map exploration, all while providing plenty of new content to keep gameplay fresh. Call of the Wild will be available in early 2013 at a retail price of $59.99. Read on for more details.

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A pirate, a ninja, and a zombie walk into a bar. Yeah, there's no good ending to that joke, especially when aliens, dinosaurs, gnomes, robots, and a few other friends are all on their way. Publisher AEG took a big risk in cramming all of those tropes into a single game, but the geeky melting pot that is "Smash Up" lives up to its billing. "The Shufflebuilding Game of Total Awesomeness" uses a new innovative mechanic (we'll explain "shufflebuilding" in a bit) that is indeed quite awesome.

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Feeling in a spooky mood? After last week's map pack announcement, I don't think anyone was expecting more Ticket to Ride news, especially on such short notice. But Days of Wonder is full of surprises, and the publisher has unveiled the Halloween Freighter train pack. A pumpkin-themed set of 45 trains and 3 stations will hit hobby gaming stores by the end of the month, and retail for $12.

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The candidate entry for Death's Head in WizKid's contest. Click to zoom.

After several rounds of voting spanning many weeks, Marvel HeroClix fans had narrowed the "Fan Decision 2012" to three characters: Ghost Rider, Sleepwalker, and Death's Head. Fan forum polling had put Sleepwalker in the lead, but Death's Head pulled out a narrow upset, winning over his closest competitor by less than a hundred votes. The victory may have been tight, but it did not eclipse last year's DC HeroClix fan vote, where Big Barda won with less than 50 votes over second place, and less than 100 votes over third.

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When it comes to European-style strategy board games, The Castles of Burgundy is one of the best I've played in recent memory. What exactly does that mean, you ask? OK, so it has been a while since we reviewed a serious Euro game here, so I'll lead off with a refresher.

Euro games are known for: favoring skill over luck, taking 60-90 minutes to play (with no player elimination), avoiding direct conflict between players, and having short bite-sized turns that keep players interested in the game. The themes in Euros aren't as strong as typical American designs, with players usually competing for the most points rather than to accomplish some story-driven objective. The playing pieces are generally abstract as well, with Euro games packing wooden cubes and discs rather than sculpted models.

But while thematic games are undoubtedly popular, not every title on store shelves has to be about Cthulhu, Star Wars, or zombies. Just look at the Euro shelf and you'll find games that somehow manage to turn mundane tasks such as farming or construction into fiercely competitive experiences. It can sound odd to the outsider, but trust me, there's a lot of fun to be had here and The Castles of Burgundy is a great place to start.

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Admit if, you've always wanted to fly an X-Wing. Ever since you saw Luke switch off his targeting computer and slam those torpedoes down the Death Star's exhaust port, the X-Wing has been one of the most iconic fictional spacecraft around.

What about those geeks steeped neck-high in "Star Wars" lore, though? Maybe they want to fly something more obscure? Maybe they're thumbing through a copy of the "Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels" they bought back in 1996 as they write this post? No, surely, that's not me. But there's a wide variety of ships in the "Star Wars" mythos, and as publisher Fantasy Flight Games has shown with their new "Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game," there's a good chance your favorite ship might be about to hit the table.

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I play with trains down in Africa

"Ticket to Ride" is probably the hottest thing to hit hobby gaming since sliced Catan, and publisher Days of Wonder is keeping the trains rolling with "Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 – The Heart of Africa." The third in a series, "The Heart of Africa" follows previous Asia and India-themed maps, and like it's predecessors, Africa brings some unique rules twists. Read on for a look at the new map board, and to see how "The Heart of Africa" plays differently from normal "Ticket to Ride."

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There's nothing quite like an Eldritch Abomination to help spice up a family friendly card game. Looney Labs, publisher of the million-seller "Fluxx" and its numerous spin-offs, is letting the Great Old Ones of H.P. Lovecraft's Mythos get in on the game, and they've got just the guy to help them.

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