Two (And a Half) New DLCs for Talisman & Talisman: Origins to Spice Up Your Next Adventure19 Sep 2019 0
Nomad Games decreed that Thursday 29th August 2019 was to henceforth be known as Talisman Day. To celebrate they released a trio of new expansions for their Talisman series of games. The developers certainly squeeze the Talisman license until the pips squeak; even setting aside all of the extra downloadable content, there are still currently four versions of the game available. Talisman: Digital Edition is based on the original multiplayer classic board game. Whilst both Talisman: Prologue and Talisman: Origins take a more story-based approach and shift the focus to solo play. The prologue version has pretty much been superseded so my advice is to stick with the digital edition or origins. Finally, for those not keen on the fantasy setting, Talisman: Horus Heresy merges the Talisman gameplay with the Warhammer 40k universe.
The original board game was released way back in 1983 and at first glance, the design sensibilities appear helplessly outdated. Just one glance at Talisman's roll-and-move mechanic and the Fighting Fantasy style combat is enough to send a shiver down the spine of many modern gamers. However, there is something still nostalgically endearing about the world of Talisman that draws in players both young and old.
Talisman embraces the mechanical age, with the introduction of clockwork towers, flying carriages and automata. This hi-tech setting is no longer a place for kings and queens, who have been usurped by inventors and merchant lords.
In this brave new world, a mobile shop traverses the outer kingdom, from which new material cards can be purchased. These are at the heart of the new expansion as they allow players to craft new weapons and gear. Material cards are also awarded when encountering some of the 41 new adventure cards. You may chance upon one of the many new enemies such as the impassable clockwork sentinel. Or, maybe you will meet the scrap salvager, who allows you to rummage through any discarded material cards and take one of your choice. If you are feeling a little mean then you may wish to trigger a clockwork mouse, who forces any fellow adventurers that it meets to ditch one random object. Whether all of the adventurers suffer from chronic musophobia or the mouse itself is an artful pickpocket isn’t made clear.
At the end of each turn, a character has the opportunity to spend three material cards to create a new object. The nature of the invention will depend upon the effects of the materials used. Some materials when combined with an additional material that they are in harmony with will create a separate more powerful effect. For instance, an item made of Ent wood adds one to a player’s craft, but combine the Ent wood with standard wood and the new item will enhance a players craft rating by three.
To exploit these new-found crafting opportunities there are three new adventurers at your beck and call. The artificer can deconstruct magical items and absorb their power to learn a new spell or improve their craft. The swindler has a bit of a silver tongue and knows how to strike a good deal. He can convince other characters to sell him any item for a single gold piece, talk himself out of tricky situations and make a quick buck from the unfortunate inhabitants of settlements and taverns. Finally, the engineer is brilliant at making the best of her resources. She can craft an invention using fewer materials and is great at spotting any weaknesses in mechanical enemies.
The expansion also includes two new scenarios, the first has you playing the part of a runic Luddite, battling against progress by defeating as many mechanical enemies as possible. The other scenario is a fight to the death in which characters use their inventions to challenge each other in a psychic battle to the death.
Overall, this is a really interesting expansion, it is great fun experimenting with combinations of different materials, with the additional compound and harmony effects adding an extra layer of depth. The crafting mechanic certainly adds some much-needed variety and the new cards introduce a host of new enemies, items and followers, each with their own unique special abilities.
A new book containing five chapters, which should take between five to ten hours to complete. This expansion is based on the board game’s Nether Realms expansion, which is notorious for its tough monsters. It really puts the focus on combat with the likes of the Atlas Ogre and the Nether Blight (instant death, anyone?) queuing up to tear you a new one.
Adventurers have the opportunity to replace a card drawn from the adventurer’s deck with one from the hard-as-nails nether deck. You will probably want to start slowly, drawing from the adventure deck until feeling strong enough to tackle the new monsters. This ability to swap between the adventure and the nether decks adds an interesting extra layer of tension to the gameplay. The new encounters may be tricky and sometimes frustrating, but if you are up for the challenge then Pandora’s Box is worth opening.
An Assassin’s Tale for Talisman: Origins
As a murderer for hire, you are always keen to make a killing. So, when the assassins guild puts out a juicy contract on a humble monk you head off to make some easy money. An Assassin’s Tale is a three-chapter character-based story that is free to download and play.
The story starts pretty low-key as you navigate the board, hoping that your dice rolls will eventually allow you to corner the monk. Happily, things do get more interesting and the assassin’s special ability is appropriately sneaky. When he initiates an attack the unfortunate victim may not roll dice to add to their strength.
Not the most innovative of add-ons, but it is free and when the story gets going it is entertaining enough.