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Talisman 4th Edition: The Dungeon: Basic Premise

The Dungeon expansion adds a whole new region for the players to run around in. They can enter through the ruins or through the random adventure card you may draw from time to time, and it gives the player the chance (albeit small) to go directly to the Crown of Command without having to go to through the inner region of the main board.

Talisman 4th Edition: The Dungeon: A Quick Glance

The first big expansion for Talisman 4th edition adds a brand new multi-colored board, a big giant stack of cards, and 5 new characters. Everything looks and feels top notch, as would be expected from a Fantasy Flight Games release. My one problem with the expansion is the amount of space that it takes up on the table, but more on that later. Suffice it to say, if you have a big enough table, you will be very pleased with the components – definitely worth the monetary investment.

Talisman 4th Edition: The Dungeon: Gameplay

I am going to assume that you know how Talisman works. If you don’t go read one of the many reviews out there that describe it in detail. Basically it’s a roll and move game where you follow the instructions laid out for you depending on the spot you land on. The Dungeon expansion follows the exact same rules.

The dungeon itself is pretty wicked – lots of spots that make you draw more than one card. It has some flavor locations, like the torture chamber, and the cell, but for the most part it is very simple. The problem lies within the actual Dungeon Cards. Most of these seem to be monsters, with little treasure to be had. Plus, you can’t really expect to run into a lot of strength 2 wolves and goblins (although there are some) since it seems like everything has a combat value of 5 or more. Land on a spot where you draw 3 cards and you can see where the beatdown can happen pretty quickly.

Once you make it to the end of the dungeon, you face the mini-boss. Win or lose, you get to draw a “treasure card”, and these tend to be pretty good. Some magic items, a talisman, a weapon or two. They don’t alter the game with their power, but it is nice to KNOW you are going to get something good at the end.

However, there is one wrinkle if you beat the boss. Depending on how WELL you beat him, you exit the dungeon in a random spot on the board. If you lose or tie, you end up in the crags, but if somehow manage to win by 8 or more, you leave the dungeon right on top of the Crown of Command, whether you have a talisman or not. There are several other locations as well, such as the portal of power and so on. Basically, the better you beat the boss, the closer to the end game you get.

The 5 extra characters you get are an odd bag of characters. Right away the Amazon jumped out at me with her ability to “re-fight” any combat in which she loses. Nothing like a second shot after failure to give you an edge. The Swashbuckler gets to draw an extra card in the fields, and immediately gets another turn after he wins a combat. The Gladiator is your standard brawn over brains guy that gets bonuses to keep him alive when he wears armor and the ability to train his followers to fight for him. Since the pack animals and mounts are considered “followers” now, it is amusing to think of the gladiator racing into combat with his Mule and Horse and Cart fighting alongside him, but Talisman was never known as a game to be taken too seriously. Finally you get the Philosopher and the Sage. Both of these seem horrendously underpowered in my opinion, but then again, if you are a “craft” character and you don’t have the ability to always have a spell, it always seemed like you started off behind the eight ball in my opinion.

Talisman 4th Edition: The Dungeon: In Summation

Well I love Talisman – I always have and I always will – with the notable exception of that horrible Timescape expansion all those years ago – and I love this version of the Dungeon. It’s a fun little side trip that can give you great rewards if you are strong enough to run its gauntlet, plus it adds a ton of cards to the game to keep everything fresh.

While I like it a lot, I am going to point out a few detractions that may or may not bother you like they bothered me.

First – Congratulations FFG – you FINALLY made a game expansion that makes a board that is too big for my table. The Talisman board is already huge as it is, if you add the expansion onto the corner like you are supposed to, it makes the game ridiculously wide. If they follow through with their plans to make an expansion for each corner Talisman will have to be played on most people’s living room floors. Theoretically my table is just big enough to play it as designed, but then you pretty much prevent anyone from sitting at that corner since they don’t have any room to put their character sheet on the game surface. To rectify this, we simply pulled up a coffee table and placed the dungeon on that. Serviceable, yes, but it obviously detracted from the aesthetics.

Secondly – No one is ever going to use the Dungeon to hop up to the Crown of Command unless they have a ridiculously high strength or craft, in which case they should have headed up to the center region a long time ago anyway. I can come up with a few scenarios where you would have to use the Dungeon (such as one person hording several Talismans) or where it would be a serviceable option (high –but not ridiculously high- strength and craft and a psionic blast spell) but both of those are such remote possibilities that you can’t really count on them. The old dungeon had you roll a 6 sided, and if you got lucky, it sent you to win the game. I don’t think this was the best option back then either, but I wish there could have been something in the middle.

Finally – The Philosopher and the Sage suck. I am sure there are those of you out there that love them and disagree with me, but this is my review and my opinion. There are many old school classes that I would have preferred to see before these two chumps. Bring back my Woodsman, or my Centaur, or my Knight. Hell, even the Satyr was a better option.

Oh well – I am sure they will be implemented soon enough. Look, if you like Talisman, this game is a no brainer. You can pick it up at most online retailers for around $27 or less, and you get to pimp out one of the iconic, classic games of yesteryear. No self respecting Talisman fan should be without this expansion.
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Aaron Tubb
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Quote:
Once you make it to the end of the dungeon, you face the mini-boss. Win or lose, you get to draw a “treasure card”, and these tend to be pretty good. Some magic items, a talisman, a weapon or two. They don’t alter the game with their power, but it is nice to KNOW you are going to get something good at the end.

Um... you don't get anything if you lose. You have to defeat the Lord of Darkness to get a treasure.

Quote:
Finally – The Philosopher and the Sage suck. I am sure there are those of you out there that love them and disagree with me, but this is my review and my opinion. There are many old school classes that I would have preferred to see before these two chumps. Bring back my Woodsman, or my Centaur, or my Knight. Hell, even the Satyr was a better option.

The Sage actually came with the Reaper expansion instead of this one, but he seems to do pretty well whenever I see him in the game.

Nice review. The table space is going to be an issue for me, too. The dungeon may hang off the table a bit, or have to be put on another table altogether.
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Rauli Kettunen
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By Sage you mean Gypsy I assume? As Sage (aka Philosopher from 2nd edition, just to confuse things) was introduced in Reaper expansion.

Also, Arkham Horror isn't in your game collection (re: the board size vs table) ?

Darn you Aarontu! Random Spell at you !
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Lance
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Aarontu wrote:
Quote:
Once you make it to the end of the dungeon, you face the mini-boss. Win or lose, you get to draw a “treasure card”, and these tend to be pretty good. Some magic items, a talisman, a weapon or two. They don’t alter the game with their power, but it is nice to KNOW you are going to get something good at the end.

Um... you don't get anything if you lose. You have to defeat the Lord of Darkness to get a treasure.

Quote:
Finally – The Philosopher and the Sage suck. I am sure there are those of you out there that love them and disagree with me, but this is my review and my opinion. There are many old school classes that I would have preferred to see before these two chumps. Bring back my Woodsman, or my Centaur, or my Knight. Hell, even the Satyr was a better option.

The Sage actually came with the Reaper expansion instead of this one, but he seems to do pretty well whenever I see him in the game.

Nice review. The table space is going to be an issue for me, too. The dungeon may hang off the table a bit, or have to be put on another table altogether.


Ack thanks for the corrections. That will teach me to write a review from memory instead of sitting at home with the game in front of me.

Seriously, if you only get a treasure for beating him, it makes a trip to the end of the dungeon a dicey decision at best, unless you really want a trip to the crags.

Oh yeah, and the Gypsy sucks too.

 
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Nice review. I'm loving the support that FFG has been giving Talisman. I can't wait to see what lies ahead for the franchise.

Here are a few random thoughts

- I think the Dungeon succeeds as a nice way to "power level" if you will. What I mean by that is its designed to rapidly advance a character. You know you will be encountering things to fight in the Dungeon, so if you need some trophies to get stronger thats the place to head...

- The size of the board + the exansion is a double edged sword. Sure its wonderful to have this massive land to explore...but the table space required is ridiculous.

- I love that they keep adding more characters, but I would like to see more non-human ones. I think those are needed to help really broaden the current roster.

- Its also worth noting that with the Dungeon and Reaper expansions you now have tons of spells, different ways to get Talismans, countless adventure cards...basically the game gets more random and more unpredictable. I considered both expansions must buys for fans of the game.

- All in all I'm extremely happy with Talisman 4th Edition. The product is totally worth investing in and FFG should certainly be commended for their efforts.

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Dan Conley
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GREAT review, Lance! I DO love Talisman!!! We normally play at an area FLGS which has BIG game tables, so the size of the board won't be an issue THERE. At home, though...

Thanks for the review!
 
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Love the review. I also found that characters can level quickly in the dungeon. In one game I had one player had no choice but to attempt to defeat the Lord of Darkness for the Talisman. He won and moved to the portal of power and nearly came from behind to win. Table space not a problem if you like standing and have an old Warhammer gamming tabledevil
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Aarontu wrote:
The Sage actually came with the Reaper expansion instead of this one, but he seems to do pretty well whenever I see him in the game.


Definately same for me:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/402911

(shameless self-promotional plug notification)
 
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Gunther Schmidl
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UndeadViking wrote:

First – Congratulations FFG – you FINALLY made a game expansion that makes a board that is too big for my table.


I take it you don't play Arkham Horror?
 
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Mik Svellov
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UndeadViking wrote:
Well I love Talisman – I always have and I always will – with the notable exception of that horrible Timescape expansion all those years ago
One of my favorite expansions - after I changed it a bit with a few house rules.
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Lance
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gschmidl wrote:
UndeadViking wrote:

First – Congratulations FFG – you FINALLY made a game expansion that makes a board that is too big for my table.


I take it you don't play Arkham Horror?


I do - AH just gets longer...Talisman branches off the corner.

I have an 8' X 4' table that works perfectly for AH.
 
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John M
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FYI - The knight was included in the Reaper expansion.
 
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