However, that's a lame review and I suppose I need to justify that so please read on!
The Firelands expansion for Talisman is one of the best small expansions to come along since possibly The Reaper expansion came out in 2008. The minute you open the box the whole "Ancient Persia/Arabian Knights" theme immediately hits you. It's the desert. It's the magic lamp. Its the flying carpet and yes, it's even got a camel (two to be precise).
Let's take a look in just a little more detail.
There are four new characters. They are each unique and you would not be disappointed with any of them.
Dervish - Traditionally, the Dervish were known for their poverty but you will not feel like a beggar if you draw this character. He starts with a sword and a watter bottle, can use two weapons and one of them doesn't count toward his carrying limit. He starts in the middle region so a few visits to the Temple will almost certainly be in your plan early on in the game. However, they saved the best ability for last with the Dervish. Beat an enemy in battle and you get another go. Not so amazing I hear you say? Well, what if you then beat another enemy in that additional go? Yep. You guessed it - yet another go and so on and so forth. It doesn't take a genius to realise once your strong enough you should head into The Dungeon with this character.
Nomad - I might as well just get right to the point. This is a character you will want to play! The ability to stay on the same space is SO nice. Think Pool of Life, Stream of Knowledge, Pet Shop, Spendthrift, Assassin. This list is endless. Not only that but you can also ignore any place card. Handy, for example, if you draw Sacrificial Stone. Finally, you can ignore any space instructions you land on and draw a card instead! Wow. Desert? No problem. Landed on the City with no gold or objects? No chance of being a toad here. You will be giggling all the way to the Crown Of Command and your buddies will be cursing you for weeks afterwards.
Warlord - Admittedly the weakest of the four if you don't draw many followers, this is still an exciting character to play. Followers can be conscripted to add an additional Strength to yours each in battle and like all loyal companions they can be sacrificed to save your own skin whenever you wish! I predict more discussion might go on, however, about whether it's a man or a woman underneath all that armour.
Jin Blooded - Let me go on record as saying I love this character. It's a safe bet everyone will think not once, not twice, but thrice before casting a spell on you now! If they do (and you have enough Fate) you can bind that spell which basically allows you to cancel it's effect and cast it on a new target. Most likely, the guy (or gal) who was foolish enough to cast it on you in the first place. We all know Spells give you an advantage in this game and the Jin Blooded has the ability to use his fate to effectively spell cycle through the spell deck till he finds one of use to him. It takes time however so it's not too overly powerful but you will know the meaning of the word smug if you get to play this character.
The biggest thing this expansion brings to the table are two completely new mechanics: Terrain Cards and Burn ability.
The Terrain Cards allow you to actually transform spaces on the board! Are you pissed off that the Priest can forever head to the temple, add up to 1 to his die roll and power up quicker than the rest of you? Well no more - pizazz! - turn that Temple into a Hills space. Are you annoyed all the good players can heal for free in the Chapel? Well no more - kaboom! - turn that Chapel into a Field. It's game changing to say the least and everyone's strategy will change from here on in. It works the other way too: Playing the Assassin? Great - you can create an additional Graveyard. Are you the Sprite? Have another Forest and we might as well get it over with - yes the Leprechaun can have...sigh... TWO additional Woods spaces.
The Burn ability is very exciting. It is an effect that allows (or sometimes forces) you to burn adventure cards which - not just places them in the discard pile - but removes them from the game entirely! If you are the kind of person who has ever complained that the adventure deck has grown too large (and that's not me, by the way) then you'll love this since now you'll be flying through those cards faster than...well, you were before. Also, you will discover that some cards can become (or already are) fireproof and are protected from the flames so there is alot going on and alot to keep track of. You will have to keep your wits about you and your drinking to a minimum.
One of the nicest things about The Firelands is the thought that went into the Enemies. Lets face it - a bear is a lion is a chimera is a raging bull. But NOW a new kind of enemy is introduced called the Ifrit. The Ifrit have ongoing effects after they have been drawn that bring a nice twist to the game. For instance, An Ifrit Raider with Strength/Craft 1 might not sound too terrifying, but read a little further and you will see you have to add 1 for each Fireland token in the region.
Ah yes. I forgot to mention those.
What I suspect will become a staple of Talisman expansions is the addition of tokens (well seriously, how many cards can they continue to add to the adventure deck?!)
Unlike the dreaded Dragon tokens, you will find the Fireland tokens bring an abundance of joy to the realm of Talisman! OK, that was my own little personal dig, but I am leaving it in. There are numerous ways Fireland tokens can be added to the board but the end result is the same: If you end your turn in a space that has a fireland token in it you lose a life. Not too harsh you might think, but watch out if you are playing with one of the alternate endings included here called Spreading Flames. You can rightly assume from the name there will be plenty of Fireland tokens across the land.
The Firelands mixes in seamlessly with the base game and all other expansions. It brings lots of new twists, turns, plots and heated discussions between adventurers - basically everything one could want for in an expansion. It even has a Follower that will make you wish you drew Cursed By Hag instead. Seriously. It's called Old Man of the Sea and pray the Tavern hasn't been terrain-ed already when you draw that particular card.
In closing, a special mention is certainly deserved for the artwork of The Firelands. Absolutely fantastic. Fantasy Flight Games have outdone themselves on this one and you will be hard pressed to find any cards with sub-par artwork here. I would imagine this is one of the biggest costs to producing an expansion and I can only say I am glad FFG were not spendthrifts in this regard. It really does make a big difference. You will love it for the artwork, you will love it for the new mechanics and you will love it because it breathes new life into Talisman, a game that seems to live on and on...and on. I give it a 10 out of 10. Buy it.
Edited by adjogi, 06 March 2014 - 09:45 PM.