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How do you combine your expansions?


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#1 Artaterxes

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 02:06 AM

Hi friends,

 

I'm curious as to how you use Talisman expansions.

 

When introducing new people to Talisman, we start by playing at least one session using the base game only. If players want to try new expansions, we introduce only one at a time. We typically start with The Reaper and continue in order of release. We never add more than one expansion per session.

 

This way, the initial game is not too complicated and is easy to manage for new players. Also, and I think this is very important, the idea that they have only "scratched the surface" gives them more incentive to keep playing future games and see what future expansions have in store.

 

We do this for each group, and keep track of which expansions have been payed by which groups. At the end of each session, unless we will be playing with the same group soon, we separate all components back into their expansion boxes.

 

Characters: We draw characters using single random draw. (You drew it, you play it!) We draw from all characters from all expansions introduced so far.

 

Endings: Before each game, the group votes on whether to play the standard or alternate endings. If we have not played with The Dragon yet, the standard ending is Crown of Command. If we have, then the standard ending is the full game of The Dragon.

 

If the group votes to play an alternate ending, then we vote again on revealed or hidden. Regardless, we combine all relevant endings from all expansions used so far, then draw one randomly.

 

Exceptions: When we play our first game of The Frostmarch, which introduces alternate endings, we don't consider the standard ending at all. When we play our first game of The Nether Realm, we only draw from those endings because endings comprise the entire expansion.

 

The Dragon: For our first game of The Dragon, we play the standard Dragon ending. Once introduced, we mix in the characters and endings for use in all future games. However, we will only use the board, dragon tokens, and dragon cards if we use an ending that calls for them (i.e. the full Dragon game, the Domain of Dragons ending or Dragon Slayers). Otherwise, we leave those components in the box, as they are only needed with those endings. When we play the full Dragon game, we vote to use either the Dragon Realm or Dragon Tower.

 

Dealing with dilution: We understand that characters, endings, and Adventure Cards added later will see less action as the piles get larger and larger, but we don't try to change it, as long as we add expansions gradually, one-by-one. For example, when we introduce The Reaper, we still draw from among all 18 characters (14 base + 4 Reaper), not trying to give preference for the most recent ones.

 

Expansion components: Once something is introduced, we keep it for all future games with that group. For example, once we introduce The Blood Moon, the Time Card and Werewolf become a permanent part of the game.


Edited by Artaterxes, 29 May 2014 - 08:18 PM.


#2 DomaGB

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 03:14 AM

I used to almost hate the dragon expansion, but came up with an idea to use the cards in its own region. We use an extra Highlands board for the Dragon expansion. I pulled out all cards tho that require the use of scales, as these are no longer collected, I also pulled out cards that sends dragons to other region spaces.

I like Bloodmoon but can't stand nite/day, so have pulled cards that require that, some however I have kept in, but only 2-3 and will roll a die to determine if its day/nite in those situations. This destroys the werewolf, but that's ok cause I didn't like it. I also dislike the Halloween theme unless its the real season. then I plan to create a Halloween themed game. So for now I pull the heavily themed Halloween cards. This means half that expansion is not used.

As far as Frostmarch and others I don't care that the theme is diluted, the cards are just a wonderful fit in the grand adventure.

As far as Alternate Endings, we are enjoying using Pandora's Box, used it in our last 4 games. But in general we take all alternate endings make a pile and pull it when someone reaches the CoC. I also have downloaded and made some fan made Alternate Endings as well as those officially downloadable.

I have only played 1 game with a revealed ending.

Edited by DomaGB, 02 March 2014 - 03:18 AM.

RoboRally, then Talisman. That's the way it is... ;)


#3 0beron

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 06:46 AM

Well I'm certain most might remember that my games use all expansions, but we do have small modifiers. 

 

As mentioned, a lot, we delay the drawing of dragon scales till after the first Dragon is encountered from any other Adventure deck. We also start the Lords, with no one of them the King. They have to work at it, like everyone else in the game, player or non player!

 

Something that I may not have emphasized is the Dragon realm board. Now, this we don't always use, maybe a little less than half our games.  I do find that the Dragon realm, itself, does 'jar' with non-Dragon alt endings; you've come all the way through the dragon realm (btw, have not used the Tower side of the board yet, either) and then you reach the Crown and your final boss is

 

The Ice Queen?   The Blood Moon Werewolf?   ( or worse, a revealed ending like one from the City, or the Sacred Pool). Unless I wish to imagine some evil partnership between the Ice Queen and the Dragon Lords, it doesn't always work, thematically for us.   

   But to be fair, the inclusion of all sets' Adventure cards does show these disparate forces at work already in the land. So, as I say, about half, a little less, we don't use the dragon board(s).

 

 Now on to dilution of themes with all those cards. We just suck it up. The World is full of many, many dangerous things, and they are so petty, they will go at each other, if not for the intrusion of the Adventurers of Talisman.

 

 I am thinking that because we play a two player game, our emphasis is alternatively, encounter as many cards as possible { less competition for the magic/objects, gold, followers, etc. } and using every possible resource to level up and get to the CoC. Leveling up in a two player game is, also, alternatively fast, and slow, due to various mechanics and luck of the draw. My wife, co-player, hovers near the various Pools of Life, Fate, Strength, etc.   I tend to throw myself into the Dungeon and beat on as many creatures as I can to level up.

 

 Hope this wasn't too long, basically: DEAL with all sets, some small mods as noted.


Edited by 0beron, 02 March 2014 - 06:47 AM.


#4 Artaterxes

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:02 AM

Yes, it seems that the full Dragon game is incompatible with any alternative ending, including the ones supplied with that expansion itself. Not just from a thematic point of view, but from a mechanical one!

The Dragon Slayers and Domain of Dragons endings use the scales, cards, and Draconic Lords in different ways and make it impossible to use the center board. There is either a predetermined, unchanging Dragon King or no Dragon King, meaning no use of the Crown token, meaning no generation and accumulation of scales in the usual manner(either by players or the Draconic Lords), meaning no way to use the center board which makes reference to both scales and Dragon King.

The Dragon King and other expansion endings simply make the generation of scales and the inclusion of the Draconic Lords pointless as they will not be the final encounter anyway.

This is why we don't use any alternative ending with The Dragon.

#5 Dam

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:22 AM

Shuffle in, play. No need to complicate things.


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#6 Nemomon

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:34 AM

Yes, it seems that the full Dragon game is incompatible with any alternative ending, including the ones supplied with that expansion itself. Not just from a thematic point of view, but from a mechanical one!


Not really ;). You don't have to kill the Dragon King on the CoC, do You? ;) Consider the whole Dragon King theme as an extra effect to the game (much like the Day/Night mechanic), and on the CoC encounter an Ending card instead of fighting the Dragon King.

==

Among the Ending cards from the Dragon expansion, the Domain of Dragons Ending is the best one to use without really playing the Dragon expansion. Again, consider that Ending card as an additional rules to the game, and draw one extra *real* Ending card. On the CoC You won't have to fight the Dragon King from the Domain of Dragons Ending, but You will have to encounter the real Ending card. Though, you will have to come with an additional rule about Dragon Scales (for example: "Each time a card that mentions anything about the Dragon Scales is drawn, the character who drew it discards it and loses 1 life.")

With a small bit of good will everything is possible ;).

As for myself, I don't believe in "deck size" and "theme dilution". I can play a game with a deck consisting of 1000 Adventure cards as well as I don't see anything wrong with drawing an Ice Elf on the Desert. This is just a game with multiple themes mixed together at once. A true "recycle-bin-soup". ;)
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#7 Artaterxes

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:43 AM

Shuffle in, play. No need to complicate things.


Well, sometimes we like our games to have a different thematic focus or reduce the number of components. (Although FULL Talisman is the gold standard!)

#8 Dam

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 09:59 AM

I like theme as much as the next guy (probably more), but Talisman's theme is "weird and wacky things happen in a fantasy world." For a focus on thematic, I have other games.

 

And for shame, "reduce the number of components", burn the heretic  :P ! Assuming you're not fireproof  ;)  .


"A dirty mind is its own reward."


#9 0beron

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 11:19 AM

We only ever hear from some players, there are perhaps many, many more who read and never or rarely comment or post here. 

 

  With that, I would think that if there were more people who did not like using all/most expansions (provided owned or available), than it would be posted.    Negativity seems to drive more commentary.

 

So my conclusion is most players do not see a down side in the use of 'thematically different' expansions. This isn't your father/grandfather's Talisman, and you have to remember (hold for it...)

 

In the 2nd edition, Timescape was more or less popular, or 'okay', despite the fact that thematically it is/was the one expansion that goes beyond the basic fantasy concept of the game.

 

 

   Perhaps if they ever bring that one back, we would have much more to discuss on this topic of combination!


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#10 The_Warlock

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 03:36 PM

I used to play Talisman for many years with all expansions, then the Dragon Expansion was published. After that, throwing everything in the mix was not possible anymore, not only because it required house rules and compromises but because the Dragon Expansion changed the game so much that the rest became a frame, a contour, a faint background of the Dragon theme.

 

Then Blood Moon posed me another question: shall I always use the Time Card? This is a mechanic that you must adopt from the beginning of the game. Adventure Cards and Spells from Blood Moon require the Time Card to be in play, and this is not a mechanic that I necessarily wanted to see in ALL games from then on.

 

So I separated the Adventure deck into the expansions constituting it and decided to do as follows:

 

1) I take and shuffle base game Adventure cards and 2 decks of Adventure Cards from 2 different expansions; the resulting Adventure Deck is used for 3-4 games, then it is split again and reformed in the same manner

 

2) we mostly play 2-player games, so normally only 1 corner board is used (sometimes we use 2) and use all boards only when playing with 4+ people

 

3) I always remove Adventure Cards with Dungeon Restriction Icon and Highland Restriction Icon if those Regions aren't used (the rulebook says to do this, and I HATE seeing these cards drawn if they cannot be used, especially Rocs and Burrow Worm which are often attacked before someone notices the Restriction Icon)

 

4) We use the Time Card only when playing with Blood Moon Adventure Cards; this implies that Blood Moon Spells are also removed from the Spell deck when TIme Card is not used

 

5) We use the Dragon Expansion only when we are in the mood for it; Dragon Priestess and Dragon Rider characters are usually available for random choosing only when the Dragon Expansion is used (they have almost no abilities in a standard game)

 

Blood Moon and Dragon induced me into this, which is all but a cumbersome and time-consuming procedure. For me shuffling (in a serious manner) 600 Adventure Cards and preparing ALL the material from ALL expansions is far more time consuming than what I do, especially if you consider that most of it is not used during a game. In 2 player games, the best we can do is to draw 1/3 of the Adventure cards and 1/2 of the Corner Region cards. Preparing more material is wasted time.

 

I don't care very much about theme in Talisman; or better, I don't mind if the theme is consistent. I like the variety of effects and their combinations. This is why I like when the number of cards is reduced and the mix is periodically changed, because it has two positive effects:

 

1) it makes you enjoy every expansion to its full extent (it's rare not to draw each card at least once, while in the full deck some cards could remain hidden forever)

 

2) it allows to see more card interactions between the expansions (less cards in the mix = more chances that they are in play at the same time)

 

Do you know why people say the Reaper is the best small box expansion? Because they played it with only the base game and saw all the interactions. Then dilution grew bigger and every expansion that came out was less and less visible. Blood Moon tried to counter dilution with the Time Card, which is a good global rule but it doesn't bring out the expansion theme very much, at least not as much as Lunar Events or cards referring to Day/Night, which still remain buried within the huge Adventure deck.

 

Firelands introduces a mechanic (Burn) which is supposed to cut down your Adventure deck a bit and make Fireproof cards emerge over the others. This is very interesting and a good idea, but the bigger  your Adventure deck is, the less efficient the mechanic will be.

 

I used to mix everything together and after many years I've tried different ways to enjoy the game. It's up to you to do with your Talisman what you wish. Don't speak of heresy, though, because in history heretics were for the most part clever persons with a subtler insight, who understood the way to go years or even centuries before stubborn mankind eventually followed their steps.


Edited by The_Warlock, 03 March 2014 - 01:43 AM.


#11 JediKnightAmoeba

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 04:03 PM

Our group of gamers I guess, cares very little for thematics in a fantasy board game like this.  Talisman is pretty much everything and anything Fantasy (we even used to have a Space Marine Terminator with a storm bolter, back playing 3rd edition).  We just want powerful stuff, cool stuff and then we go about killing whatever lies in out path....or die trying.  But when it comes to what we implement into the game: if it exists, it is going in!!!   We may make some slight modifications to make it smoother play but if you really WANT to use a broken character, weapon or item...be our guest...we will find a way to beat you.  If they had 10000 cards, we would use them all-complain about the amount of cards the entire time-but continue to buy more expansions as they were released.  Why?  Because they released more!!!

 

I guess I am in the mindset that Talisman is really cool but very simple compared to a lot of the miniature games we play.  I have always seen it being a lot of fun because of all the fantasy ideas implemented and all of us playing to make it a lot more fun.  Beer, food, ridicule....the occasional cheating and being just plain mean because you feel like picking on a certain individual that day.  And we laugh and are merry.  


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#12 scottindeed

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 11:36 AM

I keep all cards separated out and use one small box expansion at a time, and use which ever corner sections we feel like at the time. I love theme and hate having everything mushed in together.

#13 0beron

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 02:06 PM

Because I'm working in a technical kind of area, I'm a big believer in "intended use".

 

I have not seen an expansion that caveats "Can only be played with _____ expansions" or similar.

 

Rather I see verbiage that says can be used with any or all expansions.

 

It is nice to know (thank you FFG) that they can be played without all expansions, but I do believe that the intention is full - compatibility (despite some flaws that even I may house-rule ... but I would never think of separating out a full expansion and just use the others).



#14 arolig

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 09:11 AM

I feel like a big adventure deck can be a curse and a blessing. Reminds me of my munchkin cards, to many to even wanna play anymore. The Thief and Ministrel definitivly suffer from big adventure card decks. What me and a friend i dooing now is that we own eatch of our big box expansions, and reaper(cuz u need it). And then we get together to play we use one of our games and use all big boxes(3 corners). That way in the future our adventure decks can differ a bit. Basicly I own two big boxes+reaper. Him one big+reaper + gonna get 1-2 more soon.

As soon as we feel like I need another small box(firelands)... We probobly won't do the work of taking all those cards out again.... Then we would just use the other main game box instead.



#15 JemyM

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 06:38 PM

I just go all in. Much of the appeal with Talisman for me is that the game is simple to grasp and that every game is unique. The cards drawn creates the theme for that particular game. I belong to those who believe that the token-draw for dragons and the night/day cycle might be *too much*. If the night/day cycle is used I would just use the card without caring for the -1/+1 on it just to keep things simple. I would love to use the dragons board, but so far I haven't been able to add it in a way that avoid slowing down the game.


Edited by JemyM, 05 March 2014 - 06:38 PM.


#16 talismanamsilat

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 11:47 AM

We play with every expansion, except that I changed the Dragon Rulebook to suit our needs as the official rules are woefully designed.



#17 metalzo

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 05:53 PM

We play with every expansion, except that I changed the Dragon Rulebook to suit our needs as the official rules are woefully designed.


Same. And I can confirm Dragon is a ton better with your revisions! Dragons no longer swallow up the entire game, it feels much more like another expansion working alongside the rest.

#18 The Hunter

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 02:52 PM

In most games, me and my friends used the smaller expansions.
If we draw cards that require the Highland or Dungeon boards, we just discard them and draw another card as the rulebooks suggested.

#19 CobraCommander

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 07:20 AM

The adventure deck with all the expansions is HUGE.  What I did was I split it into two different decks of similar size.  One if for the outer region one is for the middle region.  The percentages of places, strangers, etc are similar between the two with the middle region having a slight advantage in coolness.  ALL OF THE CREATURES are split.  The outer region only has creatures from str/craft 1-4 and the middle only has creatures from 4+.  This has worked out very well since with the three board expansions the middle region has been kind of not used and there was no real reason to go there.  Now if you have characters with a low stat the outer region becomes an area where you can farm experience without totally getting screwed and the middle region becomes a viable area to go later game besides the Highlands and Dungeon.  With the addition of the Firelands expansion it becomes possible to replace those annoying chasm, cursed glade, black knight spaces with new terrain cards as well.  I had to mark the text side of the cards with a sharpie marker (WHAT YOU RUINED YOUR CARDS?) for end game cleanup to keep the cards going into their appropriate decks.

 

On an unrelated topic, I split the spell deck into GOOD, NEUTRAL, and EVIL.  I then split the spells with craft and pvp spells in evil and str and self-buff spells in good and counterspells and everything else into neutral.  They came out to be similar in size.  When purchasing the two spell books in the city one is evil and only draws from evil or neutral and one is good only drawing from good or neutral.  If a character card has a natural ability to draw spells each turn (ie wizard, warlock, conjurer) then they can't draw good spells if they are currently evil and they can't draw evil spells if they are currently good.  A city spell book draws from it's alignment regardless of the character's current alignment.  Also spells gained from the graveyard can't be good and chapel can't be evil.  Any other way to gain spells can be drawn from any deck.  I also made it so if you buy a scroll from the city you can attach a spell to it when you buy it much like ancient names or a spell ring or genie.  These spells don't count towards your spell limit.  This makes scrolls pretty useful and cool as they kind of sucked before.


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#20 DomaGB

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 07:28 PM

Wow, I really like the idea of splitting the deck for the regions. I don't care for the spell idea tho.

 

I think the hardest part would be to decide which items to put in each deck. I would guess the best most powerful followers and items would go to the middle region.

 

This is a variant I would consider. I really like that idea.


RoboRally, then Talisman. That's the way it is... ;)





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