Here is the Dragon Expansion poll I created:http://boardgamegeek...-expansion-poll
I completely disliked the expansion like you, but also really liked the cards.
So like you I sought the best ways to play the expansion thru house rules and variants. But realizing best is opinion, regardless I looked up as many ways as possible and chose 3:
3 Dragon Expansion variants
Draw dragon Cards only in Inner and Middle Regions, random deck (dice?), or even mix all the decks together!
1) At the start of the game, take one dragon token of each color and randomly place them at each of the three "Runes" locales in the middle region.
2) Instead of drawing from the Adventure deck when landing on Runes spaces, players now MUST draw from the appropriate Dragon deck. The bonus granted to enemies drawn at the Runes space no longer applies.
1 Each Dragon King rules a separate Region. Before play starts determine randomly which King rules the outer, middle and inner regions. This won't change.
2 The Outer Region Dragon King replaces the Sentinel. If you choose to attack him and defeat him (1 life) as well as being able to enter the Middle Region you gain 1 Strength and 1 Craft. He will also let you pass if you give him a Talisman. The King remains on the space throughout the game.
3. In the Outer region you draw a Dragon card on the Sentinel space if not encountering the Dragon. On the Ruins space you draw 1 Dragon and 1 Adventure card.
4 The Middle Region Dragon King replaces the Portal of Power. He will let you pass through the Portal if you Defeat him (one life) or if you give him One Talisman. If you Defeat him you gain 1 Strength and 1 Craft. The King remains on the space throughout the game.
5. In the Middle Region you draw Dragon cards only, no Adventure Cards.
6. The Inner Region Dragon King is found either in the Valley of Fire (normal board) or at the top of the Dragon's Tower as per normal rules.
If playing the normal Inner Region draw one Dragon Card before moving.
But while these seemed ok, it didn't fill the itch as best, for me, and discussing it here on the forums the idea came to me I would prefer the Dragons had their own region, and came up with the idea of using a 2nd Talisman board, for pulling dragon cards. I had been using a 2nd Edition board with 4th edition rules to save on table space and considered using that with the 4th ed board connecting the 2. Discussing this with a friend he liked the idea and immediaitel improved it. Use an extra Highlands board.
So here is our new awesome Dragon expansion variant:
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. When you land on a draw space we draw a scale an place it and that Highlands space now draws that color Dragon card permanently.
You can choose any space you want before the game to be where you enter the Dragon realm but we like to choose a space from the middle region like the Chasm.
And yes we still use a full Highlands expansion as well.
Now I did find that someone made a Dragon expansion board for Talisman, and you could use that instead of an extra Talisman main board or Highlands board.
Edited by DomaGB, 03 March 2014 - 09:47 PM.