It's not so much about the City being linear or not, which can be argued, due to the shops. It's layout is completely different from the Dungeon and the Highlands, which are both basically a single long trek. We already have 2 boards of "travel along this single path towards the endboss". Do we really need a 3rd?
Some things they could have done:
- Allow a fork in the path somewhere, so you'd have to choose between two different routes. Perhaps one appealing to Craft and the other to Strength, or one appealing to Lightbound and the other to Darkbound, or maybe something as simple as one side being a lot of draw cards and the other being mostly encounters written on the squares.
- Add a river to the board, between the first and second row or between the second and third row, so that people with options to cross the storm river could take a shortcut on this board instead.
- Devote a small section of the board to expand the Village, which would be separate from the rest of the board.
And there are plenty of other ways to make it not like a 3rd Dungeon/Highlands. Missed opportunities.
These are all ideas that could have been developed, but I don't think that the Woodland would necessarily feel so similar to the Dungeon or Highland. The preview hints at a mechanic which will guide your journeys through the Woodland by the drawing of Path cards. They've presented only a single card, the Runebound Path, but I suppose there will be many more, with different effects.
Then there's the space layout, which could mirror exactly the Dungeon or Highland, or be completely different. Of course there's much that could be done to make the spaces less standard than the Dungeon's or the Highland's.
I would also like a non-linear board, but not necessarily on a corner board. I still hope we will see a non-linear Sea expansion sooner or later, that replaces the Timescape with a similar travel system, but without multiverse or WH 40k contamination.
As for complete gib cards, I never liked them much. They make the luck factor way too big. Too much gib cards in the forest expansion would simply cause me to never visit that corner during a boardgame.
That Toad King looks like a guaranteed Toading, but the other cards highly depend on that lightbound/darkbound mechanic which is explained in the preview, so you should probably start to manage your fate in a different way.
Of course if the Woodland deck is full of dangers with no considerable reward, I would also skip the Region entirely. However, if those risks are balanced by great rewards, then why not? I think the Highland and City deck are rather boring and don't have so many dangers, even though I enjoy the variety of cards. The Highland is well balanced by the low risk/low reward ratio, and the City might also be considered balanced, if a couple of items were not outrageously powerful. It's a Region where you can spend your gold well, but where you shouldn't venture if you don't have any (you will lose your time). If the Woodland has a good risk/reward ratio, even if it is a high/high balance, then it will be something new and a good addition to Talisman.
The Destiny cards seem like a good addition to a character's set of abilities. The Runebound Path allows you to gain a Destiny if you fulfill a condition at a certain point (the "Meeting with Destiny" space, which I cannot spot on the board); cards that give you abilities such as the Dreaded will be something I would gladly display to someone who travels around the board, armed with a Flail, and is convinced that nobody can ever hurt him.
Games Workshop are pulling the strings behind the scenes as they hold the Talisman copyright and license it to FFG. This means that Games Workshop have a lot of say in how things pan out in expansions.
This is quite a big assumption. GW own the copyright and license for Talisman and they could probably influence some choices, like the re-issue of expansions that were part of 2nd and 3rd edition. That's probably why we have the 4 corners exactly like in the 2nd and 3rd editions. But I don't think they would interfere into the design process of such expansions, if this is what you're arguing.
Edited by The_Warlock, 10 May 2014 - 08:17 AM.