I'm probably not alone in thinking that the support for Talisman 4th edition revised has exceeded my expectations over the years since release in an outstanding fashion; the mind boggling thing is that it still has so much more to come. At least I hope it does!
So to John Goodenough and all the other talent who has made my fave game what it is currently, a hearty thanks and keep it coming!
The future prospects of Talisman got me wondering what forms the expansion would take. With the release of the excellent Nether Realm a new type of expansion has arrived; I call it the "mini POD pack expansion" and with it a whole host of potential for the future of Talisman.
The Talisman framework takes the following form by my perception:
The Base Set: Talisman 101. Nuff said, gotta have it.
The Small Box Sets: (The Reaper, Sacred Pool, Frostmarch, Blood Moon, The Firelands.)
These add approx 100 new Adventure cards each and a new gameplay mechanic that could alter the general theme of the game in a significant way. (Bloodmoon, lookin at you) These expansions generally require great consideration in card variety and balance due to the large input of adventure cards lest the overall game balance be affected. Personally I don't think we will be seeing many if any more of these after Firelands is released. The current Adventure card total stands at about 400+ and will probably exceed 500 on release of Firelands. Constantly adding masses of new adventure cards in the future is not the way ahead in my opinion.
Board Expansion Box Set: (The Dungeon, Highlands, City,)
These are the expansions people bring to mind more than the others. Traditionally the expansions have been of this ilk and Talisman 4th edition is following in the footsteps of it's predecessors in true fashion. Having a Themed extra board to explore is great and enhances the idea of Talisman as a game of adventure and exploration. Basically it's a pseudo RPG. Having it's own deck of themed adventure cards is great as it doesn't intrude on the adventure deck and risk upsetting it's balance dynamics.
It is common knowledge that we will get another corner expansion in the future ( I believe it will be the next one after Firelands) late 2014 at very best and more likely 1st quarter 2015) It will also likely be a forest sylvan themed expansion. Beyond that it is totally new territory. It is feasible we will see an Ocean/Island area board expansion as we have very little in the way of Nautical themed cards and characters ( No Pirate, Yaaarrrr!). I think one is in the works down the line, at least i hope it will be. The latest sneek peak from Talisman Island nicely shows off a Marid Sultana, which hints at the Ocean/Sea. The mighty Storm river goes somewhere right? I don't think we will get a Timescape themed board expansion in this category though, but see below in Epic Level Expansions.
Oh and, maybe we will see a desert board expansion, this area has ever been neglected as a barren wasteland devoid of adventure potential and most deserving of it's own deck, However see Mini POD pack below. (In a game on talisman Digital recently I drew blizzard on the Oasis. Snowing heavily in the desert! Woahh mind blowing).
So to summarize I think we will see 2 or 3 more board expansions at most.
The Epic Level Themed Box Expansion: ( The Dragon )
I really like this style of expansion. It is majorly intrusive on the theme and play of the game but cleverly designed so that it is optional. There are no adventure cards in the box and the decks are unique to the expansion preventing it from taking over the general game of Talisman. So basically you choose to use this expansion or not. Talisman is extremely fantasy generic, yes there are dragons in the main adventure deck but maybe you want a huge dragon themed adventure. Enter, "The Dragon Expansion". The inclusion of the alternative endings allow you to use elements of the expansion in a less intrusive way dependent on your taste. "Dude, How much dragon shall we go tonight"
It was no surprise we had the dragon expansion. 2nd edition had Talisman dragons (which basically took over your adventure deck with too many dragons), and 3rd edition introduced the Dragons Tower. Both of these heavily influenced the design of the the current Dragon expansion. The way it has been designed is outstanding and begs for future themed epic expansions in a similar way.
I would love to see an Undead lords themed epic level expansion, (and when i say i would love to see it I mean I would sell me Granny to get it). Beyond Ghosts / wraiths and other spectral types in the base game, we have a massive lack of Zombies, Ghouls ( character excepted) Vampire's etc. They exist, as we have the ghoul character, vampires Tower and Vampiress and Necromancer character, but it begs further potential and I feel an undead uprising in the same design manner as the dragon would be outstanding. They could call it "Lords of Undeath"
Now when we think of classic fantasy it often goes hand in hand with experiences playing Dungeons and Dragons which was major part of my early gaming life and probably many others who play Talisman. An iconic part of DnD was the other planes and worlds you could explore with it's demons and Devils and angels etc. Similarly in Talisman they exist as well. Alignment is a core game mechanic and the gods are prevalent bestowing blessings or curses through their agents and places of worship. How about an epic level expansion featuring travel to otherworlds and planes dealing with Angels, devils and demons and Gods lurking in the background influencing events in a cosmic struggle. Talisman Timescape from 2nd edition was amazingly popular if somewhat out of place with the scifi, but the concept would make for an outstanding expansion if done right and i have faith that the crew who work and develop 4th edition would make it great. "Talisman The Otherworlds."
In summary i would love to see 2 more Epic level expansions.
The Mini POD expansion: ( The Nether Realm )
I feel the Nether Realm is the first of many and this is where the future of Talisman will go after all the other expansion types potential are spent. the packs are completely non intrusive and tend to be available only in specific conditions allowing for great variety and use. The Nether realm for example is only used if certain Alternative endings are in play and add a lovely element of variety to a standardized gameplay element. The deck can even be incorporated into a game in a non standard way pending agreement between all the players. I have seen it discussed in the forums that the Nether Realm deck be utilized when you land on certain spaces or at night.
The potential for this is immense and a mini deck expansion can be developed around any of Talismans elements. For example, How about a POD mini expansion centered around the Reaper where you draw from the deck whenever you land on a space occupied by the Reaper. The deck would represent his otherworldly sinister influence that would seep from his presence in an area. Throw in a a few Alternative endings (Including the one from the support section) and hey presto an expansion that would be very popular in my opinion.
Earlier I mentioned the desert. Maybe a whole new board may not be necessary. how about a POD Desert of Doom expansion featuring a specialized Desert themed deck that you would draw from when you land on a desert or oasis space. No more Blizzards in the desert again (Hello sandstorms). Possibilities are immense. However as I live in the UK I hope that they would be made available commercially in the UK so as to avoid heavy shipping costs.
Other Expansion Types: ?
Talismans potential need not stop at the above discussed types. Expansion ideas from other games can add much more depth to elements of Talisman.
Those familiar with Arkham Horror will no doubt be aware of the Miskatonic Horror expansion. Basically this is an Expansion Expansion. A similar expansion for Talisman would be a big box full of new cards for all of Talismans expansions to date. Extra Dungeon, highland and City cards, updated characters, A new dragon for the dragon expansion. The list goes on, everyone loves variety and new dungeon cards to freshen the deck after going through it several hundred times would add immense longevity to talisman as a game.
Now finally (Phew i hear you say) is an idea for an expansion centered around the characters. this would appeal to those RPGers who grew up on DnD amongst other fantasy games involving heavy character development. Again Arkham Horror added new character elements as the game matured, such could be done for Talisman and add another layer to the big adventure. Skill cards and personal quest cards, learned new Abilities and even relationship cards. For example a skill card could be " Barfly" gain +1 to rolls at the Tavern. A personal quest example could be for say the Minstrel "rescue the maiden from an evil character. Rewards from this could be to get 3 advances that you could use to add to stats or learn skills.
Right, that's that. had my say. Basically Talisman has masses of Potential left and the fact that it is also going Digital adds massive longevity to my talisman hobby. Some of my best social experiences have been playing drunken talisman long into a Sunday morning. May it prosper for years to come.
Tony C (Alias: Blackwych on Digital)