The Firelands, Talisman Expansion

The Firelands, Talisman Expansion

The Firelands, Talisman Expansion
From: Fantasy Flight Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

The Firelands, Talisman Expansion is a new Board Game Expansion from Fantasy Flight Games.

Talisman is one of those games I always seem to buy for.  I enjoy it with my kids and with my friends.  In past editions, it did get repetitive but what I like most about the FFG version is the variety they seem to be injecting into the game.  Unlike past editions, FFG has put out various sized expansions so as to control the bloat a game like this can develop.  I bought two expansions recently – The Firelands and The Nether Realm – that are very small but have significant impact on the game.

Firelands is an Western Asian culture influenced expansion, with desert and fire themes.  It comes with a bunch of Adventure Cards, Spell Cards, and a new type of card called Terrain Cards.  There are new Alternative Ending Cards, and new characters.  Special to this expansion as well are Firelands tokens.

From the back website:
“The appointed time has arrived, and Talisman lies in peril with the fiery onslaught of the Ifrit. Your quest for the Crown of Command just became a lot hotter …”

The Adventure Cards have a strong fire or western Asian theme throughout.  These introduce several new concepts including the Fireproof symbol.  As you would imagine, this symbol makes the card immune to fire effects.  This includes a new effect called Burn.  Various effects from the Adventure cards or spells allow players to burn other cards on the board.  Any burnt card is taken out of play.  At times, character may suffer a burn effect and survive, but the card may instruct the player that any item or follower not Fireproof is considered burned.  This can be even worse than death late in the game.

The primary theme of the expansion is that legendary Ifrit have returned to exact fiery vengeance on the land of Talisman.  Throughout the adventure cards, players face various challenges related to the Ifrit as well as finding items related to him.  Ifrit Gold, for example, is fireproof gold.  A Flame Rift is an event that destroys Adventure cards in the space and the top 3 cards on the Adventure Deck, and leaves the space with a Firelands token.

Also in the Adventure cards are nasty creatures called Noble Ifrit.  These are 14 creatures that are special to the Firelands expansion.  They have specific on-going effects while in play and marked with a special border. For example, the Ifrit Sultan burns either the space or one of your cards in your possession, your choice. Or the Ifrit Raider that gains a bonus for every Firelands token in the region.

Fireland tokens are the newest aspect unique to this expansion.  When a space is marked with a Firelands token, it makes the space very deadly.  The more you have placed down, the more deadly the characters’ journey gets.  This represents the continued influence of the Ifrit as it exacts his revenge.  Fireland tokens cannot be paced in the inner region.

From the website:
“The Firelands introduces a host of danger to the realm of Talisman, and if you take too long on your journey, you may feel the fire licking at your heels. The Ifrit – once enslaved to create the Crown of Command – have risen to attack the land of Talisman, burning everything in their path.”

The Terrain cards are another addition to the game that is interesting.  From the rulebook – “Under the influence of the Ifrit, the land irrevocably shifts and changes.”  There are 3 Ruins cards, 3 Desert Cards, 2 Woods cards, 2 Crags cards, 2 Forest cards, 2 Hills cards, 2 Fields cards, 1 Plains card, 1 Chapel card and 1 Graveyard.  All the cards have similar art to the corresponding space with the same name on the board.  There are certain game effects that will ask the players to place a Terrain card on a space, which changes the nature of the space until the end of the game (or something changes it further).  Terrain cards cannot be placed in the Inner Region, but they can be placed on the Chapel or the Sentinel which totally changes the game in those respects.

There are four new characters added – the Dervish, the Warlord, the Nomad, and the Jin Blooded.  The Jin Blooded is the magic user of the group, very strongly tied to magic.  He even is able to spend a fate to gain a spell and vice a versa.  The Nomad is sort of the rogue type character, able to travel through the Outer and Middle Region freely, turning any space she chooses to a “draw 1 card” space. The Warlord is the fighter of the group, obviously.  The Dervish is stylish sword fighter, with a lot of finesse and able to fight with two weapons.

Finally, there are three Alternate Ending cards, two of which have a fire theme and the other plays to the heart of what Talisman is.  My favorite of the 3 is the latter, A Hero Rises.  It revokes the Fate limit and evokes a condition where a character gains Fate when they win a battle and loses fate if they lose a battle. First character to 13 wins.  I like that one a lot.

In conclusion, this is the kind of expansion I like in this incarnation of Talisman.  It changes the game to a degree that it is not repetitive but at the same time really plays to the heart of what Talisman is.  Let’s face it, Talisman is nothing more than a beer-and-pretzels Dungeons & Dragons.  There is not a ton of strategy to it.  It’s more thematic than anything else.  So the designer play with that theme and bring in more story and challenges for players to experience.  I really enjoy it for that.

My biggest concern as with most FFG games is the price.  For a small box, it is a little pricey. But I still bought it, so it was obviously not too much.

For more details on Fantasy Flight Games and their new Board Game ExpansionThe Firelands, Talisman Expansion” check them out at their website, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

The Firelands, Talisman Expansion
From: Fantasy Flight Games
Type of Game: Board Game Expansion
Expansion Design and Development: Samuel W. Bailey
Talisman Revised 4th Edition Design: Bob Harris and John Goodenough
Producer: Christopher Hosch
Editing: Brendan Weiskotten and David Hansen
Graphic Design: Evan Simonet
Cover Art: Ralph Horsley
Interior Art: Aaron Acevedo, Aaron Anderson, AndriusAnezin, John Ariosa, Erfian Asafat, Bruno Balixa, Dimitri Bielak, Nora Brisotti, Mark Bulahao, Felicia Cano, JB Casacop, Trudi Castle, Jacqui Davis, Sara K. Diesel, Jon Hrubesch, Nicholas Kay, Kristin Kest, Dan Masso, Joyce Maureira, John Moriarty, Juan Martinez Pinilla, Jorge Carrero Roig, J. Edwin Stevens, and Frank Walls
Managing Art Director: Andrew Navaro
Art Direction: John Taillon
Production Manager: Eric Knight
Production Coordinator: Megan Duehn
Executive Game Designer: Corey Konieczka
Executive Producer: Michael Hurley
Publisher: Christian T. Petersen
Number of Pages: 4 page rulebook
Game Components Included: 81 Adventure Cards, 18 Spell Cards, and 20 Terrain Cards, 3 new Alternative Ending Cards, 4 new character cards and plastic figures, 34 firelands tokens
Game Components Not Included: Talisman Core set
Retail Price: $24.95(US)
Number of Players: 2-6
Player Ages: 9+
Play Time: 60+

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

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