Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



John Goodenough


No. of Players:
2 - 6



In the grand old times of GAMES WORKSHOP's Talisman my most favourite expansion was Talisman City, offering a new gameboard which featured the capital city of the realm which could be explored by the players. There were interesting locations which could be explored, new professions which could be learned by fulfilling certain requirements, and - of course - the was the ever-present Royal Law which the players needed to observe. The Law actually was a list of activities which was forbidden in the city (e.g. no fighting in the streets, no sorcery, no stealing etc.), and whenever a player performed an activity against the law he needed to turn over a city card, possibly revealing the City Guards which would then throw the perpetrator into the dungeon. Players who had violated the Law were assigned a "Wanted"-card which meant that they needed to keep away from all kinds of Royal Guards, but on the other hand many good things also could be gained in the city. Powerful artifacts, potions or useful equipment could be bought, and the stable even offered a whole range of animals which were useful for movement and/or combat. Furthermore, the players could acquire the professions of Sheriff, High Mage, Master Thief and Royal Champion, and each of these professions gave its owner a full set of additional attributes which came in quite handy for the rest of the game.

With all these nice and nasty extras, the Talisman City expansion was a real enrichment for the game, and I had witnessed some quite interesting rounds where players who had fallen behind could turn the table because they had made their future in the City. Money, artifacts and other benefits lured the players to spend turn after turn in the city to gain even more, and sometimes the temptation meant that players in the city became too greedy, missing the best moment to leave the city and thus being beaten by another player using the Crown of Command. With all these fond memories, I was really looking forwards to the release of the new City expansion for the fourth edition of Talisman, because I was hoping that the city once again would turn out to be a goldmine full of useful goodies…


Playing a few games with the new Talisman City, I have to confess that not all of my hopes were fulfilled. On the positive side, the city still offers a great choice of different locations where many exotic and useful items can be acquired, and in addition the city board now is arranged as a one-way road, meaning that a player needs to re-enter the city of he wants to come back to a place which he had visited earlier during the same stay at the city. This movement restriction actually eliminates one of the flaws of the old city board, where a player with the right means of movement could hop back and forth between different locations, sometimes resulting in a long lasting draw with a player who was on the brink of winning by using the Crown of Command. Thus, the players now will have to pass through the city, but they will be gently returned to their original task - reaching the Crown of Command.

However, the streamlining of the city came at a price, and so both the Royal Law and the additional professions which could be learned in former times have been removed from the modern Talisman City expansion. While it is true that some players considered the Law as being a bit cumbersome, it gave the city a quite unique feel, and this has now fallen away together with the additional professions which - once again - some players considered to be a bit powerful. To be honest, the removal of the professions is understandable because some of their attributes really were too strong, but the Law could have been given some streamlining which would have kept the general idea intact. Instead, the game now features a collection of "Wanted" cards which the players can gain at the city gates, and these cards list some kinds of creatures which the players must defeat and return to the city in order to collect a reward. Thus, the players can do a bit of questing, but the rewards which can be earned by this are quite moderate.

The playing experience of the city has been additionally enriched by a bigger deck of City cards which the players will encounter while moving along the city streets, and overall the impression of the new city is that it enriches the game in many ways like the old city did. The board is used in a different way as the already released Highlands or Dungeon expansions, and so seasoned Talisman players will find some variation and new places to explore. However, this overall good expansion is slightly spoilt by one observation which must be mentioned, and this is the total absence of cards linking the city expansion to the main game via the means of the deck of Adventure cards. The old Talisman City featured additional Adventure cards which were shuffled into the deck of the main board, thus allowing the players to find a barge which might take them to the city's harbor or facing them with a patrol trying to capture players with a "Wanted" poster. These kinds of cards spiced the game up by strengthening the link between the main game and the expansion, and such cards can even be found in the aforementioned Highlands or Dungeon expansions which have been released for the 4th edition game. For this reason I cannot understand why such cards have not been created for the new city, but to be fair I have to concede that is just a minor flaw which probably will only be recognized by Talisman-veterans like myself who have been roaming this mystic realm for ages…

For all newcomers: Welcome to the City! (and never leave your baggage unattended…)

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer


Copyright & copy; 2014 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany