Sometimes, no matter how into the wee hours it is, you have to say yes to one more game even if said game takes 3+ hours. 4Th edition Talisman had a very rocky start with an abortive first version, change in publishers and the like, but with the Frostmarch expansion, Fantasy Flight yet again proves that it is not only filling in where the edition is missing compared to 2nd, but continuously improving the game. Having played 2nd edition hundreds of times in my misbegotten youth, I’ve only got ten or so plays with the 4th edition set and fewer still with all the current expansions. Initially I detested 4th edition but bought it anyway (just in case); detested, that is, until the puissant Dungeon expansion hit the shelves: an expansion so far superior to the original I skipped and pranced down the path of advocacy.
The first Frostmarch game we got down to featured the Monk, Gypsy and Druid. With years of the Monk’ s standard power under our belt from 2nd Edition, we opted not to run with the erratta in 4th Upgrade that states that the Monk can only add his starting craft to his strength in combat (3 total). The Monk, as normal, became worrisome early in the game. Unluckily, the two toadings during the first game were both burdened upon the Monk and all his horde of belongings were procured by the lucky druid who proceeded to cast down the Frost Queen in short order. Demanding satisfaction, the Gypsy and Monk player requested another game and the wee hours slipped away, and again the next night, and the next.
Over the course of the week and four long plays with all the current expansions, we came to some conclusions as a group as to the change from 2nd Edition:
Character death is rare due to fate points— the rerolls allowed from the Fate Points buffer your life stack.
Mobility is a premium– the ability to control your movement, either with the magic carpet, clockwork owl (probably the best treasure in the treasure deck) or even the poltergeist is a key ability for your character to have.
Roaming Death is fun, but is most often forgotten by players – while I feel the Reaper expansion is essential, the Reaper himself only once had an effect on our games (killing off the Prophetess!)
More Alternate Endings! – The Warlock’s Quest alternate is good fun, but with only the updated Crown of Command and Frost Queen to randomly get at the end of a slough to the center of the middle region, we’ve only gotten a mere taste of the possibilities.
The miniatures are terrible – the unpaintable, poorly sculpted grey plastic lumps simply do not cut it for what is still a Games Workshop game
That said, my period of abject hatred for 4th edition Talisman is long over. FF has pulled this game out of the doldrums and while I still question the inclusion of fate points, they are starting to grow on me.