Talisman The Blood Moon - What A Horrible Night to Have a Curse!

Talisman The Blood Moon - What A Horrible Night to Have a Curse! Hot

Egg Shen     
 
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Let's be honest, Talisman needs a gothic horror expansion like Jar Jar Binks needs more screen time in the Phantom Menace. However, I'm a Talisman fanatic. So when FFG pours gothic horror flavored slop into my feeding trough I gorge myself like the gluttonous Talisman pig that I am.

Fighting dragons, goblins, ogres and their ilk can leave adventures in a wearisome malaise. Sometimes you want to flay the skin off a werewolf to make a fur coat for the Misses. Or perhaps you need to slake your thirst for pumpkin macchiato by pulverizing a demonic pumpkinoid creature. To help you achieve these goals, Blood Moon comes with new spells, characters, and a themed adventure deck to help sprinkle some horror into the typical fantasy hijinks of Talisman.

So let's get the big guy out of the way: The Werewolf. Much like the Grim Reaper from the aptly named, Reaper Expansion, the werewolf stalks the board by activating each time players roll a one for movement. During the daytime (more on that later) the wolf has to land exactly on a character to attack. However, during the night if he happens to move into your space you must encounter him. I've heard complaints about the Wolf not having much bite and I've found these claims to be false. Early in the game, especially at night, the wolf can easily pounce on players. It's MUCH more common to get attacked by the werewolf than to have the Reaper pay you a visit. A werewolf attack usually results in the loss of a life, the death of a follower or getting cursed with lycanthropy. Becoming a lycanthrope cursed adventurer is kind of awesome. You get a bonus to combat rolls and you're forced to attack other players. It's a sweet gig, just don't run into an angry peasant mob or they'll murder you. Seriously.

All in all the Werewolf feels very Talisman-y. He does mostly bad stuff, but, like everything else in the game, there is a tiny chance he helps you out. This makes the Werewolf kind of like a drunk uncle that you constantly run into around town. He might sucker punch you in the ribs or give you a ride to Dairy Queen. I recommend using the Beast in conjunction with the Reaper to create a fearsome tag-team that would make Vince McMahon proud. The werewolf is awesome and will remain a permanent fixture in my Talisman box.

 

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I mentioned "daytime" and, yes, this expansion brings a Simon's Quest style day/night cycle into Talisman. A small double-sided card signifies whether it's the sunny, safe, daytime or the damp, dangerous, night. During the day, all creatures are weakened receiving a minus one to their attacks. While at night, the monsters grow stronger and add one to their combat rolls. Nice and simple. Each time an event card is drawn the time of day changes. Some of these are "Lunar Events" that will dictate the time of day and add "remain in play" effects. For example, the "Vampiric Thirst" event allows all players to heal a life after butchering a foe. These effects will last until the time of day switches and they can have a big impact on the board. The day/night cycle is my favorite part of Blood Moon. There are so many weapons, enemies and encounters that tie into this little mechanic. This makes the expansion really pop with fun cards to experience, but it makes it difficult to integrate this set if you don't want to use the day/night cycle. There were a few grumbles about having to remember to change the time of day or the consequences of a Lunar Event. I think it's worth the meager extra effort required.

Blood Moon adds three new lambs that the game will likely slaughter: The Grave Digger, The Doomsayer and the Vampire Hunter. The Grave Digger and Vampire Hunter are a perfect thematic fit for this expansion. They're like having Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in a Terrence Fisher film. The Doomsayer feels like the odd man out. With so many classic horror options like a Mad Scientist, Witch, Invisible Man, Hunchback etc...it seems like a wasted opportunity. Of the three characters the Grave Digger is quickly becoming one my all time favorites. I will almost never pass up the chance to play as his portly, creepy, ass. Players need to be careful what they discard because this mangy fella can draw from the top of the discard pile. He can also go search for shiny objects in the Graveyard. With a little luck he can quickly run away with a game. I like the Mina Harker aspirant, The Vampire Hunter. She can go hunting for adventure cards and gets a bonus to every combat roll. The Doomsayer can easily cycle spells, gain fate and choose adventure cards.  So despite not fitting in with the horror setting he is still a formidable character. Honestly, all three characters are enjoyable to play, so you can't complain about that. Still, I wish all three of them fit the Gothic horror motif. I guess FFG wanted to please non-horror fans and toss them a bone. Oh well.

Finally, we have the MVP of the Blood Moon, THE HORRIBLE BLACK VOID! This alternate ending will be the sole reason many folks gobble up this expansion. For the uninitiated: when revealed at the Crown of Command you get sucked into a void and automatically lose. It's like drinking from the wrong Grail at the end of Last Crusade or picking up the wrong Necronomicon in Army of Darkness. You made it to the end destination, but you weren't worthy.  Adios you filthy animal! Kiss the last three hours of your life GOODBYE. The only bummer is that you need several hidden alternate ending cards to use the Void. So you, um, might want to go buy all the other small box expansions. To counter balance this insanely mean card FFG has included a PURE CO-OP mode which is just as horrible as it sounds. If you're like me, you'll douse this card in gasoline and reduce it to a pile of ash n' cinder. Also included is the standard expansion themed boss ending that lets you fight a werewolf at the Crown. Yaaawn! Sorry, I was imaging how pissed my friend would be after getting VOIDED!

 

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So where does Blood Moon fit in with the rest of Talisman's brood? I think it should be one of the first expansions that new players pick up. Sure you won't be able to use the H.B.V. right away, but that card is for more experienced players anyway. The rest of the expansion is too good too miss out on. It not only adds horror flavor to the adventure deck, but many cards spice up your adventures in interesting ways. Scarecrows will only show up in fields, headless horsemen will give chase, and vampires drain life. Every card seems to do something different and unique. This is great since the base game's enemies are mostly no frills Strength or Craft encounters. The Blood Moon cards in contrast feel MUCH more dynamic and fun to experience. It really makes the adventure deck a treat to explore. Without adding tokens, rules or bloat the game gets better. You can't really ask for much more from an expansion.

For those out there that hate Talisman, this will do nothing to change your mind. For everyone else, this should already be in your collection. Crank up some NES era Castlevania music and get adventuring.

 

What does the Scale-o-Matic 6500™ say?

On a scale of Howling III: The Marsupials to An American Werewolf in London

Talisman Blood Moon rates as The Curse of the Werewolf

 

"Seasons of Talisman" Variant

The way I use these small box expansions is to inject different seasons into my games.  Like some perverse God that controls the world of Talisman, I swap small box expansions in and out for maximum seasonal pleasure.  I use the Sacred Pool in the spring, Firelands in the summer, Blood Moon in autumn, and Frostmarch during the winter months. Besides giving the game a some seasonal flair it also let's you get the most out of these small expansions. By using one at a time it really allows the theme of the expansion to come through. When it's snowing outside I like to have my adventurers fight ice bears, cryomancers, and the Ice Queen. It just feels right.

_____________________________________________

Designer: John Goodenough

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games

Year Published: 2012

Player Count: 2 to 6

Length: 90 mins to 120 mins+

Talisman The Blood Moon - What A Horrible Night to Have a Curse! There Will Be Games
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Posted: 04 Jan 2016 02:41 by repoman #218961
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"You made it to the end destination, but you weren't worthy. Adios you filthy animal! Kiss the last three hours of your life GOODBYE"

That line right there was worth the price of admission.
Posted: 04 Jan 2016 07:56 by Egg Shen #218968
Egg Shen's Avatar
So for 2016 I'm planning on reviewing everything for Talisman that is currently available...including the Relic stuff. After I review it all I'm going to be putting together some sort of enormous Talisman Buyer's Guide. I feel like most expansions don't get discussed or reviewed enough so I'm making an effort to cover more of them this year.
Posted: 04 Jan 2016 16:20 by Gary Sax #219025
Gary Sax's Avatar
This review is great, thanks!

Reviews like this are incredibly useful, Egg, ESPECIALLY for reference. I might not have much to say right now but if I want to reference an expansion (e.g. which should I get?) or something this is perfect!
Posted: 04 Jan 2016 16:38 by boothwah #219027
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Egg Shen wrote:
Talisman The Blood Moon - What A Horrible Night to Have a Curse!

Talisman The Blood Moon - What A Horrible Night to Have a Curse! Hot

Egg Shen     
 
0.0
6086   0

Let's be honest, Talisman needs a gothic horror expansion like Jar Jar Binks needs more screen time in the Phantom Menace. However, I'm a Talisman fanatic. So when FFG pours gothic horror flavored slop into my feeding trough I gorge myself like the gluttonous Talisman pig that I am.

Talisman The Blood Moon - What A Horrible Night to Have a Curse! There Will Be Games
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Posted: 05 Jan 2016 07:27 by san il defanso #219054
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I'm considering doing something similar for Cosmic Encounter, because once a game gets past one or two expansions it officially becomes difficult to navigate. A Talisman guide is way more difficult, but as someone who received seven Talisman expansions from Satan, I have a vested interest in these.

Your comment on the HBV points to something that I think makes Talisman work really well. It just doesn't care about you. It's like the game exists without you even being there. It doesn't care if it's a little too hard at the beginning, just as it doesn't really care if it's much easier for other people. It exists "outside of the player" because it's so unconcerned with how it treats the player. I've always thought that random mechanics work in thematic games, because they point to something outside of the player. That can mean the player has less agency than they might like, but in a game that takes place in a larger world, that's actually a really good thing. It makes it more immersive by making it bigger than the player.
Posted: 05 Jan 2016 07:31 by Gary Sax #219055
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Not just difficult to navigate, but the reviews and discussions on which expansions are good and why basically disappear... CE expansion reviews would be great too.
Posted: 05 Jan 2016 07:33 by san il defanso #219056
san il defanso's Avatar
Gary Sax wrote:
Not just difficult to navigate, but the reviews and discussions on which expansions are good and why basically disappear... CE expansion reviews would be great to.

I'll start working this then. It's been so long since I've written something for F:AT, it'd be nice to jump into something I love so much.
Posted: 05 Jan 2016 08:50 by Egg Shen #219063
Egg Shen's Avatar
Uhhhhh...doing a buyer guide for Cosmic would be amazing Nate!

A thought about the HBV popped into my head this morning while sipping some coffee - Is there any other game on the planet that could pull off something like that? From a logical design standpoint it's absolutely rubbish. Just a mean, awful, way to end your game session. And yet for some reason it's perfectly reasonable in Talisman. Hell, fans clamored for this card to be put BACK in the game.

I think Talisman will be the only ultimate crazy adventure game of it's ilk because it's the only one that fans simply ALLOW this crazy shit into the game.
Posted: 05 Jan 2016 12:21 by Jackwraith #219080
Jackwraith's Avatar
Egg Shen wrote:
And yet for some reason it's perfectly reasonable in Talisman. Hell, fans clamored for this card to be put BACK in the game.

My greatest 2nd Ed. win ever:

It started as a 5-player game between me, my girlfriend, and her three teenaged children. Her son, Joe, was obsessed with beating me at the game because every time he'd played, I'd won. At the time, we were vacillating back and forth between random draw of characters and picking someone you hadn't played before. I grabbed the Knight and Joe picked the Troll because he had his whole game planned.out. (I don't remember everyone else's characters.) Being the Troll, he beat his first few opponents easily and cranked up his Strength. Then, as soon as he found a magic item (the Artifact), he ran into the City and became the Archmage with a Strength of 8. I died about 2/3 of the way through and came back as the Leprechaun. One other person had died and it was clear that Joe was in control of the game. In fact, I told him repeatedly that he should just hunt everyone down and kill them and win that way (something I had done in the previous game as the Rogue (Runesword FTW, quite literally.)) But he kept waving me off: "No! I'm going to win the normal way."

Everyone else had died off and it was just he and I left on the board. He finally started for the top tier and I decided to be an annoying Lucky Charms and toss Hex on the Portal of Power a couple times while I was still puttering around the board, kinda killing time to see what he would do. He tore through the top tier, made it to the center space, turned over the card, and I watched his face fall before he stood up, slammed it to the table and yelled: "Fuck!", before storming out of the room. It was, of course, the Horrible Black Void, Guess who was the only one left on the board to win the game? Sho'nuff!
Posted: 06 Jan 2016 15:10 by JonJacob #219212
OldHippy's Avatar
I've always been vaguely interested in Talisman. I used to poo poo the idea of it when I was younger but as I've aged it's seemed more and more appealing to me. This review is what has made me the most interested in it and now I really want to try it out. I look forward to this buyers guide you're talking about just in case I find the funds to get this going.
Posted: 07 Jan 2016 20:08 by Mr. Bistro #219323
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I wondered why someone did a write up on an old expansion, and now that I see, I think it's a great idea. Expansions keep a game alive, but once you reach a certain threshold, they do the opposite - potential newcomers can't make sense of it all or get intimidated.

This is great.