As we all know, Talisman is the roll and move game where you are journeying around the Talisman board trying to eventually get to the Crown of Command to do…whatever the current game’s goal is. With so many expansions out, and with all of them adding more possibilities, who knows what you’re going to be doing this time?
In this expansion, technology has come to Talisman and players are trying to restore the kingdom to its former glory by constructing machines and other automata, using them to further their own goals.
In addition to the normal objects you go around the board collecting (magic swords, magic axes, armour, etc), you’ll also be collecting “material” cards (which don’t count against your carry limit) that you will later (when you have three materials) be able to combine into inventions that will be based totally on the types of ingredients you use.
That’s when you will see things like the “Engraved Horn of Luck” or the “Toxic Jewel of Luck” above. Unfortunately, these do count against your carry limit.
That’s one strike against The Clockwork Kingdom, though: the fact that you really need to find something (a mule or a Bag of Holding or something) to increase your carry limit or you’ll find yourself not able to take full advantage of the new benefits these inventions can give you.
You will find a lot of these materials, especially if you land on the Cog and take materials from there. You always can choose to interact with the Cog rather than the space (which can be nice if there are two Red Dragons on the space or something), and doing so gives you a material card. You can buy more for one gold for each previous material taken (so you can buy another one for 1 gold, a third one for 2 more gold, etc).
Of course, there are other ways to get materials as well. Believe me, you’ll be getting a lot of material.
Maybe I haven’t seen everything yet, but they didn’t seem to add any more carrying aids in the new cards, so this can be a major problem. You’ll find yourself having to decide what cool stuff to get rid of (or Alchemize).
This expansion adds three new characters too, all of which will benefit greatly from either these inventions or these materials. The Artificer allows you to destroy magic objects in your possession in order to absorb powers to either get you spells or more Craft.
The Engineer allows you to invent with only two materials, and then you roll a die for the third one. This roll can be everything from forcing it to be dismantled if you lose a life in combat to adding one to your attack roll in combat. It even may let you have the invention as a Follower instead of an object! That would solve the above-mentioned problem, but there’s only a 1-in-6 chance of that happening.
The Swindler is one of those annoying character types that I’m not a fan of: when he lands on a character’s space, he can give the character one gold in exchange for any of that character’s objects. I really don’t like those characters who can do bad things to other characters just by landing on them.
He can also pay one gold to evade any battle, and can get gold in the City, Tavern, or Village.
The characters are interesting, though combined with just the base set (I wanted to see how this expansion worked on its own), it seemed very difficult to actually start increasing my abilities.
Maybe I need more practice (Editor – “Or maybe you’re just not that good.”)
The Clockwork Kingdom also adds two new alternative endings which seem really cool.
The Runic Revolution is really neat because players (for the most part) will be strong enough to deal with all of these constructs by the time this happens. You will be doing nothing but fighting constructs (or landing on spaces where you don’t draw cards, which will make it hard to win).
Fighting these constructs will give you revolution tokens, and whoever has the most after ten rounds wins.
The other one, Era of Invention, requires you to take an invention to the Crown of Command. Then you will choose a character to fight there. If you win, create a copy of one of your inventions, then kill that player. Continue this until everybody else is dead!
Both of these are really intriguing and make a nice twist on the other endings in the Talisman universe.
I also love some of the new cards that are included with this expansion.
Harmonic Convergence will make it so the harmonies on all of your materials will trigger when you invent something for the next three turns (“harmony” means that if invent something with materials that have each other as harmonies, you will get an extra benefit).
The new monsters are cool, all but one of them being constructs of some kind (so good thing the Engineer has bonuses when fighting constructs!).
The new events that have to deal with inventions are very nice too.
And the spells.
All of the new cards bring out the new clockwork, technological theme brilliantly.
I’m not sure how well Clockwork Kingdom meshes with the other Talisman expansions, but by itself it’s a really fun one. Maybe try not to combine too many of the expansions with this one, just for your sanity?
I really love it when digital board games give players something that only can be done on digital. I love the Portals in Ascension (giving you a random card from any Ascension expansion that you own) and I love Clockwork Kingdom too.
You just couldn’t do this with tabletop Talisman.
If it wasn’t for the carry limit issue, I would say this is a wonderful expansion. As it is, it’s still tons of fun, but all of that fun leads to some annoyance at times.
Maybe if there was more than one card in the entire new deck that would help with this issue (one stranger lets you turn one of your objects into a trinket for one gold each time you land on him, meaning they won’t count against your limit), it would be even better.
What are some other issues?
I’ve said this many times before (ok, twice, in my previous Talisman: Origins reviews), it’s Talisman. If that means bad things for you, this won’t change your mind. It’s still a roll and move game.
But if you like Talisman, or at least the digital version (like I do), then this is a great expansion to have.
Well worth your money.
Talisman and all of its expansions, including The Clockwork Kingdom, are available on Steam, iOS and Android.
(Thanks to Nomad Games for providing me a code to download the expansion)