Talisman: Origins – Eternal Conflict is about the eternal conflict between Good & Evil.
As with the other Origins expansions, this story has 5 quests that will give you a wide variety of things to do and characters to play.
It starts with the Dread Knight as you are going around roughing up horse sellers (pretty dreadful, right?) for their tax money.
But things don’t stay that way.
The first quest is pretty straightforward single-player Origins, which means that it’s a lot of fun. There’s something calming to playing with just one character with a goal in mind.
The second quest involves a Chivalric Knight who is going around the region and helping people.
This quest is pretty straightforward and fun too. While it starts out as a four-player game and thus can get a little slow, you really can’t speed past the AI turns because your first quest is to help the Priest in battle using your special ability.
The story does take a few interesting turns as the other adventurers are going around. Can’t say a lot due to spoilers, but at this point, the expansion is still looking pretty good.
This certainly isn’t any Beyond the Veil!
Quest 3 involves an evil Magus who has visions of a bright future for himself. Hmm, I wonder if that will lead to something?
Quest 3 is where the expansion goes off the rails just a little bit. It’s not a train wreck or anything, but some of the instructions and hints don’t really help you move the story along.
The Magus can indoctrinate followers that he finds, having them just add 1 to his Craft rather than whatever effect they normally have. That’s pretty handy when these followers are cursed and you would normally be required to take them with bad effects.
One of your missions is to indoctrinate 5 followers. Funny how the first 5 followers you find are cursed!
Eventually, you are supposed to find two Orbs of Knowledge. It seems like getting the second one is quite random. You do eventually find it, but I’m not sure how much is random and how much is planned.
Still, it’s pretty normal and yet more solo play, which is cool too.
The fourth quest is a noble cleric who ends up meeting up with a group of other female adventurers and then has to eventually suss out who the traitor is among them.
This is a quest that you need to be careful with, as you eventually are shown two Wanted lists that apparently show you who the traitor is. However, once you go past that, you can’t seem to access the lists again so you’d better make sure you remember who it is.
I may have missed it, but I don’t think so.
The other minor issue with the quest is probably my own thing, but you are once again playing a 5-player game of Talisman as you are wandering around trying to find and attack the traitor.
Thankfully, the “skip to next human turn” does work well here, but once again you don’t see what cards are flipped up by the AI players and thus the entire state of the board can change.
Other than how many players there are in the game, this is also a pretty normal game of Talisman and it’s pretty good. Just try not to lose a turn or two.
Unlike Beyond the Veil, where the first quests are annoying and tedious but the final one is really fun, the opposite is true with The Eternal Conflict.
The final quest has you choose one of the four main characters you played during the first four quests. Two of them are Good and two of them are Evil. This is the final conflict, where you are trying to spread the proper influence (Good or Evil) to 20 spaces on the board.
At the beginning of each turn, a token is drawn. Good, Evil, x2, or -1. If you draw the same token as your alignment, then you can place it on your current space or an adjacent space, as long as that space doesn’t already have a token on it. If you draw a x2, you can place two of your tokens (if able).
A -1 token will let you remove an enemy alignment token anywhere on the board.
Thus, you have a 4-player Talisman game where you are wandering around trying to get into the right spaces and drawing the right tokens at the right time.
It’s incredibly tedious to get this done. The frustration is there when you keep drawing enemy tokens, or drawing your own when the spaces around you already have a token. The totals keep going up and down as -1 tokens are drawn, but thankfully you can just go around and try to kill your enemies instead.
That will give you plenty of time to spread your influence!
Sadly, in a decision I don’t understand at all, once all of your enemies are dead you still have to go around spreading your influence. Getting -1 tokens will give you space to put your own out there, but the fact that you still have to do it is really irritating.
Thus, you spend an extra 10-15 minutes (depending on the board situation when you kill the last enemy) rolling dice and trying to roll the right numbers and draw the right tokens.
There is no tension at all at this point and it’s just pointless instead.
While The Eternal Conflict does end on a bit of a downer, overall I really enjoyed this expansion. It has a lot of fun Talisman action and rarely does it reach the realm of monotony. When it does, it really dives into it, but thankfully that’s an uncommon occurrence.
I really do enjoy these Talisman: Origins stories. They have fun quests and it’s nice to sit down at the computer (or on your tablet or wherever) and lose yourself a bit in the tale.
This one isn’t quite as good as Pandora’s Box, but it is a good expansion to get if you need some more Talisman in your life.
Thanks to Nomad Games for the free copy of this expansion in exchange for an honest review