Game News – Splendor Goes Digital, Talisman Updates, and More Middle-earth

Well, Origins has come and gone and still the game news comes rolling at us like a hippo in a mudslide.

First up, Ares Games has announced a second expansion for War of the Ring with their new title Warriors of Middle-earth:


wotrThis new expansion will include Ents, Dead Men of Dunharrow, Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains, Corsairs of Umbar, Wild Hilmen from Dunland, and Giant Spiders.

With the new expansion, these warriors and creatures of Middle-earth – previously featured only as special Event Cards – will become an essential part of the game, with unique figures and specific abilities.

Warriors of Middle-earth will also present new mechanics to enhance the game: Faction Dice and Faction Events, used together with the new figures, will open up new and exciting strategies and make the War of the Ring Second Edition even more challenging and fun. The expansion is fully illustrated by John Howe, one of the world’s foremost Tolkien illustrators, and the main artist of the War of the Ring line.


War of the Ring: Warriors of Middle-earth is expected to release in November of 2015.

In digital news, Days of Wonder has announced that they are teaming up with Space Cowboys to release a digital port of Splendor. According to the press release:


SplendorDays of Wonder, an Asmodee studio and a leading developer and publisher of board games, is proud to announce the upcoming digital release of the flagship game SPLENDOR on iOS, Android and Steam in partnership with Space Cowboys. This new version is a faithful adaptation of the original board game, which sold over 200,000 copies worldwide. With the digital adaptation of SPLENDOR, Days of Wonder confirms its talent and skillfulness with a quality title, gracefully crafted in 3D, delivering an impressive realistic renaissance atmosphere.

“We are delighted that Space Cowboys confides editing the digital version of Splendor. This is a real opportunity for us to help a huge audience discover or rediscover the game!” says Yann Corno, CTO of Days of Wonder. He added: “Splendor really deserves a digital adaptation! It is a fascinating and rich game, and players can now play anywhere, anytime, regardless of their mobile platform. ”


Look for this one coming to iOS, Android, and Steam this summer.

Finally, one of my favorite iOS apps saw an update this past week. Talisman players can now tackle The Sacred Pool! Along with the new expansion come some new features for the app:


The Sacred Pool is here!

The fifth expansion release for Talisman: Digital Edition includes 4 characters, 72 Adventure Cards, 16 Spell Cards, 3 Alternative Endings and two new decks – the Stables deck and the Quest Rewards deck.

Save slots –
You can now keep up to 10 offline saved games.

Sudden Death mode –
The Sudden Death house rule allows the host to choose how many rounds the game will last for. At the end, players receive one point for every Strength and Craft point gained (not from objects or followers), plus one point for each gold, Spell, Follower, Object, Magic Object and Quest Reward they have.

Replacing Quests –
This new house rule gives players the chance to replace their current Warlock Quest, when they are offered a new one.


This is an app that is well worth owning, as I’ve said in the past. So run your updates or pick this up today!




iOS Review: Talisman

The world of digital board game implementations has been growing quite steadily over the past few years, and gamers with tablets and smartphones have been reaping the benefits. About a year ago Nomad Games released a digital version of a classic board game, and since then I’ve been wandering the world of Talisman on a weekly basis.

Talisman is a game that has been around forever, enjoying staunch support from a loyal fanbase and plenty of new content coming from Fantasy Flight Games. It is a game that hasn’t enjoyed a huge influx of new players because it has a tendency to be quite chaotic and very luck based. Combine that with a setup and play time that can drag out (especially with newer players) and it is approached with caution.

Talisman iOSOne of the benefits of a digital version is that setup time is reduced to…well…whatever time it takes you to open the app. And the app does all the messy housekeeping for you with rules, tracking life points, keeping an eye on item limits, and so forth. Of course, this will be true of any app, but with Talisman this is certainly a selling point.

Simple bookkeeping benefits aside, this is a beautiful port of a board game. The graphics are absolutely top notch…to the point where the actual board game falls behind a bit. I mean, I don’t have the time and patience to paint any of my figures, so that alone puts it above the physical copy in my book.

The developers did an excellent job with making the gameplay quite intuitive as well. I guess this wasn’t ever a game that left you burned out from 10,000 rules, but it’s nice to have everything laid out properly and helpful hints the first time you play. Combat, which could grind most tabletop versions of this game to a halt, is sped up as the app handles all of the “well, I’ve got a sword, but also the Holy Lance, and this is a dragon so I should…” for you.









Now, that’s not to say that this is a perfect app by any means. There are a couple flaws, one that could be taken care of and one that, well, cannot.

The first has to do with the AI. There are times where it will make sensible decisions and times where it is an absolute idiot. I have seen it enter the Portal of Power only to exit on the next turn…about six times in a row. It will use an axe to create a raft, sailing across the river…and then cross back over in two turns. Again, this isn’t a constant thing. But when the AI goes off the rails, forget about it.

The second issue is mostly a personal thing. When you play Talisman, especially with a group of friends, it turns into a storytelling event. You wind up laughing at your misfortune, you make grandiose excuses for why you pissed the farmer off, and the time flies. Unfortunately, this doesn’t translate with the app. The AI isn’t exactly looking to have a beer with you.

As a side note, I haven’t played the online multiplayer version of this yet. Pass-and-play, yes. I’ve heard there are some minor bugs with it, but I haven’t encountered any on the solo side of things.


Perhaps one of the best thing about this app are the expansions. Nomad has already released four expansions to date and they are working on more at the time of this writing. Along with the standard expansions, there are also various characters that you can purchase. When new content is released they also tend to put the existing stuff on sale, so paying full price for anything isn’t necessary if you’re patient.

But, those small things aside, this is a great app worth adding to your collection. Now you can enjoy the Talisman experience, well most of it, anytime you want!

[well]Talisman is available on the App Store for $6.99.[/well]