TALON 1000: This is an Expansion to TALON and as such the original game is required.
According to the introduction this will add well over 1000 (yes One Thousand) scenarios as well as a unique manner in which one player can take on the game's Empire A.I. There is also a reference sheet which is double-sided and contains the necessary Artificial Intelligence Flow-Chart and Power Phase checks etc. This is a most effective card for playing solo as it neatly ties in all the detailed information for solitaire play from the Rules Book so that you can learn quickly to play solo just from the reference sheet. I like the atmospheric art on the reference sheets, makes them so much better than the usual plain white card sheets found in regular war games, though under some home lighting the use of black ink on medium blue and the speckled brown backgrounds of the boxes is a bit hard to read. But as it is a flow chart these text boxes soon become pretty much ingrained in your head, as long as you play enough solitaire games.
TALON, the base game, took many years to complete (designing not playing) and because of this it is one of the better Fleet-based Space Battle games. This is set in the New Empire War which follows on from the original Empire War, Terrans versus Talons. TALON is a multi-player game but I think it plays better, at least quicker and more fluent with just 2 players. I have recently played the solitaire version with the rules found in TALON 1000 and if you think that is the easy way then let me just tell you that the A.I. is no push-over.
If you have played TALON then although this expansion is not a necessity it will reawaken the thrill that you got when you first laid out the rolling-map, read the rules, and placed the fully detailed large counters in position. I likened it to a more detailed version of the Standard Games 1982 'Starship Captain' due to its fast pace combat, movement and fun. If you are new to TALON then this expansion is something you should perhaps be looking at for the future.
Apart from the rules, charts and reference sheets for the solitaire game there is plenty here for the players to enthuse about. To begin with, the ship counters are now double-sided meaning that the 5 sheets of 18 counters per sheet brings 180 new Ships, Starbases* and Gold Energy Nebula counters. *Starbases are basically Bases [pun intended] but larger! Both sides of the counters have been carefully designed to ensure that it is extremely unlikely that there will be any time or scenario where Ships are required and can only be found on either side of the same counter.
I mentioned above that there are over 1000 scenarios added to TALON with this expansion, which sounds an amazing number. There is a short paragraph headed "So, How Many Scenarios are in TALON 1000?" which then goes on to list in detail these scenarios. It admits that many are similar, that's to be expected, and that there are six basic types: Asteroids, Black Hole, Energy Nebulae, Nebulae, Planets and no Terrain; I hope you are sitting down comfortably because "the total number of scenarios is 51,600" and I have definitely not played all of them. Now THAT is AMAZING!!!
I know I am only paraphrasing the rulesbook but I believe that although the names of the ships do not affect the game-play it is worth noting them and how they came about. Jim Krohn and his crew faced the task of naming nigh-on 170 ships in this expansion alone, and they wanted them to be sensible (that immediately put me out of the frame) and themed, especially those of the Terran Confederation (Earth). The Talon ships, being alien, could be given any collection of letters of the Earth or cyrillic alphabets. I'm not going to list all the names that players and fans came up with but I will note a few; Gagarin, Armstrong, Glenn, Hercules, Achilles, Lancelot, Beowulf, Plato, Aristotle, Yorktown, Waterloo, Thermopylae, Thunderchild, London, Moscow etc etc all very good, solid Terran names from history and mythology, but then there are some inspiring names of actual wartime heroes that were suggested to and nominated by Boardgamegeek.com. It must be a wonderful feeling to play TALON (TALON 1000) with counters bearing the name of your Father or GrandFather, well done GMT for honouring true heroes.
I'd like to be able to say that TALON 1000 adds a myriad of changes to the rules and game-play of TALON but rather than changing the rules so that you are continuously having to flip back and forth between this, that and the next chart or table the expansion is more of an extension with some interesting new ships, a stronger version of ships Bases, and a new power source, the Gold Nebulae. Of these three main differences, The Starbases and Gold Nebulae are second and third in importance to the play, the new ships are the real brilliance behind Talon 1000.
Many of the new ship types in the TALON 1000 expansion have similar/same detail as the ships in TALON.
Terran: SC- DD- DD2 DD+ CL- CL2 CL+ CA+ BC2 BC+ Starbase
Talon: FF- FF+ DD2 DD+ DD++ CL- CL+ CA+ BC2 BC+ Starbase
"All of the counters in Talon 1000 are coated with improved lamination so that most (if not all) dry erase markers will work without residue."
The scenarios are balanced by the Fleet points tables which ensure both sides are virtually of equal power, never more than a 2 point difference; this means that it is a players game not a game determined by luck. Rules book pages 2, 3 and half of page 4 cover the expansion/extension and the remainder of the rules book's pages, up to page 20, are taken up with the solitaire game. The die included in the game is a D20 [you will also need a D6, not supplied] which does afford a little amount of luck
Pages 21 and 22 invite the players to enjoy a narrative style story set in the history of the Terran/Talon Empire War. It's not totally unusual for the background story to be 'hidden' away at the back of the rules booklet, but if it is important to the gamer's mindset then it's usually found on the inner front cover ready to setup the scenarios or campaign. Putting it at the back could give people the [wrong] impression that this is almost an afterthought and thus somewhat derailing the overall importance it could have to the chronology of the War.
One of the things I like about TALON 1000 is that it isn't a stand-alone game attached to an existing game to expand it. It is a genuine expansion that extends the scope of play for the original game. Another thing that is excellent both in TALON and TALON 1000 is the amount of detail, the number of, and the varietal counter illustrations. TALON doesn't use miniatures because the designers want to keep the game in the perfect price range rather than up in the financial stratosphere of £150.00 + games that are figures-heavy but games-lite. If this game did have miniatures then players would miss out on the superb artwork and that would be a crime. The laminate on the counters give them a modicum of 3D appearance, not quite but quite close and of course allows for the dry-erase-markers to be used to black out the damage boxes.
As said previously, this expansion is not actually required nor is it a necessity to enjoy TALON, but I would all but guarantee that once you have added the components of TALON 1000 to TALON there is very little chance you'll ever want to disassociate them again.
- 5 laminated, double-sided, ship counter sheets
- 1 Player Aid Card
- 1 Solitaire Aid Card
- Empire War Mat
- 10-sided die
DESIGNER Jim Krohn
DEVELOPER Bob Seifert
COUNTER ART Brett Miller
PRODUCERS Tony Curtis, Rodger MacGowan, Gene Billingsley, Andy Lewis, and Mark Simonitch
GMT has it available for $35.00, Zatu (UK) has it at £26.96, Amazon (UK) at £36.53 and online you can find it at various prices inbetween. You should always check out your local game store first or join the GMT P500 scheme.