Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Review - Tash-Kalar Upgrade Kit

We interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast to bring you this public service announcement...

I received my beautiful Tash-Kalar Upgrade Kit from the good people at www.BoardGameGuru.co.uk It was thrown in for nowt along with my order of the Tash-Kalar: Everfrost expansion (more on that another day).

It is my understanding that not all online companies are offering the upgrade kit with the expansion, so if you want to make sure you get a copy, you know where to shop.

(Although, having said that, you might want to contact them first, just in case they have stopped the offer by the time you read this.)

Right, that's that out of the way. Let's talk Tash-Kalar...


Tash-Kalar Upgrade Kit



I read today that Internet folk have started to use the word "firstable" in place of "first of all." It's like a language upgrade or something: Rolling words together into a completely nonsensical sound to make it even quicker and easier to send messages over the big Worldwide Interweb Super Highway Thingy.

Soon the human race will be able to communicate with a simple series of grunts, and our devolution to Neanderthals will be complete.

Yeah.

I don't like it when things I love get changed.

Well... With certain exceptions, of course...

Here's the scoop: If you know me, you know I am a huge Tash-Kalar fan. You can catch my review here if you like, but you would actually be wasting valuable time you could be using to purchase and play the game.

However, the first edition of Tash-Kalar had some minor problems... A not so minor price tag, and production quality that was a little lacking.

That was a real shame, because it limited the reach of this really rather lovely game; a game I think everyone needs to play, even if it is only once, to experience the sheer brilliance of a theme so completely integrated into the rules that it is almost impossible to separate the two.

But all is not lost.

It has been an exciting time for Tash-Kalar, with a new expansion (which I will be reviewing shortly), and a second cheaper edition hitting stores. Best of all, for people like me who already own the game and don't want to buy it again, there is the Upgrade Kit: A set of stunning new tokens, cards, and boards to give this incredible game the glitzy finish it deserves.

That's the kind of change I can get on board with (excuse the pun).

Now, if you have played Tash-Kalar and you don't enjoy it (what is wrong with you?), the Upgrade Kit is not going to change your mind. But if you own and love the first edition, you are going to want these spangly new components in your life.

First up, you get a new board. It's the same size as the original, folded in the same way; but it has stunning new artwork that really pops. Best of all, it is made of thicker card, so it actually sits flat on the table.

Tash-Kalar Boards
It's like a tunnel for ants.


Who would have thought that the ability for a board to sit flat could bring so much joy?

If I have one problem with the new board, it is that the shadows are a bit heavy, which makes them slightly distracting at times.

Tash-Kalar Upgrade Kit Board
Shadowy


The new sets of tokens for all four races included in the base game are also on thicker card with better illustrations. Rather than a simple texture with a silhouette, the new tokens have some real depth, which makes for a much more impressive look. Of course, I would have paid through the nose to get these tokens in Bakelite, but now I'm just being picky.

Tash-Kalar Upgrade Kit Tokens
It's all too beautiful.


There are also new scoring tracks for the four races. Functionally, they are the same as before, but the imagery is more vibrant and detailed. Everything just pops a little more.

Tash-Kalar Upgrade Kit Score Boards
Score another one for the Upgrade Kit.


Finally, the upgrade kit contains an overhauled deck of Flare cards and Task cards. These have the same text as the original cards, and they are the same size, but they have a new graphic design that makes the originals look so boring you might mistake them for history teachers.

Tash-Kalar Upgrade Kit Flare Cards
Can you tell which ones are the new ones?


Tash-Kalar Upgrade Kit Task Cards
I didn't think the task cards needed upgrading until I saw this.


In fact, the only components that are not upgraded are the decks for the races, because they were already beautiful, and the rules, because they were already excellent.

So there you have it. Let's sum up...

Firstable, the Upgrade Kit brings nothing new to the table except a better quality of component material and graphic design.

Secondable, what the Upgrade Kit does bring is the kind of beauty that should have been there from the start, and which surely every fan requires.

Thirdable, by getting the Upgrade Kit, I now have enough components to play two games of Tash-Kalar simultaneously. You know, in case I want to.

Fourthable, for God's sake, stop saying "firstable," whoever you are.

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