Gamescapes: Story Maps - Fantasy Set 1 is a 80 page pdf product and the first set of fantasy story maps produced by Talisman Studios. This product features nearly 80 1" scale, full-colour dungeon tiles filled with all sorts of magical and supernatural terrain as the set's title 'Mystic Dungeon' suggests. The product comes as a large pdf file, and barring the covers with brief credits, contains only high quality mystical dungeon tiles to create a magical 2D dungeon layout.
There are quite a number of companies that do 2D terrain tiles these days, and more seem to be heading in that direction as time goes by. I've seen quite a few new publishers to this area, which is always a good thing as it provides the customer with a larger variety of tiles to choose from. Talisman Studios' offering of Fantasy Story Maps is one of the more unusual ones, in a good way. It offers a vast amount of different tiles, and probably a selection of tiles that you won't likely find anywhere else. This particular set, Mystic Dungeon, has tiles filled with various magical effects and other mystical features that I've rarely seen in other products. For that Talisman Studios are to be commended.
As such these tiles allow one's imagination to run wild. While some of the tiles are quite confusing and often appear somewhat psychedelic, the majority contain elements that spark the imagination and put a little bit of magic back in the dungeon. It's the supernatural tiles that really make this set, but it also includes several variations on standard wall tiles and various other standard room configurations. But if you wanted a dungeon filled with random and wild magic, the bizarre and the supernatural rather than another series of kobolds and orcs in four-walled rooms, this set of story maps has plenty to offer.
I wish, though, that there had been even a one line or one word description of each tile, as it would help clarify some of the more bizarre tiles and make what they're depicting a little clearer. The images are generally quite dark, so it's hard sometimes to see the detail, or see how the tile is meant to be implemented. For all its wonderful magical tiles and imagination running wild, there's an element of non-user-friendliness to this set. I'm sure that's not the case, but it looks like some of the tiles may have been thrown together to create a bizarre looking tile without thinking what the customer would make of it.
Overall, though, I found this a stimulating product with some good, unusual, interesting and inspiring tiles. This set puts the magic back into the dungeon, and creates an environment that will terrify players and spark the imagination. Here and there the tiles can be confusing as it's not always easy to be certain how a tiles should be used. The sheer volume of tiles, and the balance between standard tiles and mystical tiles, though, makes this a good product that can be used for a wide variety of 2D dungeon tile needs. A good set of tiles from Talisman Studios.
[4 of 5 Stars!]