Saturday, June 14, 2014

Talisman Review

Talisman Revised 4th Edition

Let me start out by saying that this was not my first time playing Talisman with my husband, Fluxxdog, and my brother-in-law, Veon'oss. In fact, we've played it so many times, we've acquired 6 expansion packs*. And there are still more to get. So, if at any point you find the gameplay too confusing or if you buy the game and it's more simple than you expected, remember that we used 6 expansions and 4 pages of house-rules.

The Board Set Up
So, to start out with, someone shuffles up the character cards and deals out three piles of three, face-down. We each choose which pile we want to and select our character from these. We hold onto the other character cards because, regardless of what ending is randomly chosen, until someone gets into the center of the board, if you die, you can come back as a new character. You have to drop all your stuff, objects, gold, followers, but you get the chance to pick them up as a new character. My first character is the Dervish. I chose this character to start because no one had played as him yet and I get a free sword and water bottle to start with. Fluxxdog will be playing as the Prophetess and Veon'oss will be playing as the Warlord.

My First Character
My First Character

Revealed Ending

To determine the ending, we first flip a "coin" to determine if the ending will be revealed or hidden. It came up "revealed" and then we had someone draw the ending at random. This time we have drawn an ending where, in order to win, you have to collect 13 fate and then get to the center of the board.

So, we roll to determine who goes first it comes up Veonoss. We play as normal for several hours. Whenever someone rolls a 1 for movement, they need to roll two dice, one to move the Werewolf, the other to move the Reaper. When you encounter the Werewolf or the Reaper, you have to roll a die for their respective charts and determine if you lose a life, get in a fight, become a werewolf, or get a prize. 

We generally roll die of different colors to differentiate Reaper and Werewolf movements.
I encounter the Werewolf! I rolled a 5 and sent him to Fluxxdog.

Sample Prize

Another aspect of gameplay that has picked up with the inclusion of the expansions is getting Warlock Quests for rewards other than the Talisman required to get to the center of the board. Because getting to the center requires getting through a lot of stuff that require a lot of stats, when you start out, getting a Talisman is not nearly as important as getting tools to survive. As such, we've went through a lot of Warlock Quests this round. Many of the quests may seem simple, i.e. Visit the City, but when you spend 15-30 minutes hanging around the City waiting for the die to roll in your favor, you see how tedious these quests can be.

Of course, when playing, you have to remember that it is advantageous to NOT pull punches. Fluxxdog is notorious for this! Apparently I got too powerful and he slammed with me a cursed follower:

I can now only move 1 space at a time.

I've got to go through 3 monsters to even get close to a bridge!

I ultimately decided that I was not going to get rid of this cursed followers and opted to die with dignity. I walked onto a space with death AND a face-down Nether card AND a dragon.**

Needless to say, I died in a blaze of glory and chose my next new character, the Leprechaun. I get to teleport if I roll a 6 and I get three gold whenever I visit the woods.

Character 2
On occasion we get a prize of teleporting on our next move. To help us remember that we're not rolling, we resort to "hiding" our die. 

Fluxxdog rolled a 6 for the Shrine

After a while the board and table start filling up with stuff:
Board after 2 smoke breaks for Veon'oss

All my things!

At some point I complete a Warlock Quest to get a Talisman. I felt I had enough fate and stats that I can make it.
Talisman Card
Unfortunately, Fluxxdog decides he wants the Talisman and hits me with a Toadify Spell. I am turned into a toad for three turns. I can only move one spot at a time, I have a strength and craft of just one, and I have to DROP ALL MY STUFF.***

Toad Character Card
Toad Character
Then I encounter a Nether card and get saddled with this:

My enemies get a bonus and I don't get rid of him until he takes a health.
After approximately five hours, we have to call it a night. It's late, Veon'oss has to work in the morning, and we're all on our last nerve because Veon'oss and I are tired and Fluxxdog, so close to winning, got turned into a toad by an enemy.

When we get back to playing, things go as expected. I get turned into a toad AGAIN. I attempted to use a Warlock Reward to turn Fluxxdog into a toad, and he countered with a curse to make my roll a 1 that would turn me into a toad.

Cursed by the Black Cat.
Fluxxdog gets back to the inner region and faces off with a Nether monster in order to progress to the center. Just to mess with him, I use a spell to bring the monster back to life so he has to wait an extra turn before he can win.
For the lols.
Fluxxdog does eventually win and the game is over. Now it's time to shuffle ALL THE CARDS.

All in all, Talisman is a lot of fun. If you can handle a board game that takes more time than Monopoly and is more cutthroat than Risk, this can be a lot of fun. There is a lot of strategy involved and timing is everything. It's pretty good for mental stimulation. I also recommend this as a workout for someone interested in D&D. It's a great introduction to building up stats, rolling for attacks, and seeing how alignments affect characters. This is also a great game for learning a friend's limits on not taking things personally and whether or not you are actually friends. Because of all of this, I am giving Talisman 4 Hoots.


*Expansion Packs Used: The Firelands, The Frostmarch, The Sacred Pool, The Blood Moon, The Reaper, The Nether Realm
**Sidenote: Don't let the calm tone fool you. I wanted to hit the man and hard.
***Fluxxdog indicates I get more of his aggressive nature than Veon'oss because I am the greater threat.

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