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Store:  Family Games
Edition:  Talisman
Series:  Talisman
Theme:  Adventure, Fantasy
Format:  Board Games

Talisman

4th Edition


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Ages Play Time Players
9+ 60+ minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Robert Harris

Manufacturer(s): Games Workshop

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Product Description

Talisman is a cult fantasy board game for 2 - 6 people. Players control a myriad of characters from a heroic warrior to a powerful sorcerer. In this perilous adventure, play centers around the journey of these gallant heroes to find and claim the Crown of Command, a magical artifact with the power to destroy all rivals and make the bearer the true ruler of the kingdom. Only with strength, courage, and wisdom will players be able to survive the ultimate test and beat their opponents to victory.

Talisman's enduring appeal is that of a traditional fantasy boardgame and more. Players soon find themselves taking part in an epic quest of brave deeds, daring encounters and death defying battles, which deepens as the game unfolds.

First released in 1983, the game continues to excite and maintains a strong following with a thriving Internet community. This edition of Talisman will appeal to fans of the timeless original, and will also create a new following of would-be adventurers.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Robert Harris

  • Manufacturer(s): Games Workshop

  • Year: 2007

  • Players: 2 - 6

  • Time: 60 or more minutes

  • Ages: 9 and up

  • Weight: 1,781 grams

Talisman has the following expansions available:

Talisman: Upgrade Pack Funagain Games does not stock this edition of this title, usually because it's out of print.

You might be interested in these related products as well:

Prophecy imported English language edition Funagain Games does not stock this edition of this title, usually because it's out of print.

Prophecy (Backordered) domestic English language edition

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Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 3.4 in 7 reviews

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If you like Fantasy RPG games, then this is the game for you!
June 04, 2017

PROS: -Newbie friendly game -A whole lot of expansions -Awesome artwork on cards/game boards -Each game you play is a different adventure -A whole lot of characters to choose from -High replayability

CONS: -Can be frustrating, since game is 30%-40% Luck based -Game is "Out of Print"(Not really a CON) -Game can take long to finish -Some characters are broken or OP(please nerf next update)

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NEWBIE FRIENDLY: This game is not as complex as it seems. I am new to fantasy boardgames and i thought it was an easy game to pick up. On top of that, I've played this game with young teenagers and they did not have problem understanding the game.

TONS OF EXPANSIONS: Talisman Revised 4th Edition has a total of 14 expansions. This is what drew me into playing this game. Since, each expansion will totally change the game play. And each expansion has its own theme(Eg. Cataclysm's creatures/characters/cards have a post-apocalyptic theme and Bloodmoon has a Halloween-ish theme with a Day-Night cycle). On top of that, each expansion has a few included alternate endings, changing the gameplay and ensuring that you have different adventure/end goal each game. Most expansions, you can combine together with the others and some you should only play by itself, cause of complexity issues. But all in all, adding expansions will only add to the games overall replayability.

AWESOME ARTWORK: This is self-explanatory. Artwork on each Adventure/Spell/Character/Alternate Ending is superb. Really, expresses what the game wants you to feel. If you encounter an Ogre, the Artwork will make you feel the grotesque and brutish nature of the ogre, adding flavor to the game.

DIFFERENT ADVENTURE EACH GAME: This one is self-explanatory as well. Each game is random and adventure cards are shuffled and you wouldn't know what to expect. Playing with expansions will even add more uncertainty to your character's fate.

TONS OF CHARACTERS: Base game includes 13 characters. Each with its own unique abilities. Expansions also adds 3-5 characters. Although there are a few micro expansions that only adds cards.

HIGH REPLAYABILITY: Simply because of its random nature and combine that with a whole lot of expansions, you wont get tired of playing this game.

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CAN BE FRUSTRATING: Since the game is 30%-40% luck based, having an unlucky roll the dice throughout the game can be frustrating. Especially, when another player, who seems to be carrying a rabbit's foot, just wins the game with luck(Unlikely, but Murphy's Law).

GAME IS OUT OF PRINT: This is not really a CON, but I added it anyway. FantasyFlight Games stopped printing Talisman Revised 4th Ed. So, expansions are getting ridiculously expensive since they're pretty much rare. My mission is to collect all 14 though!

GAME CAN TAKE TOO LONG TO FINISH: This is a debatable CON for me. I just added it just so players looking into getting this game is aware. A game of Talisman can take an average of 2-3 hours depending on how many players are playing, how fast each player takes their turn, and which expansion/s you are playing. Some game can take up to 6 hours! Now, I personally do NOT think that this is necessarily a CON. First, adventures dont happen in a blink of an eye. Long games will make you feel like you've achieved a lot and fought your way to greatness. Second, I think boardgames are, in a way, a social activity. This can be fun when you are playing with friends and/or family. Having a drink and snacks while playing, side conversations while battling your way through the dungeons, and just simply spending time with loved ones. So, if you have the up to several hours to burn, then don't hesitate to start a game. The only reason I think this should be added in the CONs list is because I could not just play this game whenever I want due to a busy schedule(work, family, school, life). But once I get the chance to gather people for this game, I well know it's worth it.

SOME CHARACTERS ARE BROKEN/OP(Please Nerf next update): Yes, some characters are annoying(eg. Thief) or OP(eg. Black Knight). But this could be remedied buy adding a house rule of allowing players to vote which ones to ban. Also, basic rule for the base game is to randomly give 3 Character cards to each player and picking the best on out the 3 cards they got. So, if you're lucky enough to get an OP character then good for you! But this still does not ensure you winning the game, you'll just be labeled the annoying guy thoughout the game.

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In summary, this game is a must have. Especially, if you really like fantasy RPG games that are really thematic and flavorful!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
 
 
 
 
 
Random, clunky, and thematic.
September 09, 2007

I’m a big fan of fantasy games and quite enjoy those that tend to recreate the fantasy role-playing experience in a board game. In discussions of this genre, the game that tends to spring up most often is the game Talisman. Opinions of this game, which was first published in 1983, were quite varied; but there was a group that tended to radically praise the game, heralding it as a truly great fantasy board game. Just recently, the 4th edition of the game was published (Black Industries, 2007 – Robert Harris and Rick Priestly), and I finally got my hands on a game that I had heard about for years but had never seen or played.

Huh?

That’s it?

Well, you can certainly color me disappointed, as I was amazed at how the exciting ideas involved in the game are held back by clunky mechanics and annoying luck. Mind you, the components are fantastic and there is some neat theme thrown in here with some varied and enjoyable characters to play. But while some may be fond of the nostalgia that this faithful reprint exudes, I am more frustrated at how it pales beside more modern, better systems. (Runebound and Return of the Heroes come to mind). Talisman 4th edition has come boisterously to the year 2007 - twenty years too late.

In Talisman, each player chooses one of fourteen characters (Monk, Priest, Thief, etc.), taking the matching character sheet and figure, which is placed on their starting space on the board. Each character has two major stats (strength and craft), and markers of each type are taken to match these starting numbers. Characters also have one or more special abilities that will come into play during the course of a game. Piles of cards are placed on the table, and each player receives one gold, as well as four life. The board is made up of three rings of spaces (the outer, middle, and inner region). One player is chosen to go first, and then play proceeds around the table.

On a player's turn, they roll a six-sided die and then move their character in either direction around the ring they are in. The player then follows the directions of the space they are in. Some spaces have stores where the player can buy weapons and other items; others have random events that can help or hinder a player. Most, however, require a player to draw an adventure card and deal with it. A few spaces cause a player to draw two or three cards. Adventure cards may be

  • Followers: These are people who help the character - basically giving him a special ability. A player can have unlimited followers.
  • Gold: The player finds some gold
  • Objects: The player receives an object (of which they can only have four). There is a "mule" that allows a player an extra four objects.
  • Event: An event occurs that affects the players, or possibly all players in the same region or on the board.
  • Shop: A person sets up shop on the space where the card was drawn, effectively turning it into some sort of store.
  • Enemy: This could be anything from a lion to a dragon to a brigand. Each enemy has a strength number. Combat occurs, and the player may attempt to play a card that allows them to evade the enemy; otherwise, they must fight. A die is rolled for the enemy and added to their strength, with another rolled and added to the character's strength. If the character's total is higher than the enemy's, then they defeat the enemy and keep the card. Otherwise, they lose one life, and the enemy stays in the spot, ready to attack any future characters who land there.
  • Spirit: This is the same as an enemy, except that they have a craft stat, and the dice rolled are added to the craft skill in combat.

Once a player collects enemies that have a total of seven or more strength, they may discard them to gain one permanent point of strength. The same can be done for enemies with craft, increasing the character's craft. Weapons and armor can also increase these two statistics, as well as random encounters on the board.

Players may also start with spells or collect them on their journey. The amount of spells a player may have at any one point depends on their craft number. Spells can do anything from evading combat to attacking enemies. Players continue to move around the outer ring, adventuring, but will eventually attempt to get to the middle ring. This can be done by fighting a strength 9 Sentinel at a bridge space or by finding, buying, or building a raft and crossing the river that separates the two rings. The middle ring is the same as the outer ring, although the spaces have more difficult challenges. Eventually, the player can land on the Portal of Power space and attempt to move to the inner region. This can only be done if they have found a Talisman on their journey. Once they do make it to the inner region, they then can only move one space a turn - difficult spaces, but with two choices - a track that emphasizes strength, and one that emphasizes craft.

Whenever a player is killed, they discard their character and start over with another character. However, once one character reaches the final space on the inner track - the Crown of Command, dead characters no longer are replaced - a player who dies is out of the game. Not only that, but the character on the Crown of Command causes each other player to lose one life point each turn eventually ending the game. The last player left alive is the winner!

Some comments on the game…

  1. Components: I may not like the game play very much, but I can't complain about how nice the game looks. The artwork is fantastic, and the components are very nice. I have a few small problems - I don't like using the strength and craft counters; it's clunky and annoying; and I wish they used plastic miniatures -but these are small problems. The game looks tremendous when set up and really invokes a strong fantasy theme. The plastic coins are probably the best pieces of the game - I want to steal them for other games; they're that nice. Everything fits inside a nicely decorated box, which screams "cool fantasy game inside"!

  2. Rules: At first glance, the twenty-page full color rulebook looks fantastic. And there are some nice back stories, illustrations, and pictures scattered throughout. But in teaching the game, it's an annoying jumble, really. The rules are printed in a bulleted format (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, etc.), but there's no table of contents, and some of the rules seem to be placed randomly in the rulebook. The overview at the beginning is actually more helpful than the rules themselves. The game is actually quite easy, and yet there is a detailed flowchart on the back for how to handle the spaces. I found it amazingly complicated for what actually happens when landing on a space, and thus ignoring it when teaching new players. Despite my problems with the rulebook, I haven't had any issues when teaching the game; most folks pick it up quickly.

  3. Roll and Move: Talisman uses a game mechanic that was quite popular twenty years ago, that of rolling the dice and moving. Now there are ways in which this mechanic can be put to good use, but Talisman's movement is annoying to an extreme. I get the exact same feeling in Talisman as I do in Trivial Pursuit, as I roll and re-roll, hoping to land on the space that I need. It's frustrating as a player attempts to go to a specific space (healing, for example) and continues to miss it time after time. This might be fun for children, but I was ready to flip the board at times.

  4. Luck: The adventure cards are also ridiculous in their luck. I've seen one person land on a space and get a dragon (strength 7), while the next lands on a space that causes them to draw two cards, and they get two gold and a Talisman. Sure, this luck is supposed to even out during the game, but a player who starts with a few bad draws is going to fall behind and have a hard time catching players who find treasure and good fortune at the beginning. I wish that there were different decks for each of the tracks, as you really have no control over your encounters. In a real role-playing game, a good Dungeon Master won't have a first level party run into a dragon or find the most powerful item in the first session, yet that can happen in this game. Oddly, I don't mind the luck in combat, as that seems to even out over the course of the game.

  5. Characters: One thing Talisman does extremely well is the different feel that they give to each of the characters. From the character's alignment (Good, Neutral, or Evil) to their special abilities, each must be played a different way. The dwarf and troll can simply power their way across the board, while the priest and ghoul must use their special abilities to do well. I can't speak to how balanced they are, although they seem on onset fairly even (the only one who seems overpowered is the monk, but that may just be my imagination). I will state that the strength trait seems extremely more useful than the craft trait; as the majority of enemies will attack via strength, and the spells that craft gives don't seem to make up the difference.

  6. Strategy: The best strategy in this game is to land on spaces and hope the cards are good to you. Really, there's not much else there. Sure, you can head towards spaces that will be very beneficial to your class; but if you don't land on them, what's the point? In every game I've played, the player who got lucky first ended up winning. The game has a very strong "rich get richer" feel, as a player who makes some early kills gets stronger and eventually starts mutilating every enemy they come across. Since enemies don't increase along with characters, the end of the game can become boring; as powerful characters race to be the first to be lucky enough to find a Talisman and then get to the end.

  7. Fun Factor: Despite everything I've said, a few people I taught the game to really enjoyed it. I don't understand how a game that seems to be 90% luck is enjoyable - especially when it takes three hours to play, but maybe the simplicity is what appeals to folks. However, most gamers who've played it are annoyed at the luck, especially when they've played superior games, such as Descent, Runebound, and Return of the Heroes. Talisman may have been a fun, fun game in its day, and I would have played it to death as a teenager. Now, however, it's going to languish on my shelf - it simply doesn't measure up to other games.

There is a core group of gamers who've played one of the previous editions of Talisman and have been clamoring for a new release. They, most likely, will be the ones who enjoy this game the most. However, a discerning gamer will be heartily disappointed; because between the stunning randomness of card drawing and the annoying "roll and move" factor, Talisman takes a fantastic theme and drags it down in the mire of clunkiness. A fourth edition brings the connotation of vast improvements and refinements. If that's true regarding Talisman, then I feel sorry for those who played the first edition!

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"

 
 
 
 
 
2 Star Game, 5 Stars for Nostalgia
January 14, 2004

Before I discovered German games Talisman was one of my favorites. This is a game that wouldn't seem to have much going for it, yet it remains popular and commands decent prices on E-bay. A limited 2003 reissue sold like hotcakes at $75 a pop.

Roll, move, draw a card and resolve the card. With a few exceptions that is the game. Try to get your character to build up strength, lives and gold so you can work your way to the center of the board and win. The components are cheap, it lasts too long for what it offers, and there is a 'gang-up-on-the-leader' factor that causes the game to drag on even longer. There is little strategy and the end game is very weak.

On the plus side, the basic game has lots of different cards which keep the game from getting too dry and repetitious. The fantasy theme and art are done very well. The designer had a wonderful imagination. If any game succeeded at capturing the D&D flavor in a purely boardgame format Talisman is the one. The truth be told, I hated D&D, but for a short period of time I really enjoyed Talisman.

Although I haven't played Talisman in years, I am often tempted. The reality is that I have, maybe, 50 games that are more fun and better designed. Common sense always prevails and we play one of those instead.

I doubt I will ever get rid of Talisman, purely for nostalgia reasons. I had a lot of fun and really, really enjoyed this game for about 20 minutes in the 1980s.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

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