Sep 29, 2014
Games Workshop games are quite often a treat, even though they seem to outsorce the licenses to some entirely random developers, and always price them a couple of dollars more than they really cost, just because of those licenses. Talisman is a staple GW game, and it’s pretty fun, even though it requires some time to get acquainted with all the numbers that it throws at the player from the very start.
At its core, Talisman is a turn-based tabletop adventure, sprinkled with RPG elements here and there. It’s a mix between Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders, with a bit of DnD on top for good measure. The players need to go through three looped “layers” of the game, reach the tower and defeat whatever lurks inside, to beat the game. Of course, the closer to finish, the more challenging the game becomes. Add to it the fact that players can spoil each others’ progress, up to and including direct confrontations, and you get a pretty competitive place. A lot of its elements are decided by dice throwing, but just like in Monopoly, the game is not about random numbers generator, but how you can use it to your advantage. There can be up to four player characters, and the game can be played with humans just as well as with AI.
There’s lots of mechanics, but basically, the players need to draw cards almost every turn. These cards can be positive, giving the character a companion, an item, or boosting one of his stats; or they can be enemies that the player needs to defeat. There are five stats that each player has: strength, that is his basic attack power; Craft that is spiritual power, being used against special enemies, as well as allowing spellery (spells are separate cards that can even be used on the opponent’s turn); Lives that are basically character’s health – they lose one when defeated, and can be restored or added to, in various instances; Fate that allows the player to re-roll their dice; and Gold that can be traded for some useful boosts or items. Each character has different starting stats and abilities, and playing for and against different characters gives Talisman a lot of replayability.
In general, I think the game is fun. It has a great combination of randomness that makes you eager to see what adventure you will get on your next turn, and skill that lets you plan and foresee your next steps, based on the current situation. If you’re a fan of tabletop adventures, then it’s an easy pick, but Talisman can be somewhat overwhelming if you’re not a casual with this sort of games.