Talisman Review

Talisman Review

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 Talisman 2DnD 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.

KickStarter Spotlight: Wars and Battles

KickStarter Spotlight: Wars and Battles

Jul 24, 2013

So, maybe I’m not as deeply intrenched into the world of tabletop strategy games as some, but I share a deep appreciation for those classic, tactile games. There are not many things that can replace the feeling of moving a physical token around the board or jealously guarding a handful of unit cards. Basically, in order for a mobile or computer game to eclipse this it has to bring something new to the “table” and give me a compelling reason to choose it over the established, because staring at a tiny screen cannot replace friends around the kitchen table.

So what does Wars and Battles do differently that would make it the next great thing in strategy war games? Two words: simplicity, and authenticity. A lot of games throw the player into the midst of a hypothetical war without a great magnitude of backstory, and make them duke it out with faceless minions. What makes this KickStarter hopeful different is that every battlefield and army are real world places and nations. The two examples given are Gettysburg and Normandy; i.e. some of the biggest military battles in history. Each unit is lovingly displayed with a full paragraph description about their history and contribution to the war effort. The game developers has actual historians working with the programmers in order to make this the most historically accurate game it can be. Oh, did I mention that they also have active officers and veterans analyzing strategies and maps? No? Well, they do; which is awesome.

Walking in the shoes of our ancestors; as well as a vastly simplified yet unique command system, makes for a very compelling game that can be played on nearly any device; alone or with friends. While Wars and Battles might not replace that Risk board when friends come calling, it has a great opportunity to win out in nearly every other situation. Unfortunately, because these battlefields are so detailed, a $10 donation will only allow for gameplay on one. This is lessened by the fact that each map has 10 different scenarios which supposedly delivers around 100 hours of gameplay. I would assume that these maps are able to be bought later on, and most likely at a price below $10. After thinking about it, this really is not as bad of a deal as it seems on the surface, and with a new map coming out ever two months, the long term rewards really are endless.

So, get to it internet. Check out Wars and Battles and help this game; which these great developers have been meticulously crafting, become as real as the wars it contains.