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Subject: Learning a lesson by re-connecting with a well loved game rss

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Christopher Onstad
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Donald
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Part 1 Treasured Old Friend
A couple of months ago, after a break of a few years, I started getting the itch to play Talisman again. I pulled out my sets, and started sorting through the cards and boards trying to figure out when I would have time, and who I could get to play. I then noticed I was missing my Dungeon cards. I went through all the boxes and they were nowhere. I searched the house and came up with nothing. Well, I guess I could always play without the Dungeon, but it wouldn't be the same. So I was disappointed, and I distracted myself with trying to talk
my wife into agreeing to buy new games. (Cause you just can't beat your head against too many walls.) The only outward manifestation of my depression was that about once a week, I would go into a room, and tear it apart.
"What ARE you doing?" The love of my life would ask.
"Looking for my dungeon cards. I could have sworn I saw them in here sometime in the last three years. I think I remember them on that dresser."
(You would think she wouldn't need glasses with all the exercise
her eyes get from rolling all the time.)

This scene played regularly at our house until tonight. I sat down at the computer and noticed a deck of light blue cards by the keyboard. What? Could it be? YES, YES...my dear old friend is complete. I let out a squeal of joy.
"What?" my wife asked, "I thought I heard a teenage girl."
"Look," I said fanning the cards for her, "look"
"Oh yeah, I found those at the bottom of the talisman stuff." (Apparently I had somehow had put character pictures on both sides of the stack, so it looked like a stack of pictures. )

This was a special thing my wife had done for me. I told her so, and told her as a reward she could play talisman with me tonight. She mumbled something about good deeds going unpunished, or something, but finally agreed to a short game of just the Dungeon.

Part 2 the Set-up

So I set up the game. There is a little blurb at the end of the rule sheet which describes how to play the dungeon as a stand alone race game. Basically use all the dungeon rules, and the first one to get to the end wins. The end is only 24 squares from the entrance. So if somebody rolled 6s 4 times in a row they win. But it gives you a quick dip in the talisman pool without a huge time investment. (Not as great a reward, but enjoyable just the same.) The trick is that if you lose a combat, not only do you lose a life, but you have to go backwards on your next turn. This allegedly slows things down a little, making it more dramatic.
So I set the board up. Pulled out three character sheets, the Dungeon
cards (WooHoo), the Spells, and the Characters. I then gathered my wife and child for fun and excitement.

First we had to fight over the Dice. I picked the way cool, marbled black one with the fancy 1 spot. They were stuck with the not as cool marbled red dice with fancy 1 spots. My daughter cried unfair. I invoked the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) on the grounds of being Color Blind. And firmly placed the die with my possessions while she laughed at me. That settled, we Drew our characters.

Me: Rogue strength 3 craft 3 start with 1 spell. (The random spell)
Bug (my daughter): Swashbuckler. strength 3 craft 3 no spell but if she wins a combat she gets to take an extra turn.
My Beautiful and Patient Wife: Gypsy Strength 2 Craft 4 starts with spell (I don't know which one because she never used it.)

We then rolled to see who goes first. I roll a 3, my wife ties with me, and the ingrate child rolls a 5. So turn order will be Bug, Wife, Me.

Turn 1:
Bug: Rolls a 6 (beginners luck) Races away, and draws the first card of the game. She gets a pet dog follower that is willing to fight in her place (str 2 craft 1) She smiles and says "Look Sadie it's you." (Sadie is our dog. She looks nothing like the one on the card, but I humor her.)
Wife: Rolls a 5 streaking up almost to my daughter. She draws her card. It's a magic mirror. She breaks it and gets another spell. Knowing she can't reach across the table, I make a remark about what caused the mirror to break.

Her legs are longer than I thought.

Me: Rolls a 1. I try to complain about my bruised shin interfering with the roll, but nobody is buying it. I draw my card. A giant worm Strength 5. Fight time.
My 3 strength vs. The worms 5. I gird my loins and roll a 1. My wife and child laugh at me. I ask if anybody wants to trade dice.

Turn 2:
Bug: Rolls a 3 (I breath a sigh of relief, I may have a chance) moves three, and draws....A gauntlet of Might. It adds 1 to her score in combat. "yippee for her"(not that I am envious or anything)
Wife: Rolls a 4. Draws a fire which will burn (cause to be discarded) face up cards, of a type to be determined by a roll of the die, between her and the entrance. The only card on the board is my worm...my nemesis. Her roll comes up strangers. I glare at the worm.
Me: I Lost a combat so I have to move backwards. So I roll a 5. And move 1 space to the entrance where I have to stop. I can't even draw a card. I see if anyone will notice if I sulk.

Turn 3:
Bug: rolls a 1 (finally, YES that will show you child...oh yeah I am sulking) She lands on the Vault. She has to draw 2 cards. 1st card is another magic mirror. (That is the problem with having 2 copies of games) so now my daughter also has a spell . Next card is a Secret Passage. She rolls the dice, and the Secret passage takes her to the Vault. (With sarcasm worthy of a teenage. "Oh yeah THAT was a big secret. I better not tell anybody. At least in Clue I could have
gone to the kitchen.") We decide since she technically didn't go anywhere she didn't have to draw again.
Wife: Rolls a 1 (Oh yeah, I am kicking serious butt now. They are only 9 squares ahead of me... Or so) She moves 1 space and draws the trap door. It sends her to the entrance with me. Hooray. I would kiss her hello but my shin still hurts.
Me: Moving forward again, I roll a 4. Wow that's a good roll. Well it would be, except it lands me on the Guard Room. And the guard has a strength of 5. I lose another life. (My family isn't very sympathetic to heartfelt sighs either.)

Turn 4:
Bug: rolls a 4. She finally gets a bad card. She draws the slaver who steals her dog which wasn't doing anything anyway. She says "Bye Sadie you have to go with the nice slaver now." The dog looks at her like she is passing out treats and wags her tail.
Wife: rolls a 2. Draws a card. It's a monster. Yes! somebody else gets to die. Wait. It's a goblin. Strength 2. They are tied for strength She rolls a 5. He rolls a 3. She defeats him handily. I make faces at her.
Me: once again moving backwards. I still haven't even gotten round the first bend yet. Roll a 1. WooHoo, there is the start of my lucky streak. I am still ahead of my lovely wife. Confident that I am about to make progress I draw my card. It's a Crawling Slime strength 6. It will destroy any weapon you use to fight it, even if you win. Well, as I've said the whole game, "It's a darn good thing I don't have
any weapons to kill these monsters with." Another life down the drain,
and I get to go backwards again. I decide now is the time to slow the teenager down and I play my Random spell. She rolls, and naturally doesn't get a 1 (turn into a toad) she just has to lose all her gold. (Again with the sarcasm, "Cause like there is soooo much to buy here.")

Turn 5:
Bug: Rolls a 5. Goes to a corner space and draws a torch. She now gets to roll 2 dice for movement, and use the better one. And she only has 5 spaces to go.
Wife: rolls a 4. Passes me again, waving nonchalantly. I don't say anything, because I have to live with her and I have seen the kind of luck I'm having tonight. She draws a green mist which destroys all her armor. Fortunately all she has is two spells which she hasn't even thought about using the whole game. (Not that I am bitter.)
Me: moving backwards yet again. I roll....a 1. Move 1 space. And pull.. a giant rat. strength 3. Wait...what? strength 3? An even fight? Whatever will I do?
Oh...yeah...that's right...roll a 1.
The rat rolls a 4. So I lose my last life. The good news is that I don't have to move backwards anymore, and I am certain next turn I will draw a really powerful and fast character.

Turn 6:
Bug: brandishes her torch, and rolls 2 fives. Winning the game.

"Wow that was quick, anybody want to play again?", I ask casually.

"Uh--I gotta do my homework Dad"

"Gilmore Girls is on"

Well it was fun (if brief) and now I have them right where I want them. They will remember Talisman as short. And they will remember winning. So next time we will play the full game with all the boards, and two sets of cards.

Part 3: The lesson

Actually I learned two lessons.
The first lesson is when the family agrees to
play a game tie them to their chairs until you win.

The second and most important lesson which I had forgotten:
Never insist on using the ultra cool die.
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Jay Little
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Great story! I hope you can wrangle them into a few more games down the road.
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Christopher Onstad
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thank you for saying so. It was shorter than I had thought it would be, but incredibly fun. And I am sure I will, they are slow learners.

Acutally, while my wife doesn't enjoy games as much as I do, I can generally get her to indulge me at least once a month. My child is pretty willing (when she has time) unless she looses too many times. Then she will sulk for a few weeks. hehehe
 
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Aaron Tubb
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Re: Learning a lesson by re-connecting with a well loved gam
I wonder if it would make much of a difference to use a d4 instead of a d6 for movement?
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Paul Orr
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Re: Learning a lesson by re-connecting with a well loved gam
Well, at least your wife has long legs. Could be worse.
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