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Subject: Runebound vs. Talisman for gateway adventure experience. rss

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Enon Sci
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I'm looking to purchase an adventure title to introduce my girlfriend and assorted other mates to the world of adventure / quest based board games. To my knowledge, none of these people are even familiar with the existence of this genre, though a few played RPGs over 15 years ago.

Never the less, Talisman seems the perfect choice as it's simpler, falls into the feel of a traditional board game more and has nostalgic value for me (though I last played it over 14 years ago).

Runebound, on the otherhand, is about 1/4th the cost and seems far cheaper to expand. This makes it the obvious choice for a money strapped student, such as myself, but the rules seems greatly more complex in a way that may put off my players (is this a correct impression?). Needless to say, I've never played Runebound. The map also lacks a sense of artistic style I associate with Talisman.

Anyhow, since my experience with Runebound is non-existent I figured you guys could help shed some light on this situation.

btw - Oh, I've already read the Runebound review that specifically contrasts against Talisman. Inpite of this, I'm uncertain which is a better purchase for beginners - Runbound and 1 or 2 expansions or the core Talisman boxset ($125 USD).

 
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Simon Harris
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Gotta say - it's Runebound over Talisman every time for me (see my relative ratings: 10 vs 7). Sure, Talisman was fun for a while when I first got it, I even got the first expansion, but we soon got a bit bored with the linear style of play and the frankly simplistic 'roll & move' mechanic. Having rolled the dice, there are rarely more than 2 choices of what to do i.e. left or right. Compare this to Runebound with it's hex map and ingenious terrain dice.
That's before you even get into the combat. If the players recognise the concept of a '+2 to combat roll' (which, of course any self-respecting RPGer would!), then it's even easier.
I've said it before (and probably others have too) Runebound is the game that I *really* wanted Talisman to be.
I'll spare you the full session reports (unless you are really interested!) - you could always take a quick look at the blog on my microbadge to see my ongoing comments as our group got to grips with the game.

Simon
 
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Mike
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Anarchosyn wrote:
... to introduce my girlfriend and assorted other mates to...


Assorted other mates? Your mistresses?

Consider Return of the Heros as well. Ignore the crappy rulebook; the rules are really extremely simple and provide for more decisions than Talisman (on the same lever as Runebound). A legible version of the rules is available for download here at the geek.

The girlfriend might like Return of the Heros better than Talisman or Runebound because you have a quest with specific goals to fullfill. While you'll want to battle monsters and build up your character along the way you always know what general direction you should be heading in. The artwork is also very nice and very appropriate. (Definately that fantasy feel)


While I'm not sure I'd call the movement dice mechanic of Runebound "ingenious" (more like f-ing obnoxious), if I had to choose between Talisman and Runebound then I'd pick Runebound. (Unless the people you are going to play with like alcohol. Drunken Talisman (the only way to play) is always an enjoyable experience.
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Simon Harris
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Igmatto wrote:
Anarchosyn wrote:
... to introduce my girlfriend and assorted other mates to...



While I'm not sure I'd call the movement dice mechanic of Runebound "ingenious" (more like f-ing obnoxious).

A bit harsh, I think. Nothing that can't be sorted out with a couple of dabs with some permanent marker pens. I grant you, without this 'tweak' it can be a bit difficult to differentiate the mountain and the forest die sides!
 
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Enon Sci
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Thanks for the prompt replies.

Just to elaborate:

Igmatto wrote:
Anarchosyn wrote:
... to introduce my girlfriend and assorted other mates to...


Assorted other mates? Your mistresses?

Consider Return of the Heros as well. Ignore the crappy rulebook; the rules are really extremely simple and provide for more decisions than Talisman (on the same lever as Runebound). A legible version of the rules is available for download here at the geek.


Ya mate, don't take the american flag on my name to be anything more than a current location stamp.

Thanks for the suggestion, however. I'll look into that. Hadn't come across it in my investigations.

Regarding Runebound - What expansions should I look into purchasing with the core boxset to really flesh out the experience? I've yet to read through every expansion's description, but it seems they fall into two basic catagories: small packs of extra cards and full game additions (i.e. akin to Talisman's Timescape or City expansions, I assume).

While I'm not sure I'd call the movement dice mechanic of Runebound "ingenious" (more like f-ing obnoxious), if I had to choose between Talisman and Runebound then I'd pick Runebound. (Unless the people you are going to play with like alcohol. Drunken Talisman (the only way to play) is always an enjoyable experience.[/q]
 
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JC Connors
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Runebound makes a decent game for new players, as long as they're not complete gaming newbies (the movement dice and combat system might take some time to learn).

Definitely play with the "Shorter Runebound" option in the back of the rules, otherwise you're looking at about 1 hour per player in the game, which might turn off some new players.

Return of the Heroes is probably a level simpler than Runebound, but as someone else mentioned, the rulebook might as well be in Middle English.
 
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Rob "Bodhi" Wolff
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Talisman holds a special place in my heart, 'cause it was the game that huge numbers of students would sit around and play as a group, back in my University days. When I introduced my wife to it, she fell in love with it and got her sister hooked as well (who then went out and bought a copy for herself).

That being said, it is aptly nicknamed "The Game that Never Ends", and can adequately be summed up as "fantasy-themed Candyland". My memories of it are far better than my recent experiences with it.

Runebound, I feel, is a better game, and while it hasn't won me over completely, it is extremely easy to pick up, easy to teach, and makes a good gateway game.

However ... my gang tends to gravitate towards Descent (set in the same universe as Runebound), and once we teach somebody Descent then Runebound sits and collects dust.
 
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Thom Hall
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I'm gonna say Talisman over runebound for new gamers starting in october 2007 when you can obtain a copy for a decent price. Runebound second edition has improved, but I thought the first edition suffered from some game balance, character recovery problems, and a poorly written rulebook. Talisman may be the game that never ends but runebound first edition was the "don't make mistakes early or you will be watching the others play while you flail about without any low level encounters to fulfill" game that never ends. Not so great for new players. Talisman definitely carries a bit of nostalgia for me so take that into account. Being the simpler game, why not start your friends with the game that really set the standard for the genre (Talisman) and if they like it they may like runebound as well

 
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Steve Bernhardt
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MrSkeletor wrote:
Runebound shits all over Talisman, but it's also a lot more complex and nerdy. Talisman at it's heart is really just a roll and move game. If you're looking for simplicity stick with Talisman. If you're looking for something more "gamey" Runebound.

There is also Return of the Heroes, which is fun but gets old fast. Or Prophecy, which plays the most like Talisman (in an advanced version) which wasn't bad but seemed to be missing that special *something* for me.


Agree with all of this. I'll add that I like the Runebound movement dice because its kind of unique. Player vs player would be lame without them, someone could just keep attacking you....at least with the dice they may not get what they need.

I never played Talisman in the old days so I dont have the nostalgia for it. I was struck with how dated it felt and how badly I wanted the game to end the last couple times I played it.
 
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Enon Sci
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My sentiments exactly, Skars.

Can't wait for October.
 
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Enon Sci
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MrSkeletor wrote:
I can't wait for October either, to see how they update the game and if with the rarity gone there will be a backlash against it's dated play.


Meh, backlash or not, all I care about is having Talisman again without paying hundreds for that (limited) pleasure. $125 was the cheapest I've seen a 100% set going from a legitimate hobby site. Ebay isn't that much better.

Will people hate on it? Probably, but with a large enough audience you're always bound to find people spitting venom needlessly.
 
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Anton Dovydaitis
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"Friends don't let friends play Talisman."

Talisman is confusing, contradictory, unbalanced, and never ending. It wants to be a good adventure board game, and it looks like it ought to be, but it isn't.

I really enjoy Runebound. I have bought three copies: one for me, one for my Santa Cruz gaming group, and one for my San Jose gaming group. The rules are straightforward, the combat is easy and cleverly designed, and once you get the hang of it, and play aggressively, it is a fairly fast game, maybe two hours.

The downside is that the characters get stale after a while. Some of the inexpensive card expansions help a bit, especially items and allies type cards, but the game really wants more characters, and these are only available in the big expansions. Avoid the character decks, as they are expensive, and add a CCG element that does not work well.

Smeelbo
 
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Jesse Acosta
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smeelbo wrote:

Talisman is confusing, contradictory, unbalanced, and never ending. It wants to be a good adventure board game, and it looks like it ought to be, but it isn't.


What is confusing about Talisman? Roll, move, fight, level, roll, move, fight level, possibly win, more likely die, rinse and repeat.


Talisman always has a place in my heart, that and Hero Quest have very fond memories for me. I also have the Dungeon of Doom and City of Adventure expansions to go along with my edition, and always have fun every game. Its for a no-brainer night with just laughs as players get shit on with bad luck.

Yes, nobody might win, and you'll have to call it a night, but are you playing to win or to have fun with friends?
 
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Anton Dovydaitis
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Quote:
What is confusing about Talisman?


There are far too many characters, items, spells, and powers that contradict one another, that each play group must develop its own set of house rules, and keep them straight. The immoveable object meets the unstoppable force quite often, so who wins?

I did not see the latest edition (I gave up long before), but bought every expansion at least once (probably two complete sets for my friends).

A long game ought to be satisfying, that is, you ought to be able to see the fruition of a long term strategy. But there are no long term strategies in Talisman, so it is not worth the time. Just the same stuff over and over again. Development is merely escalation, little new happens, and what happened ten turns ago does not matter.

Talisman would be better if its length were more comparable to its depth.

That is a major reason I prefer RuneBound. At two hours, it is about the right length for its complexity and effort.

Smeelbo
 
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Enon Sci
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harris_family wrote:
but we soon got a bit bored with the linear style of play and the frankly simplistic 'roll & move' mechanic. Having rolled the dice, there are rarely more than 2 choices of what to do i.e. left or right. Compare this to Runebound with it's hex map and ingenious terrain dice.


It's not like Runebound offers a plethora of options either. Sure, you can arbitrarily move in many more directions, but when it comes to actual choices a player is likely to make at any given moment - it boils down to one or two. Generally speaking, those options are merely go to the town hex or do the adventure counter. I find the map for Runebound to be far more self similar and boring. There is hardly any reason to explore one quadrant over another.
 
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Kendall Miles
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Well I'm not a big fan of some of Runebound's mechanics, particularly the annoying dice movement system. I haven't played Talisman in ages myself, but I will recommend another game if you want to have the same type of experience without spending a ton of cash, check out Prophecy. It's very like Talisman, maybe even better, I like it a lot.
 
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Adam Prince
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I find Runebound infinately more enjoyable than Talisman. It's got deeper gameplay, and the expansions (especially the big box ones) add a whole new feel to the game. It's a bit harder to get the hang of if you're not a game-player, but it's simple and engaging enough to interest many people.

Note that I haven't played Talisman for several years. However, I'd play Runebound at the drop of a hat.
 
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Gary Bradley
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My brain dump on the 2 games (I've played both a LOT, though Talisman was 12 years ago, Runebound much more recent)...

1) Both games are similar. Let's not beat about the bush. Runebound is an update of the older game, with "fixes".

2) Both games have a ton of expansions. I have ALL Talisman's expansions, and none of Runebound's. Keep that in mind.

3) Runebound's combat is the deeper/better of the two. It's still puddle-deep at best though, but there ARE more choices in Runebound combat.

4) Runebound is ONLY about combat really. In Talisman you get slightly more interesting encounters.

5) Runebound is somewhat spoiled by what has to be the most stupid movement mechanics in all of gamedom.

6) Talisman is the lighter game, but also the most intersting. If the audience is undemanding (youngsters or non-gamers), Talisman is likely the best option. It is simply the more interesting of the two, with more to see and do. Runebound is the better game though, from a mechanics point of view. It's just that Runebound is somewhat drier.

7) Talisman has more "character". That's all I'm saying on this one.

To be honest, if you are a newbie to this type of game, or to games in general, I'd have to recommend Talisman over Runebound. But be warned that nostalgia is driving me in this recommendation.

A new edition of Talismam is due this year, perhaps wait for that?

 
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Green Knight Games
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I whole-heartedly agree with GaryB's comments. Particulary as the orginal request was for a gateway adventure game. Talisman fits this bill perfectly. It is light and entertaining, and there's a lot of humour in it.
 
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Bobb Beauchamp
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For a gateway game, Talisman fits the bill, other than price. Come the fall, assuming it ships on time, the new edition might be more economical, but then it might not be the gateway game the original is.

Runebound involves slightly more than I'd want in a gateway game. Combat is a bit more complex than just "roll, win/lose, repeat." Plus, with more control over player movement, there's some added depth...go to town, risk the next challenge while wounded, or be very risky and try the next level/color?

Between the two, right now, I'd say get Runebound. I suppose if your group didn't dig on Talisman, you could always recoup your costs by reselling it. But Runebound right now is the better, viable system. It's got lots of support, and with the Adventure variant decks, for $8 or less you can play a new game using most of the same standard components. If your group digs it, there are the big box expansions, too.

Others have mentioned Return of the Heroes. Despite the obtuseness of the rules, it's actually quite simple. It's not quite gateway, as there's some level of freeform movement that Talisman lacks. But it has the upside over both Talisman and Runebound in that there are a good number of quests to complete that don't involve combat or conflict, even if the endgame requires it. With the Realm-lite variant, you don't even have to make it a race game. I'd take a look at Return. The art is more of a classic Fantasy genre, more Elmore for the heroes and 70's Tolkien for the rest, while Runebound is very contempory fantasy. Some find one style more appealing than the other.

 
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Hilary Hartman
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Wow! Finally, a thread where I have played all of the games mentioned!

I haven't played Talisman in many years. I remember it being fun, light, but very addictive. I must have played it once a week for an entire summer during my early college days in the late 80s. I have thought about getting it, but the going price always turns me away. Perhaps such will be remedied later this year.

Runebound (1st ed.) was one of my gateway games that brought me back into the fold. I like it so much that I have the 2nd edition and many, many of the expansions. A great adventure game, regardless of the dice-rolling movement mechanic.

Return of the Heroes was bought, played, and traded away. I downloaded the rules available from the Geek. The game is very much like a role playing game, with quests to go on and monsters to fight, and a bad guy waiting at the endgame. I like RPGs, but I didn't like RotH for some reason.

Prophecy is highly remeniscent of Talisman, and readily available. It is, perhaps, the closest thing like Talisman available today. I don't play it as much as I'd like, but that doesn't mean it is any better or worse than the others.

If it were me, I'd consider Runebound or Prophecy, because if you're looking for a game like Talisman they're the closest that are available.
 
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Brenda Thorpe
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i think id have to go with talisman. im going to echo a lot of whats been said here. but the only reason i say talisman is because of the upcoming new edition. as a gateway game its just a hell of a lot easier to teach. I Own Talisman and all the expansions. I have a friend that owns runebound (thats not too great at teaching so i usually do) Teaching talisman is SO much easier. I've had to do houserules for both games. both have decent Flavor, but talisman just has a LOT more. AS for some of the other games mentioned, I've recently played RotH, and will never, ever play it again. I kept remarking during the game (mostly to myself) that this is like talisman but without the fun. Now im not gonna say runebound is a bad choice. i dig the game and am looking to pick it up at some point, as i have friends that dig talisman, but not the long playing times of talisman. I think runebound plays long, but really any game of this style is gonna play long, talisman just plays longest

so to sum up. runebound=not bad, Return of the Heroes=not good, prophecy=not played, talisman=not hard to learn

 
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