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Subject: Mega Talisman Variant rss

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Herlander Jesus
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Greeting all.

I've been working on a BETA version of a variant for Talisman trying to incorporate all the Expansions.

My initial idea was to have the feeling of a developing story and at the same time give the sense of leveling up like an RPG. I'm still struggling with a couple of ideas, but the main part is completed.

Feedback is apreciated, as are sugestions.

Happy gaming to all.

--------------------------

Setup

1) Setup Base Board. Base Game rules apply for the entire game.

2) Setup City Board. (Shop Decks – draw top 3 and choose 1, discard to bottom of deck; Free Shop Card – draw top card from deck)

3) Setup the Warlock Quests. Whenever a character lands on the Warlock Cave he may draw 2 Quests and choose 1. Discard to the bottom of the Deck. Whenever he completes a Warlock Quest he may draw a Quest Reward (draw 2 and choose 1, discard to bottom of deck) or gain a Talisman card. (You may complete any number of Warlock Quests).

4) At the start of the game put 3 Sleep Tokens on Crags Space. Each time a Character lands on Crags space remove a sleep Token. When all 3 tokens are removed, setup Highlands Board and Cards. Players may gain a Relic Card by defeating The Eagle King. After being defeated The Eagle King reforms.

5) At the start of the game put 3 Sleep Tokens on Forest Space. Each time a Character lands in Forest space remove a sleep Token. When all 3 tokens are removed, setup Woodland Board and Cards. Fatebound rules enters play. Destiny and Path Cards enter play. Light and Dark Fate rules enter play but a character may only use Dark Fate after he completes one or more paths in the Meeting with Destiny space.

6) Setup Firelands. Fireproof and Burn rules enter play. Terrain Cards may not be placed on the Jail space and Town Square space of the City board. Terrain cards do not block movement to other Region Boards. Rules apply for the entire game.

7) Setup The Reaper. Reaper moves on a roll of 1. Whenever Reaper lands on a space with no characters, draw a card from the Nether Realm deck and add it to the space. Whenever a character is Killed by the Reaper on a roll of 1, he may discard a Relic Card if he has one, to avoid being killed. Kill a Follower instead (if you don’t have a Follower lose 2 lives instead).

8) Setup The Werewolf. It starts on Cursed Glade space. The Werewolf moves on roll of 6. Setup Day/Night card. It flips whenever an event is drawn. Lunar Events stay in play until card flips again. Lycanthrope rules apply.

9) Setup Harbinger with Chosen Prophecy and Omen deck. Whenever a character draws an event, place The Harbinger figure on that Characters space. Whenever the top Omen card is discarded, return the Harbinger figure to its card. A Character in the same region as The Harbinger must draw cards from the Harbinger deck until it return to his card. Harbinger cards are not considered adventure card when drawn, for the purposes of some abilities. Rules apply for the entire game.

10) At the start of Game put the remaining sleep tokens on the Crown of Command Space. After the first Nether Card enters play and while there is a Nether Card in play (undefeated), at the start of the First Player Turn (identify the player by giving him the Crown token), he removes a sleep token, then takes his turn as normal. Sleep Tokens on the Forest and Crags space must be removed last. When all the sleep tokens on the board are removed (including the ones on the Forest and Crags spaces), setup the Dragon Tower board in the Inner Region and apply the corresponding Rules.

In Play

1a) To enter the Dungeon, a character must first encounter or draw a Dungeon Door card. Afterwards setup the Dungeon Board and Cards. Any character may enter as normal. Whenever a character Defeats The Lord of Darkness, he or she must draw a Treasure card. After the Lord of Darkness is defeated he reforms.

2a) When The Dungeon is available, setup The Deep Realms next to the City and Dungeon boards as normal.

3a) After the first Nether Card enters play and while there is a Nether Card in play (undefeated), at the start of the First Players Turn, he removes a sleep token from the Crown of Command space, then takes his turn as normal. Sleep Tokens on the Forest and Crags space must be removed last.

4a) To Enter the Crown of Command space in the Dragon Tower a Character must carry a Treasure card from the Dungeon and a Talisman Card. Otherwise, he may not defeat the Dragon King nor win the game.

5a) A character who defeats the Dragon King on the Crown of Command space, wins the game.

6a) If all the Omen Cards in the Omen deck are discarded, all characters lose the game.
-----------------------------------

Any thoughts?


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Paolo Tosolini
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Hello Herlander

you have devised a nice variant, for playing groups that have the time and commitment to implement it. It's not exceedingly different from a normal game with all expansions, but there are interesting features such as putting timers or triggers on the introduction of corner Regions.

However, there are several features that you should improve or revise. A general problem that I see is the delayed setup of Dungeon, Highland and Woodland. Maybe you play on the floor and don't face table space issues, but once a game has started and players spread cards and bits over the surface, placing a corner and its components might be a nuisance.

BlakenDorf wrote:

2) Setup City Board. (Shop Decks – draw top 3 and choose 1, discard to bottom of deck; Free Shop Card – draw top card from deck)
Do you mean that Shops have no fixed items on sale, but they give a limited and random every visit? This could work, even though I cannot foretell how it affects the overall balance of the City expansion. You should then add that characters are not forced to purchase (they might not have the money to purchase any of the available items, and in any case being forced to purchase an unwanted item is unfair), and this would affect the rule about entering Shops too (you can enter and not buy).

BlakenDorf wrote:
5) At the start of the game put 3 Sleep Tokens on Forest Space. Each time a Character lands in Forest space remove a sleep Token. When all 3 tokens are removed, setup Woodland Board and Cards. Fatebound rules enters play. Destiny and Path Cards enter play. Light and Dark Fate rules enter play but a character may only use Dark Fate after he completes one or more paths in the Meeting with Destiny space.
Light and Dark fate rules are difficult to introduce mid-game and there are no reasons not to use them from the start. Why should a character be restrained to use dark fate until he completes a Path? This seems to assume that dark fate is more powerful, which is not, and it ultimately affects the balance of the Woodland region. If characters cannot spend dark fate, they will tend to be darkbound and have less control over their fate distribution.

Moreover, you should notice that there are Adventure cards in the Woodland expansion which have fatebound effects. How are you supposed to deal with them? You should pose yourself the same question for Adventure Cards that link main board to the Highland (Mountain Trail, Landslide, Roc, etc...).

BlakenDorf wrote:
6) Setup Firelands. Fireproof and Burn rules enter play. Terrain Cards may not be placed on the Jail space and Town Square space of the City board. Terrain cards do not block movement to other Region Boards. Rules apply for the entire game.
I'm not sure what you mean with the red sentence.

BlakenDorf wrote:
10) At the start of Game put the remaining sleep tokens on the Crown of Command Space. After the first Nether Card enters play and while there is a Nether Card in play (undefeated), at the start of the First Player Turn (identify the player by giving him the Crown token), he removes a sleep token, then takes his turn as normal. Sleep Tokens on the Forest and Crags space must be removed last. When all the sleep tokens on the board are removed (including the ones on the Forest and Crags spaces), setup the Dragon Tower board in the Inner Region and apply the corresponding Rules.
It's not clear whether the Dragon Tower is the only way to win the game or if you can cross the standard Inner Region before all Sleep Tokens on the Crown are discarded. I don't believe a character can reach the Crown so fast, but maybe if he finds the Arnkell early on... What happens if the Inner Region is replaced by Dragon Tower with a character inside? These are issues you should address in your endgame variant.

BlakenDorf wrote:
1a) To enter the Dungeon, a character must first encounter or draw a Dungeon Door card. Afterwards setup the Dungeon Board and Cards. Any character may enter as normal. Whenever a character Defeats The Lord of Darkness, he or she must draw a Treasure card. After the Lord of Darkness is defeated he reforms.
It's extremely difficult to find a Dungeon Door card inside the huge Adventure deck. What happens if they get burned or discarded by some effect? Characters can't enter the Dungeon? This will result in the game being unbeatable under your endgame conditions. You should apply a timer to this one as well, perhaps more than 3 sleep tokens if you like.

It's unclear how to deal with cards such as Trap Door or Burrow Worm. They grant access to the Dungeon Region too. This is the same problem of similar cards from the Highland expansion (see above).

BlakenDorf wrote:
4a) To Enter the Crown of Command space in the Dragon Tower a Character must carry a Treasure card from the Dungeon and a Talisman Card. Otherwise, he may not defeat the Dragon King nor win the game.

5a) A character who defeats the Dragon King on the Crown of Command space, wins the game.

6a) If all the Omen Cards in the Omen deck are discarded, all characters lose the game.
I think that performing these tasks while waiting for Regions to appear, with the Omen cards acting as a time limit, is impossible. I think that the Harbinger expansion goes the opposite direction of any "endless questing" vision of Talisman. You should remove the 6a) condition, as it makes the game hardly winnable with the added tasks and timers. You could keep Omens in play if you like, and add a rule that instructions to discard the last Omen are ignored instead.
 
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Herlander Jesus
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Greetings Paolo

Thank you for your feedbback. It is much apreciated.

The_Warlock wrote:
A general problem that I see is the delayed setup of Dungeon, Highland and Woodland. Maybe you play on the floor and don't face table space issues, but once a game has started and players spread cards and bits over the surface, placing a corner and its components might be a nuisance.
This is a non-issue really. We have 12 gaming tables available (we play on a private club), but I understand and am well aware of some spacing issues that might appear.

The_Warlock wrote:
BlakenDorf wrote:

2) Setup City Board. (Shop Decks – draw top 3 and choose 1, discard to bottom of deck; Free Shop Card – draw top card from deck)
Do you mean that Shops have no fixed items on sale, but they give a limited and random every visit? This could work, even though I cannot foretell how it affects the overall balance of the City expansion. You should then add that characters are not forced to purchase (they might not have the money to purchase any of the available items, and in any case being forced to purchase an unwanted item is unfair), and this would affect the rule about entering Shops too (you can enter and not buy).
Yes, that is what I mean. I'm still struggling with some balance issues, so your suggestion seems like a good one and I'll add it to variant.

The_Warlock wrote:
Light and Dark fate rules are difficult to introduce mid-game and there are no reasons not to use them from the start. Why should a character be restrained to use dark fate until he completes a Path? This seems to assume that dark fate is more powerful, which is not, and it ultimately affects the balance of the Woodland region. If characters cannot spend dark fate, they will tend to be darkbound and have less control over their fate distribution.
Again who are correct. My main reason to limit the Dark Fate, was because I wanted to give the characters a sense of advancement by gaining a new powerful ability. The Dark Fate seemed like a good way to enhance a character. However, I can see the balancing issues that it would derive. Also, I wanted to give the players a reason to explore the Woodland without forcing them to go there (that is reserved for the Dungeon), so I thought that I coud give them something to gain. In the Highlands, the Relic Card allow characters to avoid the "death penalty" of the Reaper. It is improbable that someone dies due to the Reaper (there is still Fate), but it still might happen when all Fate is spent, so I thought of that reward for the Highland. I'm still struggling for a proper reward for the Woodland. Are the Destiny cards enough of a reward to justify going to the Woods?

The_Warlock wrote:
Terrain cards do not block movement to other Region Boards.
That was probably bad wording on my part. I'm trying to follow the rule as writen. It means that if a terrain card substitutes a space that allows to enter one of the other board regions, entering the region is still allowed and movement into that region is not afected.


The_Warlock wrote:
It's not clear whether the Dragon Tower is the only way to win the game or if you can cross the standard Inner Region before all Sleep Tokens on the Crown are discarded. I don't believe a character can reach the Crown so fast, but maybe if he finds the Arnkell early on... What happens if the Inner Region is replaced by Dragon Tower with a character inside? These are issues you should address in your endgame variant.
Those will be adressed. Any character in the Inner Region when the Dragon Tower enters play is moved to the Portal of Power space. A character may explore the Inner Region but may only win the game by defeating the Dragon King.

The_Warlock wrote:
It's extremely difficult to find a Dungeon Door card inside the huge Adventure deck. What happens if they get burned or discarded by some effect? Characters can't enter the Dungeon? This will result in the game being unbeatable under your endgame conditions. You should apply a timer to this one as well, perhaps more than 3 sleep tokens if you like.

It's unclear how to deal with cards such as Trap Door or Burrow Worm. They grant access to the Dungeon Region too. This is the same problem of similar cards from the Highland expansion (see above).
Again poor or incomplete wording on my part. This issue will be adressed and will include all cards that allow characters to enter the Dungeon. Any card that allows entering the Dungeon, will trigger the Dungeon Board. I'm not sure about the timer effect for the Dungeon though, since the other boards are really not necessary for the endgame effect, thus forcing the characters to take risks in trying to find the Dungeon. It makes more sense thematically (imo). The same could be applied to the same type of cards from the other two boards. Making the cards "urburnable" would adress that issue on the short run, but it feels artificial...

The_Warlock wrote:
ou should remove the 6a) condition, as it makes the game hardly winnable with the added tasks and timers. You could keep Omens in play if you like, and add a rule that instructions to discard the last Omen are ignored instead
I believe you are right. The timer mecanism of the Omen cards makes it extremely dificult to control the endgame. I was thinking about removing the loss of game effect and add more Prophecies and omens whenever the last omen card would be discarded. Would that make the variant more or less balanced?

Again, all the feedback is apreciated.
 
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BlakenDorf wrote:
My main reason to limit the Dark Fate, was because I wanted to give the characters a sense of advancement by gaining a new powerful ability. The Dark Fate seemed like a good way to enhance a character. However, I can see the balancing issues that it would derive. Also, I wanted to give the players a reason to explore the Woodland without forcing them to go there (that is reserved for the Dungeon), so I thought that I coud give them something to gain. In the Highlands, the Relic Card allow characters to avoid the "death penalty" of the Reaper. It is improbable that someone dies due to the Reaper (there is still Fate), but it still might happen when all Fate is spent, so I thought of that reward for the Highland. I'm still struggling for a proper reward for the Woodland. Are the Destiny cards enough of a reward to justify going to the Woods?
Destinies are great rewards, but I admit they feel a bit unnecessary when so many other things have to be accomplished to win the game.

Instead of forcing characters to randomly find access to the Dungeon through the Adventure deck, having a Destiny AND a Relic could become the requisite for finding the entrance to the Dungeon. There are 5 cards that grant direct access to the Dungeon, among 572 Adventure cards, and only 2 are permanent; don't you think it's a bit difficult to find them, regardless of the burning problem? With this requisite, you are stimulating players to explore Highland and Woodland until they reach the end.

You may keep the extra effect of discarding a Relic to avoid being killed by the Reaper (or by any effect that kills a character outright). If you decide to go with the suggestion above it would be even more necessary, because there are only 4 Relics available while players might be up to 6. A means to force them to discard a Relic is useful, so it becomes available again.

BlakenDorf wrote:
The_Warlock wrote:
Terrain cards do not block movement to other Region Boards.
That was probably bad wording on my part. I'm trying to follow the rule as writen. It means that if a terrain card substitutes a space that allows to enter one of the other board regions, entering the region is still allowed and movement into that region is not afected.
Ok, but there's no such rule in the expansions that add Terrain cards. There are other effects, e.g. Terrain Cards on the Portal of Power or Sentinel that remove the barrier between Regions on the main board, but there hasn't been any rule for spaces connected to corners.

BlakenDorf wrote:
The_Warlock wrote:
You should remove the 6a) condition, as it makes the game hardly winnable with the added tasks and timers. You could keep Omens in play if you like, and add a rule that instructions to discard the last Omen are ignored instead
I believe you are right. The timer mecanism of the Omen cards makes it extremely dificult to control the endgame. I was thinking about removing the loss of game effect and add more Prophecies and omens whenever the last omen card would be discarded. Would that make the variant more or less balanced?
The Omen sets have a progression towards a more difficult game. Once the Seventh Omen is in play, the game tends to be unforgiving for the characters, and there's no way it could be worse except losing the game. Thematically it makes no sense to start over with a new Omen set, or to mix different Omen sets together.

If you remove the "lose game" condition, the best thing to do is to ignore instructions to discard the last Omen, while still allowing to go back towards the previous Omen if it happens. It gives some relief to the players, while still keeping the difficulty high and allowing to use all components from the Harbinger expansion.
 
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The_Warlock wrote:
Instead of forcing characters to randomly find access to the Dungeon through the Adventure deck, having a Destiny AND a Relic could become the requisite for finding the entrance to the Dungeon. There are 5 cards that grant direct access to the Dungeon, among 572 Adventure cards, and only 2 are permanent; don't you think it's a bit difficult to find them, regardless of the burning problem? With this requisite, you are stimulating players to explore Highland and Woodland until they reach the end.

You may keep the extra effect of discarding a Relic to avoid being killed by the Reaper (or by any effect that kills a character outright). If you decide to go with the suggestion above it would be even more necessary, because there are only 4 Relics available while players might be up to 6. A means to force them to discard a Relic is useful, so it becomes available again.
It's not very clear what you mean by this. Do you mean that only a character with a Relic AND a destiny may find or enter the Dungeon? It would feel very restrictive for the players (since they already have that same restriction on the Crown space with the Treasure card). Also, as you say, the Relic can be discarded, stolen or lost and restrict even further the character, since it would have to backtrack all the way to the Highland to get a new Relic or try to steal it from someone.

I think I have something else in mind that would utilize the potential of the Deep Realms. Any character in the North Side Alley or Thieves Alley on the City board may perform a "search" check to discover the "entrance" to the corresponding Realm Card. To signal the possibility on the City Board, each space could have a Fate Token. Any character with at least one Destiny card can take the Fate token. Since it is a valuable resourse, it is a proper reward and would tie in with the Destiny Cards of the Woodland.

AS for the "search roll" itself it could be a 12 on 2d6, with a character adding +1 to its roll for each Craft it has.

This would allow a second way to discover the Dungeon, besides the random Dungeon Entrance card from the Adventure deck, and one much more thematic since it would force the characters to actively search for the Dungeon instead of just stumbling blindly and randomly upon it. That would mean that the Deep Realms would have to be discovered (instead of just appearing when the Dungeon is found).

Now I would just need a similar third way to find the Dungeon for Strenght based characters...


The_Warlock wrote:
If you remove the "lose game" condition, the best thing to do is to ignore instructions to discard the last Omen, while still allowing to go back towards the previous Omen if it happens. It gives some relief to the players, while still keeping the difficulty high and allowing to use all components from the Harbinger expansion.
Agreed.



I think I've thought of another thing to add to the variant and that is a way to gain Strenght/Craft. As a character turns in trophies the value cap would increase so as to make it progressivelly harder. It would give a more realistic feel of "leveling up".

The Leveling Up could be done in Phases and always at the end of the turn and once per turn. Somewhat like this:

Phase 1 - Turn in 5 points of Strenght/Craft to gain a counter of the same type. A character can do this up to 3 times per game. Then it uses the Phase 2.

Phase 2 - The same but now it requires 6 points of trophies.

Phase 3 - The same but it requires 7 points of trophies and it can only be done twice.

Phase 4 - The same but it requires 8 points of trophies and it can be done only once.

Phase 5 - It requires 8 points of trophies and must roll 2d6 and get an 8+ or the "leveling up" fails (the character keeps the trophies)

Thoughts?
 
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BlakenDorf wrote:
It's not very clear what you mean by this. Do you mean that only a character with a Relic AND a destiny may find or enter the Dungeon?
Yes.

BlakenDorf wrote:
It would feel very restrictive for the players (since they already have that same restriction on the Crown space with the Treasure card). Also, as you say, the Relic can be discarded, stolen or lost and restrict even further the character, since it would have to backtrack all the way to the Highland to get a new Relic or try to steal it from someone.


I thought you wanted to give some incentive to visit all Regions and to attempt all challenges. However, you could limit it to the Destiny cards if you prefer, since they can't be stolen and are inherited by the replacement character. Still, you can allow accessing to the Dungeon by the few Adventure cards in the deck, but you need a permanent access method. Gaining a Destiny is like proving to a hero, either positive or negative, and the blessing of the fae may allow the destined ones to find the door to the Lord of Darkness' Dungeon.

BlakenDorf wrote:
I think I have something else in mind that would utilize the potential of the Deep Realms. Any character in the North Side Alley or Thieves Alley on the City board may perform a "search" check to discover the "entrance" to the corresponding Realm Card. To signal the possibility on the City Board, each space could have a Fate Token. Any character with at least one Destiny card can take the Fate token. Since it is a valuable resourse, it is a proper reward and would tie in with the Destiny Cards of the Woodland.

AS for the "search roll" itself it could be a 12 on 2d6, with a character adding +1 to its roll for each Craft it has.

This would allow a second way to discover the Dungeon, besides the random Dungeon Entrance card from the Adventure deck, and one much more thematic since it would force the characters to actively search for the Dungeon instead of just stumbling blindly and randomly upon it. That would mean that the Deep Realms would have to be discovered (instead of just appearing when the Dungeon is found).


This is definitely a good idea that you can implement, no matter what you decide to do on the above issue.

BlakenDorf wrote:
Now I would just need a similar third way to find the Dungeon for Strenght based characters...


Make the roll above either Craft or Strength-based, according to the player's choice.

BlakenDorf wrote:
I think I've thought of another thing to add to the variant and that is a way to gain Strenght/Craft. As a character turns in trophies the value cap would increase so as to make it progressivelly harder. It would give a more realistic feel of "leveling up".

The Leveling Up could be done in Phases and always at the end of the turn and once per turn. Somewhat like this:

Phase 1 - Turn in 5 points of Strenght/Craft to gain a counter of the same type. A character can do this up to 3 times per game. Then it uses the Phase 2.

Phase 2 - The same but now it requires 6 points of trophies.

Phase 3 - The same but it requires 7 points of trophies and it can only be done twice.

Phase 4 - The same but it requires 8 points of trophies and it can be done only once.

Phase 5 - It requires 8 points of trophies and must roll 2d6 and get an 8+ or the "leveling up" fails (the character keeps the trophies)

Thoughts?
The main problem with this system is that it limits the progression of characters by means of trophies in a certain attribute , and makes free Strength and Craft points gained during encounters extremely valuable, most of all in the late game.

Maybe having a Strength and Craft cap would work better, especially if you are using a Draconic Lord card as the endgame boss. Stil, with a Flail the chances are strongly on the side of the character.
 
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The_Warlock wrote:
I thought you wanted to give some incentive to visit all Regions and to attempt all challenges. However, you could limit it to the Destiny cards if you prefer, since they can't be stolen and are inherited by the replacement character.
I can always add the Relic and Destiny cards as prerequesite to enter the final Boss/Crown space. It shouldn't unbalance the game that much, it would just make it longer.

The_Warlock wrote:
The main problem with this system is that it limits the progression of characters by means of trophies in a certain attribute , and makes free Strength and Craft points gained during encounters extremely valuable, most of all in the late game.

Maybe having a Strength and Craft cap would work better, especially if you are using a Draconic Lord card as the endgame boss.

Not sure what you mean by this. I understand the limits of the system (it was just an idea anyway), but not sure how a cap would work better. Care to elaborate please?
 
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BlakenDorf wrote:
I can always add the Relic and Destiny cards as prerequesite to enter the final Boss/Crown space. It shouldn't unbalance the game that much, it would just make it longer.
Yes, it will. The need to gain a Treasure might be enough for the endgame requirement.

My main concern was not about forcing characters to visit Highland and Woodland, but about too few and random entry points to the Dungeon. The Deep Realms idea is not bad to fix that point.

The_Warlock wrote:
The main problem with this system is that it limits the progression of characters by means of trophies in a certain attribute , and makes free Strength and Craft points gained during encounters extremely valuable, most of all in the late game.

Maybe having a Strength and Craft cap would work better, especially if you are using a Draconic Lord card as the endgame boss.

Not sure what you mean by this. I understand the limits of the system (it was just an idea anyway), but not sure how a cap would work better. Care to elaborate please? [/q]

The indefinite leveling of characters is nice, but it's definitely one of the problems that makes Talisman last very long. Once a character is able to win all attacks, players go on harvesting trophies until they can defeat the end boss without the need to even roll dice. This is what makes all boss endings a bit lame, IMHO.

Instead of leveling in a different way, which is not only a mechanic that upsets the standard balance, but a whole new set of rules and thresholds to remember, putting a cap is what prevents characters from becoming overly powerful in any field, until they can mathematically beat the Lord of Darkness and the Draconic Lord on the Crown of Command.

The right way to go could be to cap the total of Strength+Craft, not every single attribute separately. This could allow players to choose a main stat to develop, but at least they're going to have a limit and if they push Strength too high, their Craft will remain considerably low.

I've never tried the cap variant by myself. I'm not very interested in playing variants in general. I guess a good cap for a character's Strength + Craft would be 20 points. Objects and Followers still can increase stats above their normal value, and Weapons will grant further bonuses in combat, so a character can still win the final boss without rolling, but it will require a longer and focused leveling. Barring the cheap bonus given by the Flail, there won't be many ways to auto-win the final boss except leveling only one attribute and neglecting the other. This will still make characters vulnerable to some threats.
 
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The house rule we use is value + 10. For example the troll has strength value of 5 and craft value of 1. He can not exceed intrinsic value of 15 and 11 respectively.

There are 4 ways of measuring strength and craft.

Value this is the amount you start with it can change during the game through some effects - destiny cards. Mostly though it is what you start with.

Intrinsic value. This is value + any cones that have been obtained through leveling up.

Fight value. This is intrinsic value + any objects or followers that add to strength or craft for fighting only. Usually this means weapons.

Total value. This is the total strength, and craft that a character has derived from all objects and followers + Fight value.

For example the troll has the fate sword and the maiden. He has managed to get himself an additional red cone and an additional blue cone.

His strength and craft values are 5 and 1.
His strength and craft intrinic values are 6 and 2.
His strength and craft fight values are 7 and 2.
His strength and craft total values are 7 and 4.

He can not exceed an intrinsic value of 15 and 11. But assuming he gains no further objects of followers, but levels up as far as he can, he would have a total strength and craft when going for the crown of command of 16 and 13. More than enough.

ps some very interesting suggestions in the first post.

 
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I would just leave the highlands open for the first part of the game and gradually add other corners as the game progresses. you could randomly add one of the other three after a preset amount of turns. That way you would not have to worry about landing on the same spaces three times. Which in three hour games could not even happen.

 
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Mike van Schijndel
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I really like these suggestions!

For my group I'm planning on adding/modifying them and adding a few suggestions of my own:

1) Roll to move or just take 1 step. You cannot step back the next turn (to prevent abuse (Fountain of Strength etc). This would make it just a bit easier/less frustrating to reach a specific location.

2) Expansion boards appear when forest/crags/ruins have been explored three times.

3) Reaper and Werewolf can enter expansion boards but teleport back to the entrance once the last character leaves the board they are on (in our games they would just get stuck on these expansion boards and we would forget about them).

4) I love the idea of the Reaper placing Nether Realm Cards (in my games I would make the Nether Realm Card replace any other cards that are in that space).

5) For leveling we tried this last game and it really worked for us: in the first hour a point of craft or strength costs 7 trophies. In the second hour of playing it costs 6. After three hours of playing have passed, a point cost 5 trophies. Note that we had a game with 7 players that night so you might not want to try this with less players but for us it worked perfectly and it made sure things didn't stall in the ending. Because it all went much faster everyone had a chance to level up and be included in the end race (although the ones that were already quite powerful of course had the best chance of winning).

I don't own the last two expansions yet (although I will get them this week) so I can't say anything about those additions. We never played with the Dragon board though. Seemed like a big hassle.

Happy gaming!
 
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Colin
United Kingdom
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With the leveling up of characters I prefer using the rule you require 1 trophy point more than your current intrinsic value so at the start of the game its quick then slows down. A weak character (low strength) might level up when they kill a small animal, for instance. I also cap the value at 10+ the original starting value and give trophy points for non card kills (e.g. farmer) place strength or craft tokens on your trophy cards to remind you.

I know the movement in Talisman annoys the hell out of some but its when you get stuck that you end up choosing an undesirable location and bad things happen (more toads please!)
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