Dave Marion
United States
New Jersey
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Hello! My girlfriend, Amanda, & I are avid boardgamers. Recently, I purchased Talisman (FFG 4th edition) and all the expansions. I had played previously during a board game night at our local store and knew that both Amanda as well as a bunch of our other friends would absolutely enjoy the game. So far, six out of seven people with whom we have played Talisman have loved it! The seventh had a really bad game and needs more convincing.

In these posts, I will be chronicling the 2 Player games of Talisman that Amanda & I play as we try out different characters and expansions.

Houserules
1) Stats level up with 5 Trophies instead of 7.
2) Alignment - If you land on a space with a character of the opposite alignment, you must choose to encounter and attack that character. If you land on a space with a character of the same or within one step alignment, you may choose to encounter the space as usual, trade with the character, or attack that character. [We haven't played enough yet to see how the breakdown of G/N/E characters affects this. (More useful in multi-player games, since we almost always attack each other anyway in 2 Player games like this.)
3) You may stop your movement prematurely to land on the City or Village corners.
4) For 2 Player games, you are dealt 1 Good, 1 Neutral, 1 Evil character, and you choose which one you want to play. This way, we can start out with the ones we want to try the most.

Game 01
Swashbuckler vs Gladiator
Base Talisman, Highland, Dungeon, Reaper, Frostmarch

I played the Swashbuckler (Good, S3, C3, F2, L4, Dungeon Expansion), who may take a second turn if he is victorious in battle, may draw 2 cards on Fields, and adds 1 to rolls at the Tavern.
Amanda played the Gladiator (Evil, S4, C2, F1, L5, Dungeon Expansion), who starts with a Helmet, adds 1 to rolls with Armor, and may declare any number of Followers assisting in battle to gain +1 Strength per Follower.

Early Game
Since we both started in the Tavern, we each had a shot of Whiskey (in real life! Bushmills Black Bush) then went our separate ways.

Amanda went straight to the Dungeon since I had explained that it had moderate strength enemies and was 60% enemies, but had to stop at the Ruins and draw 2 cards: Lion 3S, Griffon 5S. She fought them to a tie, since she had to battle both at the same time. She entered the Dungeon on her next turn and got smacked down by a Cave Troll. She found a chest with 3 gold and got smacked again by a high Craft Enemy. She decided she had had enough of the Dungeon and left.

On my first turn, I drew a raft. How fortunate! I used that to cross the river to the Oasis where I found the Prince and a Wizard Book. Awesome start for me. I traveled to the Cursed Glade and found the Ice Queen's Lair which brought me to the Hidden Valley to face a Dragon. Needless to say, I took some damage. I made my way to the Temple and my prayers were answered in the form of a Toadify! spell. Aside from the damage, this was one of the best starts I've ever had. Amanda had accumulated 2 followers and several items at this point, including the Wand, which I really wanted for my character since my Craft was enough to actually cast spells. I made my way over to the Highland where she was also headed and when we were a few spaces apart: TOADIFY! She was not happy at all. She dropped 3 Gold, 3 Items (including the Wand), and 2 Followers (including the Magpie, who changes object encounter priority to ONE). I spent the next 6-7 turns fighting off enemies as I tried to land on the space in which she dropped her items, and she spent the next few turns after being a Toad also trying to reclaim her stuff before giving up and heading off to work out her frustration on some monsters.

Middle Game
I eventually picked up her gear and the coveted wand. At this point, I had accumulated quite a lot of gold from selling Trinkets and then almost it all to a damned Leprechaun. I rolled poorly and was set to "Lose all Gold" which would have cost me 12 Gold, but the fates were on my side and I rerolled into "Gain 6 Gold", putting me at 18 Gold total. I picked up a few more Followers and decided to make my way through the Highland to fight the Eagle King. While I was doing this, Amanda gained 3 more Strength and headed back to the Dungeon where she found a Magic Mace (+2S in battle) and the Spirit of Vengeance Follower. She continued to increase her Strength, and I continued to increase my useless wealth when I landed on the spot where Highland Raiders had stashed 3 Gold. As I headed toward the Eagle King, my loadout was Base Strength +2, Base Craft +2; Items: Enchanted Sword, Shield, Horns of Power, Wand; Followers: Magpie, Prince, Guide, Mule, Wayfarer. I kicked the Eagle King out of his Aerie and stole his steed Dreadwing (which lets you roll 2d6 for movement and lets you teleport to any space in your current region when you roll doubles). I exited the Highland at the Crags and planned to go back in for another run at the Eagle King. I moved into the Highland and immediately rolled doubles on my next turn. Dreadwing flew me straight to his former master, who promptly cowered before me and offered his mighty weapon Rage Talon.

I figured now was a great time to go for the Crown, but I didn't yet have a Talisman, so I exited the Highlands at the Warlock Cave. Luck was definitely on my side since the Quest I rolled was to give the Warlock 2 Gold. I could easily afford that! This expense brought me down to 19 Gold, but now I had a Talisman! On my next turn, I rolled doubles and decided to go to the Oasis since I needed a few more enemies to level up my stats before I attempted the Portal. Irony abound as I drew a Talisman in the Oasis. I let it sit in the sand and made my way around the inner region once acquiring enough Enemy Trophies to level up both my stats several times when added to the Trophies I had been saving. At this point, Amanda decided that she needed to be in the Inner Region as well and the race was on!

End Game
My Swashbuckler picked the lock at the Portal of Power and dashed into the Inner Region. I chose the Craft route and easily found my way through the Mines with a little fate and a handy spell. Brainwave doubles Base Craft Value for 1 turn, but I rolled 3/3/6 against my Craft of 9. Fate stepped in and rerolled that 6 into a 1. I sacrificed the Guide and the Wayfarer to the Vampire then beat down the Pit Fiends with ease (their max was 10, my minimum was 13). As I was set to enter the Crown of Command, Amanda picked up the Talisman I had left in the Oasis and moved to the door. At this point in the game, I had 4 Life and she had 5 Life. This seemed like a definite win for me.

As I sat on the Crown of Command attempting to drain the Gladiator of her life, she trudged ever forward. Amanda's path to the Crown: Kick open the Portal of Power, easily pass through the Crypt (rolled 14S vs 12S, fate rerolled a 6 into a 2), laugh at Death and walk by in one turn (Death rolled 3, Amanda rolled 11), and knock over the Werewolf with but a breath (Werewolf Strength 4+2 vs Amanda's rolled Strength 20). She gathered her bearing and prepared for combat in the Valley of Fire before rushing onto the Crown of Command and challenging me for control.

Now, I had SEVEN turns on the Crown before she arrived. How much damage did she take as she made her way through the Inner Region: a measly two Life. I drained her with the Crown when she was at the Portal and while she was waiting in the Valley of Fire.

Epic Conclusion
Combat on the Crown of Command
Amanda/Gladiator: 3 Life, 2 Fate, Strength 15+1d6 (via stats, objects, followers), Magic Mace, Armor, Lucky Charm
Dave/Swashbuckler: 4 Life, 0 Fate, Strength 12+1d6 (via stats, objects, followers), Rage Talon, Armor, Horn of Power, Wand, Ring of Protection (Trinket)
The odds were not in my favor. I was down by 3 Strength, which meant that I needed to beat her roll by at least 4 in order to deal damage. Essentially, she needed to roll 1's and I needed to roll 5/6's.

Round 1 (Odd rounds she is the attacker.)
I cast Finger of Death, draining 2 Life bringing her to 1 Life.
A - 19S/1L
D - 16S/4L -> Armor Fail -> Discard Ring of Protection Trinket to prevent 1 Life loss.

Round 2 (Even rounds I am the attacker.)
I cast Invisibility to prevent Combat and to draw another spell. Thank you, Wand! I figured as long as I can keep drawing spells that I can use each turn, I will eventually be able to deal direct damage, boost my strength, or lessen her strength and win. I drew Craft as my next spell.

Round 3
A - 19S/1L
D - 14S/4L -> Armor

Round 4
I cast Craft to gain 1 Craft and draw another spell: Change Fortune. You cast this spell "After you have paid Fate, but before you roll..." Damn. I can never cast this spell since I have 0 Fate. Now I am spell-locked and it is straight combat to determine the winner.
A - 17S/1L
D - 13S/4L -> Armor

Round 5
A - 19S/1L
D - 18S/4L -> Armor

Round 6
A - 16S/1L -> Draw
D - 16S/4L -> Draw

Round 7
A - 17S/1L
D - 14S/4L -> Armor Fail -> 3L

Round 8
A - 21S/1L
D - 17S/3L -> Armor Fail -> 2L

Round 9
A - 21S/1L
D - 15S/2L -> Armor Fail -> 1L
Things do not look good at this point, and I realize that I likely won't win with these odds.

Round 10
A - 21S/1L
D - 16S/1L -> Armor

Round 11
A - 17S/1L
D - 18S/1L
And I win since she cannot negate Rage Talon damage with Armor!
But I don't win. She smiles, flips a Fate token, and passes me her Lucky Charm. The Lucky Charm lets you decide what the result of a die roll will be. She obviously chooses 6.

Round 11 Recalculated
A - 21S/1L
D - 18S/1L -> Armor Fail -> Dead

The Gladiator deals a critical crushing blow with the Magic Mace, caving in the Swashbuckler's chest killing him instantly. Victory Amanda!

What a fantastic session. We both enjoyed the characters we played. The Gladiator seems very good as a Strength character, and even though Amanda never really had more than 1 Follower at a time, she still wrecked with the Gladiator. I made prolific use of the Swashbuckler's extra turns and his ability to draw 2 cards on Fields. These are two solid characters. This session took approximately 1.5 hours not including setup time.

We plan to continue playing 2 Player, but removing characters that have been used, so we eventually try everyone. We will likely remove the Highland for the next game since we spend a good portion of mid-game far away from each other, but keep the Dungeon since we didn't really explore it at all. We both look forward to our next session!
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Rauli Kettunen
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FreeKnight wrote:
I made my way over to the Highland where she was also headed and when we were a few spaces apart: TOADIFY!

Did you mean Toadify Spell or Random Spell? Toadify seems odd given the description, since you have to attack the other player (or be attacked) in order to use it. ("Cast on a creature or character you are about to engage in battle.")

Quote:
Round 1 (Odd rounds she is the attacker.)
I cast Finger of Death, draining 2 Life bringing her to 1 Life.
A - 19S/1L
D - 16S/4L -> Armor Fail -> Discard Ring of Protection Trinket to prevent 1 Life loss.

Since she saw you had the Wand, smart play would've been for her to pick the Wand as her reward for winning the battle instead of trying to take a Life. Would've denied you extra spells for the rest of the endgame (didn't matter this time, but could other times), then second round of combat, she should've picked Armour, removing your protection, once those are gone, start hacking away at your Life, or take your weapon as her third reward (or earlier), denying you any chance of victory in battles.
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Dave Marion
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Dam the Man wrote:
FreeKnight wrote:
I made my way over to the Highland where she was also headed and when we were a few spaces apart: TOADIFY!

Did you mean Toadify Spell or Random Spell? Toadify seems odd given the description, since you have to attack the other player (or be attacked) in order to use it. ("Cast on a creature or character you are about to engage in battle.")
Yes, Toadify! the spell. It probably was as we were engaging in combat, which meant I still wouldn't have been able to pick up her items since they belong to the space now. The result would have worked out the same. Thanks for pointing it out. I didn't have the actual cards in front of me when writing this up, just some handwritten notes about the big events that happened in the game.

Dam the Man wrote:
FreeKnight wrote:
Round 1 (Odd rounds she is the attacker.)
I cast Finger of Death, draining 2 Life bringing her to 1 Life.
A - 19S/1L
D - 16S/4L -> Armor Fail -> Discard Ring of Protection Trinket to prevent 1 Life loss.

Since she saw you had the Wand, smart play would've been for her to pick the Wand as her reward for winning the battle instead of trying to take a Life. Would've denied you extra spells for the rest of the endgame (didn't matter this time, but could other times), then second round of combat, she should've picked Armour, removing your protection, once those are gone, start hacking away at your Life, or take your weapon as her third reward (or earlier), denying you any chance of victory in battles.
I completely agree with you. That's what I would have done. This was Amanda's second game of Talisman (my fourth), and she forgot about this part of the attacking rule. I pointed this out after the game ended, so she would be aware for future games. She was still pleased with the result, but had I won, I assume she would have been slightly frustrated because had she followed this strategy, she would have guaranteed her victory much more quickly. I read her your comment and she replied, "Thanks for the insight! I'll definitely remember that in our next game."

Oh wow, I just realized who you are! Thanks for commenting. I really enjoyed reading through your various Talisman threads, especially the statistics one on the character win/loss/LoD records.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Neat thing about CoC fighting, especially if you have one Str-character vs a Craft-character (hence one will win one round, the other the other round), is taking an Object and ditching it right away. Since at the CoC, characters will only encounter each other until only one remains, there is no way to get back the ditched Object, solid play to deny a key Object to your opponent.
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Gabe Hawkins
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Virginia
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Really enjoyed reading this! Looking forward to more! Talisman was my gateway game and is still probably my favorite game of all time.
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