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Subject: A victory I have been waiting on for 20 years. rss

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Jim Stevens
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Hi all - this is my first Session Report on BGG. Please be gentle!

Talisman 4th edition

I first played Talisman back in 1986 and it was a brutal, stressful experience. I won the game with the Troll, which really irritated the other players. They thought the Troll was a joke and laughed when I picked him. They weren't laughing as I cast the Command spell on them!

Fast forward to 2007 and the re-release of Talisman in the 4th edition. I loved the experience from 1986 so much that I knew the new edition would create new memories as good as the 20 year old ones. Well . . . aside from the inexcusable copy errors on the board and the cards (which I will not go into here), the game delivered. After the release, I purchased a copy and my friend Dan purchased one. We played a few times and I always came up short. I had not won a game since back in 1986, so I felt like I was about due.

Saturday night I played with my friend Dan, his wife, brother, son and son's friend. A six player game and the quest was on! I should note that Alex and Billy are 12 years old. Billy had not played before but the rest of us had played several times.

The characters and players:
Assassin: Me
Druid: Dan
Ghoul: Michelle
Monk: Billy
Prophetess: Alex
Wizard: Dave

The characters were randomly determined and we all took up our starting spots. As usual in our games, everyone was pretty tentative for the first hour or so. We rolled and made the monumental decisions of "fields" or "hills." We never attacked each other but would merely draw cards. I was getting lucky and drawing few encounters, but plenty of items. After the first hour I was sitting pretty with a few followers (Princess, Unicorn) some awesome Objects (Solomon's Crown, Runesword, Armour) and increased Strength and Craft.

Everyone else was doing pretty average. Dan generally wins and his Druid was slowly gaining Strength and Craft. His items and followers were on the low end, but I had gamed with him enough to know he isn't out until he's dead. Michelle's Ghoul was arguably at the bottom of the power structure, a problem which was only made worse by her minor irritation at the cookies she was baking.

Dave, Billy and Alex were not having much luck, but were surviving and doing better than the Ghoul.

Things got interesting once it became clear I was pulling away from the pack in power. Dave cast Random on me, but I was able to gain a Strength from it. On my next turn, I moved to the Fields where a Dragon had taken up residence. I easily bested him with my Assassinate ability and was calling for my new Strength marker. Out of the blue, Alex casts Preservation, denying me the victory. I announced I would kill the Prophetess. For the next few rounds I slowly made my way to the Prophetess, gathering more gold and a few more minor combat victories.

When I dropped into the same square as the Prophetess, fear gripped Alex. I used Assassinate and took a life point of hers for my own. I said to Alex, "okay, we're square, right? You cast a spell on me, I attack you. Now we're all good, right?"

He apparently didn't see it that way. The 12 year old follows in his old man's footsteps pretty well. For his next few turns, he cast Random on me, which caused me to lose all but my starting Craft, Acquisition, taking Solomon's Crown, and Mesmerism, taking my Unicorn. Suddenly the Prophetess was on her way to winning!

The nice thing about Talisman is that the current leader is always the one with a Target on his or her forehead. The target clearly changed from Assassin to Prophetess once the Unicorn traded owners. The opportunistic Ghoul attacked the Prophetess and took Solomon's Crown as a trophy. I realized that it was time for me to move to the middle region and force a showdown. My Strength was 7 without the Runesword, so I felt pretty confident that I could pull the weaker players in and hopefully kill them.

Why? Well, I don't know how it plays with all of you, but in this group, once one player makes a move for the middle region, the race is on! Everyone else starts running for the middle whether or not they are properly prepared for it. Unfortunately for me, the Ghoul had acquired an Axe and was heading for the Forest/Woods to make a raft. The Sentinel denied my first attempt to cross to the middle region and then the Ghoul had crossed to the Runes!

The Druid, meanwhile, was slowly increasing his power and was ready to make a move to the middle region. With a quick stop off in the City to visit the Enchantress, he figured he could power up even more. Too bad she didn't see it that way! The Druid became a Toad and dropped all his gold and items. They were hungrily devoured by the other Outer region players as he sat watching powerlessly.

Billy's Monk was the most ballsy Monk I'd ever seen. He consistently took the bull by the horns and damn the consequences! When he fought the Dragon and Giant in two back to back turns, his luck ran out. Okay, he really never had much luck. Poor decisions and even worse die rolls doomed him from the start. The Monk was out - replaced by the Thief.

Likewise, the Wizard meandered back and forth from Hills to Woods to Plains to Hills and back again, finally meeting his welcome doom at the hands of the Giant (that was one mean Giant!). The Wizard had some bad mojo or something, as he was ignored no less than 5 times at the Shrine (interestingly, each roll was a 2 at the Shrine for him). The Wizard was dead and Dave chose his new character randomly -- the Sorceress! The unlucky Wizard had a sister.

Back in the middle region, I made it to the Portal of Power and opened it easily. The Prophetess was close behind and the Ghoul was closing in. The Ghoul was slowly but methodically gaining power, flying under the radar until we all suddenly noticed that she was set to make a run for the win.

Two turns later I was at the Crypt, but blew the roll and ended up at the Wizard's Cave. The Prophetess went to the Mines and, with the help of the Gnome, made it without much effort. From the Wizard's cave I went to the Runes but pulled the worst card possible: Craft 10 Demon! He smote me. Michelle looked up at me and asked how much life I had left. "Only 5," I replied. Her eyes bugged out. "FIVE?" she said. I asked what she had and she just laughed.

By the time I was back at the Portal of Power, the Prophetess was at the Valley of Fire. Unfortunately, Alex realized then that his Talisman was missing. He had forgotten that the Ghoul had taken it as a victory memento in a second battle between them. The air of victory was snuffed out of him as he turned to exit the inner region in search of a Talisman. At that point my heartlessness in the game wavered. I felt bad for Alex - being only 12. However, I hadn't forgotten about the spells he cast on me. I was so conflicted!

The Ghoul was now poised to make it to the Crown of Command first. She just had gone from worst to first and now had to get through the Mines. Unfortunately, she made a horrible roll and ended up in the Tavern, promptly rolled a one and got drunk and passed out. It only seemed right!

I breathed a sigh of relief, as only the Prophetess was left in the middle region. Everyone else was busily looking for spells and easy ways into the middle region. The Sentinel was too tough of a route, so as long as I could make it past the Crypt, Dice with Death and Werewolf Den I would be set.

Most players had let their lives run down to 3 or less, and with me at 5 I felt pretty good. Dan commented that I would probably win.

The Crypt roll went my way, as did the Dice with Death. Spell cards were being drawn and discarded each turn, as the players desperately looked for something useful. The Werewolf Den sealed the deal for me, as the roll for their strength turned out to be a paltry 4. My Strength, at this point, was 8 without items. I defeated the Werewolf and made it to the Crown of Command.

The other players bought a few rounds by casting Counterspell a couple of times, but as I cast the Command spell turn after turn, players were knocked out of the game. I ended up having to roll for the Command spell a total of 9 times, two had no effect and one was nullified by a Counterspell. Two players were able to cast Healing or make it to the healer before succumbing to the inevitable.

The Assassin - Victor! I waited over 20 years for this moment, but I don't plan on waiting that long again!

(shameless plug: I took a photo for the occasion, http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/372480.)

Not only is this my first Session Report, it is also my first image uploaded to the Geek! I hope you enjoyed it.

Game on!
Jim
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Merric Blackman
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Congratulations!

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David Chapman
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Oh, alright - except for Codenames
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No, this is NOT my bloody "fursona"
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Isn't the Assassin of Evil alignment? If so, how did you get the Unicorn in the first place?
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Unicorn has an alignment restriction ? Not my Unicorn card certainly.
 
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David Chapman
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Maybe I'm remembering original Talisman, but I was sure that the Unicorn would not accompany a character of Evil alignment.
 
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Merric Blackman
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Jedit wrote:
Maybe I'm remembering original Talisman, but I was sure that the Unicorn would not accompany a character of Evil alignment.


Never been the case. It can't be stolen by the Sorceress, however.

Cheers,
Merric
 
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Jim Stevens
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MerricB wrote:
Congratulations!



Thanks!

Jim
 
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Jim Stevens
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Jedit wrote:
Isn't the Assassin of Evil alignment? If so, how did you get the Unicorn in the first place?


Have you seen my Assassin? He's one cool guy. All the Unicorn's were clamoring to be with him!

cool

Jim
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David Chapman
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boathouselooper wrote:
Have you seen my Assassin? He's one cool guy. All the Unicorn's were clamoring to be with him!


He's a virgin, then?
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Merric Blackman
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boathouselooper wrote:
Jedit wrote:
Isn't the Assassin of Evil alignment? If so, how did you get the Unicorn in the first place?


Have you seen my Assassin? He's one cool guy. All the Unicorn's were clamoring to be with him!


That's just because he was so despicable he'd never, you know, "been with a lady".

Cheers,
Merric
 
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Jim Stevens
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You guys crack me up! I would try to one-up ya with a nifty comment, but I think I'm out of my league.



JIm
 
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ulrik wemmenhed
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You guys do know that the Assassin is a woman, dont you?
 
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David Chapman
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jollrikk wrote:
You guys do know that the Assassin is a woman, dont you?


No, he just dresses up as a woman.
 
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