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Hey everyone, time for another session report starring my gaming group. If you want to get to know them at all you can check this geeklist here...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/38247

I and my friends have played Talisman in each and every one of its creations about 100+ times, and that is probably low-balling the number a little. I got the revised 4th edition from FFG instead of getting the upgrade pack because I am a such a big fan of the game. I also picked up the Reaper expansion as soon as it came out and waited to spring it on the group as a surprise.

When everyone came over to my house for our normal game session, I had the game all set up and ready to go. Needless to say, everyone was very impressed by the components and look and feel of the new edition, and eager to get started. I went over the rule changes and the inclusion of the fate tokens, then we dealt out the characters at random. Here are the players and the characters everyone got:

Me - Dark Cultist
Craig - Warrior
Jason - Troll
Andy - Assassin
Joel - Monk

Wow. Lots of powerful characters right off the bat. I was particularly pleased to get the Dark Cultist as I was a huge fan of the Chaos Warrior from the previous editions, and the cultist, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be his bastard daughter. I thought having no spell casters (at least no hard core ones like the Wizard or Prophetess) would make for an interesting spin to things, as I doubted no one would concentrate on a craft based character, making competition a bit stiff.

We settled in to play, and if you have ever played Talisman, you will know that it is nearly impossible to explain the ins and outs of each turn, but I will try to highlight some of the big moments.

1. The Troll started off big right away. This has the habit of happening quite a bit, as the troll has enough strength to deal with almost all of standard monsters from the adventure deck, as long as he can avoid spirits and craft combats. Jason started bashing away at goblins, golems, wolves, and bears, and started raising his strength from his starting number of 6. He even managed to get a couple of good weapons to use, the Fate Stealer and the Skull Wand. Luck was not to remain with him however...

2. I was having a bad time of it. Even when I was able to kill off a small creature or two, the dark gift I received for doing so was always a gold, a spell, or a fate. Now don't get me wrong, those aren't horrible, but with Talisman you need to gain strength and craft if you want to win, and I was doing neither.

3. As bad as I was doing, the Assassin was much worse off. He was getting bad encounters, got turned into a toad, dropped down to one life, and eventually was put out of his misery by the Troll. Andy drew his next character and got the Dwarf. He wasn't very happy.

4. The warrior got a hold of a magic carpet, which let him teleport when he rolled a 6 for movement. He used this to try and attack the Troll before he got too poweful. It worked once, but the second time he did it, the Troll beat him down, and took the carpet from him, ruining his fun.

5. At this point, I was pretty certain the Troll was going to run away with the victory, but then the Reaper got moved into his square and he was forced to roll on Death's card, and he rolled a one. The worst result - lose all lives and discard your character. "WAIT!" Jason said. I spend a fate point! He re-rolled...a one. Goodbye Troll, and hello to the Jason's new character...the Minstrel. At this point, the entire table took a good 5 minutes to laugh at his misfortune. You might think that's mean, but I am pretty sure it is in the rules somewhere. If not, it should be.

6. The mad dash for the Troll's stuff began, and I was within striking distance. I needed a 3 and I rolled a 4. I spent my last fate token and rolled...a THREE! I went from the back of the crowd to frontrunner in a matter of minutes. Quite honestly, not 3 or 4 turns before I had been bemoaning the fact that the game sucked and I couldn't believe how unlucky I was. I had forgotten the time honored rule of Talisman, no lead is safe, and if you think you are unlucky, don't worry, the worm usually turns.

7. The game continued how you would expect. Slow but sure climbs were made, people improved themselves as best they could, with slight to moderate setbacks. Eventually, the move to the middle was made (by Craig the Warrior) and everyone took stock of their situations. I was in decent shape. Most of my power was derived from cashing in trophies and rolling on the cultist's Dark Gift table. The same could be said about the Monk who had quietly and unassumingly become my equal. The Warrior was pretty much an object monger, he hadn't seen many combats and hadn't raised his base strength much, maybe 2. I think he went for the middle because he didn't think he could catch up to me and Joel. (I didn't mention the Dwarf or the Minstrel because they were languishing behind the three of us, fighting over our scraps, or "leavings" as Jason put it.)

8. The race to the Crown of Command happened around now, with the Warrior leading the way. Oddly, for reasons I cannot fathom, the Dwarf followed the three of us in, I guess hoping for the best. The Warrior and I made it to the crown at the same time, and started battling it out. We were evenly matched and exchanged lives, but I had the Runesword, so I was getting the better of it as I was gaining lives for each one I took, AND getting the dark gifts for each life I took. I thought I had victory in my hands until...

9. The Monk showed up. He came in and immediatly attacked the Warrior. With all of his items and weapons, the Warrior had a strength of 15. Craig asked Joel what his Strength was - "Only twelve, but I get to add my craft...so my total is twenty-four." Craig and I stared at Joel. "TWENTY F***ING FOUR?" I said, getting a yell from my fiance up the stairs to watch my mouth around my daughter, who was playing with her blocks under the table. Having read that once you enter the Crown of Command, you cannot leave. I resigned myself to my fate...

10. I helped slaughter the Warrior to try and gain some lives and maybe some Strength, but it was just a matter of time. The Monk snapped my neck and I dropped like a stone. To be fair, I consider that I finished second, even if the Dwarf and Minstrel died after me. At least the Monk was forced to deal with me bare handed, not crushing my will from afar with the crown.

A few observations...

As always, the game takes about 30-45 minutes too long. I don't know what could be done to fix this, I think it is the inherent broken nature of Talisman. If you look at my ratings, you will see I place it at a 9. If this flaw could ever be fixed, I would place Talisman at a 10.

I like the inclusion of Fate tokens. The ability to have a mulligan on a bad die role is a great addition to the game and can prevent some of the "entire game is ruined by one single die roll" bad feelings among players.

The Reaper is also very cool. I realize I only mentioned one instance of him affecting the game, but it was HUGE. Complete 180 for the leading player. While no one else was affected by him this harshly, he still took a few lives here and there, made a few people lose a turn, and even gave one person a free Strength. Also, you never felt safe when you were within reaching distance of him, making it a difficult choice to move to his side of the board.

All in all, a fun time to kill a few hours. FFG did a great job with the revision and the expansion, and if you are a fan of the game in its previous forms, I would strongly suggest picking up a copy.

Thanks for reading!
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Rich Moore
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UndeadViking wrote:

9. The Monk showed up. He came in and immediatly attacked the Warrior. With all of his items and weapons, the Warrior had a strength of 15. Craig asked Joel what his Strength was - "Only twelve, but I get to add my craft...so my total is twenty-four." Craig and I stared at Joel. "TWENTY F***ING FOUR?" I said, getting a yell from my fiance up the stairs to watch my mouth around my daughter, who was playing with her blocks under the table. Having read that once you enter the Crown of Command, you cannot leave. I resigned myself to my fate...



The monk only gets to add his starting craft. In the revised edition this is implied by the wording of the card (it doesn't say "starting craft" but something like "craft value" which is the value printed on the character card. There was an errata for this in the BI version as well. Next time there will be no need for swearing!

Btw, the Minstrel rocks!
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Lance
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rcmoore4 wrote:
UndeadViking wrote:

9. The Monk showed up. He came in and immediatly attacked the Warrior. With all of his items and weapons, the Warrior had a strength of 15. Craig asked Joel what his Strength was - "Only twelve, but I get to add my craft...so my total is twenty-four." Craig and I stared at Joel. "TWENTY F***ING FOUR?" I said, getting a yell from my fiance up the stairs to watch my mouth around my daughter, who was playing with her blocks under the table. Having read that once you enter the Crown of Command, you cannot leave. I resigned myself to my fate...



The monk only gets to add his starting craft. In the revised edition this is implied by the wording of the card (it doesn't say "starting craft" but something like "craft value" which is the value printed on the character card. There was an errata for this in the BI version as well. Next time there will be no need for swearing!

Btw, the Minstrel rocks!


Good to know, thanks for the clarification.
 
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UndeadViking wrote:
Wow. Lots of powerful characters right off the bat. I was particularly pleased to get the Dark Cultist as I was a huge fan of the Chaos Warrior from the previous editions, and the cultist, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be his bastard daughter.


Seeing as you sound like an old-schooler, you/your group didn't find the Warrior of Chaos over-powered in the past?

Quote:
9. The Monk showed up. He came in and immediatly attacked the Warrior. With all of his items and weapons, the Warrior had a strength of 15.

(snip)

As always, the game takes about 30-45 minutes too long. I don't know what could be done to fix this, I think it is the inherent broken nature of Talisman.


I think it might be down to the players. Gathering up to 15 takes a long time. Around here, people start gunning towards CoC with 8-9 Craft (if going by Mines; preferrably they have about 6 Str to avoid long stalls in the Pits), Crypt (aka Str-path) is fairly rarely taken, but usually want about 10-11 for that.

Quote:
I like the inclusion of Fate tokens. The ability to have a mulligan on a bad die role is a great addition to the game and can prevent some of the "entire game is ruined by one single die roll" bad feelings among players.


I'm well in the Fate-hate camp. Have tested it though, but without the board changes, so no free replenishing. Of course, when Assassin got Fate Stealer and seemed laser-guided in landing on other people, he quickly rocketed to around 8-9 Fate yuk . Unsurprisingly, he won the game.
 
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I have not played the new version much but played 3rd edition a lot. It seems to me the fate tokens would be almost uniformly good for reducing bad luck and thereby speeding up the game. Is this interpretation wrong?
 
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BartowWing wrote:
I have not played the new version much but played 3rd edition a lot. It seems to me the fate tokens would be almost uniformly good for reducing bad luck and thereby speeding up the game. Is this interpretation wrong?


It's just that bad luck BELONGS in Talisman. Then again, maybe it's just me, because I used to LOVE Horrible Black Void (still love it, just don't get to play the 2nd ed + Adventure these days ). Talisman isn't about the goal though it matters of course, gotta finish the game eventually, it's about the journey. Played 3 games now with Fate (no replenish from the board, just what you get from encounters + what you start with) and suffice to say 0 Toads so far cry ! That's just wrong! Getting Toaded is what makes Talisman fun. That or getting the Reaper zap you! Yeah, yeah, crazy 1, use Fate roll another 1 CAN happen, but not as often as rolling a 1. Fate reduces the ability to catch up to the run-away leader. Nerfed Raiders don't help with catching him/her either, but that's another peeve.
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What Rich Moore said about "craft value". In the FFG version, "value" means "starting amount". (e.g. replenish your fate up to your fate value; add your craft value to your strength in combat) This is why the Monk has 5 fate (his ability isn't that great anymore).

BartowWing wrote:
I have not played the new version much but played 3rd edition a lot. It seems to me the fate tokens would be almost uniformly good for reducing bad luck and thereby speeding up the game. Is this interpretation wrong?

I have played with fate a couple times now, and you are correct. The effects of bad luck are lessened and playing time is reduced somewhat as a result. In the 2 games I played, the characters with lots of fate and crappy abilities did considerably better than the ones with low fate.

The only thing in the Reaper I'm not sure I like is the Concealed Pouch. It doesn't take up one of your 4 object slots, and it and the item in it can never be stolen by combat or acquisition spell. It seems extremely useful; if you were playing the "bloodbath" option (only one Talisman in the game), how could you get it from someone's concealed pouch without toading them or making them lose all their lives?
 
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UndeadViking wrote:
5. At this point, I was pretty certain the Troll was going to run away with the victory, but then the Reaper got moved into his square and he was forced to roll on Death's card, and he rolled a one. The worst result - lose all lives and discard your character. "WAIT!" Jason said. I spend a fate point! He re-rolled...a one. Goodbye Troll, and hello to the Jason's new character...the Minstrel. At this point, the entire table took a good 5 minutes to laugh at his misfortune. You might think that's mean, but I am pretty sure it is in the rules somewhere. If not, it should be.

I know I wasn't there, but could you point and laugh at him for me? Thanks.

Quote:
As always, the game takes about 30-45 minutes too long. I don't know what could be done to fix this, I think it is the inherent broken nature of Talisman. If you look at my ratings, you will see I place it at a 9. If this flaw could ever be fixed, I would place Talisman at a 10.

Since switching to the quick-play rules (leveling up strength or craft every five-points-worth of trophies) the game rarely lasts more than 90 minutes.

Thanks for this!
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Dam the Man wrote:
Seeing as you sound like an old-schooler, you/your group didn't find the Warrior of Chaos over-powered in the past?


We did, but then again so is the Prophetess, and others. We got to the point that we allowed all the characters to be played as we knew Talisman was just intrinsically unbalanced and just relaxed and enjoyed it.

Dam the Man wrote:
I think it might be down to the players. Gathering up to 15 takes a long time. Around here, people start gunning towards CoC with 8-9 Craft (if going by Mines; preferrably they have about 6 Str to avoid long stalls in the Pits), Crypt (aka Str-path) is fairly rarely taken, but usually want about 10-11 for that.


Agree 100%. Our group wants to be firmly uber powered before we begin trouncing around the middle of the board. Plus, we want to screw with the other players more and if you end the game, you don't allow yourself to do that. The game lasts long because of our actions, but we are ok with that. If there was some way I could the same amount of fun and shorten the game time, it would be perfect.

Dam the Man wrote:
I'm well in the Fate-hate camp. Have tested it though, but without the board changes, so no free replenishing. Of course, when Assassin got Fate Stealer and seemed laser-guided in landing on other people, he quickly rocketed to around 8-9 Fate yuk . Unsurprisingly, he won the game.


No one really replenished their fate all that much, unless they got it through the Fate-Stealer or an adventure card. You rarely needed it, until you absolutely had to have it but didn't.

Thanks for the comments, and the thumb!
 
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HiveGod wrote:
I know I wasn't there, but could you point and laugh at him for me? Thanks.


Done and done!

HiveGod wrote:
Since switching to the quick-play rules (leveling up strength or craft every five-points-worth of trophies) the game rarely lasts more than 90 minutes.

Thanks for this!


Good idea. I will give it a run next time we play.

Thanks for the comments and the tip!
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BartowWing wrote:
I have not played the new version much but played 3rd edition a lot. It seems to me the fate tokens would be almost uniformly good for reducing bad luck and thereby speeding up the game. Is this interpretation wrong?


Wanna hear a story about bad luck, last night I was playing a 3-player game with fate and the reaper. I was the Sorceress, I ran into the Demon (craft 10) a Dragon (Strength 7) an angle who took a life from me just because I was evil, then the Assassin came by and finished me off and took all my loot(Fate stealer, Pouch of Concealment, some Wand of some kind).

Then I drew the Troll. I cleaned up some creatures hanging out on the board, slayed that stupid dragon, punched the Assassin in the face and took his/my Fate Stealer back, went to the tavern to get a beer and a boatman thought I was so cool he boated me to the middle region, jumped on the back of a Unicorn, put on a fancy crown, broke down the door to the center region, there was a dude hanging out in the Crypts handing out Talismans to the first person showing up (I think he was lonely), killed a strength 5 Werewolf, Death didn't know how to roll the dice, then I rolled a 5, 6, 4 on the Crown of Command and won the game.

Yeah, I love this game.
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Talisman ain't over 'til it's over. Nice stories.

What I don't get about Monk is if you can only add the starting craft value to your strength why didn't say just "Add 3", or better yet, make him STR 5.
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referee wrote:
What I don't get about Monk is if you can only add the starting craft value to your strength why didn't say just "Add 3", or better yet, make him STR 5.


First part I don't know about, but the second would make it easier for him to pass Portal of Power using Str and then aid him in passing Crypt. Currently you only get the benefit in battle, whereas Str 5 would've given him 8 points of starting stats.
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I think the idea with the Monk is to give him an early advantage that "wears off" as players gain more powerful stuff, and his edge slwoly diminishes.
IF he utilizes his early advantage to gain some ground, he has used his talent wisely, but it really encourages him to be aggressive early on, which I think is a good thing.
 
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Aarontu wrote:
The only thing in the Reaper I'm not sure I like is the Concealed Pouch. (...) if you were playing the "bloodbath" option (only one Talisman in the game), how could you get it from someone's concealed pouch without toading them or making them lose all their lives?


If you're playing the bloodbath option, toading and killing your opponents should be your goal anyway!
 
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