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Subject: curious to buy: Talisman Vs D&D. Opinions? rss

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Luke Heineman
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To those who have played this and Dungeons and Dragons before: how does Talisman stack up? I'm looking for a simpler game to satisfy my D&D itch b/c it's so hard to get a group together that wants to play it anymore, and it's nearly impossible to convince people to try it due to rules, math, and "the stigma".
Any opinions/descriptions would be appreciated.
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James Boardgame
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It might just do the job. This was basically the niche for the original game. Runebound might fit the bill better today - but only Talisman can scratch the Talisman itch! Just check out the new Dungeon expansion : joy!
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William Crispin
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Talisman has never felt like an RPG to me. Descent seems more like what you are looking for. Talisman has no DM and characters can fight each other. The characters have fairly simple advancement. Talisman is a adventure game and it is all about the encounters and not so much about your character.
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Derek Anderson
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Yeah, Descent might be a better option for you.

D.

 
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MGS
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There are many good options that it will depend on what you are looking for. What duration? Complexity? Number of players?

One frustrating aspect of several of these games is that they come down to a race of who can buff up the fastest and beat the big bad guy.

Depending on what you want, Talisman might do the trick. Other candidates include: Prophecy, Runebound, Return of the Heroes and Descent. Warhammer Quest and Dungeonquest. Even Arkham Horror and A Touch of Evil could be viable options.

My favorite by far is Magic Realm.
 
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Luke Heineman
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Thanks for the recommendations: I've looked into a few, but can't tell which ones require a DM.

I guess what I'm looking for is:

1. A similar experience to D&D in terms of fantasy adventuring.

2. More streamlined (less) rules that won't scare a newbie away.

3. 60-90 min playing time (roughly)

4. No DM

5. Maps and figure pieces (maps more important)

If anyone has any other recommendations I'd appreciate it! Thanks again.
 
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Nevin Ball
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lukeheineman99 wrote:
Thanks for the recommendations: I've looked into a few, but can't tell which ones require a DM.

I guess what I'm looking for is:

1. A similar experience to D&D in terms of fantasy adventuring.

2. More streamlined (less) rules that won't scare a newbie away.

3. 60-90 min playing time (roughly)

4. No DM

5. Maps and figure pieces (maps more important)

If anyone has any other recommendations I'd appreciate it! Thanks again.


That sounds like Warhammer Quest but it's out of print and costs a fortune on eBay.
 
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Derek Anderson
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I was thinking the same thing, Warhammer Quest would work great for you... If you have access to miniatures, you can download the entire game and expansions off of the internet, including all of the cards, floor tiles, etc... There is a thread in the Warhammer Quest forum with links.

D.

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myles
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If you don't mind putting in the work, this Print and Play caught my interest. You can always sub in your own minis, instead of the art ones provided. Dungeon Plungin'
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MGS
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I see 3 main options:

Talisman or Return of the Heroes would fit all your criteria. In these 2 games, players compete against each other. Warhammer Quest is a cooperative dungeon crawl. But, WHQ is very repetitive and we thought it was incredibly boring. It has campaign rules but they are cumbersome and don't work well.
 
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Luke Heineman
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Well thanks for all the input. I've looked into all the recommendations, and I think Return of the Heroes might be the right fit.
Thanks again.
 
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Derek Anderson
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Return of the Heroes is also a great game, I think there are some modified instructions in the download section for that game, you should look into those. There are also a few expansions out for that game as well, if you find you like it.

D.

 
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Luke Heineman
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I never thought this decision would be such an undertaking!
I've investigated many different fantasy games including Runebound, Talisman, World of Warcraft: TAG, Doom TBG, DungeonTwister, Prophecy, and a few others. Magic Realms looks very intriguing, but I'm not willing to spend a small fortune on it (unfortunately).

What I've found after reading many reviews is that none of these games offers EXACTLY what I'm looking for (seems to be the popular opinion as well). Each game seems to have aspects that players love, but also have major flaws. For example: Runebound fits the bill except for its woeful "multiplayer solitaire" dynamic. Some games are character driven, others quest. Some such as Talisman have a large luck factor, others strategy (Runebound).

I guess to satisfy the itch I have I need to invest in two games:

1. Runebound: everything I've read about this game appeals to me except for the fact that it bogs down and drags on with multiple players. I know off the bat that my friends wouldn't get into this one because of its lack of player interaction. However, this would satisfy my D&D urge because of its solo player capability (in fact, it's highly recommended as a solitaire game which is hard to find in a board game-especially fantasy). If there were a way to play D&D solo, it sounds like this is the closest or next best thing. Add to that all the expansions available, and I think I've found a series that could occupy my time (and wallet) Especially since I'm the biggest board gamer of the group and need a good solitaire.

2. Return of the Heroes: I love the random tile map and the lightheartedness of this game. I think this would be a great way to introduce a few of our casual gaming friends to something of a role-playing board game. I've introduced them to Munchkin, and it seems that as long as a fantasy game doesn't take itself too seriously they can enjoy it.

I'm not ruling out Talisman yet, but I'm reluctant to purchase games that depend largely on luck (maybe not depend, but it's extremely irritating to me when you have the best possible strategy and it can be entirely undermined by a split second's worth of a dice roll). Also, while my group enjoys games like Munchkin, I'm leery of games where screwing over your opponent plays a large part. I've ruined RISK for myself (I know I just commented about the dice thing, and it still applies, but c'mon, it's world domination!) because my group has labeled it "the game that makes you hate your friends".

Thanks for all of the input and recommendations. After all this extensive reading it seems there are a fair amount of people out there hungry for a board game experience like I'm looking for, yet nothing on the market fits the bill completely. I guess we can all wait and hope.
 
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myles
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Dungeon Plungin' works really well solitaire.

Also regarding Talisman, if you have a sensitive game group, it may not be good for them. If you're in a group that can enjoy ripping on each other both verbally and in game (bonding!), then this game is perfect.

I happen to really enjoy it, especially with the reaper expansion and some of the quick play rules. It's not like the DnD system at all, only in theme. It is a game to play for people who do not take themselves too seriously and can relax and just have fun. It's close to a party game atmosphere except for actually being fun for my group. You can play it as mean or as nice as you like. Just because players CAN attack each other, doens't mean that you have to. The game is better when it is allowed. Just because there is luck, doesn't mean there is no strategy. Chasing a player around the board to steal his magic wand, or bracketing your moves around a critical space until you hit it, saving certain spells for the right time, etc. are all examples of strategies you'll find. Still, any of these games you are looking at are more about the story and theme than "deep" strategy.

I'd also add, that if your group gets upset about games like RISK, where the whole point is direct conflict, you might look around for a thicker skinned group to try some different games. I'm not saying abandon games with your current group, but you're really going to miss a big portion of good games out there.
 
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Greg Nichols
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lukeheineman99 wrote:
I never thought this decision would be such an undertaking!


Ha! Too many choices eh Luke. I've given up on choosing one over the other, I just buy as many as I can afford.

Of the one's you've mentioned, I own: Runebound, Talisman, World of Warcraft:TAG, Return of the Heroes, Prophecy, and Descent. I also have Dungeons and Dragons the Adventure Game. And I'll say this about all of them: 60-90 minutes is half a game for 3-4 player games. They're all long games. That's the one criteria I think that will be the most difficult to fulfill.

I agree on steering you towards Return of the Heroes because it is truly an adventure game with a touch of questing. But no figures with the base game (cardboard stand-ups) but I understand that there were some figures produced in Europe if you can track them down. But again, it's at least a 1 hour of game time per player ratio.
 
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All X-Men
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Don't forget about Tomb.

My recommendation would be Runebound or Descent.
 
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Charlie Freeman

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Here's my sitch:

- I have 3 girls ages 8, 10 & 13
- They love playing Settlers of Catan & Lord of the Rings, so they are no strangers to strategy/fantasy themed games
- We would prefer a game of 2-3 hrs duration that could be played faster or slower depending on time constraints
- We are looking for a fun game with fantasy elements - ie choice of characters with different abilities, magic spells, battles - all that good stuff.
- I'll be playing along to walk them through more complex rules and game play, but I don't want something that will be so complex that they will get bored. Also, I don't want to turn them into obsessive geeks like me!
- Above all, we want to have fun!

I was all set to buy Descent when I saw Talisman and Runebound on Fantasy Flights website. I started researching which would be a better fit, and found someone else right here right now wondering the same thing!

After reading this thread, I also looked into Return of Heroes but was turned off by it being out of print in US and the inferior game components.

My girls liked the idea of the miniatures that come in Descent & thought they might like trying to paint them (probably pink with flowers or polka dots - they are girls). We also really like the cooperative game style of Lord of the Rings. But, after reading the rules, I wasn't sure if Descent would be too complicated/tedious, esp the line of sight rule. It also sounded like games might go on a lot longer than 3 hrs. Talisman sounds simpler & shorter, but we're not looking for Candyland with wizards! Runebound sounds somewhere btw the 2, but like the original poster Luke, I'm turned off by the down time btw turns.

So what do you guys think would be a good fit for us?

Thanks,
--Charlie
 
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Filip Lange
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In my experience, Talisman can go on for a lot longer than the stated 60 minutes, especially with a high number of players. As everything else in the game, playing time is very very random.
 
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Jeff Lewis
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If you're really looking to capture that sense of shared adventure that comes with a good session of D&D or any other RPG don't forget to look into some of the great co-op games out there. They might not be Dungeon explorations but with the right theme (i.e.- Knights, Hobbits) the experience can be very similar and in most instances will scratch that itch. There is no game controller, the game length is definately much better than any of the so far mentioned, and the entire endeavor is undoubtedly "collective"(meaning no multi-player solitaire). I would definately look into Lord of the Rings and Shadows over Camelot. I would also recomend (even though it doesn't fit much of your criteria and I'm quickly digressing) Mall of Horror. Check 'em out.
 
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Scott Minkoff
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I second D-Rock, WHQ is a great alternative. If you're not tied to straight up fantasy, Arkham Horror is pretty much a boardgame version of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The maps are not the same (much more abstracted), but the feel is totally the tabletop RPG feel. You can get as nuts as you like with old CoC miniatures, too...
 
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Charlie Freeman

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Thanks for the great responses! I agree, WHQ looks perfect! Sadly I found only one currently available on eBay, bidding at $150 which is out of my price range.

Heroquest is more readily available at a more reasonable price, but it does not look as intriguing as WHQ. But maybe...
 
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Luke Heineman
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Played my first game of Runebound tonight (2 player) and loved it even though we didn't get to finish. Thanks so much for all of the input everybody.

(will be purchasing Return of the Heroes sometime soon as well)
 
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Scott Roberts
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Quote:
Of the one's you've mentioned, I own: Runebound, Talisman, World of Warcraft:TAG, Return of the Heroes, Prophecy, and Descent. I also have Dungeons and Dragons the Adventure Game. And I'll say this about all of them: 60-90 minutes is half a game for 3-4 player games. They're all long games. That's the one criteria I think that will be the most difficult to fulfill.




That is true for the standard rules in the games. Most of these can be scaled as needed to shorten play time. We routinely play 3 player Runebound (which is becoming a personal favorite) in under 2 hours. For Prophecy we clock in at about 60 to 90 mins with 3 players. We could play Talisman in the same time (although I sold that one off). With Descent, you can get fan made scenarios that play in the 90-120 minute, but I would not count on 60 minutes, ever (unless the heroes do very poorly). I have not playd Return of the Heroes, but that seems like it would be very hard to scale.
 
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Scott Roberts
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Quote:
Played my first game of Runebound tonight (2 player) and loved it even though we didn't get to finish. Thanks so much for all of the input everybody.

(will be purchasing Return of the Heroes sometime soon as well)


Cool, there are a lot of options for shortening this so you can finish.

> Use 3 experience points for leveling.
> Use the soft knock-out variant rules.
> Start with 1 or 2 upgrades.
> Start with a random item of value 6 or less and an ally of value 6 or less.
> If you want to shorten even further, play that the first player to score one red victory wins. We call this variant "Dragon Hunt." We use this when pressed for time.
> Also, as an alternate to Dragon Hunt, we sometimes use a scoring system. We have a hard time limit (say 3 pm or whatever) and end the game at that time and tally our scores. Add up (1) all gold, (2) gold value of of all items, (3) gold value of all allies, and (4) score 5 points per upgrade. Player with highest score wins of course.
> You can also use the rules for the threat track (available in file section for RB). But avoid the Doom Track (a variant recommended in the base rules) like the plague. It is broken.

At the very least, I would use 1 and 2.
 
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Grant Batt
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Don't you just hate those guys that troll through old posts and bump threads that are months old?!

I just picked up Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) last night and will be playing this new version for the first time tonight. I had Talisman (third edition) and last time I played it was about 6 years ago, we will see if the magic is still there.

On the topic of the OP, my ideal game would be a merging of Arkham Horror (one of my all time favs!) and Descent: Journeys in the Dark (I don't own it and haven't played it but I have read allot about it and plan on getting it, eventually), for the same reason as the OP, to scratch that D&D itch. Well, to be perfectly honest, I would prefer a Sci-Fi blending of the two, maybe Descent + AH + Doom:TBG = My perfect game, maybe what Gears of War: The Board Game will be!? :fingerscrossed:. My group play both D&D (usually DM'ed by my brother) and Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Saga Edition (GM'ed by me), I prefer Sci-Fi over fantasy, but love both!

I have delayed in buying Descent because of the DM factor, it looks awesome, sounds awesome, and I am sure we will all love it, but honestly, if there are enough of us getting together to play a game of Descent, we would probably play D&D or SWRPG instead, which would be our preference. I was looking at Descent to be a game to pull out when not all of us can get together and crush through an awesome dungeon crawl. We do that now with Doom: The Boardgame and AH, we even really like Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, well it's not really crushing dungeons, but you get the idea.

We love the coop aspect of AH, all of us working together against the game, not one of us against the rest. When my brother and I GM/DM D&D or SWRPG, it's the same. We don't create campaigns to beat the others, like the GM's goal is in Descent, Doom, etc., but rather to provide the players an awesome story and epic experience, that they usually win. I just wish there was a coop mode to play games like Descent or Doom like AH has. That would be a perfect filler in between RPG sessions.

As for Runebound (Second Edition), I really really wish I could love that game. I purchased Runebound: Sands of Al-Kalim, hoping to improve my experience, then I purchased Runebound: The Frozen Wastes hoping for the same, and both end up being the same experience for us, which is the same as many others say about it: It drags on and is better off played as a solitaire game.

As for Talisman, I purchased it and will play it knowing what it is. I am not expecting this to be my RPG interim replacement, or even something that will scratch my itch for a juicy, deep BG experience. It's a crazy mindless romp around a beautiful fantasy environment that is just full of theme and wackiness. It's simple, the rules are not overly complicated, it doesn't take a whole lot of thought or rules mongering while playing, and it's relatively easy to teach to first time players. I am sure I will buy all of the expansions as well and I will look forward to the day when my son is old enough to play this type of game with me (see this thread if you care to know more about my adventures of gaming with my AS 4 year old http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/434815)! This is all I expect from Talisman, and it will server it's purpose well, I have no doubt
 
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