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Subject: Talisman and me - Memories of fantasy adventures rss

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Merric Blackman
Australia
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An Introduction
I first encountered Talisman in 1986 (I was 13). I'd changed schools that year, and I was not getting on with other people in my year. However, for some reason, I was getting on very well with people two years above me. One of the girls I knew invited me and a friend around, and introduced us to the game of Talisman.

I was instantly hooked. I'd been playing D&D since 1981, and here was a boardgame version of it. It didn't take long before I had my own copy of the game. Soon thereafter, I introduced it to the other members of my year level at school, and thereby started a Talisman-craze. There were often two or three games of Talisman taking place in the school library. My copy was the old (mostly black & white) 1st edition set, but very soon after I bought it the second edition arrived in Australia, along with the wealth of expansions that Games Workshop produced for it.

At the time I played Talisman, the only "geek" boardgame I'd played was Doctor Who: The Game of Time & Space. Apart from that, my boardgame collection consisted of Monopoly, Squatter, Poleconomy and a game not in the BGG database: Night Cricket. (I'll have to see if I've still got any part of the game - I played hundreds of games of it). Although the Doctor Who game had first opened my eyes to other boardgames, Talisman was the game I played a lot of with other people.

Why Talisman? What made it such a good game?

Three things attracted me to Talisman: Theme, Simplicity, Varity.

Theme
In Talisman, you're an adventurer in a magical land, searching for a magical Talisman that will allow you to enter the Valley of Fire and find the Crown of Command that will allow you to rule the land.

Talisman has several ways of expressing this theme. One comes from the board. It displays the realm in three regions: an Outer Region, which is separated from the Middle Region by the Storm River. The Middle Region is separated from the Inner Region by a great range of mountains - and the Inner Region is where you need to go to win.

image by Tom Kilgore (topdecker)

There is also the selection of 14 characters. These include a variety of classic fantasy characters, such as the Wizard, Warrior and Elf, as well as a number of surprising additions, such as the Troll and Ghoul. Each character has its own special abilities, which well reflect the character.

For instance, the Thief can steal an item from another character he encounters. The Warrior is better in combat, rolling two dice instead of one and choosing the better result. The Wizard has a lot of spells, and the Troll is dumb: he's pretty much just got his strength.

image by John Mitchell (tycho)

Yet more theme comes from the Adventure deck. In the early part of the game, you're going to spend most of the game walking around the board, drawing cards from the Adventure deck and resolving their effects. In the deck are a range of fantasy threats: monsters such as Goblins and Dragons, places such as the Shrine and Cave, strangers like the Witch and Healer, plus a range of Objects, Magic Objects, Gold and Followers that aid you in your quest. Some cards are good, some cards are bad. Which one will you draw? For the most part, this part of the game is very random.

Second Edition cards; image by Ken F (boneroller)

Apart from the cards, there are also set locations on the board. The Graveyard allows evil characters to invoke the spirits, either gaining a favour or provoking a poor response. You can go into the Tavern for a night of drinking where you might meet someone helpful (or just end up drunk). The Sentinel guards one way up to the Middle Region, allowing only those who can defeat him in combat to pass (or you could trick him with a Spell). Finally, in the Inner Region, a range of encounters bar you from the Crown of Command. Are your Strength and Craft high enough? Do you have the Talisman to pass?

Simplicity
The basic 1st and 2nd edition Talisman consists of 104 Adventure cards, 14 Characters, 24 Spell cards, plus small decks of Purchases, Alignment and Talisman cards. Uniting all of these is what is a pretty simple system.

On your turn you roll one die for your movement. You can move either clockwise or anticlockwise, so in most cases there are two places you can move. When you get there, if the space is a "Draw 1 Card" space and there isn't a card there, you get to draw a card and resolve it. Otherwise, you play whatever is there already.

If you encounter a monster, then both you and the monster roll one die and add it to your Strength or Craft (depending on the type of monster - Spirits attack you using Craft, other physical monsters use Strength). If you win, the monster is defeated. If you lose, you lose a point of Life. Everyone has 4 Lives to begin with; lose your last one and you start the game again with a new character. In most of the games I've played, it's been very hard to lose all your life.

Other cards describe what they do, but very few are more complicated than "Roll 1 die and apply the result described."

The accessibility of Talisman is very high. It is not a difficult game, although the rulebook might seem somewhat inaccessible to people who have only played Monopoly in the past. A player's turn is typically fast: roll the die, move your character, resolve an encounter.

The drawback of this simplicity generally comes down to one complaint: I can't move where I want to move! Unlike later games like Prophecy and Runebound, Talisman maintains a high level of randomness about exactly what you encounter. This can be mitigated somewhat by proper strategy or some characters or spells, but the element that is most likely to frustrate players of Talisman is the random movement. A "cursed" follower - the Poltergeist - that was meant to be something you didn't want to get, as it restricted your movement to one square per turn until you got rid of it by crossing one of the rivers, would often turn out to be one of the more beneficial cards in the game.

Variety
Although Talisman has a relatively simple set of rules, the play experience is varied due to the selection of characters, adventure cards and spell cards.

Talisman, like its descendant Prophecy and unlike most games of Runebound, has an evolving board. Places and Strangers, once drawn, stay on the board. Monsters that are not defeated, likewise. Although most of the encounters are unknown at the beginning of the game, this does not last.

The effect of this is that your choice of where to move actually is more important than you might initially think: it's not just the encounter you have this turn; it's the potential encounter you have next turn. If I am 5 squares away from the Fountain of Wisdom that I really want to visit and I roll a 2 on the die, if I move away there is no way I can roll a 7 on a single six-sided die the next turn to visit it. Players who know what they're doing stay around the cards they want to encounter.

More variety is gained through the different characters: the Troll plays very differently to the Wizard. The Troll has the easiest time through the early game - almost every monster he meets has a lower Strength than him. As you can gain extra Strength points for killing them, he can thus gain enough Strength to take on the Inner Region. Meanwhile, the Wizard can't gain Craft points from defeating monsters (defeating Spirits in the 1st and 2nd edition games doesn't give you any reward; note that there are only five in the deck, compared to 19 monster-types!) Instead, the Wizard will need magic items and followers, and a few visits to the Mystic and Temple.

The Thief is wandering the land and stealing the most powerful items from the other characters while mostly trying to avoid combat; the Sorceress is beguiling away Followers. The Prophetess is using her visions of the future to encounter the best Adventure Cards (she gets to draw an extra one and choose the best to encounter); the Priest is trying to get to the Temple and get the gods to bless him.

These aren't deep, complex strategies, but they are varied. The different encounters and characters make different games of Talisman unfold quite differently, and the challenge of overcoming the luck element with proper strategy and tactics made this a great game to play.

I do admit, however, that the characters are not exactly balanced. The Monk and the Prophetess tend to be a lot better to play than the Druid, and the Thief's abilities depend greatly on the number of players.

Where the game fails - Issues with Randomness
There are areas where Talisman has problems. I've touched upon one above: the randomness of the game. It is possible to have a game where the dice and cards hate you, where you always get attacked by monsters stronger than you and your friends always get to the great treasure first. In practice, these games are rare, but spending an hour or three like this is intensely frustrating. It helps when you understand enough to mitigate the randomness in your favour, but even that doesn't always help.

People have argued that Talisman doesn't have "tiered" encounters; you're just as likely to encounter a Dragon as a Goblin. This is somewhat true: you can always encounter overwhelming encounters. However, most of the deck is quite beneficial or low-level; and the penalties for losing an encounter are normally minimal. Then too, the Middle Region is a lot more difficult than the Outer Region; there are tiers of difficulty, but the game isn't as obviously balanced as Runebound.

A very few encounters have the ability to completely wreck your game: being turned into a Toad by Sorceress, Witch or Spell, or having your possessions stolen by the Raiders are the two game-changing events that I'm thinking of here. In theory, these are balancing encounters: they're more likely to hurt those who have lots of items and are winning than those who are behind and don't have the items. However, when characters are relatively equal (or you're turned into a Toad when in second place and desperately chasing first place), it's not a great feeling. Being turned into a Toad, however, is a great point of the game for everyone else - and is one of the more notable mechanics of Talisman.

It should be noted that the latest edition of the game (which cleaves fairly similarly to the first & second editions) makes it less likely to be turned into a Toad, whilst also reducing the power of the Raiders. This edition of the game can have moments of great randomness.

How long does this game take, anyway?
When I play Talisman with my friends, games typically take 60-90 minutes. For a group of people who have never played the game before? You're probably looking a 2-3 hours or more. Believe me, familiarity speeds up this game.

One cause of longer games is having to count spaces for movement. I played over 100 games (possibly far more) during those early years in the middle-1980s. If I roll a 4 on the Village, I know it's taking me to the Sentinel or the Ruins. When I play with my friends, my arms come forward and the fingers point to the two squares they can move to almost immediately after they've rolled the die. The way the board is constructed makes these calculations easier as well. As you can imagine, this makes the game go a lot faster. Without that, there's time taken up counting spaces.

Having to read every card before you know what it does also slows the game down.

However, without a doubt, the biggest element to slowing the game down is not understanding how it is you win the game. Wandering pointlessly around the Outer and Middle regions can take hours, when what you need to do is reach the Crown of Command as quickly as possible.

When I play the game, I attempt to get my Strength or Craft up to 10 (or 7, with the help of the Mercenary or Gnome) and gain a Talisman. Once that is done, it's a quick trip past the Portal of Power through the Inner Region to the Crown of Command and victory!

Talisman is a race game, and the quicker you can fulfil the prerequisites to reach the Crown, the better your chances will be. Knowing the areas of the board to frequent, the items to concentrate on, and the spells and tricks you can use to get them are all important. Talisman might appear completely random, but it rewards those who understand the best path to victory.

Even with all of those techniques, there is one big roadblock in the way of a quick game, and that is the Endgame. Once someone reaches the Crown of Command, every turn they have they get to roll a die. On a 4-6, one character (or all characters in 2nd edition) loses a Life. On a 1-3, nothing happens. During the endgame, the other characters try to reach the Crown themselves, which will then cause a final fight to the death. Unfortunately, the endgame can last entirely too long. There are times when it does come down to a fantastic final fight for the Crown; more often it becomes boring. That is, to my mind, the biggest flaw with Talisman.

Later expansions to Talisman proposed a set of alternative endings - some of which were good, others dreadful. These days, I'm most likely to institute the house rule that whoever reaches the Crown first wins. Or, alternatively, everyone not in the Inner Region immediately dies, allowing those close to the Crown to get there and engage in the final battle.

It should be noted that I've never owned the 2nd edition expansions, although I've played with them on quite a few occasions. I'm not particularly fond of most of them; occasionally they completely distract from the main point of the game. I'm far more favourably inclined towards the 4th revised edition expansions by FFG.

One more comment on game length: The number of players does affect it. The game's length is mostly proportional to the number of players, although more players mean that the better items come up quicker and sometimes one player can "acquire" them all and thus move to victory. I prefer to play games of Talisman with 4 players, with 3-5 being acceptable, but 6 is a few too many for my taste with too much downtime, and 2 having not enough interaction, although the games are likely to be quick!

Talisman 2nd edition in play with expansions; picture by Cody Jones (Shrieking Emu)

Closing Thoughts
Talisman was a great game for a 13-year-old boy, and in those years now long ago I played a lot of games of it. University saw me get involved in a few wargames and games of that ilk - most commonly Diplomacy and Dune - but it wasn't until 2000 when I discovered Catan that I really got drawn into the boardgaming world. My primary game was always Dungeons & Dragons (of whatever edition was going).

The odd thing is that when I look for new fantasy adventuring games, I'm drawn back to Talisman - now in its 4th or 5th edition, depending on how you count it - with its old mechanics and its randomness. I've tried Prophecy. I've tried Runebound. I've tried Return of the Heroes. None has thrilled me as Talisman has. Runebound came the closest, but I abandoned multiplayer games of it due to its dreadfully long playing time* and lack of player interaction. (* I'm sure Runebound would play somewhat faster if we played it enough, but the lack of player interaction doesn't make it interesting enough to hit the table often enough so we get that familiarity!)

What is this player interaction? Does it mean that Talisman is superior just because the Thief can steal objects, or the Warrior and Troll can defeat someone else in Combat and take them, or the Wizard can turn opposing characters into Toads? (rarely, but enjoyably... for the Wizard!)

That's part of it, but it also has to do with the way the board changes with the actions of the players. The Dragon is drawn on a space by the Wizard, who casts Invisibility to avoid it. However, the Warrior has found the Holy Lance and now attempts to find the Dragon to slay it, because the risk vs reward for him are worth it. The Fountain of Wisdom is discovered, and the "heroes" of the land flock towards it. The Monk finds the Wand - and becomes powerful thereby, so the other characters seek to find some way to gain the Wand for themselves.

You pay attention to what is going on in the game. Someone gaining an item opens up the opportunity for you to take it. Undefeated monsters are potential targets for you. The Stranger ignores the Troll? That's a Wish available for the crafty characters in the game.

It's those aspects that make the game, even with its flaws, a great one that I still enjoy today: the variety of the game, the simplicity of its mechanics, and the interaction between the board, the cards and the players. I consider the latest Fantasy Flight Games release of Talisman to be the best version of the game I've yet seen, but there is not a great chasm between it and where it began in the First edition with its black and white cards. For that, I still regard the old edition of Talisman fondly, and would happily play a game or three if the occasion arose.
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nice review. You explain the "interaction" well.
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Ed Bradley
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What a lovely trip down memory lane. I loved Gary Chalk's artwork in the original game.

I still play Talisman and enjoy it (4th ed.) despite its flaws. I think I'd enjoy it less if we rushed through it. I prefer it as a multihour epic with lots of beer, PVP and toadings.
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Mike Brewer
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Nice review.

I always found Talisman a little too long and a little too random to work well with a group, but I solitaire it obsessively as a teenager.

In my 2 player games, we used to play with 2 characters per person, partly to mitigate against the randomness.

Talisman: The Adventure and Talisman Dragons and The Dungeon were fairly harmless (ie good) expansions for the 2nd edition game, but Timescape and the City altered the game far too much for my liking.

Mike
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Andrzej Sieradzki
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1986...it was a very good year! Believe me or not - I played the Talisman in Poland for the first time the same year, the same board and components like on your first picture. I remember that game very well. I played an an amazon character and won! Oh. boy, how hooked I became that time...Next five years in high school we played the game a LOT, sometimes till the morning lights. Then I played with my growing up daughter, now she is 15 years old and she plays the same copy of the game with her friends from time to time. The components are worn out a bit, but now the 2nd edition is in print. I'll probably get one, for my second daughter is 5 years old and've just started rolling dice with Pikomino the game...I think she'll love the Talisman as well!
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Neil
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What a superb review. It was a real pleasure to read. Thank you very much for sharing your memories and experiences.
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Daniel Corban
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MerricB wrote:
I've tried Prophecy. I've tried Runebound. I've tried Return of the Heroes. None has thrilled me as Talisman has.


Truth.
 
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Dan Conley
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dcorban wrote:
MerricB wrote:
I've tried Prophecy. I've tried Runebound. I've tried Return of the Heroes. None has thrilled me as Talisman has.


Truth.


And I say "Amen" to that! I've loved this game since 2nd ed. came out (missed 1st ed.). It does have its flaws, as you pointed out. But, for absolute FUN, I'll take Talisman over just about ANYTHING else!

Thanks for a terrific write-up!
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Wendell
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Great review. I played a lot of Talisman back in the '80s. It still has a lot to recommend it.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Extremely well done, Merric. I see you are exactly the same age as my eldest daughter. One of my early articles on BGG was also a remembrance of Talisman in the 80s.
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Curt Carpenter
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dcorban wrote:
MerricB wrote:
I've tried Prophecy. I've tried Runebound. I've tried Return of the Heroes. None has thrilled me as Talisman has.


Truth.

Whereas I have also tried all the above mentioned games, and none has bored me to tears as Talisman has. I have only played the Revised 4th Edition. So maybe they left out the secret sauce, I don't know.
 
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Daniel Corban
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I feel the main (only?) thing that causes Talisman to be "boring" is players taking too long on their turn. Turns should last approximately 10 seconds unless there is combat, which adds maybe another 10. And this is without excessive rushing.

FFG did add an element in fourth edition which inherently lengthens turn time: fate.
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Daniel Corban
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I find it interesting that you think Talisman is more boring than Runebound. Back when my friends and I were playing Runebound, you could literally leave the room for 10 minutes and come back when it was your turn. I guess whether that is boring or not depends on the extra curricular activity you choose during the downtime. I have never, ever seen worse downtime in any other game. It doesn't get more boring than that for me.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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dcorban wrote:
I find it interesting that you think Talisman is more boring than Runebound.

Ugh. I just fell victim to the "accidentally click a link after typing long post" syndrome. Let me try again...

I have purchased all four of the aforementioned games. First was Runebound, first edition, right when it came out. Huge flop. Immediately sold it. Heard that second edition is much better. I have many friends who share similar preferences as me who play it and enjoy it quite a lot. But I still am a bit bitter bitter at FFG for v1 (plus other v1 games which bombed, such as TI3), and also get slightly turned off by games with tons of expansions. So no interest in going back to that. Then I got Return of the Heroes. Played exactly once with my wife and son. My son liked it a lot. I thought it was just ok. A little too much pick up and deliver, not enough fantasy. I actually feel like I should go back and try it again, but the thought of slogging through that "funny" rulebook is more than I can stomach. Might go in the trade pile if I don't get it played again in the next couple years. Then I got Prophecy. I actually ended up playing someone else's before I even opened my own copy. It bombed. No one liked it. I never would have bought my own copy after that experience, but since I already had it, I decided to try again, this time with my son. This time is clicked. So much so that we played it nearly weekly for months on end. The ending was a little retarded though. We tried the various variants, as well as house rules, but usually we just called game when it was obvious who would win. So wanting to diversify a bit, I got Talisman, revised 4th edition. I was still a little wary of FFG, mind you, but I figured that with being the revised 4th edition it must have all the kinks worked out. Wow was I disappointed. There are some Euros that deservedly are accused of forgetting to put the fun in the box, but FFG forgot to put the game into Talisman! This game was so bad that the worst possible thing occurred: I didn't care what happened. We just roll a die, have two possible places to go, pick one, draw a card, something happens that you have any control over, or more often than not, not happens at all. Turn over. Rinse and repeat. Yawn.

Talisman will always be one of the great BGG mysteries to me. I have geekbuddies who say they like it (none I know personally, at least that I've discussed this with), but I can't figure it out. To me, it seems clear that although Prophecy is a clear rip off of Talisman, it's also just better. So my only conclusion is that people who played Talisman in their youth retain that nostalgia, and also perhaps rightfully are predisposed toward the game that came out first. And maybe even me toward the game I played first. But I really can't imagine someone today, who has played many modern designs, especially Euros (I can't speak for AT fans) preferring Talisman. Inconceivable.
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Daniel Corban
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I had never touched Talisman until about a year ago. No nostalgia or false memories here.
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Curt Carpenter
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dcorban wrote:
I had never touched Talisman until about a year ago. No nostalgia or false memories here.

Then I can't help you.
 
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Great Review. I have great memories of this and have now introduced this game to my 7 year old son. Can I say he is having a blast. And even though my wife does not enjoy this much (17 years ago she got turned into a toad and us picking over her objects scarred her for life) plus she thinks it's fantasy monopoly, we have been playing it regularly.

Personally I get so much enjoyment from seeing my son win but more so from him getting excited with events that happen during the game. It is immersive, it's improving his reading and we just have a great laugh.

Two incidents I'd like to share from last nights game

1. He had Winged boots and was just trying to beat his furthest movement each time he got a six. Each time he beat it he would just be so excited.

2. I was on the crown of command. I had one life left. I rolled 7 times without hitting him once. Then I got two turns in a row. I rolled a 5 and he plays reflection. I've never seen such a funnier happy dance.
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Andres Sauceda
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Answering to curt, I had never played talisman in my youth years, looking around in BGG, I found it, talk with some of my old friends and happened that one had it, we play and I found it fun, back in the 80, we use to play D&D, this game is not D&D but is fun, a light fun game, it is random? yes, but if you are in the right mood you will have some fun, you can play with all the family and have fun, without complex rules or interactions (DUNE, Titan, Chess), that are intended to adults.

take it light, and have fun :-)
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Drew
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Great review -- I also found the game back in the 80's as a early teenager and had many of the same experiences as you.

I can understand why people like Curt just don't get this game as I have had many gamer friends back in the 80s and now that feel exactly as he does. The game is light on strategy, your choices are limited and you are pretty much just along for the ride hoping you get better roles and cards then other people. At times in the game you might as well be playing Candyland.

If you play Candyland with a kid you see that they care little for mechanics of the game or the depth of the rules. For them the thrill is simply moving forward past you and hopefully getting that ice cream falls card. I can remember back playing that game when I was a kid and in my head I was exploring Candyland, going to the lollipop forest, and of course eating candy.

It is now fun to play Candyland with my 4 year old daughter but I no longer as a 40 year old man take imaginary trips to Candyland when I play the game. I could never play it with just my adult friends unless we made it into some sort of wicked drinking game.

I think games like Talisman and Runebound appeal to people in much the same way as Candyland does to children. After reading fantasy for much of my life, and playing lots of RPGs I can find easily find myself drifting into imaging that I am the hero I am playing in a game of Talisman or Runebound. I think it is the theme of the game and what effects it simulates in people imaginations that is the main appeal. Having simple rules also helps the illusion as does the random nature since you can't focus your energy on "mastering the game" unless you count the cards and that would be so lame.

This isn't to say that people who dislike it are because they have no imagination or never played RPGs -- as I know plenty of people who are very creative and awesome role-players who hate these types of games.
I am more trying to explain what the draw these games have over their fans.



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Curt Carpenter
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James, I think you are exactly right. I find it anecdotally interesting that when my kids were 3-4, they too enjoyed Candyland, but I HATED it. Sure, I'd play with them because they wanted to, and I enjoyed doing stuff with them, but the millisecond they could learn how to make a decision, we were off to stuff like Galloping Pigs or Enchanted Forest. ANYTHING with a real decision!
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curtc wrote:
James, I think you are exactly right. I find it anecdotally interesting that when my kids were 3-4, they too enjoyed Candyland, but I HATED it. Sure, I'd play with them because they wanted to, and I enjoyed doing stuff with them, but the millisecond they could learn how to make a decision, we were off to stuff like Galloping Pigs or Enchanted Forest. ANYTHING with a real decision!

I totally understand that, although Galloping Pigs never grabbed us - we played Enchanted Forest and Midnight Party. But I don't buy that Talisman is candyland; in fact I think it has every bit as much strategy as Galloping Pigs. The difference is that those decisions are spread out over a much longer time frame. Our solution was to play Talisman Dungeon as a stand alone, which was great. All the fun of dealing with the fantasy elements, but far quicker.

Speaking of which, I really want to get a copy of the Dungeon expansion for second edition. I traded mine long ago, thinking that with the kids grown, I wouldn't need it. Now I've got grandchildren, and I'd love to play the game with them that I used to play with their parents when they were kids. If anybody has one that they're willing to part with, please let me know. I'll trade for it or buy it, and for more than it's worth - it's not worth all that much with 4th edition available, but it's worth something to me!
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Littlemonk
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This is a great game for 10-13 year olds! I too was about 11 when i first played this game. Before that i had only experienced games like Dungeon. Talisman was amazing!

Now ny kids are enjoying my Talisman set (over 25 years old now)! They also play Mighty Warriors every now and then. Castle Risk is their favorite right now and i'm looking forward to the day i can play Diplomacy with them.

In college i experienced Dungeonquest, Heroquest, and a bunch of other Games Workshop gmaes. But my all-time favorite - and the one i play still play today (read in there, "highly obsessed with") is Warhammer Quest! You should really give that one a look if you haven't already. It is the holy grail of dungeon bashes!

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/482707/the-top-10-reason...

 
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Michael Lee
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I think you crystallized the magic of Talisman. It's not simultaneously interactive. -It's more of a cause-and-effect thing. Once the end-game is "fixed" and the strategies are made clear for the different characters, Talisman is pure fun.

MerricB wrote:
[size=12]
What is this player interaction? Does it mean that Talisman is superior just because the Thief can steal objects, or the Warrior and Troll can defeat someone else in Combat and take them, or the Wizard can turn opposing characters into Toads? (rarely, but enjoyably... for the Wizard!)

That's part of it, but it also has to do with the way the board changes with the actions of the players. The Dragon is drawn on a space by the Wizard, who casts Invisibility to avoid it. However, the Warrior has found the Holy Lance and now attempts to find the Dragon to slay it, because the risk vs reward for him are worth it. The Fountain of Wisdom is discovered, and the "heroes" of the land flock towards it. The Monk finds the Wand - and becomes powerful thereby, so the other characters seek to find some way to gain the Wand for themselves.

You pay attention to what is going on in the game. Someone gaining an item opens up the opportunity for you to take it. Undefeated monsters are potential targets for you. The Stranger ignores the Troll? That's a Wish available for the crafty characters in the game.
 
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Roger Coe
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Merric, that was a great look at the game. I too played it a lot in the 80s with my friends, and now i've just got a copy from Ebay with the Adventure and Expansion additions.
I'm planning on playing it with my young daughters, they've been enjoying the odd game of Heroquest recently, they're 8 and 4 (the 4 year old does get bored after a while, so it may end up as a 2 player game). The visuals have impressed them, but i'm worried about an overlong game.
As someone who has played extensively and remembers it well, would the choice of whether to move 1 square only or take a d6 movement roll help with the overshoot/undershoot frustration, when you really need to get to a certain place.
Or would the ability to only use a portion of the movement rolled be helpful?
Just wondering if ideas like this would have a detrimental effect.
Thanks.
 
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Merric Blackman
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I've played a bit of the new FFG version recently, and I find that the randomness of the game drops a lot once you add in the expansion boards of that version, as you have more control of the type of encounter you have. In truth I'm not fond of most of the original expansions to Talisman, which diluted the game a bit much.

In fact, especially with young children, I'd see nothing wrong with dispensing with the die roll at all and allowing them to choose how far they move ... from one to six spaces. It would significantly speed up the game. The two areas to particularly consider are landing on other characters and returning to the Magic Stream and other stat enhancers; in those cases, I'd require a roll of 4+ on one die before such were allowed, just to help with the degenerate combinations that might occur - or give a timer of three turns before they could interact again.

The main randomness, after all, comes from the variety of encounter cards.

Cheers,
Merric
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