Elijah Lau
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Fantasy adventure (FA) boardgames like Talisman usually take a very long time to play, which appears to defeat the purpose of playing them in the first place. After all, FA boardgames seem to be a poor cousin of RPGs, as they are more restrictive in game play compared to the free run of possible options available in RPGs. Therefore, if games like Talisman and Runebound require 6+ hours of play, any RPG player would say, "If I have 6+ hours to spend, I might as well play RPG." Even the use of the Doom Track in Runebound does not significantly shorten playing time to a manageable level (though certainly an improvement to the basic game!).

Talisman tried to simplify the FA concept through simple encounter and combat systems but this made the game too random. a large part of victory or defeat is decided mainly by the roll of the die. And games can drag on, not because of overcomplexity, but because a player can turn from a hero to zero, and vice versa, from a simple roll of the die.

Runebound injected more details, i.e., more complexity, into the encounter, combat and movement systems to add more layers of decision-making into the game - thus giving the players more strategic and tactical options, i.e., similar to that in an RPG. But the game still could not replicate the flexibility and richness found in RPGs, while dramatically adding to game length and significant downtime.

Attempts to shorten game time of Talisman and Runebound to, say, 2 hours, require such a radical redesign of the game that it appears to defeat the purpose of playing them in the first place. One FA boardgame that meets the 2 hour requirement is Return of the Heroes. It appears that the game is able to do this by being ruthlessly spartan: limit of only 4 players, fewer encounters and items (compared to Runebound), and preventing player kill. The result is a FA boardgame with heavy restrictions.

Thus the FA boardgame conundrum is reached: to add more variety and interesting "bits" into the game means adding complexity and playing time, turning the boardgame into merely a more restrictive version of RPGs, and thus unable to offer really any significant improvements in enjoyment compared to RPGs.

Perhaps one day, game designers can come up with a game that solves the FA boardgame conundrum, but that day is not upon us yet.
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Leon Wild
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Re:Why Talisman and other fantasy adventure boardgames don't really work for people who also play RPGs
Interesting, but I think the main difference between role-playing and board games is that RPGs exist primarily in the imagination and the stat sheet, module and DM help give it a constraint while the boardgame has tangible pieces and very fixed rules and often a strategy.

e.g. in a boardgame you can't just say to the other players "Sure, you go back to the dungeon, I am going to stay in the Grand Wizard's library and look up naughty pictures of Elves." and still have a coherent game.

I am not into RPGs any more, but when I was my group loved RPGs and boardgames. They were a completely different feel. With boardgames, it was much more social, no GM who had to be secretive or nasty and non-rpg friends could participate fully without being worried that their souls were going BADD. ;-)

Talisman helped me introduce a few friends into RPGs but it still was a world apart. The main problem with Talisman that if played too often, it would lose the unpredictability of the cards. Next time I play I think I'll go to Talisman Island and print off a few random new cards to introduce some variety.

Talisman does take too long, I always forget that I should have started it hours before. But it is great when there are a few friends around and some good beer.

 
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Elijah Lau
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Re:Why Talisman and other fantasy adventure boardgames don't really work for people who also play RPGs
lwild (#452956),

Well, I fully agree that good enjoyment of RPG is very much dependent on who you play with. I don't deny that boardgames are a much better "social" occasion than soul-destroying D&D .

My question is whether 6-hour Talisman or Runebound should be the game that provides that "social" occasion instead of RPG. To me, these games are worse than RPG, in that it's the same subject material but offer a more restrictive experience! Like you, I've stopped playing RPGs. I've gone totally into boardgaming, but the games I play are shorter, and offer high player interaction and replayability, like Citadels, BANG!, Princes of Florence etc.
 
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