Had a blast of a session over the past weekend. We were a total of six players, three of which were new to fourth edition, but not to Talisman. Thus, there was no great learning curve for any of us.
We included all expansions with a number of house-rules which are detailed here:
Drawing one character each at random we ultimately selected: The Dragon Rider (Joe), Leprechaun (Paul), Doomsayer (Mike), Pixie (Chris), Alchemist (Patrick), Prophetess (Myself).
It was a rather slow start for myself as via events and spells I lost my first two turns in a row. Even after that my progress was very lackluster.
As any good Prophetess does, I attempted to cycle spells as best I could; however, my greed got the best of me. I was forced to discard a spell, Generosity, which would have allowed me to steal all gold from a single player. I could have used it to steal a couple of gold the turn I drew it, but I was waiting to see the if the Leprechaun would land on a few Woods spaces… and he DID! However, this only started occurring AFTER my spell was gone!
Joe and his Dragon Rider were very fortunate to draw and defeat a strength 6 dragon, an Umbral Drake, from the Adventure deck shortly after the start and take it as a mount. Using his movement bonus he was able to zip around the board landing on about anything he wished. Also, choosing between two combat dice helped him to lose very few, if any, further combats the rest of the game.
Early on the Doomsayer was able to jump across the Storm River from the Tavern. Mike then cast Haunting Poltergeist on himself and cycled between the Temple and the adjacent Woods for a good chunk of the game. With a near endless amount of fate he was able to get lots of strength and craft cones from Temple roles. That combined with drawing so many extra cards made him really powerful. He SHOULD have won, but Talisman has a way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as I’ll describe later.
With six players on the board the Reaper and Werewolf weren’t getting much rest. For some reason, I initially received the lion share of their visits. It was as if there was some unwritten rule that everyone MUST pick on the host. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I kept sneaking peaks at their spells. Regardless of my plight, the poor Leprechaun was actually the Reaper’s first victim, rolling a “1” initially and repeating the same value on his fate roll. The game’s initial fatality was then replaced by the Sage.
Seemingly endless hindering or inconsequential draws slowed the Alchemist, Pixie and myself while the (still mounted) Dragon Rider and Doomsayer prospered and accelerated away from the pack.
At this point, I had to do something—ANYTHING to get myself into the game. My Prophetess had acquired a number of spells that affect combat (one of which being Soul Shatter which is pretty much a guaranteed win). Thus I decided (with so far only having earned one bonus strength cone and no real help in combat from objects and followers) to dive into the dungeon and use the big spell on the Lord of Darkness. I was way behind and hoped adding one of the LoD’s treasures would help propel me forward.
About half way through I land on a “Draw 2” space. To my horror I’m facing enemies valued at str 3 and str 5. Oh… and um…. it’s night, which brings their combined combat strength up to 10. My strength is at a total of “3” so while I could have been safe and cast Soul Shatter, I still had my heart set on saving it for the LoD. Thus, I took a risk and cast Todify on the larger monster. The die roll for the spell was “1” …and me without any available fate. Noooooo!
My Prophetess was now down to two life and little did I know that she only had two turns to live. Next turn she shuffled to the adjacent Kitchen and was poisoned. On the following turn I thought hopping into the empty Corridor space would be uneventful. Wrong again, as I was thoroughly swatted by a Nightmare (craft 6) and my slain Prophetess would now be replaced by our good friend, the Warrior.
Play ensued for several turns until Dragon Rider, now equipped with his Talisman, barreled towards the middle. However, the Doomsayer had other plans and gets to the Portal of Power first only to have his hopes dashed by a Vortex spell from the Pixie! Even with his fate roll, the Doomsayer gets dropped on the Tavern. This clearly puts the Dragon Rider in the lead as he enters the Inner Region three turns ahead of the Doomsayer.
Ultimately, Joe and his trusty dragon steed jump up to the Crown of Command and draw the Crown and Sceptre alternate ending. We were all hoping he’d get Horrible Black Void but no such luck. It was over very quickly and this one belonged to the Dragon Rider.
All in all it was about four hours of enjoyable twists, turns, and tumult. The Eagle King was defeated in the Highlands once, though the Lord of Darkness was never challenged. The City, however, seemed to be the most popular side board given five of six players were there at one time or another.
So ends this session report and I look forward to bringing you others down the road of Talisman.