Talisman board game
by James Meadows
(Katy, TX, USA)
Board game Manufacturer:
Number of Players:
For individuals who enjoy games in fantasy worlds, the Talisman board game is a classic and a dream come true. It has incredible replay value, since each time the game is played, the characters, items and challenges encountered will be different.
The game and gameplay
The game is filled with a diverse variety of fantasy characters, each with their own special abilities, and each of these characters can be equipped with a slew of unique magical items, spells and equipment.
The Talisman game board consists of three different circles. The players start in the outer circle and progressively move to the middle and inner circles as the players feel their characters are ready to face the new challenges.
The players’ starting equipment and special powers are unique, depending upon which characters the players are controlling.
Normally, the characters are chosen at random but this is not necessary, although the game is usually more fun this way. As the characters adventure upon the different circles, they encounter new challenges and can improve and develop their character in a wide variety of ways.
Adventure cards that provide the player with choices allow the players themselves to dictate the ways that their characters will develop.
As the characters travel around the board, they land on different squares requiring them to either draw adventure cards or roll dice, depending upon the text of the square.
The adventure cards can reveal new items, grant gold, reveal new locations, cause events to occur or can reveal creatures that must be battled.
When not encountering squares, the characters can also battle each other for equipment or lives. Each character starts with four lives and can collect more as the game proceeds. If a character loses all of their lives, then the player has to discard their character and start over with a new character.
Ultimately, the goal of the Talisman board game is for the character’s stats, strength and craft to be developed to a great enough level that they are able to venture into the inner circle of the board. In the inner circle, the character must face a number of tests in order to reach the final square called the Crown of Command.
Once a character reaches the Crown of Command, any players that have their character killed are automatically eliminated. A character in the Crown of Command can use special powers to try to kill the other players before they can reach the Crown of Command.
If another player reaches the Crown of Command, then the two characters battle to the death for the square. The game ends when only one player is left alive on the board.
Pros and cons
The great variety of characters and adventures available in the game make for excellent replay value. Although the game states that two to six players can play the game, the game can actually be played with more players than six and still be enjoyable.
One of the few negatives related to the game is the imbalance of some of the characters. Some have much better special abilities than others. This discrepancy is not a major issue in a game with three or more characters, because the characters can often team together to defeat a player who is too powerful.
In a two player game, the discrepancy in power and the inability to team up with other players to defeat a player who has gotten too powerful can sometimes make the game less enjoyable. Allowing players to choose their character in two player games can prevent this from occurring.
The time needed to develop characters and the time spent travelling around the board hoping to land on a certain square can make the game last a long time.
Anyone playing the game should expect the game to take around an hour and a half to complete, or longer if there are more players.
The Talisman board game is perfect for a group of individuals who enjoy fantasy games with great diversity and character development. The game can be quite addictive, as players usually want to try out each of the characters and experiment with the different varieties of character development and items. The randomness and high replay value make this a game that can be played over and over again.