Classic fantasy adventure board game Talisman was first released in 1983, which means it reaches the ripe old age of 40 this year. So what better time to check out […]
Classic fantasy adventure board game Talisman was first released in 1983, which means it reaches the ripe old age of 40 this year.
So what better time to check out its digital adaptation, bringing it from the tabletop to your TV screen (or indeed back to the tabletop on the screen of the Switch itself if you so desire – you do you!).
Oddly, Talisman (at least the English language version) seems to currently be out of print – its Revised 4th Edition, which came out in 2008, having dropped off the radar a few years back.
So unless you’re lucky enough to find a copy in a dusty corner of a bricks and mortar games store, purchase a second hand copy online or if you already own it, there’s very few options available to you in order to play classic Talisman right now.
This Digital Edition, by Nomad Games, has itself been around for some time. It was initially released in 2014 on Steam, but has made its way to consoles in recent years.
If you don’t know anything about Talisman, it’s a heavily luck based game in which players roll a die and move around a board, usually with a choice of which way they want to move. The space you land on may have special powers, positive or negative effects – or, most commonly, cause you to draw an encounter card, which can be anything from spells, enemy creatures, equipment, other special effects, events or places.
Each player’s character has unique abilities and stats which can be improved upon as they move around the board defeating enemies (and cashing in their vanquished foes to raise their stats), with the aim to secure a Talisman to gain access to the Crown of Command at the centre of the board.
Once there, they can attempt to wipe out all other players in order to win.
Much of Talisman’s appeal is based on the fact that it’s incredibly straightforward to learn, teach and play, yet does provide a unique and sometimes hilariously chaotic adventure whenever it’s played.
It can drag on for far too long, with too much reliance on dice rolls, but it can be hugely satisfying and fun with the right company and mindset. It’s not a game to be taken seriously and it won’t challenge your grey matter, but it’s an enjoyable enough way to pass the time if you’re not looking for a deep and strategic experience.
The same can be said of the digital version, which does a great job of automating the game and making sure that all information that’s needed to play effectively is just a button press or two away at any time.
Despite this – and the numerous options allowing you to speed up the turns of your opponents – it can still feel like a needlessly drawn out experience; it does of course suffer from the exact same issues as the board game version too, in that far too often the outcome and length of the game can come down to rolling specific numbers on the dice, rather than any meaningful decisions made by the players.
It does reproduce the gorgeous, iconic art of the game and its components very well though; fans of the board game will feel right at home here.
There’s an absolutely bewildering amount of DLC characters and expansions available – and given that the complete edition, with absolutely everything thrown in, is often on sale, it can be tempting to pick it all up at once before one die is rolled.
My advice would be to not do that, as the various rule sets, new board and more complicated characters can be incredibly overwhelming to noobs; in fact, these would only be something I’d recommend purchasing once you’re familiar with the base game and its various moving parts.
Even then, though the expansions do bring a lot of variation, they can often draw the already too long games of Talisman out even further – adding in more chaos and luck to the proceedings.
The base game itself is well worth picking up if you’re a fan (or if you want to give Talisman a go but don’t own the board game version).
There’s also a really neat and extensive in-game system of achievements which help you to unlock basic progression and artwork; this adds a surprisingly addictive element to the proceedings too, especially on Switch where no achievements are baked into the system at all.
It’s a well produced game with excellent presentation – the medieval style soundtrack is really cool too and, currently, even at full price it’s still the cheapest way to pick up a new copy of Talisman!
I recently reviewed Talisman: Star Wars, just one of the more recent re-themings of Talisman. It speeds the game up considerably and transports the action to a galaxy far, far away. Though the lack of expansions mean that you’ll be limited to the base game for now, this is still a really good way to get acquainted with Talisman, especially if you’re a Star Wars fan. Check out my review here.
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