by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
Back to the drawing board
Board games are great. I don’t pay them as much attention as I’d like to, which is mainly the fault of my computer, but when I do play them I really enjoy them. Talisman is a board game that first released in 1983 by Games Workshop, the company behind Warhammer miniatures among other things. I had never played it before Gamescom, but all that has changed thanks to the video game version, a multiplayer edition that will launch later this year.
Setting it up
Despite being a thirty year old game, the themes and style aren’t outdated. The game will launch with you able to control one of ten characters. They are your standard fantasy figures, such as the Druid, the Thief and the Troll, and they each have their own special ability. For example, the Troll can use its regenerative abilities to gain a life. The aim of the game is to beat your opponents to the centre of the board. To reach the Crown of Command you must pass through the Valley of Fire, which you can only do if you possess a talisman. Once you reach this important location, you can begin killing off your foes to win the game.
Rolling the die lets you move around the board. Each square you can land on has a different effect. The Plains, for example, will simply let you draw a card. Cards also have different effects, like granting you gold, or even the power if teleportation. Should you land in a town, you can spend your gold at the shops, buying items such as weaponry or armour at the blacksmith which will both aid you in combat against the other players. The Graveyard is a tricky place. It is a bad place to be if you are a “good” player, as you will lose a life, but it will grant special bonuses to “bad” players. The Tavern is a sort of chance square. Here you will roll the die, and depending on the result there will be a set outcome.
Your character has stats which can be improved throughout the game. Wealth is a measure of how much gold you have, Fate translates to luck, Life determines how far away from death you are, Strength determines your fighting prowess and Craft is essentially magic and used for casting spells which can be unlocked as you play. If you land on the same square as an enemy, you can choose to fight them. This choice is important, as in games with more than two players, allegiances can be formed.
Although some people will likely prefer playing the physical version, there are bonuses to playing the digital version. A normal game of Talisman can take up to four hours, but here you can play a full game in around forty-five minutes to an hour. Playing on your computer also allows you to perform things like character customisation which is lacking from the real life version, and you will be able to unlock perks for your fantasy minions to increase their skills in the game. Of course, the best thing about online play is the ability to play a game without having to get a bunch of people in the same room. The intention is to implement a cross play feature, allowing people on the PC to play in the same game as someone on a mobile device.
There is an abundance of great board games that have made the switch over to digital in recent years, and Talisman is just the latest. The benefits over the physical version are many, and they are a good tool for training up newcomers before introducing them to a real life game night. The rules of Talisman are simple, but there is a great deal of strategy you can employ. Players will be able to begin their trek through the Valley of Fire later this year.