Fantasy Flight Games picked up the rights for this venerable fantasy board game
after games Workshop re-released, then discontinued the game almost in the same
The folks at Fantasy Flight took the opportunity to give the latest edition a quick
refresh, tidying up the rules, and providing us with miniatures rather than card figures
to represent our characters in the game. Yes, I know the original Talisman had the
card figures, but FFG have done a great job with the miniatures.
Talisman, for those who don’t know, was originally released by Games Workshop
back in 1983, the first edition had black and white cards. Did anyone else play? No,
just me. Okay, I’m old. Actually, it wasn’t just me who played it, the game became
quite a hit. An all-colour second edition was released, and over the years that
followed came many expansions. It is this edition of the game that is most fondly
Fortunately, this is the edition that FFG have modelled their release on. The game is
very much a blast from the past, with separate player turns, roll and move, read the
square you just landed on type of play. This is no Puerto Rico or Power Grid. The
object of the game is to roll and move your way from the Outer Region of the board
to the central square of the Inner Region. Once there, a player dons the Crown of
Command and forces others to recognise him or her as the winner.
Each player takes on a different character, from Knight or Dwarf to Elf and Wizard.
Each character comes with its own set of special abilities that will help you in the
game. The Wizard begins the game with spells, while the Elf never worries about
becoming lost in the Forest.
Characters start off fairly weak, and must strengthen up in the relatively safe
Outer Region, before moving into the tougher Middle Region and finally
taking on the challenge of the Inner Region to reach the Crown of Command.
The pace of the game can actually be rather slow, as players ignore each other in the
search for easy to kill monsters, and the magical items and equipment that will allow
them to progress further. Once someone grabs a talisman and makes a break fro
the Crown of Command though, the pace changes and the game becomes quite cut-
throat. Unless that character is already too powerful to touch, which can be the case.
Talisman is an older game, with old mechanics that would be familiar to Monopoly
players the world over. Let’s face it; these mechanics do not help the game. It can
be overly long, and you can end up watching while one character, miles ahead of
everyone else, strolls at a leisurely pace to victory while you try to kill your second
For all its faults Talisman is a fun fantasy board game and Fantasy Flight have
produced a truly excellent edition. The board art is wonderful, the cards are of great
quality, and the miniatures help bring the game off the flat surface of the board.
Several expansions have already been released.
Talisman is recommended for younger players, older players with fond memories of
the original, and players who want to play a fantasy game and have a change from
running train lines or power stations all day.
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