For those of you who were like me and didn’t know, Talisman: Digital Edition is an adaption of the fantasy board game, Talisman, first released in 1983. In this game, two to four players choose a hero, such as a warrior, assassin, troll and many others (each with their own special attributes and abilities), and essentially race from the outer region of the game board to the central region where the Crown of Command sits. When a character or characters reach the Crown of Command, they gain the ability to “nuke” their competitors with a spell that removes one of their lives per turn until they run out.
But before getting to the Crown of Command, players must bring their heroes on a journey through the grassy outer regions to the harsher deserts of the inner regions. Through many rolls of the dice, the heroes land on different tiles, often drawing adventure cards which represent monsters to fight, equipment, followers, and the occasional bag of gold. Although heroes can’t gain experience points by fighting monsters, they can turn in the “trophies” of their victories in exchange for bonuses to Strength and Craft. Strength gets used in battling creatures like ogres and bears, while Craft is used against “craftier” bad guys like ghosts and witches. Once a character is strong and crafty enough she can fight the Sentinel, a powerful guardian with 9 Strength who blocks the way to the inner region. But more often than not, players will try the alternate strategy of finding an Axe and building a Raft to get across to the inner region. If a character ends up back on the outer region for any reason, he’ll have to either build another raft or fight the Sentinel again.
Although success in this game depends largely on your choices and your hero’s equipment, the roll of the die brings luck into the mix. It can keep you on your toes, especially when you start wading into the harsh environments of the inner and central regions.
What makes this version of the game stand out against its real-life counterpart is the player progression scheme. After you beat the game (or even lose it), you earn experience points based on your performance and are rewarded with Runestones and Steam Achievements. There are fifty achievements on Steam and you can equip your next hero with up to three Runestones which can affect everything from starting lives to not missing a turn when your hero drinks too much in the tavern! This progression will keep you coming back for more play sessions as you try to accomplish something you didn’t earn in your last play-through.
Although I experienced a game crash when I tried to resume a previous session (and had to start a new one), Talisman was otherwise very stable. And although this game could have done much better with its animation and art style, it still functioned well and will probably play great on any system.
If you enjoy adapted board games, and especially fantasy-themed board games, Talisman: Digital Edition deserves your hard-earned $14.99.
Special thanks to the people at Noisy Communications who gifted me the game on Steam.