Monday, March 11, 2013

The City attracts big guys (Talisman)

A friend visited me for a few days, and we are both rather enthuasiastic board gamers.

So, needless to say, a crapload of games was played during the course of weekend. Though technically that isn't true - the amount of games wasn't that big, but the hours spent in those was!

First, last Friday we played two games of 2-player Talisman. It took almost 9 hours. How on earth? Well. Let's start.

Game 1:

There is some perverse pleasure in playing Talisman with all available expansion with all available additional rules. So, we had Dragon King thing going on with the Dragon Realm inner board. We had Reaper, day/night card, Werewolf and all boards currently released.

Even the boards alone start to take up quite a lot of space, not to mention all decks and their separate discard piles...

So, it was bound to take really long time even with two players already familiar with the system.

Anyway, characters that were randomly drawn were Grave Robber and Ogre Chieftain. This was especially nice, since neither had been played before.

Sadly I've forgotten most of the awesome little stories the game included, though a special story mention goes to Ogre Chieftain, the dominator of monsters. His mighty rulership and "might makes right" way of thinking became more and more questionable as game progressed. He only had a couple of followers, Stinker the skunk and some thieving magpie, and a random street urchin. No-one actually said it to Ogre Chieftain's face, but that's no army if you ask me.

Somehow Ogre just couldn't find any enemies to fight, and those he did fight, he somehow manages to lose or fight to a draw. Sure he slowly beat up some of the smaller critters, but all in all, his progress was dreadfully slow. He did find all kinds of wonderful magical trinkets and whatnot, but once Grave Robber shattered Ogre's Golden Gauntlets that provided him with +2 strenght, he was fighting in way different league than the dirty digger.

Grave Robber, on the other hand, played a steady game. Sure he had some downfalls (such as losing a warhorse he had bought with 6 gold from Livery Stable), but at least he progressed. A certain lunar event that gave every character spells enough to fill their full spell allowance at the start of turn helped Grave Robber a bit more than Ogre Chieftain, and in the end (after 4 hours of play) he had quite disgusting ratio of strengh/craft.

It all came to a quick end when Grave Robber drew this portal thing from Varthraxs' deck and rolled exactly 22, teleporting him straight to Crown of Command. With his valiant warhorse, Grave Robber did not even need to roll dice. Even if he rolled 1 and Varthrax 6, he would still win.

So, a victory for Grave Robber!

And then.

Game 2:

After taking a small break, we decided to play another game of Talisman with a little faster game mode. We ditched the dragon lords, Reaper and Werewolf, and took random revealed alternative ending, which proved to be Assassin's Guild.

I'm sure neither of us expected the game to actually surpass game 1 in lenght.


Characters that were drawn were Minotaur and Rogue. Again characters that had never been played before! I was ecstatic.

Both characters had a fast start, but Minotaur had faster. Two times in short order Minotaur had rolled 5 or 6 for movement and was lucky enough to encounter some Strenght 6-8 monsters. That's a really huge boost early in game.

Rogue managed to snatch stat rises here and there with Enchantress and Temple and whatnot. But minotaur with his mighty horns and a herd of riding horses and his loyal dragon companion Singe killed just about anything they came to pass, and hoarded Wanted posters quite quickly.

Somewhere there things started going awry with Rogue. She couldn't find any enemies she had on her Wanted posters, and lucky stat rises were long gone. Penniless, she encountered these law enforcement monsters that throw you in jail if you lose to them. Despite she having advantage of +1 against it, she loses and is taken to jail. This happened in some woods in outer region. The hand of law sure reaches far...

To make things really horrible, she just doesn't manage to roll 5+ to escape. Rogue dies in jail, leaving Champion of Light and mule or something to rot there too, without a possibility of escape. Another character drawn is the Vampire Hunter, who was severely behind in strenght and craft.

However, game mode was one of that kind where you just have to rush quickly to Crown of Command, and then you win the game. There could have been a slight chance for Vampire Hunter...

Especially, when Minotaur was stuck with Wanted: Cultist, and Vampire Hunter was good, and all wanted posters on city gate were Wanted: Evil Character!

Countless turns Minotaur tried to find even one cultist from the Dungeon, to no avail. He had a really absurd Strenght value, 16 in the red dots plus more from equipment and followers. And add in 1-6 from stampede.

We, the players, were starting to get really tired and I'm ashamed how stupid things made us giggle like ten year olds. And some higher power seemed to have decided that the game would last forever and forever. For example, when Minotaur got a nice little spell to change alignment of a player, he rolled a crapton of damage against Lord of Darkness and was teleported straight to Crown of Command. Nice. Except he had only 3 wanted posters done from the required 4... Moving back from Crown to Portal of Power really took forever.

Special mention goes to Whiskers, the cat, whose loyalty to Vampire Hunter was heartbreaking. They encountered a water elemental during their trip to the City, that drenched the cat and swept it away from her loving owner. However, just the next turn, Whiskers returned! Mind you, Vampire Hunter did not actually land in the square with Whiskers. That would've meant she found Whiskers. She rolled enough to move to Town Square, though, and there was a joyous meeting!

... and then Minotaur had finally managed to crawl out of Inner Region.

Then there were countless turns where he tried to get to city gates to get Wanted: Evil Character poster. He finally succeeded, and then there were countless turns of him chasing Vampire Hunter around. Finally that succeeded too, and she was momentarily turned to evil alignment by minotaurs spell, and finally he had four wanted posters!

Yay! Game would end soon, because Minotaur had riding horses, and could ride like the wind to Lord of Darkness and beat him up again to teleport to Crown of Command!

... if it only would have been so.

Minotaur rolled many, many turn 3-6 with two dice as his movement. Some god of Talisman really didn't want us to let go to sleep.

But... eventually Minotaur reached Lord of Darkness, and game was over.

Victory for Minotaur.

And a loss for illusion of thinking "Assassin's Guild" as being a faster game mode!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I got a question, by the way. I usually write up these things not in very "newbie-friendly" fashion, so if reader is not familiar with the game they're probably difficult to make any sense out of.

      So have you played Talisman before, or was it a good read even without knowledge of mechanics? :)