10th Mar2014

Review: Talisman Digital Edition

by Travis Patterson

Talisman 01 Resize Review: Talisman Digital Edition

Talisman is originally a board game developed by Games Workshop.  They are a prominent maker of board game, card, and miniature style games.  The first edition of this title was released in 1983.  Talisman Digital Edition is actually based on the revised fourth edition rules which were released Dec. 17th, 2008.  This revised edition was released with 9 core expansion packs for the board game.  The maker of this game, Nomad Games, does plan on converting all of those expansion packs to the PC version of the game.

30 Second Review

+ 14 Unique playable models to choose from.  They took great care in the level of detail Nomad Games brought to each model, which is very important considering this is a Games Workshop product.

+ Easy to understand interface.

+ Excellent hints and tutorial pop ups.

- An extreme amount of DLC is planned.  May be too much for some people.

- Easy AI.

Talisman 03 Resize Review: Talisman Digital Edition

Keep an eye on that jaywalker!

Premise

You are a Hero, Villain, or somewhere in-between the two i.e. Neutral.  You are seeking the holy artifact known as the Crown of Command.  Everything else is just your quest leading up to the prize.  Lions, spirits, dragons, sirens, and pixies are just some of the creatures you will encounter that help to set the fantasy stage.  Some of these are monsters that you will fight, others are followers that will help you along the way.  You will also meet marketers as you traverse through this strange and magical fantasy world.

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We Three Kings of Orient Are…wait that one is female…

Gameplay

Talisman Digital Edition is a faithful adaptation from the original board game.  It plays exactly the same on your computer or mobile device as if you were going to sit down and play it in person.  Nomad released the game with 14 unique playable characters, so you will happily be able to try out several different models till you find the one you like, or you can just mix it up as much as you want from several characters if that’s the way you prefer to play.  All of the characters have their own stats, strengths, weaknesses, and special ability.  Each character is given their own starting area on the game board.

The adventure cards consist of:

  • Gold Coins:  Everyone likes to horde like a dragon.
  • Equipment:  Everything from items, weapons, and armor both magical and non-magical.
  • Events:  Range of effects that can target the player or are global.
  • Marketplaces:   There must always be a place for you to spend your loot.
  • Monsters:  Fantasy based creatures which will require brawn to defeat.
  • Spirits:  Other worldly creatures that you must face with powerful magic.
  • Followers:  People who join you on your quest, helping you along the way.  Well some of them will help you; others will just sabotage you.

The interface is easy to understand. There are mini images here and there that can be clicked to bring up a larger pop up view on certain commands and requests, like when you want to view a card that is in your hand.  You click the cards beside your character portrait, and it brings up a window where you can see all of the cards each player is holding, and then you just click on a card you want to take a closer look at, and it pulls up the card in a zoomed form that you can easily scroll and look through.  Very nice, handy, and user friendly.

The game does not have a traditional tutorial, but on your first play through,  the game really holds your hand and clearly explains and walks you through each step.  You fully understand why you are doing everything you do.  Some of the pop ups will persist in later games you play as friendly hints or reminders.  If you’ve never played the game before, do not worry, the developers do a great job of teaching it to you!  You can turn this feature off in the options menu.

The AI needs difficulty levels; it doesn’t even feel like the AI tries to win.  More challenging AI would be greatly appreciated.  I played a game, allowing  the game to go past 100 turns, in which I then went to the Crown of Command, and waited.  I did not do anything for 15 turns.  The AI never attempted to come into the inner region; when it came to the middle region I finally thought it was going to react to me.  I was wrong.  The AI hit the temple, went down to the oasis, and bailed back out to the outer region.   The AI is just too simple.  Especially when you watch the it loop back and forth on the same 3 or 4 tiles just to continually land itself on a tile that gives it a spell card each turn.  When the AI is presented with the option of doing this, it just goes into a farming loop, as if somehow a spell card is the priority of the game.

I think one of the strong points of this game is that there is going to be a lot of DLC added to it.  However that’s also a little bit of a drawback as well when it comes to the wallet of the consumer.  Value wise, it might be best either to buy the Season Pass, or if you’re patient, pick it up slowly piece by piece over time.  Please note the board game has 9 expansions to it.  They are planning to bring all of the expansions to PC.

The game is more fun with other people. That being said, if one of your friend’s has a very slow internet connection, it’s going to be extremely laggy. The lag does not just affect the player with the slower internet; it affects everyone. Can definitely prove to be annoying to say the least.  The lag was solid and persistent throughout the entire turn, not just present at the end of someone’s turn.

I think if it had an asynchronous multiplayer function, that it would certainly free up the connection speed by quite a bit.  Also you wouldn’t have to try and complete a game in one session. Sometimes these matches can end up taking an hour or more, depending on how many players are playing.  It would be nice to be able to take a short break from time to time.

There is no controller support at the moment, so the input you’ll be using is keyboard & mouse, which is fine, but controller support would be a welcome added feature.  You will use dice and cards to play as you move your model across the board.

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Note to self, ask Developers to move the Minotaur from Prologue to Digital Edition!

Difference Between Talisman Digital Edition & Talisman Prologue

Talisman Digital Edition is the multiplayer form of the game, so you can play with other players or against the AI.  Talisman Prologue is completely a solo single player experience, so you will strictly play against the Adventure Cards.  Nomad Games does take it a step further than that, and they have quests designed per character on the main menu.  They also have characters available that are not currently available in Talisman Digital Edition.

Just know that once you complete the quest, the game ends, whether you made it to the crown or not.  The only quest in Talisman Prologue that allows you to go all the way to the Crown of Command is The Magical Quest.  Some characters only have The Magical Quest available to them with no other quest options.  There is a distinct difference in the two games.  Be sure you’re buying the game version that will suit your play style, unless you want both, then more power to you. Truthfully I think picking one or the other would be best, especially if you’re not sure whether you are going to like it or not.

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Who you gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS! It’s funny because he’s an exorcist!

Verdict

Overall, I think Nomad Games did a great job and made a fun game.  Potentially their biggest concern might be that it’s kind of a niche market.

The gameplay is always different; each game experience is unique, because of the elements of the dice and cards.  It can get repetitive and feel tiresome after consecutive play.  Try to play this title in moderation!  

As an added bonus, both Talisman Digital Edition and Talisman Prologue have Steam Trading Cards.  In my personal opinion the card art is rather pleasant.

I do look forward to the release of the expansion packs, because it will open up the game a lot more giving it more variety.  This is a great game, and Nomad Games has done a great job!

Talisman Digital Edition scores an 8 out of 10.

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