Mobile Watch: Talisman

Games Workshop is a stalwart in the world of wargaming; a powerhouse that has continued to change contemporary fantasy and sci-fi with its ever-expanding Warhammer line.

What some of you may not know, however, is that the British-based firm has launched a number of board games over the years. Among these are popular hits such as Space Hulk and Blood Bowl, both of which coincidentally boast a spread of video game adaptations. So, too, does Talisman, perhaps considered one of Game Workshop’s most coveted releases.

Adopting the recent Fourth Edition, developer Nomad Games has deftly channelled the depth and scale of the classic board game, first on PC and now on mobiles and tablets.

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Set in a fantasy kingdom fraught with peril, Talisman pits two to four players against one another in an epic free-for-all. After selecting one of the game’s unique characters, you will embark on a quest to reach a relic known as The Crown of Command.

Meanwhile, there is a patchwork of regions littered with treasure, monsters, and other events that can change the course of the game. There is also plenty of interaction between players too with combat encounters and spells. In short, Talisman is as much a power struggle as it is a race to the centre.

The game itself plays out in turns, each one starting with a dice roll to determine how many squares a character can move. Most of these will instruct players to draw an Encounter Card which can triggered anything from a dragon ambush to a merchant spontaneously setting up shop. The dice come into play again when locked in combat or facing certain encounters. In such cases, players usually have to add one of their attributes to a dice roll to determine the outcome.

These stats are key in defining a character’s capabilities. Some, for instance, will excel in craft and spell-casting whereas others can prove insurmountable during combat. On top of these are other attributes including health, fate (which allows for re-rolls) and gold to spend on items.

Equipment such as weapons, armour, and trinkets are key to the game’s progression, as are followers. They’re basically companions with special abilities, many of which become useful during the home stretch.

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Regardless of how many players are on the board, games of Talisman can stretch anywhere between twenty minutes and a few solid hours – it depends entirely on luck. Players can often find themselves getting off to a good start before having a run of ill fortune turn after turn.

Needless to say, it can get frustrating – such is the nature of any game that balances on the throw of a die. The satisfaction in winning, however, justifies the exhaustion, Nomad adding experience points and challenges as added incentives.
Outside the single player experience are options for local and online multiplayer though the latter has to be played in one sitting. It’s a shame although, thinking logically, asynchronous online play simply wouldn’t work for such a huge game.

Additional premium content is also available in the form of expansions and characters with Nomad promising a string of future releases.

If you have fond memories of the Talisman board game then buying the Digital Edition is a no-brainer really. It feels authentic and is crammed with a wealth of content, making each game complete unique.

Those yet to build a rapport with Talisman will find some hurdles to overcome. Compared to most mobile games it’s complex and not really suited for short bursts of play. With that said, it’s a fantastic port and shows just how timeless some of GW’s earlier works really are.

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4 Comments

  1. Talisman the board game was (and no I won’t apologise for my language) bloody brilliant. My mates and I spent countless hours plodding around the board until you got to the truly terrifying middle bit (crown of command?) at which point anything could happen. One of the best board games ever to play with mates. Keep contemplating buying the board game again but seems to cost about £40 plus and that doesn’t include the expansion packs!

    I remember my bro bought it from the GW in Birmingham and on the train home we spent the whole journey picking the gold Pieces out of their cardboard template so we could start the game as soon as we get home. Another key memory was the Raiders (I think) card. If one of your opponents picked this up, good times as they lost loads of their hard earned loots n stuff. If you picked it up… Bad times. Very.very bad times.

    Hope you don’t mind me reminiscing. Will deffo look at the tablet version but won’t be quite the same as playing round a table with your teenage mates.

  2. £4.99 hmmm will have to think long and hard about this as Im a mahooosive tightwad. Still my bro is coming over in a few weeks and could be great opportunity to relive some old times with a few tinnies. Decisions decisions.

  3. Get into the spirit of the World Cup playing KickShot Soccer Board Game, http://www.kickshot.org. 2 to 6 players; three different levels of play. Level One also available to download from Google Play for no charge.

    Aziz Makhani
    Creator of KickShot Soccer Board Game (oops, football, of course.)
    Moscow, Idaho, USA

    • Eh? Spam. Admin, please do the honours. Thank you.

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