Monday, December 30, 2013

Talisman: The Thief, the Minstrel and Evil Jedi Sith Hunter

We’ve played Talisman a number of times now, and it is a definite favourite. "I'll be the animal charming guy," said my daughter Jojo (aged 9) while picking out the Minstrel from the pile of plastic figurines. My son Evan (aged 7) decided to go with the Assassin as long as he got to use his Lego Jedi knight mini-fig and announced that all the creatures he fights are Sith. I chose the Thief, partly because I'd never played the Thief, and also because his Stealing ability would be particularly annoying to the kids. Ah, the joys of parenting.

Evan’s Jedi Knight and Jojo’s Minstrel (currently disguised as an LPS Turtle).
The first couple of turns were sufficiently bizarre in a way that only Talisman can be. Evan found a Raft in his first turn which he used to cross over the river to get to the Middle region. I got stung by a Witch (I was obviously trying to steal something from her) and then bitten by a Wolf (which was obviously the Witch’s pet), while Jojo defeated a Lemure at some Fields, and later a Spectre in the same spot (which obviously was a vengeful relative of the afore-mentioned Lemure).

Evan found more Talisman strangeness after crossing into the Middle region Desert when he discovered a Marsh right in the middle of it. We discussed this a bit, and decided that it wasn't so strange after all; the D&D cartoons we watch always had unexpected places in odd terrain.

Evan’s Jedi Knight’s R2 unit scouting the Marsh. Looking for Yoda?
Jojo got haunted by a Poltergeist, then charmed a Wolf (the same one which bit me) into her Follower, found an Axe which she used to make a raft at the Woods to get across to the middle region and ditch the Poltergeist at the same time.

Despite my Thief’s low Life, I decided that the Ruins must contain some goodies for a plucky Thief like me, and headed into them. I drew a Lion from the Adventure deck.
"What's with these Animals?!?" I complained. "It's like there's a curse on me that makes all animals attack me!"
"You draw two cards at the Ruins, dad."
"Ah! I bet it's something the Lion is guarding! What is it?"
Jojo flipped the card. "A Dragon."
Me: surprise.gif
Needless to say, the Lion-Dragon combo proved too much for my poor battered Thief, and he died quite tragically, although we never could agree whether he got eaten by the Lion or the Dragon. His brother (another Thief) turned up at the City, swearing vengeance for his kin's death.

A Lion guarding a Dragon!? Gaaahhh, ruuunn!!!
By chance, Jojo's Minstrel was in the Woods right across the river in the Middle region from where the Ruins were, and on her turn, she used her Axe in the Woods to build a Raft to cross back to the Outer region and into the Ruins. Using her Minstrel's enchanting musical abilities, she bypassed the Dragon and charmed the Lion into a new Follower. Then she picked up all the goodies off the remains of my poor Thief, and in later turns proceeded to pick up an assortment of items and more followers like the Maiden and the Unicorn, until she had high enough Craft to enter the Inner Region. The only thing she lacked was a Talisman itself.

Meanwhile, Evan visited the Oasis and vanquished an evil Shadow which was guarding the Holy Cross, a powerful artefact that can destroy Spirits automatically, which explains a lot why the Shadow spirit was determined to guard it in the first place. 

Jedi fighting the Shadow. Definitely a Sith.
He was attacked by an Ogre, came back later to assassinate it, picked up a Hag who insisted that he was her boyfriend (that Hag chased away at least three potential future followers in later turns), and was blessed by a mysterious Phantom - the Phantom grants a wish to the first evil character who visits it. So, technically, Evan was an Evil Jedi Assassin Sith Hunter. Doesn’t get cooler than that!

In the very last turn of the game, he encountered a Demon spirit at the Runes, which is the most powerful creature in Talisman with 10 Craft plus the additional 2 from the Runes, giving it a whopping 12 Craft! And this is what we love about Talisman - sometimes everything just comes together and works. Just as the Demon spirit (a sure-fire Sith in our book) is giving its pre-combat speech, Evan pulls out the Holy Cross and vanquishes it without raising a sweat!

Jedi fighting the Demon. Most definitely a Sith.
My second Thief traipsed across the Outer Region, stealing from Markets and Villages, getting harassed by animals, until finally he gathered enough Strength to go challenge the Dragon in the Ruins which had so cruelly dispatched his brother. The battle was fierce, but finally the Thief stood triumphant over the dead Dragon and was awarded with an Orb of Knowledge.

Revenge of the Thief!
Jojo's lack of a Talisman was suddenly solved when the Hermit turned up, of all places, in the Plain of Peril - right inside the Portal of Power. Now she could enter into the Inner Region, and conveniently pick up a Talisman from the helpful Hermit at the same time, which was exactly what she did. She made her way through the Mines, the Vampire Tower (which only extracted a miserable 1 Life from her Minstrel), fought 3 Pit Fiends with her loyal Lion follower, passed the Valley of Fire with the Talisman, and finally retrieved the Crown of Command to win the game (we play that the first to reach the Crown wins). 

The conga line to victory. Just how many followers can you get?
Another excellent game of Talisman. Yes, at times, it does feel like the game is playing you, but man, it sure is fun! ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment