Being turned into a toad doesn’t sound very good
Hmm, if you’d asked me a few years ago I would have told you that I was unlikely to ever play Talisman again. It’s a massively random game with relatively few meaningful choices to be made and it’s entirely possible you will bump into a dragon or demon in your first turns, plus the ending… well, the least said the better. I quite enjoyed playing it when I first encountered it in the mid-eighties, but since then I got into different types of game since then. I think part of the problem is that games of Talisman often went on for two or three hours and, for an essentially simple game, that was just too darn long.
Talisman’s not an awful game, just one I didn’t enjoy playing. The last time I played it was about a decade ago and involved a later edition of the game with all the available expansions, which I felt just made the game bigger and more chaotic without adding anything that appealed to me. But I’m not the target audience, not by a long shot.
And yet, for many years I have had a copy of the second edition of the game languishing in the back of the cupboard. I don’t know what made me keep it. Maybe there was something in the back of my mind that dreamed of those teenage years when it was actually fun. Either that or I’m just a magpie who hates to get rid of things.
Some time after I started writing this blog I found the old box sitting there and I thought, maybe Miss B would like to give it a go. After all, she likes Dungeon!, so another adventuring game may go down well. I mentioned it to her a couple of months ago, and this afternoon she decided to give it a go.
We agreed to not attack each other, plus I invoked Wil Wheaton’s Rule 17b and gave Miss B three re-roll counters (she used one after she’d misunderstood her options at the City). She wanted to play the one “good” female character in our set, the Prophetess, which worked out fortuitous as one of her special abilities mitigates well against bad luck in drawing adventure cards. I proposed that the winning conditions should be just to get to the Crown of Command in the centre, or to stop if we ran out of time or energy.
So we played for a little over an hour until S came back from work and we packed up so I could prepare dinner. That hour of play zipped past, with Miss B being thoroughly engrossed in the game. She finished the session off by building herself a raft and crossing the river to the middle region, which seemed a reasonable point to finish. She ended up full of excitement about some of her exploits and very keen to play again to a conclusion.
All in all this was a great success. I expect that when we do try to play for a conclusion we will schedule a snack break after an hour in order to keep the energy up. This is generally a good policy for us during longer games.
So there we have it: a game that I don’t like very much has really justified its place in the collection, providing entertainment, excitement and smiles. We’ll certainly be playing this again and, to my surprise, I’m OK with that. Actually, more than that, I’m looking forward to it.
The verdict from Miss B (aged 6): “Really, really, really, really good!”
The game: Talisman (Games Workshop), 2 to 6 players aged 9+.