Talisman 3rd Edition Boardgame Contents

Unless otherwise noted, all of this is based on the review posted by Charles Brabec <brabec@pysgjb.physics.ncsu.edu> to rec.games.board on 9 September 1994.

Basic Game Contents

Game Board

The new board is a single piece, fold in the middle.

The Inner Region is gone. It has been replaced with "The Wizard's Tower", players encounter a series of traps in the Tower Cards. See Below.

The Outer Region has been rearranged slightly: the Graveyard has been moved to the middle square on the opposite side of the board. Also, the Sentinel is gone. In his place is a Hills square with a toll bridge across the river. Other changes by square:

The Middle Region has also changed slightly. Only the Runes square next to the Warlock remains, the other two were changed to Wilderness (Draw 2) squares. The Portal of Power is now The Causeway, which still leads to the center. Other changes by square:

The Rules

The third edition introduces experience points (EP) in place of saving monsters for strength. Every time you win a combat or psychic combat, you collect EP equal to the strength or craft of the enemy you defeated (except other players). Every seven EP can be traded in for one strength, craft, gold or life.

You can carry only four objects (without help) and as many followers or gold as you want. Horses and Mules are now followers, so they do not count against your tally of four.

There are no rafts. You must cross the river by the toll bridge or by some magical means.

The rules have generally been streamlined and rewritten in a few places so as to be less ambiguous. Otherwise, the spirit of the game is the same as in the 2nd ed. The last rule is noteworthy:

The Most Important Rule: If you get completely stuck with a problem not covered by the rules, state the problem in the form of a yes/no question and roll the dice: 1-3 = No, 4-6 = Yes. If you want an official answer, send an SASE to them, stating your problem as a yes/no question if possible.

The Characters

There are only 11 Characters with the new game. :( On the other hand, it probably wouldn't be too hard to adapt most of the 2nd ed. characters, although that could upset the game balance a bit.

Each character has a thick cardboard stat sheet, and a corresponding Citadel miniature. Everyone starts with 1 Gold, 4 Lives, 0 EP, and Craft and Strength according to the card.

The characters are...

The characters have different abilities from their 2nd ed. counterparts. Note that none of the characters have "always one spell" although the wand can still give this power.

Adventure Cards

Some of these cards have been changed slightly from 2nd ed. to improve playability. I won't take the time to list all the changes.

Spell Cards

There are 30 cards. Some of these spells have changed a little from the 2nd ed: Acquisition, Alchemy, Barrier, Brainwave, Counterspell (x2), Curse, Destroy Magic, Destruction (x2), Displacement, Divination, Finger of Death, Fireball, Healing (x2), Immobility, Invisibility, Lightning Bolt, Mesmerism, Preservation, Psionic Blast (x2), Random, Reflection, Syphon, Teleport (x2), Temporal Warp, Water Walking

Purchase Cards

The back of the box says there are 40 purchase cards. I got 48. Here's what I got:

Tower Cards (The Endgame)

The new endgame is fairly easy to survive once you've built up your abilities. You enter the Wizard's Tower, then encounter a series of traps on your way to the Crown of Command. The Tower Cards are, in order:
  1. Portal of Power: If you have a Talisman, you are safe, but you must discard the Talisman. [You can only have one Talisman in the new rules.] If you don't have a Talisman, lose D6 lives.
  2. Magical Trap: For each item you or your followers carries, roll a die. On 1-2, the item is discarded.
  3. Pit Trap: You escape, but each follower must roll 3,4,5 or 6 on one die or be lost.
  4. Dragon King: The Dragon King is S=12, C=12. Fight him in combat or psychic combat (your choice). If you lose or draw, you must leave the tower on your next turn.
  5. The Crown of Command: You win. Game Over. Each time you enter the Tower, you start over with card 1. You cannot fight other characters in the Tower.

    Counters and Coins

    Strength, Craft, Life and Experience counters are all color coded plastic cones. Small cones are one point, large cones are 5 points. Str is red, Craft is Blue, Life is Green, EP is Purple. They stack easily and are MUCH easier to pick up than the little cardboard squares.

    Gold is counted with plastic coins in 1G, 3G, and 5G denominations.

    Only the Toad Counters (used while your character is a toad), and alignment cards are little cardboard pieces.

    Comments on Play

    I have played one game with my fiancee since I bought the game earlier today. I played the Swashbuckler, while my fiancee had the Warrior. Early in the game she got the Doomsword (used to be Runesword), and that combined with her ability to roll twice and choose the higher die in combat tipped the balance for a while. But, she had trouble encountering monsters, so I gathered experience, and thus strength, more quickly. We had only one rules conflict, an interpretation of what "spells" the magic amulet negated. The middle region seems a bit too easy to get into, which is part of how I kept building up faster. (Middle region now has 3 draw-2 squares and one draw-3 square, so lots of monsters came up.) Running out of money in the middle can be deadly: you can't bribe the knight, pay the castle, or cross the toll bridge to get out. The temple isn't as nice, it is a 50-50 shot, and it gives out EP instead of other things.

    Overall opinion: I'm glad I got it. My local game shop says they'll have the first expansion in November, and I already can't wait. In the mean time, I'll play with adapting 2nd ed characters so I have more choices. I could have done without the miniatures if it meant they gave me more characters or the game cost less. (I paid $50, by the way.)

    I will not be getting rid of my 2nd ed, though. I miss the larger variety of game boards and places. And I think the uneven characters and rule problems make the game interesting. Also, it would be pretty easy to use the new counters and implement the EP rules into the old game to make it play better, IMHO.