|Number of Players
||John Goodenough, Robert Harris
Talisman is an adventure board game that takes place in a high fantasy medieval world. Players have 14 characters to pick from all based on role playing archetypes, such as heroes, wizards, villains, thieves, monsters, etc. The game makes players feel like they are traveling the world to find equipment, weapons, ancient relics, and companions that will help them on their quest to acquire the Crown of Command. Along the way they visit various locales in the worlds, fight each other and fantastic creatures to make their way to the top.
Each player is attempting to move from the outer world and ultimately to the inner world. Players wander the outer, middle, and inner worlds trying to get equipment, weapons, and companions. They also improve statistics with equipment, companions, and encounters and battles with fantasy creatures and each other. Once they complete a Talisman quest, players enter the inner world and face its challenges to finally reach the Portal of Power to claim the Crown of Command. Then the other players must race to stop this player before they eventually kill them all with the Command spell.
To start, players select a character card from among the 14 provided. Characters have basic statistics to start. These statistics are Life [hit points], Strength [physical prowess], and Craft [Magic and Intelligence]. Some characters are more gifted in combat and others in magic, while others are mix of the two. Additionally characters are often differentiated by unique abilities, starting equipment, and starting spells. This makes the players actually feel different during play. Furthermore items and companions players acquire during play also add to statistics, increasing Strength, Craft, Life or adding new abilities, etc.
Actual game play is fairly simple, making the game easy to pick up with novices. On a player's turn they will throw a die for movement. Players will then chooses which direction, left or right, or if meeting qualifications may be able to move from outer to middle world, or middle to inner world. Once on space, players will follows instructions on space, or encounters face up cards already in space, or other player if in space. Most spaces will have a player draw a number of cards to encounter. These can be creatures, weapons, companions, equipment, treasure, or relics. Players must fight creatures and win before obtaining any other items or companions. If another player is in the space, players can attack with either Craft or Strength but are not required to do so. The defender will defend with same statistic attacked with. If the defender loses, they lose a life and an item or companion of attackers choice. If the attacker loses, they lose a life.
Players begin in the outer world, and build up their character's statistics and items to try and move to the middle world. There are two ways up to the middle world, one requiring a test of strength and the other a boat man's ride for a price. Once in the middle world, play continues in the same manner, but the challenge generally is increased with more threats such as the desert and temple. However, there is more potential for encounters and items as most spaces now take more than one card.
In the middle world, players may also obtain a Talisman quest, that once completed, will grant them a Talisman. The Talisman is necessary to unlock the Crown of Command and pass through the Portal of Power in the Inner World.
Once players have a Talisman and have enough Strength or Craft to enter the Portal of Power, they will attempt to enter the Inner World. There they must face and survive the guardians there, such as the Vampire's Tower and Werewolf before claiming the Crown of Command. Once a player takes the Crown of Command, they can cast the Command Spell, automatically forcing a player to lose a life. It then becomes a race for the Crown as the other players try to take down the player with the Crown before they finishes them all off.