Recently, a close friend got me hooked onto a board game called Talisman that blends eclectic fantasy characters and event randomization of Dungeons & Dragons with the competitive play of games like Monopoly or Risk. This past weekend, five of us sat around my dining room table for about four hours working through the challenges of survival and character ascension. The goal is simple: Make it to the center of the board where you vie for the Crown of Control, and face a secret ending that’s only revealed once you’ve eradicated all other competing characters.
The basic Talisman game board (see above) is laid out simply enough with three concentric regions, moving from the outermost periphery inwards to the center. But what’s even more immersive is that you can add expansion boards onto the outer edges of the main board to create sub-questing areas to gain gold, magical items, or trophies to continue building the key attributes of your character (Strength for fighting skills, Craft for spell casting, Life for...well, life points), as well as Fate tokens to be able to re-roll your dice when they’re overly unkind to you in a critical situation. However, even re-rolling is no guarantee of failure. I frequently end up re-rolling the same die number, as if fate were saying, “Sorry, dude. This was meant to happen.”
This past Saturday evening, my character was a “Tinkerer” (see photo above). It’s a fun character to play, and I’ll like to try him again sometime. But there are so many interesting characters to play, you’ll be hard-pressed to pick one. To assist with selection at the start of the game, the character cards are shuffled and each person receives only a few randomized character cards. Then you pick from the ones in your hand, and that’s who you start the game with.
Along the way, your character can acquire or purchase helpful items like weapons, armor, and magical artifacts that give you special abilities. Of course, no fantasy game would be worth playing without excellent spells, and Talisman has a horde of interesting spells for you to cast. The challenge will be either randomly acquiring them, or purchasing them from the city (an expansion board to the main game).
All in all, Talisman is a wonderful diversion that fills you time with hours and hours of fun with friends. I also found the mood enhanced by replaying the seasons of Game of Thrones in the background while we played. Every so often, one of us would hear something from the show and glance into the living room at the TV and remark, “Wait, what? I forgot that happened back in season 2!”
We’d pause briefly to discuss or reflect on that, and then it was back into the game again. Good times.
What board games are your favorites to play? Leave a comment and let me know.
Until later, enjoy life; be kind to those around you, and Happy Reading! Peace.