Hey, Boze, I own both the original versions of Talisman (and the first 4 of 6 expansions) and Dungeonquest, and I can assure you that you will find Dungeonquest to be quite different than Talisman. I don't own the new Talisman, and since the new Dungeonquest hasn't yet been released, I can't compare the differences between the new games to the differences of the older games. Whether old or new versions, though, they are still different games.
Dungeonquest is just about surviving to exit the dungeon with any amount of loot you can get. The original rules state on page 3 that players have about a 15% chance of survival. You encounter all kinds of goodies as well as all kinds of perils getting to the center of the board and back. At the center is the Dragon's lair where you can get a lot of treasure assuming you survive the experience. Then try to get back out of the dungeon within the 26 day-turns of the game. The original game has progressive sun positions in 26 steps on one side of the board (the sun track). The colors start out red at sunrise, turn orange, then yellow throughout the day, then reverse to go red at sunset, before the 27th space, the skull. Dum dee dum dum. You're dead at that point. Everybody loses.
You need a sense of philosophy about this. You're basically playing a game that everyone is likely to lose. Why bother? Well, you have to laugh at death and get greedy and go for it. You are a mighty warrior or a mighty fool. Or take the easier way out if you happen to come across a card that gives you some gold. Then you may be smart to just leave the dungeon early. You likely will win if you do that, but then you are a chicken for not trying to go for the Dragon's lair. It takes at least 10 tiles to lay (10 turns at least) to get to the lair, and 10 more to get back, thus leaving you with only 6 turns to allow for some unavoidable circumstances that will get in your way coming and going, or to search out a tile for loot in lieu of moving forward.
Dungeonquest has been described as being too luck-oriented, but then, that is the nature of danger and death in an evil castle dungeon. However, you still have to choose whether to move forward with a new tile, or stop and search for gold/loot within the tile you occupy, or to try to move through an obstacle or retreat. You may be forced to take a different route according to how bad your next tile may be. All the while, the sun keeps moving. Talisman, while being a quest where we grow our character and progress toward the goal of the Crown of Command, stands in contrast to the basic recklessness of Dungeonquest. Death is always calling your name, but who knows, you may be lucky and win, even if you escape the dungeon totally broke. Better to be alive and broke than dead and rich, but then, do you feel a sense of accomplishment by being so safe?
If you like my description, then I hope you'll consider buying the original game for a most unique original-game experience. Ebay turns up Dungeonquest all the time, the most recent I saw selling for $36.00 on April 2nd, and the last one for $28.67 on May 16th. Of course, I'm not checking every day, either. You must check out other people's views of Dungeonquest on various board game forums. Their reactions are fun to read.
From page 3, Introduction:
"A thousand years have passed since the evil wizard T'Siraman fell, but men still fear to enter his dark fortress of Dragonfire Castle, which squats grim and brooding atop Wyrm's Crag. In the villages that huddle in its shadow, stories are whispered of the fabulous treasures which fill the castle's dungeons and of the things which guard them. Old men draw closer to their fires and tell of the noises which echo across the valley at night, when the castle seems to take on a malign life of its own. Few indeed return in dayight: their eyes are troubled, and they are reluctant to tell of their adventures. None has ever returned after nighfall.
The ruddy light of sunrise begins to burn off the autumn mist, and four pairs of eyes look toward the looming keep. Four minds reflect on the villagers' tales, and four hands tighten their grip on four weapons: Sir Rohan the Knight, with his shining armour and greatsword; Ulf Grimhand, the Barbarian from the far north, with his huge double-headed axe; El-Adoran the Ranger, with his deadly longbow and forester's shortsword; and Volrik the Brave, the swaggering Adventurer. Fools or Heroes? Only time will tell."