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Fixing Talisman


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#1 Carrion Prince

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 05:07 PM

 

I gathered some comments posted on BGG that highlight the shortcomings of Talisman 4th ed. by Black Industries. The most common complaints are too much randomness, not enough control, and the game lasts too long (it seems that pushing past 3 hours is too long for a lot of players). Black Industries tried to fix the game length with house rules but they didn’t put much (if any) effort towards the other issues. It looks like Fantasy Flight made several changes to address some of the problems that players had with the game. This thread is to discuss what problems FF missed and how they might be resolved. Please keep your posts aimed towards the general game or specific rules. This thread is not meant for rants about individual cards or how one die roll made you lose the game.



#2 Carrion Prince

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 05:10 PM

 

Here are the comments posted on Board Game Geek for Talisman 4th ed. by Black Industries>

-         Seemed to drag on and on. Seemed to also just boil down to a bunch of die rolls.

-         It’s only a stupid remake

-         A long, long game with a simple roll-and-move mechanic. I wouldn't put much stock on the mechanic if the game was short, unfortunately is much longer than hour and a half (that's my max time per game) and provides almost nil opportunity for any valid strategy or tactical thinking.

-         The deck is way too random to allow you much in the way of meaningful choices, other than avoiding the most obvious ways to screw yourself over. I suspect the high ratings are mostly based on nostalgia.

-         WAY too much randomness. I've never before played a game for three hours without feeling I'd accomplished anything. Tiny decision tree plus poor game balance plus swingy random elements means I'll likely never play this game again.

-         Far too slow and luck based to be engaging.

-         If you aren't concerned about rolling dice and seeing what happens to you over and over until someone wins, well, I guess this is for you.

-         Plays WAY too long for what it offers (I actually tend to think that Monopoly offers more decision-making than this dicefest).

-         One of the most boring and uninspiring games I've ever played. Boardgames have progressed a lot since the mid-eighties, this hasn't. Play Arkham Horror for an idea of where we have progressed to.

-         Too long for the dice fest it is. Roll and move... huh. Just not engaging.

-         Blah. Roll the d6 and read the space you land. Thats all there is to it.

-         Theme is strong, but meaningful game decisions are limited for a game of this length.

-          Random + boring = kill me now. PLEASE!!!

-         This game is extremely random and there is a lack of control in your actions and decision making, due to the roll and move and random cards. It feels like the game is playing you, and any decisions you make are usually arbitrary or obvious. Losing turns can be boring, and I can imagine turning into a toad to be extremely frustrating as it is very punishing (it didn't happen to me).

-         I was disappointed, seemed anti-climactic and took foreeeeeeeeeever to get to the antiliactic ending....did i mention it was anticlimactic.

-         Needs some serious variants and card updates.

-         Between the stunning randomness of card drawing and the annoying "roll and move" factor, Talisman takes a fantastic theme and drags it down in the mire of clunkiness.

-         There are cards though that screw you over really well, the 'lose everything and sob in a corner' cards. Once behind, it's nigh impossible to catch up.

-         Looks like someone just made a copy of second edition, warts and all. Not much thought went into this edition as it includes all the original mistakes without correction.

-         This is far too random for my tastes.

-         Eh. Roll-and-move with a neat theme is STILL roll-and-move. That other aspects of the game are determined by the roll of the dice is frustrating, and no amount of special cards and characteristics isn't going to alleviate the result of a crappy roll. If it didn't last 2-3 hours, I might enjoy it more, but as it is, it's too random, and lasts too long.

-         This greatly outdated design just doesn't hold up compared to today's standards.

-         A little long for my tastes. A LOT of randomness.

-         I wish I liked it more. Roll and move makes it very difficult to get to where you want to go.

-         It adds nothing on the original.



#3 jadrax

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 05:44 PM

Carrion Prince said:

Black Industries tried to fix the game length with house rules but they didn’t put much (if any) effort towards the other issues.

I don't think that assessment is entirely fair. Black Industries went into making 4th ed with a lot of bad feeling about the changes made in 3rd ed, resulting in a large faction demanding a return to the 2nd ed. In that climate its hardly surprising they made as few changes as they could, it was not lack of effort, it was an attempt to give people what they where clammoring for.



#4 Lubricus

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 07:08 PM

jadrax said:

Carrion Prince said:

 

Black Industries tried to fix the game length with house rules but they didn’t put much (if any) effort towards the other issues.

 

I don't think that assessment is entirely fair. Black Industries went into making 4th ed with a lot of bad feeling about the changes made in 3rd ed, resulting in a large faction demanding a return to the 2nd ed. In that climate its hardly surprising they made as few changes as they could, it was not lack of effort, it was an attempt to give people what they where clammoring for.

 

Yes, but they could have made sure the obvious flaws of the 2nd edition weren't brought along. It wouldn't have taken them a lot of work to fix it. Still, I'm very grateful for BI's work in ressurecting the game - we wouldn't have FFG's version otherwise, I'm sure.



#5 RiCHiE

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 09:47 PM

The BI edition was on the right track - they just messed up with poor polishing.

Talisman is about being random, thats the nature of the game.  If the other complainers didn't like it, they should prehaps pick up a different game.  Talisman has a huge fan based based on the 2nd edition of its release, so I think they were on the right track.  If it is so bad as the comments suggest, then why are they making a 4th revision over 20 years later!!!!!

It amazes me that people can spend 3 hours playing the BI version! We always play to the death and it would be rare to go over 3 hours with ALL expansions (including expansions), a BI edition would go about an hour.  Add some house rules, the bonus strength and craft always sped the games up when we played.

I introduced the BI edition to younger players (10 - 12) who now have purchased it and have their own playing group and they were playing it for weeks non stop - Talisman is just a fun game.  I bought the new revised edition for them, so hopefully they will enjoy it more.



#6 Gaudy Scabbard

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 10:23 PM

Being a long time player and owner of 2nd Edition plus ALL the expansions, I can sympathise with the comments from Boardgamegeek.

I'm a fan of the game but the truth is you have very little control over your character at all and being stuffed by random events can hurt (not that they bothered me). The game ISN'T all about randomness, it's about exploring, overcoming obstacles and gaining the Crown of Command. The randomness was just a feature of eighties game design which hasn't aged well and which doesn't appeal to many modern boardgame players. The game is supposed to be a boardgame with RPG elements and I think the new Fate Point mechanic gives some control back to the player. With that fix in place and a few expansions to its name I believe Revised 4th Edition can become a classic in its own right.



#7 RiCHiE

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 11:00 PM

Talisman is not ALL about randomness in its present form, and its about exploring overcoming obstacles and gaining the Crown of Command!

The part of the game hasn't changed - its still just as random!  The only thing that has changed is that now you have a greater success of bypassing obstacles to reach the Crown of Command!

I don't think the game is tired IMHO, I have introduced 2nd edition and BI edition to several people and we have all had fun playing it.  I don't consider it an RPG at all - just a fun simple board game.



#8 Gaudy Scabbard

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 12:14 AM

I think we agree then.

All I meant to say was that Fate Points seem to mitigate the randomness somewhat and give some control to the player, allowing them to better overcome obstacles.

I recently played 2nd Edition with some new players who had never played Talisman. One of them came out with similar comments to those from Boardgamegeek so not everyone is enamoured with the game as it was.



#9 FatPob

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 01:59 AM

I had first edition (with B/W cards) with all the expansions. 3rd ed with the huge box and all the trimmings again. I hope to get 4th ed over christmas,  and I cannot see what people are qq'ng about randomness for.

There were many tactictical choices in the expanded earlier edtions, though I do agree nothing like the new games such as Arkham or even Runebound.

I played 4th ed at a games expo, and was pleased with the new edition, it looked nice and I could get straight back into the old game.

Long, not really about 2 hours, assuming you aim to get to the CoC as soon as possible. 

The roll and move can get annoying, but in a way this speeds it up somewhat. If you had specific movement points, people would just move between 1 or 2 spaces and get all they needed without exploring any of the board.

Maybe the dice roll to move is a bit old, but this game was one of the forerunners of most board games now.

Like many games, the first few turns make or break a game for new players. If you get bad luck (bad dice, dragon first card etc) you are not going to enjoy your first go. I recall playing runebound, and one of the gang get mashed on the first challenge. It took him 3 challenges to actually defeat anything. By the time the rest of us were tackling reds, he had got to yellow's. It took a few games for him to enjoy it.

Talisman may not have changed massively since the first edition, but surely tht's what fans are looking for. A very simple game with a clear objective.

If you want a quicker game, start with STR and Craft tokens, or play as we did many years ago Blood Bath. 1 talisman only aquirable via the Warlock, and when you were dead you were dead.  These would last between 15 mins and 1 hour.

IMHO there is nothing to fix, and judging by the expansion Reaper, it looks like it won't be a complete remake of the 2nd/3rd ed, and hopefully we won't be seeing space marines turning up again!



#10 Gaudy Scabbard

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 02:39 AM

I liked the Space Marine, he was fantastically silly.

There was nothing quite like shooting Leprechauns and Ninjas with your Bolt Gun



#11 S.A.Harris

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 03:05 AM

 I am a long time Talisman player. I own 2nd ed. with ALL expansions (even Dragons) as well as the 4th ed. BI version and yesterday I received my Revised 4th ed.

My first observation is that FF has corrected the most obvious issue from the BI version....the deck make-up. They have added more craft based beasties and removed a few of the gold - which in BI version was easy to get but there was not enough option to spend it usefully. This gives characters with high craft some punch and keeps the overflow of gold to a minimum.

I think that a City expansion could add several elements to purchase which could be useful beyond the basic sword, helmet, shield purchases.

Since I just ordered Reaper, I will wait to judge the adventure card deck makeup fully until I receive it, since it is pretty obvious that FF encourages using the expansions with the base game.

I also would like to point out that FF has done a PERFECT job on the layout for the new rules booklet. The BI version had lots of filler images and focused more on the presentation than the rules, it could have been half the pages. The FF version on the other hand is, like all their other game books, direct and to the point about rules, well organized and clearly illustrates game mechanics. THANK YOU FF!

As I dig deeper into the new version I will see if I can find anything I think FF missed.



#12 balsak40

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 05:37 PM

I grew up playing a lot of 3rd edition when GW put this out and to be honest I didn't care for 2nd edition when I played it.  There were too many holes to the game that really turned me off.  The expansions then made it worse.  I thought 3rd edition was a solid attempt to clean up the holes and streamline the game. After many, many, many games... We found that the wizard was the only broken character in the game. I HATED the artwork. The daemon just looked like the poo monster in Dogma except the daemon was wearing a crown.  3rd wasn't that bad.  BI 4th... Well I thought the presentation was a big plus!  Very sharp and crisp.  The character cutouts were eh... but the pieces like the gold pieces were awesome.  Hell the dice are just cool looking.  I wasn't very hip though when this was a retread to 2nd edition but after playing it a few times I see BI really tried to polish the game.  I thought though no support, like erratas, killed this.  Maybe it was the licensing and BI needed to make a buck quick but I thought that's what drove the game out of BI's hands.  No desire to fix = dead game.  I'm sure FF is looking at ways to make the game better and it will come in time with expansions. 



#13 S.A.Harris

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 03:26 AM

"I thought 3rd edition was a solid attempt to clean up the holes and streamline the game"

I think that they tried to fix the game, however they also used 3rd ed. as an attempt to rope players into the Fantasy Battles game (miniatures). Just like their partnership with MB for HeroQuest and Advanced Heroquest...which turned into Warhammer quest. Despite this issue they did make some changes which did fix some of the issues with 2nd ed. I don't think that 3rd was an all out bad game, I think it suffered from bad management decisions at the time within GW.

" I see BI really tried to polish the game"

I also agree with this. I think they tried to listen to the community and those that were emailing their legal department (like me trying to find out about acquiring the rights). They realized that there was an opportunity to move forward and they did the best they could. I believe that once again the parent company GW and their management shake-ups in recent years is what caused the downfall of BI. I think 4th ed is still a solid game and would play it often or let my kids use it to learn the game.

I guess my final statement on this would be that FF 4th. ed. revised is a solid base game and a good foundation for a new chapter in the history of Talisman. The direction that FF develops the game through expansions will tell us if it will be a truly memorable and fun game which will stand the test of time.

Now if we can just get FF to tackle DungeonQuest!



#14 JCHendee

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 04:27 AM

Looking at reactions to the game's various editions, I've wondered about divisions to consider. Aside from change of perspective on games over the years, Talisman attracts three different types of gamers: board gamers, RPGers, and some Wargamers. That's ignored that there really is a blurred territory between them and they aren't so exclusive as that states.

Each is looking for something slightly different (or has a different emphasis) and any game would be hard pressed to satisfy all of them. 2nd edition leaned hard to boardgamers (in theory), trying to bring the ambience of a FRPG into the boardgame world.  In the end, it may have appealed more to some RPGers looking for something shorter (relatively) than a multisession campaign. 3rd edition eventually leaned to wargamers (in flavor if not play), particularly those enthused by Warhammer. 4th editions appears to attempt to go for the base of contemporary boardgamers again, while trying to addressed RPG complaints about randomness, and also shorten play time. I'm still not sure how successful it is in this, as certain changes are contradictory (Fate may address randomness, but certain spaces once optional to encounter are now a forced encounter.)

I'll have to play a while once the upgrade arrives, but it may be that trying to rectify shortcomings (as perceived by contemporary players or old diehard enthusiasts) has created other problems. What I see so far in the change from BI to FFG versions is an attempt to address equally so many differing groups that come to Talisman. Inevitably, some won't be satisfied (or will be outright put off), and none will find that all of their demands are met. It's a risky approach, but even so, hopefully it achieves some success. And by success, I mean resurrects new interest, for the game will never survive based on just appealing to current and long time players.  New satisfied players (and hence growing sales) are needed if the game is to continue.

It may be that Talisman supporters have a hand in this, one way or another... and not by buying the game, which most of us already have done. I am one who in the balance of pros and cons so far in 4th edition (BI and previews of FFG) lean toward the dissatisfied side. But I still intend to play, and work things out as I and my group move along. Talisman will never be perfect by every (any) division of gamers coming to it.  We accept, and we adapt the game... as we always have. It actually has that kind of flexibility in its make-up (either planned or by chance). So we should be truly bluntly honest about its flaws as well as its virtues so that collectively we share in dealing with both. This gives us the advantage to cheer on those enthused with the game for the first (or fiftieth) time, and help those who are turned off by it the first (or fifieth) time.

Sales, people. The game ultimately needs sales to survive, or this new edition will be a flash in the pan. Of course this depends on FFG paying attention to what was once loved, what serves those new to the game, and trying to minimize introduction of new problems in its fixes.

Oh, and as an admitted old-school Talismaner, I've never had a problem with the game being a bit long. Some of the new attributes to speed it up (dealt with differently in the BI and FFG versions) have minimized some of what old-schoolers actually like... the adventure along the way.






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