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#1 jasonk

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 05:29 AM

i've been playing talisman for oh i dunno, 20 years now i guess. i would not exist without star wars, the pixies, or my talisman. anyways, i didn't like the token addition to the new version at first. but it does add a more strategic element to the game. how come talisman seems to be too much a luck game? i mean you can change up your movement to head for the crown of command. but until then you're basically at the mercy of die rolls (without fate) and basically just choosing whether to attack another player, or encounter a space, or to lose the game or just a life (hopefully with that second fate spent die roll) to the reaper. ya'dig.



#2 HallowKnight

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 07:32 AM

I am not to sure if there is a question in your post or not. 

I am also unable to clearly tell if you like it or not.

Monopoly 90%luck 10%skill

Poker 50%luck 50%skill

Chess 5%luck 95%skill.

Where does Talisman fit?  I would guess between poker and monopoly.  closer to monopoly.  With the new fate, I would say it shifted 5% more twards skill.  from wherever it was.

 

Does this answer the question you did not have?



#3 akuma508

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 08:06 AM

This is why I like Talisman, It's based on Luck and skill.

Games with to much luck can suck.

Games that involve way to much skill can suck too.

Talisman is just where I like it.  Dumb people can win, and smart people can win.



#4 Brando

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 01:45 AM

I would have to say Monopoly is way more skill than you give it credit.

Would I be better off auctioning this property rather than buying it to cause others to overprice (or so I can buy low)?

Is this trade worth it? What trade can I come up with that will put me in the best possible position?

Can I get the orange properties somehow (most landed on in the game)?

Should I buy houses now and risk having to sell them back later for 1/2 price?

Should I upgrade to hotels or should I put 4 houses on and try to force housing shortage for others?

 

I would venture that Talisman is pretty similar in the luck/skill category



#5 rcmoore

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 02:18 AM

The only "counter" to the random element in the game is having meaningful choices to make.  I think that the major criticism (before fate) was that there were just not that many meaningful choices to make.  Yes, there is always the move choice, and your fate was ultimately decided on the outcomes of this choice (which usually involve a random card selection or die roll).  I think fate gives you another meaningful choice which is a good thing.

Oh, can we please leave Monopoly out of the discussion?...shudder.



#6 JCHendee

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 03:51 AM

jasonk has asked a question, but on a complicated issue that can't be easily simplified once we look at what's involved. Then again, I'm not sure there's an answer that would really satisfy...

All games where randoms are used (die roll, blind card draw, etc.) are... well, dominantly pure chance. It's something gamers accept when they buy such. As to balance of luck versus skill (well, not skill but tactic and then strategy), Talisman has "choices" to be made, but choice doesn't always imply tactics to in turn serve a strategy. (Did you catch that?  Tactics first, strategy second, and it doesn't work any other way.) 

Talisman is nowhere near chess' long strategy (which when played right has no randomness; that's a misconception).  It isn't even close to the mid strategy level of monopoly, which has only one major (movement) and two minor (chance/community chest) random influences.  Add in that players enter Talisman through fixed attribute Characters, which are not equal and often chosen at random (to avoid fights over who gets to play the Assassin, etc.) and we have another random influence as well as fixed inequities of start opportunity.

Choice does not equal strategy; it can lead to a tactic or possibly choices of tactic, which when chained or interactive can serve a strategy.  Choice does not always equal tactic either.  These are things to keep in mind if you wish to choose games with high strategy influence. Choice >> tactic >> strategy.  Skill is something players develop, and the opportunity to apply it is dependant on balance of chance (randomness) versus tactics available that can be connected to serve a strategy.

However... many things in Talisman (and other board games) quickly throw a strategy out the window (off the board) when a tactic is undermined by random factors that cannot be overcome.  Also consider how many randoms interact in geometric and/or arithmetic cumulative influence. Talisman's random factors interact predominantly in a geometric progression as they accumulate upon a charcter, so its randomness is powerful. And this is always the way the game has been. 

In essence, Talisman has very limited opportunity for tactics, let alone strategies, and hence skill isn't a dominant factor. I've seen first time players, in a first game or even three or four following, rip a new one on a 15 year veteran. That says something itself about the game.  And in part, that's not such a bad thing, is it?

Those of us who've played Talisman a long while all know this (in one way or another) and accept it; but it isn't for everyone.  I still love the game; I will still play the game; but I see it for what it is or what it becomes with each incarnation. SO... JASONK, if it's bugging you, then scrap it.  With all the games out there, including many great choices here at FFG, anyone can find something to please them and their gang.  But also... if you like it enough to wrestle with, and are simply frustrated by excessive randomness... then change it!

ASIDE: the new Fate attribute is interesting for its addition of choice, but in this case does not equal opportunity for tactic. As implemented, it is a hail mary, cover thy butt, prayer to the Gods of Chance, back-peddle when something goes badly or not good enough. That is not tactic, nor strategy. If Fate could be applied by choice before a random, to influence it - along with knowing that it is a limited resource that will be used up - that would be a true choice for a tactic to serve a strategy.

 

A lot of us alter the game's rules (carefully, and tested) in a standardized fashion to provide more choice (with an eye to tactic rather than power grabbing or avoiding challenge). This can - but not always - lead to strengthening limited potential for strategy.  [My wife has become particularly troublesome with the Prophetess, and I hate it when she draws that character!  I'm still not sure how she does so well with that one.]  I and my cohorts change the game as necessary when certain commercial rules or changes do not improve the balance of random versus choices (legitimate ones for tactics, and hence strategy).  Feel free to do so yourself with your group... nothing is stopping you!



#7 jasonk

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 05:47 AM

well that about sums it up. i would not exist without my talisman. maybe the question i'm asking is why does my wife like runebound soo much but isn't into talisman at all.......



#8 The_Warlock

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 07:19 AM

jasonk said:

well that about sums it up. i would not exist without my talisman. maybe the question i'm asking is why does my wife like runebound soo much but isn't into talisman at all.......

Well, there's a lot more luck in Runebound than in Talisman, especially if many people are playing... If the two of you are playing, I suppose everybody can proceed as slow as he wants, thus developing some kind of strategy to become stronger; in Talisman everybody can win, even the weak Character or the unschooled Player, because there are too many variables like JChendee summed up.

I will always prefer Talisman to Runebound and never play it again with more than 3 players.



#9 JCHendee

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 10:54 AM

A question, now that Runebound has come up. Does it in some way give the illusion of tactic and strategy, perhaps through more choices than Talisman (which don't necessarily lead in to tactic and strategy)?



#10 Carrion Prince

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 07:27 PM

JCHendee said:

A lot of us alter the game's rules (carefully, and tested) in a standardized fashion to provide more choice (with an eye to tactic rather than power grabbing or avoiding challenge). This can - but not always - lead to strengthening limited potential for strategy.  I and my cohorts change the game as necessary when certain commercial rules or changes do not improve the balance of random versus choices (legitimate ones for tactics, and hence strategy).  Feel free to do so yourself with your group... nothing is stopping you!

Sounds interesting. What are the house rules you came up with? Please share with us.



#11 RiCHiE

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 10:38 PM

JCHendee said:

Those of us who've played Talisman a long while all know this (in one way or another) and accept it; but it isn't for everyone.  I still love the game; I will still play the game; but I see it for what it is or what it becomes with each incarnation. SO... JASONK, if it's bugging you, then scrap it.  With all the games out there, including many great choices here at FFG, anyone can find something to please them and their gang.  But also... if you like it enough to wrestle with, and are simply frustrated by excessive randomness... then change it!

ASIDE: the new Fate attribute is interesting for its addition of choice, but in this case does not equal opportunity for tactic. As implemented, it is a hail mary, cover thy butt, prayer to the Gods of Chance, back-peddle when something goes badly or not good enough. That is not tactic, nor strategy. If Fate could be applied by choice before a random, to influence it - along with knowing that it is a limited resource that will be used up - that would be a true choice for a tactic to serve a strategy.

 A lot of us alter the game's rules (carefully, and tested) in a standardized fashion to provide more choice (with an eye to tactic rather than power grabbing or avoiding challenge). This can - but not always - lead to strengthening limited potential for strategy.  [My wife has become particularly troublesome with the Prophetess, and I hate it when she draws that character!  I'm still not sure how she does so well with that one.]  I and my cohorts change the game as necessary when certain commercial rules or changes do not improve the balance of random versus choices (legitimate ones for tactics, and hence strategy).  Feel free to do so yourself with your group... nothing is stopping you!

Definetly.  Its all about the house rules!



#12 JCHendee

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 03:18 AM

About our house rules...

We almost immediately ruled the City and Village back to the way they were in 2nd ed.... always optional. The claim that characters stopping on these squares and doing nothing if they had nothing to do would slow the game is false. No player WANTS to do nothing, but no player is interested in being forced into yet more purposeless randomness ... by being forced to visit the Mystic or Enchantress. The fact that no one ever really needs to visit the Enchantress is an old element of poor game design and should have been fixed in a better way than this.

Likewise was done for the Cave card for the same reasons.

Additionally, for the Mystic ... instead of changing character alignment (which has nothing to do with mystics and mysticism), the roll options for becoming good or evil were changed to.

  • Gain 1 Fate (the Powers have plans for you)
  • Lose 1 Fate (you aren't as important in the grand scheme as you think you are)

Mystics are focused on the mysteries of existence and do not read other peoples natures. Even if so, that doesn't mean an individual automatically accepts such and believes it. That was pushing the archetype far beyond its true nature. There are plenty of other influences in the game for changing character alignments that (annoying as they are, and almost pointless as alignment is) make far better conceptual sense.

Another rule we are testing is the use of a Fate point to alter a Movement

  • Spend 1 Fate before a movement roll to gain the option of a +1/-1, max. of 6, min of 1.  Only 1 Fate point may be used in any turn for this or other needs according to standard rules. Hence you cannot use a Fate to reroll for movement after the roll, for combat, etc. in that same turn.

This gives characters a chance (at a cost) of hitting a particular space once in a great while that is desperately needed or wanted. It allows a minor choice to become a potential tactic in serving a strategy suitable to individual character strengths and weaknesses. We did test this rule one night and ran into some free-for-all fun when the Pool of Life came up, and half the characters were in a bad way. It didn't always work for all of them, but it was certainly used... and some characters ended up with nothing for the cost, or even lost a live along the way.

Then there are others under consideration but not confirmed.

  • When landing on a space for drawing adventure cards, and another character is present, the entering character must follow the order of Adventure cards present or drawn. Encountering the other character (optional) is Order 4 in the sequence. The entering character cannot choose to encounter the other character and ignore the consequences of landing on a space containing or for drawing an Adventure cards. 
  • Talisman cards left on a space are treated as Order 7 for any encounters there.
  • Object Cards and Gold left on a space are treated as Order 6 for any encounters there.
  • In other words, if a powerful item has been dropped on a space, and Adventure cards or other characters are there, you have to fight your way to those items before you get them and use them. You cannot just pick them up and use them to trounce enemies or characters present.  You may optionally choose not to face the other character present, but obviously with the ordering rules above, you don't get to pick up the Runesword and whack them instantly for a Life.

I won't go into the few others that have come up and burn up more forum space.  I'm sure others have suggestions for house rules they could share too... and we are considering others as well, testing them before we make them official for our group.  Sometimes a house rule seems like a good idea but alters game mechanics too much or gives an advantage to certain characters too much over others... And you never know until its been alpha or beta tested first.

 



#13 Stosh

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 12:39 PM

One of our house rules that we have tested and liked:

All characters get +1 bonus to their roll in their Start Space.



#14 akuma508

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 03:14 PM

JCHendee said:

jasonk has asked a question, but on a complicated issue that can't be easily simplified once we look at what's involved. Then again, I'm not sure there's an answer that would really satisfy...

All games where randoms are used (die roll, blind card draw, etc.) are... well, dominantly pure chance. It's something gamers accept when they buy such. As to balance of luck versus skill (well, not skill but tactic and then strategy), Talisman has "choices" to be made, but choice doesn't always imply tactics to in turn serve a strategy. (Did you catch that?  Tactics first, strategy second, and it doesn't work any other way.) 

Talisman is nowhere near chess' long strategy (which when played right has no randomness; that's a misconception).  It isn't even close to the mid strategy level of monopoly, which has only one major (movement) and two minor (chance/community chest) random influences.  Add in that players enter Talisman through fixed attribute Characters, which are not equal and often chosen at random (to avoid fights over who gets to play the Assassin, etc.) and we have another random influence as well as fixed inequities of start opportunity.

Choice does not equal strategy; it can lead to a tactic or possibly choices of tactic, which when chained or interactive can serve a strategy.  Choice does not always equal tactic either.  These are things to keep in mind if you wish to choose games with high strategy influence. Choice >> tactic >> strategy.  Skill is something players develop, and the opportunity to apply it is dependant on balance of chance (randomness) versus tactics available that can be connected to serve a strategy.

However... many things in Talisman (and other board games) quickly throw a strategy out the window (off the board) when a tactic is undermined by random factors that cannot be overcome.  Also consider how many randoms interact in geometric and/or arithmetic cumulative influence. Talisman's random factors interact predominantly in a geometric progression as they accumulate upon a charcter, so its randomness is powerful. And this is always the way the game has been. 

In essence, Talisman has very limited opportunity for tactics, let alone strategies, and hence skill isn't a dominant factor. I've seen first time players, in a first game or even three or four following, rip a new one on a 15 year veteran. That says something itself about the game.  And in part, that's not such a bad thing, is it?

Those of us who've played Talisman a long while all know this (in one way or another) and accept it; but it isn't for everyone.  I still love the game; I will still play the game; but I see it for what it is or what it becomes with each incarnation. SO... JASONK, if it's bugging you, then scrap it.  With all the games out there, including many great choices here at FFG, anyone can find something to please them and their gang.  But also... if you like it enough to wrestle with, and are simply frustrated by excessive randomness... then change it!

ASIDE: the new Fate attribute is interesting for its addition of choice, but in this case does not equal opportunity for tactic. As implemented, it is a hail mary, cover thy butt, prayer to the Gods of Chance, back-peddle when something goes badly or not good enough. That is not tactic, nor strategy. If Fate could be applied by choice before a random, to influence it - along with knowing that it is a limited resource that will be used up - that would be a true choice for a tactic to serve a strategy.

 

A lot of us alter the game's rules (carefully, and tested) in a standardized fashion to provide more choice (with an eye to tactic rather than power grabbing or avoiding challenge). This can - but not always - lead to strengthening limited potential for strategy.  [My wife has become particularly troublesome with the Prophetess, and I hate it when she draws that character!  I'm still not sure how she does so well with that one.]  I and my cohorts change the game as necessary when certain commercial rules or changes do not improve the balance of random versus choices (legitimate ones for tactics, and hence strategy).  Feel free to do so yourself with your group... nothing is stopping you!

I don't agree with everything you wrote.

True the randomness can flatten well laid plans, but doesn't mean you still can't flow a game plan (Strategy) or give up on that plan, or change it.

Skill is needed in the game, but it is partly subject to luck.

ie. A friend was playing for the first time. He was Evil, and picked up the Druid Staff (I think it is called). He then landed on the chapel, and said he will pay for healing his lifes (So he picked neutral alignment). A "skilled" player would have picked Good neutral, and got them for free. Not the best example, but you know what I mean.



#15 Roy

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 07:19 PM

akuma508 said:

 

 

I don't agree with everything you wrote.

True the randomness can flatten well laid plans, but doesn't mean you still can't flow a game plan (Strategy) or give up on that plan, or change it.

Skill is needed in the game, but it is partly subject to luck.

ie. A friend was playing for the first time. He was Evil, and picked up the Druid Staff (I think it is called). He then landed on the chapel, and said he will pay for healing his lifes (So he picked neutral alignment). A "skilled" player would have picked Good neutral, and got them for free. Not the best example, but you know what I mean.

Either do I. Its not all luck, you have to manage luck and risk.  Where do you move for example, the more you play you learn to move around the board effectively, and you see each player have different movement strategies.  There were in 2nd ed (and are in 4th) a lot of nasty combo's you could pull off on other players - barrier on toaded player, destroy magic on valley of fire.  If you pick up the poltergeist instead of thinking I want to cross to get rid of it, maybe you deploy the annoying strategy of going for a stalemate.  Selling items at the alchemist of you have a lot of natural strength and craft is another example.  Luck will deal you the cards, but it is up to you what you do with them.



#16 JCHendee

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 03:39 AM

Some valid counterpoints have been raised, and certainly would work for any other options on House Rules.  That's what house rules are about.  I should also point out that the rules changes presented aren't just mine but collectively developed among a group of 3 to 7 players, 4 of which are veterans who've  played since the first release of 2nd edition. That in part influences our own take, for better AND worse.

But I would point out that "choice" does not always equal a tactic.  And a tactic in the moment or planned ahead is not a strategy. Strategy (for real) is very limited in Talisman - mostly because it has a simple endgame, like most boardgames. We have two chess players in our group (one who played tournament in her younger days) and one tabletop wargamer (classical/historical, not fantasy/SF), so we're familiar with what tactic and strategy really are.

The only notable strategy in Talisman is understanding the strengths and weakenesses of a character versus the odds of what are available in the game, using the former to help rectify the later, planning ahead for which route to achieve the crown of command, and that's about it.  [Okay, so that could be seen as a lot.] Everything else is happenstance choices, which often aren't true tactics to serve any strategy.  It is the way the game was made, and of course why in part we play it... for the surprises built in and those that happen in individual games... by the random factors.

But by our experience of 4th so far (and growing), certain changes don't work for us (or for game itself, from our group's view).  So we're back to where we started... house rules.

A friend ... picked up the Druid Staff .... He then landed on the chapel, and said he will pay for healing his lifes (So he picked neutral alignment). A "skilled" player would have picked Good ... and got them for free. Not the best example, but you know what I mean.

Unless picking Good means dropping another item which only Evil or Neutral can have. And I've never liked the other Alignment switheroo. It's nonsense to anyone who knows a thing or two about Druids and Scops.

All characters get +1 bonus to their roll in their Start Space.

An interesting notion, but I'd worry about it unbalancing the game. Not all Starting spaces have the same degree of benefits and deficits. Some have no deficits at all if choices available (City, Village). Others already give the character in question an Immunity benefit (not affected by the Crags, Forest, etc.). So such a rule could compound advantages one character already has over others.

Hmmm... that latest update to Firefox seems to be messying up my copy/paste of others quoted excerpts. Sorry.

OH, AND I DO AGREE ABOUT THE POLTERGEIST! If you're ready to get potentially pounded, that one space at a time is great for digging deeply into the Adventure deck or hitting a nearby benefit space! But we have to realize that's a fluke for the poltergeist being badly implemented in game mechanics. The poltergeist should've had a chance per turn of losing (dropping) an item or a gold. That's a real poltergeist by the game's make.

Imagine a 1 in 6 chance of dropping a gold or object (player's choice to be kind) as well as moving one space at a time. If it knocks something important out of your hands, you have to move 1 space onward then 1 space back to get it. So, you have choose whether it's worth going back to "search" for an item tossed into the wild. That would've made the poltergeist equal to the Hag driving off followers and then needing to reach the Mystic by random rolls (mostly) to get rid of her. In most cases (earlier in the game), the poltergeist gets abused all the time in our group.

In one game, the Prophetess peeked at the Adventure cards, then seemed to hang toward non-drawing spaces, watching what was drawn. Then suddenly she used up a Fate to try to get to a draw space. Lo and behold, she pulled the Poltergeist. And that one space per turn led her straight across more draw spaces and the Magical Stream (twice). There's a choice based on an individual ability, used as a tactic for a short term strategy (hmm, sort of) in abusing a follower that was supposed to be a deficit.

I mean, why bother haunting a character with something called a Poltergeist when it's not really a deficit in most cases?



#17 Roy

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 11:57 AM

Not disagreeing with your points on House rules, thats a good thing if it improves the fun (and there always have been abusive rules in Talisman), but just on your views on luck.

I've already house ruled fate and the reaper - I believe no one should end the whole game on trhe case of one bad roll.  We set their lives to 1.

 






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