I just played Talisman and we have a few houserules we use to speed up the game.
Generaly for us, a game takes 6 hours for 3 people. To speed up early game (...or keep it relatively balanced). We increment the amount of trophies needed depending on how much Strength/Craft you have.
If you start with 2 Strength you only need 2 in trophy value to go to 3. Then you need 3, to upgrade one more time, etc. This puts the progress for all players pretty equal and allows for less powerful players to catch up to the otherwise snowballing players ahead.
When setting up the game, I use points system to balance the playtime.
Every player above 3 gives 1 point.
I then ask for how long they are willing to play, every hour below 6, adds 1 point.
So today, we were 6 people wanting to play for 2 hours...
That's 6 points...
I allocate points accordingly:
2 points - 1/2 of the trophy requirement of your current Strength/Craft, rounded up.
1 Point - Each player adds 1 Str/Craft to the lowest of their score (Or equally distribute the points)
So in our game today with 6 points... to shorten time, we halved the requirement and each player got +2 in Strength and +2 in Craft at the start of the game.
It works well and everyone had fun. We played for about 2.5 hours (They asked for 2) but they didn't seem to mind as the game got balanced and a fair stat boost for the amount of players playing. The game didn't outstay its welcome