Talisman Digital Edition by Nomad Games Limited is a digital port of the classic adventure board game for 1-4 players. Players play the role of one of 14 different characters, each with a special ability, and will be racing against each other to be the first to claim the Crown of Command.
The core game mechanics are deceptively simple: roll a die and move that many spaces in either direction on the board. Depending on the space that you land on the board, you will either encounter an obstacle on the space itself or draw and encounter one or more Adventure cards. While the roll to move mechanic can be frustrating, the intent behind it is clear in that you never know exactly what the next turn will bring.
The fun of the game comes from the changing game-state as the board accrues more obstacles from the Adventure deck, and as characters power up both by acquiring (usually) useful equipment and (mostly) helpful followers. Characters will also gain power by gaining points in Strength and Craft, the two stats that are used for most checks in the game. Players are also able to attack and harass other players and some classes, such as the Assassin, specialize in fighting with other players.
Players will adventure around the outer ring of the board until they feel that they are powerful enough to move to the more dangerous inner ring. Ultimately players will be trying to claim a Talisman from the Adventure deck in order to access the very center space of the board and claim the Crown of Command. Once claimed, the Crown allows the player to damage all of his opponents and claim victory once they have been defeated. This is actually one of the game’s weakest points, as this can take a very long time and really leaves the player controlling the Crown nothing to do other than make a single die roll on their turn.
A note on solo play: Talisman Digital Edition can be played solo vs. a chosen number of computer controlled opponents. The AI is decent and provides enough of a challenge that solo play is still rewarding.
A note on game length: Talisman Digital Edition can be a lengthy game, especially if a player sees a string of bad luck or bad rolls. Two alternate game modes are included for players who wish to play a shorter and/or more cutthroat version of the game. “Talisman Bloodbath” adds a player elimination rule, and “Race to the Crown” changes the victory condition, immediately granting victory to the player who makes it to the center of the board first.
A note on “chrome”: The music in Talisman Digital Edition is completely forgettable and the sound effects are sufficient at best. The game runs smoothly and the interface is easy to use. Many optional “house rules” are included in the game so that players can tailor the experience to their personal tastes, which is a big bonus that I would like to see included in many, if not all, digital board games.
The bottom line:
Talisman Digital Edition is a fun, if random experience. While player choice is part of the game, nearly everything comes down to the roll of the die. The game can overstay its welcome, although there are built in “house rule” options that let players tweak it to suit their preferred play style. Talisman is a great “beer and pretzels” style game that is best played with friends where the conversations had during play are as important, if not more important, than the game itself.
Get this game if:
You have enjoyed Talisman in the past and are looking for a faithful digital port.
You enjoy games where the journey is more important than winning.
Avoid this game if:
You prefer your fate to be in your hands rather than the roll of a die.
Talisman is a fun, random, adventurous time. Old school players of the board game will find a solid digital port while new players will find an easy introduction to this classic game.