Nomad Games are back again with another digital board game for Switch gamers to enjoy, with the epic fantasy escapade Talisman: Digital Edition now available on the console. It offers the same classic experience that returning players will remember from their younger years with the game, thoughNomad Games deserve praise for making it accessible to complete newcomers too.
Talisman takes place on a board made up of three different tiers, with each player starting on the outside tier and working their way in to try and obtain the Crown of Command and achieve victory. As you progress further into the inner tiers, the challenge becomes more difficult with trickier scenarios and tougher enemies to face, so you’ll spend your initial turns on the outside tier trying to earn the ‘strength’ and ‘craft’ tokens required to give yourself a fighting chance. There’s plenty of gold to earn (and spend) along the way too, whilst items will also enhance your capabilities and increase your odds of success. Be warned though: there are plenty of other players to face off against on this adventure too, with everyone battling for the elusive crown.
There’s also dice involved in this escapade too, so expect a fair few of your successes (and failures) to come down to luck.
Players roll the dice to move across the board, with each player able to change direction freely and therefore given a choice of tile to move to that best suits them. This could mean visiting a certain locale such as a town or graveyard that offer different bonuses based upon their morality in-game, or even just landing on a tile that’ll allow them to draw an adventure card. These adventure cards make up the core of the experience and allow the player to earn bonuses such as gold and items, trigger an in-game event, or even face off against an enemy in battle. Battles are all determined by dice rolls and your ‘strength’ and ‘craft’ tokens so there’s not a whole lot to them, though they could still prove tense given that defeat would cost you one of your three lives.
There are multiple rulesets available for you to add a bit of variety to the experience, but for the most part Talisman is pretty easy to follow… well… after you’ve gone through the tutorial. A lot of digital board games can be quite intimidating to play, but the clean UI and selection of tutorials that are available in Talisman ensure that it is a streamlined experience that’s pretty easy to learn. There are clear instructions as to what you need to do throughout your opening game, whilst each tile and card offers descriptions that makes them easy for the player to understand. It’s also worth noting that there are accessible touch controls available on the Nintendo Switch, which is ALWAYS a big plus in a game like this.
Whilst it is easy to understand how to play Talisman, it can be a tough game. There are multiple players working against you and the enemies you face in-game are vicious too, so there are plenty of ways for things to go wrong. Each game isn’t short either, with some of my earlier runs through Talisman lasting a good few hours before I’d eventually… lose. Yeah, it’s an accessible game, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be winning with ease straight away.
Talisman makes for an enjoyable gameplay experience and it’s satisfying seeing your ‘craft’ and ‘strength’ tokens build up as you work your way to victory. However, a LOT of your successes and failures will come down to dice rolls – whether that’s when traversing the board, interacting with its inhabitants, or even partaking in battles. Whilst this is commonplace in a lot of games like this, there were so many times where things were coming down to the wire and one lucky dice roll would completely change the course of events. It could be a little frustrating, especially since there’s such a big focus on building up your character’s capabilities – don’t get me wrong, it’s not JUST good luck that’ll get you the Crown of Command, but it’ll DEFINITELY help.
The AI of your opponents in Talisman is certainly competent, so it’s fun to play in single player. However, the game is at its best when played in multiplayer, whether that’s in local play or in cross-platform online showdowns. Believe me, there’s a whole lot of fun to be had locally when playing with friends and downing a few beers, but do expect a few cross words when one sly dice roll completely changes one player’s luck…
One thing that left a little bit of a sour taste when playing the game was just how much content was greyed out because it is DLC. Whilst there’s definitely enough content here to enjoy with the base game alone, the fact that so much was excluded and required separate purchasing left me feeling as if I was missing out on the FULL Talisman experience.
Talisman offers an enjoyable fantasy-battling experience that board game fans are sure to enjoy, though its dependence on luck and its emphasis on offering DLC content might leave a sour taste with some players. Don’t get me wrong, there’s enough content included in the base game to keep you entertained, but it’s noticeable that there’s a lot missing.
Thankfully, with its accessible setup and enjoyable gameplay mechanics, there’s still plenty of fun to be had with Talisman – especially when played with a group of friends. Just cross your fingers and hope that you’ll be the player who is lucky with the dice…
Developer: Nomad Games
Publisher: Nomad Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC