I pretty much grew up playing a lot of Games Workshop tabletop games, but Talisman wasn’t one of them. I guess Talisman never really could match the appeal of more “grander” games that is the Warhammer and Warhammer 40K series.
Still, it looked really interesting and now with Talisman available on smartphones, I just had to try it out and see what I was missing out on decades ago.
The thing to note here is that this game is 100% the tabletop game ported over. It’s not a Dawn of War or Space Marine, where they made an RTS/FPS in the Warhammer 40K setting. It’s absolutely the tabletop game, complete with dice throwing and card drawing.
So being a tabletop game, the graphics are very simple. The board is a 2D board, and your character is actually shown as a plastic figurine. How’s that for authentic?
What this means Is that the graphics are really plain. Don’t expect something like Monopoly, where the game pieces are animated. It’s exactly what you’d expect if you were playing the actual tabletop game. The graphic styling is fine for me, but I can certainly see how some may not like the 2D styling of the game.
One issue that needs to be highlighted is the in-game text: it is horrendously small. You really have to squint to see the text. I’m on an S3 and even with the considerably good 720p resolution, it’s still very hard to read. I thought that it’d look better on tablets, but after reading some Play Store reviews, they also seem to have the same problem. This is really disappointing considering that you’ll need to read a lot of the game’s board and card descriptions.
The Tabletop Gameplay
As with any tabletop game there is a bit of a learning curve for any new player. Still, I’d say Talisman quite an easy game to learn. I was able to play fairly well after 2-3 games.
The first thing to do is to select your character. At the start you have 3 to choose from: Druid, Troll and Warrior. Each character has its own set of stats and unique abilities: The Druid can change his alignment (Good/Evil), the Troll can heal his life, and the Warrior rolls two dice when attacking. As you progress you’ll unlock more characters for a total of 10.
Each character also has his own set of quests to complete. The objective here is to complete the quest in as few turns as possible. Each character has 5 quests to complete, so there’s quite a lot to do in the game.
The crux of the game involves building up your character with items, spells and enhancements. Most of the quests will require you to beat something/someone, and to do so you’ll need as much help as you can get.
You can obtain most of the things needed by exploring the board. Landing on empty parts of the board will usually allow you to draw a card from the Adventure deck. Cards in this deck can be stuff you can use, or can also be enemies you’ll fight or events that will affect you.
Landing on cities/special locations will usually have its own set of events that happens. In cities you can buy weapons/armour, which Is a nice option if you don’t want to rely on luck.
Talisman Prologue is actually the first of 2 Talisman games to be released by Nomad Games. This first game is only meant for single player, while the 2nd upcoming game called “Talisman Digitial Edition” will include multiplayer.
It is a very baffling release strategy as, just like most tabletop games, Talisman is best played with multiple players. Part of the fun of the original tabletop game is competing with other players, seeing who can complete their quest first.
In Talisman : Prologue, you’re just competing against yourself. As mentioned, the objective is to complete the quest in as few turns as possible. That is fine but ultimately not rewarding enough. After completing a quest I find no reason to re-visit it.
Even if online multiplayer is not included, surely the devs could have included AI players. Competing against other players, even AI, is still much more fun than competing against no one.
The Final Say
At the end of the day the lack of any form of multiplayer makes it really hard for me to recommend Talisman: Prologue. Especially considering that a multiplayer version of the game is coming. This is a game that thrives on multiplayer, and needs it.
The single player is OK, and can still be quite fun to play. Still, if you want the definitive Talisman experience, I’d say just wait for the multiplayer version to be available.