Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Digital Talisman

As any modern board-gamer knows, boardgame cleanup can be a real pain in the ass. When you were a kid the most complex cleanup boardgame you likely owned was Monopoly, and that cleanup was no problem because no one wants to play that game anyway. But for the advanced gamers out there, for the 8-year olds who saw "For ages 12 and Up" on the side of the box and were undismayed, there was a boardgame of epic fun that you could play with your more studious friends. This is a great game, with tons of expansions available, and was my first foray into a boardgame with lots of cleanup. That boardgame was Talisman.

Talisman is still a fun game to this day, albeit with some caveats. First, never ever play this game with more than 4 people. With the available characters in the base game it seemingly can handle up to like 20 players or more, but that's a trap. The turns are long enough that once you get up into six, seven, or eight players things get boring real fast, and patience wears thin. So take my advice and keep it to a nice, even four peeps. Even if you've got ten friends psyched to play Talisman (you lucky bastard), by the end of that mega-game everyone will be so sick of Talisman you'll never pull it out of the closet again.
That's where this news comes in. Talisman has had many expansions over the years and multiple editions. I think we're on our 4th edition of the base game. But it is easy to expansion your way out of ever playing it again. What do I mean by that? I mean there's a critical mass of boardgame expansions that, once crossed, means you'll never pull the game out again due to the sheer complexity. And who's got the time in this day and age to teach three other people the basic rules to the modern-day overly-complex boardgame rules, not to mention the Expansions?

I'm looking at you, Arkham Horror...

Fortunatley, Talisman has recently been digitized and made available on Steam. That's right! The boardgame you used to love but shudder to pull out of the basement is now in a convenient video-game format. All the rules and card combinations are done for you, and it has a pretty good AI opponent system so you can relax and just play the game, without having to worry about convincing someone else to play when you're just in the mood for some honest questing. The game will also save your progress if you need to quit early so you can play out a game of Talisman in little 20-minute lunch-break increments throughout the week if you so desire, without needing to own an Emissary.

And of course you can play online with buddies (along with AI opponents if you want) through Steam. I've played a couple games with my buddy Cibman over at the 20 on the Die blog and we've been really impressed with the most recent incarnation of this game. Plus they are making the expansions available already. I can personally confirm that the Dungeon Expansion is just as fun as the boardgame version, but without any of the pesky cleanup. Its perfect!

So while we all love building terrain and interacting with people in meat-space, sometimes you just can't get a group over to your place to play a good game of Talisman. As much as I would love to organize a game of Talisman on something like this home-made 3D masterpiece...

...its still nice to play it digitally whenever I want. So I heartily recommend to any boardgame fans out there, go pick up the Digital Version of Talisman on Steam! You'll thank me later. (and if you need an opponent to play Talisman with on Steam, go ahead and challenge a joker named 'valhallan.' Tell him Cyberninja sent ya!).
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