Review: Talisman: Prologue

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes


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The Demon goes after a Monk

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Dealing with the Devil

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A Warrior loses a life

General Information

Genre:Board Game ESRB Rating:NR - Not Rated
License:Commercial My Rating:Children (6+)
Played on:Martha
Available from: Gamer's Gate, Humble Store, Steam

General Overview

Talisman is a popular fantasy board game. To give you an idea of just how big this game is, the physical board game will cost around $40. Fortunately for the thriftier gamers, it's been brought into the digital age with Talisman: Digital Edition and Talisman: Prologue.

Although there are a few different ways to win the game, the usual method involves building up your character's abilities, gathering useful treasures, and fighting dangerous monsters until you stumble across one of the legendary Talismans. Once you have a Talisman and are strong enough, your character begins their journey into the Inner Region where they face extremely dangerous challenges. Finally, they ascend to the Crown of Command and win the game.

However, while the game is good fun and sounds simple enough, it's also a bit more complicated than your typical board game. There are a number of characters that the players can play as, and each of the characters follow their own unique rules. For example, Warriors can gain the benefits of two weapons during battle, while Trolls can heal themselves instead of moving. Understanding these different abilities is crucial to success.

Unfortunately for new players, the actual game just tosses everyone into the fray, forcing them to learn the rules and tricks as they play against people that know what they're doing. This is where Talisman: Prologue comes in.

Talisman: Prologue is basically a stand alone tutorial for the Talisman board game. Instead of having new players face off against real or computer controlled oppenents, you're provided with a series of tasks to complete for most of the basic characters. Each task is harder than the last, and you're graded on how many turns it took for you to do it. The first task is always a hand-holding walkthrough of your class' special abilities, making it a good primer for playing as (or against) that specific class.

If you want to get into the world of Talisman, this is a great way to start. However, players are not very happy about having to purchase the tutorial as a seperate product. I can't fault them for that, but the resentment shows strongly in the game's online ratings and reviews. The best advice I have is to wait for a sale, get it then, and once you're ready purchase Talisman: Digital Edition to play the real game.


Teaches you how to play Talisman
This is the primary goal of Talisman: Prologue. While it can be used as a single player adventure, it's clear from the way it shows you how to play as each class that it's a gameplay tutorial. A true stand alone adventure would hold your hands less and feature more world building or other story elements.

Each character's quests form a story of their own
Most of the characters that are available have a series of quests to complete. Each of these quests continues from the quest before hand, forming a simple story for each character. For example, in one quest the Druid goes around collecting ingredients for a magical potion. His next task is to deliver this potion to the village.


Doesn't run on some computers
For whatever reason, this game doesn't launch on some machines. I'm not sure what the problem is, as Talisman: Digital Edition doesn't have this issue. Judging by the claims of other players, it seems that Prologue doesn't get patched very often while the full game gets updated regularly. If so, this would mean that the bug was fixed in the main game, but not in this version.

No save feature
Your highest ranking for each task is stored, but there's no way to save a game in progress. This means that if you're in the middle of saving the world and have to get off the computer for some reason, your progress is simply gone. This is another feature that the Digital Edition has that Prologue is missing.

Controls aren't the same as Talisman: Digital Edition
Considering that Prologue teaches the rules and mechanics of the game, it seems like it would've been important to ensure that it shares the functions and layout of the main version of the game. Unfortunately, they do not; The location of the various controls are not the same, nor is the art or the special effects the same. This can make going between the two somewhat disorienting.

Lacks characters and features from expansions
Talisman: Digital Edition features a lot of the expansions and new character packs available for the real board game. Prologue features only a small sample of them, and even then they aren't as fleshed out as the main cast. On the plus side, you're not paying for DLC twice, so there's that.

Concerns and Issues

Being Evil seems to be promoted over being Good
One of the quirks of the Talisman world is that nearly everything is controlled by the whims of the dice. A bad roll can ruin your day, so every character has an ability to use something called Fate. Fate allows you to re-roll any roll you want, provided you accept the second roll. Each class has a different amount of Fate, so some characters have an advantage over others in this regard. Fate can be restored in a few different ways, but the main method is to visit the Graveyard. Evil characters can regain all of their Fate for free just by stopping in this space, but if a Good character lands on this space, they lose a Life and gain nothing.

There are also a number of different encounters that provide Evil characters with extra turns or extra lives, while there isn't always a similar encounter for the Good characters. Put simply, Evil characters seem to have more of a chance at winning than their Good or Neutral adversaries.

Monsters and Demons
Many of the events in Talisman involve stumbling across orges, goblins, dragons and the like, but there are a few cases where the players encounter demons. The obvious example is the Demon enemy, which is the most powerful magical monster in the game. Other examples include devils (which aid their Evil comrades) or Mephistopheles, a powerful devil who converts the player to the side of Evil. An interesting point about this is that there's an artifact, a Holy Cross, which is able to instantly banish a magical enemy without facing them in combat. It's practically the only way to deal with the Demon.

Magic creatures and magic users abound
Talisman's world is full of magic. From faeries to unicorns, to a witch and a warlock, there's something magical around every corner. Dealing with magical beings can be risky though; both the Witch and the Enchantress can curse the player just as easily as they can aid them!

Skimpy sea bikini
One of the events that can cause trouble for players is a chance encounter with a Siren. These scantily clad mermaids sing a song that makes everyone in the same region lose a turn. The main concern here is that their card's picture is a bit on the revealing side, though the bikini does cover everything important.

Mostly bloodless
Like everything else, the dice determine who wins and loses a fight. Nobody is ever shown actually being harmed; when you are injured, the screen briefly becomes red while a sad church bell rings and your total Lives decreases by one.

That's not to say there is no blood shown at all; some of the cards do show a little blood in their picture. For example, the Axe is depicted with blood around the edge of the blade. It's not graphic, but it is there.