News for December 2008
Location, Location, Location
A look at the changes made to the Talisman board
Talisman | Published 05 December 2008

Location is everything. In Talisman, each turn sees you venturing into new areas, and each area provides a different benefit. Over the years, these benefits have changed and shifted. In this article we will explore the changes to the locations in Talisman Revised 4th Edition.

If a character enters a Desert space, he must lose one life unless he has either a Water Bottle or the Holy Grail. However, Deserts are no longer simply a barren wasteland. Players are able to draw an Adventure Card on Desert spaces. Characters will still lose a life before they draw a card, but this revision makes Deserts more interesting, as opposed to dead spaces that are simply avoided.

The Mystic at the Village has the power to reveal the true nature of a character’s soul. Once your character is shown the path of his heart’s greatest desire, his alignment may change to reflect this shift in disposition. To represent this in the game, one of the options a character may encounter at the Village has the chance of converting the character to an evil as well as a good alignment.

Worshipping at this sacred place now offers characters the opportunity to gain fate tokens. If a player prays at the Temple and his dice roll equals 11, he gains 2 fate instead of gaining 1 life.

One of the goals I had when developing the Revised 4th Edition was to create greater balance between the good and evil alignments. While the cards that are thematically linked to good and evil alignments are fairly evenly distributed, the board spaces were not created equal.

Let’s first take a look at the Chapel. Good characters visiting the Chapel could either automatically heal all of their lives or pray by rolling a die. If a character chose to pray, he could gain 1 life with a 5 result or even gain a Spell with a 6 result. If he rolled a 1, 2, 3, or 4, he was simply ignored and suffered no penalty. Neutral characters could heal lives by paying 1 gold per life.

Now let’s compare the Chapel to the Graveyard from previous editions. Evil characters visiting the Graveyard could only “invoke the spirits” by rolling 1 die. There was no automatic benefit like the Chapel’s ability to heal all of a character’s lives. In order to gain any benefit from the Graveyard, evil characters had to take a chance by rolling the die, and even then you risked losing a turn if you rolled a 1. Neutral characters could not perform any actions at the Graveyard, so the space became a dead zone for them.

As you can see, the Chapel had several advantages over the Graveyard. I wanted both alignment based board spaces in Talisman Revised 4th Edition to have different, yet equal powerful options for characters, not only to maintain game balance but to simply make the space more interesting and thematic. At the Chapel, the forces of good provide healing and rejuvenation. At the Graveyard, the forces of evil provide power and control. The new fate tokens were the perfect game components to represent this power and control (see the previous article; “The Vagaries of Fate”).

The revised Graveyard offers evil characters an automatic advantage like the Chapel, except that characters can replenish all of their fate instead of healing all of their lives. Characters can also pray to the forces of darkness by rolling a die with the same ratio of benefits as the Chapel. Note that the option of “invoking the spirits” was changed to praying instead. This change in wording allows characters to use any bonuses that add to their die rolls when praying, such as the Priest character. Neutral characters don’t get left out either. They can now replenish fate by paying gold.

These revisions make the Graveyard as equally powerful and interesting as the Chapel, while maintaining a distinctive theme and flavor for evil characters.

Thank you for joining me for this preview of the revised game board. In my next article we will take a sneak peak at the new Reaper expansion.

Until then, happy gaming!
John Goodenough

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