Talisman: The Dungeon is the first side board (of four) that you place at a corner of the main board. I thought I'd measured the complete setup before buying my table, but now I'm not so sure. Talisman is a game that you build your house around. I really hope I don't have to buy another table. 😬 We'll find out next month when I add another board.
This year I'm playing Talisman every month to evaluate what every expansion box has to offer. Earlier posts in this series are:
The Dungeon has its own deck of (extra tough) cards and a boss that's as strong as the end boss of the game, so you'll need to level up before entering. It's an alternative for the Middle Region of the main board, for your travels during the second part of the game. Talisman can take relatively long to finish, so extra boards that give you more paths towards the end fight are a welcome addition.
Some of the new adventure cards are added to the main deck to give extra entry points to the Dungeon. Some others will have you draw some cards from the Dungeon deck while you're adventuring on the main board and make your journey more perilous. Some new spells are included, among them the infamous Finger of Death. Unfortunately you can't use spells during your fight in the Inner Region, so no more killing the end boss with one card, like in the previous edition. It has been rebalanced to make it more of a PvP spell.
Today's set up was Rome vs. Greece: a Gladiator was going to try to beat my Philosopher. Or rather, kill. That's the Romans for you.
First round. First move. First draw of an adventure card. I immediately encountered a dragon of strength seven, while I started out with strength two. 😨 I rolled a 1. That's one life less then.
Ehm. I wrote down all turns while playing, but the problem is, I did it while playing and looking at the board. I can not read most of my scribbles. 😄 Well, let's see. In the beginning of the game the Gladiator got stronger, while the Philosopher got smarter (I found a Fountain of Wisdom that can upgrade your craft four times and I managed to visit this magical place all four times). The Gladiator met a wizard in the Tavern who offered him a teleport. Of course he teleported right to me, fought me on strength and beat me. Another life lost.
I went to the city where an enchantress gave me more strength. I was not turned into a toad. Then the Gladiator did exactly the same thing! He also got stronger, he also was not turned into a toad. This is my third play this year and never was any of us turned into a toad. I do hope one of the other expansions will make this more likely to happen. It's just not Talisman as I remember it without someone hopping helplessly around the board.
After beating a wolf, a bear and an ape I was feeling strong enough to enter the Dungeon. Too soon! My first encounter was with some Goblin Marauders that were extremely strong. I was lucky I could use a magical object for an auto win. The Gladiator followed me into the Dungeon, fought me, and... lost. But he was protected by his helmet. 😞 Still, he decided to leave the Dungeon. When he surfaced, he was arrested by a patrol and put back in the Tavern. Meanwhile I was not doing too well in the Dungeon. I lost a life to a Giant Beetle, that also killed my Unicorn follower. Next I was set upon by a Shadow Stalker, Vampire Bats and a Vassal of Darkness that all fought me together. And I lost yet another life. Just one left. I had to escape the Dungeon!
I used a teleport spell to get to the entrance. Where the Gladiator was waiting for me. He had nine strength, I had six. If I lost the fight, it would be game over. I rolled a six, the Gladiator rolled a one. Yes! I took his sword and continued my journey to the Chapel where I would be able to heal. It was on the other side of the board though. So halfway the Gladiator caught up with me again and fought me. This time I was able to stab him with his own sword. The helmet could not protect him. I decided to take a life, and he was down to one as well.
But, I was still not safe. My follower, the Guide, turned out to be a werewolf and suddenly attacked me! I barely managed a standoff, after which he ran off.
Both the Gladiator and I got healed to our full amount of lives shortly after.
I went back into the Dungeon. If this had not been a solo session, I would have levelled up a bit more first, but I was getting a bit bored.
In the meantime the Gladiator got robbed of his gold by an outlaw. Lost a fight to a Black Unicorn. Got seduced by a Siren and wasted time. Then I sent a Gust of Wind (spell) his way which had him roll a die for each of his possessions, some of them got misplaced. That was fun.
My Dungeon crawl did make me stronger and smarter, but not enough to beat the Lord of Darkness at the end. Our fight was a standoff, I did not get any loot. 🙄
I dediced to try and end the game, and went through the Portal of Power to the Inner Region. Again, too soon if this was a normal multiplayer session. The Gladiator had no choice but to follow. He actually managed to fight me once more at the entrance and take one life. During the fight my followe "the Defender of Justice" switched sides and left me. Boo.
I survived the Mines, but lost two lives and the Mule that was carrying most of my stuff to Vampires. So once again: I had just one life left. I survived the Pit Fiends while the Gladiator got lost in a dice rolling game with Death. So I was the first to enter the Crown of Command.
I had picked a secret ending: I did not know what would happen next. I turned over the card, and... I had to fight the Ice Queen. Four times.
Round 1: standoff.
Round 2: killed by the Ice Queen. 😭
Yes. That was fast. In the meantime the Gladiator had lost some dice rolls with Death, but his follower St Josephine healed him back to 5 lives. Then he also got to the Crown of Command to face the Queen. He beat her in 6 rounds.
I sure had some very exciting times when I was down to one life. The game could have used a little more variation while I was levelling up though. I hurried too much because I just did not feel like making yet another round on the board. Thankfully we'll add The Highland next month. It will at the very least provide the opportunity to make a round on another board.
Disclaimer: Talisman is not a solo game. Don't try this at home.