Talisman: The Highland is the second side-board (after The Dungeon) meant to make levelling up your character a bit more interesting between the Outer and Middle Regions. It comes with a large deck of adventure cards and the usual extra characters, some spell cards and some extra game endings.
I'm playing Talisman every month to evaluate what every expansion box has to offer. Earlier posts in this series are:
This is actually last month's report, as I forgot to post it. 😳 The good news is, now you won't have to wait a whole month for the next adventure. Unless I forget again... 🤔
I love the variety the extra endings bring. You can either pick an objective for the game or shuffle some hidden endings. One of the hidden endings in this expansion is the Hand of Doom:
Now imagine you have been playing for over three hours and finally you're at the Crown of Command, so close to winning, and you have to roll a die. You roll a ⚀ and... everyone has lost the game. That's a typical Talisman card. I think it's funny, but if you don't then this is not a game for you.
Here's the set-up for today. I play a spellcasting Sprite, and the Highlander acts as a virtual opponent.
The Highlander woke with a start. What? Where? Ouch? Mosquito bites all over his legs again. That was the last straw. He was going to cleanse the land of bugs. Of anything small with wings, really.
A young restless Sprite left the Forest, looking for adventure, curious what she would find, out in the open. The first encounter she had was with a Fallen Angel, this left her without her only Fate token (for rerolling dice) but it did not bring her down. Luck was still with her as just a little further she found a magical weapon... a Fate Stealer. It was meant to be. She found some money and bought a shield. She met an enchanter who granted her a wish and trained her strength. The sun was shining, adventuring was so much fun!
The Highlander found a False Grail and then met a Leper. His mood was not improved.
When the Sprite fluttered through her home Forest again, a Colossus warned her about the Highlander that had just passed through. He offered to join her as a bodyguard. Sure! Thanks.
So when the Highlander found the Sprite and fought her, he lost.
The Sprite used spells to evade the Highlander or misdirect him, to defeat a Lesser Demon (with a Brainwave) and a Gargoyle (Fireball). She felt strong enough to visit the Highlands. The Highlander followed her, thinking she'd be easy prey on his home turf. Was he ever wrong. A Cauldron Crone turned him into a Toad! He lost all his possessions and hopped helplessly around.
Meanwhile, the Sprite went on sightseeing, enjoying the views, making friends, taking selfies, finding cool magical objects. She even climbed Mount Eyrie and fought the Eagle King. It was a stand-off, but she left the Highlands loaded with gold. So a few rounds later she was the proud owner of a Horse and Cart and some full body Armour. Time to go on a quest and get a Talisman. She crossed over to the Middle Region where a Magician turned some of her Strength into Craft. Neat trick!
The Highlander left the mountains broke and, well, mad as hell. He had a long chat with the Village Mystic and became Evil. Oh, he knew who to blame for all his trouble and misfortune. That tiny too good to be true Tinkerbell.
Then something happened I had not yet encountered in my plays of Talisman (those huge Adventure decks will do that): a Discordant Dirge was heard throughout the land. All enemies in the discard pile were shuffled and put back on top of the Adventure deck. A Pandemic Epidemic! There is no escaping Matt Leacock. 🤨
The Sprite had to kill a monster to gain a Talisman. And all encountered enemies were back on the deck. So that did not take long. Off to the Dungeon.
The Highlander tried to kill the Sprite, but really did not have a chance, having no weapons or objects. So reluctantly he went back to his Highlands. He had heard the rumour that one of those fabled Talismans could be found in an Eagle's Nest, high up on a Mountain Pass. He set out to find it.
The Sprite enjoyed her little Dungeon Crawl. But just before reaching the Treasure Chamber she was stopped by the Gate Keeper and a Vassal of Darkness. Their combined craft was 19 🤢 She drank an Elixir of Wrath to get to 14 Craft. The enemies rolled a ⚀, but she still had to throw a ⚅. Nope. Oh well. A Preservation Spell made sure she came out unharmed.
After that the Lord of Darkness was easily defeated and she stole a Wand of Dragonfire from the Treasure Pile. Then crawled out of the Dungeon and found herself in the Cursed Glade. Not too far from the Portal of Power. Time to finish this adventure.
The Highlander had indeed found the Talisman, but then could not find a way off the Mountain Pass. The smooth Rock Face looked deadly. 50% chance of being stuck, and when being stuck a chance to lose a life or a Follower:
He had to stay here over 6 turns.
The Sprite reached the Crown of Command and discovered that the end to her adventure would be a battle to death with her nemesis. On Her terms. So it would be a psychic combat. It just took one hit and a mean little Spell to take his last three lives.
👍 More varied gameplay while levelling up
👍 More characters to play, more endings to the game
👍 Someone got turned into a Toad!
Disclaimer: Talisman is not a solo game. Don't try this at home.