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  • Writer's pictureJW

Rolling Dice with Death

Two small expansions are included this month in my epic journeys in Talisman. They bring more variety, with their characters, Adventure and Spell cards. The Frostmarch also adds more Warlock Quest cards (way more than the first expansion, The Reaper), that make the preparation for the end game a lot more interesting. The Sacred Pool puts a new deck on the table: Quest Rewards for when you already have a Talisman (the end game item) or if you'd just like to go on more quests. It also adds stables to the game (making it easier to get fast transportation or carry more objects) and offers some more consequences for your alignment - also for neutral characters.

Both expansions add Alternative Endings and this is great, as the default ending gets a little boring after your first plays. Now you can choose to play with a "closed" ending: shuffle some cards face down and you'll have to wait until the end of the game to know how the end play works. Good fun! Or you pick an "open" ending from a few face-up cards that will change the winning conditions or change gameplay for that session.

Time to set up the game.

I played the Magus, my opponent was the Ogre Chieftain (using a simple solitaire version described in my original post). We would be going on a lot of quests this time, as prescribed by the new (open) ending: complete four or more quests before you reach the Crown of Command.

So for the first half of the game I was chased by an Ogre with a grudge. On his very first turn he killed a dragon. Some opponent! 😨 I could evade the first time he got upon me using a spell. The second time he fought me I managed a (lucky) standoff. But later, when I was resting in the Tavern, I heard a noise from behind... and woke up crippled, one life less.

Our questing was going fine. For his first quest the Ogre Chieftain had to lose one life, hey he could not care less, feeling invincible. For another quest he had to visit the Cursed Glade, no problem after some leveling up. He stumbled upon a Transmutator there and got smarter as a side effect.

In the meantime, I accidentaly fulfilled a quest (kill an animal) when I tripped over a serpent on one of my first moves. Later on, when I was "marked for glory" (a spell effect) I was able to defeat the Infernal Legion and fulfill my second quest (deliver a seven point trophy). Too easy! Er, yes. Never let your guard down. A Glory Seeker took another of my lives and my two remaining quests. 😭 I crawled to the city doctor to heal and then had to make plans to recover new quests.

A warhorse came to my possession. Oh cool! Lost it immediately to a succubus, along with some of my craft. Yup, not feeling so smart anymore. And out of the corner of my eye I noticed the Grim Reaper moving towards me, ever so slowly.

The Ogre Chieftain had lost all interest in killing me. He was on a roll, getting stronger and stronger after discovering a magic stream, stealing a riding horse so he could cross the lands real fast. Meeting a prince who promised him riches if they could just visit a castle - gold the Ogre needed for one of his quests, so why not. He was closer and closer to winning.

And I was still trying to level up, to be able to cross to the Warlock's Cave and get another quest or two. Come on! With a brainwave (a spell) I outsmarted the Eastern Dragon. Wow. A maiden decided to follow me, adding her craft to mine. I could see things were going my way again.

That was when the Grim Reaper caught up with me. I had to roll dice with Death. Rolled a two. This would kill the Maiden. But I could use a Fate token to re-roll. Five! 'There has been a mistake!' The Grim Reaper teleports to the character of your choice who must immediately roll one die on this chart.

Oh yes. I sent the Reaper off to the Ogre Chieftain. Nana nanana. 😛 Who also rolled a five and sent him right back to me. 'There has been a mistake!' No! Nonononono. Can't you just make up your mind already!

I rolled a one, lost all remaining lives and was killed.

The Frostmarch and The Sacred Pool expansions verdict:


  • Alternative Endings, that can surprise you or add goals during the game

  • More varied questing with the Warlock Quests

  • These small expansions add a lot of variety to the base game


  • None

Next month I'll try to survive The Dungeon.

Disclaimer: Talisman is not a solo game. Don't try this at home.

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Feb 14, 2021

Thanks! It's a joy to play as well. 😁 And lots of expansions left for the coming months.


Feb 14, 2021

These are always a joy to read.

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