Let's have another lovin' spoonful of our favourite game Talisman. I'm going solo through all the expansions in a year. Earlier posts in this series are:
Hot town! Summer in The City. This expansion brings us six new characters, three alternative endings and the third side board that adds a whole city to the land, with shops, guild and a jail. Once you've collected some money, it's now much easier to spend it. Also, you can just visit any shop you're interested in, where in the base game you're dependent on the dice rolls for movement and the draw of the cards for availability of some shops. From now on the rich are less dependent on luck.
There are shops for the usual mounts, weapons and armour and some extra valuable stuff. Shops where it's easier to gain some XP for your trophies, shops where you can buy spells, shops where you can take a gamble. And you can buy potions:
There are also "Wanted" posters, you can make money if you go on a bounty hunt. So to get to know everything this expansion has to offer, I decided to play the included ending Assassins' Guild where you can only win the game when you've fulfilled four of these "Wanted" contracts.
Set up with the three sideboards that we uncovered so far finally makes a satisfying adventure possible. Level up on the main board, go to the Highland to make some money, go to the City to spend it, go to the Dungeon to level up some more and go for the end game.
Today I am playing as the Cat Burglar, who has a chance of picking up or even stealing objects as her special ability. My opponent is the Bounty Hunter, I guess my behaviour did not go unnoticed, it looks like there's a price on my head. The Bounty Hunter is very strong (I'm not) and he wins his fights even if it normally would be a stand-off. I say, let's keep some distance.
I picked up a "Wanted: Spirit" leaflet and got moving. Looking for spirits. First stop was at the Lake of Visions, where I received a Warlock Quest. It said "Travel to the City", well that should not be too hard today 😀
The Bounty Hunter picked up a "Wanted: Cultist" leaflet and went after me anyway. He made a stop at the City Enchantress and bullied her into improving his craft. He still was dense enough to take on a Frost Drake in his next turn though and lose a life. I met a Talismonger who improved my strength and I bought a sword in the Village. Off to a good start! So where are those spirits?
The Bounty Hunter lost another fight but while he lay on the ground bleeding, he got into touch with the Grim Reaper and managed to send that cloaked skeleton my way. I had to roll dice with Death. 😨 Fortunately it ended in a stand-off.
A bit shaken I took my next steps, looking over my shoulder all the time, and I fell through a Trap Door to the Dungeon. No! Way too soon to end underground.
A Cave Goblin jumped me, but I could just stab it with my sword. I leaned against the wall to regain my breath. Out. Out! I ran outside, to the Tavern. I rolled a six on my next turn, which got me to the City, then was magically transported to the Warlock Cave because of my Quest and received a Talisman. Sweet. Except you only need that at the end of the game, so I'd have to carry it for three hours (real life time) and I also had to escape the Middle Region as that Warlock Cave is far, far away.
The Bounty Hunter cast a Slow Motion spell on me, hoping to catch up, and then to beat me up. I kept evading him though. I found a Mountain Path and decided it was time to visit the Highland. Alas! An Evil Darkness swept the land causing me to lose a turn and then Bounty Hunter finally caught up with me at Sky Haven, the Highland entrance. But by now I was prepared for this. I beat him at his own game and took a life.
Then I ran away as fast as I could. A bit too fast perhaps as I ended up in a Ravine when a thunderstorm occurred. With nowhere to hide. I was struck by lightning and also lost a life. Then the Bounty Hunter found a healing potion and regained a life. I climbed the Mountain Pass and caused a huge boulder to roll down, so he lost that life again. 😄 Good fun. I can do this all day.
My journey through the Highland ended at the Eyrie where I had to fight the Eagle King. We both had a craft of 8 and we both rolled a 6. No gain, but no harm done. Back on the main board I visited the Alchemist to sell some gems and ended up with a big pile of gold coins to take to the City. Oh yeah.
The Bounty Hunter was less fortunate and lost his last life to the Eagle King. He was out of the game. Something must have bothered the Alchemist though, as rumour was that he'd closed shop and was going after me now. Hey, I never said those gemstones were real.
Just to be safe, I hired an assassin.
In the City I went on a shopping spree. I returned with a Magic Ring (+1 Strength / +1 Craft), a Flail to replace my sword (roll two dice in battle and add them together), a surprise pet (I opened the box and found Luna, an owl that would assist me with my re-rolls) and a Mule to carry all my possessions. Then I was broke. Time for another of these "Wanted" bounties.
The Alchemist, as a new character, was way to weak to take me on so he had to think of another strategy. Inspired by Mephistopheles he turned evil and thought of himself as the rightful heir of all the Bounty Hunter's possessions, contracts and grudges. He bought a sword and went off to the Highland.
My plan was to first kill an animal (my next "Wanted" leaflet) and then enter the Dungeon. When I visited the Village I heard all about the Alchemist's plans. I had my alignment changed to evil at the spot. Two can play this game. If you want trouble, you can have it.
I never found an animal though. Got tired of searching, gave up and entered the Dungeon.
Now it was the Alchemist's turn to go shopping. He had collected even more money than I had. So he got himself a Magic Ring, Full Plate Armour, a Flail, his own Pet (Stinker, that scares away enemies) and a Horse and Cart. He also trained at the Weapon Master and got stronger. Okay, I was beginning to fear this opponent. 😬
The Dungeon ended in the Treasure Chamber of the Lord of Darkness. I hit him hard with my Flail (accidentally rolling for him as well, where he should have been stunned), stole the Book of Lore and got out through a secret tunnel.
I found myself in the Cursed Glade, where at last I spotted an animal. Killed it. Two more bounty hunts to go. So what was on my next "Wanted" leaflet, let's see... Defeat an evil character. I had to face the Alchemist. Off to the City then, filled with dread.
The Alchemist went to the Den of Thieves and sent them to steal my Flail. Then he turned it into gold. He looked around and found me first. And he still had his Flail. When I regained consciousness, my Talisman had gone. Stolen and turned into gold by the Alchemist. 😭
I noticed a leaflet in the gutter, "Wanted: Spirit" it said. Oh, I had killed spirits. I collected the bounty and went to the Armoury to buy a Battle Axe. As they were all out of Flails. Then I rolled a 6 for movement and could use my Magic Carpet. Floating above the City I spotted the Alchemist and made a surprise attack. On Craft. No use for that Flail now, Sir.
It was an easy win. So I had fulfilled my last "Wanted" contract. I stole his Talisman, time for the end game. But first it was way too easy to attack the Alchemist once more. So I did. Another fight on Craft. Another win. I stole his Flail. 😆
Now the Alchemist had only two fulfilled "Wanted" contracts, so he could never win the game. And without his weapon he also had no chance of beating me in direct combat. I could cross through the Portal of Power unhindered to start the final leg of my journey.
Vampires got two of my followers and one of my lives, but I healed myself with a spell I'd saved just for this occasion and carried on.
And after 3,5 hours of gameplay I was accepted as a proud member of the Assassins' Guild.
👍 With the Highland, City and Dungeon boards there's enough variety for adventuring at last.
👍 Buying your weapons, armour or pets with gold improves the game as you're less dependent on the draw of the cards.
👍 Also: the City shops sell some really nice stuff. Overpowered? Nah, Talisman is not about balance or fairness.
Disclaimer: Talisman is not a solo game. Don't try this at home.