During the following weeks, FFG will release a series of articles that explores the new improvements and additions to the Talisman Revised 4th Edition. In this article, we will take a look at a few characters and how they compare to previous incarnations.
The most obvious change in Talisman Revised 4th Edition compared to the edition released by Black Industries, is that each character is represented by plastic miniatures instead of cardboard stands. Even if a character gets turned into a slimy little Toad, he can hop around the board with a special Toad miniature. There is just something very cool and visceral about moving a finely sculpted miniature around the board. Miniatures also allow players to further customize their characters and show off their painting skills. (Stay tuned for more information about our Talisman miniature painting contest!)
Astute Talisman fans that jumped ahead to look at the revised Character cards will notice that a new box was added on the right side of the card called Fate. This is a new feature introduced in the Revised 4th Edition and will be discussed in greater detail in the next article. For now, it is enough to say that fate values vary from character to character.
Let’s first take a look at the most controversial character in the game; the Prophetess.
The Prophetess is a powerful magic user and always has a Spell ready to cast. However, her real power comes from the ability to discard unwanted Adventure Cards. In previous Talisman releases, the Prophetess allowed you to draw an extra Adventure Card and then discard one card of your choice that you do not want to encounter. This let’s you pick the best cards and discard the worst, and proved to be so powerful compared to the other characters that many gamers to simply banned her from play.
The Revised 4th Edition features a small adjustment to this ability but that small adjustment makes all the difference in the world. Now the Prophetess does not automatically draw an extra Adventure Card. Instead, you may choose to discard one Adventure Card that you drew but you must then draw a card to replace it, which you must encounter. This leads to many interesting decisions that the Prophetess player must struggle with during the game.
Let’s pretend that you just drew the Phantom card which grants a wish to the first evil character that visits him. While the Phantom is not helpful to the Prophetess who’s alignment is good, it certainly does not hurt her either. You could choose to discard the Phantom and draw another Adventure Cards as a replacement. Then again, the replacement card might be a fire breathing Dragon which could be devastating if you are low on life. Should you play it safe and keep the useless but harmless Phantom, or take a chance and draw a replacement card which may help or hurt you?
As you can see, the revision to the Prophetess’s special ability adds an exciting push-your-luck twist and still maintains the unique flavor of the character.
The Troll is one of the most straightforward characters in the game. He does not bother with tricks and fancy special abilities, he simply stomps around the board and bashes things with his brute strength. In fact, the only Enemy cards in the Adventure Deck with Strength high enough to pose much of a threat to the Troll are Dragons, and even then he has a fair chance of defeating them.
The main drawback of the Troll is his low Craft value. This not only restricts him from holding Spells, but it also makes him very vulnerable to Enemies that fight with Craft. The Troll’s low fate value limits his options even further. To help compensate for this, his life value is increased to 6.
The Troll also gained an additional special ability to spice things up. If the Troll rolls a 6 for his move, he may skip his turn to heal one life. While the option to regenerate is not particularly efficient, the special ability at least offers the Troll player a few decisions during the game as opposed to just mindless bashing and smashing.
The Druid is one of my favorite characters because the ability to change his alignment at will seems very thematic and interesting. Unfortunately, the ability is very circumstantial and limiting in nature, so it also felt like I was playing an underdog. While the Prophetess has the power to cast Spells every turn and the mighty Troll can cut through Strength Enemies like butter, the Druid has to wait for an opportunity to use his special ability. Being able to change your alignment in itself is not useful, you need to encounter an alignment based card or board space to reap any real rewards.
The main limitation of the Druid’s ability really kicks in when he finally gains an alignment based Object. If the Druid gains the Runesword for example, he can no longer change his alignment to good without the penalty of ditching the powerful Runesword. Is praying at the Chapel really worth surrendering such a magnificent weapon?
In order to give the Druid a much needed boost, he has a new ability that grants him Spells whenever he lands on the Woods space. This ability is also fairly circumstantial since it only really pays off if the Druid is out of Spells and can land on the Woods. However, a skilled Druid player will always try to maximize the reward so that it is well worth the extra effort.
Thank you for joining me on the preview tour for the Talisman Revised 4th Edition characters. My next article will take an in-depth look at the much speculated and anticipated fate tokens.
Until then, happy gaming!
- John Goodenough