Talisman is a legendary board game, one that has been available for decades. Dubbed "The Magical Quest Game", this classic was first released in the 1980s, and has been through several publishers and revisions since then. The most recent version of the board game was released by Fantasy Flight in 2007. An adaptation of the game, the Talisman Digital Edition, has recently been released for PC, via Steam, with a retail version, the Talisman Digital Collector's Edition, also available. The Steam version will be considered for review today.
Talisman is, at its heart, a simple game. Players take on the roles of various characters from a fantastic realm, each on a quest for the titular Talisman. Wizards, warriors, ghouls, and even trolls are available classes, each with varying alignments and abilities. Some characters have high Strength, enabling success in physical combat, while others specialize in Craft, used in mental encounters. All characters have varying special abilities that benefit them on their search for the Talisman.
Gameplay is very simple; players roll a die on their turn in order to determine where to move. Each space on the board has special instructions. The Woods, as an example, requires you to draw an encounter card. Other spaces allow players to purchase weapons, seek healing, and all manner of other effects. Players will encounter monsters to be fought, gold to be collected, and a dazzling variety of effects ranging from the truly beneficial to the outright disastrous. Talisman can at times be chaotic, but the randomness makes for some truly epic tales when all is said and done.
Talisman Digital Edition is faithful to the most recent tabletop version. You can choose to play against the AI, or against up to three other human players. The real issue, in my opinion, is that much of the appeal of Talisman lies in the tabletop experience. Sizing up your buddies, challenging them in combat, stealing their treasures, and this sort of thing is a great way to spend a couple lazy hours with some potato chips and your favorite beverage. Talisman loses its luster when experienced as a video game. There really aren't enough depth or compelling mechanics to make it worthwhile. Without the social element, Talisman Digital Edition doesn't have much to offer.
While Talisman is a great game, and something that every gamer should experience, I cannot recommend the PC version for a Talisman newbie. Hardcore fans of the game (of which there are many) will find much to like here, but even these will probably prefer playing face to face when possible. Talisman Digital Edition isn't bad, by any means, but it really can't compare to the classic tabletop game it is based on.