[Beyond PlayStation] Talisman: Digital Edition Review

by EdEN, Owner

Talisman: Digital Edition from Nomad Games is a video game take on the beloved board game. Learn more in our Talisman: Digital Edition review!

As its name states, Talisman: Digital Edition is a digital take on the classic board game. Talisman was originally released way back in 1983. As is usually the case with board games, Talisman has seen a handful of revisions, with the latest version being the fourth edition, which is the version we’re getting on the Nintendo Switch. There have been some extra revisions made to the digital version of Talisman that you can now play on Nintendo’s console, in order to clarify some rules that were a bit unclear, or that might have been conflicted with other rules introduced by the expansions.

Talisman tells the tale of a powerful wizard who lived many moons ago, ruling over the titular land with a mighty crown that was once forged in the might of the Valley of Fire and the power of arcane magic. When the wizard realized his time was almost up, he hid the crown, setting up deadly traps and powerful guards conjured by his magic that would make sure that only a true champion could eventually find a way to claim the crown. It’s been hundreds of years since the wizard passed away, and the monsters have risen into power after decades of a lack of proper leadership. Many adventurers have tried to find the Crown of Command of the legends. No one has managed to be worthy of conquering the challenges, but a new group of adventurers is ready to have one more go at it…

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Talisman: Digital Edition is a multiplayer board game, but you can certainly play it on your own by making other players be controlled by the AI. Each adventurer will have its pros and cons, as well as special powers that will aid them in their journey towards obtaining the Crown of Command, using its mighty powers to subdue all rivals. Even though each adventurer has great power and might on their side, they will need all the items and leveling up they can to boost their stats so that they can stand a chance and survive the many challenges in their path.

Because of this, the main objective in Talisman: Digital Edition is getting to the Crown of Command at the center of the board so that you can use its power to get rid of the other players. You won’t, of course, be able to just race towards the Crown of Command right from the start, which is why you’ll need to first venture through the outer and middle regions in the board so that you can build up your lives, strength, and craft, so that you can then work your way towards the central region of the board.

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The bigger the number of players that take on a game of Talisman: Digital Edition, the longer a full game will take. There’s the option of playing locally, as well as of taking the action online so that you can play with players from around the world. I suggest that before you decide to take on an online session of Talisman: Digital Edition, you first get some much-needed experience under your belt by playing at least a handful of local games of Talisman on your own as you battle against AI-controlled opponents.

Now, let’s talk a bit about the main gameplay mechanics. The first thing you need to keep in mind is strength. Strength represents a character’s stamina, might, and power in battle. Strength will be needed not only to succeed in battle but to overcome some events. The base strength of a character will be boosted by additional strength received from items or from boosts received by said character’s actions. You will need to be careful because there are scenarios under which your character might lose some of its gained strength, but the good news is that the strength value can’t go below the base value for said character.

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Craft is tied to a character’s wisdom, intelligence, and magical proficiency. This is directly tied to spells and their effects when playing. Having a high craft value is certainly important, but depending on your character class, you might be able to survive with a focus on strength values – but not all the time. A balanced build up in your character’s strength and craft stats will allow you to overcome most challenges and is probably the best way to go about getting what is needed for you to advance towards the inner area.

One more parameter that will aid you as you explore Talisman is fate. Fate will dictate how lucky and fortune your character is, and it can be used to alter the potential outcome of some events. Say that you don’t think your character’s movement roll is what you need. You can then decide to spend one fate to be able to roll again for movement. The same can apply to, say, a roll for attack in battle.

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To play the game, you will be drawing many adventure cards during your journey. These sets will include different types of cards, and there will be more cards to draw from, as well as sets of cards for specific regions of the game, depending on what extra expansions you have – more on expansions in a bit. You will be drawing events (with instructions that must be followed), enemies (think something like dragons or other monsters), as well as cards for places, objects, and more. Expansions will also add other types of cards, with their accompanying rules, that will change how you approach things.

And now, let’s talk about lives. As you can probably imagine, lives will determine how durable your character will be during your Talisman: Digital Edition game. You will lose lives depending on the outcome of some events, or how you do in battles – be they physical or psychic. You can add extra lives to your overall stock, and you should definitely try to have as many as possible, because once all of your lives are gone, your character is done for, and you will have to roll a new character to carry on – without all of your items, losing all of your gold and strength and craft boosts – as long as no other player has reached the Crown of Command.

As you complete each match, you will get to earn experience points based on your performance. On top of this, you can get some bonus experience points by completing a series of extra objectives the game throws at you under its Goals category. You could think of Goals as the in-game trophies or achievements for Talisman: Digital Edition on the Nintendo Switch, since they include a varied set of objectives to aim for during each “run” you do – objectives I won’t be spoiling here! Experience points are important because once you manage to level up, you’ll get to obtain a Runestone, a special card that you can add to your character to boost its stats. The more you level up, the better the Runestone you can get!

On top of the main board game, Talisman: Digital Edition for the Nintendo Switch also includes three expansions at no extra cost: the City, The Sacred Pool, and The Frostmarch. Thanks to each of these expansions, Talisman has received more adventure cards, more spells, more characters, and more of everything. You’ll even get a new location thanks to the City expansion, which adds a corner board to the experience, as well as extra alternate endings along with all the other content it brings to the table.

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And if you want to add more on top of this, you’ll be happy to learn that all other expansions for the Talisman boardgame can be purchased for the Nintendo Switch version of Talisman: Digital Edition! This includes The Dungeon, The Harbinger, The Cataclysm, The Deep Realms, and The Nether Realm expansions, as well as The Highland, The Blood Moon, The Dragon, The Woodland, The Firelands, and The Reaper expansions, alongside digital-only expansions such as Realm of Souls, Ancient Beasts, and Clockwork Kingdom. There’s a lot of DLC for Talisman: Digital Edition, and you can select which bundles to purchase, as well as which ones you want to enable to disable so that you can tailor your experience.

You can also configure the game to activate what is best described as House Rules – the term the game uses as well – which changes things such as how endings will play out if there are any attack restrictions, if there are no respawns, if players can select characters or the will be assigned at random, if quests can be replaced if when playing online against other opponents there’s a time limit before the AI takes over, what the window of opportunity is on casting spells, and more. It’s a robust set of options that will make sure that you can play Talisman: Digital Edition exactly like you want to!

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I had a lot of fun playing the game for this Talisman: Digital Edition review, since it manages to bring the Talisman board game to the Nintendo Switch for a very enjoyable experience to play at home or on the go. The game is available for $19.99, and it includes the base board game along with three expansions right from the start, which will provide you with dozens of hours of fun. And if you want to extend that, you can always get the other digital expansions to bring in more adventure cards and even new corner areas for the board game, and there’s even the option of purchasing additional characters to spice things up.

This Talisman: Digital Edition review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Nomad Games.

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