Thursday, 18 October 2007

This Glaive Kills "Discerning Gamers"


Yes, it's the Glaive from the film KRULL. Hop over to Gameshark to read about KRULL and a little game called...TALISMAN.

I was hoping we could use the feedback here to discuss the probability ratios and Bayesian statistics that reveal how TALISMAN is in fact, not a strategy game and that there are no meaningful decisions in it. Perhaps we, as "Discerning Gamers", can come up with an explanation why the game has been perennially popular for over 25 years and has outlasted many highly regarded and more sophisticated games. Certainly it's just nostalgia, right?

Fuck that, TALISMAN rocks.

33 comments:

Wllm_boykin@yahoo.com said...

Talisman is my tastemaker game. If you don't like Talisman, or won't admit to having played and enjoyed it, I DON'T WANT TO GAME WITH YOU.

Nothing worse than a pretentious Toad.

Darilian

Michael Barnes said...

That's a good policy Darilian...it's a good barometer of who the fun murdering, anal rententive types are and who's in this to have a good time.

neonpeon said...

I'd game with someone who doesn't like Talisman, just not with someone who considers Talisman players a lower, non-discerning (which I read as "playing any old crap because they're too stupid to know better) form of gamer.

Mike said...

I'm just a few years older than you but I also hold a fondness for Krull that is completely unjustifiable other than this movie marks the time in junior high when I realized I had become a fantasy/sci-fi/comics/video game geek. Do you remember the video game? It was like Robotron with better graphics and was pretty damn hard compared to most games.

Another cheesily-great but forgotten movie that came out at about the same time (a few months earlier I believe) is "The Sword and the Sorcerer". If you like Krull I bet you'd like that too. The hero has a sword that is actually three swords and two of them can shoot out like rockets. I'll take a rocket sword anyday over an overachieving shuriken.

As for Talisman...meh. If you like it, have fun but I'd rather play Runebound.

mtlawson said...

Ha. Tequila and Talisman.

That almost seems like a train wreck waiting to happen. Beer is safer as far as Talisman goes.

I have to admit that Southern Comfort and Axis and Allies don't work, however. I've seen it happen.

--Mike L.

mtlawson said...

Another movie in that era was The Archer, around 1981 at the height of the old D&D craze. I remember that the arrows the bow "The Heartbow" shot blew up.

--Mike L.

Aarontu said...

Hi! Discerning gamer here, looking for an elegant analytical and intellectually challenging strategy game with little or no player conflict or luck factor. My group and I think theme is just marketing and we don't care about it. I've narrowed my selection down to three strategy games. Should I get Caylus, Thurn and Taxis, or Talisman 4th edition??? (Los Mampfos looks good, too, but I need something in English)

andy said...

How do they expect to sell any copies of Talisman when it is not about impressing the king, but becoming the ruler? It doesn't even have a box cover depicting a quaintly dressed man from the middle ages. Or area control! This game will sell in the tens for sure.

Universal Head said...

'Hawk the Slayer'. 80s classic.

I tried to like Talisman again after all these years but let's face it, it's boring. Sorry.

Rliyen said...

I was hoping we could use the feedback here to discuss the probability ratios and Bayesian statistics that reveal how TALISMAN is in fact, not a strategy game and that there are no meaningful decisions in it.


When I read that review, I thought, "What kind of stupid crack were you smoking to get the idea that Talisman was a STRATEGY GAME!?!!?!"

That's like calling Stratego the ultimate in miniature warfare.

No meaningful decisions? Hm, if that's the case, then why do I consistently get to the CoC first nearly every time (and usually die because of the HBV, but that's another story)? It's because I know the score on how to play. Having difficulty getting to the Middle Region because the Sentinel owns your ass? BUILD A RAFT. Don't be afraid of going after weaker players for their stuff or to bring them down a notch. Hedge your bets with followers when in the Inner Region, then use them the way they were supposed to be used: juicebags for the Vampire! Stop eating my candles Gnome, the Count has a whole store of them in his tower.

I agree with Darilian, if you don't like Talisman or if have played Talisman and don't like it, then you're wasting your time at my table, because Euros by and large don't fly at my house.

"Discerning" gamers won't like Talisman, Tom? Fuck you.

Ken B. said...

Alright, here's the thing. I'd play Talisman if it were in front of me. Gladly. Have a good time, too.

But...if you offered me a choice between Talisman and Runebound, I'm going to choose Runebound. And why is that? For the very reasons that most of us hold dear--meatier rules, better components, and better realization of theme.

Yeah...but if Talisman were around to play, that would be fine.

Michael Barnes said...

Oh Ken, you and your doomed love affair with RUNEBOUND...keep rollin' them D20s over and over again, my friend.

As far as strategy in TALISMAN...I think there's actually a lot. It's just not in movement, placement, or resource management. Which is, of course, the only strategy Eurogamers seem to understand. It's all in timing, interaction with both the game and players, risk management, and mitigating loss. I actually think there's a hell of lot more strategy in the game than in any given 10th-generation Euro that boils down to being the player who best exploits the turn sequence or follows the rules most efficiently.

I love dropping the Gnome off at the Vampire's castle...

Michael Barnes said...

Oh, and SWORD AND THE SORCEROR...fucking _classic_...

Ken B. said...

Hey Mike, I'll be in Atlanta in two weeks, but can't stay until Thursday night (be leaving Thursday morning).

What are the chances of gaming action on Wed.?

Ken B. said...

Hey, what's that fantasy movie where the guy is wandering the desert and he comes across some dude who has shriveled his legs and genetalia by sitting in a big vat of goo for years?

Rliyen said...

Hey, what's that fantasy movie where the guy is wandering the desert and he comes across some dude who has shriveled his legs and genetalia by sitting in a big vat of goo for years?

Circle of Iron, where David Carridine does multiple roles... including Death.

Mr Skeletor said...


As far as strategy in TALISMAN...I think there's actually a lot. It's just not in movement, placement, or resource management. Which is, of course, the only strategy Eurogamers seem to understand. It's all in timing, interaction with both the game and players, risk management, and mitigating loss. I actually think there's a hell of lot more strategy in the game than in any given 10th-generation Euro that boils down to being the player who best exploits the turn sequence or follows the rules most efficiently.


What a lot of crap. The biggest strategic decision in Talisman is what kind of beer you want to drink when playing it.

Ken B. said...

Thanks, Rliyen, hadn't seen it in years. Used to be a staple on HBO. I remember digging that as a kid, wonder if it holds up well.

Michael Barnes said...

The biggest strategic decision in Talisman is what kind of beer you want to drink when playing it.

Bullshit. That meaningful decision is already made for you. Whatever is cheapest and in a can.

Michael Barnes said...

CIRCLE OF IRON was actually based on bits of a screenplay that Bruce Lee was writing when he died. It's a nutty movie...not sure if it's good, but it's got some memorable bits. The giant flute and so on...

ubarose said...

Mr Skeletor said...

What a lot of crap. The biggest strategic decision in Talisman is what kind of beer you want to drink when playing it.


Wrong. There are no strategic decisions. All the decisions are tactical. The biggest one is "bowl, bat or bong?" After that, it's all good, even the HBV.


Seriously though, I believe that the root cause of Eurogamers hating Talisman is that they can't get their had around the concept that the winner is the last one standing. Player elimination and preying upon the weak are alien tactics. They have a mind set of "everyone stays in the game, we play multi-player solitaire, at the end we gang up on the leader." If you play that way, Talisman is stupid and endless.

Michael Barnes said...

I love that in the new edition rulebook it features a HUGE box (comprising all of rules case 21) that reads "The winner is the last character left in the game".

Anonymous said...

Winding, wandering sentence, with the peppery "fun-murdering analysis-paralysis chokepoints" chopping in at the end --great writing there!

ubarose said...

Michael Barnes said...

I love that in the new edition rulebook it features a HUGE box (comprising all of rules case 21) that reads "The winner is the last character left in the game".


HA!

So in your review you describe an epic game where you allowed 3 re-spawns. Do you usually play that way? We play that you can only re-spawn by your request and the agreement of all other players. In practice this means, if you get stomped by monsters in the very early part of the game, you can come back in, but once everyone's leveled up a bit, there is no mercy.

I remember one game where we were teaching Talisman to a friend whose mind had been shaped by Euros. I had one life left and had been toaded. The friend landed on my space. I had to argue with him to convince him that he had to kill me. Any other choice was stupid. It became clear to me that anyone who doesn't understand that tactic, isn't going to be able to grasp any of the game's finer points.

Michael Barnes said...

I don't remember how we worked it out exactly, but when you died you got a free piece of equipment and a D6's worth of craft/strength. Otherwise, we would have essentially restarted the game over and over again. It was nasty though, I think half the players didn't bother with the quest at all and concerned themselves mostly with killing the other players.

Which is, of course, a completely viable strategy.

Jackwraith said...

My Talisman 'last man standing' story: I had a copy of 2nd Ed with all the expansions except Dragons which we played for some 20 years. A friend of mine was obsessed with beating me and doing so the 'right way', i.e. getting to the top and beating whatever random ending was present. So, we started a 5-player game and my friend started executing the Master Victory Plan™ by starting as the Troll, killing things until his strength moved up, then trading the Ancient Artifact in at the City to become the High Mage. So, now he was like a S9 High Mage, laying waste to everything. The other 3 people were dead by this time and I was playing the Leprechaun and tossing Hex on the Portal of Power just to delay him while I asked him why he didn't just kill me and be done with it. "No, no, no. I'm going to win the traditional way." So, he clobbers his way to the top, turns over the card and... Horrible. Black. Void. Baby. Game over. Winner: Leprechaun. (We had long since decided that the HBV shouldn't leave you the out of going to the Timescape.)

Loved that game. But then I traded it for Runebound, Descent, Hammer of the Scots, and a few other games. Given all the mileage I've gotten out of the others (and the vastly larger mutability and randomness of adventure in Runebound's card system), I'm happy with it. Some BGGer in the UK is now thrilled to have an almost-complete version of 2nd Ed.

Michael Barnes said...

That's awesome...at least you got some cool stuff out of the trade.

Like I said though...one of the neat things about 4th edition is it's kind of a "reboot" that really shows how good the game is on its own...it's back to basics 2nd edition without all the mayhem the expansions brought. But it _needs_ the mayhem in the long run...that's really what made it such a classic in the first place.

robartin said...

Talisman fuckin rules, but Krull is even better. Except for that shitty "love overpowers everything" ending.

mtlawson said...

"Circle of Iron, where David Carridine does multiple roles... including Death."

Isn't that the movie that had some dude babbling about a holy sword, and there were two groups fighting over the water well in the middle of town? That's a movie where the plot didn't interefere with the gratuitous violence on screen.

--Mike L.

mtlawson said...

Mike--

I used to play with a guy who actually preferred the base game, because he said that it was "mathematically elegant". (No kidding.) He didn't even like the Dungeon, because even a wuss could make it to the end.

Robert--

Love didn't overpower everything; the flame shooting out of the hero's hands after the marriage was "completed" was what overpowered The Beast.

Where've you been?

--Mike L.

Michael Barnes said...

Wow. It took the power of KRULL to lure Rob back online...

Michael Barnes said...

Yes, that flame was the flame of his bachelorhood destroying the giant trash bag.

Willam Boykin said...

Back in college, I had EVERYTHING for 2nd ed. Adventure, Expansion, Dungeon, City, Timescape, Dragons- I had the LOT. It was SOO much, we wanted to see it ALL in any given game.

That (and the fact that some characters are blantantly more powerful/fun to play- Warrior of Chaos anyone!!!) led to our only house rule.

You started with just ONE life. If you wanted more, you had to GAIN them. Not HEAL, but GAIN. Once you had gained a couple, you could then heal up to your new max.

Made the race to the Pool of Life Bloody, Bloody Bloody. *S*

Out other house rule was the second place went to the one who lost the most lives. He was closer to escaping the cycle of pain (Samsara) and achieveing perfection (Nirvana). This what you get when you play Talisman with a bunch of Comparitive Religion Minors.

Darilian