Talisman – Kingdom Hearts

More then two years ago, this is where it all started for us. Our first board game was Talisman. So having not one but two other Talismans now laying in front of us, is bringing back happy memories. This review will be about Talisman Kingdom hearts, but we also have Talisman Harry Potter waiting for us that will follow in a next review. Since we bought all of the expansions for Talisman, we are very curious to see how they have put together these two games. Will they feel very different, or will they only have a different theme and have basically the same rules? I myself have not had the chance to play Kingdom Hearts unfortunately, but my heart warms up to see I can play as Mickey or Goofy for example. Tomasz says the game board also brings your right back to the video game with all familiar places on it. Let’s see what friends we will make and what enemies we will encounter.

How to play.

Place the board in the middle of the table to begin the setup and shuffle the blue adventure cards to form a deck. Place the adventure tokens near the adventure deck and shuffle the spell cards. Separate the key cards and purchase cards by type and place them face up on the table in reach of all players. All players take one character at random, or if all players agree choose their character. Then take the matching character figure, the fate tokens as said on your player board and take one set of statistic dials. Set the dials to the starting statistics matching your character on your character board and place the dials above your character card. Each player also receives one munny. Then place your character on it’s starting place as indicated on your character card. Some characters start with additional items such as extra spells or objects. Take those extra items during set up.

On the start of your turn, you always move. Roll a die and move that many spaces left or right in the region you are in. You always start in the outer region and can move to the middle region in a couple of ways. After choosing if you go left or right, you can’t decide midway to change direction. If you have rolled three, you can either move three spaces to the left, or to the right. You can always choose what space you move to after rolling. If you move from the outer region to the middle region, you can change direction in the other region. Meaning if you moved left towards the entry of the middle region, you can continue your movement to the right if you wish once you are in the middle region. The most common way to get to the middle region is to face the battle of a thousand heartless. If your character is strong enough, you can go to this tile to face the enemy and move to another region. If you simply move past it or on it without moving to the middle, they don’t attack. The other ways to get to the middle is most often described by adventure cards you will pick up.

Once you moved, you have to encounter the space you are standing on. This usually means taking adventure cards and seeing if you have a friendly encounter or if you have to face enemies. For every card icon on the space you stand on, grab an adventure card and substract any cards that are already on the space. Cards in the outer regions are placed near the space, cards from the middle region receive a matching adventure icon on the space and the card, this helps you track what cards belong to which spaces. Some spaces might have additional instructions written on the tiles, always follow any extra instructions. Then resolve each adventure card drawn staring with the lowest encounter number (found in the bottom left corner). The lowest numbers are always found on events or enemies. So if you are unlucky to have drawn an enemy, you are likely to fight them first before getting any friendly encounters. You can choose to evade an enemy before fighting. If you have an item or spell that allows you to evade then enemy, you may do so now, otherwise you will fight.

To fight an enemy, see if you have any items ,spells or followers that give you a passive bonus, or that you choose to use extra for your fight. Then roll a die for your character. An opponent will roll a die for the enemy. Once all dices are rolled, compare your scores. If the enemy battles with strength, add your die roll to your strength, your enemy will do the same. If the enemy uses magic to fight, do the same but for magic. If your score is higher then your enemies score, you win and may claim him as a trophy. If your score is lower, you lose one health and the enemy will stay on that space. If you have an equal result, there is no effect but the enemy will remain in it’s place until defeated. The fighting player may always use one fate token to reroll his or her die, but the second result must be accepted. If a character lands on a space with another character and an enemy that was not yet defeated, they may work together to defeat the enemy. The active player may add up to three strength or magic to his attack and the assisting player receives one munny if the enemy is defeated. If not, the assisting player will also receive one damage.

When you defeat enemies, you may collect them as trophies. You may exchange these trophies for extra strength or magic point for your character. For every five strength or magic you collect and choose to exchange, you receive one point of strength or magic to your character. During the game you might come across useful items and even followers. You can carry not more then four objects (unless you have a card that says otherwise), but you can have an unlimited amount of followers. When you acquire spells, check the rulebook to see how many spells you may have according to your magic. If you have two magic, you may have zero spells for example, but with four magic you can have two spells at the same time. Spells cannot be discarded, the only way to get rid of them is to use them. The goal of the game is to have the most victory points. One way to get many victory points is to travel to the inner region and close the door to darkness. This will also end the game. Once you get to the inner cirlce, you don’t roll a dice anymore. Instead you move one space at a time, encountering each space one by one. Once you get to the door to darkness, you can only enter if you have a keyblade, this can be obtained by comleting a quest from the keyblade graveyard space. on the outer region. This could be as simple as discarding one munny to discarding a follower for example. Once the first player reaches the door to darkness, they may throw a dice and gain that many victory points. Then all players see how many victory points they receive based on their location in the game, the amount of followers, spells, munny and your final statistics. The player with the most victory points, wins the game.

Playtrough of the game.

I’m not that familiar with the anime world, but I chose a fierce looking female character for my pick. Tomasz decided he was going to be King Mickey, which meant I could finally make fun of his hight for a change. Playing the game brought back many memories and felt like coming home right away. We started in the outer region and just tried to prepare our character best we could. After rolling the dice, there is always the choice. Do you go left, or right? Since there is no combat with other characters in this Talisman, we were not really hindered by other players and could really move around. After a couple of rounds, I decided I was going to try my luck at the battle of a thousand hearts to travel to the middle region. Tomasz was getting items, followers and gaining statistics quick, so I had to play a good strategy. I figured if I would be the first to finish the game while standing in the middle, it doesn’t matter if I have less items, munny, or even statistics. The victory point boost you get for closing the gap would be enough. I made it to the middle region, quickly completed a quest to receive a keyblade, and moved my way to the inner circle. This all happened so fast and smooth. Maybe a little to smooth. Because when I entered the inner circle, my luck had vanished. The inner circle being the most challenging circle, you had to depend either on a lot of luck, or a good build character. Since I had rushed to get here, I had mostly my (bad) luck to depend on. I rolled and rolled, being stuck on the same tiles while Tomasz was happy gathering more items, statistics and munny. Just when I was considering turning back, I rolled what I needed and could move further along. Once I reached the middle, Tomasz had gathered so many things that gave him victory points, he still won the game. I guess Mickey stays king for now. At least I defeated the heartless.

Even though the game feels very familiar and has common rules with the original Talisman. This Talisman is also very different. I think the biggest difference in rules is that there is no combat between characters. The other obvious differences are the characters, different locations on the board, different events, followers, items, etc. But the game also feels lighter. There is a fast mode where you start the game with one more strength, magic and health. This way you begin the game stronger and you will kill enemies faster and progress faster. What we also don’t see in the original Talisman was different ways of winning. In the original Talisman, the one who defeats the enemy in the middle first, wins the game. Here, the middle is no challenge at all, you just have to reach it. Yes the inner circle is more challenging, but once you reach the middle, you close the gap no matter your roll, defeating the heartless. Since you win in Talisman Kingdom hearts with the amount of victory points, this can give other players the opportunity to focus on gathering items, followers, munny and statistics rather then travelling to the middle of the board. Overall they had used the same feeling for the game, just more friendly and less punishing. Which makes it nicer to play with kids or unexperienced board gamers.

Final Thoughts.

Talisman Kingdom Hearts is a dice rolling fantasy themed adventure game where you have to gain the most victory points in order to win. If you have played the video game, you will see many recognizable characters, locations, items and followers you can collect. But we also managed to see a lot of the original Talisman coming back. Despite some rules that can be confusing, we like the game a lot and it has a more friendly vibe then Talisman itself. With no fighting and no endgame, the game is also a lot quicker which makes it perfect for an afternoon game with up to five friends.

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