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Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) Enhanced Rules and Gameplay

Updated on November 23, 2014

The Full Glory of Talisman!

This is my typical setup. I have included information on all accessories pictured with the game here.
This is my typical setup. I have included information on all accessories pictured with the game here. | Source

Quick Overview Of My Favorite Alternate House Rules

Hello fellow gamers! I have been playing Talisman since the mid 90's, and it remains my #1 favorite board game to date. I have invested a lot of time and little money into making Talisman an experience that is great fun for the hardcore and the casual alike.

The alternative rules and products I have listed below work with any combination of expansions, including gameplay with the original game sans-expansions. This article is written assuming that you have played Talisman before, and are familiar with the core set of rules.

Each rule and gaming accessory/expansion has been tested repeatedly by myself, fellow gamers, and non-gamer friends. Before I put these rules into play, we would spend over 10 hours playing a single game with only 4 people. I have reduced the average game time to 2 hours while simultaneously increasing fun factor by a large margin using everything in this article.

Without further delay, I present to you my list of alternative rules and enhanced gameplay tips!

Heavy Armor

Let me ask a simple question: Would you throw your weapons and armor in a backpack while adventuring around a world riddled with baddies, or would you wear it?!

A player can "Equip" 1 Body (Armor), 1 Helmet (Armor), and a variety of arms such as 2 1-Handed Weapons, a single 2-Handed Weapon, or a 1-Handed Weapon with a Shield (Armor). (If you have the City Expansion, you have access to bows which can be "Equipped" without taking up a spot for other weapons, like a sidearm slung onto your back). Items declared as "Equipped" do not take up inventory space, but still apply to the rest of the game's normal rules such as being lost during events, taken by players who defeat you in combat, etc. In addition, the more armor you have "Equipped," the more effective it is:

  • Upon needing to make an armor roll, you declare which piece of armor to use, then add +1 to your dice roll for every additional piece of armor you have "Equipped." For example, you have Full Plate armor equipped which saves your life on a roll of 4, 5, or 6, and you have a shield and a helmet equipped. You would then make your dice roll using your Full Plate armor and add +2 to the result, essentially meaning a 2, 3, 4, 5, or a 6 would prevent your loss of life.
  • Normal armor works only for "Battles," meaning "Strength" based combat. Armor that defends against "Psychic Combat" can only be used with other armor that also defends against the effects of "Psychic Combat." For example, the Mirror Shield will defend against the loss of a "Psychic Combat" on a dice roll of 5 or 6. Having a normal helmet or body armor equipped will not add to its dice roll.
  • Weapons and Armor that are currently "Equipped" can be swapped out at any time as needed. For example, if you lose a "Psychic Combat" and want to use your Mirror Shield in an attempt to save your life, but you have a normal shield equipped, since you have not yet used your normal shield, you instead use your Mirror Shield as normal.

Improved Inventory

Along with being able to "Equip" weapons and armor to save inventory space, other items that are considered small do not take up inventory space either, to include jewelry and small gems. Cards that are identified as "Trinkets" already follow this rule, such as "Wanted Posters." Talismans are considered large and quite heavy, therefore they take up 1 inventory slot.

  • Please use common sense and good judgement when deciding whether an object is considered "Small".
  • With the Improved Inventory and Heavy Armor alternative rules, the next rule, "Leveling System" and "Experience Points" (XP) calls for a different approach to "Trophies," which now take up inventory space, but for good reason, I promise!

Experience Point Tokens

Acrylic Crystal Diamond Confetti Table Scatter 3/4" 1 lb. Bag Red
Acrylic Crystal Diamond Confetti Table Scatter 3/4" 1 lb. Bag Red

These gems are perfect counters for XP. They are of a slightly larger size making them easy to keep track of, and add a really neat aesthetic element to the game table. It comes in a bag of 240, so you only need to order 1. There are many different colors you can chose from too, so pick your favorite!

 

Experience Point Holding Bag

5"X8" Black Velvet Dice Bag with Red Satin Lining
5"X8" Black Velvet Dice Bag with Red Satin Lining

This bag is what I chose to store my XP counters. This too comes in a large variety of colors, and can hold the entire bag of XP tokens.

 

Leveling System and Experience Points (XP)

This rule replaces how "Trophies" are handled after defeating a non-player enemy in battle. Normally when an enemy is defeated you take it as a trophy. When you get a certain number of Strength or Craft worth of trophies, you can turn redeem them for 1 extra stat point of the respective trophy types (Strength/Craft). This rule makes redeeming trophy points different in that no numbers are wasted when redeeming them for an extra stat point.

For Example: If you have 2 trophies that together equal 12 Strength, you can turn them in for an extra Strength/Craft, but waste 2 trophy points due to the cost of a stat being only 10 points.

  • The Leveling System replaces taking trophies with earning experience points (XP) equal to the Strength or Craft of the enemies you defeat. XP can be redeemed in any way you choose from the chart below.
  • Non-adventure card enemies grant XP, such as the Farmer at the tavern. If you get tipsy and fight the Strength 3 Farmer and win, you are granted 3 XP. This works for bosses in the expansions, but NOT the Sentinel. He is just practice.
  • If a player loses a fight, he/she still learns from the fight, and is granted half of the normal XP rounded down. A loss against a Strength 1 enemy would yield no XP, mostly because naked baby birds should never beat a road-hardened adventurer...seriously guys. Happened to me twice!!
  • You can still take trophies to redeem for "Wanted Poster" rewards from The City expansion, but these trophies now take up 1 inventory slot, and if not taken right away are discarded and lost.
  • Stats cannot be leveled up higher than what is indicated in the "Experience Quick Reference" table below.
  • If you receive an additional Strength or Craft when it has been fully leveled up, you instead receive 5 XP.
  • Items/Spells/Events/Followers still affect your stats as normal.
  • In the Experience Quick Reference table, an assumed Craft is double the base Craft indicated on the Character Card, ignoring you current Craft in respect for leveling Maximum Spell Limit. This takes effect immediately after leveling up your Maximum Spell Limit. You can reference the Maximum Spell Limit By Level table below for clarification.

Leveling Up is done at the end of your turn before the next player takes their turn by redeeming any number of XP in exchange for stat increases of your choosing. The table below lists the XP cost for leveling up your stats.

Quick Level-Up Reference Guide

Level-Up
XP Cost
Maximum Level
Example
Strength or Craft
Current Strength or Craft + 2
Double the base Strength or Craft indicated on the Character Card
You have a Strength of 4. It would cost 6 XP to increase your Strength to 5.
Fate
Current Max Fate + 5
Base Fate indicated on the Character Card + 2
You currently have a maximum of 3 Fate. It would cost 8 XP to increase your maximum Fate to 4.
Life
Current Max Life + 10
Base Lives indicated on the Character Card + 2
You current have a maximum of 4 lives. It would cost 14 XP to increase your maximum lives to 5.
Spell Limit
Current Max Spell Limit x 6
Maximum Spell Limit based on the number of spells allowed by your assumed maximum Craft + 2
Your assumed Craft is 6. It would cost you 18 XP to increase your current spell limit by 1, regardless of current Craft. It would cost 24 XP to level it a second time, regardless of current Spell Limits based on your Craft.

Maximum Spell Limit By Level

# Of Times Max. Spell Limit Has Been Leveled
0 Craft
1-2 Craft
3 Craft
4-5 Craft
6+ Craft
0
0 Spells
0 Spells
1 Spell
2 Spells
3 Spells
1
0 Spells
1 Spell
2 Spells
3 Spells
4 Spells
2
0 Spells
2 Spells
3 Spells
4 Spells
5 Spells

Additional Uses For XP?

Should I include rules for exchanging surplus XP for Fate and Life rejuvenation? Example: Spend X amount of XP to restore 1 Fate/Life.

See results

Tumultuous Times

On spaces that tells you to Draw A Card(s), whether or not there are cards on the space, you still draw a card(s).

For example: You land in the Ruins, which tells you to Draw 2 Adventure Cards. Even if there are already 2 cards on the space, you still would draw the 2 cards.

  • If there are cards on the space already, you would first draw new cards, then interact with the cards you just drew in addition to the cards already on the space in the order of their card numbers as directed by the normal game rules.
  • If you land on a space with another player's character in it, you first draw cards, interact with these cards in addition to other cards already in the space, and have the final option of interacting with the other player's character as normal.
  • If your character has any special abilities, such as the Leprechaun's ability to receive gold when he lands in a Forest, you can use them in conjunction with drawing cards, interacting with the space, and encountering other players.

Natural Selection

If a character is killed by non-player means, all gold, followers, objects, and trophies are left on the space where the character was killed. The player is then reincarnated their next turn as a random character (unless noted otherwise, such as death by "Command Spell"). If a player is killed by another character (or the any of the "Ending" cards, such as the "Command Spell," or the "Crown of Doom"), they are out of the game. Play nicely, and be wary of thine "friends".

Adventurer's Nature

Each turn before a player rolls for movement, he/she may instead opt to move a single space.

  • Opting to move a single space replaces rolling the dice for movement in all aspect of movement rules.
  • This does not count as rolling a 1 for movement for Character Abilities, but does count for moving the Reaper and the Werewolf. However, the next player gets to move the Reaper and the Werewolf at the beginning of their turn before they begin their movement phase.
  • This rule may only be invoked when a player is allowed to make a movement roll like normal.

Opportunits

If a character lands on another character, they made freely trade gold, items (including trophies since they count as items now), and followers.

Messengers

If a player wants to give gold, items, or followers to another character that is not on the same space, the gold/item/follower can be sent via messenger.

  • Messengers take time to make deliveries. When someone "sends" something to another player using this method, the item is considered out of the game until the delivery is made.
  • Deliveries arrive at the destination player at the end of the sending player's next turn.

Card Feeder In Action

Here is an example of how I have the card feeders set up.
Here is an example of how I have the card feeders set up. | Source

Perfect Card Feeders

Blue Board Game Card Feeder / Tray. (5902596936204)
Blue Board Game Card Feeder / Tray. (5902596936204)

These card feeders fit sleeved and non-sleeved Talisman cards wonderfully. They switched from plastic to wood for these, so please be aware. I bought 4 of them which is enough for nearly all the stacks of cards for the expansions, except the Dragon Expansion (I only use that one when I am not using any of the other expansions). If you want to play with the Dragon Expansion too, get a 5th one.

 

All The Dice

Source

Additional Dice

Chessex Dice d6 Sets: Scarab Scarlet with Gold - 16mm Six Sided Die (12) Block of Dice
Chessex Dice d6 Sets: Scarab Scarlet with Gold - 16mm Six Sided Die (12) Block of Dice

These dice are the same size as the dice that comes with the original Talisman game, and come in a massive array of colors. Extra dice helps when there are 3 or more players, making it so people aren't trading dice constantly.

 

The Perfect 43 x 65 mm Card Sleeves For Talisman

Premium Card Game Sleeves, Red
Premium Card Game Sleeves, Red

I bought 35 packs of these, and ended up using about 25 packs so far. I recommend getting 30 packs if you intend on buying all of the expansions for Talisman. Each pack includes 50 card sleeves. A table with the total card count for Talisman and its expansions is included below so that you know how many packs you should buy.

 

Talisman Card Count

Game/Expansion
Number of Cards
Number of 50 Count Card Sleeve Packs Required
Original Game
164
4
The Highlands Expansion
168
4
The Dungeon Expansion
168
4
The City Expansion
168
4
The Dragon Expansion
168
4
The Blood Moon Expansion
128
3
The Frostmarch Expansion
128
3
The Sacred Pool Expansion
128
3
The Reaper Expansion
128
3
All Expansions + Original
1348
27

The Best Character Card Sleeves In The World

Character Cards and their sleeves.
Character Cards and their sleeves. | Source

102 x 127 mm Character Card Sleeves

The only character card sleeves that I have been able to find in the world come from Thailand. I bought my sleeves from these guys and am very satisfied. They speak English, they are reliable, trustworthy, very inexpensive, and are fast to deliver.

All you have to do is send an e-mail to the following address with what you would like to purchase (character card sleeves for Talisman 4th Edition), and how many packs you would like, and they will respond with an e-mail on how to conduct the transaction (PayPal only):
boardgame@windowslive.com

For 3 packs I spent $11.85 including shipping.

Character Card Count

Game/Expansion
Number of Character Card Sized Cards
Number of 50 Count Card Sleeve Packs Required
Original Game
18
1
The Highlands Expansion
9
1
The Dungeon Expansion
5
1
The City Expansion
9
1
The Dragon Expansion
12
1
The Blood Moon Expansion
7
1
The Frostmarch Expansion
7
1
The Sacred Pool Expansion
7
1
The Reaper Expansion
5
1
All Expansions + Original
79
2

Game Cloth

LinenTablecloth 60 x 102-Inch Rectangular Polyester Tablecloth Black
LinenTablecloth 60 x 102-Inch Rectangular Polyester Tablecloth Black

One of these will cover the entire top of both tables. It is the same cloth in the picture at the top of this article.

 

Game Tables

Flash Furniture 30''W x 72''L Granite White Plastic Folding Table
Flash Furniture 30''W x 72''L Granite White Plastic Folding Table

Two of these tables, or tables of similar size are perfect for fitting the entire game with a little room to spare.

 

Thank you, everyone!

I really hope you have found this article useful! If you have any questions, or any suggestions for me please leave a comment and I will respond. I will ensure this list is up-to-date with any changes that occur with anything related to Talisman, and the contents of this article. Below you can find links to where you can purchase any of the available Talisman game series.

Talisman: Reaper Expansion
Talisman: Reaper Expansion

Please note, the image on Amazon for this expansion is wrong. Should have a grim reaper style character on it.

 

Best Talisman Expansion?

Which Talisman expansion is your favorite?

See results

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    • profile image

      Cássio Lampert 3 years ago

      Your welcome friend :)

    • JRAnthony profile image
      Author

      Justin R. Anthony 3 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      That is actually a really cool idea. Next time I play, I will give your rule a try to then include it in the guide.

      Thank you Cássio!

    • profile image

      Cássio Lampert 3 years ago

      Nice rules, hehe i made a lil improvement in the game.. im from Brazil and all expensions become really expensive here.. Reaper: 40/50 dolar! So i'v gain from my friend an miniature of another assassin and i will put him in the game like the reaper but it will work like this.

      You can hire the assassin in the city.. You can spend 1 gold the give him a target.. the target will lose 1 health in the next turn if he don't double the pay. If the target is in the middle region it will land on the target in 2 rounds.. The assassin can't enter the inner region.

      Or i can make him like the reaper :).

    • profile image

      Doma 3 years ago

      yes I have.

    • JRAnthony profile image
      Author

      Justin R. Anthony 3 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I based my decision on their comment in the card sleeve description in the link you provided me:

      "The following games are closer to 43 x 65 mm, right in between our USA Mini and Euro Mini sizes and do not work with the Mini USA size:

      - Arkham Horror and expansions

      - Battlestar Galactica and expansions

      - Chaos In The Old World

      - Middle Earth Quest

      - Talisman and expansions

      - And others"

      Having bought their recommended 43 x 65 mm size, I found they fit perfectly. Have you tried the smaller size yourself?

    • profile image

      Doma 3 years ago

      That is not "the perfect" Talisman sleeve there is a better "tighter" fit 41 x 63 http://maydaygames.com/card-sleeves-41-63-mm-100-p...