2 April 2017


Like several of you, I expect, I spent more hours than I care to count playing Talisman as a child. Rainy Bank Holiday Mondays (of which there seemed to be a never-ending supply in the Peak District) would be greeted with a chorus of "Talisman!" by yours truly and his slew of younger siblings, followed quickly by "Bagsy the [insert favourite character here]". After the inevitable tussle, parental involvement, and grudging apology, we'd get the game out and the next several hours (interrupted only for food) would be passed to the soundtrack of Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell and maybe a smidge of Iron Maiden if we were feeling edgy. All copied from cassettes borrowed from the library, of course.

One of the unexpected things about Dad's funeral was reminiscing about this with the mother of two kids who'd joined us on some of these adventurous indoor-play-days, so it felt right to raid the loft and set my two Rablings on their first quest for the Crown of Command.

"What's in the box, Daddy?"


"There are lots of boxes; are they all one game?"

Phew, the main game was there, too.

Unfortunately, some of the elastic bands around the cards had perished, causing some damage. I went through the expansions and quickly removed all the rest, just in case.

What was really odd was that everything was there (not mint, but present), and mostly separated out carefully into the appropriate expansion box, but all the Gold, Strength, Life and Craft tokens (the little cardboard squares) as well as the standee bases, were missing. I can't remember taking them, but we did go through a phase of writing our own game so perhaps they got borrowed for one of them and then never returned.

A quick run through of the rules. Basically, get to the middle and you win. You need a Talisman. Big numbers are better for your character. No quitting if someone takes the lead.

And then we were off!

I kept track of characteristics on scrap paper - they're used to this from the little rpg-ing we've done.

Fortunately, despite an early lead, I fell at the final hurdle...

... allowing Rabling #1 to sneak victory with his younger brother making it to the Valley of Fire (one square away, for those who've missed this important game in their life) before succumbing to the power of the Crown of Command.

A really close game that I came last in? They loved it!


  1. Just played it today with my son. He thrashed me good, I died twice and he got the belt of Hercules. Funny thing happened in the game, we both got turned into toads one turn apart. He then landed on me and we had a toad battle! Never done that before :D

    Still a great game IMHO

    1. A toad battle? Fantastic! I don't think we ever had one of those.

  2. Here's a good character sheet:


    1. I'd not seen that before. Thanks - I like that a lot!

  3. Well played sir! Glad the game went well. :)

  4. Rab, what a great work of archaeology! So glad you were able to dig up with treasure and found it complete. And that the rablings enjoyed it.
    That original edition of the game is a true work of art. The wealth of beautiful illustration is overwhelming.

    1. Thanks, Matthew. You're right, the quality of card and board art, as well as that liberally applied to the box and even the rules pamphlets is wonderful to re-encounter.

      After today's adventures in parenting, I think I shall be renaming them the Rabble, however!