I have owned a copy of the classic board game Talisman for some time. First published in 1983, it is an epic fantasy “swords & sorcery” game, only really suitable for fans of the genre – especially as it can take many hours to play. Although it is very much a board game, it is designed to at least partly mimic a traditional “paper, pencils & dice” (i.e. largely imagination-fueled) fantasy role-playing game. Consequently, it plays out in much the same way. Places are encountered, non-player characters appear and then vanish, monsters are battled, gold and items are accumulated, etc.
The game includes a board, dice, cards, tokens, and a set of miniature figurines to represent the “characters” which are the players’ avatars on the board. Naturally, I couldn’t resist painting the 25/28 mm plastic figurines!
Some so-called “strangers” can turn up and take up a permanent residence on the board, and also certain new places can be discovered which remain in on the board for the rest of the game. In the base game, there are 6 such permanent places, and 4 permanent strangers. I thought it it might be interesting to have figurines to represent these things, adding a little more 3-dimensional visual enjoyment to the game.
I scoured the net for suitable 25/28 mm figurines, based upon the artwork of the relevant game cards. I came up with a super package which is available from Mirliton S.G. based in Firenze – they sell their “Wizards And Priests” set ME020 at €9.19. In that set you get five miniatures, of which, I found that 3 would fit very nicely with my requirements for the game. Mirliton also offer a “Witch” miniature (ME036) at €3.36 to round out the set of 4 figures needed. All four figures from one supplier, and at great value!
Here are 4 sets of the card art and the resulting painted miniature:
To further complement the new miniatures, I also decided to scratch-build six “places” to represent those locations that are discovered and stay permanently on the board. These were mostly created on a 40 mm wide base (made by cutting a section from a spare vinyl floor tile – I find this works very well). The rest is just balsa wood, small stones, spare plastic bits, modelling clay, glue, flock and paint.
Here are the six permanent places. The only one I struggled with was the Market. Since the market mostly sells weapons and armour, I guess my compromise is easily recognizable, and serves its purpose on the game board!
Last but not least, a further simple upgrade makes the game much easier to physically handle – for me! My hands just don’t have the fine motor ability that they had in younger days – I struggle these days to paint 1-inch tall figures, but more importantly, I just cannot use the plastic cone-shaped counters that come with the game – they seem to slide out of my fingers when I try to pick them up!
I replaced them with these lovely wooden cubes available from spielmaterial.de :
I found that the smaller 10 mm cubes and the larger 16 mm cubes make a great substitute for the small and large cones. They come in many colours, so getting red, blue and green ones for the game was easy.
And here it is – my DIY upgraded “deluxe” version Talisman game …