The great thing about Talisman is that it's fairly easy to adapt with house rules to make it both more strategic and faster to play. This works especially well with my younger boys (5, 7, 9), who all love the game. As much fun as we've had playing it, we rarely play through all the way to the crown of command. Instead, we often end up deciding on some other goal, and now we've come up with a system that we think we'll use as our standard house rules for a relatively short game, that is still a lot of fun. It will quench your Talisman thirst while avoiding the grind.
- Talisman 4th Edition, Revised
- Reaper Expansion -- this is a must for any Talisman owner. The Reaper is cool, but the extra adventure cards and the Warlock quest cards are essential.
- As usual, a player may choose to spend a fate token to re-roll a move roll. However, we've augmented this to allow the player to optionally choose to move one space instead of re-rolling (still at the cost of a fate token). This helps to avoid having to bounce back and forth while you try to land on that one key spot. As long as you land within one space of your destination, you can be certain that at the very least, you'll get there on your next turn. This also makes fate tokens somewhat more valuable, and thus changes how quickly you might choose to spend them.
- Each player starts the game with one Warlock quest card. To fulfill his quest, he must still report to the Warlock (middle region), at which point he gains a Talisman and another quest card.
- There are four talisman cards available to be earned this way. However, there are other ways these Talismans can be acquired, thus exhausting the pool faster.
- A player who doesn't like his quest, or finds it too difficult, can head to the city to discard it to the bottom of the quest pile and draw a new random quest (like a town job board).
- There are also 3 Talisman cards in the adventure deck (total of 7 Talisman cards), which makes it that much more interesting.
- The game ends when the four specific Talisman cards are exhausted, regardless of whether or not any or all of the adventure deck talisman cards have been found.
- The player with the most Talisman cards wins. In the event of a tie, you can either just call it a draw, or continue to sudden death until someone either steals or wins a Talisman from another person, or draws a Talisman from the adventure deck.
We also found that the outer and middle regions are used much more, as we often found ourselves travelling back and forth between them, even at lower levels. This doesn't happen as much in a regular Talisman game, as you typically don't seek the middle region until you intend to head for the Portal of Power.