Painting – An “old” set of Adventurers

“Ten” Adventurers:

These miniatures are some of the first I ever purchased, all metal. The bulk of them can be easily dated to 1985 and most of them would have been painted in the following five years. Being done so long ago and not varnished, they have all required substantial repainting to bring them up to my current standard of figures. Most I have kept very close to the original colour scheme. The assassin still has a broken dagger that I’ll do some repair work with – I’m sure I can find a blade in my “bits” that can be reworked.

Ten Adventurers

  • Citadel “Talisman” (1985)
  • 1: Druid
  • 2: Assassin
  • Citadel “Lord of the Rings” (1985)
  • 3: ME-1 Aragorn (Fellowship Heroes pack 1)
  • 4: ME-1 Gandalf (Fellowship Heroes pack 1)
  • 5: ME-2 Legolas (Fellowship Heroes pack 2)
  • 6: ME-62 Saruman the White
  • Prince August “Fantasy Armies – Characters
  • 7: CH4 Hooded Thief/Assassin
  • 8: CH9 Armoured Cleric
  • 9: CH12 Druid
  • 10: CH26B Elf Girl

Citadel “Talisman figures” – Druid and Assassin

Druid and Assassin – rear view

My Lord of the Ring’s figures were never intended (or expected) to be used as LotR characters – so painting schemes went with whatever I felt like at the time. Aragorn and particularly Legolas (more than the other two), have seen regular use in my D&D games.

Aragorn and Legolas

Rear View

My “Saruman” is simply intended as a general wizard and the contrast between the black and yellow appealed to me. I did paint my “Gandalf” figure just as he is first described in The Hobbit (p15) – “He had a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak … and immense black boots.” I wanted more variety than different shades of grey – so his robe is white, but “dirty” or travel worn. I continued the blue onto belt and under-tunic. I suppose I’ve got a transition between Gandalf the “Grey” and the “White”. I love the pipe tucked into the hat. Army Painter dark tone really picked out the beard/hair detail.

Gandalf (the Grey) and Saruman (the "White")

Gandalf (the Grey) and Saruman (the “White”)

The Wizards

I really like the sculpts for the Prince August figures. They have good poses and plenty of detail. They are well moulded too – almost no visible mould lines, and I don’t remember ever cleaning off flash or over-cast. They all came as a one-piece metal figure on an oval base, but have now been glued to 25mm rounds.

Thief in studded leather and Cleric in full plate mail.

Rear view

The “Elf Girl” came in a pack of 3 Poses – sleeping, standing, fighting. I had originally painted these as “Silvara” – the Silver Dragon/Kargonesti Elf from the Dragonlance Saga (insert from “Dragons of Mystery”, Larry Elmore) because the figure matched the images I’ve got in “The Art of the Dragonlance Saga”. (Although I did the fighting pose in blue, not red.) I gave the standing figure to a friend, and kept the others. I’ve repainted the hair this time, and the blue clothing to purple. Of the two figures I have, only the sleeping figure shows a pointed ear – otherwise there is nothing that distinguishes the figure as elven.

Druid and Silvara

Druid and Silvara

I find great interest in this figure because I’m not aware that Prince August had a license for Dragonlance at any time. Ral Partha produced a large Dragonlance range for TSR, and it looks like TSR produced some themselves. I have two A4 colour reprints of Larry Elmores paintings (Art of the DL) as well as sketches. The only feature my figure shows that isn’t in the artwork are the dagger and sword!

Talisman – My love/hate relationship with a board game!

Games Workshop released a fantasy board game called Talisman in 1983, for 2-6 players. I have an early second edition of the game from 1985. While I generally prefer games that rely more on skill than chance, this was one game that I’ve always really enjoyed, but often cursed the roll of the dice or a card draw. (The hate part of things relates to how long the game can go on for.)

 

Talisman 2nd edition (1985)

Talisman 2nd edition (1985)

 

Last weekend I received a copy of the digital version of the game. (Released on Steam in February) I haven’t done any painting this week, but I have spent three nights losing against AI opponents. This version (by Nomad Games) appears to have the same “board” as the 2nd edition, but I believe it’s based on Fantasy Flight Games (Talisman licence since 2008) “Revised 4th edition“, since the character and card images are the same. (Also, the expansions match.)

 

For those that haven’t played the game (or don’t remember much) here’s a summary:

The board layout is three circular regions – Outer, Middle and Inner. Each player selects a character (randomly) that has different starting stats and special abilities. Strength is used for physical combat, Craft for psychic combat. Players have a number of lives, and a bag of gold. In your turn, you roll a dice (d6) and move that many spaces (locations) around the board. Each location represents a place (such as) – plain, forest, wood, shrine, chapel, graveyard, tavern, village, city. Most locations require the drawing of an Adventure card, others have a dice roll to see what happens. The cards may be an enemy or monster to fight, an object that can be kept, a follower who may assist you, etc. Some may allow you to gain Strength, Craft, Life, or Spells. Combat is 1d6 + Strength (or Craft) + item/follower bonuses vs the same roll for the creature. A win means a trophy, else lose a life. Players build up their characters (increasing stats, buying/finding items, etc) and move towards the centre of the board, hopefully gaining a talisman along the way. In the inner region lies the Crown of Command, which is used to drain the life of all other players in order to win the game.

 

Character detail

Screen display (Player 1 detail)

My game box states playing time as “1 Hour plus” and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game take less than two hours. (Playing the digital version with AI opponents is quicker than with real people, but still takes a while!) This is mostly because of the great amount of time required to build up a character to a level that can enter the Inner region and progress (without dying or being pushed back to middle/outer region). This, and the chance of losing nearly everything with a bad dice roll (or unlucky card draw) is the games biggest down-side. The game play is very much one based on chance. The only skill is in good use of items, spells, and special abilities. There is a lot of variety with characters and cards – it’s also a large board – so every game is very different.

The two main “changes” that I’ve noted in the digital edition (compared to 2nd) are the Fate stat (which allows re-rolls, FANTASTIC addition!), and the ability to increase Craft by trading in defeated spirits (psychic combat monsters). In 2nd edition, you could only trade “strength using” monsters. (7 Str points of creatures for +1 character Strength)

 

2015-04-14 Talisman-3

3 Player Game (Standard screen display)

 

It’s extremely faithful to the board game. The graphics are very well done, and everything runs smoothly. You can play with 2 to 4 players, with those players being AI run, or actual people. The game speed can be adjusted, various “house rules” can be turned on/off, and it saves games. It’s really nice having the game track all your bonuses, and you can click on any board space to get detail on that location, as well as check what cards (objects and followers) any other player holds. It’s got a tutorial mode and good “help”. Overall, I’m very impressed and I can see myself playing a lot of this over the next month.

 

2015-04-14 Talisman-4

Screen display during Intro (Sample Game)

 

Ideas for improvement (any version):

I’d prefer to have a 5 point to +1 Strength/Craft trade-in on trophies (defeated creatures) to speed up character development. I’d also love to see the Inner region locations to be less based on random dice rolls and more on character stats/abilities in some way.

I like the “Mines/Crypt” squares – roll 3d6 and subtract your Craft/Strength. If the result is 0 or less you can move on next turn, otherwise you’re back in the Middle region. (Some followers can give a modifier to the roll.) The “Vampires tower” is a random roll: lose 1-3 lives, but you can sacrifice followers to offset the loss. These are good locations, whereas the “pits” and the “werewolf den” are almost pointless combat rolls. (Any character that has reached this point should have such a Strength that they win easily, except perhaps by rolling a 1 for themselves and a 6 for the monster.) “Dice with Death” is just ridiculous – roughly a 50% chance to move on next turn, otherwise lose a life and wait to try again next turn.

Now I’d like to see a digital conversion of the DungeonQuest boardgame – that’s a nasty, fun (and time-limited) game that often had no winner. (I’ve still got a list of high scores of those who got out with treasure, going back to 1989!)

 

Update:

Fantasy Flights website has a pdf version of the rules to the revised 4th edition. I noted that in that, under “Alternative Rules for Faster Play” they suggest the following: “If players find themselves a little short on time, they can increase the rate at which Strength and Craft is earned. This speeds up the game by making characters more powerful more quickly. The normal rule is that to gain a point of Strength or Craft, a character has to exchange trophies with a combined value of seven or more to gain the point (see “Trophies” on page 14). To speed up play, players can simply change this value to six, or to speed things up even further they can change it to five.” I’m planning to print this copy of the rules to use with my 2nd edition game.