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I recently played Talisman, revised 4th Edition, and it brought up some memories of a game that I played around 2010. The game belonged to the father of a friend of mine and was not new (if I had to make a guess I would say the game was from the 80s, but that might not be very accurate). The game that I remember played very similar to Talisman. It was a fantasy themed RPG where each player played a different character, you could collect items to improve your character, there was an element of PvP and character death did not mean player death.

Yet, I there are some elements that are different between my memory and Talisman (at least the revised 4th Edition). First, Talisman plays in different regions, whereas the game that I remember was a dungeon with connected rooms. Second, in the game that I remember there was a distinct end-boss (if I recall correctly, it was a dragon) that you had to fight (or evade) to win the game. I remember killing the character of a friend but not taking up the item that would allow me to evade the end-boss only to loose my fight against it.

I have checked several alternatives to Talisman, but none seem to match my memory:

  • Relic is not in a fantasy setting
  • Prophecy does not match my memories at all
  • the board of Runebound looks much more complex than I remember
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Fantasy Adventure Board Game also operates on a lower level than rooms or regions
  • Dungeon! has a board that looks like it could fit my memory, but it does not feature the end-boss that needs defeating
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    There are quite a few dungeon crawlers from the 80s, do you remember if minis were used, or other tokens to represent the characters?
    – KMR
    Apr 20 at 23:19
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    Two important questions - was it a solid board, or tiles, and was there a Dungeon Master running the monsters, or were they automated? Apr 21 at 1:15
  • @KMR, unfortunately I do not remember that. Apr 21 at 17:40
  • @ArcanistLupus, it was a solid board, not tiled and there was no Dungeon Master. Apr 21 at 17:41
  • @QueensKnight, do you remember if there was a guessing element or character sheets?
    – KMR
    Apr 22 at 2:36

1 Answer 1

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The game that seems to match your description most closely is either the first or second edition of Talisman.

All three initial versions received expansions that may have transformed the game into the one you remember, but the third edition expansions also include modular board pieces, and a cardboard tower that is quite memorable.

When playing the First or Second edition a Dragon end boss can be added with Talisman Dragons released 1993, and the board can be changed to a more limited scope with the addition of either The Talisman Dungeon from 1987, or Talisman City from 1989.

There are also some home-brewed expansions that achieve a similar dungeon design to Dungeon!, but these would be somewhat dependent on location due to their pre-internet implementations.

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