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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Talisman: Prologue for iOS - A Single-player Board Game. Yes, really.

Talisman: Prologue is the adaptation of the classic Talisman board game by Games Workshop. Board games are a genre that I think work exceptionally well on touch devices because they do not rely on sensitive controls or twitch-gameplay. They also provide a portable version of something usually impossible to play on the go. For board games, that means for most people that the kids can play something together and keep themselves occupied. They are also still interacting with one another, rather than anti-socially gluing their noses to their own individual portable game systems. For gamers without kids this might mean being able to play with a friend in public like at a cafe without struggling to find a place that will allow you to unpack a big game board onto a tiny little table. Or perhaps gaming together on long train rides. To put it briefly, multi-player modes that utilize a single device are the essential feature in a board game adaptation. So it begs the question, where the hell is that feature in Talisman: Prologue?

Before I even got to load up the game that was my very first question to my friend Jeremy who tipped me off about Talisman's release (thanks bro). His thought was maybe that's what the "Prologue" subtitle is all about--that it's the prologue because the multi-player will be added or released later. He's more forgiving than I am when it comes to what ought to be expected from game developers. I'm a demanding consumer, in part because in my work obvious deficiencies and flaws are met with unrelenting support before a product is ever even shipped as a prototype.

Gamers in general are very demanding, in my opinion. We are very experienced in the products and have no doubt witnessed a broad spectrum of quality. If this game didn't play so well as a single player game I'd probably not put much more effort into writing about it than to say it's a waste of money (like Kill Team was). It's not a waste at all...assuming they do actually implement multi-player. From the looks of their Facebook page, it seems they will and I'm really glad for that because they've done a good job with the game so far. But it's not complete yet.

I don't give out scores. I'm more interested in saying whether I feel a product was worth my money or not. And more importantly, whether or not I think it is worth yours. At 450 yen, I can't say I feel the single-player version of Talisman will be worth it in the long run. It's four times as much as some other games I've put tons of time into. I don't expect to get as much play out of a game that doesn't involve a lot more than pressing a dice roll button and picking up cards. Random events are fun when they influence the outcome between two or more people and you can marvel at terrible and fantastic luck together. But when played alone, the board game experience is a lonely and unfulfilling one. Talisman: Prologue will be worth it when the multi-player is released, but until then save your money.