First Thoughts on Talisman: Legendary Tales and Dead Man’s Cabal. The Duke for Date Night and more! – Tabletop Gaming Weekly

I got in a lot of games this past week. The week started with a family game night and our first play of the board game Talisman Legendary Tales.

Saturday I hosted our second event at EZY Mode eSports Lounge where I taught games of Go Cuckoo and Gizmos. I also finally got to try out Dead Man’s Cabal for the first time.

Yesterday my mom was out of town and we found a sitter for the kids and Deanna and I had a nice night out where we played a few games of The Duke.

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links. As an associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no additional cost to you and we get a small kickback if you buy something through one of these links. Using these links helps to keep this blog and our podcast going. As well, Talisman Legendary Tales and Dead Man’s Cabal were provided to me by publishers for review purposes.

My initial thoughts on the family game: Talisman Legendary Tales

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, but just in case I haven’t you need to know that I loved the board game Talisman when I was a kid. To this day it is probably the game I have played the most in my lifetime due to how much I played it back in the day. I personally have the 2nd edition of the game from Games Workshop along with every expansion, including all of the ones only released in White Dwarf Magazine.  I am a Talisman fan.

Family game night, sitting down with the entire family to play Talisman: Legendary Tales from Pegasus Spiele Needless to say, I was very excited to hear that Pegasus Spiele came out with a modern, lighter family version of Talisman, called Talisman: Legendary Tales. I practically begged the people at the Pegasus Spiele booth at Origins to give me a review copy and I’m glad to say I did eventually convince them.  I finally got to try out the game for the first time this past week.

After punching the game we sat down for a four player game. My wife, my two daughters and myself. The characters we chose were The Troll, The Druid (which is a promo character), The Elf and The Warrior. We started at scenario one and decided to play on a difficulty level of two stars.

Talisman: Legendary Tales is quite different from its namesake. The game is set in the same universe as the original, though I have to say it doesn’t look much like the Warhammer world to me. It’s much more bright and happy looking than the grimdark setting I’m used to. The story is centred around the Crown of Command and the mystic Talismans and the goal of each mission is to recover one of five missing Talismans. In another significant change from the original, this version of Talisman is a cooperative game.

The base game comes with five scenarios meant to be played in order. Each new scenario is unlocked by finishing the previous scenarios with a set number of star points. For example to get to scenario two you have to beat scenario one on at least level two. Due to this, I only suggestion playing scenario one at difficulty level one if you are new gaming in general.

A game of Talisman Legendary Tales being played. This family board game is by Pegasus SpieleAt this point, we’ve only played scenario one. The first scenario has you exploring the modular board, moving to sites with encounter tokens and flipping them over hoping to find three herbs. Non-herb tokens represent baddies for the party to fight. Combat is done by pulling chits from a bag. Each character has their own bag and each has a different mix of chits at the start of the game. On a player’s turn, they draw three chits hoping to match the symbols on the baddies tokens. One of the neat bits is that some of these chits let you pull from anther player’s bag, which really ups the level of cooperation and player interaction.

Another interesting aspect we discovered during our first play is an EyeSpy or Where’s Waldo style mechanic that had the kids searching the location tiles for certain images. That’s not something I’ve seen in a hobby board game before.

I plan on doing up a full review after we’ve played more of the scenarios and have more experience with the game, so at this point, I think I will just leave it at that. So far the game is very different from the original. While it has some of the same themes and still has a roll and move mechanic there isn’t much else to make this feel like Talisman. That said we did have quite a bit of fun playing this game. So far it seems like a really solid family weight game.

Go Cuckoo, Gizmos, and Dead Man’s Cabal got played at our Bits and Boards event at EZY Mode

One of the things I love about hosting game nights at new venues in public is that we often get out new gamers. Our last game night, on Saturday, at EZY Mode was a perfect example of this. Right at the start of the event, we had three new gamers show up. While they had brought their own games, they only had popular mass market games with them. Games like Scrabble, Monopoly Gamer and Apples to Apples. I took this chance to show these young gamers some of my favourite light hobby games.

Everyone loves the dexterity game Go Cuckoo from Haba games.I started off teaching them Go Cuckoo, and, as expected, they loved it. I’ve still not found someone that didn’t at least enjoy this game a little bit if not a lot. I taught them the first game then left the tin on their table and was pleased to see them break it out again later in the night. Haba has a real hit with this game.

After Go Cuckoo, this group chose to play a round of Scrabble amongst themselves. While they did this I took the time to set up a couple of games so that we had stuff out on the table for when people walked in. I also watched part of a game of Underwater Cities, a game I’ve decided I really need to try at some point. It looks really solid.

Gizmos ended up being a fantastic gateway game for this group of non-gamers.After the table of new gamers finished up Scrabble I offered to teach them something with a bit more meat on it. They agreed and I sat them down to a game of Gizmos. Now, this particular group of three had pretty much no hobby game experience. One of the group had played Catan once, but the others only knew mass market games.

I’m pleased to say that Gizmos was a perfect gateway game for them. While it took a little bit for them to grasp some of the concepts in the game, by the end of it all three of them were remarking how unique the game was and how much fun it was to play. They were even asking me where they could get a copy and I pointed them towards The CG Realm.

As the night went on quite a few more people showed up, including some more new to me faces, which is awesome. I saw a huge game of Ascension with like 7 expansions being played. There was a group that played Coup and Chad taught a game of Wingspan.

While this was going on I broke out the copy of Dead Man’s Cabal that Pandasaurus was cool enough to give me to review. This was my first time playing the game and the first time teaching it and it went pretty well.

A four player game of Dead Man's Cabal from Pandasaurus games.Right off the bat, I have to say that Dead Man’s Cabal has some of the best production quality I’ve seen in a game. Beautiful art, nice thick boards and these amazing plastic bones and skulls used as resources and for action selection during the game. The theme of Dead Man’s Cabal is pretty out there. You are each playing Necromancers who decide to throw a party, but you don’t have any friends so you cast rituals to resurrect guests from the dead.

Gameplay uses a very unique action selection system that has the active player pick one of four actions based on the skulls they have in their possession, then has everyone do a public action. This second action is based on the positions of coloured skulls on a grid. It’s not easy to explain without seeing it, but trust me it’s neat, it’s unique and it works really well.

A close up shot showing off the amazing components in the board game Dead Man's Cabal from Pandasaurus Games.Actions involve collecting skulls, collecting runes, collecting ritual cards and going to the sanctuary to perform rituals. Rituals require certain patterns of skulls to be present in the sanctuary and let you get ritual cards into play. These cards represent your “guests.” At the same time, runes can be used when performing rituals that let you play an area majority microgame at the Oracle that drives end game scoring.

This is another game I plan on doing up a full review of when I get more plays in so I won’t bother going into more detail now. At this point, I will say that this is one of the more unique games I’ve played recently. I don’t own anything else quite like it and that’s always a good thing to me.

The Duke is still our go to board game for date night.

This past Sunday something magical happened. My mom was out of town and we were able to get a sitter for our kids. This meant my wife and I had the house to ourselves! To celebrate we made a nice dinner for the two of us and after that, we headed out to a local brewery. One that we hadn’t tried before called Sandwich Brewing Co. There we had some really good local craft beer (they make six different brews and all of them were excellent) and played a few rounds of The Duke.

Playing the chess like abstract strategy game, The Duke, at a local brewery. Both my wife and I have loved The Duke since we discovered it back in 2013. The Duke is a chess-like abstract strategy game played on a 6×6 grid. The goal is to capture the opponent’s Duke tile using your units. Units are represented by two-sided tiles. Each tile not only shows the unit type but how that unit moves. The brilliant part of this game is that when a tile moves, you flip it over and most units have a completely different set of moves on the second side. Each turn you either move an existing unit or add new units to the board.

After playing three games on Sunday I have to say The Duke is just as good now as it was then. To me this is a must own two player only game. One of the best aspects of this game is how little table space it takes up, making it perfect for playing places like a brewpub, bar or restaurant. The Duke is the one game my wife and I bring out pretty much every date night.

I can’t complain about my week. How about you? What did you get played this past week?

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