RPS Pleads: Give Us Talisman

By Alec Meer on February 25th, 2010 at 12:10 am.

I own a lot of very geeky things. A glance around the bedroom that I laughably like to call an office when I need to pretend I’m a real person says many things about me. The ancient pile of six IDE hard drives. The troublingly large Optimus Prime toy lurking atop my bookcase. The expensive Pro-Ject turntable I really couldn’t afford, and which looks in need of yet another dusting. The battered collection of 1980s comic trade paperbacks. The tiny wax candle in the shape of Stalin’s head. The iPhone. The cat. The other cat. Yet the one thing that truly gleams like a beacon of undying manchildishness is the venerable boardgame known as Talisman. It’s a fascinatingly, unashamedly uncool thing, forever existing in a halfway house of awe and contempt. It’s proto-MMO fantasy grind, requiring a simultaneous dedication to the twin social no-nos of statistics and pretending to be an elf. It’s wonderful. It’s monstrous. Why isn’t it a PC game?

This is all a little tenuous, I realise, but I’m increasingly conscious that there’s a gulf between self-contained, story-driven RPGs and the cyclic short-term personal goal-chasing of an MMO that isn’t really being addressed. And I know what you’re thinking, but frankly Diablo isn’t filling it. Clicklclickclick, sleep, clickclickclick. Talisman is about caring a little too deeply about your personal progression on a largely statistical level, in that hungry, lizard-brain way that MMOs take great advantage of, but also being geared towards an absolute conclusion – defeating all the other players. Granted, the Crown of Command was always so flabby a conclusion that I’m amazed the newer versions haven’t replaced it wholesale, but at least it was an eventual end-stop. In an average RPG, your personal progression is compelling, but a little aimless – it’s rarely clear exactly what you’re building towards, what the final conflict will be. In an MMO -or at least an MMO in the WoW vein – the final conflict is never final, and only a means to the strange end of continuing to progress your guy in order to then better deal with another non-final final conflict. That’s possibly the least coherent sentence I’ve ever written, but never mind.

This is why I adore Talisman, despite how embarrassing it can be in the wrong company. It’s a game which is largely hung around its players levelling up in assorted ways (strength, will and/or various weapon and armour boosts), before racing to orchestrate an ultimate doom for everyone else. Doesn’t hurt that its combination of chance (dice rolls) and choice (“this is how I intend to win”) means you’re pretty much following your own path rather than any kind of prescribed one. It’s a short-term, PvP RPG with a very definite endgame – no infinite grind, but endless replay potential. Also, you can get turned into a toad and have a big sulk for several turns. It’s the joy of the random, something which very much underpins Talisman. There’s a lot of ways to be entertainingly screwed over, and also to spectacularly come back from being screwed over. I’m amazed that’s not something which has crossed over to PC gaming in any serious way. I’m doubly amazed there isn’t a slick online version of Talisman. (There is a free-ish MMO called Talisman Online, but that’s about as closely related to the boardgame as soya milkshakes are to cows).

There was going to be, back in 2007. Capcom had tasked new studio Big Rooster with making a PC/XBLA 4-player version, which sadly fell apart for still-mysterious reasons in 2008, after an abortive attempt to move to another developer. Here’s what it would have looked like:

There’s some nice stuff there, certainly, but the wish-dream in my head is to background the more obviously boardgamey elements in favour of each player seeing a first/third-person view of where they are and what situation they find themselves in each turn. Play up the RPG/adventure! element, essentially. I’d still have been all over this, mind.

The rights for a videogame adaptation have since reverted once again to sometime Talisman owners Games Workshop. Who knows what their plans for it are, given they’ve already got Dawn of War 2, Warhammer Online, Space Marine and the 40K MMO on their plate? One thing’s for sure – they’re not likely to let any fan-made version see the light of day. The Space Hulk/Alien Assault mishap proves that. As does 2008′s unofficial fan project, which was early-days but en route to really pulling it off. Games Workshop had no mercy. I’ve tried and failed to find somewhere still hosting it. I’d love to give it a quiet try if I ever do stumble across a site that somehow hasn’t been slapped by GW.

It’s all such a terrible shame. Hopefully, someone, somewhere’s giving Talisman: The Videogame another go. There’s multiplayer RPG gold in them thar hills – a perfect system for a couple of hours of online giggling/warring with mates, and a balance of chance and tactics that creates sustained, dependable, all-inclusive fun. Make it! Give it to me!

Alternatively, just give me this ridiculous, beautiful labour of love:

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52 Comments »

  1. Nick says:

    Oh god, I love Talisman.. it is my eternal regret that I never bought the final expansion for whatever the edition I have is (it was a 3d version of the final area complete with plastic dragon king at the top). Still, I got the other two and they added a lot of awesome to an already awesome game.

    This and Necromunda should be PC games.

  2. Dan says:

    I could never get through an entire game of this. My friends and I would try semi-regularly when we were 13-14, but it just dragged on and on and on and it was so random with very little skill required. Maybe we were just playing it wrong. Don’t even get me started on what happens when you get the Crown of Command. We had a house rule that said: When you get the Crown, you win. Game over.

    I did love the Warp expansion though, complete with Space Marine player character.

  3. HermitUK says:

    Be interesting to know how well Blood Bowl has done for GW. That’s the sort of product that would stand as good evidence that turn based, board game-esque titles have a strong fanbase on the PC.

    I agree that a proper PC Version of Necromunda would be awesome, too.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Yes, yes, yes. Necromunda for PC would be.. glorious.

      Since I don’t know Talisman I can’t say much about that.. although I do love boardgames.

  4. Birky says:

    Hurray for Talisman, I have a great affection for its wonderfully trad fantasy asthetic, me and the wife still enjoy the odd game (and occasionally submit it on friends who don’t realise they’re in for a 3 hour haul.)

    The fact that you can turn up a demon or a dragon on your very first turn is always fun, non of this new fangled scaleability or easing you in. However part of me worries that if you gave the game to a current MMO maker they’d add too many modern conventions and turn out a decidedly average PvP RPG and no-one would get it.

  5. Seol says:

    Haven’t played talisman, but it sounds like Moonstone (downloadable from here, prolly requiring dosbox these days) would be right up your alley, in case you don’t know it.

  6. GreatUncleBaal says:

    I never got round to Talisman but it definitely sounds interesting – I’ve happily entered a phase with a few friends of getting back to our geeky board game roots, so this may well enter the fray at some point.
    Also, the kind of game this would translate to (from my limited understanding of it) in videogame form is a thing I’d want to play – I’m more interested in multiplayer experiences where everybody effectively starts from scratch each new game, save for the skills they’ve learned from playing before.

  7. malkav11 says:

    Talisman is great. I have many fond memories of playing 2nd edition with all the card expansions mixed in irretrievably and intermittent use of the extra boards. I play it a lot less now that Fantasy Flight revamped Arkham Horror into utter brilliance, but I do still like it, and the new edition is pretty nice.

    That said, are you sure the videogame rights are GW’s? They sold off their old boardgames and RPGs and such to Fantasy Flight, which -definitely- includes Talisman. Videogame licensing may or may not have gone with, though.

    (That move was my favorite thing ever. Not only did I already like Fantasy Flight games, but they’re based in one of the local suburbs and one of the guys I game with regularly – a total Talisman fanatic who created his own unofficial expansion before GW sent a cease and desist – got hired to oversee development on their version of Talisman and similar board games.)

  8. Benkyo says:

    The nearest commercial equivalent I can think of is Dokapon Journey/Kingdom for the DS/Wii/PS2:
    http://www.atlus.com/dokaponjourney/

    In a similar vein, with randomised movement, the ability to screw over the other players with a rock, paper, scissor combat system and special moves/items. The final goal also requires levelling up and equipping to reach.

    Unfortunately it takes too much from Japanese RPGs, and the levelling grind takes a similarly long time.

    It’s also unavailable on the PC.

  9. tycho says:

    Moonstone was sheer brilliance – it should be compulsory! Still plays well today and is great fun for four people, or less if you enjoy picking on the poor Black Knights.

  10. Web Cole says:

    “the final conflict is never final, and only a means to the strange end of continuing to progress your guy in order to then better deal with another non-final final conflict.”

    It strikes me that this sentence could be used to test if someone is a gamer. If you don’t go “Wuh?!” you are -probably- at a certain level of ‘hardcore’ gamer-ness.

  11. Hybrid says:

    Has anyone played Warhammer Quest? I remember playing that with my Uncle a long time ago and it was sheer brilliance. It’s got simple mechanics for advancing play (picking cards!) but still involves the stats of traditional Warhammer, leveling up, dice rolls, treasure, miniatures, etc. I’ve got to find a copy of that game.

    • Nick says:

      Yes, I loved that as well, the RP events that could occur in towns/cities were brilliant.

    • drewski says:

      My (even nerdier than me) friends had it, and I quite liked it, but rarely played it due to, well, them having about ten different other excessively nerdy tabletop games to occupy themselves with.

    • Helm says:

      It was my first tabletop RPG. I still have fond memories of various mechanics of it but let’s face it, dungeons and dragons second edition was a step up in every way from it besides the visual.

      …which is why for a long time we used dungeon floors and boards (and little tables, bookcases and shit) from cut up Hero’s Quest, Warhammer Quest and various other expansions to build up elaborate dioramas for our dungeon and dragon campaigns!

      Those memories will stay with me forever.

  12. jakob rogert says:

    This was the exact thing we were thinking of when trying to remake another GW Property (bought from Swedish Alga) called Dungeon Quest (amazingly original name, but things didn’t have to be original if they had the word “dungeon” and “quest” in the 80′s) – but slap on a different theme and some new rules. Sadly the project sort of broke down – but I definitely think there’s an audience for a more grand scale revival of professionally made board-gamey games, evening-long role-playing adventures. If nothing else, they are a lot more accessible, given that they use metaphors non-gamer people can understand, such as dice and clearly defined, discrete, game spaces.

  13. ohnoabear says:

    As a board game, Talisman hasn’t aged well, eclipsed by more modern board game dungeon crawls like Descent and Runebound that require more skill and less randomness. I played it after playing Runebound, which means I can only understand intellectually the love my friends had for it as kids. I don’t think a straight video game version would make the randomness less frustrating, or the end-game less tedious.

    As a video game, though, the idea of a competitive fantasy RPG is appealing. When I played the indie-competitive Diablo clone Depths of Peril, my only thought was “why can’t I play this game against my friends?” The thing I hate most about grindy RPGs is that the grind doesn’t serve any purpose beyond the grind itself. By giving you some extrinsic goal, you make it appealing to people beyond the normal action-RPG crowd. If you could streamline that grind so that things happens fast enough, I’d play it all the time, and I don’t even like competitive multiplayer. Heck, if you could condense a Talisman game into a 45-60 minutes, I’d even play that.

  14. icemann says:

    Atleast HeroQuest got the video game treatment. Loved that game when I was younger.

  15. Saul says:

    I have two disintegrating copies of the 2nd edition, along with almost all the expansions, as well as the more recent 4th edition, and the stupid “upgrade pack” that takes it to 4th.5 or whatever, but has different-sized cards that don’t fit in the box.

    I don’t play very often, aand it has its flaws, but it will always have a place in my heart.

  16. mandrill says:

    Its such a shame that GW are such gits when it comes to their IP, but then they were always in it for the money and not for the games themselves.

    I need three things
    1) a copy of Talisman and all its various expansions
    2)Unity and the skill and knowledge needed to use it.
    3) time and a dedicated team of people who can keep a secret until we’re done.
    and finally 4) some means of spreading the final product virally that GW is powerless to prevent… oh wait.

    • mandrill says:

      Oh and necromunda too. Though I’m sure that could be done with a little adjustment of the IP and no-one would be the wiser. Objective based FPS battles which earn each member XP which they can then spend on gear and better guns and such. Sounds vaguely familiar…

  17. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    I don’t think I ever heard of Talisman. But I can symphatize, because my bedroom too has one or other curio about that when I look at it, makes me long for a videogame version. A good videogame version. Stuff like my meager collection of Fighting Fantasy books and a Call of Cthulhu boardgame I never got to play with anyone (apparently, the idea of possibly complex rules scare more people away than the thought of losing insanity to an elder god).

    In fact, I wrote a piece a while back on my blog about Time Gal, wherein I mused how the choose your own adventure style of the books and the “interactive movie” mechanics of the Sega CD heyday would be an interesting thing to explore further in videogames. I may be in a minority but in all these games about choices nowadays, I find little in them beyond moral questionnaires that do little to entice me to choose. Taking a clue from Time Gal and Fighting Fantasy, I’d love to see a game – quite possibly a role-playing one – where you could have glimpses into the near future, a small exploration of possible timelines of your choices but never seeing enough to spoil it away: just enough to entice you, to provoke you into making a choice not based on old statistic or fiscal rewards, but on pure “what if?”.

    So yeah, this probably went a bit off-topic. But! I totally relate to your plight, Alec.

  18. Chris D says:

    I do have much love for Talisman but in all fairness Ohnoabear isn’t wrong. It was a rare day when we actually finished a game. I seem to recall that any strategy was eclipsed by whether your next card was either a Runesword or a Dragon. There was an expansion that gave a number of alternate endings but I don’t recall them being a massive improvement on the crown of command, only the feeling of desolation when you finally slogged your way to the final space only to be slaughtered by an Archdemon.

    I think in many ways the actual game was secondary to the feeling that you were on an adventure and all the cool stuff you encountered on the way and in that respect it was superb.

    Dungeonquest didn’t have quite the same character but it was more satisfying as a game despite being unrelentingly brutal. I think the most common outcome was that everyone would die, followed by the lone survivor crawling out with a few scraps of treasure. I’d love to see an online version of this one.

  19. utharda says:

    Try playing talisman with a wife who obsesses over the thief character. It’s divorce in a box.

  20. disperse says:

    I have a similar geeky obsession with the 1978 Avalon Hill board game Magic Realm.

    Fortunately for me there is a great Java version of Magic Realm called RealmSpeak.

    I still dream about an immersive first person exploration adventure built around the game world though.

  21. spinks says:

    Talisman is a really really badly balanced board game — sure, it was fun. Until you died of boredom before you got to the endgame. Rogue is more fun than a computer version of Talisman would ever have been.

    I’m much rather see Eurorails or Formula De.

  22. G Morgan says:

    I have many fond memories of Talisman. Talisman is an awful, awful game. These statements are not in conflict.

  23. Lunaran says:

    Modeling and texturing the 4th edition Talisman board in 3D is some of the most fun I’ve ever had in the industry, and I don’t mind namedropping to say that.

  24. Rufust Firefly says:

    I have many fond memories of playing Talisman in one room while people who were eliminated started up another game in other rooms. This is an excellent call-to-action, but there’s one game that would be even better: RoboRally.

    I forget if Hasbro still owns the property but they’re fools for not trying to capitalize on it.

  25. EaterOfCheese says:

    Hooray for Talisman! Old school at its best. I still get out the board for a night with mates once a year or so – though these days it’s accompanied by a case of beer instead of fizzy, sugary, caffeine-filled soft drinks. Great fun. Still just as competitive and prone to arguments as it ever was, but that’s half the fun.

    That board in the second video is beautiful, really, bravo!

  26. Reverend Linus says:

    Those of you who are remembering it fondly need to break it out and try it again… it was godawful then and it’s even worse now. Perhaps a PC version could make it bearable.

  27. DMJ says:

    Talisman? Pah. In my day, we played Munchkin. You young whippersnappers.

    *Actual ages of whippersnappers and chronological order of release of Talisman and Munchkin have been disregarded for the purposes of this post.

  28. Alexander Norris says:

    Edit 2: I might as well preface this with a warning: this is long. If you’re not interested in thoughts of how computer RPGs might be made better, skip to the last paragraph, wherein I relate confused memories of playing Talisman and other similar boardgames as a kid.

    For some reason, I’m getting a couple of 404s when trying to post. Odd. Let’s hope this doesn’t end up a double-post.

    In an average RPG, your personal progression is compelling, but a little aimless – it’s rarely clear exactly what you’re building towards, what the final conflict will be.

    That’s a problem with CRPGs, though: even the best of them are like campaigns run by particularly rubbish DMs with a complete aversion for ad-libbing. The problem is that they all insist on having some variation of a “save the world!” plot, which makes them incredibly vague in terms of long-term goals.

    The solution, of course, is to make the final goal visible at all times; give it to the player at the very beginning of the game and don’t make him reach it halfway through to then give him another goal. That still leaves us with a problem, though: since CRPGs are horrible at letting players make their choices personal, you still end up with boring and rubbish CRPGs, even more so now that there are no big reveals about the final boss battle.

    This also has a solution: make more CRPGs where the plot isn’t about saving the world but about something personal – to the player if at all possible. This can probably be done at a relatively low cost by introducing a bunch of worldviews that they can have their character adopt, and which colour the game’s story in a specific way. You could have a “selfish dick” worldview or a “Robin Hood” worldview or something more interesting like a “socialist revolutionary” worldview and the only difference it would make is 1-2 lines of flavour text per conversation/quest log/journal entry. The player would then be given the usual choice to decline/accept/try to wring more gold out of the NPC, but the worldview they picked would influence their decision and make them feel like they made a choice that they actually chose.

    Example: there is a bomb in the building. It might cause civilian casualties when it explodes. Do you; a) call the police, hoping to save lives? b) call the police, hoping for a reward? c) call the police, just so you have the small satisfaction of having fucked up someone’s plan, somewhere?; d) leave the bomb there, because you don’t care? e) make sure no one finds the bomb, because the destruction of that building will cause a distraction that helps you sneak into the nearby bank? f) make sure no one finds the bomb, because the destruction of that building will deprive the oppressive régime of something of worth, thus increasing your chances of starting the glorious Revolution? g) make sure no one finds it, then try to get as many people as possible into the building to cause the greatest possible number of casualties because you’re a completely insane monster and just want to cause as much death as possible?

    There are a lot more reasons to pick either option. All of these outcomes can be achieved with three things: a bomb, a policeman NPC and a tour guide NPC. The problem is that writing dialogue with a specific slant (superniceguy vs. Mr I-don’t-give-a-shit vs. space asshole, or whatever you want the split to be) robs the player of the possibility to make the action his own and justify it in a near-infinite number of ways; it only leaves him with the possibility to side with three arguments. The reason that that super-simplified three-choice system is so rubbish is that it doesn’t even require that much work to make it so the players can take a line of dialogue chosen among several and make it his own. As long as the dialogue itself is fairly neutral, those two lines of worldview text would be enough to completely change the spin on a given exchange – the only problem being that you’d need some pretty damn good writers to pull it off. If offering the player the chance to pick a cause and having this cause actually show up and influence them in the game world is too much effort for the devs, though, they could always just make it about something personal to the character instead.

    Give us a game where you play a young bravo trying to find the noble who duelled his brother and caused his death (will you assassinate him, or demand an apology? Will you let the killer go free for months while you train to become better than him? If you choose to duel him and win, do you let him go with a verbal lesson, shame him, mutilate him or kill him?), or where you play a weary ex-soldier trying to readjust to civilian life (do you try to eke out a living as unqualified labour in a medieval grocery store, or do you join the City Watch to make use of your soldiering skills? Maybe you’d rather join a criminal organisation instead – it means more money and prestige faster, at the cost of what? Your integrity? Your honour? What your family stood for? Nothing of any value or significance? Have the game make no value judgements about the character’s actions and let the player decide what they loose by going dark side), or where you’re the king’s last son and you want to take the throne (is it because you’re power-hungry, or because you believe the country needs sweeping reforms? Do you try to talk your father into declaring you heir – through heroism or blackmail – or do you simply kill everyone that stands in your way and seize the throne by force?).

    Basically, more CRPGs need to be about personal discovery and not saving the world. There are any number of things that you could make a CRPG about, most of which would be more interesting and more fun than “ohnoes teh wurld is n danger n u r teh chosen 1 u must saev it.”

    That said, Talisman! I used to play it as a kid, along with what I think were HeroQuest and the odd bit of Space Hulk, but it’s been ages since I’ve touched any of them. At least, I think it was HeroQuest; their were a bunch of very similar games during the 90s and they’re so far back and my memory is so rubbish that they’ve sort of all blurred into one another. Wish I could remember which ones I used to play.

    (I do remember Talisman, though, mostly thanks to its box and the huge logo on it. It’s been recently republished by Fantasy Flight, actually; they seem to be who GW are offloading all their old stuff on after having savagely murdered Specialist Games.)

    Edit: no 404 and no double-post, woo.

  29. bill says:

    Don’t really play MMOs, but several of the oldschool P&P / Boardgame RPGs would make great templates for them… it’s a shame they never get implemented.

    For a short while I had really high hopes that the first Warhammer Online would be something with the awesomeness of WHFRP and Warhammer City… but it wasn’t to be.

    I can think of one old RPG that would make a stunning but different MMO, but i don’t want to give anyone else the idea until i can make it myself.
    (don’t need programming skills these days, right?)

  30. Morph says:

    There was (maybe still is) a picture of me on the Games Workshop website playing Talisman wearing a T-shirt with The Thing (from the Fantastic 4) and sporting an awful beard. That must be the geekiest point of my life.

    There are lots of GW IPs that would make great games. I’m not sure Talisman is one of them (it essentialy gives two choices a turn; clockwise or anticlockwise) but Warhammer Quest, Mordheim and Necromunda would be great. Or just a good 40k FPS please.

  31. al says:

    ++1 for Necromunda.

    Actually, so much +1 that I’ve been teaching myself how to use Unity with a vague long term aim of making a turn based necromunda inspired tactical squad game.

    Doubt I’ll ever get that far though. but having fun ;)

  32. Jannakar says:

    Because GW don’t give a damn about IP that they can’t use to sell a metric shedload of minatures and should-of-been-there-in-the-first-place rule books?

  33. GriddleOctopus says:

    It’s a lovely game, but the characters are hugely unbalanced (see Sorceress / Troll) and the end-game is stupidly broken – the arbitrary fuck-ups are entertaining, but the down-levelling mechanics of the game’s top level (where you need to dice with Death, fight the Werewolves, etc) need to be softened for successive heroes, to encourage a proper battle for the Crown of Command.

    Munchkin is the same game, TBH, but a lot more honest about what it is – and the other players are the limiting factor, which is always a boon.

  34. Nonomu198 says:

    Talisman is so terrible. So, so terrible. Whenever me and my friends dared playing it, it ended up with frustration from all players. Especially if the game lasted enough to take the bloody crown. Oh god, the crown.

  35. Gothnak says:

    I introduced Runebound to a workmate last night and he said.. you know what this takes too long, the game is awesome, but all the setup and counters are too much effort. It would be a frikking awesome computer game though…

    I agree, Runebound is also a better game than Talisman.. I’ve owned both! :)

    • malkav11 says:

      Runebound is more mechanically sound than Talisman. It is not more -fun- than Talisman. Actually, it’s rather less fun because of the incredibly stupid movement dice system and the way encounters are depopulated when you kill them – meaning someone with good luck and decent combat abilities can simply outpace you and leave you sucking boring, meaningless dust for turn after turn after turn.

      You might get utterly screwed by dice rolls or card draws or the like in Talisman, but you’ll only be stuck doing -nothing- interesting if your luck is really, really bad.

  36. Warth0g says:

    I fondly remember seemingly eternal nights playing Talisman.. we absolutely loved it, and it took us years to work out that it was crap..even had all the expansions, which never seemed to add very much.

    Slightly off topic, does anyone remeber the hex based war (board) games, GEV and Ogre? I lie awake at night dreaming of their digital resurrections…

  37. Severian says:

    Another fan here. My friend, Dana, and I would play this a few times a year when we were in junior high/high school and adored it. Even though the game is heavily luck-based, I’m pretty sure I won nearly every game we played. And I’d usually do so with the Woodsman. Nothing was more infuriating for Dana than to watch the pansy Woodsman beat the pants off his macho Chaos Warrior. Good times.

  38. Durkan says:

    Talisman !! OMGZ !! spent most dinner breaks at school when I was 11 playing this, then moved to D&D, AD&D etc sigh … I’m trying not to work out how long ago that was now… anyway

    I feel someone should stand up for GW around now..

    I think they’re pretty cool when it comes to their IP.

    As well as giving away their older board games for free – Adeptus Titanicus or Dark Future anyone ?
    (Space hulk itself was on this list until they re released 3rd ed)

    If you read their official IP policy it even says –

    (http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?catId=&categoryId=&section=&pIndex=3&aId=3900002&start=4)

    “Games Workshop is a tabletop hobby wargames company however, so we want people to enjoy our IP as much as we do. For example, whilst most companies would not allow you to convert their products, we think that conversions are an integral part of the hobby, so we love them!”

    It’s all very reasonable and polite – read it they’ve even put “please” in there – a lot!!

    So why all the problems with Alien Assault and fan “conversions” to pc games? Well GW itself sticks pretty much to the business of board games and figures and then licences their IP to 3rd parties.

    For computer entertainment I understand they’ve licensed the whole lot to THQ.

    So lets vent our fury where it’s due at ebil THQ who appear to have bought the license without buying into the ethos. Not at GW who actually are a pretty good example of how to protect your IP without killing it – ARE YOU LISTENING UBISOFT.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Except GW were the ones sending C&Ds, not THQ. THQ couldn’t care less about anything that doesn’t infringe on their IP, which is specifically the Dawn of War IP.

      GW pretends to be nice and friendly, but they’ve been cunts for at least a decade if not two, with their cuntishness steadily ramping up as the years go by. They talk the talk, but they definitely do not walk the walk. If you want to praise something about them, praise their customer service – they’ll usually just send you a full box if you call in to tell them you’re missing a sprue.

      You’re still technically not allowed to use non-GW models inside GW stores, and you’re certainly not allowed to play non-GW games in there – a policy which they’ve extended to cover Specialist Games in some places, which is absurd; although of course, they’re perfectly in their right to do so, they are not your friendly neighbourhood hobby company.

      That said, they tend to go through a period every 4-5 years of sending cease and desists to anything that looks even remotely like it might be able to claim ownership of something that uses part of GW’s IP, unless it’s licensed; which is when they close down everything that looks promising. Outside of those periods, they usually don’t give much of a damn, but then again, they don’t care about anything except short-term profit (especially not making a good game).

    • Josh says:

      Most companies would not allow you to convert their products???

      Somehow I doubt that. Unless I’ve signed some restrictive license or it’s a game mashed up by DRM, modding hacking etc just voids your warranty. Once you bought it, it’s yours.

      That they seriously suggest that implies to me that they have entered some alternate world where only their stores exist, and are funded by a subscription service where you “must buy something every week”. That seems the only justification I can see for their attitude to using “their stuff”.

      Now I’m glad that after taking some of the best IP from some brilliant people who’ve been through their offices over the years, they don’t just sit on it and C&D every form of moneymaking associated with it (they still allow little model-making companies to exist making similar/compatible stuff, and allow people to ebay their old painted/converted models), but that’s not much to be thankful for.

      They’re like people who land-grabbed a big swath of popular culture in the 80s by making tonnes of veiled (almost copyright infringing) versions of other stuff, and got some brilliant people in to develop it until they can use that as an excuse for stopping other people creating stuff. That’s a big reason I don’t object to blizzard using “the same stuff”, because big portions of it come from even earlier.

      On the main topic, I think Alec’s on to something; finality vs continuity is a bit weird at the moment: http://teatimebrutality.blogspot.com/2009/10/countdown-to-end-of-time-part-1-mister.html

  39. darkripper says:

    I’m really hoping Cyanide will set the trend for accurate rule adaptations. Descent could use something like that and even Runebound. The problem might be for the owners of boardgames, considering a very accurate conversion could kill the original game itself for all but the more obsessive collectors of miniatures. I’m not surprised it’s the first time someone gave the consent for something like that: BloodBowl has been a dead IP for very long (though with a strong following), but boardgames like Descent and RuneBound still sells pretty well.

  40. glassjoe says:

    if you’re really really jonesing for Ogre, there’s an 8-bit version…

    http://www.lemon64.com/?mainurl=http://www.lemon64.com/games/details.php%3FID%3D3526

  41. Todd says:

    Talisman Is a great oldschool Boardgame I’m currently 20 years old and riding on the old 3rd edition game with weekly game nights with my friends who find it a blast. Even my hyper-casual friend Was aprehensive at first but after a game he was hooked to the core and wanted to play another game next week.

    As a Tabletop enthusiest who loves World of darkness, 40k, and Dungeons and dragons, Talisman has that Pick-up-and-play viability mixed with a hard gameset where application of luck to any givin strategy has hilarious outcomes. A PC game with 8way multiplayer would be one hell of a great ride.

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