Talisman and Talisman: Origins are two of the really great digital board game adaptions. The former because it looks so tedious on the table but in digital form you can start a game, go for a while, then turn it off and come back to it. This rectifies any bad feelings I might have about the game.
The latter, for reasons I outlined here.
Playing single-player Talisman with a story behind it is kind of neat. It’s not going to blow you away, but it’s fun. And you don’t have to sit there forever if you “lose your next turn.”
Would it hold up?
Sadly, it doesn’t. Too many quests that are just tedious along with one quest’s questionable set up that can actually make it unplayable has me wishing Beyond the Veil had stayed there for a bit more maintenance.
In Beyond the Veil, you are playing mostly as the Black Knight who begins the story just wanting to go out and have some evil fun, tormenting the other denizens of the Talisman universe.
(Note: there won’t be many more screenshots in this one due to spoilers for the subsequent quests)
The first quest is just your basic Talisman game with six (six????) players in it.
Yes, you can imagine the downtime in that scenario.
You can “Skip to Your Next Turn” but sometimes it just stops and goes to the normal pace and you have to Skip again.
Another issue with skipping is that you then don’t see the cards they draw on their turns. With 5 other players, that’s a lot of cards you might be missing.
On the second quest, I’m not going to go into much detail except to say that you are rolling the dice but you can’t actually do anything unless you land on a character. And you start out chasing one character.
That’s the extent of the quest, though later in the quest you have more characters that you can land on. Roll the die. If you land on a character, great! If you don’t, it’s their turn.
This gets as slow as molasses and really brings home how annoying “roll and move” can be. If you don’t roll exactly what you need, the slog continues. And you can’t even get any cards or spells to adjust your movement.
Later, in the third quest, what is cool is that it adds elements of the Realm of Souls expansion, but even this doesn’t save the quest.
You’re essentially rolling the die, landing somewhere and drawing a Soul card, and hoping that you draw both the Lost Warrior and the Lost Maiden. The monsters you encounter are relatively easy. It’s much the same as the second quest, but you’re actually drawing and fighting stuff.
That’s an improvement!
The fourth quest is fine, but this is where the randomization of the setup can kill the game, especially if you’re not aware of it.
Essentially, three Veil Breaches are scattered around the board, making the space that contains them unusable. You will be drawing a Soul card if you land there.
Your first objective in the quest is to go to the Village and consult somebody there.
My first game, a breach landed on the Village.
Sometimes in Talisman: Origins, there are story reasons for things happening, and as you play things will change. It’s natural to assume that the breach landing there is intended and that something will happen during the game to either make it accessible or change your objective.
I played 70+ turns before finally asking Nomad for help, and discovered that the setup is randomized and this was just an unfortunate occurrence.
Nice to know!
There’s nothing really wrong with the fourth quest as long as you keep that in mind. It’s standard Origins fare, kind of neat but nothing outstanding.
The final quest is the best of the bunch, though. You are essentially playing an entire one-player Talisman game, trying to build up your character to get to the center of the board and do what you need to do to win.
If you like Talisman, this will be nice to get back to what you like about the game.
Of course, if you hate Talisman already, why are you reading this review? It won’t change your mind.
Overall, the Beyond the Veil expansion suffers from way too much tedium before you get to the good stuff.
I’m not sure who thought it would be a good idea to take the cool stuff out of one quest (landing on areas, drawing cards, casting spells, and fighting monsters) while leaving the annoying stuff in (rolling and moving, trying to roll just the right number).
I do like that the story did make use of the really cool Realm of Souls expansion. It’s one of my favourites.
I just wish they had made use of it in a better expansion.
If you’re interested in digital Talisman, like the story-based aspect of Talisman: Origins and need more content, you should definitely buy The Legend of Pandora’s Box.
Leave Beyond the Veil in obscurity though unless you’re desperate to consume all of the content for this otherwise great game.
Normally this is where I would say that I hope Nomad Games returns to form with the next expansion. However, since this was the first major one and we have Pandora’s Box out already, I can say that they already have!
(Thanks to Nomad Games for providing this expansion to me)