Thursday, 28 March 2013

10 great games for public play events like Tabletop Day

With International Tabletop Day hitting on March 30th I thought it would be cool to share a list of 10 games that are great for play at a public play event. These are games that are can be easy to teach, quick to pick up, look really cool, allow for a lot of players or allow players to drop in and out. Note these are in no particular order.

1. Shadows Over Camelot - I had this one on my Top Ten Fantasy Games of All Time list and that's mainly due to how well it plays at open gaming events. The theme is cool, the components are awesome looking (especially with the addition of painted Knights from the expansion), and the game is pretty easy to teach. There are two other things that make this game perfect for public events. It plays up to eight players and players can jump in and out. This means that if someone new shows up they can jump right in and not have to wait for a game to finish. It also means people can jump out if they have to leave or if another game opens up they want to play.

2. Ca$h 'n Gun$ - This is a game where the main mechanic is pointing orange foam guns at the other players. Talk about catching the attention of everyone else at the venue! This is a great one to put on in a very visible area where it will catch everyone's eye. Added to the props this game is just a ton of fun and I've yet to see a group play it quietly. It's extremely easy to teach and it's the kind of game you teach once and then just let the table run itself for the rest of the night as people jump in and out. Cash 'n Guns also has the added advantage of being short which is good for public events where you want people to move from game to game and not be tied up in one game all night.

3. Formula D - This is one of the best racing games out there. It uses a really cool mechanic where you start in park and can shift gears up or down each turn. Each up shift gives you a bigger die to roll for movement. You start off with a D4 and can go up to a D30. The rules include a basic system and advanced and also have rules for street racing as well as Formula 1. What makes this one great for public play events is that you can play up to 10 players. It's rare to find a solid strategic, non-party game that can do that. Use the basic rules and run one only one lap for most events or do a full two laps with the full rules if you want more of an event that lasts all night.

4. Torres - I mentioned Torres in my 2012 Game Retrospective. This is a much heavier game than the other ones listed and does take a bit to explain, even though there are only a limited number of moves in the game it takes a bit to figure it out. Torres is worth learning to play though as it's a great Eurogame and fully deserves is Speil win. So why suggest a heavy game for public play? Well two main reasons. One: at every event you are going to get some players who are into longer more detailed thinking games. Two: the game looks great, the game is about stacking plastic towers and really sticks out. It catches people's attention and has them come over and ask: "What are you playing?"

5. Settlers of Catan - There are a wide number of reasons for packing this one for almost any public play event. Settlers didn't become the most well known non-traditional game in the world for no reason. It's widely considered one of the best gateway games on the market. It's easy to teach, looks really sharp and includes enough strategy and replayability that even hardcore gamers don't mind coming home to this one now and then. Another good reason to bring Catan is that it's popular. Lots of people know it and love it and it's good to have as a staple for those reasons alone.

6. Pitch Car - Here's one most people haven't even heard of. Pitch Car is an amazing dexterity game that plays up to eight players. What is a dexterity game? Well it's a game you play by physically manipulating the parts in some way. In Pitch Car you flick a little disc representing your car around the track. I've yet to find a player who didn't like this game once trying it. It's quick to set up, incredibly easy to teach and really catches people's attention. This one is perfect for the non-gamers as well.

7. Telestrations - I've never laughed as hard while playing a games as I have playing Telestrations. This is a codified version of Eat Poop You Cat or The Telephone Game. You get a word, draw it, pass to the next player, they guess what you drew, pass to the next player, they draw the last players guess, etc. If you can find the Family Edition pick it up as it plays up to 12 players.

8. Red Dragon Inn - This one is pretty new to my collection but quickly becoming an event favourite. Red Dragon Inn is a backstabbing Gotcha game based on Fantasy Roleplaying Tropes. It's meant to recreate what happens after the adventure, when the party is sitting around at the inn after the quest is complete and the reward has been collected. Each player grabs a unique character deck and then players party until they are the last character standing. You can be knocked out by passing out when your alcohol level hits your fortitude or you can run out of gold. With the two expansions this great game will play up to 12 players and will get a ton of laughs out of anyone familiar with fantasy gaming.

9. Race for the Galaxy - This one comes from my Top 10 Sci-Fi Games of All Time list. Race may not be the easiest game to explain to new players, which isn't great for public events but gameplay, replayability and speed more than make up for that in my opinion. This one works best for events once you've added an expansion or two as each adds the ability to play with one more player, so with two expansions you can get a group of six playing. Race is a good one for the gamers who show up and perfect for people who want something more strategic than Catan or more serious than Red Dragon Inn. Make sure you have the rules nailed so you can explain it quickly and offer to play through a few sample hands before the first game and you can reduce the learning curve.

10. Munchkin - I always grab a copy of Munchkin for every event I host. It doesn't matter if it's traditional fantasy Munchkin, Star Munchkin, Munckin Zombies,  Super Munchkin pictured here or some other version. I will fully admit I'm not a big fan of this series of games but lots of other people are. Every event I've ever hosted someone has played at least one game of some version of Munchkin. It's quick to teach, easy to learn and people seem to enjoy screwing over friend and strangers alike. Another bonus to Munchkin is that there's usually other people there that already know how to play so it doesn't require someone to be tied up as a game teacher. The one thing I would suggest though is the possibility of adding a time limit rule. Munchkin can be fast furious and quick or it can drag on for more than two hours generally boring most players involved.

So there you have it: ten games I recommend for bringing to public play events. One of the things I find you want to do is try to hit a wide variety of theme and game styles and complexities which I think this list does. Yes, there are plenty more great games out there and this list is no where near complete or totally inclusive. That said: what's your favourite game to bring out to the local board game night?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

International Tabletop Day - March 30th

Saturday March 30th is International Tabletop Day. This event is sponsored by +Wil Wheaton's Tabletop YouTube channel which is part of the Geek & Sundry series of shows.

Here's +Felicia Day explaining what International Tabletop day is all about:

Sounds awesome doesn't it? So how can you take part? Well the Windsor Gaming Resource and Hugin and Munin have teamed up to provide an all day long gaming event. The store will be opening at noon on the 30th and won't close it's doors until 10pm.

Throughout the day you can expect a huge range of gaming goodness. There's going to be a table for miniature gamers which will showcase some great newer games like Malifaux. There's going to be a huge variety of board games available to check out and play including TableTop favorites like Catan, Gloom and Small World. There will be people on hand to teach you how to play these games. You are also welcome to bring your favorite game. Through the day there will be give aways as well. There will be stuff going all all afternoon and into the night so show up when you can and stay as long as you like.

Check out some of this awesome swag we've got to give away:

- Alderac Entertainment Group - Smash Up Bases
- Asmodee - 7 Wonders Catan Board
- Atlas Games - TableTop Gloom Expansion
- Blue Orange - Sample Pack
- Calliope Games - Tsuro Tiles
- Fireside Games - Castle Panic Multi-Color Hero
- Floppet - Guild Floppets
- HL Games - Word Winders Download
- Iello - Wil's Favor
- Indie Board & Card - The Resistence
- Looney Labs - Star Fluxx Promotional Card
- Mayfair Games - Tile Expansion
- North Star Games - Promotional Cards
- Playroom Entertainment - Killer Bunny Promo
- Steve Jackson Games - Munchkin Bookmark
- Wiggity Bang - Quao
- Wizards of the Coast - D&D Buttons

Hope to see you there!

Hugin and Munin is located at 1664 Tecumseh RD. E. in Windsor Ontario

Hugin & Munin on the web:

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Facebook event page for this event:

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The Windsor Gaming Resource on Twitter: @windsorgaming 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

We're dusting off classic Battletech next Tuesday

We're dusting off a true classic and heading to the Green Bean on March 26th to partake in some classic battlemech battles.

That's right classic FASA Battletech. X Tons per side, PPCs, lots of little circles to fill in and worrying about overheating. Kevin Doak will be bringing some models and copy of the rules. If you've got a copy of this classic and any Mechs of your own feel free to bring them. It would be awesome to see some fully painted forces out there.

The event starts at 6PM and will run until close (10PM). We don't have reservations for this event but there's nothing going on at the Green Bean that night so we've been assured there will be room.

The Green Bean is located at: 2320 Wyandotte St W, Windsor, ON N9B 1K4 in the basement of the Church next to Harvey's that has the huge sign on it that says "God loves stundents" on it.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Boardgames Are Really Fun - Skulduggery - March 28th

B.A.R.F. - Boardgames Are Really Fun
Theme: Skulduggery

The Windsor Gaming Resource and Villains Beastro are proud to announce another awesome free gaming event scheduled for Thursday March 28th from 6pm until Midnight. This will be our first Thursday night event. The plan is to stick with the 4th Thursday of every month going forward.

The Villains Beastro is a unique, funky, weird, mystical, fun, serious, laid back, Viking-feeling, pub-looking rock n’ roll type place that has offered to open their doors for us. It’s the perfect spot for a group of gamers to hang out and play some games. There are plenty of tables of all sizes, a well lit stage area, some great beers on draft, a selection of harder beverages and a some great tasting sandwiches. Villains has agreed to give us the space for free and I encourage everyone to support the venue by buying some food and enjoyed a drink (responsibly of course). One bonus of moving these events to Thursday is that it's also SWAMP night - so enjoy a Steam Whistle and Mouthwatering Panini at a discounted price.

The theme for this event is: Skulduggery. I want to see games where the players stab each other in the back. Gotcha games like Munchkin, Hex Hex, Epic Spell Wars, Red Dragon Inn and more. As usual you don't have to stick with the theme but it gives you an idea of what kinds of games to grab and what you can expect to see.

This is an open non-competitive gaming event that anyone is welcome to attend. Any form of game is welcome: board, card, rpg, miniatures, whatever you want to bring we are willing to have you. We aren't rule lawyers. You are welcome to bring your own games or share in some of ours. Everything we bring we are willing to teach and no experience is necessary. The goal is to get as many local gamers out as possible to enjoy some good food, some good company and some good games!

An important note: we are not a private club. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come out and join in the games. If you see someone playing a game and it looks interesting, ask about it. If you see a game on a table and you want to try it out, ask around and see if someone will teach it.

Villains is located Downtown at:
256 Pelissier
Windsor, ON N9A 4K3

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Monday, 4 March 2013

What is Torn Armor and why am I excited about it? Includes rules sneak peak

Torn Armor is a new board game in the works from the Torn World team. It is the first game that will be released set in The Torn World, a world that started off as a Dungeons and Dragons home game campaign setting. Torn Armor is going to be a miniature skirmish boardgame and everything I've seen about the game looks awesome.

Torn Armor is currently up on Kickstarter and is looking for you, the gaming community, to make this game a reality. Only a couple days in so far and they have already reached $9k. That's still a long way to go to their target of $50k. If you think this game and it's setting looks awesome, I encourage you to back the project. The team have some truly awesome stretch goals in mind and I would love to see them not only hit their funding but provide everyone with the coolest game possible.

You can back the game here:

Torn Armor is coming from a solid group of gaming industry professionals. Alyssa Faden is the woman behind Torn Armor. I first heard of her due to her fantastic, breathtaking, hand drawn RPG maps. She's also done work for Paizo, Silver Griffon and most recently Gygax Magazine. Jack Cull her partner, is responsible for most of the crunch behind the game. Ross Isaacs who has done work for WotC, White Wolf, Chaosium and more, is the lead editor. jim pinto who doesn't like his name capitalized, is in charge of graphics. Credit for the amazing art you can see on this page goes to Jeff Laubenstein and Eric Lofgren. Jason Wiebe is responsible for the fantastic miniatures based on that art. Gwen Perkins writer of the Artifacts of Empires series and other books, gets the fine job of editing. Lastly Matthew Meagley is on board to balance the various mechanics and work on probabilities. I'm also a small part of the Torn Armor team, having been asked by them to help spread the word and get people as hyped about this game as I am.

Below I've got some pictures and links to things that sold me on Torn Armor. A mix of concept drawings, 3D renders of the models and even a gameplay video that makes Torn look like a quick to set up, easy to learn game with a solid level of depth.

Here's some of the great concept art for the Maychian Faction - one of the two included in the core game :

These are from the other faction included in the game, the Greco-Roman inspired Sisk:

Some of these guys are just huge. Here's a great size comparison of the various models:

You can learn more about the actual gameplay of Torn Armor in this video:

Still not sold on Torn Armor? Well maybe this will push you over the edge. Alyssa Faden, the amazing woman behind The Torn World, has been awesome enough to send me a copy of the first draft of the rules for Torn Armor. These are only an initial draft and lack any art and gameplay shots but will give you a chance to read over the rules and see if this is a game for you.

You can check out the draft of the rules here:

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures buying guide

If you haven`t noticed, I have fallen pretty hard for the new Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures game from Fantasy Flight. I've been posting pictures of my games online, I've hosted a few events at my home and even run some Demo events at Windsor Gaming Resource board game events and at the FLGS. One of the recurring questions I get asked is "What's the best and most cost effective way to get into this game?"  I thought I would save some typing and put up this blog post so I can send people here the next time I'm asked.

Moe's X-Wing Buyers Guide:

First off buy the core set. Take it home. Actually try the game. I realize that it seems like half the net is talking about this game and almost all of them are going on about how awesome it is. That doesn't mean it's awesome for you and your group. Don't go buying a ton of stuff for a game you haven't played. Start with just the base game, and if you dig it then move on.

So now that you know you dig it, pick up a 2nd starter - this is cheaper than buying an expansion X-Wing and two Expansion TIE Fighters. It also has the bonus of giving you two sets of dice, extra counters, rulers etc. If you can, convince a friend to split on this, that way you can split the cost and each have a set for playing organized play which requires each player to have a core set.

From there buy 1 X-wing and 2 Tie Fighter Expansions - this gives you more than enough ships to play a legal 100 pt battle. It also gives you the expansion pilots and upgrade cards which you can apply to any of the ships.

At this point you could be done having 3 X's and 6 TIEs, well more than enough to play and enjoy the game and having enough variety with the different pilots and upgrades to keep up the replayability.

X-Wing Demo Day at Hugin & Munin
Now personally I have an awesome FLGS, Hugin & Munin, that does cool stuff like have Demo days, that let me try out games before I buy. So if you have something like this locally I strongly suggest supporting it. The time you spend playing at the store and having the chance to see the models and check them out before buying is worth the few extra bucks you will spend on the game.

If you don't have a FLGS or your local store seems to have lost the F part of that acronym, then I have no problem with people trying to get the best deal they can. If you are in The States, Target often has the core set on sale. In addition you can usually find it online for less than the MSRP. The same goes for the expansion ships. Do some shopping around and get the best deal you can, it only makes sense. Though again, I re-iterate: if you have a local shop that's letting you try the game or giving you a place to play, realize the value that is adding to your experience and reward them for it.

So now that you have a playable core game, assuming you are as addicted as I am, I suggest at least one Y-Wing and one Tie-Advanced. Buy the Tie-Advanced over the Y-Wing, if you can only afford one just because it adds Vader to the mix. After this, if you want, more I suggest one TIE Advanced per two regular TIEs in your games, so buy one more. I own three Y-Wings and three TIE Advanced and so far have only ever used one of the Ys and two Advanced in a game. Added to that I don't suggest more X-Wings or basic TIEs unless you are going to start playing 200pt games and even then there are cooler newer ships out.

I'm not sure I know anyone who would pass on these.
About those new ships: those are your call. I think the Millennium Falcon and Slave 1 are well worth it. They look awesome, and they each include a new scenario to play. Added to that they both include a new upgrade card that can be applied to any ship in the game. The A-Wing and Tie Interceptor are also very cool looking and take advantage of a new Boost action that really means they can move around the board. Both are great additions to the game that I would consider adding after having a base force of X-Wings and basic TIEs. Personally I would add them after the Y-Wing and TIE Advanced though just because of rules creep, these add new rules and with that a bit more complexity.

So there you have it. As is normal for any board game: your millage may vary. This what I have found works more me, after running multiple games at my home (I'm at over 10 games at least) and a variety of public play events. It may not be perfect for you but at least it gives a starting point for anyone thinking of getting into this awesome game.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

X-wing Miniatures Demo Day Episode II - March 16th @ Hugin & Munin

Based on the success of the last Demo Day we've decided to run a sequel. The Rebels and Empire will be battling at Hugin and Munin on Saturday March 16th. The event will run from 1pm until 5pm.

X-wing is an awesome new Star Wars miniature battle game from Fantasy Flight games. Scale, pre-painted ships battling using a unique simultaneous blind movement system that let you represent a dog fight in space in classic Star Wars style. It's quick to learn with a surprising amount of depth. Check out my full review: X-Wing Review

I will be bringing over 400 points worth of ships as well as two mats to play on. That way if we get enough people we can have two concurrent games running. I'll teach anyone who is interested how to play the game.

This time around, not only will you get to see the new Millennium Falcon and Slave 1 miniatures but you will also see the new A-Wings and TIE Interceptors.

Hugin & Munin
1664 Tecumseh RD. E.

Windsor On, 
N8W 1C5
519 974 7898

Free parking in the rear, metered parking in front and lots of nearby residential streets if either is full.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Games & Grub March 8th at the Green Bean

Look for this banner at gaming events around Windsor

The Windsor Gaming Resource is proud to announce another free Games and Grub gaming event at the Green Bean on Friday March 8th 2013, running from 6PM until 11PM. We had 32 gamers out to our last event and I would love to see even more than that out in March!

The Green Bean is an independent coffee shop that provides a wide variety of coffees, teas, lattes and more. They have a full menu that includes fresh made soup, paninis and some really tempting deserts. There's the option for a bottomless cup of coffee and they have free WiFi. For us gamers they have a wide variety of tables of various sizes and a well lit stage.

This is an open non-competitive gaming event that anyone is welcome to attend. Any form of game is welcome: board, card, rpg, miniatures, whatever you want to bring we are willing to have you. We aren't rule lawyers. You are welcome to bring your own games or share in some of ours. Everything we bring we are willing to teach and no experience is necessary. The goal is to get as many local gamers out as possible to enjoy some good food, some good company and some good games!

Games we've played in the past include: Catan, Dominion, Scrabble, Ca$h and Gun$, Bohnanzha, Magic The Gathering, Carcasonne, Race for the Galaxy, Puerto Rico, Agricola, Castles of Burgandy, Munchkin, Scrabble, and more

An important note: we are not a private club. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come out and join in the games. If you see someone playing a game and it looks interesting, ask about it. If you see a game on a table and you want to try it out, ask around and see if someone will teach it.

Free Giveaway:  We will be giving away a copy of Shadow Hunters at this event. To be eligible you can't have won one of these giveaways before, you have to play at least one game and you have to stay until the end.

Attention Board Game Geek Members: If you are a Board Game Geek Member and come out to a WGR event stop by and tell me your user name and I'll send you 20 geek gold.

The Green Bean is located near the University of Windsor at:
2320 Wyandotte St. W (Lower). Windsor, ON.
It's in the basement of the Church with the big sign that says "God Loves Students" on the side of it, next to Harvey's

Note: The Windsor Gaming Resource has no political or religious ties to the Green Bean or the Church it is located in. It just happens to be an awesome place to play some games and meet other gamers.

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My 10 greatest fantasy board games games of all time

This is a follow up to My 10 greatest sci-fi board games of all time. That post generated a pretty good conversation on facebook that led me to thinking at least one follow up post was worth doing. So here are my 10 greatest fantasy board games of all time - in no particular order. Note - I have a fair amount of fantasy games in my collection but not a lot of the newer games, so this list is based on games I've played. Sure I've heard the new Mage Knight is awesome but sadly I've yet to get to try it.

1. Warlock of Firetop Mountain - This old bookshelf game was almost a re-theme of the classic TSR game Dungeon! You picked a character and started at the bottom of the mountain and entered the dungeon. You would move room to room collecting treasure and leveling up in preparation for the final battle at the top. For it's time this game had great components and awesome looking board and great gameplay. It did a descent job of simulating an RPG feel on a board. For those wondering, yes this is based on the fairly famous Fighting Fantasy book of the same name. I couldn't tell you if it follows the story or not as I never played that book, but I have to assume the people and creatures in the game came from somewhere.

2. Chaos in the Old World - a game where you get to play one of the four Ruinous Powers and try to take over the Warhammer Old World? How cool is that! Besides the epic theme this is one of the best four player games I own (five with the Skaven expansion). One of the coolest parts to this game is that each of the four factions you can choose from plays differently from the others. Not only do you have different units and cards and powers you also have different victory conditions. Somehow Fantasy Flight managed to balance that and make it work very well. The biggest problem with this one is trying to sell it to people who don't know the Warhammer World. Even if you don't know it, trust me and check this game out.

3. Small World - other than the fact that the name gets a certain Disney song stuck in my head, Small World is a fantastic game. It's one of those brilliant oh so easy to explain but oh so hard to master games. The way you match up races with attributes is just brilliant and I love seeing things like Conquering Halflings and Flying Wizards. Gameplay is quick and fierce. It plays long enough to give you time to hatch plans but then is short enough that when the game is done you always want to play another round. Added to that is how nice the components are. Nice thick cardboard chits and a storage tray that is actually designed to hold everything for the game.

4. BattleLore - this one was originally released by Days of Wonder but has since swapped to Fantasy Flight's hands. I have the original. For two player quick and intense wargames I love Richard Borg's Command and Colors system. BattleLore is the fantasy version of this system. One of the things I really dug about BattleLore is that you can play it straight up with just human Knights, Archers and Infantry on each side or you can toss in Goblins, Dwarves, Heroes and Monsters. There are lots of expansions that add more troop types and scenarios. There's even an RPG element to this where you can make your own cast of Heroes to assist your army.

5. BloodBowl - fantasy races getting together to play an over the top game of Football. Well actually it plays a bit more like Rugby, sort of. I had great fun with this game back in the day even hosting tournaments at the local game club. I think the main reason this one belongs on this list is the fact that it's still going strong. I have friends that participate in national championships every year. The rules are still been supported in what they call the Living Rule Book. Also the game has spawned a bunch of knock offs, the most recent being the recently kickstarter DreadBall

6. Ascension: Storm of Souls As of right now Deck Building is all the rage. Since Dominion came out (which I really debated putting on this list except the only fantasy element I could think of was The Witch) this new game mechanic has been spreading across the industry. Ascension Storm of Souls is a fantasy knock off of Dominion done right. Multiple factions and having to balance the ability to defeat monstrous foes with hiring heroes and building constructs ads a ton of replayability.

7. Shadows over Camelot This is one of my favorite games to bring to public play boardgaming events. It plays up to 8 players and and players can drop in and out at any time. In this game each player plays a Knight of the Round Table and works with the other knights to try to defend Camelot from a host of threats including an insane Lancelot, an ongoing Siege, the Black Knight and rampaging barbarians on two fronts. At the same time there's a lost sword to find as well as some cup. This is a co-op game with a twist. One of the knights just might be a traitor.

8. Heroquest I don't know many gamers who don't remember this one fondly. For one year there the planets aligned and Games Workshop worked with Milton Bradly to put out awesome games like this and Space Crusade. A board game RPG where one player plays the evil Wizard Zargon and the other players each take on the roll of a hero. Simple, quick but awesome with some of the best bits ever made for a boardgame. This game has inspired a ton of newer games like Descent and the newer Dungeons and Dragons boardgames.

9. Magic the Gathering I will admit that I don't play anymore. But I don't think you can do a best fantasy game list without including this game changer. Magic came out in 1993 and changed the face of fantasy gaming. Is it expensive? Yep. Is it a time suck? Yep. Do new sets make old sets invalid? Yep. Do hordes of gamers flock to local game stores every Friday night for Friday Night Magic? Stop in to your FLGS on a Friday and try to get through the throng. Is it a good game? Absolutely. Even though I don't currently play I still think Magic is a fantastic game if you can afford to keep up with the latest releases. Plus, what other tabeltop game can you actually make a living playing if you are good enough?

10. Talisman when I was young this game was IT. There was no other game. Nothing compared to the sheer awesomeness of Talisman, especially with all the expansions. I loved this game to death. I used to bring it to family gatherings just in the hopes to get in a few rounds with my cousins. I would plan entire Talisman weekends where all we would do is play Talisman over and over. Heck we even finished a game where our self imposed goal was to "Kill every creature in the adventure deck." Amazingly Talisman is still supported today. It looks a little different to my beloved 2nd edition but the gameplay is still basically the same. Having now grown up and played a ton of other games I do have to say that Talisman is no longer the bright star in my fantasy gaming universe, it takes far too long to play due to a very extended middle, leveling up stage, that I find rather boring now, but it will always be one of my favorite fantasy board games of all time due to what it mean to me years ago.