A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Talisman makes the move to popular space opera Star Wars in its latest iteration. Travel to a lost Sith planet as either a Jedi or Sith and determine the destiny of the entire galaxy.
Players get the choice of character from a deck full of well known characters from Star Wars’ storied television & cinematic history. Most players will be familiar with characters like Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader but Coiled Spring have also included a few lesser known characters — likely specifically for younger players who have more of a grounding in recent animated Star Wars materials — such as Ezra Bridger and the Seventh Sister (Star Wars Rebels).
Characters are mostly balanced and choice depends on playstyle with the Sith characters built more directly for battle given their dark force abilities whilst most Jedi abilities help avoid confrontation or offer re-roll opportunities. Force abilities and the number you can hold are limited by a character’s stats. Holding a poor hand does you no favours and refreshing them can be done fairly frequently given the number of board spaces that offer it.
The board is massive so prepare the playing area appropriately. With all the cards out and the chance you may be supplementing locations on the outside edge of the board with location altering cards you need plenty of space. It’s not only massive but extremely detailed. Every location is beautifully selected in a hand drawn or painted style and the increase in colour is a welcome change from some previous entries in the series.
Everything has a weight about it that feels like quality. Character cards are also well drawn and each encounter, shop or equipment card feels suitably thick in your hands rather than the flimsy delicate feel of lower quality, cheaper alternatives
Unlike the recent Batman Talisman we reviewed, Star Wars Talisman doesn’t have the foreboding threat of a high level enemy hunting you at all times. It does however have the ongoing galactic struggle of the Jedi vs the Sith so if you do happen to land on the spaces occupied by another player of an opposing faction then combat cannot be avoided.
The concentric design Talisman is known for returns again and, again, the goal is to get to the central location of Exegol for a final showdown. The Star Wars themed board, as you would expect, culminates in a final showdown with Emperor Palpatine. A battle with the evil Sith Lord and architect of the entire saga ensues for either peace in the galaxy (Jedi) or to take the throne of the Empire (Sith).
The rulebook kindly denotes the Emperor’s stats so players always know what to prepare for before you embark toward not only the final battle but also the higher difficulties of the inner tiers of the board
Travelling to Exegol, as in the final film of the Skywalker saga, requires a Sith Wayfinder. There’s a few ways to obtain one and although it’s unlikely you will just draw one from the deck, you can always run an errand in the second tier for one of the factions to earn one instead.
Traversing the tiers of the board still requires the skill checks made popular by the Talisman premise but there are more board locations to do so in this version. The first tier has four such areas where based on your stats and the dice roll you might transition to the second tier compared to previous Talisman iterations where there was a single space to transition you toward the summit.
The Talisman play style continues with each space specifying whether an encounter takes place or if a dice roll decides the outcome on any given space. Oddly though, Star Wars Talisman offers a very different experience depending on the character mix. Players of the same faction don’t battle each other so having a mixed cast from both Jedi and Sith makes for a more combat rich, but generally more difficult playthrough.
Talisman still suffers a little from players hanging around for the majority of the game on the outer edge. It’s both more forgiving in terms of encounters in addition to the dice orientated consequences you can’t avoid on certain spaces. It does tend to culminate in a final dash to the summit as several players reach a power or equipment level that would see them victorious based on a good dice roll.
Turn time is around a minute each with round time based on four people at approx five minutes once you have the run of the various rules and mechanics. With decent luck around the deck, game time can take around two hours based on four players but can be extended based on deck luck, character choice and factions.
There’s also the luck of the cards challenge we’ve seen in other Talisman titles but this time it felt more balanced and after two playthroughs it didn’t seem like the shuffle determined our game as much as previous titles which is definitely a good thing.
Beautifully illustrated with plenty of the lore that makes the license so interesting but lengthy at times depending on the deck shuffle, Star Wars Talisman is more of what Talisman players love wrapped in the high quality package we’ve come to associate Coiled Spring with.
Star Wars Talisman is available on Amazon.