Searching for Super-Villains with Batman in Talisman

Following on from my “First ponderings…” article, I thought it might be nice to sift through some of the information gleaned from the various appearances of the new licensed Talisman games from USAopoly at GAMA Trade Show, particularly the most recent one that was featured on BoardGameGeekTV via Twitch.

There’s been a great deal of hype to discover just which villains from the Batman ‘New 52’ Universe would make it into the game, especially as characters, but also as Followers, Strangers and the like.

Just prior to GAMA, a press release was put out by USAopoly featuring a few of the components from the game, including a look at the first character to be revealed, Harley Quinn.

Based on the Sorceress character from Talisman, she starts her game in the Morgue (Graveyard) and begins the game with a Feat (Spell) and a Baseball Bat (probably a Sword) which is all in keeping with her character.

Fast forward to this week, and we saw Talisman: Batman – Super-Villains Edition featured on a number of livestreams along with Talisman: Kingdom Hearts Edition, but the one pictured above is of particular interest!

As you can see, Rodney Smith of Watch It Played nonchalantly twirled the box around to reveal the art on the reverse. It was only for a split second, but it that time we managed to see some interesting information…

Not least the fact that Ross Thompson and Pat Marino from USAopoly had sneakily hidden the range of character miniatures by sticking over some strips of duct tape, but also that it set me on a quest to find out more about what characters might be included in the box!

I’ll attempt to get to the point soon, but first there has to be a little rambling…

Back in September 2013, as part of the promotion for a crossover event in the DC Universe called Forever Evil, they published 52 (yes I know, FIFTY TWO!) ‘Point One’ editions of various publications, all featuring covers and stories with villains from the New 52.

Above are 36 of these titles, but these are not particularly related to Batman, apart from the Justice League titles and Batman/Superman, however the takeover villain for that issue was definitely Superman-related!

The 16 remaining titles below are where it may (or may not) start to get a little interesting for Talisman…

Here we can see a number of Batman’s classic adversaries, all of which that would make fine additions to the game of Talisman, but if we check the images at the top of the page closely, we can see a bit of a pattern emerging.

Now, it’s been said by the guys from USAopoly that the artwork for the board is bespoke for this project, but the other internal art is taken from the New 52 comics, and it certainly looks like the character art has been taken from covers.

Incidentally, the Batman image featured on the box cover for the game has been taken from Batman Eternal #16 and of course we can see the Harley Quinn artwork was used on Detective Comics #23.2.

Then, if you squint hard enough, you can identify the two characters from the back of the box as Poison Ivy from Detective Comics #23.1 and Joker from Batman #23.1, though I think those two were a given to be included in the game anyway, so it’s not too much of a surprise!

But this does leave us with the interesting thought that the remaining 9 characters might be taken from other covers in this series, the question being… which ones?

Court of Owls has already been confirmed as a Follower in the game, as it is featured on Harley Quinn’s character card, so that one is out as a character.

By the same token Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins isn’t really something you could put on a character card, and would be more suited to a Stranger card or even a space personality, maybe even Dice with Death?

Then we have to consider which of the original Talisman characters have been brought over to this edition of the game. All we know for sure is that the Sorceress has so far, but even with Poison Ivy being spotted, we can’t assume that she will be the Prophetess. Any of the original characters would suit either gender, but have the designers gone with the various traits of the villains to port them to Talisman?

We know that Two-Face‘s coin has made it into the game as the Fate token, but is he a character, or does he perhaps replace the Enchantress on the board? He could even be the Druid with his Alignment-changing ability.

Killer Croc would make for a good Troll replacement, but he’d also work well as the mini-boss of the Werewolf’s Den. Joker’s Daughter is just really disturbing, so I’m hoping that she isn’t playable! Man-Bat could move about the board like the Elf perhaps too…

It’s also possible that they have mixed up some of the characters from the base game and various expansions that exist in the Talisman-universe, for example Clayface would make for a good Shape Shifter, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Bear in mind that I could be totally off target here, but it’s certainly been fun trying to get into the mind of the designers.

We are sure to find out soon enough, though as the clock is ticking down to release in June, we’ll hopefully start to see more of the game in the coming weeks.

More as we hear it!

“First ponderings…” Article on Talisman Island

BoardGameGeekTV on Twitch

Villain Month on Comic Vine

Press Release on USAopoly