Comic Book Curious

Unlocking the Door to the Board: Kingdom Hearts Talisman

December 3, 2021

Welcome to part three of this initial 5-part run of anime-themed board games! This week is exciting, as it brings together two very unlikely game franchises together. In one corner, we have the Talisman board games franchise, a high fantasy medieval world, and in the other corner is a fantasy/action RPG famous for a highly confusing story. That game is Kingdom Hearts! Similar to last week, we'll begin by giving brief overviews of both Talisman and Kingdom Hearts, then introducing the game itself, and lastly, explaining how to play!

Let's begin!

Those more well-versed in their board games may already know of the Talisman franchise, beginning all the way back in 1983. It was designed by Robert Harris and produced by Games Workshop; in fact, you can find them here. The main goal of the game is reaching the "crown of command" at the entrance of the board, where players progress through the main sections of the board: outer, middle, and inner (the inner called the "Valley of Fire"). Now, why is the game called "Talisman"? Because the name stems from the rule that only when a character possesses a talisman may they enter the valley of fire. Each player has to pick a hero, all of whom have Life, Strength, and Craft attributes. Each Character does have varying levels of these stats, however. From there, the game plays pretty usually; ultimately the game is over when all characters die.

Remember this, as most of these rules carry over to the new game that we will talk about in just a few moments. So now, let's talk about the other half of this board game collaboration, the little franchise that probably NOBODY (little joke) has heard of: Kingdom Hearts.

Art for Kingdom Hearts

Credit: Square Enix

The Kingdom Hearts franchise is one of a rather unlikely meeting between developers: Square Enix and Disney. The series supposedly came to be due to a happen-stance elevator meeting between Tetsuya Nomura and a Disney exec who listened to his pitch. Eventually, the collaboration came to be! It is a video game franchise, not necessarily an "anime," exactly. Nevertheless, it does have an official (although non-canonical) manga adaptation that is worth checking out. Also being developed by Square Enix, who has made both the Final Fantasy and The World Ends with You franchises, who both have received anime adaptations in their own right, Kingdom Hearts is worth a mention in this board game themed series.

The gameplay of the Kingdom Hearts franchise is, for the most part, an action RPG meets hack and slash. I mention "for the most part" because the series has also dipped into the rhythm games and turn-based card games genres occasionally over the years (KH: Melody of Melody, or Chain of Memories, anyone?). In this series, you start off as Sora and his pals Donald and Goofy (yes, that Donald and Goofy) as they travel across the galaxy, saving various worlds from being consumed by "The Darkness." Not only that, but Sora is also trying to get his friends back, as they were snatched away by this encroaching darkness that also plagued their island. And that's just the first game; with the games that followed, he realizes that an organization called "Organization XIII" is behind most of this, and thus the later games all follow that major story. If you want to read a series on breaking down the Kingdom Hearts franchise, let me know!

Now! We have both games introduced, which can almost be taken as small articles in their own right; let us talk about both franchises' collaboration. Kingdom Hearts Talisman is based on the fourth edition of the Talisman series, so you'll be seeing a lot of that carry-over in this game. In short, it is the revised fourth edition of the Talisman game with the Kingdom Hearts grafted onto it.

Done right? Can we just leave now? The article's over.

Box cover for Talisman Kingdom Hearts

Image Credit: Kyle Norris

Well, not quite, because the game itself lends enough personality to really separate itself as its own game! The game's goal is somewhat similar to the first Kingdom Hearts game, where you have to travel to the final realm, gain followers, and seal the door to darkness.

This last section of the article will go over some basics of the game: number of players, components, game setup, and the game turns (movements and encounters).

Now the number of players will affect how long the game will last. Up to 6 players can participate; however, the more players, the longer the game will be. The components of the game are as follows:

The game contents for Talisman Kingdom Hearts

Image Credit: Kyle Norris

  • The Rulebook
  • 7 game board
  • 700 Adventure cards
  • 40 Adventure card tokens
  • 24 Spell cards
  • 6 Stat Boards with Health, Strength & Magic dials
  • 36 Fate Tokens
  • 28 Purchase cards
  • 6 Keyblade cards
  • 77 Character cards
  • 77 Custom Sculpted Character figures
  • 4 Heartless Character cards
  • 30 Munny
  • 6 Six-sided dice

The game setup is similar to that of the Talisman setup we mentioned earlier. Regarding characters, however, you can choose:

Game miniature figures from Talisman Kingdom Hearts

Image Credit: Kyle Norris

  • A character (from either Sora, Donald, Goofy, King Micky, Riku, Kairi, Aqua, Ventus, Terra, Xion, and Mulan)
  • Strength, Magic, and Health
  • A "fate" token (which measures a character's luck throughout the game)
  • A follower Card
  • An Object Card
  • 1 munny
  1. The board is unfolded and placed in the center of the playing area.
  2. The Adventure cards (blue) are shuffled and placed face down beside the board. Place the Adventure card tokens near the cards.
  3. The Spell cards (purple) are shuffled and placed face down beside the board.
  4. The Keyblade cards (red) and Purchase cards (green) are sorted by type and placed face-up beside the board.
  5. One player takes the Character cards, shuffles them, and deals one, face down, to each player. The remaining Character cards are returned to the box and may be available if a Character is Defeated. (Alternate: If all players agree, players may choose their Characters from all available Characters, starting with the youngest player and proceeding in age order).
  6. Each player places their Character card face up in front of them. A player's Character card, Objects, Followers, Stat dials, Munny, Fate tokens, and other game components form their personal play area.
  7. Each player takes the plastic Character figure corresponding to their Character card and places it on the board on the start space indicated on their Character card.
  8. Each player takes a set of stat dials and sets the green dial to the number of Health listed on their Character card, the red dial to the starting Strength value, and the blue dial to the starting Magic weight. If you are playing the faster game, each player chooses either Strength or Magic and increases that value on their dial by 7.
  9. Each player takes several Fate tokens equal to the Fate value listed on their Character card and one Munny. The remaining tokens and Munny are placed to one side as stockpiles for use during the game.
  10. Any player whose Character starts the game with Spells, as detailed in the Character's unique abilities, draws the designated number of Spell cards from the Spell deck. These should not be revealed to other players.
  11. Any player whose Character starts the game with any Object, as detailed in the Character's unique abilities, now takes the designated Object cards from the Purchase piles.
  12. The Heartless cards can be kept aside until needed.
  13. The player who most recently played Kingdom Hearts goes first. Play then proceeds clockwise around the board.

Next is the game turns!

Encounters vary depending on who is encountered. If an enemy is located, of course, a battle begins (see Combat); however, if it is another player, you can offer trades. This can include Munny, Fate Counters, Objects, and followers!

Last is Combat.

The type of Combat is determined based on the stat (either strength or magic) indicated on an enemy card. Combat can be resolved via the following:

  1. 1. Evade: The Character first declares if they are using a Spell or unique ability to evade
    (see "Evading" on page 77). If not, then Combat takes place.
  2. 2. Spells, Objects, and Abilities: Any Spells, Objects, Magical Objects, or abilities that a player wishes to use to affect a Character's Strength or Magic must be implemented before the attack roll is made. Characters may only use one Weapon Object per attack roll unless another ability allows for multiple Weapon Objects to be used (see "Weapons and Armor" and "Using Spells" on page 77).
  3. 3. Ask for Aid: If another Character is in the same space, the attacking player may help defeat the Enemy (see "Asking for Aid" on this page).
  4. 4. Attack Roll: The active player rolls one
    die and adds the result to their Character's Strength or Magic, depending on the type of Combat occurring.
  5. 5. Enemy Attack Roll: Another player now rolls a die for the Enemy's attack roll and adds this to the Enemy's Strength or Magic. This total is the Enemy's attack score.
  6. 6. Compare Attack Scores:
    1. If the Character's attack score is higher, the Enemy is defeated, and the player collects the Enemy card (see "Trophies" on page 77).
    2. If the Enemy's attack score is higher, the Character loses that combat and loses one Health (use of an Object, Spell, or unique ability may prevent this, but for Strength Combat only).
    3. If the attack scores are equal, the result is a stand-off, and there is no effect.
    4. If the Character loses, or the Combat ends in a stand-off; the Character's turn ends immediately.

Now, there is a chance that more than one Enemy could appear. In this instance, it will often be either a character by strength or by magic. Either way, they will have the same encounter number. When multiple enemies do occur, they will always make a single combined attack score. So, while it is a heavier score, you just have to worry about that one score! Luckily, you can ask for aid. However, they do have to land on that space. Assisting characters typically cost 1 munny (the attacked player hands the other player that 1 munny).

From there, more minor details that the game offers to deepen the gameplay, and all of those details can be found here.
Overall, the somewhat surprising collaboration between Talisman and Kingdom Hearts is a rather interesting one. It takes two games that are pretty complex in both plot and gameplay, both are pretty RNG-based (if you ever played Talisman or Kingdom Hearts, you know what I mean) and a bit fluffed and turns it into a reasonably straightforward approach to the game. Overall, I would recommend this to any Kingdom Hearts or Talisman fan!

Other sources:
-, R. C., By, -, & Cordero, R. (2020, September 15). Kingdom hearts talisman: A perfect license for an imperfect game – Boardhammer. Goonhammer. Retrieved November 5, 2021, from
How to Play Talisman: Kingdom Hearts. (n.d.). Retrieved from How to Play Talisman: Kingdom Hearts.

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