Talisman Board Game Tactics: The Reaper

In terms of expansion for TALISMAN, I consider The Reaper a mandatory expansion- both the first to pick up, second to add in and play in every game.

New cards, spells, characters and encounters are always nice, but the Reaper NPC really adds some depth to the game without any expansion bloat.

Rules are simple.

Tactics complex.

Anytime a player rolls a “1” for movement, they make the move, resolve the encounter card, and before the turn ends, roll a D6, moving the Reaper that many spaces.

If death lands on another player, they roll 1D6 on the Reaper NPC chart and apply the results- fate if in play, light/dark in play can also be used.

As with many things in Talisman, the encounter can be deadly- loss of life, followers, or even character death. Of course death can also grant you a boon, or even turn on another player.


Generally speaking one wants to keep a fate token at the ready, just in case death lands or is sent to them- especially mid or end game when you have a ton of loot and experience.

Unlike getting toaded, death is permanent.

If only playing with the main board, the Reaper becomes very potent as there is little place to hide. Playing with the corner expansions like the Highlands, etc. gives one a bit more room to avoid death.

Tactically you can send him after another player, while also using him as a kind of soft area denial.

If I think one of the players is going to go relic raiding in the Dungeon as part of their strategy- send the Reaper into the dungeon so they have to navigate and consider running into him.

In terms of the narrative, player vs. player Reaper battles bring out lots of fun. I’ve played many games where death was sent from one player to another, back to first, and over to the second with everybody furiously spending fate to get rid of him.

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