Vladimir Chvatil





G@mebox author Doug Adams writes about the game :

I was first introduced to the game Prophecy by a local gaming buddy, who was trying to find a copy of this apparently hard-to-find game from the Czech Republic. I didn't know the game, however after some swift research, it appeared the main claim to fame was that it was "Talisman Done Right". Having slain a cardboard beast or two in my gaming career and climbed up to Talisman's Crown of Command a few times, I had to investigate.

Prophecy is indeed your good old Talisman-style game. You know how it goes ... two to five players start off young and raw, barely trained but ready for the world. There is evil in the land, which must be thwarted, but first you have to build up your mind and muscle before taking on that task. Basically, boiled down, you have to recover four of the five Artefact items in the game, which begin in possession of the evil Guardians, in order to win.

Prophecy makes a nice first impression. A large, square box could be mistaken for a pizza delivery was it not for the bold title and nice art on the box lid. Opening the box we're confronted by a large game board, several different decks of cards, and lots of beads in four different colours.


The game board is the most striking component - it's large and colourful and almost cartoonish in artistic style. The layout of the board on which the adventure takes place is circular, and consists of twenty different spaces, which the characters move between. The spaces are broadly divided into Wilderness and Civilization. There are also Astral Planes, where the Guardians reside, as well as sea routes and magic portals for quicker travelling between different spaces on the board. The rest of the space on the game board is efficiently used for storing the various decks of cards.

There are ten characters in the game, and they are rather generic in terms of their starting statistics. Characters have a Health rating, which also represents their current Strength - this is very nice as when a character becomes a bit battered, their Strength rating drops with their Health. Similarly, the characters also have a Willpower/Magic rating for the mental side of the adventure.

Characters have an additional characteristic - they belong to two of the five Guilds that exist in the game. Guilds are important spaces on the board as it is here that characters can train and improve their skills. Characters can visit and benefit from any guild, but if it's one of their home guilds, it's much less expensive.


The other major components in the game are the cards, and there are several decks of these:

Guardians and Artefacts.
Artefacts are what the players need to acquire to win, and of course both a Greater and Lesser Guardian guards each Artifiact.

Adventure Cards
The meat and potatoes of the game. This deck is full of monsters, treasure, encounters, and items... all just waiting to be discovered. There are some amusing cards in this deck - it took me a few minutes to work the point of the Four Leaf Clover card.

Ability Cards
Basically these are the training cards that become available at the Guilds. They can be purchased with experience points if you're a member of the Guild. Non-members have to pay experience points AND gold for a training card.

Item Cards
Items are the weapons, spells and items that come up for sale in the civilization spaces.

Chance Cards
These are the game engine. Every player turn the top Chance card is flipped up and actioned. It cycles cards and resources through the game, preventing it stagnating. For example, if nobody wants to purchase a particular skill, it will be eventually removed via the Chance cards. This is a very clever idea and works very well in practice.


One thing that stands out when you begin playing Prophecy is how well the components have been designed. Bold symbols on the game board tell you at a glance what can be done where - healing and sanctuary at the Monastery; grubby income at the Thieves Guild, and so on. The item/skills cards also nicely summarize their benefits via clear icons, and are printed in portrait/landscape fashion according to type - this makes it very easy to sort and tally. The adventure cards are also clearly presented. For example, various creatures have a class - undead, animal, demon, etc - each class having it's own distinctive background colour. So when you pick up the Mighty Javelin of Undead Despatching, you can quickly scan the board looking for the parchment grey undead colour and lock onto target. In short, the utility of the game is very good.

A player's turn consists of flipping up the next Chance card from the stack, and actioning it. Then a player may move their character using one of the many movement options. The least expensive option is to walk their character to either adjacent space. In increasing order of cost, a horse may be hired to move 2 spaces, a boat can be caught to move to an adjacent port, or players can pay 2 gold to teleport through a magic gate to another gate. The variety of movement options solves one of the "problems" of Talisman - players can plan where they want to go - you do not have to move at the whim of a die roll.

After movement, the characters encounter their space. This usually means fighting any creatures located there, and/or using the "possibilities" of the space.

Fighting is very similar to Talisman - a characters Strength is added to the roll of a die, and totals are compared to the opponent. If a character is intelligent enough, they can shift the fight over to a battle of Willpower. The highest total wins, the loser is either eliminated (creature) or has to reduce Health (character). Losing a fight forces a player to end their turn, forfeiting any chance of using the possibilities of the space. Victory for a character usually means they pick up some experience points, and gold.

If the characters have not lost a fight, they can use the possibilities of the space on which they are located. The wilderness spaces usually have adventure cards located in them to encounter; training can be performed at the Guilds - increasing skills for a cost of experience (and perhaps gold). If the character is located in a Civilization space, they can do some shopping, heal themselves, repair damaged weapons ... even seek sanctuary from the other players (nothing beats a good, undisturbed, night's sleep!)

As characters advance in the game, they increase their Strength and Willpower ratings, acquire useful items, and increase their skills at the Guilds. A common trait for these types of games is for characters to cross some sort of invisible threshold, where they become so strong that they are almost invulnerable. This game is no different, and it isn't long before players are gazing at the Astral Plane spaces, thinking Artefacts and victory.

To obtain one of the four Artefacts you require to win the game, you have to enter the Astral Planes, and defeat the Guardians. A Lesser Guardian, and a Greater Guardian, both of which have to be defeated to claim the Artifact, defends each Artefact. Once claimed, the Artefact bestows a powerful ability on the owner.

Once players begin to claim Artefacts, they may now begin attacking each other. The rules don't prevent player vs. player combat before the Artefacts enter the game, but they state that it is almost pointless. If a player defeats an Artefact owner in combat, they take one of the defeated players Artefacts. This forces the game towards a conclusion, as once all the Artefacts are recovered from the Astral Planes, players are eliminated from the game as soon as they find themselves without an artefact.

The winner of the game is the player with four of the five artifacts.

Prophecy is a good game, attractively presented, with excellent components. The English rulebook I received with the game is excellent, very clear with absolutely no rules clarifications required. If Prophecy has a down side for me, it would have to be the game length. My two player games have taken around 3 hours to play, and the one 5 player game I've attempted was probably an hour off finishing after four hours of play. I like the game, however the length will ensure it's a once or twice a year game for me, and probably four players maximum.

You will enjoy Prophecy if you are a fan of fantasy adventure games. If Talisman is still your thing, you definitely want to investigate Prophecy. Prophecy improves on Talisman via a better game engine, and providing genuine game player strategies to consider.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany