New Acquisitions for April 2016 + a little known 3D abstract game, Taliesin

If you've ever watched Star Trek, you will recall the 3D chess game set up in Captain Kirk's quarters, The producers obviously thought that in a further two millenia no new game would be developed in all those years. But, in 1981, there was a new 3D game called Taliesin. The board is circular and the pieces are different in both name and moves, but it is a Chess-like game.

Taliesin is a three-board three-dimensional strategy game that can be played by two players or by two teams of up to four-a-side. Taliesin was originally produced as a £450,000 collector’s item consisting of playing pieces of solid gold and silver. Cheaper sets consisting of playing pieces plated in gold and silver were displayed at Harrods for £1,849 each (several of the limited edition of 800 of these have been sold - some people have more money than sense!), I stocked the game in my shop at the time and I cannot honestly remember actually selling one.

Early marketing involved showing the game at events like the National Chess championships. Several games were set-up for play and the Chess players were invited to try it out. I think that was a mistake. If someone is very good at a game (good enough to be a national champion) then they have tunnel vision when it comes to games. They are 100% interested in 'their' game. A late friend of mine, Donald Benge (he designed another Chess variant called Conquest) would only talk, play or discuss Conquest. You could not get him to do anything else no matter how hard you tried. By the way, if I may digress a little, his 4-Player Conquest is one of the best games I know. Back to Taliesin, the game was also in competitions with prizes of £250, a good some of money 30 years ago.

Taliesin was a 6th century Welsh poet. The subject matter of the game is about the solar system so why this Celtic bard is the name of the game is lost on me. Ranging across the nine planets of the Solar system and the three world levels of the game, wizards and warlords marshal their forces to battle for domination. The objective is to take the opponent’s "Life Force" playing piece or to trap it so it cannot move. There is a Taliesin piece (the most powerful of all) and other pieces take their names from a potpourri of cultures - White Goddess, King Arthur, Centurion, Shogun, Henges, and Warlords. 

You can play a one-board version to "Druids Rules", but you would normally set out the 90 playing pieces across three boards of toughened glass supported by a perspex spine. Each board has 162 "sectors" (playing squares, if you like) formed by the intersection of radii with concentric circles; playing pieces move from one sector to another according to their legally allowable moves. Each square is numbered, too, which makes 3d identi­fication of sectors on the other two boards much easier and also allows you to note moves as you would with a Chess game. Some 27 of each player's 45 pieces are "fighting pieces", the equivalent of pawns, with six "Warlords" (like Bishops) and six "Henges" (like Rooks). Six key pieces can be moved from one board to another extending the range of the battles between forces but as with Chess the vital piece, the "Life Force", can only move in a limited manner: in fact it moves like a King. The rules were relatively simple which is nice as it gives you the opportunity to concentrate on strategy from early on in your learning process.

The game, inevitably, attracted a considerable amount of publicity on its launch. Come on! If you are selling a game in gold and silver, of course the newspapers are going to be interested in the story. You may not sell many (any?) though. The publisher, Talforce Ltd., curiously sent prototypes to ships involved in the Falklands cam­paign, and even to the officers’ mess at R.A.F. Ascension Island. The game was to be featured in the James Bond film, Octopussy, but I do not know if it appeared in the climax of the film between 007 and the world's richest man, Kalid Kahn (played by Louis Jourdin).. I shall check it out next time the film is on the telly.

If any of my readers actually own a copy I would love to see some photographs.

Now to the new games arriving at chez Card Tower this April. Lots of Quartets and Trumps games this month:

 

Industreel Erfgoed Amersfoort

Siesta

1990

 

Blomenkwartet

Heinrich Schwarz

1980

Alfred J. Kwak Wurfel-Puzzle

Schmidt

1988

Durch Osterreich

Jos. Scholz

1920

Bijbelse Tijden

Uljo

2000

Het Nederlands Film Kwartet

NBF

1986

David Domino

Schmidt

1987

Blumen

Pestalozzi

1975

Les Grand Hommes de France

Nathan

1920

Bauernhof Tiere

KiK

2012

Max & Moritz

Schmidt

1989

Neerlands Glorie

Jumbo

1945

Faeries

Chad Valley

1935

Motyli (Butterflies)

Obchodni Tiskarny

1978

Auto-Visionen

Berliner

2010

Schwarzwald

Ravensburger

1930

Police Academy Poker-Quarett

ASS

1984

Motorrader

ASS

2012

Hochseeyachten

Pelikan

1978

Space Alarm

KiK

2012

Bromfietsen en Lichte Motoren

Eldorado

1975

Schnipp-Schnapp

Ges. Geschotz

1925

Pippi Langstrumpf Schwarzer Peter

FX Schmid

1997

Puzzle Boek

Daan Hoeksema

1930

Schnappi das kleine Krokodil Schnipp-Schnapp

Ravensburger

2005

St. Polten Epochen Einer Stadt

Barockit

1986

Die lachende Maus

Ravensburger

1983

Marchen-Quartett

Piatnik

1950

Les Tableaux Celebres (France)

Nathan

1920

Ik ben niet DIK!

E.G.A. Nederland

1993

Helikopter

ASS

2007

LTU International Airways

Carta Mundi

1980

Nieuw Knutsel-Boek

Truus Vinger

1945

Military Planes

Chad Valley

1999

Power Traktor

Ravensburger

2011

Prototypen

ASS

2005

Het Nieuwste Puzzle Boek

Truus Vinger

1947

Hubschrauber

FX Schmid

1980

Motorrader

ASS

2005

Formel 1

ASS

2007

Feuerstuhle

ASS

1982

Airport

Berliner

1990

Bijbelse Tijden Deel II

Uljo

2005

Grusel Quartett

ASS

1995

Feuerwehr

Weltbild

2010

Motoren

Omnium-Wahlwijk

1978

Kvety (Flowers)

Obchodni-Tiskarny

1980

Schones Deutschland

ASS

1950

Car Tuning

Ravensburger

2013

Hansje Brinker

Friesland Bank

1995

Quads

ASS

2007

 

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