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Relic board game title

A Warp rift has erupted near the Antian Sector, and under its baleful influence Chaos infestations and other abhorrent phenomena have surfaced. To face this threat, agents of the Imperium have come forth: Space Marine, Inquisitor, Commissar, Rogue Trader, and more. To succeed, such heroes will need skill and weaponry, courage and faith, and even the assistance of ancient and powerful relics.

Relic board game figures and cards

Relic is a board game in which two to four players each assume the role of a powerful hero from the Warhammer 40,000 universe and bravely venture forth to shield the Antian Sector from certain doom. By completing missions and defeating enemies, characters compete to gain rewards and experience, furthering their chance of being the first to defeat whatever evil lies beyond the Warp rift.

A beautifully detailed game board depicts the major areas of the Antian Sector, immersing players in the grim darkness of the far future. The Outer Region is where all characters begin, taking their first steps toward epic success or ignominious failure, and its twenty-four spaces circle the edge of the board. Beyond lies the Middle Region, separated by the perilous Webway Portal and beckoning all true heroes to face its many challenges. Finally, in the deadly Inner Region, where only the Imperium’s mightiest dare travel, the final test can be found. Dare you face it?

Relic game in play
images © Fantasy Flight Games

User Reviews (5)

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Cooperative Game Explorer
Amateur Advisor
Gamer - Level 6
30 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Challenges await! Do you dare to enter the Warp?”

When I first saw the Relic game, I didn’t know what to make of it. The game box itself said that the game play was reminiscent of Talisman, and I thought to myself, “Well, I already have Talisman, why should I get this as well?” Well, first off, it’s a sci-fi version of the game, so if fantasy isn’t quite your thing, imagining space marines taking on all threats might appeal to you more. Secondly, there is enough of a difference between the two games to make both equally interesting for one who likes a little bit of style change and a lot of challenge.

Relic provides some backstory set in the Warhammer 40K universe, which I myself know some of but am not highly educated in. The basic premise is that a Warp Rift has formed and the Eldar, a race of beings that are akin to elves from a fantasy setting, are guarding this rift. In addition, the rift is causing corruption to seep into the surroundings, and races like the orcs and tyrannids are up in arms and openly hostile. It’s up to the agents of the Imperium to stop the rift and restore order. To that end, there are eight characters that players can select from, each with their own special power sets and rewards gained from leveling during the game. Relic also provides materials to keep track of each character’s main attributes, which are Strength, Willpower, Cunning, and Life. Strength, Willpower, and Cunning can never go below their starting values, but Life can move up or down as situations dictate.

The Relic board itself is very similar to the Talisman setup: There is an Outer Region, a Middle Region, and an Inner Region (called Tiers in Relic). The Outer and Middle Regions are free to explore as a player chooses; when the time comes to move, a player can choose to move clockwise around the board, or counter-clockwise. The Inner Region, however, is one-way; once a character enters the Inner Region, they must continue until they reach the center, or until they are Vanquished (lost all life) or Corrupted (gained 6 Corruption cards – at this point, a new character is needed). To get to the Middle Region, players must make their way to two of the corner spaces and fulfill the special requirements to move to the Middle Region next turn. In order to get to the Inner Region, a player must have a Relic card (powerful cards that have a significant impact on the game), which can only be gotten by completing three Missions (assignment cards that detail specific goals and rewards).

In the Outer and Middle Regions, there are spaces that contain Threat icons: Red, Blue, and Yellow. If a space contains one or more of these icons, when a player lands on that space, they must draw Threat cards from the appropriate Threat decks. Red Threats are usually threats that require Strength tests in order to overcome (but not always). Likewise, Blue Threats usually require Willpower to overcome, and Yellow Threats usually require Cunning to overcome. Threats come in four varieties: Events, Enemies, Encounters, and Allies. These threats are resolved in that order if more than one are in a space – Events first, then Enemies, then Encounters, then Allies. Events are one-time effects that happen to everyone in a region or to every player. Enemies are adversaries you must overcome in combat, or lose a life. Encounters are usually a skill test of some sort that benefits the character if passed, or detriments the character if failed. Allies are companions who can boost your abilities or add new skills that can aid your mission.

Movement around the board is very similar to Talisman: Every turn, a player rolls a six-sided die and moves exactly that many spaces around the board. Relic introduces a new mechanic for movement in the form of Power Cards. A Power Card has a specific ability that can be used to affect certain aspects of the game, such as being able to gain Influence (what counts for currency in the game) after a successful combat, to being able to double a specific attribute’s value for one turn. A Power Card also has a value from 1 to 6 listed on the card; this number can be used in place of a die roll for skill test rolls, movement rolls, and combat rolls. The card must be used before the roll, unless the card says otherwise. This is very useful if there is a location you need to get to on the board and you don’t want to leave it to chance, but at the same time, Power Cards are typically hard to come by. Only characters can use Power Cards; enemies cannot.

Combat is also similar to Talisman; each enemy has a number listed in the upper right hand corner of their card, and a corresponding color to that number. The color indicates which attribute will be used in combat: Red for Strength, Blue for Willpower, Yellow for Cunning. An opposing player rolls a single die for the enemy and adds the result to the number on the card to get the enemy’s overall strength. Then the player rolls a die and adds the result to their matching attribute, or uses a Power Card and adds that featured value to the attribute instead. If the result is greater than the enemy’s result, the player collects the enemy as a trophy. Otherwise, the enemy remains on the space, the player loses a life, and that player moves to the experience phase immediately. What is new from Talisman is what is known as the Explode ability: When a player or enemy rolls a six or plays a Power Card with a six value, then that character ‘explodes’ and can roll the die once more, adding that value to that six. There is no natural limit to how many times a die can explode; it is theoretically possible to keep exploding multiple times during combat, which can lead to some staggering total values. This can make even the meekest enemy a potential threat in the right conditions, or a one-sided fight suddenly a come-from-behind victory.

In Talisman, there were initiative values assigned to cards to indicate which card to resolve first. In Relic, those values are gone; if a character is to fight multiple enemies, two things can happen. If those enemies have the same color attribute, then the character must fight those multiple enemies at the same time. In that case, a single die is rolled and added to all the enemies’ attribute values to make up a single total. If the character wins, they collect all the battling enemies at once. If the numbers are differing colors, the player may choose which order in which to fight the monsters, using separate combats for each.

Like Talisman, there can only be one winner, but unlike Talisman, there is more of a cooperation mentality than an adversarial one; there are opportunities where players can help each other out in certain tasks. My thoughts on the game are that it is a fun and challenging game, but it can be frustrating in more ways than one. To have a good chance of surviving the endgame, a player must gain levels and increase attributes, but it is entirely possible to have enemies that are nigh unkillable at the start. That can make a long game even longer, and from my experience, even a two-player game can take up to 3 hours or more to complete. For challenging games, though, this one serves up enough for an experienced gamer to whet their whistle. It is simple enough for casual gamers, but don’t expect a quick game in any sense of the word.

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30 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“A fantastic rebirth of Talisman but for the 40k world”

When this game was first announced I could see how much I would love it. Being a player and follower of the Warhammer 40,000 world for 18 years, has given me a passion for the warp, the Imperium and the Waaaaaaagh of the Orks. I have also been a keen player of talisman in my years, although I have not yet had the chance to work through some games of 4th Edition. Although some early responses on the FFG forums gave some negative responses, I was more than happy with the idea of a version of Talisman, but using the lore from 40k. What actually lay ahead was much much more than I expected.

My first impressions were good. The air cushioned cards feel crisp, and even without protectors should last years worth of gaming. The card dials are strong, and reminded me of the dial from Infiltration, which added to the huge amount of counters in the box. The board was of great printing quality, with my only criticism being the grazing around the folds and joints of the board. The instructions are concise and fairly clear, but I didn’t really explore them myself. As standard with all of FFG’s main releases they made a PDF of the rules available online, a week or so before it’s release. I had already studied these several times, so was raring to go on my first game. One recommendation I would put forward is to read all the spaces on the board before your game. Doing this will make several of the rules clearer from the rulebook. I was personally a bit confused about ‘Wargear’ cards, but as soon as I read the relevant spaces on the board it all made sense.

Our First Game
Our first game was great. None of us really knew what to expect, and enjoyed learning the rules as we went along. The players were myself (a vetren board-gamer), My Wife (a fairly experience gamer), and her friend (a ‘real’ board game noob).

We all drew a player card and took our wonderfully sculpted playing piece, ready to face the terrors of the warp. The game flowed really well, and we all understood the rules fairly quickly. Taking the mission cards was what took the longest. We all read them aloud and worked out what to do so we all had an understanding of them. Considering Amber has never faced a game like this she coped well, and I’m sad to say that she actually won! (One roll in front of Tashy to her anger!)

Near the end of the game things got a bit confusing as we headed to the centre tier. We all went in far to early (only being level 4ish each). This was brutal and it was pure luck that any of us made it in alive. For our next game we will keep on rolling around, fighting the bad guys, and grinding our levels up.

Final Musings
Relic is awesome. This could be swayed by my love of Warhammer 40,000, but I think that any sci-fi fan, who appreciates board-gaming would love every moment of this.

The length of the game is much longer, than expected, but much of this could be due to it being our first game. This has the same Fantasy Flight quality that we all have grown to expect and has a reasonable RRP price. In the UK it could be hard to track down, but most of the online game retailers have a few in stock.

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I'm Completely Obsessed
Book Lover
Advanced Reviewer
16 of 18 gamers found this helpful
“An Excellent 40K Adaptation of the Talisman system”

I was a fan of the Talisman system since the Revised edition, and the FFG version of the game has taken that game to whole new levels. Having said that, Relic takes the improved FFG Talisman game and builds on it even further, taking the basic design of Talisman and adapting it to the Warhammer 40000 Universe.

Some of the highlights of the game for me:

Great artwork: the cards and especially the game board look amazing.

Improved character development: while still recognizable as the Talisman-system, Relic used a leveling system. Each character gains different perks for advancing in level when they trade in their trophies (kills). Also, the level and ability score cap keeps the game from suffering the occasional “uber-stat” character that will sometimes crop up in Talisman.

Triple Threat: rather than one massive Adventure deck, this game has 3 colored Threat decks (red for strength/Orks, blue for willpower/Tyranids, and Yellow for cunning/Eldar) that are drawn in different combinations on the different board spaces. I liked this, as it lets you somewhat focus on exploring areas that favor a particular stat, so you can build up a weak ability or play to your strengths depending on your preferences.

The cards: the Corruption cards are an interesting element, and many of the Threat cards offer you genuinely tempting bonuses for accepting a Corruption card. The relic and wargear decks offer two ways to get assets, and the mission deck is a lot of fun as your character undertakes missions to increase influence, gain military assets/allies, and of course gain the titular relics to help them in their quest for victory

The downsides:

Character pieces and boards: While I love the look of the character busts and character cards, I’m a bit worried about the longevity of these pieces. The cardboard character stat dials look awesome but I worry that over time they’ll wear out a lot faster than the plastic tokens used in Talisman. The character busts are cool and very well crafted, but since you are popping them on or off the colored bases that go to each character board each game you play, I have a small concern that there will be that fateful day where the color base breaks. Time will tell, though, and they may prove more durable than they look at first glance.

Game length: This game seems, like Talisman, to have a tendency to play long (our last game ran a good four hours before we had to call it so people could go home to get some sleep). My hope is that as more of our group become familiar with the game, things will go a bit faster, but it may just be that like Talisman this game will be prone to occasional marathon bouts. The good news is, it’s a ton of fun so as long as you don’t mind an occasional long epic game this isn’t really an issue.

All in all, I really like this game and I’m glad I added it to my collection. I’ve already picked up the Nemesis expansion, and I’m keen to see PvP elements added to the game, as well as the upcoming Halls of Terra which introduces an expansion board to the game.

If you’re up for some epic science fantasy/science fiction adventure in the Warhammer 40K universe, this game brings it all to the table. I highly recommend it!

Player Avatar
Intermediate Reviewer
Spread the Word
53 of 64 gamers found this helpful
“I'm going to catch hell for this.”

I loved Talisman and I loved 40K.
I did not love this game.
Its a wonderful re-skin. It looks gorgeous. It’s the bits that were added that just seemed to confuse and bog the game. Cunning didn’t need to happen. nor did they really need to break things down to 3 decks.
And at its core It’s still wondering around the outer ring for an hour and a half praying for a little luck. Just less fun.
If you liked Talisman you will like this one too. Just a little less.
If you did not like talisman go ahead and pass up on this one.

Player Avatar
Intermediate Reviewer
16 of 19 gamers found this helpful
“A worthy alternative to Talisman and a GREAT game.”

Relic – by Fantasy Flight Games

Before I start I should point out that there will be a lot of comparisons between this and Talisman seeing as this game is based on the Talisman game system and there are a lot of elements which haven’t changed much, or at all! A lot of the reviews I’ve read so far have avoided this but I think that a comparison is needed to see where this game came from and where improvement has been made.

When this game was announced in the misty past of last year I was so excited I could have happily skipped to the shops to pre order a copy! Talisman is one of my favourite fantasy board games and although I’m not the biggest fan of the Warhammer 40,000 franchise, (I personally prefer a fantasy setting) the prospect of them being put together to form some form of hybrid game was an exciting one.
I decided to wait until the game was released, and I could get a play test of it, before I bought a copy. Coincidentally, not too long after release one of my gaming group picked the game up and brought it round for a game and a thorough rummage through the gubbins! (He even left the tokens unpunched for me to punch out as he knows I derive some form of childish enjoyment from it! Ta muchly Rich!!!).

The box is the same size as that of Talisman, featuring your regular 40k style artwork depicting an Ultramarines Space Marine on the box lid and the back has the usual fare of game and contents guff found on all Fantasy Flight Games.
Inside the box the board the board is very similar in arrangement to the Talisman board but this is to be expected but I have a slight issue with the colours. It’s a little dark! The cards are easily overlooked as the artwork on the board is very ‘busy’. There is a lot going on all over the board, as though the artists were getting paid on commission and wanted a new car. The quality of the work is fantastic, don’t get me wrong here, but they could have reined it in a little. The Talisman board had a good balance of detailed pictures and panoramic views with a great balance of colours, and I know that this is the ‘Dark Future’ but I think the brief was read a little too literally.
Moving on from this, before I lose any more readers, the cards are brilliant. In a different approach than Talisman took each space has one of three coloured icons on it, representing Strength, Willpower and Cunning (Red, blue and yellow respectively). These three different icons have separate decks of encounter cards, making a large improvement on Talismans single enor-frickin’-mous pile of encounter cards which made shuffling a feat of endurance. Each colour has a balanced mix of events, which can have many random effects on the game and players, Places, which stay on the board and offer new ways to progress and move, random pieces of equipment and then enemies which must be defeated to progress further. There are also mission cards which must be taken by the players and completed to gain access to the eponymous relics, artifacts and weapons of a bygone era giving you fantastic power ups and allowing you to progress into the inner region of the board and go for the win. Certain enemies and events will force players to take Corruption cards, which can have positive or negative effects for the player but too many will kill you deader than disco. Equipment cards containing basic weapons and armour to aid you in battle. Finally we have the power cards, these are similar to magic found in Talisman but they have a value as well as an effect and can be used instead of a dice roll, for example if you have to roll a five to win a fight and have a power card with a value of five, you can use that instead. This, in my opinion, is better than the fate system from Talisman as that just gives you re-rolls, leaving the outcome just as random as the initial roll. This allows more control over certain events and gives you more of a chance.

The tokens are good, they have the usual vinyl effect to them so they feel sturdy, there are skulls in each of the four player colours, used for various purposes throughout the game. Charge tokens, for abilities and areas with limited uses and Influence tokens. These are basically your currency and I think they missed a trick here. In Talisman the gold coins are plastic molded coins, which add a really nice tactile element to the game. Here they are just little cardboard triangles bearing the Imperial Aquila. They could easily have done some imperial credits or some other currency unit and made some equally nice pieces but it’s nothing worth marking them down for!

The player reference material comes in two parts in this game. First you have the character cards which show any special traits they character has, starting strength, willpower, cunning and health values and a character portrait, which are a marked improvement on those found in Talisman, they are really good here.
The second part is a new addition to the system and a bloody good one. It is a level tracker. Each time you trade in 6 points worth of enemies (based on the threat values on the enemy cards) you progress to the next level and gain two bonuses, usually an increase in one of your skills and then your characters bonus which can range from extra influence tokens, power cards extra increases to stats and even completed mission bonuses. The stats are tracked with four dials numbered one to twelve (which gives the skills an upper limit this time) and this makes a great improvement to the countless plastic cones used in Talisman.

Finally we get to the playing pieces themselves, which was one of the main selling points for many people. They are incredibly well sculpted busts of the characters which can be affixed to one of the four coloured player bases. They are fantastic! The level of detail is very high and they fit the theme very well, and on top of that they look great on the table. Some people will hanker for miniatures as opposed to busts but these make a refreshing change to the regular slew of miniatures packaged with games these days, and if you want to have a dabble with some brushy business they look great painted, as a quick Google browse will show.


In terms of gameplay there isn’t much of a difference between this and Talisman, the core mechanic of roll a d6, move and do what the board or cards tell you to do, rinse and repeat remains but the changes make it stand apart. The leveling up adds more control to your progression and getting killed in combat no longer means getting lumbered with a new, weak character, you simply lose some of your gathered gubbins, influence and unspent enemy points etc. and simply move to a safe spot and carry on. The only way to lose a character is to reach your corruption threshold, which for most is 6 corruption cards.
Unlike the vanilla Talisman game, Relic comes with five different scenarios out of the box, making for more play options while waiting for the inevitable expansions and the changes to character progression means that the game runs considerably quicker than its predecessor which in turn means that a game of Relic can be fitted into a standard gaming day instead of being the sole event. This also works well as a two player game as it runs quicker and easier.

After playing Relic and looking back to my review of Talisman in which I gave it 7/10 I would say that Relic deserves 8/10. The improvements and changes to the system all work well and make for a great gaming experience. It would never replace Talisman but it makes for a quicker alternative and a different choice for those with a penchant for some sci-fi or just 40k fans. I’m not so sure that hardcore GW fanboys will take to this as fanboys of any material are hard to please, especially with seeing their favourite material in a new format, but I would implore them to take a chance on this game as all of the lore and feeling of the grim future is present and FFG have done a stellar job.


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