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Mansions of Madness: Second Edition» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Straight outta the box, first impressions rss

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Bruce Moffatt
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I've just received my copy of MoM 2e today, and I felt it might be helpful to some to give my first impressions about the box contents, focussing particularly on some items that have been hotly debated in the forums. I will not be discussing gameplay at all in this review; this is all about the bits.

The Miniatures
First let me state for clarity that I own MoM 1st edition, all the expansions and PODs and I have painted the miniatures. This is the first chance that I have had to see any of the miniatures that were produced later in the premium series. There are some differences between 1e and 2e.

1e investigators were moulded in PVC and glued to a 1mm thick, 13 mm wide black styrene plastic disc. They were held in place by glue and very tiny pvc pegs molded on the feet of the characters. Sculpts from 1e ranged from brilliant (Harvey Walters, "Ashcan" Pete) to ordinary (Bob Jenkins). Mold lines were thin but present on most figures, the female investigator's shoes in some cases looked big and clumsy, but overall for PVC figures, the level of detail is quite acceptable.

2e investigators consist of a single, pvc molded figure with base all in one. To my eye, the level of detail is better; sharper and with more detail. Poses are all a little static, except for Rita Young, who is either running to save her friends, or legging it to avoid a slimy death.

Across the entire range released so far, there are some multi-part miniatures (preassembled) that have good 3D poses. As with 1e and our favourite 'matrix/bullet time' private investigator, Joe Diamond; Agatha Crane steps up to the plate with her coat blowing in the breeze. Joe's Neo impression with accompanying defiance of gravity wins out, imho.

The 2e investigators blend very well with their 1e counterparts. The molded bases are slightly thicker than the 1e base, and require a little cleanup. I'll be interested to see if the 2e expansion packs have the investigators supplied in 1e or 2e style.

Now to the monsters and what is to many owners/players a great annoyance, those big square bases. If you aren't aware, the bases were specifically designed by FFG to allow the monsters to be used in any of the Arkham Files games. All that is required is to slip the appropriate cardboard chit from the game you want to play into the slot, and you're set. I personally think it's a great idea, but I am a rabid FFG Mythos game fan, so having one set of miniatures to use across at least 3 games, is extremely economical and practical for me. An issue I found with many of the bases included in my box was that they had a lot of flash (excess plastic) around the slots and mounting holes. Some of it is quite thick and will require a sharp exacto knife to remove. If you want to minimise damage to the inserted monster chits, I would recommend making sure the slots are completely smooth using a small file or sanding stick, and be sure that any pegs for the miniatures do not extend into the slot. Cut any excess off with an exacto knife.

Update
On test fitting the cardboard chits into the smallest (humanoid) sized bases, I found that every base included in my game will not accept the cardboard without a lot of force applied. I am going to try and remedy the problem with a base or two, but if I can't, I'll have to get in touch with FFG about the problem.

The 1e chit sized Humanoid bases did not have this problem either. That would tend to indicate a change in manufacturing or a dodgy mold tooling for 2e.

The larger bases do not have this problem.


I think the bases in 2e are a little better sized for the miniatures they support (I mean they are not hugely oversized). Having said that, the mounting holes for some of the miniatures are very poorly placed, resulting in the miniatures obscuring some of all of the information slot in the top of the base. The two primary offenders here are the Star Spawn, and the Deep Ones. I will be filling the existing holes and moving the figures forward on the bases to leave the slot clear. There is more than enough room to do that for both types. (About 12mm for the SS and half that for the DO).

On to the sculpts; they are all fairly respectable, sporting some fine detail again and quite interesting poses. They are severely let down by the molding. All figures have quite thick mold lines that will need to be scraped or filed away prior to painting. In some cases, mold registration seems to have been an issue. The ghost's left boot is a good example of bad registration. There is a crescent shaped void on the outside facing backwards that will require filling before painting. Incidentally, Bobo the clown called and asked me to tell the Ghosts that he wants his boots back...
If you are having trouble getting your monsters to settle into their proper places, give them the (hot water) treatment! Boil (yes,boil) your kettle or a pan of water on the stove. Fill a container large enough with enough water to completely immerse the figure. Let the water stand for a minute or two, then dunk the figure (not the base!) into the water positioning it with tweezers or tongs so it's standing upright. Take the figure out and position on its base then run cold tap water over it while keeping it in position (sometimes more than 10 fingers required...). Larger,thicker figures will need more time in the near boiling water for the PVC to soften right through. As the PVC softens, it will 'remember' where it was supposed to be, and try and return to its original shape. The sharp cold bath resets the figure to the new shape. Rinse, and repeat if necessary. Trust me, this really works.

The figures are well scaled together; that is to say all the humanoids are approximately the same height. Overall I'm quite pleased with the new figures supplied in 2e and I'm looking forward to painting them although there will be some considable cleanup required on the monsters.

Cardstock components
I honestly I don't have a lot to say here. FFG does cards and boards extremely well. All parts are printed with the usual linen finish and the board art is incredibly detailed! They look extremely impressive and there are lots of small details that your eye may not pick up on at first glance.

The card art is quite good. A lot of it may seem familiar as it is drawn from a huge library of artwork that FFG must now have of Mythos art. Some of the card art seems to have been done by artists I am not familiar with, as I did note that some card art was stylistically a little different from usual. New investigator portraits will have you double checking that you have the right investigator and matching miniature. In my book, the identifying portraits should have stayed the same consistently throughout the Arkham Horror Files Range. It doesn't take too long to get used to new appearances though.

Summing up
The good: a great range of miniatures, not GW quality but ranging from more than acceptable to downright excellent given they are molded in PVC, not styrene.

Excellent cardstock board sections sporting beautiful and highly detailed artwork.

Conversion kit for 1e owners. This is a big deal. Not something you would see every game company do. Your tiles, monsters and investigators can be integrated into 2e without a hitch. That gives your 1e ongoing usefulness and value, even if you aren't planning on playing it as 1 vs many.

The bad: Some poorly molded monster figures will require extra attention prior to painting.

Stands have mounting points badly placed, and require considerable cleanup. Small base slots too thin for chits.

The conversion kit lacks a second set of counters for the cultists. I assume that a dozen might throw a real spanner into the game balance... oh well, I can paint the others in different coloured robes, variety is the spice of life...

Once punched and sitting on the table, the game physically doesn't look like a game of its MSRP, BUT there's the app that forms an intangible, but very substantial part of the game, making it the sum of much more than its physical components.

My verdict: a very satisfying purchase. Zero buyers remorse.

TL/DR: minor nits to pick, but go buy it anyway.
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BT Carpenter
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Christopher Taylor
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byronczimmer wrote:
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Oh great, now I'm stuck in an endless loop!

whistle
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Dillon Flaherty
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Scrat wrote:


Once punched and sitting on the table, the game physically doesn't look like a game of its MSRP, BUT there's the app that forms an intangible, but very substantial part of the game, making it the sum of much more than its physical components.



Really well said! I remember thinking the exact same thing when I first set everything out. It was only after playing it once or twice that it felt like it was "worth" it - but the app is great, and very well designed!
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oldschoolgamr
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c4dillon wrote:
Scrat wrote:


Once punched and sitting on the table, the game physically doesn't look like a game of its MSRP, BUT there's the app that forms an intangible, but very substantial part of the game, making it the sum of much more than its physical components.



Really well said! I remember thinking the exact same thing when I first set everything out. It was only after playing it once or twice that it felt like it was "worth" it - but the app is great, and very well designed!

Yeah, you should look at the app and imagine numerous decks of cards packed inside: monster attacks, event cards, mythos cards - and for each randomized room, investigator, and scenario specific versions of each stack...

That app saved a ton of trees.
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Scrat wrote:
To my eye, the level of detail is better; sharper and with more detail.


I also own the first edition and I agree with your observation. My 2nd edition figures do seem to have more flashing and areas that need to be cleaned up (not necessarily mold lines) but overall the detailing does seem to be be sharper.
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Bruce Moffatt
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anarchy wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
See also: N/A


Oh great, now I'm stuck in an endless loop!

whistle


Ftfy Christopher, my fault. I must've pulled the trigger before I'd actually finished writing (hit submit instead of preview)... whistle
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