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Mansions of Madness: Second Edition» Forums » General

Subject: Any Investigation at all? rss

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Mariano Rico
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I believe the app could have great potential to beef up the investigative part of the game, but with every preview published so far I am getting really concerned with the path the designers took with this one. Everything seems to have been streamlined for the sake of replayability (I am begining to become a bit of a hater of that popular demand. Long live to Legacy!) to a point where the game might become just a mansion crawler where the story, the mystery and the investigation are merely a dressing.

I thought first edition had a great game concept in its base, a contradictory execution of it and a that annoying "replayability" goal messing it all up. But hey, at least they tried to translate to boardgame mechanics what an investigative rpg could only provide. I could tell the intent was there and I salute them for it. And I purchased the whole lot, of course.

But afraid they made a decision, and replayability finnally won the day. All this randomness in the map and monsters, the multiuse Evidence cards hinted with no real story content at all, and not a single word about how investigating the mysteries is really going to play out is making me sad. Anyone please can tell me if you see this game is going to have any investigation at all?
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Bruce
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I share your concern, but I also see since hope. The best case for me is that we get generic(ish) replayable scenarios in the base game and strong story based dlc though the app, best of both worlds.
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I hope it's not going to turn out to be simply a mansion crawl, but that there will be some logic to the story at hand. The idea of "You open a door and are surprised by a Shoggoth!" just wont cut if for me.

What I would like to see is

1. A story line that makes sense

2. Ambient sound effects

3. Use of first edition content for those who previously invested in the game

4. Perhaps the inclusion or later access of previously released stories


And a lower reasonable price tag that doesn't require me taking a bank loan or making a dark pact.
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Chris
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I share your concern. I hope the crafted narrative aspects don't disappear in favor of Lovecraft-themed Descent.
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Mariano Rico
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BruceLGL wrote:
I share your concern, but I also see since hope. The best case for me is that we get generic(ish) replayable scenarios in the base game and strong story based dlc though the app, best of both worlds.


But the base game scenarios are also played through the app. What makes you think that future dlcs will turn away to strengthen the story aspect if they start down replayability avenue?

I also wished they have at least designed scenarios linked to form story based campaigns, which is something I always wished for MoM 1st ed and never happened. Road to Legend gave me hope, but now I am kind of hopeless again, since that doesnt seem to be the choice made in this 2nd ed.
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Joseph Bromley
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Chris and I chatted about how somewhere between Arkham Horror, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective ans Mansions of Madness 1st Edition lay the perfect Lovecraft game.

Now we're getting Arkham Investigator and Mansions 2nd Edition, and honestly, despite pre-ordering Mansions, I think Investigator will probably offer the more truly Lovecraftian experience.

I'm trying to remember how much Investigation there truly is in MoM 1st Edition. Yes, the Mansion was pre-built, but you were pretty well railroaded along the clue chain...

My favourite moments were when you would split the Investigators up, find Clue 1 at one end of the house which pointed toward Clue 2 which one of your other Investigators was about to stumble upon. So exciting.

I hope they somehow replicate the escape from the Innsmouth Gilmann Hotel in 2nd Edition... Racing to the end of a corridor, the app spits out a T-intersection... Do you turn left or right? Eep!

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Mariano Rico
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grahamj wrote:
The idea of "You open a door and are surprised by a Shoggoth!" just wont cut if for me.


Exactly. And the "But guess what, next time you open that same door it might be a Byakhee the one in the library!" just makes things worse.

I share your first wish, pretty sure you will get plenty of your second, positive you will get your third, but just for a while, and doubt you will ever see your last one.

Dark Pacts are fun. Go for it.
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Mariano Rico
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matineeidyll129 wrote:
I'm trying to remember how much Investigation there truly is in MoM 1st Edition. Yes, the Mansion was pre-built, but you were pretty well railroaded along the clue chain...


Fan made content made so much better use of the game mechanics regarding the investigation part that Corey should be embarrassed.

But like I said before, at least they created most of the tools and they tried...
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Enon Sci
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Acererak wrote:
I believe the app could have great potential to beef up the investigative part of the game, but with every preview published so far I am getting really concerned with the path the designers took with this one. Everything seems to have been streamlined for the sake of replayability (I am begining to become a bit of a hater of that popular demand. Long live to Legacy!) to a point where the game might become just a mansion crawler where the story, the mystery and the investigation are merely a dressing.


Can you elaborate on what in the previews gave you this impression?

Also, keep in mind that procedural generation is random. They can easily make code that keeps conditions in mind ("spawn X if condition Z or Y are met, but not if condition T is also met," etc). This means there can very easily be a logical flow behind the randomizations the app offers.

We know the game comes with different scenarios, and we can very well assume scenario means more than just "goal" but also "story." I suspect each story will have specific beats that occur, but the clues and rooms they'll be contained in will vary between games.

 
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Bruce
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Acererak wrote:

But the base game scenarios are also played through the app. What makes you think that future dlcs will turn away to strengthen the story aspect if they start down replayability avenue?

Because you need it to be repayable to sell the base game, just look at people complaining that they can't use the app in 50 years when Steam, Android and Apple are all dead. Once you have this it is a safer proposition to create single play scenarios, particularly if this means you can keep selling more of them.

Still just a hope though.
 
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Joseph Bromley
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But again, I wonder if it was Corey's intent to make an Investigation game (with things like deduction and clue-solving elements) or to just make a highly thematic narrative experience. He completely knocked the second element out of the park, MoM is easily the most thematic and gripping Lovecraftian boardgame.

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Mariano Rico
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matineeidyll129 wrote:
But again, I wonder if it was Corey's intent to make an Investigation game (with things like deduction and clue-solving elements) or to just make a highly thematic narrative experience. He completely knocked the second element out of the park, MoM is easily the most thematic and gripping Lovecraftian boardgame.


I am of the opinion that he aimed for both. Highly thematic narrative experiences are his expertise and as usual, he delivered. The investigative part was a challenge and he threw in many interesting playtools to mimic a clue solving process, but Miss Replayability got in the way and I think he got disoriented.

Now I fear they have been seduced by her charms, and the Investigation part has been completely erased from the equation. And I assure you I would love nothing more than to be wrong.
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Mariano Rico
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Anarchosyn wrote:
Can you elaborate on what in the previews gave you this impression?


Indeed I can.

First and foremost the complete absence of any explanation about how the Investigation elements work. Specially in the last preview about the app, which I was eagerly waiting for. We know clues as cards have been dropped because those are not included in the component list, so maybe they are now somehow created by the app. Or maybe they just dont exist anymore because nothing is mentioned about that in the preview. The closest thing I have seen are those Evidence cards: unique items probably included in specific decks created for each scenario (this is deducted from the preview), but with a generic description that makes them quite the opposite to unique. Probably just one thing to collect to achieve the scenario goal.
Replayability 1 - Investigation 0

Investigation tokens seem to work like Exploration tokens in RtL, which in a way I like since they will bring some elements of the tiles alive, like tables or closets or paintings, but points at them at being mere placeholders for a random draw from either the common items or unique items decks, the only existing decks now (appart from conditions, spells, wounds and sanity decks which are mostly self explanatory) Replayability 2 - Investigation 0

All the previews mention time and again how the app randomizes the core elements of the "story", assuming that creates different stories somehow. The mysteries are said to be always the same, but with random maps, monster placement and events. I really have a hard time imagining how that creates a different mystery or investigation process. Exploring one tile instead of another behind a door provides a narrative change? Having a Byakhee instead of a Shoggoth guarding a card builds up on a cohesive tale? Finding the same generic evidence in the bathroom instead of the kitchen really gives people such a different game experience to enjoy over and over?. Replayability 3 - Investigation 0

The last preview before the game goes live doesnt seem to be providing the answers I seek either, because its centered around the 1st ed Conversion Kit. So either they are hiding the best part for the last, in a truly mysterious fashion, or that part just does not exist at all.


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Matthew Vantries
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Acererak wrote:
Anarchosyn wrote:
Can you elaborate on what in the previews gave you this impression?


Indeed I can.

First and foremost the complete absence of any explanation about how the Investigation elements work. Specially in the last preview about the app, which I was eagerly waiting for. We know clues as cards have been dropped because those are not included in the component list, so maybe they are now somehow created by the app. Or maybe they just dont exist anymore because nothing is mentioned about that in the preview. The closest thing I have seen are those Evidence cards: unique items probably included in specific decks created for each scenario (this is deducted from the preview), but with a generic description that makes them quite the opposite to unique. Probably just one thing to collect to achieve the scenario goal.
Replayability 1 - Investigation 0

Investigation tokens seem to work like Exploration tokens in RtL, which in a way I like since they will bring some elements of the tiles alive, like tables or closets or paintings, but points at them at being mere placeholders for a random draw from either the common items or unique items decks, the only existing decks now (appart from conditions, spells, wounds and sanity decks which are mostly self explanatory) Replayability 2 - Investigation 0

All the previews mention time and again how the app randomizes the core elements of the "story", assuming that creates different stories somehow. The mysteries are said to be always the same, but with random maps, monster placement and events. I really have a hard time imagining how that creates a different mystery or investigation process. Exploring one tile instead of another behind a door provides a narrative change? Having a Byakhee instead of a Shoggoth guarding a card builds up on a cohesive tale? Finding the same generic evidence in the bathroom instead of the kitchen really gives people such a different game experience to enjoy over and over?. Replayability 3 - Investigation 0

The last preview before the game goes live doesnt seem to be providing the answers I seek either, because its centered around the 1st ed Conversion Kit. So either they are hiding the best part for the last, in a truly mysterious fashion, or that part just does not exist at all.



These are the exact thoughts I had too.
I'm VERY skeptical, but MAN, do I hope I'm wrong!
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Jay Eye
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I really don't get your concern. So, following the clues on the clue-cards is investigation (which basicaly railroaded you to a pre-known mansion-layout, in which you mysteriuosly knew where the bathroom is), while an unknown mansion-layout with clues spreaded out through the different rooms for you to investigate is no investigation? Is that correct?

After all, clue-cards in MoM1 were just flavour text telling you in which direction your investigators had to move. Nothing more and nothing less. I guess all the yellow markers are obstacles to investigate:

https://boardgamegeek.com/image/3116645/mansions-madness-sec...

Heck, the previews even mention that you can talk to NPSs in the mansion and you can clearly see the NPC-token in the screenshot above.

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Mariano Rico
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Exilfranke wrote:
I really don't get your concern. So, following the clues on the clue-cards is investigation (which basicaly railroaded you to a pre-known mansion-layout, in which you mysteriuosly knew where the bathroom is), while an unknown mansion-layout with clues spreaded out through the different rooms for you to investigate is no investigation? Is that correct?

After all, clue-cards in MoM1 were just flavour text telling you in which direction your investigators had to move. Nothing more and nothing less. I guess all the yellow markers are obstacles to investigate:

https://boardgamegeek.com/image/3116645/mansions-madness-sec...

Heck, the previews even mention that you can talk to NPSs in the mansion and you can clearly see the NPC-token in the screenshot above.



I estated several times that I also consider 1st edition investigative process underwhelming to say the best. But at least it had a very basic process of going from A to B after discovering clues with story bits (the skeleton of an investigation process). I still dont know how clues about the story (not talking about clue tokens which have no story in them) are handled in the 2nd ed or if they exist at all, and hence my concern.

Fan made content made for a much better use of the investigation processes by sacrificing replayability most of the time. Because mystery and investigation, at least the good ones, are in the opposite side of replayability I am afraid. Incompatible they are.

NPCs interactions were introduced in Call of the Wild, which tried to get in the right direction with those rails you talk about but only hitted close. Sadly, it was a dead end road for the collection it seems. But if the NPC mechanic is treated imaginetively in the new ed I will be happy. Hopefully that might be one of the positives, but still not enough per se to disperse my fears.



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Hey Marioano Rico,

thx for clarify. I think your fears are unnecessary. So, there are no clue cards and item-cards cluttering the artwork of the gameboard, instead tokens indicate that something is to investigate in that room.

Quote:
not talking about clue tokens which have no story in them


If the RtL of Descent is anyhow an indicator of what is to expect, then you will have plenty of flavour-text and interesting investigation-encounters during gameplay of MoM2. I don't get how that is inferior to the clue cards. You click a clue token and with that comes very thematic information about what's going on. You can see that in the teaser video FFG put on youtube, at minute 0:46.



 
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Exilfranke wrote:

If the RtL of Descent is anyhow an indicator of what is to expect, then you will have plenty of flavour-text and interesting investigation-encounters during gameplay of MoM2. I don't get how that is inferior to the clue cards. You click a clue token and with that comes very thematic information about what's going on. You can see that in the teaser video FFG put on youtube, at minute 0:46.


I think you are mixing Clue tokens (the green ones with the magnifying glass) with Search tokens (the yellow question mark ones). The former dont have any text associated or story whatsoever (at least none is hinted, would be glad to be wrong) and are probably just used for changing dies to successes (confirmed) or as a form of currency to solve the mysteries or other effects ala Eldritch Horror (speculation)

The Search tokens on the other hand seem to work indeed like Exploration tokens in RtL, where the app will give a brief description of what they are when you clik on them and then offer a roll for some effect (definitely getting item cards, probably puzzles and secret doors as well, which there seem to exist according to Component list). These are fine (I loved the flavour they provided in RtL, bringin some of the details in the tiles alive) and will work perfectly in here to enhance the Exploration part of the game (mansion crawlish side). Maybe some provide text clues that advance the story? Maybe, but that is not explained anywhere and is my main concern from the begining of the post.

Everything seems to be geared toward a good exploration game (these tokens, the random map and monsters, etc) but NOTHING hints at a good deduction/investigative game.

EDIT : Correction, what I refer as Exploration tokens in Descent are actually called Search tokens as well, I just rechecked. From spanish translation of Component list of MoM 2nd ed they will be named Search/Interaction tokens in this game, probably.


 
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Jay Eye
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I still can't grasp your concept of "investigation"? What makes exploring an unknown mansion, finding out what's going on and stuff less investigative?
 
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Chris Rogalski
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Perhaps the right word is deduction. I find a clue, perhaps it leads me to investigate the bathroom so I try and find that room. Perhaps it is also ambiguous about the room or what is in the room so I must deduce what to find once I get there. So i guess the multiple path element will surely be in the app requiring you to deduce which path to seek out. Searching all clues might be fruitless costing you time and you might loose the scenerio.
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rman wrote:
Perhaps the right word is deduction. I find a clue, perhaps it leads me to investigate the bathroom so I try and find that room. Perhaps it is also ambiguous about the room or what is in the room so I must deduce what to find once I get there. So i guess the multiple path element will surely be in the app requiring you to deduce which path to seek out. Searching all clues might be fruitless costing you time and you might loose the scenerio.


Good points. Maybe MoM2 will handle the deduction even better with hints at "rooms" above or below, which is more believable than "sounds from the bathroom" and suddenly every investigator knows exactly where the bathroom is.
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Mariano Rico
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Exilfranke wrote:
I still can't grasp your concept of "investigation"? What makes exploring an unknown mansion, finding out what's going on and stuff less investigative?


Ok, let me try with a very simple example.

The scenario starts with the Investigators coming into a house following a suspicious figure that they spotted in the dark streets of Arkham. They clearly saw how the man entered the house and disappeared behind the door.

So they enter the house into the Foyer tile. You have three Search tokens in it and decide to check the one in the middle of the foyer. After the Observation test is passed, you notice some footprints leading to a door that seems to go to the basement. This would mean that the token is just translated into a text clue that gives you a real hint about where to go next. There is no need for a card or other game element, just the text description that gave you a real clue of how to proceed investigating where that man went (those footprints leading to the basement door). The players need to make a deduction (very simple in this example) and the next step they take will probably have a meaning, not just be mindless exploration of every possible token/room picking up/killing whatever they randomly encounter in their way.

That would be an investigative element that as of now, we ignore if exists in the game or not, because we dont know if the app generates those text clues that build up the story and provide the real investigation clues or just gives a mere description for the Search tokens (this is a table, a closet, a painting...), offers a test roll and tells you to pick another card with a very simple description in it: you found and Old Diary evidence card but are never told what that diary exactly contains, its just an Evidence card you got that will be required later to progress in the game (find three evidence cards to win), open another door or exchange for other item...

Will there just be game elements (cards/tokens) randomly placed by the app and given to the players to progress in the exploration of the mansion? (Mansion Crawling game) Or will there be real text descriptive clues that players need to find and put together to make any sense of them and thus come up with the right solution to solve the case? (Investigation game)

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Mariano Rico
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rman wrote:
Perhaps the right word is deduction.


Yes, it is the key word. Players need to deduct in a real investigative game. But how do you combine that with replayability? Once you deduct (or are told) the solution, there is no more deduction to make about that case ever. So the exploration elements make the bulk of the game then? Those are replayable. And it seems thats the path taken so far.
 
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Jay Eye
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As the app cleary shows certain different scenarios, I strongly assume that there are some coherent stories that will be supported by in-game-clues, events and such. As I further understood, starting rooms and finale are fixed every scenario but the rooms in between may vary due to replayability.
 
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Dean L
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Acererak wrote:
rman wrote:
Perhaps the right word is deduction.


Yes, it is the key word. Players need to deduct in a real investigative game. But how do you combine that with replayability? Once you deduct (or are told) the solution, there is no more deduction to make about that case ever. So the exploration elements make the bulk of the game then? Those are replayable. And it seems thats the path taken so far.


Well 1E works by having three distinct stories for each scenario. I'm expecting something similar here just with more randomisation on the non-critical bits. That's how the Descent app works. Certain rooms are always set up in the same way in the same place, but some connecting rooms can vary.
 
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