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Mansions of Madness: Second Edition» Forums » General

Subject: Too many flavor texts during mythos? rss

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Nicolas Renier
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I only played the first scenario twice, 2 players and 4 players. I found it a very good (a classic MoM story line I guess). However, what happened both times is that after a couple of rounds, we don't really read the flavor texts during the mythos phase on the horror checks and monster attacks.

There are too many of those checks, and in the end we just resolve the tests without reading the flavor text to streamline the Mythos phase. The mythos phase I found to be exciting for the event step, a bit less exciting for the monster attack, and quite boring for the horror checks. Maybe because the horror is a passive effect that feels more tacked on? If I remember correctly, in the first edition, you would only do the horror check when you enter the monster space by a quick roll of dice, but not if you stayed. I would prefer to have it this way to streamline that part of the mythos phase.

And just to make sure, we were playing the game correctly as far as I could tell, the same horror check per group of investigators within range, against only the scariest monster.

My point here is that the game is great, but the mythos phase takes too long to resolve, and trips the pace of the story. I would prefer giving away a bit of the flavor and just roll a vanilla horror check, always the same, without having to click through the app. For instance, the ghosts have you check influence, the monsters will, etc... Same for evasion, having the flavor text is fun the first 2 times, but then we just want to do the test and progress through the story.

Finally, I found that having to click through all the steps in the mythos phase was taking too much attention away from the board, onto the screen. I don't feel that the added flavor texts during horrors and monsters attack are worth it, especially because they tend to cycle at some point.

Other than that, great game, I'm excited to keep playing!
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Erik Webb
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Yeah... I am of the opinion there needs to be more flavor text. That is half the reason I enjoy this game versus other mindless test games, like eldritch, PACG etc...
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Chris Rindfleisch
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Too many horror checks? Then you would have LOVED the horror checks in first edition. No flavor text, but you would have to do a horror check every time a monster even entered your room, or you entered a room with a monster in it, for every monster. 2nd edition is quite an improvement where you only have to do 1 per player per round (if that). The flavor text is... just that. You don't need to read it, but it is there for those who like it.

As far as the mythos phase being too long, this is a new interpretation of the "Keeper phase" from first edition, which had a single player doing a number of actions while the investigators did nothing except react to horror and monster attacks (triggered by the Keeper player) and other mythos effects. So treat it as "the computer's turn" It usually takes less time than a single investigator turn when discussing what to do and performing an action more complex than simply moving.

These are just my opinions of course. If you feel it is too long, that is valid.
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Nicolas Renier
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Don't get me wrong, I love flavor text, and love the game for it. I also wish there would be more things to read in the context of the discovery tokens, or the progression of the story. The flavor texts during the investigators attacks are also exciting to read to each other!

Maybe it is just us taking too long to kill the monsters, but after having read through 5 or 6 horror checks from a ghost, it tends to get old.
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Chris Rindfleisch
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That could be true. Only played one game so far and have yet to have a monster hang around long enough to have that many horror checks from it.
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Nicolas Renier
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True, being more diligent to kill the monsters quickly instead of running around would make the Mythos phase go faster. I'll try this "strategy" next time!
 
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Jonathon Neff
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As a side note, if all the investigators are getting a horror check from the same monster, are you just resolving one horror check and having each investigator resolve the same test? When I played my first game, I had each investigator get a new horror check for the same monster. After finding out they all role for the same encounter, it sped up the mythos phase quite a bit.
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Enon Sci
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lenifou wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I love flavor text, and love the game for it. I also wish there would be more things to read in the context of the discovery tokens, or the progression of the story. The flavor texts during the investigators attacks are also exciting to read to each other!

Maybe it is just us taking too long to kill the monsters, but after having read through 5 or 6 horror checks from a ghost, it tends to get old.


To contrast, I just finished my first 3~4 hours two player session, and we never stopped reading them. They integrated with what was occurring to such a lovely degree, it would have been more jarring if we didn't (wait, why am I testing lore during this check? <-- a question never asked because the flavor always established the rationale wonderfully).

How did you distribute the reading? Did you pass the device to another player to be read to the person completing the check, or did you leave it to be resolved in a solitary manner by the active player? We had ours up on a big screen (I did all the reading, irrespective of active player), though in the future we all agreed it would be better to pass the device around to allow off-turn players to read to the active player (ipad 4). A secondary benefit will be to obscure (i.e. not read) the pass/fail conditions, as I saw no reason for that information to be public before the test.
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Frank The Tank
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I just wish the app makers knew what a paragraph was. It would be so much better if they first did flavor text in italics, then broke it out like this:

"Flavor text bla bla bla

Test: What you are testing agaist and who is getting hit

Pass: What happens when you pass

Fail: What happens when you fail

Then what happens regardless."



There is plenty of room in the text box. Why not break it up a bit for better reading instead of just one giant block of text?
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Nicolas Renier
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Anarchosyn wrote:
[q="lenifou"]How did you distribute the reading?


I'm still thinking how to do it best. I'm not a fan of having the screen visible by everyone, as I feel people tend to be more drawn to it than the table. At the beginning of the game, we were passing the iPad around to inactive players, but in the end I felt it would be better to have the best reader do all the reading, with the screen masked to other players, to keep most players focused on the table.
 
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Enon Sci
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lenifou wrote:
Anarchosyn wrote:
[q="lenifou"]How did you distribute the reading?


I'm still thinking how to do it best. I'm not a fan of having the screen visible by everyone, as I feel people tend to be more drawn to it than the table. At the beginning of the game, we were passing the iPad around to inactive players, but in the end I felt it would be better to have the best reader do all the reading, with the screen masked to other players, to keep most players focused on the table.


That is what we did for our session today, with me claiming the duty. It was fun, and I put my all into it, but by the end I was exhausted. Wouldn't recommend it, unless you're willing to be the endurance test subject.

Our approach, in the future, will be for me to handle the key elements, but share the mythos events (especially in relation to events which effect my character). I have a nice little stand for my iPad (this: http://www.dekke.net), and will play with it primarily aimed towards me, so the emphasis is less on the app and more on the board. I'll do the intro test, and expository bits around explore actions (etc), but will hand the iPad around when mythos events occur.
 
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Roger Edwards
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Wuyley wrote:
I just wish the app makers knew what a paragraph was. It would be so much better if they first did flavor text in italics, then broke it out like this:

"Flavor text bla bla bla

Test: What you are testing agaist and who is getting hit

Pass: What happens when you pass

Fail: What happens when you fail

Then what happens regardless."

There is plenty of room in the text box. Why not break it up a bit for better reading instead of just one giant block of text?


I've thought the same. Why not structure the info clearly? I don't want to read the result before rolling as it might influence how many clues are spent, which feels like cheating, but sometimes I do accidentally because it's natural to read on.

I think there's research that shows that people generally comprehend text better in paragraph form, which may be why so many rules seem over verbose and why we have to get our heads around tortuous sentences. Personally, I'd be happy with my rules in pseudocode
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Lee Farley
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Wuyley wrote:
I just wish the app makers knew what a paragraph was. It would be so much better if they first did flavor text in italics, then broke it out like this:

"Flavor text bla bla bla

Test: What you are testing agaist and who is getting hit

Pass: What happens when you pass

Fail: What happens when you fail

Then what happens regardless."



There is plenty of room in the text box. Why not break it up a bit for better reading instead of just one giant block of text?


Since playing my first few games I've been thinking of small ways they could enhance the experience through the app. I would like to say I absolutely love the game. Possibly one of the most atmospheric and mood driven games I have ever played.

However, I would like to see the pass and fail text broken up slightly (the way you have described above) during attacks and horror checks or alternatively change the font colours to green for pass and red for fail. We were using an iPad mini in the middle of the table to run the app and I did sometimes struggle to quickly find the fail condition in the paragraph (as I wanted to avoid reading the pass condition and I was also reading it at an angle).

That being said, I think the potential for this app in the future is amazing and I hope they really innovate concerning the content - more story branching, more sound effects (some golden age jazz creeping into proceedings as it echoes about the mansion hallways), and the possibility for more narration especially of the NPC's that appear.

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We had a blast reading the flavor text in my group. We took turns reading it aloud and even did accents, voices, and accompanying sound effects. But that's my gaming group in a nutshell, so your mileage may vary.

We do the same thing with Eldritch Horror.
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Nicolas Renier
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BreadRising wrote:
We had a blast reading the flavor text in my group. We took turns reading it aloud and even did accents, voices, and accompanying sound effects. But that's my gaming group in a nutshell, so your mileage may vary.

We do the same thing with Eldritch Horror.


Yeah, I need to find the right group of people. The 4 players session was with players more used to "eurogames". It would definitely run better with RPG gamers who don't mind sitting for a long time experiencing the story with tons of stuff to read aloud.

I really love it myself, but I was also hoping for a kind of game I could use to play with non-gamer friends and introduce them to modern boardgames. However, the length of the sessions, when you spend the time to read everything will deter most non-gamer people I feel (ie people who don't want to invest more than 1h30 in a game). At this point, I'm excited to play the longer scenarios (waiting for those patches!), but maybe just with my GF then.
 
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Justin Colm
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Anarchosyn wrote:
A secondary benefit will be to obscure (i.e. not read) the pass/fail conditions, as I saw no reason for that information to be public before the test.


Come on, the reason is obvious: to enable the investigators to make informed decisions on when to spend their clue tokens. If you prefer it as hidden information then I understand but saying there's 'no reason' to know is being disingenuous.

Personally, I hate entirely random games. I think there's a sweet spot to be found between surprise and scope for tactical reasoning (ie ensuring players are informed of the consequences of what they do so they can meaningfully plan and make decisions) and I think this game finds it pretty nicely. We don't play only for the immersive experience, we also like to 'beat' the game and removing our ability to see the consequences of spending / not spending our precious clue tokens so we can get the best advantage out of them severely puts the odds against the players.

Besides, making them unhidden is the best 'compromise' decision because players who prefer them to be hidden can easily hide them themselves by having someone else read the App. Players who like to be informed have no such improvisation possible.

Given the above, in my opinion there's no argument to say the information should be hidden. Showing it allows players to choose for themselves and play to their preference, which has to be the best design decision.
 
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ParisianDreams
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High Flying Bird wrote:
Anarchosyn wrote:
A secondary benefit will be to obscure (i.e. not read) the pass/fail conditions, as I saw no reason for that information to be public before the test.


Come on, the reason is obvious: to enable the investigators to make informed decisions on when to spend their clue tokens. If you prefer it as hidden information then I understand but saying there's 'no reason' to know is being disingenuous.

Personally, I hate entirely random games. I think there's a sweet spot to be found between surprise and scope for tactical reasoning (ie ensuring players are informed of the consequences of what they do so they can meaningfully plan and make decisions) and I think this game finds it pretty nicely. We don't play only for the immersive experience, we also like to 'beat' the game and removing our ability to see the consequences of spending / not spending our precious clue tokens so we can get the best advantage out of them severely puts the odds against the players.

Besides, making them unhidden is the best 'compromise' decision because players who prefer them to be hidden can easily hide them themselves by having someone else read the App. Players who like to be informed have no such improvisation possible.

Given the above, in my opinion there's no argument to say the information should be hidden. Showing it allows players to choose for themselves and play to their preference, which has to be the best design decision.


Funnily enough, in Eldritch we'd read the card and avoid seeing what happened if we failed, but in MoM, we read the entire thing. In my first 2P game, we took turns reading from the app, in my 4P game yesterday, one person did most of the reading as that's what the group preferred. I have no preference TBH. Smaller group, it's nice for everyone to get to read from the app.

I can see how some role players would like to read it when it pertains to their action/move and make voices etc. My husband as been playing D&D for 20+ yrs and he can't resist naming and creating a voice/personality for his characters that he plays in games. My favourite is his Ogre voice for his character in Red Dragon Inn.
 
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Scott Cantor
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High Flying Bird wrote:

Given the above, in my opinion there's no argument to say the information should be hidden. Showing it allows players to choose for themselves and play to their preference, which has to be the best design decision.


Well, no. The best design decision in a perfect world is to make it an option. That's the power of an app if it's done well.

The second best, given limited resources, is _probably_ what they did, since it would be annoying to require an extra tap to reveal the text if they hid it. But it's certainly not "unarguable". You get what you want, other people don't, since they would prefer the extra tap.

I certainly play EH with hidden pass/fail, though I also lose a lot. A lot of people want a good story. The most memorable games of Arkham for most poeple are losses, not wins.
 
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Dean L
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More Mellotron wrote:
High Flying Bird wrote:

Given the above, in my opinion there's no argument to say the information should be hidden. Showing it allows players to choose for themselves and play to their preference, which has to be the best design decision.


Well, no. The best design decision in a perfect world is to make it an option. That's the power of an app if it's done well.


Not necessarily if it's against the design intent of the game. It's included as an official variant in Eldritch but not in MoM. Hiding it removes one interesting decision point from the game. It turns a cost/benefit choice into a pure guess. I'd argue that's strictly less interesting.

Of course, from a narrative/immersion point of view it makes no sense that you'd know the failure conditions...
 
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Scott Cantor
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Deano2099 wrote:

Not necessarily if it's against the design intent of the game. It's included as an official variant in Eldritch but not in MoM.


I don't recall it being an "official" variant in the original rules, but I could easily be wrong. If not, then there's nothing to say it's not going to be a "variant" here.

EH is hard enough, so adding that rule makes a punishing game even harder. MOM isn't nearly as hard (if you want to argue that, you're just much better at EH than I am), so I don't see it as "against the design intent" at all.

Deano2099 wrote:

Hiding it removes one interesting decision point from the game. It turns a cost/benefit choice into a pure guess. I'd argue that's strictly less interesting.


Easily arguable, no doubt. Hardly "unarguable", that's all I was saying.
 
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