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Mansions of Madness: Second Edition» Forums » General

Subject: Difficulty (contains some scenario spoilers) rss

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Jim P
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Has anyone else found the difficulty ratings of the scenarios in this game rather... inaccurate?

we've played the first scenario about 6 times now, with a mixture of victories and defeats.

The second scenario has defeated us every time - we've never even got close to escaping

The third scenario, allegedly the hardest we've played twice. The first time we were inches away from victory (one investigator destroyed, just before we could finish off the monster) and the second time we defeated it.

Maybe we've just had strange luck, but I can't see any way that the 3rd Scenario is harder than the 2nd

This concerns me slightly as I look at the expansions. There are screenshots in the preview articles showing the difficulty of the new Recurring Nightmares and Suppressed Memories collections, but that's only useful information if the difficulty ratings actually mean anything.

what are other people's thoughts? am I missing something, or are these ratings best ignored?
 
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Mark Cresswell
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I agree, third one is much easier than second.
 
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Jon Olsén
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Also agree. Have tried second scenario two times with both failures. Played the third once with a win.
 
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modern life
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We've failed the 2nd scenario four times in a row now.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The mob is the timer mechanism for this scenario and it can travel either clockwise or anti-clockwise. From what I can tell if it goes anti-clockwise then you have one less turn available.

The last attempt we knew exactly what we had to do so went straight for the objectives. What we found is that by advancing faster a lot more monsters spawned and more fire was ignited. This meant we suffered more damage/horror and were delayed because of this.


I'm beginning to think this scenario can only be won by pure luck!
 
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Jonatan Rueløkke
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1st scenario we won 6 times with varying succes. But won it every time.

2nd scenario we lost the first 2 times but once you know what to do i would say it is quite easy and the last 3 times of the 5 times we have played, we have won.

3rd scenario we have lost 4 times so far. Theres a bigger chance in the last scenario that some investigator will be left alone with a monster too hard to handle. And because of the big map and the fact that you need to spread out, it can be quite difficult even when you know where things are.

So to sum up, i think it is quite correct with the ratings, and cannot really figure why people have so many troubles with the 2nd one.
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It does seem like the difficulty ratings are a little inaccurate. Which can be expected. I'm sure the ratings were made to the best of the playtesters' knowledge and experiences during playtesting. But once the game released world wide and thousands of people started playing it, it makes sense that the "real" difficulties are going to shine through.

As far as my personal experience, I find Cycle of Eternity and Rising Tide to be pretty accurate representations of difficulty. If anything, I think Escape from Innsmouth and Shattered Bonds should be switched.

Shattered Bonds becomes a lot easier when you know what to do and understand the core mechanic. Escape from Innsmouth, even when you know exactly what to do, is a crazy race against the clock.
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Peter Johnsson
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Drakthalos wrote:
So to sum up, i think it is quite correct with the ratings, and cannot really figure why people have so many troubles with the 2nd one.

Agreed.
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Jason Walker
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The one change I would like to see is the ability to set the difficulty of each scenario, like the Road to Legend app.

My son is too intimidated to play anything with a 4 or 5 difficulty rating, which effectively leaves us with only two scenarios from the core set and only 1 out of 2 from the new figure and tile collections.

We may house rule and take 3 actions on these harder scenarios. But still, the ability to set the difficulty seems like it would be a doable enhancement.
 
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Justin Colm
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Perceived difficulty is always going to be subjective and you have to account for play groups of differing ability.

I see people say they have failed 'Cycle of Eternity ' multiple times and to me that is ridiculous as one run of the scenario is enough to learn everything you need for a well-planned and executed second run. But then I don't know how they're playing. Perhaps they play with a strong role-playing emphasis, rather than trying to play optimally. Perhaps they have some strong 'ticks' that are holding them back (an obsessive need to interact with every single token is one I seem to see quite a bit). People playing in a determined way to beat a given scenario should be able to do it within 2 or 3 plays but a lot of people probably play in a more relaxed way or with different groups, just having a laugh around the table and not really paying much mind to strategy. People also vary in their approach to the Insanity conditions. Some (like myself) prefer to just play to complete the investigation and mostly ignore that element - others will play games that are repeatedly scuppered by one or more players striving to fulfill their insanity conditions.

Don't underestimate the effect player numbers has also. Despite the generally very good balancing system I think all of them could be considered slightly more difficult with 2 simply because players can cover less ground. This is particularly true of 'Shattered Bonds' and 'Escape from Innsmouth'.

So difficulty has to be judged through a very subjective lens. All game groups will have their own character and their own approach.

My personal experience is that playing a strategy-focused game I think 3 games max is a very reasonable estimate to 'beat' any particular scenario. The 1st game to experience the story and learn the unique flavour and mechanics of the scenario. The 2nd to 'fill in the blanks' on your knowledge from the first game and have a very good shot at winning. On the 3rd you should be completing the investigation barring some abominable luck.

For me the easiest by a long way is 'Rising Tide'. The only challenge it presents is contriving to cumulatively deliver 6 unavoidable horror to each player prior to the final day which will push most characters towards insanity. other than this one factor we found it unsatisfyingly easy. We gave it two full plays and won both and knowing the scenario as I do I can't imagine ever losing it. If you suss the structure of the mystery, and it's pretty transparent, you really cannot fail. To me this is a flawed scenario, easily my least favourite. It's central mechanic could honestly be used for a good child's game but is weak for a 14+ adventure / mystery game.

'Cycle of Eternity' works well as an introductory scenario. We lost a close game on our first play and haven't lost it since, even when we tried playing it with a 'roleplaying' vibe. 2 stars probably seems about right.

The other 2 are the only ones that in my opinion truly present a challenge. I agree with what some others have said: I would switch their ratings. 'Escape from Innsmouth' is well designed to always be close even when you have a good strategy. I think I could more reliably beat 'Shattered Bonds'. We completed both of them with our 3rd play. I've had a 4th play of 'Innsmouth' too and really maxed it, winning pretty comfortably. Again, as mentioned above, I think these 2 scenarios have a sweet spot of 3 or 4 players. They will be extremely difficult with 2, just because there is a lot of ground to cover.

If I was responsible for ranking them I would go:

'Rising Tide' 1* (Par 1)
'Cycle of Eternity' 2* (Par 2)
'Shattered Bonds' 4* (Par 3)
'Escape From Innsmouth' 4* (Par 3)

I will leave off 5 stars as I believe more challenging scenarios can definitely be created.


jwalker1140 wrote:
The one change I would like to see is the ability to set the difficulty of each scenario, like the Road to Legend app.

My son is too intimidated to play anything with a 4 or 5 difficulty rating, which effectively leaves us with only two scenarios from the core set and only 1 out of 2 from the new figure and tile collections.

We may house rule and take 3 actions on these harder scenarios. But still, the ability to set the difficulty seems like it would be a doable enhancement.


Just cajole him into playing them with a 'it doesn't matter if we lose' type spirit. When you beat them it will really be great for his confidence and self belief. I remember when I was young and believed I couldn't 'do' puzzles... and then I beat Myst (the computer game) and it really transformed my self-perception of my abilities.
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Johan Anglemark
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Mightyjim wrote:
Has anyone else found the difficulty ratings of the scenarios in this game rather... inaccurate?

we've played the first scenario about 6 times now, with a mixture of victories and defeats.

The second scenario has defeated us every time - we've never even got close to escaping

The third scenario, allegedly the hardest we've played twice. The first time we were inches away from victory (one investigator destroyed, just before we could finish off the monster) and the second time we defeated it.

Maybe we've just had strange luck, but I can't see any way that the 3rd Scenario is harder than the 2nd

This concerns me slightly as I look at the expansions. There are screenshots in the preview articles showing the difficulty of the new Recurring Nightmares and Suppressed Memories collections, but that's only useful information if the difficulty ratings actually mean anything.

what are other people's thoughts? am I missing something, or are these ratings best ignored?

There's statistics in the spreadsheet linked in the topic: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1619768/statistics-submit-y...
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High Flying Bird wrote:
For me the easiest by a long way is 'Rising Tide'. The only challenge it presents is contriving to cumulatively deliver 6 unavoidable horror to each player prior to the final day which will push most characters towards insanity. other than this one factor we found it unsatisfyingly easy.


Agreed here. Both the easiest and by far my least favorite mission.

We were initially psyched when it seemed like we were actually going to be finding clues and solving a mystery, but the reality was
Spoiler (click to reveal)
just a couple of hours bumbling around bored while the DM hit us with cheap shots of unavoidable horror.

The one and only time we were in danger of losing was when one of our investigators went insane right at the end solely from the unavoidable horror and had a condition that required the rest of us to lose. He correctly sussed out that we didn't want to play through this entire mission again (and we probably would have won handily anyway) so he just dutifully continued punching the monster and took the technical loss.
 
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