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Mansions of Madness: Second Edition» Forums » Variants

Subject: Insanity... FIXED? rss

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Like many others, I have been disappointed with the Insanity conditions in this game. They result in too many arbitrary situations that derail the last few turns of a game. It's too random. It's not fun for co-op. There are ways to game the system and ruin the theme. And so on.

Here, I want to discuss alternative Insanity conditions that emphasize the cooperative nature of the game while enhancing strategy and expanding theme. There are a few ground-rules I want to follow:

1. Insanity should often make the game harder for you (and/or your group) to win.

2. Insane investigators must still complete the investigation to win.

3. Insanity cards themselves can be "completed," which is indicated by revealing the card. Most insanity wins require you to A) complete your sub-goal and reveal the card, then B) complete the main investigation.

4. Completed Insanity conditions should NOT make the group immediately lose, except by delaying or impeding the primary investigation.

5. Bluffing, misdirection, and risk & reward should be encouraged.

6. The requirements of each Insanity should overlap with other Insanity cards, creating doubt among the other players. Light Sources, Bladed Weapons, Evidence, and fires should be used by multiple cards to do different things, some dangerous and others less so.

7. Completing your Insanity condition should not require players to argue over turn order. Where possible, "at the start of your turn" should be "at the start of the Investigator phase."

8. Cards can be replaced but never added. 12 cards total is a good number of variety, and I still want to use the cards as props. (This rule could be broken eventually, especially if you guys have good suggestions for more cards.)

---

With those rules laid out, I want to introduce my new Cooperative Insanity conditions. I'm working on a handout once I finalize the list, but this will work for now:

(1+) SUSPICIOUS
(unchanged)

(1+) NOT MEANT TO KNOW (replaces Spread the Truth)
You do not win the game as normal. Instead, you win if the investigation is complete and this card has been revealed.

Burn the Evidence: At the start of the Investigator Phase, if you possess two Evidence Unique Items while standing on or adjacent to a space that contains Fire, you may reveal this card. Discard two Evidence Unique items from your inventory.

meeple To win, you have to find or steal two Evidence items and then set them on fire. It's harder than Spread the Knowledge but has a memorable climax, especially if your group needs those items.

(1+) RESTLESS ANXIETY
(unchanged)

(1+) OBSESSIVE
(unchanged)

(2+) SCHADENFREUDE (replaces Selfish Motives)
You do not win the game as normal. Instead, you win only if the investigation is complete and one or more other investigators are Wounded. Otherwise, you lose the game.

meeple Selfish Motives was a flawed card I wanted to replace. You could get stuck in an unwinnable game, which is no fun.
meeple Instead, I split Misery Loves Company into itself and this card to make the original Misery more difficult to complete.

(2+) MISERY LOVES COMPANY
You do not win the game as normal. Instead, you win only if the investigation is complete and one or more other investigators are Insane. Otherwise, you lose the game.

meeple This card was too easy to complete before, so splitting it up made sense.

(2+) MASOCHISM (replaces Forbidden Words)
You do not win the game as normal. Instead, you win only if the investigation is complete and this card has been revealed.

Bloodletting: At the start of the Investigator Phase, if you have a Bladed Weapon and there is at least one other investigator on your space, you may reveal this card and choose one investigator on your space. That investigator suffers one facedown Damage, and you discard one Horror. Other investigators within range suffer one facedown Horror.

meeple I made this one up from scratch, because I wanted another use for the Bladed Weapon. Bloodletting your friends is generally a sub-optimal trade, but it might be useful in a pinch. Plus you have to convince them to trust you before you can win with this card.
meeple If you ACTUALLY have One of the Thousand, this card might make a great bluff. Just saying.
meeple Forbidden Words was kinda funny, but the idea that you can't talk to your friends for 2 hours on a Friday night because of a dumb card is lame. I had to kill it.

(2+) FOR THE GREATER GOOD
You do not win the game as normal. Instead, you win only if the investigation is complete and this card has been revealed.

Martyrdom: After you have been eliminated, reveal this card. The game does not end as a result of your elimination.

meeple The time window of the original card was way too narrow to fulfill. This card lets you suicide earlier, but you're taken out of the game, and your friends have to make do without you.

(3+) PYROMANIA
You do not win the game as normal. Instead, you only win if the investigation is complete and this card has been revealed.

Conflagration: At the start of the Investigator Phase, if 6 or more rooms contain Fire, reveal this card. While this card is revealed, at the beginning of each Mythos phase, fire spreads twice.

meeple Just like the original card, you have to set the mansion on fire. Unlike the original card, you have to balance your pyromania with completing the investigation. No more arbitrary games ended!
meeple This also addresses an issue many people observed that fire spreads too slowly and too safely.

(3+) ONE OF THE THOUSAND
You do not win the game as normal. Instead, you win only if the investigation is complete and this card has been revealed.

Execution: At the start of the Investigator Phase, if you have a Bladed Weapon and you are in a space with exactly one other investigator, you may reveal this card. That investigator is eliminated. The game does not end as a result of that investigator’s elimination. This assassination may only happen once per game.

meeple Unlike the original card, the game's not over yet. This elimination is best saved for the end of the game, after that investigator's usefulness has ended.
meeple This is similar to For the Greater Good, except here the eliminated investigator DOES lose the game. Sucks, dude.
meeple Thematically, I think this should be less of a "You Became a Cultist!" card and more of a "I had to kill him! You believe me, right?! I had no choice..." card.

(3+) NARCISSISM
(unchanged)

(3+) BLIND FAITH (replaces Crisis of Conscience)
You do not win the game as normal. Instead, you win only if the investigation is complete and this card has been revealed.

Miracle: At the start of the Investigator Phase, if you have a Light Source, a Bladed Weapon, and an Evidence Unique Item, and you are in a space with another investigator, you may reveal this card. That investigator may discard a Wounded or Insane condition. This miracle may only happen once per game.

meeple Here's the game-changer. It gives the possibility of a Hail Mary play, but it requires complete trust in an Insane player.
meeple Perfect card to claim for bluffs. Does this card break my first rule? Sure, it technically makes the game easier. But this card's existence makes every other Insanity card harder to deal with.
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Paul Tessmann
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These all seem interesting, but I have a few issues;

Not Meant to Know: I assume you mean that by destroying them you could no longer use them to process the evidence? If so you could hypothetically lose the game by destroying items too early, but I guess the app also doesn't keep track of if you carry them with you either, so this might be a non-issue.

Blind Faith: this is a massive perk, not a penalty. If you've played more than once and someone starts suddenly asking for a light source and a blade I know what they're trying to do and will happily give it to them.

One of the Thousand: this still feels bad because it ensures someone is going to lose. What if instead of eliminating someone it just did 5 face-down damage? You still horribly stab someone but it doesn't force someone to lose due to RNG.
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Thomas Katter
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Wow, i like them very much. I will for sure use them in our next game and report the outcome. And Masochism should be Sadomasochism
Thanks for the work.
 
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Quote:
Not Meant to Know: I assume you mean that by destroying them you could no longer use them to process the evidence? If so you could hypothetically lose the game by destroying items too early, but I guess the app also doesn't keep track of if you carry them with you either, so this might be a non-issue.


I don't have a deep knowledge of how Evidence is used in each scenario, but there are three scenarios I remember.

1. Evidence can have a bonus effect on the final test (free rerolls, or clues => elder signs, or something like that). Not necessary but useful.
2. 3 Evidences were *required* to move forward, but there were more than 3 available. I think there were 4 or 5 total. So one player could steal 2 and not ruin the game.
3. Evidence was tracked by the app. Didn't matter who had what. I think in that case, destroying evidence wouldn't matter at all, because it's just tracking the moment you acquire evidence.

So I'm hoping it's a non-issue in the end. The existence of the original card (Spread the Truth) tells me 2 Evidences can probably be written off, and scenario design accounts for that. I don't know for a fact though.

Quote:
Blind Faith: this is a massive perk, not a penalty. If you've played more than once and someone starts suddenly asking for a light source and a blade I know what they're trying to do and will happily give it to them.


Yep, huge perk. However, if you have Pyromania or One of the Thousand, you could also try to trick your buddies by asking for a blade and a light source...

Quote:
One of the Thousand: this still feels bad because it ensures someone is going to lose. What if instead of eliminating someone it just did 5 face-down damage? You still horribly stab someone but it doesn't force someone to lose due to RNG.


That's not a bad idea.

Originally, this card makes 1 player win and all the others lose. This update changes it to make 1 player lose and all other players (including the insane person) have a harder time winning. If the insane player waits too long, then the insane player loses.

So I guess that turns everybody having a bad night into only 1 person having a bad night. Less unfun, but still unfun. It could probably be improved.

One idea: automatically make a player gain the Wounded condition (and discard facedown Damage). If the player is already Wounded, that player is instead eliminated.

Quote:
And Masochism should be Sadomasochism

Whoops, yeah. I'll fix that.
 
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Greg Filpus
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Did you miss that Narcissism as written lets you win whether or not the investigation's complete? I'm not sure if you'd want to errata that to "The investigation is complete and..."

Veggiesama wrote:
Quote:
Not Meant to Know: I assume you mean that by destroying them you could no longer use them to process the evidence? If so you could hypothetically lose the game by destroying items too early, but I guess the app also doesn't keep track of if you carry them with you either, so this might be a non-issue.


I don't have a deep knowledge of how Evidence is used in each scenario, but there are three scenarios I remember.

1. Evidence can have a bonus effect on the final test (free rerolls, or clues => elder signs, or something like that). Not necessary but useful.
2. 3 Evidences were *required* to move forward, but there were more than 3 available. I think there were 4 or 5 total. So one player could steal 2 and not ruin the game.
3. Evidence was tracked by the app. Didn't matter who had what. I think in that case, destroying evidence wouldn't matter at all, because it's just tracking the moment you acquire evidence.


There's a fourth case: You need to use a specific piece of evidence by interacting with it in the app to complete the scenario. Technically it's possible to complete that scenario without the relevant information, but it'll waste a lot of time.

Regarding case 2, I believe the number of pieces of evidence needed scales up with more players to the point where you can't spare 2.

In both of those situations, you can still discard the evidence after the point where it's necessary.
 
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Danny Frahm
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I love these ideas. They are super well thought out. But, after a lot of deliberation, and almost marking my cards with permanent marker, I've decided not to implement them. I think prior warning of how severe insane conditions are (and how unfair the game can be), an insanity cheat sheet of all potential conditions and on-the-fly rulings better serves my group better.

Even with these rules it doesn't make it fail safe. Example, I recently played a game and a player got the 'obsessive' insane condition a few turns before we completed the game and his new objective was impossible to complete. It was pretty unfair and stupid to arbitrarily make him lose the game. Mostly it's a jarring experience. He's so focused on the mission and spent 2 1/2 hours trying to achieve it then the 11th hour suddenly he's playing a new game and no longer part of the team, with an impossible objective. It may as well said "you lose the game, sorry bud". The timing of the insane cards can be just as bad as what's on them.

The two insane cards I love the least -

1. For the greater good. Since this seems like I need to manipulate the game mechanics to get myself murdered. Suiciding into monsters and working hard to get them to kill me doesn't seem add to the story... And as you mentioned you need to make it occur on the last turn of the game ... which is awkward.
2. Crisis of conscience - this encourages weird gamey play where the investigator can just suicide to make everyone lose.

My general loose house rules to address them:

1. Insanity cards have no effect in 2 player games. Just never been fun so far in 2 player games so I've booted them.
2. If a player with a traitorous card dies, the game continues.
3. No insane condition prematurely end the game. Players will still play it out. So the traitor will win, but doesn't mean the group can't win too.
4. For the greater good - Action: All monsters in your space or enter your space this turn cannot move further this round. Investigators do not need to roll evade checks for this space. You are eliminated from the game.
5. If the group deems something unfair, we'll probably just ignore it. As per example above. Usually if it's in the eleventh hour and impossible. But some players may just be cool and accept that they arbitrarily lost.
 
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FinalAttack wrote:
Even with these rules it doesn't make it fail safe. Example, I recently played a game and a player got the 'obsessive' insane condition a few turns before we completed the game and his new objective was impossible to complete. It was pretty unfair and stupid to arbitrarily make him lose the game. Mostly it's a jarring experience. He's so focused on the mission and spent 2 1/2 hours trying to achieve it then the 11th hour suddenly he's playing a new game and no longer part of the team, with an impossible objective. It may as well said "you lose the game, sorry bud". The timing of the insane cards can be just as bad as what's on them.


Couldn't agree more with you. Getting Obsessive 1/2 through the game is OK, but staving on insanity until the last few rounds is what really breaks the experience. Obsessive is partly annoying because it's a 1+ card, whereas it's much easier to deal with in a game of 4 people. With only 2 it's nigh impossible. Also, there isn't a rule against telling people what you got, only with showing. So you might be able to enlist others to help you scour Search tokens.

Back to the 11th hour issue: I have an idea I'd love to try out. At the beginning of the game, everyone is dealt an Insanity card. They may read this card then tuck it under their character sheet. They bring it back into play only when they actually go insane. That would help with prioritizing strategy IMMENSELY but maybe rob a bit from the surprise. It'd also help you secure resources earlier for your potential Insanity and increase group tension when the Ritual Dagger or other blade appears, even though nobody is actually insane yet. "Wait, why do you want that Light Source so badly?" Thematically, you know what you're susceptible to, but you're not going to act on those impulses until you actually go insane.
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Quick update: I've posted a downloadable PDF of these house rules here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/137810/insanity-condition...
 
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Esa Swampgeorge
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I created cards from your new insanity cards and added few of my own for extra spicyness. cool

I would like to thank you G Y for giving out those awesome ideas!



 
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Daniel Fabiano
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Not meant to know would ruin the pacing in "Cult of setinal hill" depending on when it happens. At one point the interacting player needs X amount of evidence to continue.

This could lead to players sitting around a few turns doing nothing if evidence is destroyed.
 
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PK Levine
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In addition to using a house rule of drawing 3 Insane cards at the beginning of the game and picking 2 to keep, our group is going to try a simplified version of Danny's approach:

Variant Rule: Insane cards cannot end the game prematurely. If your card says, “You immediately win the game and the game ends,” reveal your card to claim victory, after which the game continues – unless everyone has won or been eliminated.

How This Affects Specific Cards:

Crisis of Conscience: Unaffected, as you reveal this after the game ends.
For the Greater Good: Your death does not end the game.
One of the Thousand and Pact with Yog-Sothoth: The game continues despite the death. The victim wins (posthumously) if any sane investigators eventually win; otherwise, the victim loses.
Pyromania: Reveal this card when 6+ rooms contain Fire. You win, and then the game continues.
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Wouter Dhondt
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Love the idea and certainly going to try it out. I didn't think the traitor mechanic was too bad until I was the traitor myself for the first team the previous game and I "won" during the finale. Players all agreed that it was lame and we continued to play.

Is there a strange aeons plugin for these cards? I'd rather reprint them than have a look up document.

Quote:
One of the Thousand


I'm going to change this as elimination still feels bad. I'm going with

Quote:
Execution Attempt: At the start of the Investigator Phase, if you have a Bladed Weapon and you are in a space with exactly one other investigator that is not wounded, you may reveal this card. That player becomes wounded and discards all facedown damage.
 
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Tyler Lloyd
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Veggiesama wrote:
At the beginning of the game, everyone is dealt an Insanity card. They may read this card then tuck it under their character sheet. They bring it back into play only when they actually go insane.


This would also mean that each player would know one insanity condition that the others could not have when they go insane. Not sure if that's a bug or a feature. It definitely makes bluffing more challenging.
 
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Arthur Peterson
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Well these would certainly make insanity less fun
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Lewis Karl
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zpeteman wrote:
Well these would certainly make insanity less fun :(


I have to agree there. Insanity shouldn't cause happiness or satisfaction. Insanity in itself is very close to a loss to start with and mitigating it is...well...insane.
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Wayne Schulatz
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pisqueeter wrote:
zpeteman wrote:
Well these would certainly make insanity less fun


I have to agree there. Insanity shouldn't cause happiness or satisfaction.


Yea, why would we want happiness or satisfaction in a board game?


Whether or not they are "fun" is obviously subjective. That's exactly why this thread exists.
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Justin Colm
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pisqueeter wrote:
zpeteman wrote:
Well these would certainly make insanity less fun


I have to agree there. Insanity shouldn't cause happiness or satisfaction. Insanity in itself is very close to a loss to start with and mitigating it is...well...insane.


That is the most hilarious thing I have ever read on a board game forum. You're right: playing a game should not bring happiness and satisfaction... the end goal is and should always be for everyone to go home in as bad a mood as possible, vowing never to play the game again, or in a best cse scenario commit suicide... because that's Lovecraftian right?
 
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Lewis Karl
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High Flying Bird wrote:
pisqueeter wrote:
zpeteman wrote:
Well these would certainly make insanity less fun


I have to agree there. Insanity shouldn't cause happiness or satisfaction. Insanity in itself is very close to a loss to start with and mitigating it is...well...insane.


That is the most hilarious thing I have ever read on a board game forum. You're right: playing a game should not bring happiness and satisfaction... the end goal is and should always be for everyone to go home in as bad a mood as possible, vowing never to play the game again, or in a best cse scenario commit suicide... because that's Lovecraftian right?


Of course I didn't mean it literally as applies to the player shake. The game is immersive and as such insanity of your character should be distressing, unexpected and difficult to cope with, otherwise what's the point? I would find this game less fun implementing these unnecessary measures to dumb down the effect of insanity. Yeah sure, like I would know what type of insanity would occur or I could choose my insanity when I encounter a Star Spawn, hallucinate the most horrid visions, and see heaps of bloody flesh hanging from the ceiling.

But, to each his own.
 
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Blake Curry
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I've been house ruling that people draw two cards and pick one. That way they aren't forced into bonkers betrayal situations that sometimes you literally can't even dodge. Orrrr if they want to betray us well, I suppose that's fine too.
 
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