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Mansions of Madness: Second Edition» Forums » General

Subject: So, help me like this one... rss

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David Hammel
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A bit of background: I'd probably classify myself as more of a Euro gamer than an Ameritrash gamer, though I like a bit of everything. I do enjoy Eldritch Horror and Elder Sign.

... but I am having a hard time enjoying Mansions of Madness.

I really like the app integration. The music and voice acting really help with the immersion and I prefer it by far to having a GM. (Though I have to admit that it sometimes seems like it's just a step or two away from just being an app only game and the board is practically redundant other than for tracking hero and monster movement.) The miniatures might be a bit mediocre, but the tiles are really gorgeous, I think.

My problem is with just how random it is. I mean, yes, it's a dice fest. It isn't unlike its cousin games in that regard, but I feel like in EH and ES, if you need a particular type of item, you have an idea of where to go and healing sanity / health damage isn't impossible. In MoM, you have no real idea where specific items are or could be, and that seems pretty harsh considering how much arbitrary damage you take.

And the scenarios just seem meandering. You click arbitrary things without anything guiding you other than a brief description of what you're looking for, and at least in my experience, it doesn't seem like the descriptors really give you a strong idea of what to expect as a reward for searching or exploring certain things. The person with the key is always, it seems, on the wrong side of the map. (Is is cheating to check the Explore descriptions as soon as they spawn?)

I guess the bottom line is: I feel like we lose because... reasons. I wish it were just bad dice rolls, but it's arbitrary damage without a way to mitigate or heal, it's lack of direction in the scenario and other things that aren't really in our control. I can eat a loss, but I want some say in it. Second plays always end in wins, not because we played "better", but we knew the tricks and secrets already. But I feel like that shouldn't be a requirement to win, especially given the sluggish pace the game moves thanks to a kinda clunky movement system. (We seriously considered saying you can move one space for free per turn, and you can use an action to move an additional space.)

My gf really likes the game and won't let me get rid of it. For her, it mirrors a lot of adventure games on the PC that she loves a lot. But to me, it doesn't even feel like a game. A game gives you informed decisions; this just feels like guessing and hoping for the best.

I invite some other perspectives (constructively, please). I'm really not trying to flame anybody who enjoys it, but I'm clearly missing something here. Thanks!
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Magic Pink
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I think the only thing you're "missing" is this really isn't a type of game you would enjoy anyway. There's nothing wrong with disliking a well made game or liking a poorly made game.
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It sounds to me that you're trying to optimize a game that isn't meant to be optimized.
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Santi Velasco
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I think MoM is sort of a haunted house simulator; it's not so much about getting to the exit as about the experience. If you're concerned about optimization and strategies I think you miss the point of the game, which is to enjoy the unfolding narrative. So, if you're looking for a test of wits I am afraid MoM doesn't deliver.
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Dave Thomas
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To echo and build on the other responses I think you're trying to strategize it too much. You can't strategize the best scenario for the game but the game from the point where you're at.

Its a story, you as the investigators know little about the maps and the exploration and those 'real life' choices, be they good or bad, are part of the narrative you're building.

Check out Watch It Played's run through of the game, I think they're on part 7 or something now, but they're building that story aspect and the immersive experience is what MoM is delivering. Not a euro strategy where you're rewarded for the best strategy, you're rewarded for winning with a flawed group of individuals in a flawed timed situation where crappy things happen

In that you either like that, or you don't, or....just roll with it
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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One question: are you exploring everything or making "hard" choices on which tokens to explore, and which to leave alone?

When we first played, we always searched everything. It's there, it's meant to be searched, right? Then after a few games we realized that the end game was getting more and more difficult because we spent so much time searching. So, we decided to "listen" to the flavor text and follow its, well, flavor. If they were saying X Room was more important, we ignored searching and tried our fastest to get to that room. It made for a different experience all together, even on missions we had played before.

So, before throwing in the towel, why don't you try that? Skip search tokens, only go for ones you think are needed for the objectives.

And as a general house-rule, if you find the game too difficult period, just let every Investigator have three actions instead of two. Very minor rule that goes a long way to helping frustrated players.

-shnar
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Aaron Yoder
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Your problem is that there aren't really all that many decisions. You really don't do all that much as the player, and the stuff you make decisions about are pretty obvious. The text said X, I do X instead of Y. There's a monster here, I'm good at fighting, I'll fight the monster. There's a monster here, I'm not good at fighting, so I'll evade it, etc.

The difficulty only exists in its randomness. There is no clever design, here, just brute-force dice rolling and charts rolled up behind a computer screen so its harder to see the wizard behind the curtain. Narrative read to the players so they know what's going on with little player agency is just a story you have to roll well enough to see the end of. I'd rather read a book.
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Stefan Tymoshyshyn
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This game is a typical dungeon crawl. If you never played any before or have never played a PC RPG then you may not be used to the "explore as you go" style of game. Basically you don't know what's round the corner until you get there but check out as much as you can, pick up new items, fight monsters, improve skills etc.
You either love this sort of game.....or not.
 
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David Hammel
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Objectives are generally more clearly defined in dungeon crawls, and it is generally something a lot less complicated.

shnar wrote:
One question: are you exploring everything or making "hard" choices on which tokens to explore, and which to leave alone?


We figured out exploring everything just got you wrecked after we played the first scenario and I got shit stomped by a star spawn. We do read the clues out loud; I don't agree that there is any real strong clues as to where to go.
 
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TheGreatHamEl wrote:
Objectives are generally more clearly defined in dungeon crawls, and it is generally something a lot less complicated.

shnar wrote:
One question: are you exploring everything or making "hard" choices on which tokens to explore, and which to leave alone?


We figured out exploring everything just got you wrecked after we played the first scenario and I got shit stomped by a star spawn. We do read the clues out loud; I don't agree that there is any real strong clues as to where to go.



Sure there are.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Talking to the butler and reading the journal tell you what rooms you're looking for.
 
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Just one comment about movement that might get overlooked...using the push action is important. This allows an investigator to push and than follow another investigator into an adjacent, revealed space. Really helps with the movement limitations.
 
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Jeffery Hudson
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I just played this last Saturday. We all had a great time with it, and i can't really say that about many games that clock in at 7 hours. But it's an adventure game, pure and simple. It's random, it's chaotic, it's you vs a sometimes unfair game...and we enjoyed it.

We played the 2nd scenario and what i enjoyed most about it was how similar in feel it was to Betrayal at House on the Hill. While there are of course major differences, the actions of exploring a house (or location) and things unfolding in a random way really was enjoyable.

But I understand your concern. A game like this is really all about the randomness and difficulty....the story that is told as it unfolds before you. Winning and losing are less important then just enjoying the experience. But sometimes that experience isn't for everyone.
 
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David Hammel
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Jorune wrote:
Just one comment about movement that might get overlooked...using the push action is important. This allows an investigator to push and than follow another investigator into an adjacent, revealed space. Really helps with the movement limitations.


We hadn't really made the most of that ability. Thanks for the suggestion.

Quote:
Sure there are.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Talking to the butler and reading the journal tell you what rooms you're looking for.


Okay, yeah. Of course. But that's the exception, I'd say. You have some cases where, hey, maybe the thing inside the safe behind a puzzle is worth checking out and that random painting on the wall probably isn't. I'd still argue 98% of your choices are not intuitive and just one arbitrary decision or another that involves no deductive reasoning, just dumb luck.

Barronmore wrote:
But I understand your concern. A game like this is really all about the randomness and difficulty....the story that is told as it unfolds before you. Winning and losing are less important then just enjoying the experience. But sometimes that experience isn't for everyone.


I admit I struggle with enjoying an experience versus enjoying discovering the mechanisms. For example, I found Pandemic Legacy to be largely flat and predictable. The narrative wasn't that exciting to me, and the mechanisms exclusive to that experience were less challenging to me as they were punishing and unfun. I'm still looking for that mixture of narrative pizzazz with mechanical mastery.

I have a hard time applying the term "difficulty" to a game so random as MoM, as winning doesn't require more skill but luck. I appreciate your comment tho.

Well, plan A for me right now is to hope my gf likes the Arkham Horror LCG more so I can quietly get rid of MoM without her realizing it. But I may just have to invest in some good wine instead and just go with it.

I really do enjoy the narrative side of MoM. The story telling is fun, and even though you get punished for fully exploring it all, I appreciate the depth of what's there to check out. I appreciate that there's a bit of variety in the scenario replays, and believe it or not, I respect what's here as a toolkit. I think the right expansion could turn around my opinion, so I haven't completely lost hope in it. I'd really like to see more flexibility in healing your characters, which could be easily introduced.
 
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Nigel Buckle
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How many investigators are you using? Two I guess. Try it with two each (so 4 in total) definitely makes the game different as there are more actions available each round. You might want tokens or a dice for each character to track actions taken, and game will take a bit longer as all the items and spells get spread around more.

Just remember the insane cards have number of players rather than investigators or you'll draw a 3+ and it will get really weird.

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Jacek Deimer
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Well,

After completing first 3 scenarios, I can easily say that searching everything is a bad idea. Generally there are hints what are you looking for and were it mighr be. Also, using common sense helps, if a search token represents a locked cupboard or desk in a very specific room, like office, it is very likely that it is something important and usefull. On the other hand all the random items and furniture in lobbies and corridors are probably not worth checking.

Second, game really "encourages" you to fail the first time you play the scenario and replay it. Second playthrought you have more knowledge about what is where, so you can play more efficiently.

Yes there is a lot of randomness involved, but still, this game is about efficienncy of actions. You always have limited amount of time and require good coordination of actions before time runs out. It is especially important and visible in scenarios 2 and 3.

Healing. Well the game isn't that difficult, making healing easier would really strip it out of the challenge. It is also a common thing in all Arkham Files games that recovering health and sanity is rather difficult. It really helps to build the theme and suspense.

In the end it might just not be your kind of a game.

Unfortunately you might be also disappointed ith Arkham Horror: Card Game, a lot of arbitrary, random things happening to you character. A lot of random token pulls (similar to random dice rolls) It is also quite difficult to recover lost health and sanity.
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David Hammel
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Reid666 wrote:
Well,

After completing first 3 scenarios, I can easily say that searching everything is a bad idea. Generally there are hints what are you looking for and were it mighr be. Also, using common sense helps, if a search token represents a locked cupboard or desk in a very specific room, like office, it is very likely that it is something important and usefull. On the other hand all the random items and furniture in lobbies and corridors are probably not worth checking.

Second, game really "encourages" you to fail the first time you play the scenario and replay it. Second playthrought you have more knowledge about what is where, so you can play more efficiently.

Yes there is a lot of randomness involved, but still, this game is about efficienncy of actions. You always have limited amount of time and require good coordination of actions before time runs out. It is especially important and visible in scenarios 2 and 3.

Healing. Well the game isn't that difficult, making healing easier would really strip it out of the challenge. It is also a common thing in all Arkham Files games that recovering health and sanity is rather difficult. It really helps to build the theme and suspense.

In the end it might just not be your kind of a game.

Unfortunately you might be also disappointed ith Arkham Horror: Card Game, a lot of arbitrary, random things happening to you character. A lot of random token pulls (similar to random dice rolls) It is also quite difficult to recover lost health and sanity.


1.) Yeah, as already stated, that was figured out quickly.

2.) Playing once to fail and play again with knowledge you technically shouldn't have is kinda sketchy. Sherlock would scoff at such an adventure.

3.) The game isn't "difficult" but it dumps a lot of arbitrary damage that you can't even mitigate via dice, particularly in that second scenario. You get 2-3 horror between each "scene". Forcing players to go insane is a bad player experience.

4.) I enjoy many other games in the same genre, I don't see why I can't like this one. I just find the implementation of the chaos to be poor.

5.) I enjoy LOTR LCG and Warhammer Quest ACG, so I don't see why I won't enjoy the Arkham Horror game, which is built on a lot of those fundamentals. I suspect it'll be more fun than this game is.
 
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Jacek Deimer
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TheGreatHamEl wrote:
Reid666 wrote:
Well,

After completing first 3 scenarios, I can easily say that searching everything is a bad idea. Generally there are hints what are you looking for and were it mighr be. Also, using common sense helps, if a search token represents a locked cupboard or desk in a very specific room, like office, it is very likely that it is something important and usefull. On the other hand all the random items and furniture in lobbies and corridors are probably not worth checking.

Second, game really "encourages" you to fail the first time you play the scenario and replay it. Second playthrought you have more knowledge about what is where, so you can play more efficiently.

Yes there is a lot of randomness involved, but still, this game is about efficienncy of actions. You always have limited amount of time and require good coordination of actions before time runs out. It is especially important and visible in scenarios 2 and 3.

Healing. Well the game isn't that difficult, making healing easier would really strip it out of the challenge. It is also a common thing in all Arkham Files games that recovering health and sanity is rather difficult. It really helps to build the theme and suspense.

In the end it might just not be your kind of a game.

Unfortunately you might be also disappointed ith Arkham Horror: Card Game, a lot of arbitrary, random things happening to you character. A lot of random token pulls (similar to random dice rolls) It is also quite difficult to recover lost health and sanity.


1.) Yeah, as already stated, that was figured out quickly.

2.) Playing once to fail and play again with knowledge you technically shouldn't have is kinda sketchy. Sherlock would scoff at such an adventure.

3.) The game isn't "difficult" but it dumps a lot of arbitrary damage that you can't even mitigate via dice, particularly in that second scenario. You get 2-3 horror between each "scene". Forcing players to go insane is a bad player experience.

4.) I enjoy many other games in the same genre, I don't see why I can't like this one. I just find the implementation of the chaos to be poor.

5.) I enjoy LOTR LCG and Warhammer Quest ACG, so I don't see why I won't enjoy the Arkham Horror game, which is built on a lot of those fundamentals. I suspect it'll be more fun than this game is.


Ad.2) Unfortunately that is the nature of the game. Maybe not in every scenario. We won scenario 1 in our first attempt and we almost won scenario 3 on the first attempt. (It was a matter of a few health points, maybe 1 or 2 wasted actions over the course of the game).

Ad.4) Generally this happens when you are really running out time. Most of the Mythos damage/horror can be saved with dice. This games punishes players for not making progress quickly enought. To be honest I am not a big fan of this, but it doesn't bother me that much either.

Forcing players to go insane is also a common theme of all the games in Mythos series. The same is true for struggling against the clock. In all of them are mechanic that will destroy you character if you don't act quickly enought. Generally that's the way this setting works.

Ad.5) I've got impression that you simply don't like randomness and unpredictable things simply happening to your character. I believe that AHCG will share many characteristics with MoM. As I previously mentioned, difficult in healing, playing against the clock, random events cripling your character. Also permanent weaknesses and traumas gained in 1 scenario, affects your character for the rest of campaing.
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TheGreatHamEl wrote:
Reid666 wrote:
Well,
Second, game really "encourages" you to fail the first time you play the scenario and replay it. Second playthrought you have more knowledge about what is where, so you can play more efficiently.


2.) Playing once to fail and play again with knowledge you technically shouldn't have is kinda sketchy. Sherlock would scoff at such an adventure.


**SPOILER ALERTS** comprising the first three scenarios.

I've come to the conclusion that this is a design decision to enable replayability.

There is a certain scenario that requires multiple things to be discovered and than interacted with in a certain order. It would be through luck that a group would accomplish this on their first play through.

This isn't the case for all the scenarios, but it is for some of them.

Now, as far as arbitrarily taking damage/sanity hits, in some scenarios this is merely the timer mechanism.

In the first scenario, we know if you take too long to get to the bad guy, bad things happen that make the end game really difficult. That is the timer. In the 2nd scenario, the timer are the mobs that close off your exit. In the third scenario, the timer is the health/sanity of your characters. I actually thought it was very smart how they incorporated different ways to time out the game.

Jorune
 
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David Hammel
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Reid666 wrote:
Ad.4) Generally this happens when you are really running out time. Most of the Mythos damage/horror can be saved with dice. This games punishes players for not making progress quickly enought. To be honest I am not a big fan of this, but it doesn't other me that much either.


You don't always have control over the pace of the game. (See below.)

Quote:
Forcing players to go insane is also a common theme of all the games in Mythos series.


I don't agree with this. There are ways to mitigate sanity / horror damage in the other Arkham Horror family of games. I don't have the same problem with Eldritch Horror, for example.

Quote:
Ad.5) I've got impression that you simply don't like randomness and unpredictable things simply happening to your character. I believe that AHCG will share many characteristics with MoM. As I previously mentioned, difficult in healing, playing against the clock, random events cripling your character. Also permanent weaknesses and traumas gained in 1 scenario, affects your character for the rest of campain.


Arbitrary events are fine if there's a way to recover at cost.

Jorune wrote:
Now, as far as arbitrarily taking damage/sanity hits, in some scenarios this is merely the timer mechanism.

In the first scenario, we know if you take too long to get to the bad guy, bad things happen that make the end game really difficult. That is the timer. In the 2nd scenario, the timer are the mobs that close off your exit. In the third scenario, the timer is the health/sanity of your characters. I actually thought it was very smart how they incorporated different ways to time out the game.


**kinda spoilers**

Sorry was thinking order of scenarios in terms of difficulty. I forget what # it would be, but that second easiest one (which I believe is last in order), where you don't fight until the end and mostly just click a bunch of shit, the investigation in Innsmouth where you have to discover who the two cultists are. You take arbitrary horror in between wiping the board and setting up a new scene, and the timer seems baked in as far as how many turns you get per area. The horror damage seems to be something to do in between randomly searching things, but there's no check to mitigate it, you just take 2-3 damage about 3-4 times, which puts most characters squarely into insane territory by the end and you can't do anything about it. I'm sorry, but that's dumb to me. If they're going to continue to do that, there needs to be some means of clearing some of it, even if it's a crappy exchange of 1 horror for 1 action. Or use a trophy system like Elder Sign uses.
 
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Jacek Deimer
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TheGreatHamEl wrote:

**kinda spoilers**

Sorry was thinking order of scenarios in terms of difficulty. I forget what # it would be, but that second easiest one (which I believe is last in order), where you don't fight until the end and mostly just click a bunch of shit, the investigation in Innsmouth where you have to discover who the two cultists are. You take arbitrary horror in between wiping the board and setting up a new scene, and the timer seems baked in as far as how many turns you get per area. The horror damage seems to be something to do in between randomly searching things, but there's no check to mitigate it, you just take 2-3 damage about 3-4 times, which puts most characters squarely into insane territory by the end and you can't do anything about it. I'm sorry, but that's dumb to me. If they're going to continue to do that, there needs to be some means of clearing some of it, even if it's a crappy exchange of 1 horror for 1 action. Or use a trophy system like Elder Sign uses.


To be honest I played only scenarios 1,2,3 in the order they appear in the app, from left to right.

So the scenario you are talking about is nr 4 for me.
There are many opinions here on BGG that this is probably the weakest scenario from the core set. Most people complain about exactly the same thing as you, arbitrary horror assigned between acts. Also people complain it is too long and kind of boring.So you are not alone on this one.

As I said before I haven't tried the last scenario yet, but I really enjoyed the first three. I am also a big fan of Eldritch Horror and both games have very similar feeling to me.
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David Hammel
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Reid666 wrote:
There are many opinions here on BGG that this is probably the weakest scenario from the core set. Most people complain about exactly the same thing as you, arbitrary horror assigned between acts. Also people complain it is too long and kind of boring.So you are not alone on this one.


Good to know! It is a little boring, actually.

Quote:
As I said before I haven't tried the last scenario yet, but I really enjoyed the first three. I am also a big fan of Eldritch Horror and both games have very similar feeling to me.


I also enjoy Eldritch Horror. Elder Sign is in my top 25, probably.
 
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As people play more, they will learn strategies better for various encounters.

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1654079/correlation-bet...

You can read a thread where people speculate on the likelihood of various stats being used in skill checks for different attack types.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
So far the speculation corresponds with my experience (guns/sharp tend towards agility; heavy-blunt items tend towards strength)


I am sure some other correlations will be found over time.

But, because this is definitely supposed to be the type of game that throws lots of wrenches in the works, there will be surprises that you cannot anticipate. And, having an App, allows for extra surprises as some things can be random without indicating they are such. Replaying a scenario will be the only way to really know just what is random.

I like randomness in my games, and like mitigating that risk when possible. Some games allow for mitigation in every situation, some don't. In games that let you mitigate directly to a specific situation less, you have to mitigate by giving yourself a safety buffer (either through health, mental, or other investigators/items to help).

Yep, sometimes luck will be against you and they'll be nothing to stop it, but many other times, you'll be thinking - if I had only let person X do this instead of me, we would have been ok.

Plus, this game has a lot to do with how quickly to go. If you spend too much time doing every possible encounter, you may trigger game conditions that make it that much harder for you to win. It's a balance between doing enough encounters to hopefully get enough knowledge/items to win, but not doing so many as to have waited too long.

It's that balance that can really get you in this game as the end can get quite tough in some scenarios if you wait too long.

And, I understand that nothing explicitly tells you how long or even what to do, but that's part of the game, trying to gauge what to do and how much before pushing onward.

I've enjoyed the mechanics quite a bit so far (even though nothing has topped my love for Arkham Horror yet, but many games are trying to). For me, it's going to be more about how many times I can enjoy playing each scenario and how fun they are compared to that initial time or 2.

I have not yet had time to do that yet (not because I don't like it, but because I have too many new games to play - including AH Card Game).

(I have not played Innsmouth, but it seems your feelings on this game are not strictly based on that one play so I was responding in general)
 
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TheGreatHamEl wrote:
[q="Reid666"]Well,



5.) I enjoy LOTR LCG and Warhammer Quest ACG, so I don't see why I won't enjoy the Arkham Horror game, which is built on a lot of those fundamentals. I suspect it'll be more fun than this game is.



You might be surprised there.
I am an avid LotR LCG player and I own every single Arkham Horror game by FFG. So, one might think that the Arkham Horror LCG is a no-brainer for me, right? Well, I sold it after 3 plays. My first one is documented on my channel, and I will do a sit-down.

Its randomness is even too much for me. It is not at all like LotR in that you have a lot of plannability, deck building etc.
It has a chaos bag instead of dice. And the word chaos comes with a capital C.
 
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