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Subject: Rising Tide - what's the point? SPOILERS rss

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We recently played the last scenario of Mansions of Madness, Rising Tide. We knew it was going to be a long game and we were prepared for that. The game was played until the end and lasted 6 hours, all 5 players were included. We had a sixth person who was moderating by using the app.

I consider this scenario a huge disappointment. All that talking, investigating... But for what, really? It all comes down to the same ending, doesn't it? Yes, maybe the locations and suspects will change but it isn't enough.

The game puts you through an investigation grind for 90% of the scenario. But it is a boring investigation! Remember Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective? Just a few pages of that deduction game brings to shame the whole plot of this Rising Disaster. For every little scrap of dialog with an important person in this scenario you have to slog through meaningles filler. And what is worse, there is no tension! No excitement of combat, no dice rolling. Just walking and talking. Which would be great, IF THE SCRIPT WEREN'T SO DRY AND SHALLOW AND BASIC. The designers of this game expect me to be content with the "story" and "mystery" this scenario offers? I would be, if it lasted two hours. This was a 6 hour game and we got nothing in the end! Just a regular old final showdown. And that was the best part of the scenario, but we were so tired from the grind of talking with shallow characters we didn't even care anymore.

The rest of the scenarios are fine. They are fun and tense because the game puts everything out in the open; combat, interaction, atmosphere. All that in a reasonable amount of time. Rising Tide is a lobotomized version of a standard MoM scenario. And what's worse, for a 6 hour deductive adventure it tries to be, IT HAS NO STORY.

So what is the point of playing Rising Tide in 6 hours when I can play Consulting Detective in half that time and have a great time?

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Jacek Deimer
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Last week we played Rising Tide, three players, just under 4 hours.

We really enjoyed that scenario, it was different than previous. There was a tension because we knew that there won't be enough time to discover everything.

And to be honest monsters/enemies were almost never a problem to us and didn't cause too much tension in previous scenarios, maybe during first game. It was alway possibility of running out of time and getting driven insane by mythos events.

I completely agree, that most of the conversations were not relevant to the case, but they really build the athmosphere and fleshed out the theme of Innsmouth.

In fact we were a bit dissappointed that it ended so quickly. We wanted to visit more locations, chat with more people, discover more about Innsmouth.

It was really nice follow up to Escape from Innsmouth scenario, we would really love to see more scenarios set in that place.

Of course it has some weak moments like placement of some items, arbitrary horror, and some elements of the finale felt really rushed by designers.

In the end my rating of scenarios from best to worst:

Escape from Innsmouth
Rising Time
Shattered Bonds
Cycle of Etternity

I also played 2 cases of Sherlock Holmes recently, case 3 and 7, quite recent Ystari edition.

In my opinion it also has many dead ends and pointless/duplicate leads. It is also much more one dimensional game, so it flows much more quickly. MoM2 has many more mechanics and elements so unfortunatelly similar story takes more time to tell in MoM2.
 
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Chick Lewis
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We played Rising Tide in about 5 hours with three players. It was pretty fun, but DID end in a 'Boss Fight'. We got bonuses during the final solution if we had discovered certain clues, and these were important. Enjoyed it overall.

I went back into the app solo and 'played' it again, just clicking through and making sure to exhaust every clue and person. It still took me to the final 'Boss Fight', so I don't think there is any way to avoid it.

I feel that it is a good scenario, and recommend it.
 
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Jeff Beck
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Reid666 wrote:
In fact we were a bit dissappointed that it ended so quickly. We wanted to visit more locations, chat with more people, discover more about Innsmouth.


I completely agree with this. I think we spent 5 hours playing this scenario (2 players with 2 characters each) but it seemed MUCH shorter. We were engaged in the story and also felt pressured against the clock. It was very cool to be able to interact with so many NPCs.

My fear is that it won't stand up to another play or two. Although I prefer this scenario above most of the others (so far) I suspect that the Cycle of Eternity will probably see more plays due the the greater variety in the map/placement.

I hope to see more scenarios like this in the future.
 
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It's a very flawed scenario. It's ultimately too shallow for its game time and really reneges on its premise: that the investigators must discover the 2 cultists and their meeting place. In fact this isn't the case. You must only find one of the three. Additionally to that, talking to the suspects is entirely pointless. NOTHING they say has any bearing on their guilt or otherwise, and in fact you have a better chance of finding the evidence you need if you never speak to a single one of them, as doing so only wastes your actions and time. I am 100% serious and accurate on that. Try it.

Too long for a scenario so ultimately shallow, too ultimately shallow for a scenario so long, too mechanically solved for a supposed mystery.

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Brian
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Are the two suspects and the location randomized?
 
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Chick Lewis
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At least one of the suspects is randomized, based on two playings. The location MAY be, but were identical in my pair.
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Clive Bixby
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High Flying Bird wrote:
It's a very flawed scenario. It's ultimately too shallow for its game time and really reneges on its premise: that the investigators must discover the 2 cultists and their meeting place. In fact this isn't the case. You must only find one of the three. Additionally to that, talking to the suspects is entirely pointless. NOTHING they say has any bearing on their guilt or otherwise, and in fact you have a better chance of finding the evidence you need if you never speak to a single one of them, as doing so only wastes your actions and time. I am 100% serious and accurate on that. Try it.



A thousand times this!!!!
We played it last night and couldn't be more disappointed... The story was plain boring and we felt that after 3.5 hours we didn't really find out anything! We found the cult amulet with the letter on its back and thought it to be too obvious. We reasoned that the game wouldn't tell us to talk to all the suspects if it came down to finding one measly cult sigil. Boy, we were wrong.

This scenario really sucks because there is simply nothing to really investigate. Find the sigil, monster showdown, boredom!!!

Such a pity!!!! They did a far better job with the ' A cry for help' scenario in the first edition!!
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Kurt R
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High Flying Bird wrote:
It's a very flawed scenario. It's ultimately too shallow for its game time and really reneges on its premise: that the investigators must discover the 2 cultists and their meeting place. In fact this isn't the case. You must only find one of the three. Additionally to that, talking to the suspects is entirely pointless. NOTHING they say has any bearing on their guilt or otherwise, and in fact you have a better chance of finding the evidence you need if you never speak to a single one of them, as doing so only wastes your actions and time. I am 100% serious and accurate on that. Try it.

Too long for a scenario so ultimately shallow, too ultimately shallow for a scenario so long, too mechanically solved for a supposed mystery.


You may very well be right about playing the scenario by avoiding speaking to all of the suspects, but in our game that was not the case. We spoke to the bookseller and told her about a book that we found. She moved out into the alley to look at it, so we went over there and talked to her again. This time we found that some cult piece of evidence (sorry, my memory) was folded into one of her books. She was like, "Oh, how did that get in there?" and we were onto her.

Whatshername Marsh seemed obviously guilty with how obstructive she was and sure enough, she was. Not saying it was the best mystery by any means (I was hoping for more deduction on our part) but I disagree that NOTHING they say has any bearing. We correctly deduced the two culprits from our interactions with them.

But hey, there's no reason FFG can't learn from these and make better mysteries in the future.
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Justin Colm
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enzo622 wrote:
High Flying Bird wrote:
It's a very flawed scenario. It's ultimately too shallow for its game time and really reneges on its premise: that the investigators must discover the 2 cultists and their meeting place. In fact this isn't the case. You must only find one of the three. Additionally to that, talking to the suspects is entirely pointless. NOTHING they say has any bearing on their guilt or otherwise, and in fact you have a better chance of finding the evidence you need if you never speak to a single one of them, as doing so only wastes your actions and time. I am 100% serious and accurate on that. Try it.

Too long for a scenario so ultimately shallow, too ultimately shallow for a scenario so long, too mechanically solved for a supposed mystery.


You may very well be right about playing the scenario by avoiding speaking to all of the suspects, but in our game that was not the case. We spoke to the bookseller and told her about a book that we found. She moved out into the alley to look at it, so we went over there and talked to her again. This time we found that some cult piece of evidence (sorry, my memory) was folded into one of her books. She was like, "Oh, how did that get in there?" and we were onto her.

Whatshername Marsh seemed obviously guilty with how obstructive she was and sure enough, she was. Not saying it was the best mystery by any means (I was hoping for more deduction on our part) but I disagree that NOTHING they say has any bearing. We correctly deduced the two culprits from our interactions with them.

But hey, there's no reason FFG can't learn from these and make better mysteries in the future.


Regarding the incident with the bookseller (I also can't remember her name at this point ) you are right. I forgot about that. In that one instance talking to her is useful. However, it makes very little difference to my overall point, as you acknowledged. She will do exactly the same things even if she is NOT a cultist. But in that scenario searching the bookstore once she is outside will simply yield a generic item rather than the cult sigil and the cult sigil will be elsewhere (depending on who is a cultist). My point here is that it a mechanical process, not a deductive one: what tells you she is a cultist is the item (the sigil in this case) you find, not her behaviour or her words. Those 'Evidence' cards are the ONLY thing that indicates guilt, the conversations are just flavour.

That brings us to Sylvia: trust me, she comes across equally as guilty when she is not a cultist. If you deduced her guilt from her behaviour then it was simply a lucky coincidence. The only thing that indicates her guilt is finding a certain piece of evidence in her house. If you search that location and it doesn't yield an 'Evidence' card she is not a cultist, although it will not make a difference to her dialogue. If you search that location and an 'Evidence' card is there she is guilty. It's as simple as that. It works in exactly the same way whoever is selected as the guilty parties.

There are 8 potential locations for evidence in every game (at least I assume there are 8; I've personally never seen or heard of the old Sailor guy being a cultist and given that certain game ending situations require him to rescue the heroes, I'm not sure he is ever guilty. So it may be 7. But for the sake of the example let's go with 8). These do not change. The 3 pieces of evidence will be scattered among these 8 locations depending on who was chosen but it will always be these 8. One for each suspect and one for each location. 3 of the 8 will yield 'Evidence' cards which are the indicator of guilt for a character or District. If you search all 8 of these locations you will find all 3 pieces of evidence. I don't think that's possible because certain locations require certain items and not being able to revisit locations means you cannot get all of the necessary items but remember: only 1 piece of evidence is actually necessary. So you only need to find 1 piece of Evidence or rule out 5 of the locations. I think you're unlikely to fail doing that even on a first game but once you know the system you can't fail. Usually when I hear of people guessing wrongly on the 1st game it's because they didn't realize the 'Evidence' cards were definitive proof of guilt and were mislead by the things the characters said... which do not change regardless! Another reason why it's better to simply ignore them. On the off chance you DO fail to find any of the 'Evidence' cards then the character's behaviours are not indicators and you are simply guessing. So if anyone DID correctly guess guilt in this way then you simply got lucky.

In the one instance you mentioned (and there is at least 1 other that comes to mind) then the key to searching one of those 8 locations comes through talking to a character... but it's only a mechanical process. The actual content of their speech means nothing. I still believe that, on balance, if you took 100 game groups who had never played the scenario before and told 50 of them 'do not speak to the characters; it's forbidden' that group would report a greater number of correct guesses on the end game than the groups who were talking to the NPCs.

Hell, it's even simpler than I outlined above once you understand how it has been constructed: you can forget the suspects and just search the 3 locations (one in each District) that potentially yield 'Evidence' incriminating that location. Just have one character go and interact with that Investigation token on each map and have the others grab the weapons to power up. Not only will you be guaranteed to reach the end game but you will breeze through the final encounter.

Thus did they create a scenario which on paper had the best chance for replayability and in practice has none, except for the mentally dullest of players.




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High Flying Bird wrote:

There are 8 potential locations for evidence in every game (at least I assume there are 8; I've personally never seen or heard of the old Sailor guy being a cultist


Having just played this scenario on Friday night, I can confirm he was one of the cultists in our game. As to the character that appeared with help:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
It was the detective, yelling to get to the boat


The general feeling from our ~4.5 hour game was that the discussions didn't matter - and we talked to everyone. We found some evidence, but so much time was wasted not knowing which items to have when you're speaking to specific individuals to help unlock conversation options or items that I'm nearly certain we missed core elements to the story.

I have mixed feelings. When the game forces you to split up to cover more ground but then also requires that you need to have specific items in-hand to open other story elements, that pretty much means you need to play the scenario once, fail, and learn all the "tricks". To me, that's not good design because unless you're super lucky, you're simply requiring multiple replays to win a scenario. As a former DM, it bugs me.
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Justin Colm
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Phantom Load wrote:
High Flying Bird wrote:

There are 8 potential locations for evidence in every game (at least I assume there are 8; I've personally never seen or heard of the old Sailor guy being a cultist


Having just played this scenario on Friday night, I can confirm he was one of the cultists in our game. As to the character that appeared with help:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
It was the detective, yelling to get to the boat



Great to know! It's something I'd wondered about.

Phantom Load wrote:


The general feeling from our ~4.5 hour game was that the discussions didn't matter - and we talked to everyone. We found some evidence, but so much time was wasted not knowing which items to have when you're speaking to specific individuals to help unlock conversation options or items that I'm nearly certain we missed core elements to the story.

I have mixed feelings. When the game forces you to split up to cover more ground but then also requires that you need to have specific items in-hand to open other story elements, that pretty much means you need to play the scenario once, fail, and learn all the "tricks". To me, that's not good design because unless you're super lucky, you're simply requiring multiple replays to win a scenario. As a former DM, it bugs me.


Normally I would agree with that but in this instance you really don't need to be very lucky at all. Because, despite setting up with the premise that the players need to discover 3 pieces of evidence they truthfully only need to find 1. Even going in blind and not knowing 'what goes with what' I think that's pretty easy to luck into, especially as the pieces of evidence 'incriminating' the Districts are pretty much just lying around in the open, needing no special requirements to investigate. We did complete the investigation on our first game. The only stumbling block really comes from being able to recognize the 'Evidence' cards as absolute proof. As you say, you did find some, so you did enough to guess right. But if players listen to what the characters say over those cards... big mistake.

As another little footnote on this topic I'll offer this example from our second play:

We won our first game and so decided that the second time we would just try to see everything we didn't see before. To that end we followed Bobby's story all the way to its absolute end. And we came to a point in the story that seemed to explain away all of Bobby's seemingly suspicious behaviour in an innocent way. It took a lot of actions to get to this point. It felt like a satisfying end to Bobby's story. Guess what? Yes, he was a cultist. With no apparent motivation. Because it's random! Following the character's stories is nice for flavour but it's totally meaningless in terms of the game and its resolution. If you want to know if Bobby is a cultist you search the Office in the Uptown district... that's all.
 
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I didn't gather a single piece of evidence but we still managed to guess both of the cultists. Are you guys saying it was just luck?

For us it was Sylvia Marsh and the Hotel lady (Gil...something).
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Sylvia because of the conversation with her where she states that everyone will agree with her soon and that preparations are underway. Her maid also seems to imply that something strange is going on but then shuts up.

Gilsomething was because of a conversation with the guys in the billiards room downtown saying that she seems to rarely be at the hotel in the last few days and a few other stuff.


So, are these conversations always the same independently of them being cultists or not?
 
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Kurt R
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Well, that's disappointing to hear all this. Seems the interactions with the personages of the story are merely more flavor text, and there's really no mystery here. I bought into the idea that success was dependent on interacting with characters and listening to what they say. Maybe they should just go back to throwing monsters at us. /shrug
 
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Clive Bixby
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Quote:
So, are these conversations always the same independently of them being cultists or not?


They differ...somewhat! In our play on Friday the book lady for instance just said that one of the other suspects had apparently thrown the book in the puddle.

It seems that in other plays she said something incriminating herself...
 
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Clive_Bixby wrote:


Quote:
So, are these conversations always the same independently of them being cultists or not?


They differ...somewhat! In our play on Friday the book lady for instance just said that one of the other suspects had apparently thrown the book in the puddle.

It seems that in other plays she said something incriminating herself...


Yeah. I just went through the app talking to Marsh the same way I did in the previous game and...
Spoiler (click to reveal)
this time she did not say anything incriminating and neither did her maid.
So it's clear that the conversations do indeed change and are relevant to the investigation.
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