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Mansions of Madness» Forums » General

Subject: Why do you have to set up the whole mansion at the start of the game? rss

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Cameron Chien
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Alas, no local game store was doing the preview event, so I have not played Mansions of Madness. Like many others, however, I have been eagerly following the impressions of those who were fortunate enough to have participated in the preview event, as well as Jeremy's excellent HD Component series.

Since this game shares some similarities with Doom/Descent, I wondered why it isn't possible to just set up the game one room at a time (as the investigators explore it)?

This would solve two things:

1) The setup time
2) The replay value should be increased since players don't know the whole layout at the start of the game, AND they don't know exactly where the locks and obstacle cards are.

The Keeper could just set aside the cards he would need for the other rooms, and just make sure he seeds the correct one as each room is revealed.

From my understanding of the rules, this should not break anything, except perhaps skew the difficulty even more in the Keeper's favor.

Thoughts?

Cameron
 
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Joel Schuster
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I'd prefer setup time over downtime during the game actually.
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Cameron Chien
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It shouldn't take more than a moment. In Doom you have to find the connecting corridor pieces, then the monsters, then the ammo/weapon/powerup icons and place them in all the right spaces...

In Mansions of Madness it should be much faster. Plop down one room, a card or two, then in a few rooms, a token for an altar or a barrier or whathaveyou.

Cameron
 
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Joel Schuster
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Still, games like these have enough maintenance as it is. A moment here to adjust this a moment there to deal these tokens and sort them cards. Shuffle that deck, sort the chits, deal the tokens, replenish this and that.

I am glad for whats done and fixed during setup and stays where it is.
But obviously we both havent played the game, so how can we judge ?
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Joe Sikele
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Zeede wrote:

Thoughts?

Cameron

I doubt this would work, because there seem to be cards that spawn monsters in certain rooms. what do you do if those rooms are not yet revealed? Or even the rooms connected to those rooms?
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Ethan Nicholas
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The game is balanced around the investigators knowing where to go next. The clues make it clear where you're supposed to go... so how would you make that work if the room in question weren't on the map yet? Make everybody wander around randomly 'til they find it?
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B C Z
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Investigators are against the clock, and it is actually quite necessary that they make general forward progress towards the next hinted at location.

So, if the clue says (making this up) "Auntie Laura stored her valuables with her spice rack" then the next clue is in the KITCHEN. If the investigators don't know where the kitchen is, then they may wander aimlessly in order to eventually get there - meanwhile time is ticking and the plot advances relentlessly.

It takes approximately one turn to cross and interact with one normal sized (2 space) room. Interact could be 'search', 'attempt to hurt monster' or 'bar the door' or 'run an extra space in order to move a bit more' but in general, one turn is one room. Backtracking takes the same amount of time, which means that unless there is a loop, going the wrong way is a double whammy.

If the investigators do NOT know where to go, the game is aimless wandering in a "Betrayal at House on Hill" concept - but in that game it takes 1/3 to 1/7 of a turn to cross a single room, making it much easier to move about the house and cover ground.

So - the map is fully revealed to the investigators so they have a sense of purpose, the one positive thing they will encounter in the house.

Now - if they get it wrong, that's their fault.
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E Lewis
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I dont know about anyone else, but if I was going to investigate a mansion for any reason I would know it's blue prints like the back of my hand before I even saw the place.
That said - it all makes perfect sinse to me.
It's not an undiscovered dungeon game.
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B C Z
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inlife9 wrote:
It's not an undiscovered dungeon game.


This is 100% accurate.
 
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Ben Rankin
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I agree that it seems clear that the pacing and balance of the scenarios is designed to have the entire board laid out.

I am wondering if these options would enhance the exploration aspect without breaking the game:
a) Don't place the room feature markers until an investigator enters it. It seems odd that the investigators know as soon as they enter the building that there is an Altar in the garden out back.
b) Don't place the exploration card decks on the rooms. They could be setup as directed then placed behind a screen and placed in the room when an investigator enters.

I expect I'll play with the rules as written and then test some options with my group.
I'm glad that the geeks here can always work to redesign a game that we haven't played yet.
 
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Cameron Chien
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Mmm, I like this tweak to my suggested tweaks!

I can see that the game is balanced in such a way that it would be horribly in the Keeper's favor if the investigators didn't have the whole map layout at least.

Perhaps we can keep the room feature and room cards off the board until the investigators go into the room? This should also cut down on downtime during the game since all the Keeper has to do is plop the correct cards down (I would have them sorted by room already, the investigators don't know which pile corresponds to which room) and maybe a cardboard chit or two.

Edit: This way the investigators know where the Master Bedroom or Kitchen are, they just don't know that the door to the Study is locked until they try the door.

Cameron

P.S. *psst!* It was Cthulhu with the revolver in the Observatory...
 
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B C Z
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benrankin wrote:
I agree that it seems clear that the pacing and balance of the scenarios is designed to have the entire board laid out.

I am wondering if these options would enhance the exploration aspect without breaking the game:
a) Don't place the room feature markers until an investigator enters it. It seems odd that the investigators know as soon as they enter the building that there is an Altar in the garden out back.
b) Don't place the exploration card decks on the rooms. They could be setup as directed then placed behind a screen and placed in the room when an investigator enters.

I expect I'll play with the rules as written and then test some options with my group.
I'm glad that the geeks here can always work to redesign a game that we haven't played yet.


So... here's the problem with not placing items...
Altars: The keeper needs those altars - they are spawn points in many scenarios.

Ladders: Maybe they ARE placed during the scenario - or at least in some scenarios.

Hiding places/Barriers: As these take actions to activate, it is important to know tha they exist so the investigators can plan their movements, or realize too late why that barrier was in the basement to begin with.

Exploration cards/locks/obstacles: Part of the investigator's input on who goes first will be the anticipation of what is there - lock, obstacle or neither. A lock/obstacle means that the item was placed there by the scenario, on purpose. It could be something good, or it could be something not worth getting. Hell, it could be a 'nothing of interest' - which is why they exist in the game.

Further - not putting everything out on this already fairly large game means that it will take up even more space and be prone to even more error by the Keeper. Unlike an RPG where the DM/GM/whatever is trying to collaboratively tell a story, in this game they are actively trying to WIN - which means that everyone needs to be able to keep them honest. The Keeper isn't even supposed to know which specific monster they placed on the board until the moment they need to know a value (usually damage or health).

Everyone seems so intent on giving the Keeper an edge that quite honestly they do not need. Try it a few times and you'll realize that the maps, cards and 'proscribed path' are a backdrop to what is really happening, which is the keeper trying to do everything in their power to demoralize, slow down and/or kill the investigators.

Some of the lock cards are "there is no lock", some of the obstacle cards are "there is no obstacle" - so there is no reason to further obfuscate the stacks on the board. The study is locked, the kitchen has an obstacle and the hallway has neither and a single card, which means it's probably not that important - but you still need to traverse the hallway in order to get from point A to point B.

This isn't a hidden map/exploration game - the exploration aspect does not need to be 'enhanced' or 'fixed', at least not until you've played through the base 15 scenarios (5 house / 3 plots). Plus, the players won't know which way is up and player knowledge can actually be a detriment such as:
"We need to get to the kitchen, there's a weapon there." only to find "Nothing of interest"
or worse:
"We don't need to go into the guest bedroom, there's nothing important there" when it actually has an Elder sign.

This isn't an RPG, and if you think about it - aren't most RPGs mostly linear stories with a beginning, middle and end?

So what is this? It is a very pretty team resource management game with incredible amounts of theme and story backing it up.


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Cameron Chien
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Excellent points, and I defer to someone who has played the game

Man I can't wait to play this myself!

Cameron
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B C Z
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Zeede wrote:
Excellent points, and I defer to someone who has played the game

Man I can't wait to play this myself!

Cameron


( I did get a chance to play at the preview event. Photos and an actual article will be posted 'soon'. )
 
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