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Subject: Mansions of Madness or Arkham Horror? rss

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Danny
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I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on which game to buy if I am only going to buy one of them (for right now at least ). I have read/watched a good deal about them both and they both have their pros and cons. For example, MoM seems to be much simpler and more refined when it comes to gameplay, but AH seems like it will give you more re-playability in the long run. I've been switching back and forth between the two and have decided to leave it up to you to convince me one way or another. Help fellow boardgamers!
 
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John McKendrick
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MOM every time for me and I own neither

My son owns Arkham Horror and one of my best friends owns Mansions ....

It's just SCARIER zombie
 
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Jamie Vantries
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Well, MoM is the new hotness, so expect lots of recommendations for that.
Without more info, it's hard to recommend one over the other. You probably won't go wrong with either of them.
 
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Patrick Dolan
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I own all the expansions for AH, and have played it many times. I picked up MoM a couple of days ago, but haven't had a chance to play it, and I'd say that you pretty much hit the nail on the head with your assessment. Currently, Arkham Horror has a lot more replayability, both in terms of core game mechanics, as well as overall number of expansions, while MoM seems to have simpler, more refined gameplay (this is especially true when you start adding in all the AH expansions).

Right now, I'd vote for AH, mainly for the fact that you can play it solitaire, it can handle up to six people (I've played with more, but it gets a bit easy, and takes a LOT longer), all the players work together towards a common goal, and I have a hunch that MoM is going to require expansions to be robustly re-playable.

On the other hand, the presentation of MoM is stunning, I really like the sound of the mechanics quite a bit, and once I get a chance to play it, I may change my vote...

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Christopher Ebert
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linguistfromhell wrote:
C. Mansion of Madness versus Arkham Horror.

Okay, the theme's the same. What else? The investigators come from the same pool. Health and Sanity, yup. ... Monster names (A hound of tindalos? Really? Cool.). Aaand ... that's about it. Mechanically? The games are completely dissimilar.

1. MoM is team-based. AH is cooperative. Notice that cooperative does not always mean interactive. I’ve played games of AH where everyone announces what they’re doing, those decisions make sense and everyone else head-nods, and then the turn is off and running. That won’t work in MoM for the most part.
2. MoM has a much tighter story. Every event leads to another event. AH has a LOT of little events, but nothing impacts each other directly.
3. MoM has one ten-sided die, and that's enough. AH comes with a number of six-sided dice, and you may need another dozen. And that's for one player. You might as well get a few dozen dice out if you have two or more combat machines in AH.
4. MoM is simple as far as bookkeeping goes. AH is terrible. Look, I’m not saying AH is a terrible game, just that there is a LOT of things to track: Loans, Curses, Blessings, Rumors, Terror track, etc. Do I need to continue? Know what you track in MoM? "Is it time to put another event counter on the event cards?" That's about it.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The games are as much like each other as poker is to chess (there's a king, a queen, and a lot of nobodies that aren't worth as much - okay, that was sarcastic, but was it wrong?).


Maybe that'll help? I dunno. This is from a review posted here... http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/623261/when-compared-to-

Each of these games has its own greatness. I own and have played both, and if I had to choose between one, it would be a tough decision cause I like them both for different reasons.

I love Arkham Horror due to the rush that it gives you to try to close and seal gates before the Ancient awakens. It's also soloable which appeals to me cause I don't always get to play board games with friends due to my work schedule. There are many expansions for this game so if you ever get bored with what it comes with, there's many options to add new stuff. (I have 2 expansions so far and another in the mail). The replay value on this one is high.

I love MoM however due to the rush of getting the objective done. (I've only played as the keeper) Also, coming from a background of RPGs and DMing pathfinder and D&D, I love all the flavor text and narrative that MoM offers. Our first 2 games we played the 1st story. I chose different answers and we had a blast.

I know a lot of people are concerned about the replay-ability of MoM, but after playing twice on the same story, I'm not overly concerned anymore due to the following points.
1) Even if someone is familiar with every path of the story, there's no way anyone can predict which answers the Keeper picks. And even if they do, they still have to go in order of the clues in order to the whatever item is needed to get to the next. Sure, they'll know what the clues mean and will no longer have the mystery of where the clue is trying to take them. But still not knowing which on is next still adds a little bit to it. Plus there's the puzzles, which I think were done pretty well with the randomness. Which brings me to...
2)The puzzles will not be set up exactly the same way every time which means an experienced group can't memorize the moves to solve it.
3) A good keeper can trick an experienced group that is familiar with the story. For example...
Spoiler (click to reveal)
One of the objectives in the 1st story for the keeper is to get 2 samples to the alter to summon a monster and get it out of the mansions through the front door. So, if playing a different objective, the Keeper could work on trying to get two samples to the alter to throw the players off thinking that is the objective. And this isn't even a bad idea anyway since this would net 5 threat per sample anyway. And when the players figure out this ploy, that'll add yet again another mystery. Is the keep throwing us off? Or does he really need these for the objective?

I have only done the first story so far so I don't know how this would play out for other stories.

There's my two cents.

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Danny
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Thanks for all of the fast responses! Lots of good information for me to consider . This is my thought process right now. Like I said earlier, I like the fact that MoM seems to have really refined gameplay. That allows me to introduce the game to some of my friends who don't really enjoy complicated games (ie Agricola). I also like the fact that the play time seems to be shorter. While I enjoy an epic game now and again, it seems that AH games can easily take up to six hours. A few things I dislike about MoM is the fact that re-playability seems to be an issue. I've read arguments for both sides, but it still concerns me. Another worry of mine is that I am going to be tasked as the keeper every play through. This would be a non issue in AH since you all play against the game (with that said, the idea of the keeper/threat tokens seems really compelling and I bet it will make for an unpredictable and great gaming session).

Like I mentioned earlier, AH seems like it has the re-playability, but I am a little concerned that not many people will want to take the time to learn all of the intricate rules. Another thing I like about AH is that it has been out for a while and has stood the test of time. You know a game is great when a company can constantly profit from expansions and it is often brought up in board game discussions. Decisions, decisions...
 
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Jamie Vantries
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snarkie wrote:
it seems that AH games can easily take up to six hours.

That is way wrong! Unless you're implementing some rule where each player has to cook a 7-course meal before they take each turn, it would never take that long. 1.5-3 hours is normal. 4 hours would be a long game (even if it were a learning game). More than 4 hours would only happen if it were an 8-player learning game where the rules explainer doesn't possess a short-term memory and therefor has to re-read the rules between each players turn.
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Paul S
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Burnham wrote:
snarkie wrote:
it seems that AH games can easily take up to six hours.

That is way wrong! Unless you're implementing some rule where each player has to cook a 7-course meal before they take each turn, it would never take that long. 1.5-3 hours is normal. 4 hours would be a long game (even if it were a learning game). More than 4 hours would only happen if it were an 8-player learning game where the rules explainer doesn't possess a short-term memory and therefor has to re-read the rules between each players turn.


There are always exceptions, of course! Did nearly 5 hours a couple of weeks back, playing the Touring performance of the KiY. With Hastur as the GOO you need 8 clues per sealed Gate, which slows you down. This wasn't a learning game, and had only 2 players sharing 3 investigators.

But 2 - 3 hours isn't a bad "general" estimate.

 
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Kevin Outlaw
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Burnham wrote:
snarkie wrote:
it seems that AH games can easily take up to six hours.

That is way wrong! Unless you're implementing some rule where each player has to cook a 7-course meal before they take each turn, it would never take that long. 1.5-3 hours is normal. 4 hours would be a long game (even if it were a learning game). More than 4 hours would only happen if it were an 8-player learning game where the rules explainer doesn't possess a short-term memory and therefor has to re-read the rules between each players turn.


I've had two player games regularly go over 4 hours and one went to 6. It depends a lot how you play.

If you play like a machine, plan your move and organise your cards while the other players are moving, never go to the toilet, never get distracted and mention something that came in the post the other day, or go and let the dog out, or adjust the central heating, or get a beer, then the game will be considerably quicker.

Part of gaming for me is socialising, and that will often involve chatting about something that isn't game related from time to time, and that WILL add time, but I don't think I am in a minority with games of AH playing longer that 1.5 hours.

I don't enjoy the idea of sticking my head down and hammering through a turn while other people are moving around because I lose the enjoyment of watching them do what they are doing...

Basically timings on the box are only guidelines for a reason - every group plays differently, and you can't say someone is doing something "wrong" if their games play long: that is obviously just how it happens with that particular group.
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Christopher Ebert
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
Burnham wrote:
snarkie wrote:
it seems that AH games can easily take up to six hours.

That is way wrong! Unless you're implementing some rule where each player has to cook a 7-course meal before they take each turn, it would never take that long. 1.5-3 hours is normal. 4 hours would be a long game (even if it were a learning game). More than 4 hours would only happen if it were an 8-player learning game where the rules explainer doesn't possess a short-term memory and therefor has to re-read the rules between each players turn.


I've had two player games regularly go over 4 hours and one went to 6. It depends a lot how you play.

If you play like a machine, plan your move and organise your cards while the other players are moving, never go to the toilet, never get distracted and mention something that came in the post the other day, or go and let the dog out, or adjust the central heating, or get a beer, then the game will be considerably quicker.

Part of gaming for me is socialising, and that will often involve chatting about something that isn't game related from time to time, and that WILL add time, but I don't think I am in a minority with games of AH playing longer that 1.5 hours.

I don't enjoy the idea of sticking my head down and hammering through a turn while other people are moving around because I lose the enjoyment of watching them do what they are doing...

Basically timings on the box are only guidelines for a reason - every group plays differently, and you can't say someone is doing something "wrong" if their games play long: that is obviously just how it happens with that particular group.


Well said
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Danny
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Thanks again for all of the helpful feedback guys. I definitely have read about AH games taking six hours, but maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration. Haha it is looking more and more like I am just going to have to get both! If I had to pick one, I am tempted to go with MoM, but I just realized I can buy AH from borders on Monday for $60, but use the 40% of coupon plus an extra 10% off one and get it for 30. Combine that with MoM for $60 on coolstuff and it's getting harder and harder for me to pass up on one or the other
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Jamie Vantries
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
Burnham wrote:
snarkie wrote:
it seems that AH games can easily take up to six hours.

That is way wrong! Unless you're implementing some rule where each player has to cook a 7-course meal before they take each turn, it would never take that long. 1.5-3 hours is normal. 4 hours would be a long game (even if it were a learning game). More than 4 hours would only happen if it were an 8-player learning game where the rules explainer doesn't possess a short-term memory and therefor has to re-read the rules between each players turn.


I've had two player games regularly go over 4 hours and one went to 6. It depends a lot how you play.

If you play like a machine, plan your move and organise your cards while the other players are moving, never go to the toilet, never get distracted and mention something that came in the post the other day, or go and let the dog out, or adjust the central heating, or get a beer, then the game will be considerably quicker.

Part of gaming for me is socialising, and that will often involve chatting about something that isn't game related from time to time, and that WILL add time, but I don't think I am in a minority with games of AH playing longer that 1.5 hours.

I don't enjoy the idea of sticking my head down and hammering through a turn while other people are moving around because I lose the enjoyment of watching them do what they are doing...

Basically timings on the box are only guidelines for a reason - every group plays differently, and you can't say someone is doing something "wrong" if their games play long: that is obviously just how it happens with that particular group.

I agree with what you say, but I also play games at a "casual" pace usually, and they still get done "quickly". Especially with Arkham Horror, I also like to see what is going on with all the other players too.
 
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Bruce Moffatt
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snarkie wrote:
I just realized I can buy AH from borders on Monday for $60, but use the 40% of coupon plus an extra 10% off one and get it for 30. Combine that with MoM for $60 on coolstuff and it's getting harder and harder for me to pass up on one or the other


That sounds like a plan Danny!

Thematically, the games are almost identical but they scratch a very different itch as far as game play is concerned. If you like the whole Cthulhu Mythos then you won't go far wrong with having both games.
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Kevin Outlaw
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Burnham wrote:

I agree with what you say, but I also play games at a "casual" pace usually, and they still get done "quickly". Especially with Arkham Horror, I also like to see what is going on with all the other players too.


Fair enough, but you did say "That is way wrong! Unless you're implementing some rule where each player has to cook a 7-course meal before they take each turn, it would never take that long. 1.5-3 hours is normal. 4 hours would be a long game (even if it were a learning game). More than 4 hours would only happen if it were an 8-player learning game where the rules explainer doesn't possess a short-term memory and therefor has to re-read the rules between each players turn."

I have a pretty decent short and long term memory, yet my two-player games have taken over four hours (even ones that are not learning games).

Maybe you have some knack of playing quickly even when playing casually, but that has never happened for me. Arkham Horror rates as one of my all-time favourites, but you cannot deny it can (and often does) play long for many people, and I don't think it is fair to say its impossible for the game to run for a given time or to make general sweeping (slightly insulting) statements about the people who do have the game run long for their groups.

This is not an attack on you - so please don't think that - but I just thought it was worth clarifying that for many people this game can run long, and that doesn't mean those people are doing anything wrong, or that they should feel like they are doing something incorrectly.
 
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Steve Duff
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The wife and I just finished a 6 1/2 hour session. Two characters each.

I have no idea how anyone gets through this so quickly. There's just so much to do each turn. Decide what to do, adjust sliders, roll upkeeps, refresh items, move, combat, roll roll roll, encounters, more combat, more rolling, reading cards, adding monsters, adding clues, checking movement, checking movement exceptions, new gates, adjusting tracks, monster surges... And you're doing almost all of that every single turn.

Maybe half an hour was rule and faq checking, since it's been a while since we played. Maybe an another hour was added due to two characters each, as you can only plan one at a time.

We enjoy the game, but it's pretty much a full day affair every time.
 
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Jerry Martin
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My wife and I average about 1 1/2 hours for each game for Arkham. That includes set up and tear down. We are very experienced and don't have to look up rules. The other day we played with a friend and there was plenty of chat and nice talk and it took us 2 1/2 hours. I would say a true average for most people would be 2-3 hours.

One thing to speed things up is once everyone has moved pass out encounter cards to everyone so you are ready to go when it is your turn. We still read the story element out loud. Also look at the board and figure out where you are going when it isn't your turn. That way your turn shouldn't take more than a couple minutes.

And we have one other thing that really has little impact on the game. We roll upkeep/moving into one. Although this could technically alter the game play slightly it is extremely rare and we feel the time save is worth it.

 
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Jim Lederer
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There is a really good rules summary by UniversalHead here. It really helps me to keep the game moving along without forgetting important rules.
 
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