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Board Game: Mansions of Madness
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Subject: Mansion of Madness Review: A disappointment rss

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Popescu Matei
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Firstly, I would like to begin with the fact that I am a big fan of Lovecraft and have read a great deal of his works, note that I say Lovecraft and not the Mythos since I find some later additions made by other authors to be frankly stupid. Gems such as August Derleth’s elemental system,Cthulhu and Hastur are brothers,Cthulhu has a daughter named Cthllya,you get the point.

So believe me when I say that I was somewhat excited when I heard about Mansions of Madness a game where a group of investigators would search a mysterious establishment for clues to an evil plot whilst stumbling upon eldritch creatures, horrifying sights and mind twisting items.

Lo and behold I was disappointed.

Before the actual reviewing starts,here is a short introduction to the rules:1-4 investigators enter a mansion in which they must find several clues that are hidden in rooms,the location is deduced from a short text found in manual for the first clue and then from the clues themselves,one leading to the other.

On their turn, the investigators can make 2 movement steps and one action which can be:another move,use one of their items,drop/take an item on the floor,attack.The keeper gains threat equal to the number of investigators each turn, he can use this threat for mythos cards that are harmful events,Trauma that are negative status effects that the keeper can assign after an investigator has taken damage and is weak enough. In addition to these,the keeper has a number of action cards that are preset by the scenario and are always revealed.

If all the clues are revealed then the keeper must show the objective card, thus revealing the investigator’s true goal and the keeper’s goal (the keeper knows from the start what the investigators objective is).
Mansions of Madness is best described as a hybrid between Betrayal at the House on the Hill and Descent. Though that doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t possess its own style, in fact it achieves that quite nicely; the problem is that most of the flaws this game has are too fundamental in nature to ignore.

The Price

This really doesn’t feel like an 80 dollar game, not the biggest of complaints, but for the components offered there really should have been more. I feel that the price was pumped because of the figurines which honestly fall short a little,the beast creatures and Chtonian look awesome though the humanoids look quite similar to one another, the biggest disappointment is the Shoggoth which looks ridiculous, it has legs and looks like a huge mutated tentacle dog, hardly a protoplasmic shapeless horror. The chits that go under the figurines would have sufficed,Arkham Horror style.But if you want to use the figurines in another medium, for example the Call of Cthulhu rpg,then yes maybe the price is justified.

Roll your Dice and move your Mice!

Probably my biggest complaint with this entire game, the investigators have little to no choice. The clues point out exactly (most of the time) the location of the next one and investigators move from one to another like lemmings.Unless you have one of those gamers in your group that only thinks only of themselves in a co-op game such as "I don’t care about clues I just want to explore that hallway whatever you say" then the best choice is nearly always clear.Stay together in a group at all times and move from one clue to the next.

I’m serious splitting up for even a turn can have disastrous consequences. Of course you do get the occasional "A monster has appeared...let the guy with the gun go ahead so he can shoot" or "A book... I’d best give this to the guy with the highest lore" but I hardly call those "real" decisions.

The whole game feels like it was made for the keeper.He gets to decide where the clues go at a the start of the game thus knowing exactly how the investigators shall move about and he plays cards to torture his mice in a maze.I admit playing has a keeper is fun,seeing your evil machinations come to fruition is quite satisfying.But for the investigators the problem remains,They feel more like an AI than players.

Zero Role Playing

Sigh...I had really thought the game would pull through here.I enjoy Betrayal at the House on the Hill but the game play and randomness could really kill the atmosphere sometimes.I had hoped Mansions would offer an alternative.It didn't.I never had an inkling of feeling as an investigator, there was no feeling of wanting to know what's next or where to go, as soon as we read the clue we forgot what it said after we knew our next destination.We never thought "Oh where do we find the murder weapon" all we did think was "Where's clue number 3"

It's another story for the keeper,you really feel like an evil mastermind toying with the lives of the investigators though I wished that the keeper would have a real presence in scenarios.
For example in scenario one "The Fall of House Lynch" Walter could have summoned and evil spirit(The keeper) that possessed the house instead of resurrecting his family and the investigators must banish him, it really adds a nice touch to the story telling.
Plus the incredibly stupid combat moments such as PUNCHING A SHOGGOTH OUT OF THE ROOM! I understand the need to sacrifice lore for game play but being able to do that to one of the most iconic Lovecraftian monsters is...stupid.


Balance...Always an Issue

The game is usually always stacked against the investigators, out of all the games I played, they never have won.They got very close one time but an event stole their victory.Above that, Harvey Walters and Michael Glen feel like very weak chars (mainly because they are the guys with the best sanity/worst stamina and vice versa) the keeper can simply pick on their weakness with the greatest of ease.Not much more to say... the keeper can effectively disable investigator advantages and hit their weakness all the time.

Storage

Really......it's an empty box.Considering the amount of figurines with huge bases this is really annoying.At least they could have put some plastic holders for the cards.

Overall Impression

This game was a disappointment.It could have been so much more...but it falls short in a lot of places.It's not all horrible though,the components are high quality has expected of FFG.The combat system is satisfying if a little random sometimes.The map tiles are well done and the presentation in general is good.And it has some moments where it shines with potential.For example scenario 5 introduces cards that can be played to a investigator face down, one of them being a betrayed card, a very interesting mechanic though the scenario is a little iffy.

All in all Mansions of Madness isn't a horrible game or even a bad one, I feel sorry for it.It could have been some much more but it was pushed into mediocrity by some mistakes which are easily fixable.

And the final question: Should you buy it? Well if you like the setting a lot and are okay with the price go for it.If you take a more happy go lucky approach to gaming go for it.If you really really wanna give this game a shot, buy and hope for expansions because they certainly could make a great game out of this.


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Thoughtshard wrote:

Probably my biggest complaint with this entire game, the investigators have little to no choice...
Stay together in a group at all times and move from one clue to the next...
The whole game feels like it was made for the keeper.He gets to decide where the clues go at a the start of the game thus knowing exactly how the investigators shall move about and he plays cards to torture his mice in a maze.I admit playing has a keeper is fun,seeing your evil machinations come to fruition is quite satisfying.But for the investigators the problem remains,They feel more like an AI than players.
The keeper seems to have a lot more fun and a lot more "choices" than the investigators.

The investigators come into the story with nothing and have to find everything--and it's agonizingly slow and often frustrating: We've never kept the investigators together, but I can easily count the times where we thought, heck, would be nice if YOU are HERE because I don't need this thing... For those that don't know the scenarios well, OR don't pay attention to the pre-game story, it's very possible to miss clues and then end up wandering completely lost while the keeper piles on the abuse.

Investigators ARE just gnats against the horrors of the cosmos, but to rush around the board being abused for two hours and then come away feeling like you not only didn't accomplish anything but COULDN'T really stings (And you failed as a team. Pity party! Woo!). If the investigators go in in "vampire hunter mode" (WEAPONS vs abilities), and know where the clues basically are, then they give the keeper a better game--but doesn't necessarily give the investigators one.

We feel the price tag warrants the components, and will continue to play. At some point we hope to be comfortable enough with the components to cobble together our own stories. But we hope that an expansion at least doubles the stories available, has more room tiles, more puzzles, more non-humans, and--most importantly--more interesting choices for the investigators. Perhaps allow them to discard clue tokens to cancel some of the abuse? Perhaps allow them to switch ability cards between rounds ("I DRAW my gun this round and I'll let IT do my thinking." vs "I'll take out my magnifying glass and try to recall the words of my professor.")? SOMETHING. The investigators need to give the keeper a moment of pause that has nothing to do with their proximity to clues...
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Mary Weisbeck
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Thanks for your excellent review. I thought maybe I was the only person who didn't like it since my negative review took a lot of flak! You've made me feel better about my initial impressions.
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While I'll agree that the negative reviews bring up a lot of valid points. I have chosen to view this game as a foundation, rather than a completed work. While I am also disappointed - it is not the game that I expected - I am also hopeful.
After seeing the great fan support for Arkham Horror, with awesome projects like Arkham Investigations, I am hopeful that someone out there can take these beautiful components and use them to make a really good investigation game.

Sort of "when life gives you lemons..." outlook.

I'd also say that the game IS fun to play when the Keeper views his role as more of a facilitator of the overall game than as a competitor. It is sort of a bridge between a true RPG and a tabletop game. I have run several games with my kids, and had opportunities as the Keeper to win, but in ways that would have spoiled the experience for them (I know I would have been irritated), so I passed on it, let the game continue and played up the tension and the excitement with good narrative. In the end we have had several very good games.

So it has been disappointing, but it is also potentially great. I am excited about the future of this game system.
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crispy66 wrote:

So it has been disappointing, but it is also potentially great. I am excited about the future of this game system.
Good summary of what Mom feels like : disappointing and great at the same time. Also agree to the promising potential, but that is something we have yet to see, depending on where FFG decides to go with it.

To the OP, I don´t really feel the same way you do with the game, but I understand many people can feel the same way yo do with it. Something more could have been done to avoid this. Lots of polishing needed. We are far from having a masterpiece in our hands.

But we might, in the future.
 
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Popescu Matei
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Quote:
I'd also say that the game IS fun to play when the Keeper views his role as more of a facilitator of the overall game than as a competitor. It is sort of a bridge between a true RPG and a tabletop game. I have run several games with my kids, and had opportunities as the Keeper to win, but in ways that would have spoiled the experience for them (I know I would have been irritated), so I passed on it, let the game continue and played up the tension and the excitement with good narrative.
This is not a good thing, making the Keeper limit himself so we can all have a "fun" time is a perfect example of bad game design.You shouldn't have to make concessions gameplay-wise so game gets good, balancing out the 2 sides is the game designer's job...he gets paid after all doesn't he?
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Being a fan of the game, I mostly disagree, but always appreciate hearing another point of view.

Just one thing, though.

I just don't understand the complaints about the price tag. It's 2011 and stuff isn't as cheap as it used to be. Many online retailers are selling MoM for under $55. Nobody is forcing you to pay $80 for this game. In 2011, $55 plus shipping is a totally reasonable price to pay for a game with components of this caliber, comparable to many other games with similar production value.

I don't have tons of disposable income lying around either, but do you honestly expect companies to be able to produce a big box full of great artwork, hundreds of cards, heavy tiles, and detailed plastic miniatures, and sell it profitably for $45?
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Quote:
I just don't understand the complaints about the price tag. It's 2011 and stuff isn't as cheap as it used to be. Many online retailers are selling MoM for under $55. Nobody is forcing you to pay $80 for this game. In 2011, $55 plus shipping is a totally reasonable price to pay for a game with components of this caliber, comparable to many other games with similar production value.
Not everybody lives in the glorious USA. In Hungary where I live the game is around 85 dollars, and even if I order it from a retailer from the US/England for 55, the shipping would be more than the game itself. So I really don't have any choice as far as the price goes, and not to mention, that our salaries are way lower than the minimum wage in the US. So if I buy a game that costs so much, I expect a lot of quality components for my money. However if I would live in the US, and could buy the game for 55 + shipping, I certainly wouldnt have any problem with the price tag. I just wanted to point out, that not everybody has a chance to buy boardgames for lower price than the original (actually they are usually much more expensive than they should), and we would like value for our money.
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This is an interesting read, and I agree with some of the points raised despite finding the game an absolute joy to play.

I definitely get this game isn't going to be for everyone. I think, to a certain extent, this game is a disappoint to people because of exceedingly high expectations, and because the game sold itself as a mystery story to solve.

The first point, regarding the obviousness of where clues are placed: It is not uncommon in any game to know what you are supposed to be doing. The clues are actually objectives that must be reached. I don't complain when playing Arkham Horror because I know where the gates are that I need to seal, so I don't complain in MoM when I know where the next clue is I need to reach. It is almost as though the theme the game is dressed in has given false expectations - the game isn't about deduction, it is about racing to get to an objective in time, and choosing whether to go off and gather other items on the way.

The second complaint I see a lot is a lack of meaningful decisions for the investigators. I think this is incorrect (although YMMV). If the investigators don't feel like they have meaningful decisions, then it seems the keeper is not pushing them enough. Yes, the heroes should be grouping together most of the time (that isn't the most meaningful decision to make), but the keeper should be actively trying to break them up, forcing them to THINK about how they can regroup while still meeting their objectives. That aside, I posted a very long list in another thread of things that I think are meaningful decisions that need to be made, so what the hell, here it is again

"Well, before you even start, the investigators have to choose characters. Deciding on a good combination of characters is a meaningful decision. Picking all the fighters will give you more chance against monsters, but puzzles will really be a pain. You need a good balance.

Then they pick combination of skills, attributes, and weapons/spells. That’s a meaningful decision right there. Do you want a powerful item that will ward off monsters, but might get lost or broken; or would you rather have a spell that you are more likely to keep, but which might end up causing you sanity loss? Do you want a really powerful one-use weapon that will probably win you the game if you live long enough to use it at the right time, or do you want a weaker weapon that you can use more often? Do you want to be offensive or defensive? Do you want to preserve your own life, or focus on being a team player?

Then you place the investigators on the start space and read the first clue/prologue. The heroes know where they need to head, but there are lots of other cards on the board they could go to explore that might give them better weapons and more tactical options. Should they stick together and head for the clue? Should they split up to cover more ground and reveal more exploration cards in the hope of finding powerful items. Balancing the need to uncover clues with the need to be prepared for the climax of the mission is a huge decision that will be forefront in most turns.

You even say that in your game the investigators grouped together, forcing you to play UU. THAT’s a meaningful decision they made. If you group together the maniac is harder to bring into play and the keeper has to burn threat to activate UU, but there is a cost to the investigators for playing that way. To stay in a group you may not be moving/acting optimally. Some players may only move once when they could move twice. They are not exploring all the cards on the board, and that will hinder their chances of winning, and so on.

Once there are monsters on the board the players will need to decide what to do. Waste turns fighting it instead of looking for clues? Run away but risk the monster constantly tormenting them for the rest of the game with horror checks and sneak attacks? If they fight, who will do it? Who has the best chance of survival? Maybe the guy with the tommy gun shouldn’t go to fight because his sanity is low, so should he give his gun away? Would a spell be a better option than risking the vagaries of the combat deck? Should you attack with a blunt weapon (more chance of stunning) or a ranged weapon (safer)? Should the nun use her warding ability to push back that maniac, or should she save that for later and instead try to stun him with the holy water?

One-shot special abilities are a nightmare. You always want to use them, but you always want to save them because you never feel like the situation you are in is bad enough and something worse could be just around the corner.

And how do you spend your one action per turn? Run? Fight? Explore? Sometimes you will want to do all three and you can’t. If you have a book that can give you a spell, do you use your action to read the book when there is a monster close by that you could be attacking instead? If you are reading the book you can’t explore, or solve that puzzle, or run closer to your objective...

How do you get the key from one end of the house to the lock on the other when you have a broken leg? Do you run anyway and take the damage? Do you pass the key to someone else? What if the only person to pass it to is close to being insane? Do you want the key in the hands of an insane person, or someone who can only move slowly? Perhaps if you are Ashcan Pete you can use Duke to send the key to someone else, but then you also lose Duke and his +2 dex modifier, and you’re going to need that when you fight the zombie barring your exit.

If there is a puzzle on the board, who tries to solve it? The professor may be the best man for the job, but he is trying to fend off a monster with his spell at the moment; so perhaps you should send someone with low intellect, but with lots of skill points instead.

Gosh, skill points. How could I forget those? When do you use them? Which rolls are the most important? Should you save them for the puzzles? Should you use one now on a relatively easy roll that you really really need to pass but think you could pass without the luck bonus, or do you save it for a roll that, even with the luck bonus, you are still more likely to fail?

Individual scenarios then introduce specific decision that must be made. Even some time events require you to make a decision that may or may not result in trouble."


(PS - one final thing. I am one of the people who think the game would have been better without the miniatures. However, you can't complain that the shoggoth has legs. They have the ability to form whatever limbs they require to perform the task at hand.)


Once again, thanks for the review; and I apologise for this far too long response
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szendroib wrote:
Quote:
I just don't understand the complaints about the price tag. It's 2011 and stuff isn't as cheap as it used to be. Many online retailers are selling MoM for under $55. Nobody is forcing you to pay $80 for this game. In 2011, $55 plus shipping is a totally reasonable price to pay for a game with components of this caliber, comparable to many other games with similar production value.
Not everybody lives in the glorious USA. In Hungary where I live the game is around 85 dollars, and even if I order it from a retailer from the US/England for 55, the shipping would be more than the game itself. So I really don't have any choice as far as the price goes, and not to mention, that our salaries are way lower than the minimum wage in the US. So if I buy a game that costs so much, I expect a lot of quality components for my money. However if I would live in the US, and could buy the game for 55 + shipping, I certainly wouldnt have any problem with the price tag. I just wanted to point out, that not everybody has a chance to buy boardgames for lower price than the original (actually they are usually much more expensive than they should), and we would like value for our money.
Sorry - just to counter this (sorry everyone for the double post). I live in Britain, and paid £50 + shipping. That works out to about $90 US.

A company cannot be held responsible for the country you live in.

However, I would have traded out all that plastic for a few more scenarios and a slightly cheaper price
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Popescu Matei
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Sorry to say this but you either have a weak gaming group or a keeper that plays soft "so we can all have fun".

Quote:
The first point, regarding the obviousness of where clues are placed: It is not uncommon in any game to know what you are supposed to be doing. The clues are actually objectives that must be reached. I don't complain when playing Arkham Horror because I know where the gates are that I need to seal, so I don't complain in MoM when I know where the next clue is I need to reach. It is almost as though the theme the game is dressed in has given false expectations - the game isn't about deduction, it is about racing to get to an objective in time, and choosing whether to go off and gather other items on the way.
Yes but in arkham horror the little tidbits of excitement come from encounters within the gates and locations.The clue system isn't all that bad...it's just boring.Every scenario is the same mostly.Betrayal has a cool system with doing skill checks in various locations and stuff like that.Or even Descent has mystery in it (scenario 2 with the giants and the chests) you'd think a game about the Cthulhu Mythos that's called "Masions of Madness" would have just a little inkling of mystery.I feel like I am doing fetch quests in a MMORPG...go to point A from there to B so you can get to C...ugh.

Quote:
The second complaint I see a lot is a lack of meaningful decisions for the investigators. I think this is incorrect (although YMMV). If the investigators don't feel like they have meaningful decisions, then it seems the keeper is not pushing them enough. Yes, the heroes should be grouping together most of the time (that isn't the most meaningful decision to make), but the keeper should be actively trying to break them up, forcing them to THINK about how they can regroup while still meeting their objectives. That aside, I posted a very long list in another thread of things that I think are meaningful decisions that need to be made, so what the hell, here it is again

I'm not gonna put everything you quoted but consider this the response to all of it.Your list of options of meaningless...you put on it almost EVERYTHING an invest1gator has to think off.Well lack of decisions doesn't only mean a lack of decision but also a lack of VALID decisions.I could go on to list all the opening moves you can do in chess,,,like opening with one of the pawns on the extreme sides but a chess expert would swiftly say that is pointless.

Unless items are on the way to the clues, searching for items is a bad decision because a smart keeper would simply say pass on their turn.That's the best strategy for the keeper....pile threat and then crush the investigators.The amount of threat that the keeper would get as you are side tracked to get items is much more than they are worth.If you see the investigators stopping to search then simply pass on your (of course play evil presence and such) turn and storage threat...then simply crush them horribly.The investigators don't really do anything...the keeper stops then...gives them some abuse....they continue following the yellow brick road.

Choosing the starting investigators doesn't have much choice...someone for combat...someone for puzzles....and then 2 guys with awesome support abilities (Ashcan's Duke or The flux capacitor).Going all fighting or all puzzle is only gonna make the keeper's job easier.

In the end...yes you do have some decisions...unfortunately there is ONE good decisions every time that applies 90% of all situations (scenario's 5 traitor mechanic brings some questions)

Investigators:Stay together at all times, when monster appears don't evade unless very dexterity because it's really a free attack, killing them is much more effective(plus the chance to stun)

Keeper:Stack threat, there is no need to play your action cards and mythos all the time.When you see the opportunity crush the investigators or you can just simply throw everything you have at them.Either method is very effective.

My point still stands: Zero decision making because the best decision is obvious by a long shot.
 
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szendroib wrote:
Quote:
I just don't understand the complaints about the price tag. It's 2011 and stuff isn't as cheap as it used to be. Many online retailers are selling MoM for under $55. Nobody is forcing you to pay $80 for this game. In 2011, $55 plus shipping is a totally reasonable price to pay for a game with components of this caliber, comparable to many other games with similar production value.
Not everybody lives in the glorious USA:). In Hungary where I live the game is around 85 dollars, and even if I order it from a retailer from the US/England for 55, the shipping would be more than the game itself. So I really don't have any choice as far as the price goes, and not to mention, that our salaries are way lower than the minimum wage in the US:). So if I buy a game that costs so much, I expect a lot of quality components for my money. However if I would live in the US, and could buy the game for 55 + shipping, I certainly wouldnt have any problem with the price tag:). I just wanted to point out, that not everybody has a chance to buy boardgames for lower price than the original (actually they are usually much more expensive than they should), and we would like value for our money.
Fair enough, but your point applies to all board games. No reason to single out MoM as being somehow unreasonable in this regard.
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Thoughtshard wrote:
Sorry to say this but you either have a weak gaming group or a keeper that plays soft "so we can all have fun".
Of course, there's no reason why you should know this, but I'm one of the people in these forums that argues you SHOULDN'T go easy on the investigators. But it's nice that you can make judgements like this.

Thoughtshard wrote:

Every scenario is the same mostly... you'd think a game about the Cthulhu Mythos that's called "Masions of Madness" would have just a little inkling of mystery.I feel like I am doing fetch quests in a MMORPG...go to point A from there to B so you can get to C...ugh.
Well, I don't think the scenarios are all the same; but I DID say in my post that the problem is partly down to the game being dressed up in the theme of a mystery when really it is a race game. This is down to a slight disconnect between theme and gameplay, but I don't think it is enough to stop the game being fun.

Thoughtshard wrote:

My point still stands: Zero decision making because the best decision is obvious by a long shot.
I said "in my opinion this is incorrect (although YMMV)." My point was simply that there are decisions to make, and a lot of the decisions should come from the investigator doing horrible things. If he splits up the party, creates threats that must be resolved, then the investigators will have to start making tough calls.

The game isn't going to be for everyone, but I think it is a solid start in something a bit different that I think will only get better as time goes on.

Thanks again for the review, even if we don't agree on all that much
 
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Thoughtshard wrote:

Zero Role Playing
Here's a tip. If want a role playing experience, they've got something for that. It's called an RPG.

I don't understand the reasoning of trying to find a role playing experience in a board game. Just go for the real thing.

I have played many CoC one-shot adventures with a run time of around 4 hours, which is comparable in length to many FFG boardgames. I just don't think it is fair to bring this up as a criticism.

Although there could have been a bit more theme, when my group plays, we always read the flavor text on each card played, at least once, which for us is enough. Maybe this is because in addition to our weekly board game night, we also have a weekly RPG night.
 
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From FFG's home page:

Quote:
A boardgame of Horror,Insanity and Mystery for 2-5 players!

...It's up to a handful of brave investigators to explore these cursed places and uncover the truth about the living nightmares within.
I'm not gonna advocate false advertising but the purpose of this game was clearly to advocate a sense of atmosphere, but they failed at this and focused at the game play(which they failed more or a less),

For example Betrayal at the House on the Hill is clearly focused on this, the game play having major problems but because the scenarios are very fun so you can skip that.

I feel that MoM would have been better served as more dungeon crawling type game without the Cthulhu staple on it.Seriously though, Arkham Horror has more feeling than this game..and considering you slay hordes of cultist with the weakest characters that is saying a lot.
 
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crispy66 wrote:
While I'll agree that the negative reviews bring up a lot of valid points. I have chosen to view this game as a foundation, rather than a completed work.
Same ditto. In fact, I'm banging together a roleplaying game system that combines Mansions of Madness with Arkham Horror. Here's the overview:

1. Get a Call of Cthulhu RPG adventure. Chaosium.com has a free Call of Cthluhu RPG download if you're not familiar with the system.

2. Adapt the outside parts of the adventure to the AH gameboard locations. Investigators move up to two spaces then have an action, typically an encounter or an additional space of movement. If they are in a location which has no activity mentioned in the adventure, draw an AH encounter card. Use MoM's skill roll system and the MoM monsters.

3. Inside locations use the MoM game system. Either adapt an existing scenario, or make your own.

For those who aren't familiar with Call of Cthulhu RPG adventures, most of the investigation takes place before entering the abandoned house. This includes the location of the house, history of the house, and hopefully better knowledge of house to defeat the evil inside of it. Even if you don't plan to play the RPG, the adventures are *great* reading.
 
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Thoughtshard wrote:
From FFG's home page:

Quote:
A boardgame of Horror,Insanity and Mystery for 2-5 players!

...It's up to a handful of brave investigators to explore these cursed places and uncover the truth about the living nightmares within.
I'm not gonna advocate false advertising but the purpose of this game was clearly to advocate a sense of atmosphere, but they failed at this and focused at the game play(which they failed more or a less),

For example Betrayal at the House on the Hill is clearly focused on this, the game play having major problems but because the scenarios are very fun so you can skip that.

I feel that MoM would have been better served as more dungeon crawling type game without the Cthulhu staple on it.Seriously though, Arkham Horror has more feeling than this game..and considering you slay hordes of cultist with the weakest characters that is saying a lot.
For me MoM evokes tons of atmosphere, partly because the story is so rigid and on-rails. Games like Arkham Horror have made me loathe the concept of encounter-decks because you get an endless sequence of random events that have no connection to the one that came before or the one that comes after. The result is supposed to resemble some sort of story but in AH it's usually such disjointed nonsense that the atmosphere is totally ruined on me. In MoM the designers have made a trade-off. The events are pretty rigidly scripted but the result is a (sort-of) coherent story arc that (usually) creates great atmosphere. I've found that even playing the same scenarios over again is fun, because the game-play is not about literally solving any deductive mystery (in a Clue or Scotland Yard sense), but about how the Keeper and the investigators struggle to thwart each other. So sure, you're going from A to B, and usually it's not too hard to figure out where B is, but there are so many horrible things that can go wrong on the way to B.

 
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I almost didn't get this game because of this review..

But damn, I glad that I went for it anyways, I had tons of fun, probably even more than arkham horror.
It's something about being in an actual place with rooms, doors, etc and puzzles that gives off a whole other vibe than AH.
I also felt the pace was better.

I first played scenario #3 which was tons of fun, especially with the keeper abusing the fire, and we thinking there had to be a way to put it out and went searching for it.

There were a lot of tricky decisions of which way to go and who to go there, someone had to use the key to open a locked cabinet, and since I had most HP I had to stand in the fire..

I truly enjoyed the feeling of exploration and especially completing the puzzles, it was a feeling more similar to roleplaying games than boardgames and something that AH lacks in comparison, although AH has encounters which tell a story, it doesn't have the same feeling of physically being in a place.

I'm not sure it's gonna be the same in the long run, I more or less expect it to get less fun as you know the stories and focus shifts more towards gameplay than atmosphere.

But the best part is that I can just design my own new scenarios, even add new types of tokens and new rules.

I don't think there's anything that fundamentally wrong with the mechanics for the players.
It depends on the scenario.

Sometimes it can be a bit boring without any items because it limites your choices severely and I felt that scenario #2 was extremely linear when it comes to the layout, so there weren't many choices, and the events taking place weren't that exciting.

---------------------------

We did come up with a few house rules though.
Skill tokens can be used for an extra movement or an extra action, per turn.
This adds a lot more choices in my opinion, and skill tokens become more useful.

We really felt that sometimes you just want one extra action or movement because time moves so fast, especially with only two investigators.

---------------------------

I'm also extremely excited about expansions since this game feels so perfect for it since there's so much that can be expanded.
I have only played 2 games so far and I'm already looking forward to new and more challenging puzzles.

I also think investigators will be given more things in the next expansion, since it's pretty clear that their arsenal of options is a bit limited. As previous posters point out though, it's a good foundation to expand on with new types of cards and tokens.
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Seiseki wrote:

We did come up with a few house rules though.
Skill tokens can be used for an extra movement or an extra action, per turn.
This adds a lot more choices in my opinion, and skill tokens become more useful.
I think your house rule may end up making the player's game a bit too easy - but I agree the game may be unbalanced. In our plays the Keeper usually wins (but so far we only play with 2 investigators and it may balance out better with more).

We use the following house rule to even things up and give the players more choice.

For this house rule Key equipment is designated as starting equipment which is not a weapon or an ally. Key equipment may only be used by the starting investigator. During the player’s turn, the player may discard (without needing to spend an action) one Key equipment card for one of the following benefits:
• Add 2 to Luck for one die roll of the investigator
• The investigator takes an additional action and does not need to evade

This can be a powerful boost to the players because (using a Skill point) Luck can be added to any attribute. In addition, if the investigators are surrounded by monsters it gives them the chance to run away. It does make Key equipment even more powerful than weapons but I like that because (for me) MOM is not really about the combat.








 
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Glad you are enjoying the game.

One thing about your house rule for using skill tokens for an extra action - seems that would really swing the game in the investigators favour.

Joe Diamond can already get two actions per turn (if he explores first), so with your special rule, he could have two moves and three actions - he would clear the board of exploration cards in a couple of turns.

There are several characters who can replenish skill points. So if Gloria stays with Joe, she can replenish the skill point he uses each turn so he will ALWAYS get three actions every single turn.

Jenny has an item that allows her two gain two skill points and gain one horror whenever she has no skill points, so that could be totally abused.

The scientist can use her action to gain a skill point too, so she can stock pile skill for later in the game every chance she gets.

Maybe that house rule has worked with the investigators and items you have used so far, but I think you will quickly see it being abused. But that's just my opinon.

Happy gaming.
 
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We played the first scenario yesterday with 4 investigators and it was a snoozefest. Half way through the game the board was clear of all items except for the final clue and the keeper just spent every turn moving the guy with the key that was needed back one space and attacking with a maniac. Everyone was of the opinion that the uncontrollable urge card breaks this game. If there were only 2 or 3 investigators it would bring the keeper's abilities a little in line and give the investigators a chance but as the game played out,the keeper was able to delay the investigators until the time ran out. I'll probably give this a try once more with fewer investigators before dumping the game but it will be hard to get anyone to play it again after yesterday.
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awakeneddragon wrote:

The keeper seems to have a lot more fun and a lot more "choices" than the investigators.
Try playing story 4. The clues are almost unnecessary, the objectives favor disorganized players who wander around the start zone, and the keeper has nothing to do but turn out lights and give the characters unnatural urges until the timeclock cards finally bring him a monster or two with whom to play.

If I had known that the
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Hound
needed to
Spoiler (click to reveal)
leave from the attic, with no room for error
, I've have spent more of my down time
Spoiler (click to reveal)
plotting that route
instead of rereading my pointless trauma and semihelpful mythos cards.
 
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
Glad you are enjoying the game.

One thing about your house rule for using skill tokens for an extra action - seems that would really swing the game in the investigators favour.

Joe Diamond can already get two actions per turn (if he explores first), so with your special rule, he could have two moves and three actions - he would clear the board of exploration cards in a couple of turns.

There are several characters who can replenish skill points. So if Gloria stays with Joe, she can replenish the skill point he uses each turn so he will ALWAYS get three actions every single turn.

Jenny has an item that allows her two gain two skill points and gain one horror whenever she has no skill points, so that could be totally abused.

The scientist can use her action to gain a skill point too, so she can stock pile skill for later in the game every chance she gets.

Maybe that house rule has worked with the investigators and items you have used so far, but I think you will quickly see it being abused. But that's just my opinon.

Happy gaming.
Yeah, I've noticed those abilities.
One quick rule addition would solve it: You cannot gain a skillpoint and use a skillpoint as an action in the same turn, and viceversa.

The thing is, we were 2 investigators only, so the time kept running out way before we got to the last clue, and there were a lot of times where one extra action would have helped a lot.

And the optional rule in the rulebook of giving the keeper skillpoints would even it out I think..

------

But I do agree with the OP that the investigators lack options if you follow the story from A->B.
But that's not what we did, we couldn't resist exploring freely.
And we also weren't aware that there was a time limit at first.

But this made everything so much better, we found the manhole cover before we found the crowbar to open it.
So the progress wasn't just linear, and that's the biggest problem of the game, but I think it can be solved by better scenario design and less specific clues.

If there were parallel clues and side-clues, things would get way more interesting, like if a clue split up into a fork and then back again, or if one was a dead end.





 
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Seiseki wrote:
RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
Glad you are enjoying the game.

One thing about your house rule for using skill tokens for an extra action - seems that would really swing the game in the investigators favour.

Joe Diamond can already get two actions per turn (if he explores first), so with your special rule, he could have two moves and three actions - he would clear the board of exploration cards in a couple of turns.

There are several characters who can replenish skill points. So if Gloria stays with Joe, she can replenish the skill point he uses each turn so he will ALWAYS get three actions every single turn.

Jenny has an item that allows her two gain two skill points and gain one horror whenever she has no skill points, so that could be totally abused.

The scientist can use her action to gain a skill point too, so she can stock pile skill for later in the game every chance she gets.

Maybe that house rule has worked with the investigators and items you have used so far, but I think you will quickly see it being abused. But that's just my opinon.

Happy gaming.
Yeah, I've noticed those abilities.
One quick rule addition would solve it: You cannot gain a skillpoint and use a skillpoint as an action in the same turn, and viceversa.

The thing is, we were 2 investigators only, so the time kept running out way before we got to the last clue, and there were a lot of times where one extra action would have helped a lot.

And the optional rule in the rulebook of giving the keeper skillpoints would even it out I think..

------

But I do agree with the OP that the investigators lack options if you follow the story from A->B.
But that's not what we did, we couldn't resist exploring freely.
And we also weren't aware that there was a time limit at first.

But this made everything so much better, we found the manhole cover before we found the crowbar to open it.
So the progress wasn't just linear, and that's the biggest problem of the game, but I think it can be solved by better scenario design and less specific clues.

If there were parallel clues and side-clues, things would get way more interesting, like if a clue split up into a fork and then back again, or if one was a dead end.





I'm not sure your additional rule of not using and gaining a skill point in the same turn would resolve all the problems - Joe Diamond would still get three actions per turn until he ran out of skill points, then someone could give him a few more while he was still getting two actions per turn, and then he would be back up to three. And what if Gloria gives him a skill point with the typewriter? Does that mean he can't use that skill point this turn? (Technically he was given it so he hasn't earned it himself.)

Some people already think Diamond getting two actions per turn is bad enough

Could you use a skill point and then later in the turn read Isabel's letter? If you did that would it only cure some horror without giving you the skill points?

Of course, it's your game so play how you like, but this rule seems like it favours the investigators too much and could become a bit too "book-keepy."

I agree with you exploring is fun, but I think two investigators is the sweet spot - it creates a great balance because the keeper never has quite enough threat to do what he wants, and some turns his only action is to draw threat and wait, which is nailbaiting. More investigators, and I think the game gets a bit silly (because the keeper gets too many options for slowing you down each turn).
 
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