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Subject: Elder Sign vs. Mansions of Madness vs. Witch of Salem rss

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Todd
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Which game gives the better Arkham Horror-lite experience?

Which base game do you think gives better replayability? I know that there will be lots of expansions for both of the FFG games.

Thanks!

 
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Jack Francisco
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Falcons wrote:
Arkham Horror-lite


Blasphemer. goo
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Ethan Nicholas
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Falcons wrote:
Which game gives the better Arkham Horror-lite experience?

Which base game do you think gives better replayability? I know that there will be lots of expansions for both of the FFG games.

I have not played Witch of Salem, so I can't comment as to that.

Mansions of Madness and Elder Sign are both fantastic games, but they are about as different as you can get while still being set in the same universe. Mansions is not in any way "Arkham Horror lite"; it's more "horror-themed dungeon crawl set in the Arkham Horror universe". It is almost the same weight as Arkham Horror is -- the rules are perhaps a bit simpler, and the playtime is somewhat shorter and more reliable, but the setup and teardown time is even longer.

Elder Sign, on the other hand, really is Arkham Horror lite. It is simpler, shorter, far faster to set up and tear down, and feels much more like Arkham Horror than Mansions of Madness does. It is very much its own game -- it doesn't feel like Arkham stripped of its complexity, rather it is a completely different game which manages to scratch much of the same itch. I don't think you can possibly go wrong with Elder Sign; even if you end up preferring Arkham, you'll probably still play Elder Sign twice as often (at least) simply because it is so much easier to get to the table.

Between Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, and Elder Sign, I honestly think Mansions is the best of the three. But Elder Sign is so much easier to the get to the table (over the past two months, I have logged nine plays of Elder Sign, versus one for Mansions of Madness and zero for Arkham Horror) that I'd probably pick it. Better to have a very good game that I get to play all the time versus an excellent game that seldom hits the table.
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Richard Dewsbery
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I've played Witch of Salem once and Elder Sign once; I've not played Mansions of Madness.

I'd not recommend Witch of Salem - it felt a little lifeless and lacking in atmosphere to me. It suffers from the same problem as a number of Euros, where the game is more about the mechanics rather than the theme. This is fine when playing a game about, say, potato farming, but it's a big issue when you're looking for a substitute Arkham Horror experience.

Although I wasn't impressed by Elder Sign enough to actually want to buy it, it probably represents the closest we're going to get to the "Arkham in 90 minutes" experience. Since playing, I've seen a game played by 8 players, and IMO that was at least two too many, with a fair amount of downtime. Two other criticisms of Elder Signs (and the main reasons why I haven't bought a copy) - firstly, it felt a little too easy (I like co-op games that beat me 3 times out of 4, so I'm "forced" into playing again straight after losing in the hope of getting a better result); secondly, I wasn't overly convinced that there were many meaningful decisions made by each player on their turn (although the combination of "dice game" and "first game" makes meaningful decisions unlikely, I accept).
 
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Brian M
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As mention, Mansions of Madness really plays a lot like a typical dungeon explorer game like Descent: Journeys in the Dark or HeroQuest. Its got a lot of flaws, but is fun anyway. It does have great minis and looks very cool. It is also the only game you listed that isn't a cooperative game, in case that matters to you. Replayability is an issue; its only got a few scenarios and they aren't terribly replayable. Its quite hard to make your own due to the heavy dependence on specialized cards.

Witch of Salem is tense, exciting and challenging, but very, very different from Arkham Horror. Its a lot more abstract; you've only got 5 different items, only 12 total events, and a lot less monsters. Despite this, I've found it very addictive and have played close to 100 times. If you want the challenge and excitement of racing against time to stop the forces of evil, its a great pick. If you like the huge range of options and RPG-esque character building of Arkham, it won't be your thing.

Can't comment on Elder Sign yet, sorry

For a cooperative "against supernatural forces" game you might also consider Ghost Stories, which is quite awesome.
 
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Jack Francisco
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Richard - I think that's what makes Arkham Horror so great. It's right in line with the Cthulhu theme. In the Cthulhu Mythos, the heroes are going to end up devoured or insane. To trimuph against that is totally rewarding. I played quite a few games with a buddy of mine a few years back and he said it felt almost anti-climactic to defeat the Great Old Ones at the end. We were so happy just surviving encounters or watching terrible misfortune befall us. I'd even go as far as to say that winning is Anti-Lovecraftian.
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Benjamin Hoy
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Witches of Salem is alright but not a game I get horribly excited over. I liked it a lot better when we were not playing the rules correctly and you could share information between characters about where the gates were. It isn't a bad game, but I don't think it's a game with a lot of wow factor. The board and components are nice and there is a reasonable amount of depth in terms of strategy. Having a cooperative game in which players can't adequately communicate however detracted from the game for me. It ended up just feeling like we all played completely solo and won or lost as a team. If you go the witches of Salem route I'd recommend house ruling a few things to encourage players to work effectively as a team.
 
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Fred Cromer
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devil

Arkham Horror is the best. Mansions of Madness and Elder sign are just okay. I would like to throw another game out there that I found just as good. A Touch of Evil by Flying Frog Productions. Its a fast pace game that you can play competitive or co-op. Most games last 1 - 2 hours.
Easy setup and the rules are simple. The makeup of the game consists of a game board, dice, cards, and minatures. The game itself looks great.
The game can be played solo. If you like Sleepy Hollow, the movie with Johnny Depp. You will love A Touch of Evil.

Freebird out.
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Brian M
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Quote:
Having a cooperative game in which players can't adequately communicate however detracted from the game for me.

I don't know why people get bent out of shape over having 10% of the game they can't discuss when they can work and plan together for the other 90%. And can still work together for that 10% - its just a lot trickier

Terrible secrets and unexplained mysteries are what the Cthulhu mythos is all about. That little rule adds more theme than two dozen bits of flavor text on Arkham Horror cards.
 
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Jack Francisco
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StormKnight wrote:
That little rule adds more theme than two dozen bits of flavor text on Arkham Horror cards.


I kinda like flavor text. It gives the game...you know...flavor. ninja
 
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Imp Rovius
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Freebird1956 wrote:
devil

Arkham Horror is the best. Mansions of Madness and Elder sign are just okay. I would like to throw another game out there that I found just as good. A Touch of Evil by Flying Frog Productions. Its a fast pace game that you can play competitive or co-op. Most games last 1 - 2 hours.
Easy setup and the rules are simple. The makeup of the game consists of a game board, dice, cards, and minatures. The game itself looks great.
The game can be played solo. If you like Sleepy Hollow, the movie with Johnny Depp. You will love A Touch of Evil.

Freebird out.


I second A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game. It's a somewhat streamlined version of AH, but with a bit more atmosphere. I'm still not sure which of the two I prefer playing. AH certainly has more stuff going on, but I feel like you can get bogged down sometimes with technicalities. ToE is less complex, but I think it's more immersive. The art is arguably better than AH, and it's easier to get into the role-playing aspect because you don't have to worry so much about things like upkeep.
 
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Dan Conley
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For AH-lite, I'd go for Elder Sign. I agree with an earlier comment that Mansions of Madness is much more a dungeon-crawl experience.

Played Witch of Salem once. That was enough. I have no interest in playing a thinly-themed "wannabe" game when I can play the real deal!
 
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Brian M
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Ok, now I can comment on Elder Sign as well. Just one play though.

Its fun, but it was a pure-dice fest. Lots of rolling and hoping. Very little theme to it; even less than Witch of Salem I think. Its got more variety of items, but they pretty much all do the same thing. A bit long for what it is. Still, picking which adventures to go on and rolling lots of dice was enjoyable.
 
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