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Mansions of Madness: ‘Til Death Do Us Part» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Step in the Right Direction rss

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Roberta Yang
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Apparently, the girl who owns Mansions in my group finally got over the awfulness that is The Silver Tablet enough to give `Til Death Do Us Part a chance, and even though we've only played a couple of games of it and I'd normally wait for more plays before posting a review, the fact that nobody else seems to have posted anything about it makes me inclined to go ahead and give at least preliminary thoughts now so that prospective buyers will have at least something to work with. I have played once from each side of the table, and will try to avoid major spoilers, including revealing any of the objectives.

As Keeper, the first thing you'll do is draw a generous setup - 2 Mythos, 2 Trauma, 2 Threat - and the second thing you'll notice is that at least one of those 2 Mythos is going to be completely useless. For some reason, cards that only work outdoors are included in this scenario. There are only two outdoor rooms in this scenario - and by the end of the investigators' first or second turn, they've left them and have just about no reason to ever return. Okay, maybe you'll be able to play that starting Mythos that will later become useless during the first turn, but what will you do with other outdoor-only Mythos you draw later in the game? Discard them with Witchcraft, but that's still not very fun; Witchcraft's discard-for-Threat effect is fun because it lets you decide which situational Mythos cards are most useful, not because it lets you ditch Mythos cards that are completely useless after the first turn of the game yet are still in the deck for some reason.

Yes, this may seem like a minor quibble, but it does reflect a lack of thought put into the scenario design, and it is rather annoying to Evil Presence twice in a row and draw two cards that have no purpose beyond Witchcraft discard fodder.

On that note, Witchcraft is back, complete with pop-up Witches, which are just as annoying as they were in Scenario 5. Well, okay, that's not quite true; they are less annoying for the Keeper because Raise Dead gives the Keeper other monsters that can be consistently Summoned, and they're more annoying for the investigators because Raise Dead turns killing Witches from "very rarely a worthwhile use of actions but I guess you might do it occasionally if that Evade test is really that worrying or someone almost out of Sanity is about to enter the room or something" to "never ever ever do it ever, why would you want to give the Keeper a free corpse that turns into a permanent monster".

Raise Dead is paired with Command Minion instead of Creature of the Night this time around, which may not sound like much but in practice makes it far more annoying than it was in Blood Ties. In that scenario, you could outrun the Zombies easily, but were forced to encounter them occasionally by the shape of the map and their numbers and distribution. Here, however, Command Minion makes them too fast to outrun easily, and while that may sound fairly harmless, it's very annoying when monsters can neither be outrun nor be killed properly; the combination of the two leaves the investigators without that many answers, which can be quite annoying.

In contrast to Blood Ties, Torch and Pyromaniac are also notably absent from this scenario, so fire isn't readily available for easy disposing of corpses. Sure, it's still possible to create fire - try to shoot a Shoggoth and shoot a nearby light fixture instead, or fail at casting Shriveling - but the investigators can't do it in nearly so deliberate or controlled a manner. Sure, without a Crypt, letting the Investigators burn the Graveyard might seem dangerous, but the Graveyard is far enough out of the way that the Keeper will have plenty of time to see it coming and get an army out of the fire before the Graveyard burns.

The scenario design seems to most resemble Season of the Witch. Two separate boards, one of which has caves and regular hallways mixed together without transition. Key items that have additional effects (nice to see more of those that, unlike Crowbar, don't run the risk of breaking in half when used to attack a Mi-Go on the third turn of the game, rendering the entire scenario unwinnable for the investigators instantly). Locks that aren't directly on top of the corresponding Clues, which gives the identity of the clue-hunter more opportunity to change. Extra lasting penalties (beyond mental and physical Trauma) that can be attached to Investigators (Infections here, Marks of the Witch there - this version is much more successful). And, of course, Shoggoths.

Which brings me to the new Keeper Actions, which give Shoggoths and Witches more abilities (consuming corpses/Zombies and giving out Infections respectively). I have mixed feelings about these. On the one hand, they're rather situational, and generally aren't used too early. Keeper Actions that can be used more often and sooner generally help define the tone of the game more effectively; these don't really feel like they're doing "enough" (though the super-Zombies and the Shoggoth already do an excellent job of giving this its own unique feel, and a single Infection does have an excellent lasting effect that does significantly alter the tone of the game from even one successful use due to their permastun effect; sadly, the Shoggoths' ability to devour corpses/Zombies fairs less well, rarely being useful and being singularly unexciting when used by actually making the Keeper lose monsters). And the Sample tokens' use here is reminiscent of the Marks of the Witch in all the worst ways.

On the other hand... they're exactly what should have been in base game Mansions of Madness all along.

If you've actually read "The Hound of Tindalos", you'll know that the Hounds are time-traveling immortal monsters who fixate on individual victims and have the power to materialize from any corner. But if you've only played Mansions of Madness, you'll know that... they exist. In the base game, they don't target individual victims, they're restricted to normal travel through hallways like everything else instead of hopping around through time and corners, and in general they're indistinguishable from a Mi-Go with slightly different stats. For a game that prides itself on being a "story-driven" Cthulhu Mythos game, paying nothing more than lip service to Lovecraft is pretty sad.

But now, monsters are finally differentiating themselves by gaining their own unique abilities (beyond the laughable differentiation of the Special Attacks). Zombies were always the best example of this with Raise Dead's ability to revive them when they die (or when an Investigator dies), and now Witches and Shoggoths are getting in on the fun: Shoggoths absorb weaker things to become stronger, and Witches have the option of cursing investigators (albeit under an odd name) instead of making a regular attack - because really, a proper Witch ought to be able to do better than just attack Investigators physically like a common Cultist or Maniac.

Likewise, in the base game, the only practical difference between an Investigator with 14 Health and an Investigator with 1 Health is that the former is less likely to have received a harsh physical Trauma (and even then, Broken Arm has a very relaxed Health restriction and Hearing Loss has none at all, and they're about as harsh as penalties to combat get) and that the latter is more likely to spontaneously drop dead (which, given that the Keeper is heavily discouraged from killing Investigators until the finale, often doesn't cause any immediate trouble for the Investigator in question). Sanity has a similar problem. But now, we're starting to get more effects that vary based on how well an Investigator is - most obviously, the Witches' special Infection attack (which can itself be seen as a far more successful implementation of the Mark of the Witch concept) depending on remaining Health.

This represents a very positive direction for the game, and based on the previews it looks like Forbidden Alchemy will be continuing with these improvements, adding cards to the regular combat decks that vary in difficulty based on how much the Investigator in question has been weakened, and giving monsters more thematic powers like letting Hounds of Tindalos being attracted by time-travelers. I really ought to be happy about all this.

And yet, I'm still not.

After paying a ludicrous amount of money for the base game, why should I then need to pay an additional fifteen dollars for a POD expansion that fixes these problems within the one new scenario it introduces while leaving the problems in the base game's scenarios unchanged? And these are really simple problems, too; conditional modifiers and tests of things other than attributes aren't exactly revolutionary (the base game even had one of those in the form of "test the number of Cultists in this room", so it's not like the idea was completely foreign). And even if Shoggoths can absorb and Witches can cast spells and Hounds of Tindalos can detect time-travel in new scenarios, that doesn't change the fact that, whenever I go back to play the Inner Sanctum or the Green-Eyed Boy, they'll be back to their own unremarkable selves. It's a step in the right direction, but one that leaves the eighty-dollar base game scenarios behind.

And it's such an obvious patch to such an obvious problem, and it's taken so long to get to it, that I can't in good conscience really praise it for this progress. It's like an eighteen-year-old (without an actual condition) finally learning to tie their own shoes; sure, it's better than never learning to tie their own shoes at all, and if you care about the person in question you'd probably say something encouraging to their face, but in private your thoughts will be less "This is a brilliant advancement!" and more "About time you stopped being quite so pathetic".

But I digress. Within `Til Death Do Us Part, differentiating the monsters and using these modified rolls is a good thing. This POD did not fail to tie its own shoes. Not in that regard, anyhow. (Though the fact that the Infections are printed on physical cards, as opposed to being represented by Darkness tokens and having the Keeper Action explain their effect as was done in Season of the Witch, feels like a cheap excuse to pad the package and make the price tag look a little less absurd.)

Both games were quite close matches, and were overall mostly fun for both sides on the whole, though not uniformly. Despite being of average length for a Mansions scenario, the game feels like it starts to drag at the end, which is unfortunate, especially compared to other scenarios like Blood Ties that consistently produce an exciting climax. And then there's the clue-hunter problem.

A problem throughout Mansions of Madness is that only one investigator, barring tricks like Duke relays, can follow the Clue chain at a time, and the other investigators can't really directly help with that, so they need to find something else useful to do, generally exploring or fighting. Some have said that only the clue-hunter matters and the others are just there to waste time, and I generally disagree - only the clue-hunter can reveal the objective, but it takes a team to fulfill the Investigators' objective and stop the Keeper's objective. But it is possible to feel useless as a non-clue-hunter, and `Til Death Do Us Part is a scenario that particularly lends itself to this happening. This is probably in part a result of the choices of monsters - Zombies can't easily be permanently killed, and Witches shouldn't be killed at all, which means that combat is often a futile effort. At least, unlike with Witchcraft alone, combat does make the Keeper spend extra Threat, but it can be frustrating at times and make some players feel redundant depending on how the game is progressing. The map's design, containing two complete loops instead of taking the standard tree shape, makes exploration faster than usual - which means exploring investigators won't waste as many turns backtracking, but which also means they'll run out of unexplored rooms to explore more quickly.

It will take more plays to examine the objectives more closely (one of them we haven't played at all yet), but I can give a short summary already: they're interesting, but with some serious design lapses. I won't say any more to avoid spoilers, but some of them repeat classic mistakes I've complained about before in the design of previous scenarios like the Fall of House Lynch, and it's possible for the game to become nigh-unwinnable for the Investigators even if the game state seems fairly innocent right before Clue 1 is revealed - especially since one player may suddenly find themselves in a focal position, and if they've already entered a permastunned state, it's virtually impossible to cure them due to the lack of Soul Pact.

I do like the idea of insanity leading to permastunning. One of my complaints about the base game's rules was that the Keeper was, for no in-universe reason, heavily punished for killing Investigators pre-finale, and Investigators were actually encouraged to suicide pre-finale into a nearby fire or Broken Leg in order to respawn at full health with fresh Skill Points and a new starting item if they were weak, so I was happy that Blood Ties addressed that issue by giving the Keeper two extra bonuses for each death (4 Threat for the Blood Relative, and a corpse token for anyone).

Similarly, dropping an Investigator to 0 Sanity often didn't really do that much, since it basically gives the Keeper three advantages: killing them for 4 Threat with The Only Way Out; making them attack friends with Friend?; and, um, playing Panic on them at will, I guess. (Most of the mental Traumas either can be played even with lots of sanity left, don't do anything except make it easier to get more Horror, or both.) But Panic is easy to play in general, The Only Way Out is terrible pre-finale, and there are only a couple of copies of Friend? in the deck, and it's easy for an insane Investigator to just not stand next to an ally while holding a large gun to make that useless. Which means that in the base game, it's quite possible for an investigator to go insane early on, and yet continue running around for the rest of the game being highly effective because the Keeper just doesn't have that many ways to take advantage of 0 Sanity.

So the Infection penalty of being permastunned for having 0 Sanity is an interesting and welcome addition to give that stat a much-needed boost. Unfortunately, the method of implementation - permanent stunning - is extremely annoying to the Investigators. You may recognize the penalties for being Stunned - losing a movement and getting a -2 to Attribute tests - as being quite similar to the penalties for being in darkness - losing a movement when exploring and getting a -2 to combat rolls - and as anyone who has played Classroom Curses knows, being permanently in darkness is less of a danger and more of a nuisance. Outside of games designed around annoying the players (or the players annoying each other) for comedic effect, a game generally should try to avoid being a nuisance. This is a horror game; the things in it should be designed to be scary, or exciting, or bizarre, or dangerous, but not irritating. Perhaps this is just my group's subjective view and others won't find it an issue, but the permastun does seem to cause more annoyance than it does actual trouble in-game, which is usually a bad combination.

What's particularly annoying is that it's virtually incurable. Once you get down to 0 Sanity, it's hard to get back above. Unless you brought Sister Mary with the right once-per-game ability with you, the only way to cure Horror here is a single one-shot drink - and that still leaves you low enough on Sanity that you can be permastunned again without too much difficulty (especially with Infection's Willpower penalty). It would be really nice if there were a Soul Pact or something similar to Witch Cult in Western Europe included to give the Investigators some reusable way of curing Horror, especially since it's easy in some objectives for the one Investigator who matters to be permastunned, which alone is enough to make the scenario almost impossible to win if such misfortune occurs (especially in a first run of the scenario when the Investigators are not expecting it).

The items are about what you'd expect from a POD expansion: some cool new items (like the octopus), some less cool new items, some items that are too similar to old items to properly qualify as "new", and lots of reprints of old items. There are some odd choices in their selection (like the lack of Torch in a scenario with Raise Dead, and unusually little in the way of healing Horror when being unable to cure Infection's permastun makes things very difficult, especially in some objectives), but nothing overly surprising. The Events are likewise average - nothing incompetent, nothing mind-blowing either. There's one that is visually really cool, but it's also rather gimmicky. They're competent - which, after the disastrous Silver Tablet, is about as much as we could have hoped for.

I guess I should give `Til Death Do Us Part some more shoelace-tying credit for what it didn't do wrong. There wasn't anything laughably lazy like Season of the Witch's Event 2. There wasn't anything laughably uselessly implemented like Season of the Witch's Marks of the Witch (though the Shoggoth Sample tokens sure come close; they dangerously approach the "only useful when required, otherwise just an overcosted bluff" problem). There wasn't anything too infuriating to be laughable like Season of the Witch's Alien Gate. The objectives weren't all identical like the Silver Tablet's. The game wasn't horribly unbalanced like the Silver Tablet. And by Mansions of Madness's standards, the lack of extremely bad things is actually pretty good (despite issues like pop-up Witches and the useless Mythos cards being present).

As I said, this isn't much more than a first impression - maybe more games will change my mind, and how much replay value the scenario will have I can only speculate on at this point (one seemed heavily biased against first-time players but the others seemed fine). But as it currently stands, I did enjoy `Til Death Do Us Part. I do like it better than the other POD scenarios, not to mention Classroom Curses and the Green-Eyed Boy. I like that problems from Mansions' base game are finally being addressed; it's definitely a positive direction for the game as a whole. Is it perfect? No. Definitely not. Not even close. But it's fun, it does some interesting things, and I'd certainly recommend it over the other two POD scenarios that are out as of this writing.
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Paul Beakley
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Definitely agree with your assessment of the base game. Very overpriced and the bloom was off the rose for us by the third scenario. :-/
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Chris J Davis
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Excellent write-up. The only part I wanted to comment on was this:

salty53 wrote:
After paying a ludicrous amount of money for the base game, why should I then need to pay an additional fifteen dollars for a POD expansion that fixes these problems within the one new scenario it introduces while leaving the problems in the base game's scenarios unchanged? And these are really simple problems, too; conditional modifiers and tests of things other than attributes aren't exactly revolutionary (the base game even had one of those in the form of "test the number of Cultists in this room", so it's not like the idea was completely foreign). And even if Shoggoths can absorb and Witches can cast spells and Hounds of Tindalos can detect time-travel in new scenarios, that doesn't change the fact that, whenever I go back to play the Inner Sanctum or the Green-Eyed Boy, they'll be back to their own unremarkable selves. It's a step in the right direction, but one that leaves the eighty-dollar base game scenarios behind.

And it's such an obvious patch to such an obvious problem, and it's taken so long to get to it, that I can't in good conscience really praise it for this progress. It's like an eighteen-year-old (without an actual condition) finally learning to tie their own shoes; sure, it's better than never learning to tie their own shoes at all, and if you care about the person in question you'd probably say something encouraging to their face, but in private your thoughts will be less "This is a brilliant advancement!" and more "About time you stopped being quite so pathetic".


You know there's nothing stopping you from using the new cards in the old scenarios, right? You don't need FFG's official sanction to make it okay. I use Pyromaniac or Raise Dead in scenario 1 (based on whether the Keeper chooses story choice 2A or 2B), Raise Dead in scenario 5, etc. Use whatever cards you think gives the scenario more flavour!
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Jen McTeague
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Gah! I was going to post my review of Till Death Do Us Part today! I just got to play it last night.

Well, I'll be posting my comments anyway. The one things that stands out to me from your post is that I don't think the Infected cards were a blatant moneygrab at all. This POD has 4 less Nothing of Interest cards than any of the other POD scenarios. I consider that a plus. In fact, I might replace Stun tokens with a Stun condition marker card, since people constantly have to ask me what stun means. Besides, it means I can use the Stun tokens to fix one of the minor problems I have in this game -
Spoiler (click to reveal)
There's not enough horror tokens if the Keeper's objective is "Everyone is insane." We were using fire and darkness tokens to replace them.
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Roberta Yang
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Edited the original review to remove spoilers; on reflection, this is new (unlike the base game) and decent (unlike the other POD's) enough that I don't want to give any of the objectives away to prospective players.

LordHellfury wrote:
That was a really good write up. I enjoyed how this was compared to the other PODs and the base game scenarios as it was especially helpful. Thanks for that.

It gives me hope that some competent effort is being put into the game finally. But I think the ultimate arbiter will be the boxed expansion. If that flops for us as the base game did then I am utterly done with Mansions of Madness.

At least Forbidden Alchemy will give some help to base game scenarios with the improved rules for hiding to make hiding spaces slightly less completely useless and the new combat cards that make the investigator's state actually matter. Sure, it's not much, but it's more than `Til Death Do Us Part, which does nothing to aid any scenario other than itself.

bleached_lizard wrote:
You know there's nothing stopping you from using the new cards in the old scenarios, right? You don't need FFG's official sanction to make it okay. I use Pyromaniac or Raise Dead in scenario 1 (based on whether the Keeper chooses story choice 2A or 2B), Raise Dead in scenario 5, etc. Use whatever cards you think gives the scenario more flavour!

There are two problems here. The first is simple: why should I have to do FFG's job for them? I expect a game costing sixty or eighty dollars to actually be playable as written, not to require a fan overhaul to make it not suck. It is commendable that you write things like Razor Cut, but not all of us have the time or inclination for that.

The second is that inserting these cards into old scenarios either doesn't work or alters the scenario so radically that the original flavor is completely lost. Some problems are obvious - there's not much point giving Shoggoths in the Inner Sanctum the ability to eat corpses and Zombies when there are no corpses and, unless the Keeper is behaving very strangely, there are also no Zombies, and the Sample collection effect doesn't have any purpose there. Sure, you could probably cobble together some revised rules for the amount of healing done and give the Samples a different effect, but at that point you're not using FFG's card in a different scenario, you're making your own original card that happens to superficially resemble FFG's.

But some are more subtle. Inserting Raise Dead into Fall of House Lynch when the horror!Zombie shows up would I assume create an interesting scenario, but it also I assume would create a scenario that feels very different from the original Fall of House Lynch. In official!Lynch, you are opposed by a lone Maniac whose death severely sets the Keeper back Threat-wise, and who occasionally has a Zombie assistant or two. But add Raise Dead to the mix, and you become pursued by several unkillable monsters (at least there's one Torch there, unlike in `Til Death Do Us Part, so one of them can be removed), and the Maniac's death, far from setting the Keeper back, will actually dramatically aid the Keeper by spawning a new corpse token for reanimation without using up the one-Maniac-at-a-time limit. (Combine that with the Keeper being discouraged from killing Investigators pre-finale, and you get a bizarre setting in which, for no in-universe reason, the axe-wielding Maniac doesn't really want to kill the Investigators, and the Investigators likewise really don't want to kill the Maniac.) Suddenly, House Lynch has gone from a combat-lite, Mythos-heavy scenario to a heavy-combat Zombie scenario. That may be an interesting scenario to play, but the resulting change in tone would make it feel less like a fixed version of House Lynch and more like a completely different scenario that happens to use the same board as House Lynch; the tone is completely different. And, of course, it would take significant effort to balance out this extra advantage given to the Keeper to avoid making the game unwinnable for the Investigators now that their opposition suddenly can't die.

And at that point, I'd rather create my own custom scenario than turn an official scenario into a custom scenario.

Iammars wrote:
Gah! I was going to post my review of Till Death Do Us Part today! I just got to play it last night.

Well, I'll be posting my comments anyway. The one things that stands out to me from your post is that I don't think the Infected cards were a blatant moneygrab at all. This POD has 4 less Nothing of Interest cards than any of the other POD scenarios. I consider that a plus. In fact, I might replace Stun tokens with a Stun condition marker card, since people constantly have to ask me what stun means. Besides, it means I can use the Stun tokens to fix one of the minor problems I have in this game -
Spoiler (click to reveal)
There's not enough horror tokens if the Keeper's objective is "Everyone is insane." We were using fire and darkness tokens to replace them.

Hmmm, I hadn't looked over the components carefully enough to notice the lowered number of Nothing of Interests. I suppose that's a plus.

Agreed re lack of tokens being a problem; we're always running out of those. We've run out of Horror tokens playing Season of the Witch; we've run out of Darkness tokens playing Classroom Curses; we've run out of Fire tokens playing Blood Ties; I think we even ran out of Samples in Blood Ties once. Freeing up the stone tokens to replace them seems like a good use.
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dan schnake
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Even on BGG, I very rarely see this level of analysis. Really fine stuff, Roberta.
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N S.
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I really hope you review Forbidden Alchemy. I dig your assessments. I played Inner Sanctum as the Keeper last night, and I have to say I'm starting to sour on MoM. Forbidden Alchemy is going to have to be a home-run, with three absolutely cracker-jack scenarios, or else I'm probably done. There are just too few non-sucky scenarios.

Regarding the shortage of various kinds of tokens, I've always thought it was crazy how they skimped on sanity and darkness markers but inexplicably include 12[!] of the blocked-door markers when you will never need more than 3 or 4 tops.
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Olivier Prevot
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Hello,

This is a bit out of topic but since you seemed to have tried the scenario what do you think about this message on FFG forum?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Well, the questions do not fit the seeding.

From what I understood, the Q4 should be labeled Q5, the Q5 should be labelled Q6.

And the Q4 should be something like "The Music Sheet is in"

A. The secret passage

B. The furnace.

The 5A/5B from Chapel and Graveyard should be 6A/6B. Really that is a shame...

Please FFG do something about this !!
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Roberta Yang
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Noahboa wrote:
I really hope you review Forbidden Alchemy. I dig your assessments. I played Inner Sanctum as the Keeper last night, and I have to say I'm starting to sour on MoM.

I've found Inner Sanctum to be one of the better base set scenarios, with the main problem being that some of the Keeper objectives are too easy - the Chthonian one can very easily make a group who hasn't played that objective before autolose, and the "an investigator dies" one is way too easy in a combat-heavy scenario even if the investigators are prepared, especially since the investigators can't win without getting to Clue 1, which is always at or behind an altar, in that objective.

Noahboa wrote:
Forbidden Alchemy is going to have to be a home-run, with three absolutely cracker-jack scenarios, or else I'm probably done. There are just too few non-sucky scenarios.

By my count, half the scenarios - Fall of House Lynch, Inner Sanctum, Blood Ties, and tentatively `Til Death Do Us Part - are largely non-sucky, and their sucky aspects can mostly be fixed by tweaking certain broken objectives. Sure, a lot of other scenarios may suck, but you can just not play with them and still have an enjoyable experience. And that's to say nothing of homebrew scenarios - I've actually just finished a homebrew scenario of my own that, based on initial playtesting, seems reasonably balanced - and even if it does turn out to have balance issues, it at least contains some good ideas that can be made balanced with a bit of tweaking.

Though if you are going to only give Mansions one last chance, I'd probably go for not Forbidden Alchemy but for whatever expansion they release two years from now. As I indicated in this review, I feel like the game designers are only just starting to figure out how to do things competently (e.g. only just introducing monsters with actual special abilities and tests other than flat attribute rolls). If this trend continues, then given much more time things should improve quite a lot - and by FFG's standard expansion-design policy, you won't need to own previous expansions to buy later expansions.

Noahboa wrote:
Regarding the shortage of various kinds of tokens, I've always thought it was crazy how they skimped on sanity and darkness markers but inexplicably include 12[!] of the blocked-door markers when you will never need more than 3 or 4 tops.

Indeed, that did seem quite silly to me. My guess is that they wanted to make sure expansions (especially POD's) would always have enough blocked door markers to work with without running into issues, but really, when the game already carries an $80 price tag, would it be that much to ask for the appropriate number of tokens to be included, especially since several scenarios encourage the Keeper to flood the map with tokens?

LordHellfury wrote:
Seconded. I may even hold off buying it until I read Roberta's review.

Wow, I'm really flattered. Unfortunately, my group can't meet during the holiday break because everybody goes home between semesters, so between that and Forbidden Alchemy having three scenarios to try out, it will probably be a while before I can post a review of it. Thank you, though.

grouik wrote:
Hello,

This is a bit out of topic but since you seemed to have tried the scenario what do you think about this message on FFG forum?
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Well, the questions do not fit the seeding.

From what I understood, the Q4 should be labeled Q5, the Q5 should be labelled Q6.

And the Q4 should be something like "The Music Sheet is in"

A. The secret passage

B. The furnace.

The 5A/5B from Chapel and Graveyard should be 6A/6B. Really that is a shame...

Please FFG do something about this !!

Oh, right, I forgot the setup instructions were leaky. We were just used to it by this point, having already dealt with the Silver Tablet's Dark Room/Trapped Door bug, and don't really pay much attention to what questions the Keeper is asked in the "story choices" anyhow because, let's face it, only choice 1 actually affects the story in any way anyhow.
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Jim Lederer
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Great review, Roberta, very thoughtful and well written! Thank you.
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Chris J Davis
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Could you expand a little on the problems with the objectives you mentioned, using spoiler tags to protect from innocent eyes? As you know, I use your scenario breakdowns as a list of issues to address when I come to revise the scenarios, so it would be useful to have the info here (and I just acquired this POD today).

Also, what do you mean with the sample tokens being similar (laughably so) to Marks of the Witch? Just in terms of it being ridiculously expensive to heal a shoggoth 3 health?

Lastly, there is a way to dispose of corpses on the map: there's a campfire in the room the investigators start in. Though I agree it seems like it would be a bit too much of a waste of time to drag the corpses back there to burn, but this may explain why they thought 'outside' Mythos cards could possibly be useful.

EDIT: Oh, and what are the problems described in the seeding instructions a couple of posts up? I didn't quite understand.
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Chris
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Jefferson
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Along with everyone else, great job. I do respect the amount of time given to your posts and analysis. I now try to find and read every one of your posts!
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David Botartt
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Another great, thorough write-up...I haven't played it yet but always try to read your reviews to help me dodge the adjustment phase of most scenarios. It is a pain that we the consumers have to help FFG do their jobs, but the core concept of this game is so compelling it seems like I would never give up on it...A few ideas that I usually do which might help this (and other scenarios).

Firstly, I've always hated the idea of coming back in the game after being killed...this seems to totally undermine the spookiness in games which thrive off of it, not to mention the awkward gameplay of each side trying to time an investigator's death. FFG also did this with Fury Of Dracula, one of our favorite Games Workshop games from the 80s which now is less scarey as they present it. Anyway, we've always ignored this rule and in all my playing only once has a character died much earlier than the others. One way to introduce a new investigator might be something like after one dies, a 50% chance at each event a random new character arrives (1 max). That way it can't be counted on, so it's kinda like the horror movie where the friend shows up late...

Your Hound of Tindalos lament is right on; they do not do enough to differentiate monsters. Obviously this would have repercussions for many scenarios, but perhaps allow it to move through walls, but only be able to attack one investigator (until it's dead). The hounds could chase their target well but other investigators could walk right past it. The keeper also might have it walk past investigators to get to the one it wants. That would certainly make them more interesting, adding both a great ability and restriction. Perhaps it plays well...

We play that Zombies don't leave corpse markers if killed by fire or by 2+ health...that might help this too

Unfortunately, the storyline of this scenario seems very bland: the Widow is kinda doing the same stuff (thematically, all bad stuff regarding her pet). Why not have one where she's possesed or they have to free & escort her from the board. Or her husband's a Named zombie she has to protect. Something new. They have things like Chime lock & sheet music...was she a musician? The widow's husband is only mentioned on 2 clue cards (3B, 1C). Thus, the investigators might not ever hear about her husband until the Objective card epilogues, and not even necessarily then. With her husband obsession, this should be made much clearer. Also, none of the clue choices even pretend to develop the plot...there all the Blank is found in the Blank. At least with some other scenarios they help you with the story by asking things like Blank liked to hide here or Blank left a note here. They leave the keeper with very little to spice up the storyline, which to me is one of the best things about the game: unveiling a mystery as you play...
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Amazing review that outlines all the issues with base Mansions of Madness (which is why I promptly bought Call of the Wild when I determined I at least kind of like MoM). Themeless monsters, balance issues, linear clues, weak trauma cards, and penalty for actually killing investigators hit me hard as the primary keeper player.

Doesn't look like there is much reason to get this expansion (or the other POD ones outside of the Yellow Sign and maybe the newest one). Hoping for another new big box set one day with even more improvements in the direction CotW was going in (or maybe I'll have moved on from MoM by then).
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Roberto de Gooijer
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salty53 wrote:

On that note, Witchcraft is back, complete with pop-up Witches, which are just as annoying as they were in Scenario 5. Well, okay, that's not quite true; they are less annoying for the Keeper because Raise Dead gives the Keeper other monsters that can be consistently Summoned, and they're more annoying for the investigators because Raise Dead turns killing Witches from "very rarely a worthwhile use of actions but I guess you might do it occasionally if that Evade test is really that worrying or someone almost out of Sanity is about to enter the room or something" to "never ever ever do it ever, why would you want to give the Keeper a free corpse that turns into a permanent monster".
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Does this mean, after you have killed a witch a corpsetoken appears in its place? we never placed corpsetokens after killing any kind of humanoid.
 
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Roberta Yang
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RobbieGemini wrote:
Does this mean, after you have killed a witch a corpsetoken appears in its place? we never placed corpsetokens after killing any kind of humanoid.

Raise Dead says to do so.
 
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Roberto de Gooijer
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I just checked, and i doesnt say so... I guess i have some kind of older or misprinted card :-s got my copy of mom new in 2013...
 
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