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Subject: Arkham Horror or Mansions of Madness: what to buy? rss

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Steve Larson
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Hello everyone. I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right place, but I figured I would get a more neutral response here, than posting in either of the game's forums. I could be wrong though.

I have a coupon for a gaming store and I've been going back and forth on these two games. I've read a few reviews and saw the pros/cons for both.

I'm reaching out to fellow gamers to see if I should lean either way on the fence I'm on. Both look to have nice components and plenty of expansions. I like the changing map tiles of MofM, but AH seems to be the popular bet and less rule complaints. On a side note, I do own Elder Sign.
 
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Thomas
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Well AH is a co-op, Mansions requires a "keeper", an overseer to run the game. That being said as much as I love the Mythos AH felt more like an tedious bookeeping exercise than a fun gaming experience. I have had much fun with Mansions of Madness and once you play it there is way less upkeep than in AH and the rules aren't that bad especially for the players. Another alternative is Witch of Salem
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Tiago Perretto
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That depends: which type of game you like better? Competitive or cooperative?

I, for one, like co-ops. They are my sweet spot. So I found AH to be much, much more in my tastes. I don't see any bookeeping in AH: just slide a token in the Doom Track here, maybe in the Terror track there, and proceed.

I also enjoy quite a bit MoM, but Fury of Dracula seem to reach the same spot in my gamming group with less work (the set up, in this case), even if MoM has different scenarios and characters.

Story-wise, AH do make a rather Randolph-Carter-wandering-tale in the end, with all sorts of encounters and crazy combinations. MoM, having more restrains, makes for a more linear and clear story of terror.

But in the end what matters is what you like better.

Regards,
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Blank Francis
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This question has been asked before!

Arkham Horror or Mansions of Madness
Arkham Horror/ Mansions of Madness
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James Deignan
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chewie456 wrote:
Hello everyone. I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right place, but I figured I would get a more neutral response here, than posting in either of the game's forums. I could be wrong though.

I have a coupon for a gaming store and I've been going back and forth on these two games. I've read a few reviews and saw the pros/cons for both.

I'm reaching out to fellow gamers to see if I should lean either way on the fence I'm on. Both look to have nice components and plenty of expansions. I like the changing map tiles of MofM, but AH seems to be the popular bet and less rule complaints. On a side note, I do own Elder Sign.


If you want to cooperatively (or solo using multiple investigators) solve a difficult optimization puzzle, buy Arkham Horror. AH has theme and cool components, but ultimately you're playing to beat the game and that requires you to optimize your moves in much the same way as you might when playing something like Pandemic. Be advised, however, that the system (particularly once you add an expansion, and you WILL add an expansion...trust me) is much more evil than you might be used to dealing with. The only Co-op that's as challenging as Arkham which I've played is Ghost Stories.

If you want to immerse yourself in a haunted house style theme, buy Mansions of Madness. Of the two games, MoM is much more thematic and has moments where it is far more entertaining, but the downside is that some of the scenarios are less than stellar (to the point that there are some deep fan-made "corrections" available here on the geek.) Mansions also faces the problem of any scenario-based game: when you get too familiar with the scenarios, you pretty much need more. Arkham has no such issues due to the vast variety of cards available and it's simple design: we all work against the GOO.

If the keeper requirement of MoM is an issue, your question is answered immediately as AH is fully cooperative. Otherwise, tiagoVIP hits the nail on the head above: MoM is more linear. Anything can (and usually does) happen in AH.
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Steve Larson
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I do not mind co-op games, so that won't be a factor. I already own Elder Sign, does it make sense for me to get another co-op game with similar themes? Since both games seem to have a decent number of expansions, does one game offer better expansions than the others?

Thanks for the links Blank, I'll check them out. Also thank you others for the other game options. Unfortunately my game store does not offer any of them. I've narrowed my choice to one of these games.
 
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Thomas
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chewie456 wrote:
I do not mind co-op games, so that won't be a factor. I already own Elder Sign, does it make sense for me to get another co-op game with similar themes? Since both games seem to have a decent number of expansions, does one game offer better expansions than the others?

Thanks for the links Blank, I'll check them out. Also thank you others for the other game options. Unfortunately my game store does not offer any of them. I've narrowed my choice to one of these games.


No offence to your game store but don't limit yourself. Have you heard of this playce: http://www.coolstuffinc.com Best prices around and great customer service and care.
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Steve Larson
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None taken. Frankly I think this store in particular could do more to stock there shelves better games. I've been going through this dilemma recently. I love a good deal, which you can find online. I've bought quite a few games from Miniature Market and Amazon. But for once my gaming store has a decent coupon, so I feel like I should support them.
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Brook Gentlestream
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chewie456 wrote:
I do not mind co-op games, so that won't be a factor. I already own Elder Sign, does it make sense for me to get another co-op game with similar themes? Since both games seem to have a decent number of expansions, does one game offer better expansions than the others?

Thanks for the links Blank, I'll check them out. Also thank you others for the other game options. Unfortunately my game store does not offer any of them. I've narrowed my choice to one of these games.


Both games will have the same overlap. Both games even use the same characters. I do not particularly recommend Mansions of Madness because:

1) It is Scenario-based, and there's only so many times you can play each scenario. Not only that, but the scenarios are rather predictable and kind of follow an established pattern. ("This door's locked. The key is most likely going to be here, on the opposite side of the board, and inside we'll find clue #e to open that door."

2) Mansions of Madness takes a LONG TIME to setup, and the Keeper must do it alone while all the other players leave. This can take a very long time and it's not so cool if you're stuck putting together the game while everyone else is off playing Elder Sign. Not only that, if the keeper makes even one mistake here, the game will be ruined for everybody but you won't know that until you are an hour or two into it.

For those two reasons, I don't like recommending Mansions of Madness, although I have fun playing it more often than not.

And like you said, it overlaps a lot thematically with Elder Sign.

If you must choose one or the other, I recommend either Arkham Horror or more Elder Sign expansions (if there are any).

Are you sure you wouldn't rather get Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game instead?
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Thomas
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I second the vote for Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game though it really comes intro fruition with the Growing Hunger expansion.
 
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James Deignan
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chewie456 wrote:
I do not mind co-op games, so that won't be a factor. I already own Elder Sign, does it make sense for me to get another co-op game with similar themes? Since both games seem to have a decent number of expansions, does one game offer better expansions than the others?

Thanks for the links Blank, I'll check them out. Also thank you others for the other game options. Unfortunately my game store does not offer any of them. I've narrowed my choice to one of these games.


Didn't really think to ask this but if playing solo is at all an issue, then you definitely want Arkham Horror. If you'll only be playing in a group of 5 or fewer, either work.

As to the other question, Arkham Horror is ten times the game Elder Sign is. They're the same theme, but completely different experiences. The expansions to AH are legion. It'll take Elder Sign a few years to catch up just in sheer expansion variety if AH never adds another expansion.
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Steve Larson
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I guess one thing I forgot to mention, which may be why I'm leaning slightly towards MofM. I used to play RPG's, but now that I have a family, RPGs are too much of a time commitment. Looking at MofM, it looks like it will help scratch that RPG itch. Or am I'm off on that thinking?
 
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Thomas
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chewie456 wrote:
I guess one thing I forgot to mention, which may be why I'm leaning slightly towards MofM. I used to play RPG's, but now that I have a family, RPGs are too much of a time commitment. Looking at MofM, it looks like it will help scratch that RPG itch. Or am I'm off on that thinking?


That's a great selling point of the game. The keeper is very much like a DM so you can help the other players role play and keep the game on track. If they are having a hard time you can make things easier. The best thing to do when you get the game is do a practice run through the scenario once before playing with your group so you have a good grasp of the rules and set up.
 
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Eric Baker
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I almost feel like a commie for suggesting it, but have you given any consideration to A Touch of Evil?

It has often been dubbed Arkham Lite by those hipper than I. And also features both Competitive and Co-Op modes.

Plus, the first expansion dips its toe into the Lovecraft mythos with the 'Unspeakable Horror' villain.





 
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Tunguska's CPA
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Personally, I do not care for games that require long, tedious set up, like MoM (and Descent 1st ed). If I have, say, 4 hours to game, I'd like actual gaming to take up most of that.

On your store not having certain games, ask if they can special order them for you. Truth is, they can, it's just a matter of whether they're willing to add something to an existing order and then, you know, call you when it comes in.
 
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Steve Larson
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Oooh, so many games. Thanks for the Touch of Evil suggestion. I know my gaming store doesn't have that one. As for having them order, this store won't. I tried ton convince them to order War of the Ring (2nd ed.), and also Thunderstone, but they wouldn't . There are a few other gaming stores in my area that I know would be willing to order, but as I mentioned I have a good coupon so I have to stick with what's in the store since it expires at the end of the month.

I really appreciate everyones input. Ideally I would love to buy both, plus some of your suggestions. I like things about both games but I think I'm leaning towards MofM. Mostly hoping it will help scratch that RPG itch. I'm typically an organized gamer, so I hope that helps the complaints I've heard about the long setup. I've played War of the Ring, Civilization, and Axis & Allies back when it first came out. I feel those are good examples of long setups. Are these close to MofM setup?
 
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Thomas
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I love A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game, it clicked with me better than Arkham Horror. Another good alternative is Darkest Night (First edition). If you are thinking bout AToE you really need A Touch of Evil: Something Wicked Expansion expansion to make the game feel complete.
 
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Blank Francis
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LunarSoundDesign wrote:
If you are thinking bout AToE you really need A Touch of Evil: Something Wicked Expansion expansion to make the game feel complete.


Is that actually true? You said the same thing about Last Night on Earth, which I don't think is accurate. Perhaps you're just an expansion junkie?

At any rate, I don't suggest that anyone buy an expansion to anything before playing the base game first. What if they just don't like the game?
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Thomas
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blankfrancis wrote:
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
If you are thinking bout AToE you really need A Touch of Evil: Something Wicked Expansion expansion to make the game feel complete.


Is that actually true? You said the same thing about Last Night on Earth, which I don't think is accurate. Perhaps you're just an expansion junkie?

At any rate, I don't suggest that anyone buy an expansion to anything before playing the base game first. What if they just don't like the game?


True but it's a common complaint new players have with both games. I would say it's even more important with AToE because the expansion has the full co-op rules and advanced Mystery phase chart. Plus the game feels claustraphobic with just the base game board.

But you are right. It's best to try the game first. I should have been more specific and said if he liked the game he will want to get the expansion soon after.
 
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Ben Cowley
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chewie456 wrote:
Oooh, so many games. Thanks for the Touch of Evil suggestion. I know my gaming store doesn't have that one. As for having them order, this store won't. I tried ton convince them to order War of the Ring (2nd ed.), and also Thunderstone, but they wouldn't . There are a few other gaming stores in my area that I know would be willing to order, but as I mentioned I have a good coupon so I have to stick with what's in the store since it expires at the end of the month.

I really appreciate everyones input. Ideally I would love to buy both, plus some of your suggestions. I like things about both games but I think I'm leaning towards MofM. Mostly hoping it will help scratch that RPG itch. I'm typically an organized gamer, so I hope that helps the complaints I've heard about the long setup. I've played War of the Ring, Civilization, and Axis & Allies back when it first came out. I feel those are good examples of long setups. Are these close to MofM setup?


MofM setup is quite large, it is deeper than War of the Ring because the keeper has to really get his/her head around the choices and their outcomes - and unlike Arkham, I find that this is downtime for the rest of the group. Infact downtime is a big issue for me in MofM, the keeper can really get bogged down trying to keep track of all his possible actions and cards.

Another problem I have with MofM as a player is that it has a really oppressive feel - even when we have pulled off a victory I have been super stressed and been suprised that a win happened at all, and because of its opposed play the win has not felt as good as a group win in Arkham against similar odds - there has been some serious shared group elation as various team members pull off critical actions in sequence to seal the win.

Arkham does not have the downtime issue for experianced players - I've played with up to 9 (yeah i know its supposed to cap out at 8) with multiple expansions (I own all of them, just as I have most of the MofM expansions) What we do is each person has responsibility for a different part of the mechanics, and we have turned the upkeep phase into "Planning Phase" everyone has the chance to really get involved with the story and effort.

What is also cool is that if someone has to reduce their load to do a bit of food prep, or baby wrangling or something everyone else can step up and cover for them - break the turn down to a couple of things the distracted player can do then give them the options and dice as required, then they can phase back into the game when reality allows.

Another point worth mentioning in favour of Arkham is that it is a bit more accessable to a wider audience - we can ususally include wives / girlfriends that are more casual gamers (scrabble to Catan types) because it is not so heavy on the theme and a bit more abstract(no graphic descriptions of how you are forced to shoot an ally in the head)

When I was younger and single playing with my mates, MofM would be the win, but now Arkham is totally the go. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a totally surreal experiance - my Dad who never plays anything other than chess had a great time slaying monsters as the Private Investigator with a Tommy gun, and my mum got into it as the researcher with her special ability saying to my wife "oh no! that was bad luck, would you like a reroll dear?" It was like a gate had opened up to an alternate reality.

Never would happen with MofM.

Having said all that, I have never played LNOE or ATOE - so I can only comment on Mansions vs Arkham.

EDIT: Spelling + final comment.
 
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Miles Wentland
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I have both games in my collection and enjoy both of them. However because it is significantly easier to get Arkham Horror to the table I have to suggest it over Mansions of Madness.

Mansions of Madness is a unique and fun game but you really need the right group of people or it won't be enjoyable.
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Dan Kramer
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I haven't played AH, but Mansions is perhaps my favorite game. There are loads of great expansions and it has a feel unlike anything else. It's good with 2 all the way up to 5...
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