There are too many HP Lovecraft games on the market. I often hear that the theme alone would distract players from the game. Considering how many already exist, how many we’ve looked at and how many more there will be, I can’t blame anyone for being tired of cults and tentacle madness. However, I feel I need to bring you another game, because if you only have one game in this genre, it has to be Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition.
It’s not the best game, but that’s where the limits of affordability, price range and accessibility come together. The original version of Mansions of Madness was released in 2011 and was quite well received. But the number of pieces and admins needed in the original version meant that someone had to deal with a lot of rules and conditions. If someone doesn’t really know the rules and isn’t willing to handle everything for the group, the experience can be a real ordeal. As a solution, Fantasy Flight Games released a second edition that replaced skin management with a soundtrack and narration application.
There is a large population of board game players who strictly reject games with integrated technology. Honestly, I haven’t heard a good reason. The most common thought process I’ve heard is that people prefer to play board games to disconnect for a moment. A game based on an application to manage important aspects such as game events, clues and enemy movements completely undermines this objective.
Although I sometimes like to unplug to play, the application does a lot to improve the immersion, customization and gameplay comfort of Mansions of Madness. The application does so much to relieve the pain of the installation that I would only use it for that purpose. Players simply choose the story they want to play and the characters they want to slide into. The Mansions of Madness application then tells the player which of the many items in his inventory he can start with. As soon as the player confirms that he has collected the necessary elements, the application starts immediately in the selected story. A dark narrator stages a scene while sinister atmospheric music plays in the background. A minute or two and it’s time to start playing.
Ominous music plays in the background while the player explores mansions and dirty streets. A series of well-synchronized sound effects such as thumping, squeaking and shouting in the distance produce an amazing and captivating sound throughout the session. Between the ease of configuring the application, the AI control and the audio, it’s hard not to get carried away.
Nothing disturbs the immersion more than a complex set of rules that forces players to stop and watch often. Fortunately, Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition also makes it very easy. Each turn, players spend a maximum of two actions to interact with the environment. The most common actions are the following:
- Movement – Players may move their investigators two places for each movement action. When the players pass their two actions per turn, they may move a total of four locations.
- Explore – The Explore action allows players to explore the application tiles (represented by the red lantern) to open a new card tile and enter a new room.
- Search – Search actions allow players to interact with the application’s search patterns (represented by a question mark) to find clues. A search often reveals valuable clues.
- Interaction – The Interaction action (represented by the exclamation mark) allows the player to communicate with NPCs or important items on the map. These features often promote the story or present the player with a mini-mystery.
- Swap – Players in the same location can use a swap action to exchange an unlimited number of item cards in their possession. Players who are not in the same room also have the option to drop an item off and leave it in their current room for other players to pick it up later.
- Item Action – Some items give players additional actions that can be used at that time. On each card that allows this option, the text of the action is printed in bold on the card.
- Attack – when all enemies are within range, the player can choose an action to attack by selecting it in the application. From there, players simply follow the tasteful text and instructions to determine the action.
Each character card has a set of six statuses (Strength, Skill, Observation, Legend, Influence and Will) with numbers from one to five. If a player is asked to perform an attribute check, he simply checks the corresponding stats and rolls the number of dice corresponding to his card. The eight-sided die has three sides: an older game board, a magnifying glass and an empty side. The Eldritch tile counts as a hit and the magnifying glass is empty, but can be turned into a hit if players dispose of one of their indicator chips. After throwing the dice, players count up the number of hits they have scored and enter them into the application. At this point, the game determines the outcome, and the game continues.
And this is how you play and learn Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition. There are other conditional rules, such as. B. Horror controls or fire propagation, but they are so indirect that the application manages the players and reminds them when necessary. This means that players will have to consult the rules for the most obscure cases from time to time, but the application still handles most of the more complex administrations. Players only need to place tiles on the board according to the application instructions.
The range of plots available to players depends largely on the extensions they have. The basic game contains four scenarios, all set in the titular mansion. When selecting a scenario, the application gives the user an overview of the difficulty, duration and starting point of the missions, so that the player can choose the missions that interest him most. The basic game contains the scenarios Cycle of Eternity, Escape from Within, Broken Ties and Rising Tide. Digital integration also offers three additional DLCs (What Lies Within, Dark Reflections and Altered Fates) that can only be purchased and played with the basic elements of the game.
You didn’t make it to the Shattered Bonds in your last series and you want to try it again? Well, it probably won’t turn out the way you hoped. While four stories for a price of $80 to $100 (depending on where you buy the games) seem like a high price, Mansion of Madness has an amazing repeat value. Several configurations are programmed for each scenario of the basic experiment (except for Escape from Innsmouth). Maps, clues and puzzles change to keep the experience as mysterious as the first game. Given that the range of scenarios can range from one to six hours of full gameplay, even a basic experience may be enough.
Honestly, I’m surprised there aren’t any more scripts available for download. Given that Fantasy Flight Games would cost significantly less to produce than the boxed expansion, it seems a missed opportunity. Especially considering the number of Arkham Files-related games that FFG has under its brand name. There are many possibilities for cross-content. Well-known characters such as Jim Culver, Wendy Adams and Silas Marsh have already appeared and there seems to be untapped potential. Anyway, there’s a lot to enjoy in the basic game, especially if you brave the expansions.
As we said in our last article on the Arkham horror: The Care Game, FFG struggles to keep up with Myth’s demand, making it almost impossible to set up an entire campaign in one go. Instead, it usually takes up to six months to get the missing bridge or pay a premium on the second hand market. Unlike one of the FFG’s AHLCG’s, the extensions for the Mansions of Madness are much simpler.
There are five extensions available: Beyond the Threshold, Streets of Arkham, Sanctuary of Twilight, Terrible Trips, and The Way of the Snake. In total they add thirteen other scenarios, each with a number of random choices to keep it fresh after a number of sessions. Scenarios range from a giant logic puzzle in Ill-Fated Exhibit, where players search for a cursed object in a museum, to the occurrence of a dinner in Vengeful Impulses. Whatever scenario you choose, you will have a lot of fun with Mansions of Madness.
Mansions of Madness 2 Edition is good entertainment, and although I recommend it, it is not the best the genre has to offer. In fact, I recommend it above others, because it is at the ideal location, at the crossroads of price, variety and ease of exploration. I’d say the horror of Arkham: The card game is better, but much more expensive. Deep Madness is another great game from Lovecraft, but it is much harder to learn. There are a lot of games out there, but I can’t think of another game that touches all the goals as effectively as Mansions of Madness.
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