RogerBW's Blog

Halloween 2014 Mansions of Madness 02 November 2014

For Halloween, or at least All Saints', a friend hosted a session of Mansions of Madness, a game I'd heard about but never played. All images are cc-by-sa.

Setup is apparently quite a time-consuming task, but it was all done by the time I arrived. Lots of cards, tokens, and so on to be selected and sorted out. I ended up, as has become something of a trend in these Fantasy Flight Cthulhu games, with Amanda Sharpe the librarian.

We gathered on the front steps of the old manor house… yeah, sorry about the blur, I really hate using coaxial flash.

One interesting thing in this game is that many items are hidden behind puzzles. In this one, each square has symbols of one or more colours on it, and one has to align matching symbols on the edges (with a sand-timer, and with limited moves based on the character's intelligence). This is an enjoyable mechanic, so it's a shame that what we actually should have been doing is abandoning any puzzle that we couldn't solve instantly and pressing on with the main quest.

(In Arkham Horror, which is the first of these I played, it's vital to gather resources before going after major plot points. Here there's much more time pressure.)

Still, we pressed past the fire into the operating room.

This is apparently a Hound of Tindalos. (Slightly wounded, because it was spawned on the far side of the fire from where we were.)

The gun-totin' socialite went after the cultist and disposed of him with ease.

She had more trouble with the Crawling One. Mind you, by this point I'd acquired a time machine, which was good for getting rid of monsters… up to a point, because they could come back later.

Sudden Byakhees make Amanda jump.

So we ended up being chased by a zombie and another Hound towards the operating theatre…

…only to find a Final Boss Shoggoth.

And the other monsters caught up from behind (and were joined by a Chief Cultist).

I was still sane when I died, which is more than I can say for the other two.

It's an interesting game. Going by the time limits that the scenario imposes, it's pretty much essential to ignore everything in favour of following the story-based clues, and even they can be pretty cryptic. Enjoyable to play from time to time, but I wouldn't make it a regular thing.

We finished off the day with Love Letter, Coup, and Forbidden Island (the latter a cooperative win, and an enjoyable lightweight game even if it probably won't find a place in my collection). I seem to be gravitating towards boardgames that offer a good experience whether or not one wins them.

[Buy Mansions of Madness at Amazon] [Buy Love Letter at Amazon] [Buy Coup at Amazon] [Buy Forbidden Island at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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