Gameday First Play – Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places.
~ H. P. Lovecraft
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition is a fully cooperative, app-driven board game of horror and mystery for one to five players that takes place in the same universe as Eldritch Horror and Elder Sign. Let the immersive app guide you through the veiled streets of Innsmouth and the haunted corridors of Arkham’s cursed mansions as you search for answers and respite.
Eight brave investigators stand ready to confront four scenarios of fear and mystery, collecting weapons, tools, and information, solving complex puzzles, and fighting monsters, insanity, and death. Open the door and step inside these hair-raising Mansions of Madness: Second Edition. It will take more than just survival to conquer the evils terrorising this town.
I played Mansions of Madness First Edition a year ago and thought it was very good, but I’m not a fan of 1 vs many games and that was the downside for me… Especially in this where it felt like the 1 could just thrash the many should they wish.
But this one is app driven, a compulsory app which is available on iOS, Android and I think… PC/Mac? So it means no ‘Keeper’, it’s fully co-op.
The app starts off helping a GREAT deal… Anyone who has setup, or watched someone setup the first edition knows how long it takes… Sorting things, shuffling decks containing certain cards, building the mansion etc…
It’s a pain…
This lets you pick your chosen Investigators, shows the starting tile of the Mansion, gives you a range of equipment to distribute across all the players and you start. You also start with a nice voice over intro. The app does a good job of sound effects and music during the game, even if those on tables around you might not like it 🙂 (It can be turned off)
Anyway… The app also shows where on the room tiles some tokens are placed that the players need to interact with.
Turns are easy, players go in any order and you have 2 actions… You can Move 2 spaces, Attack, Push, Carry or Investigate… There may be more but Move/Attack/Investigate are the main 3 you take.
When you investigate you press the matching token on the screen and the app will describe what you see and what happens. If you go through a door it will ask you to place another tile with tokens on it and briefly explain what you see and hear there too.
Mostly, when you investigate, you need to roll die based on one of your stats and try and get a number of successes. Die rolls are quite similar to X-Wing or Attack Wing where you roll D8’s and hits are hits but if you roll a Magnifying Glass token you can spend a Clue token to convert it to a hit.
While we’re on it, Physical Damage and Mental Damage (Horror) are in that same system too. You get face down cards for normal damage and face up cards with an effect on them if you take damage from something a little stronger. I’m glad it’s like this as I’ve always liked this system in the miniatures game.
Combat is done by selecting a weapon you have (or going in unarmed) and using that weapon type to attack. The type of weapon you have effects what will happen in combat and the app will describe the actions taken by the investigator and monster before letting you know what test you need to make to deal this damage. The app also tracks damage for each monster and when it’s defeated it removes itself from the app.
After all the Investigators have taken their turn you have the Mythos phase. Here Monsters attack and who they attack is determined by the app and will say (the Investigator with…) “Least Health” or “Lowest Strength” etc
They attack for X damage and you get a chance to use Strength or Speed or Something (depending on the attack) to block some of this damage.
The goal of this is to survive while exploring the mansion. You gather evidence and follow clues to do things… I’m being vague as I’m not sure what will be spoilers or not so I’m saying nothing so no one has a reason to shout at me 🙂
But the key factors are, if one player dies twice the players lose, you have puzzles to solve on the app, you can get some seriously hindering effects placed on you, there is a turn timer running which triggers events and at certain points other events trigger which makes things happen in the game.
It’s a really well put together game. I initially thought that the app did too much and all it didn’t do was track where people are on the board which kinda made the board pointless.
But, there’s all the triggered events, puzzle management, item location, monster damage etc that were managed by decks of cards and tokens controlled by someone playing the Keeper in the first edition. Also, if you interact with a location in the game and don’t roll enough successes to complete whatever you were doing, another player can come a long and finish off the task by adding successes to yours.
I didn’t have anything to do with the setup when I played so I didn’t really realise how much went into it until I heard it explained by somebody.
I said I didn’t want to spoil anything but it looks like each scenario has a few variations… Items you need are in different places etc so it’s not identical. You can play though it multiple times the same way you can play Eldritch Horror and it’s more re-playable than games like T.I.M.E Stories and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective for sure.
I finished my look at the first edition by saying it was a fun game and that hasn’t changed, but I do think it’s improved with the addition of the app and removal of the Keeper…
NOW GET THE RESIDENT EVIL LICENSE! 🙂