Back for more reviews on games that are a bit older, but I’ve finally gotten a chance to play them, and in the case of Mansions of Madness, was totally worth the wait to check it out. So spoilers, I’m going to review this pretty well.
Mansions of Madness is a story based game where you are investigators in a Lovecraftian world, trying to figure out different scenarios, solve puzzles, and search for clues. The investigators have been called to look into weird things that are going at on this mansions and exploring through the rooms, meeting the Butler, and trying to track down the cultists who are working on bringing through one of the elder gods. Things aren’t that easy though, and the monsters that show up and cultists that are running around are definitely trying to hurt you or drive you insane.
So, this game seems like there should be a ton of set-up that you need to do throughout the game. You are placing where the clue tokens are, you are setting up the rooms and there are monsters to be placed. That’s one of the cool features of the 2nd Edition of Mansions of Madness, it comes with an app.This app tells you what to set-up, where you need to set it up, and what you are seeing. You aren’t just placing a few clue tokens onto a board to investigate, you are getting a description that there is a family portrait on the wall, and that’s what you’re investigating, or the pile of mail that is sitting in the foyer, or maybe papers on the office desk.
There are other cool features to the app as well, it gives you story pieces, in fact it’s voice acted as you get the information for the case when you start. And it fills in the details as to what you find, so no flipping through a book, you just pick the clue you investigated (and it even tells you how to investigate it), you can then find the clue and information. It allows Mansions of Madness to feel like an RPG but without having someone run the game. And it allows them to do puzzles. Maybe you are very smart, then you can take more turns trying to figure out a puzzle, but they might be worse at combat. Finally, it makes the board different for you, we played the same scenario twice, and the board and clues came up differently.
The app is definitely the big selling point to this game. There are other fun features as well. The fact that each character is unique and has a unique power is great. Along with that, it’s an annoying thing, but also a fun thing, when you get more wounds than you can take, you get a permanent wound, so you don’t die right away, but now instead of being able to hold a lot of items, now you can only hold two. The same thing happens with sanity, you are going more and more insane, and if you reach your insanity threshold then you go insane, and if you reach it again you die. But, like wounds, going insane means something, for example, when I went insane in the game that we barely won, I had to have a slashing weapon (I think that’s what it was called), and be in the same spot as the other player otherwise, I think the other player would have won, but I wouldn’t have. Now, what I was doing with that knife, never explained, but now I had to do weird stuff in order to be able to win.
Overall, this is a fun game and the app makes this game accessible to people who aren’t gamers. That said, I do think that this is more of a gamers game, and while it is cooperative, someone who is less of a gamer might just be doing what someone else says for them to do, versus playing the game as much themselves. However, and I think this is how it should be, if you are playing Mansions of Madness with someone who isn’t as much of a gamer, let them play, and it’s not super difficult to learn and once they do, they are going to enjoy it more.
Overall Grade: A
Gamer Grade: B+
Casual Grade: B-
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