Normally with Eating Nerdy, I try and go with a movie, show, or game that is a bit more obscure that you can make an event around and how you can feed people while staying in theme. That’s what I’m trying to do here as well, though this is a bit more Halloween focused and Mansions of Madness is a pretty big and well known game. But with it being around Halloween, this seemed like the right thing to do. So you might notice that the theming isn’t going to be as closely tied to Mansions of Madness but more focused on Halloween and how you can incorporate the two together. If you want more specially themed to the Lovecraftian set-up of Mansions of Madness, you can checkout the article that I wrote about Eating Nerdy and Arkham Horror back in September of 2016.
So what are the things to think about with Mansions of Madness, how would that have a Halloween feel to it? The game is an investigative game where you are exploring a house or various locations trying to stop cultists from bringing about the end of the world, or there are other scenarios as well. I’ve only played the one introductory scenario twice.
Starting with invitations to the party, they should probably be mailed out with some old time font or better yet hand written. Then add in a request that people dress up like they’re from the 1920’s. Whatever they feel like is appropriately 1920’s should work as that is when Lovecraft wrote and when the games are set. I’d definitely also find some nice atmospheric music to play during the game and during the party as well. Also, figure out a way to dim your lights or to create that feel of suspense through the mood. If you could get enough electric or other candles to make the room bright enough to see, that would be good, or figure out a way that it’s light enough to see the board well, but the corners of the room are a bit dark.
As for drinks, to borrow from my Arkham Horror post, stick with the classic drinks. Old Fashioned or a Martini would work really well. Just straight up scotch also would be really good. Have some mulled hot apple cider for those who might not want to have an alcoholic drink or for when people want to switch it up. A good old fashioned rootbeer would work nicely as well. There’s a book, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails that has a lot of very nice recipes that you could pull from to create more thematic cocktails as well.
I’m not going to recommend a big meal for this, this is supposed to be a Halloween get together as well as Mansions of Madness, and I’d say just get down to gaming. Instead, focus on easier to eat finger foods. Caramel apples is an obvious choice for Halloween. Chips and salsa, peanuts and pretzels, just keep it simple for as you are playing. I’d also suggest that you ask people to bring food for this as well, it can be a longer game to play, so share the bringing of food, and if you do that, you can maybe got with some more labor intensive foods that would be more thematically appropriate for Halloween or for Mansions of Madness. I think going either way with the food would work for the event.
While you are playing, lean into the role playing your characters. People should be encouraged to pick the person who most looks like them or most looks like how they are dressed up. Do you over the top east coast accents or your noir detective voices, and really encourage people getting into and creating the story of your characters in the game. The Mansions of Madness characters do have some information about how they started to investigate these horrific events or ones like them, so have some fun with that. If you’ve made it atmospheric you’ll have a nice combination of suspense and goofy by getting into the role playing.
One thing to consider with Mansions of Madness is the app integration. In my case, since I have a projector, I’d be tempted to figure out a way to display it up there, because it wouldn’t be too obtrusive there and would allow everyone to easily see the text that is coming up. A tablet or laptop would work just fine as well, but figure out a way so that people can see it. I’d also consider, if you can, changing away your laptop from the normally harsher blue light that you get on TV’s, computers, and tablets. A lot of the newer tablets and other devices, you can go with a more yellow based lighting scheme, and that will fit into the aesthetic that you’re trying to create better than a blue light would.
What other things would you want to do to give it more of a Halloween feel? Doing something like pumpkin carving, to see who could carve the best elder god would be fun way to start the night and would also give you some fun lighting to use later as the jack-o-lanterns are lit.
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