Mansions of Madness Review
|Be careful what books you read.|
gaming AI. Then again, this game is still so great that I probably won't be able to convince anyone to try Hero Quest so I can maybe have another sample of 1vG.
Now, a big selling point of this game is the figures. This game has a ton of miniatures that you just don't get in most tabletop games. They are all very detailed and large. Anyone who plays other miniature games like Warhammer will absolutely adore this. These are all begging to be painted & loved. Unfortunately, this comes with a lot of problems that make them just as much trouble as they're worth. The investigator figures are perfectly fine. I have absolutely no complaints about them. The monsters though, they are absolutely riddled with problems. For starters, they just won't stay on the base without a lot of careful balancing, which means you will have to superglue them to their bases. That also means you'll need a better way to store them separately from the main game so that they don't break. It's also very easy for a single space to get incredibly crowded with monsters, especially if you're playing with the larger ones that are literally the same size as each room space! Of course, the obvious solution is to just not use the figures, but you just don't really have that option. Each figure can have damage, stun, & sample tokens all stored on them. Honestly, the figure bases are a great help in keeping those together as you maneuver them around, and there's no way of having character cards to note which monster has what stuff. Additionally, each monster is actually unique. There are little cards that go under the bases of each monster, indicating their damage, health, and special attacks they will sometimes make. You have no idea which monster it really is until you interact with it. I just don't see a way of playing this game without the figures while having the monsters be distinguishable. This makes the biggest factor in the price become its biggest detriment, since you really can't even avoid using them. Still, if you can afford a game like this, you probably can also afford the extra safe storage, too. This ain't Uno, folks.
Figures aside, this is an absolutely great game. If you go in expecting the challenge to be brutally difficult, you'll get a ton of enjoyment out of it. It allows me to play that supreme overlord, though I'd say it really gives the Keeper too much power. Although miniatures fans will love the figures, I'd say the story & roleplaying are the real key features here. All the characters really are their own people, not just a collection of numbers. This gives everyone an opportunity to get into their best accents & voices to really immerse themselves as characters in the story. While I'm sure this will typically be played at standard game shop tables, I can see this having a great place at a cabin in the woods late at night with the fireplace roaring. Despite me not actually enjoying Lovecraft, I've ended up playing a lot of games using its theme, and this is easily the most immersive experience I've had yet from them. This is basically an interactive book. Each time you read it, the story always seems more familiar to you, and yet there's always something new each time. The price point is very steep, but this game easily holds well for replayability. When you consider that mystery board games are very rare beyond social deduction games, and this game actually pulls it off well, I can see this almost being a must-have for any dedicated tabletop gaming group. If the figures would just stay on the bases, I would call it absolutely perfect for its niche.