Can I Play With Madness? –
The elderly butler on the phone was scared, pleading with you to investigate the sense of dread and strange events in the mansion. When the master disappears with a scream, the rooms shake and unearthly voices hiss and growl in the dark, who ya gonna call? No, not Most Haunted! You clutch the crowbar from the car, ready to whack anything ghastly in the tentacles, and press on…
For months I’ve been reading reviews and devouring the hype about Mansion of Madness 2nd edition. Is this something I’d like? Does the app work? Is it worth the cost? Will I need to sleep with my son’s Nerf gun under the pillow after playing? Calling over Steve and Marc, we crossed the threshold…
Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Fantasy Flight’s Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition is a fully co-operative adventure and investigation game, set in the dark and foreboding streets of Arkham (Batman not included). Players take the role of an investigator, searching for clues to solve thrilling and unpredictable mysteries, where unholy dangers stalk your every step. An app takes control of the forces of evil, NPCs, events and partially resolves combat alongside rolling of dice. The aim of the game is to solve the mystery by collecting clues and evidence, with time wholly against you. Players are eliminated by either dying, or by going insane.
Fantasy Flight Games has become a by-word in the production of high quality and beautiful games. Within the spacious box there is an abundance of tokens, dice and playing cards with incredible artwork. The floor tiles are also amazing, each lavishly drawn to present players with an immersive adventure within the rooms and corridors of a mansion in the 1930s. The app itself is essential. It removes a lot of admin from players, but presents its own contribution to the atmosphere and narrative, including spooky music and lovely visuals. The only let down is the miniatures. They are detailed enough, but keeping them fixed to stands can be problematic.
The app, essential to the game, sets up the scenario for you. Players select from the characters available and then allocates random items to be shared between them. It then states what floor tiles are placed and the location of clues and doors, along with potentially (very) helpful barricades. As doors are opened the app will provide additional layout. After an introduction it’s time to get investigating.
Each character has two actions, including moving, using items, revealing clues, opening doors, trading, fighting and evading bad guys. There are dice roll tests a-plenty and some in-app puzzles to solve at times. Then it’s the Mythos phase when the app controls events and monsters, who attack in a different way each turn. As the game progresses the events get worse and there are more dice checks to hopefully prevent insanity. It’s very straightforward and takes very little time to get into the flow.
We died. We took too long fumbling about and suddenly we were faced with insurmountable odds and tentacles. As we clustered together, Marc and Steve’s characters were killed outright, while my feisty athlete, who had just found a decent weapon, got sucked into a green swirly void.
It was great fun. The rounds were quick, despite all the dice rolling, and we got a sense we really were working together to solve a mystery. And yes, the app makes the experience all the better. Despite tricky miniature-stand issues, the quality and gameplay overall was slick and very thematic. The unpredictability and randomness on each play provides good replayability. Solo games work just as well. Worth the money? Absolutely.
“This one’s an other-worldly keeper.”
- Co-operative app-driven
- Players: 1-5
- Age: 14+
- Playtime: 120+ minutes
- Setup Time: Average
- Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
- Conversion kit available for First Edition game
- Try this if you like: Arkham Horror. Mystery games
Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition
Value for Money8.0/10
- Highly thematic
- App works really well
- Beautiful artwork
- Fast rounds and good mechanics
- Expansions already available
- Miniatures don’t stand well
- Lots of dice rolling every round