Last night. our gaming group got together to play a game of Mansions of Madness. MOM is a 1 VS many game set in the Cthulhu Mythos theme, so expect lots of tentacled beasts and people losing their minds/lives/other things.
My brother (The Keeper) is adept at playing the role of the person who tries to defeat the heroes as he has a natural panache for being evil, which left me, my father and our friend Mr. Bush, to play the hapless heroes who would go into the house(or monastery in this game) to uncover the foul truths within.
I'd played a game of this previously with my brother, we're both fan of Fantasy Flight games, even though in a FF game we always end up missing some of the rules. In the previous game my brother was the keeper and I was controlling two investigators. It was close to the bone, but the evil won in that game.
So, with a little trepidation, I tried to defeat him this time, but with help.
The components for Mansions are pretty good except for the miniatures. Whilst the miniatures look the part, you need to glue them to their bases and somehow squeeze their monster token into the base also - this can be pretty tricky as the thickness of the token and the thinness of the plastic base often take a few pushes and someone with long nails, to truly get the token all the way in so it's readable. On the larger monsters, it's a tad easier, because the hole on the base is a little bigger.
Unlike other adventure games I've played, in this game, when you come across a puzzle, you are presented with an actual physical puzzle in front of yourself. They are all quite simple to solve, but it's a fun mini game none the less.
This particular adventure had the three heroes splitting up trying to find a lost friend who'd tried to infiltrate a cult. From a heroes perspective it was a simple goal of moving around the house, exploring rooms to find clues, then going where the clues lead us.
The story is decided by The Keeper, who has a few choices to make as to exactly what the heroes have to do and some limited control of where things are placed.
Turn plays with the heroes moving two spaces and then doing an action of some sorts. After the heroes have moved, the Keeper gets his turn and uses a number of tokens he gains each turn to pay to summon monsters, spring traps, move those monsters or play various deadly Mythos cards on the heroes.
Like I said earlier, we tend to miss rules in FF games, and it's also worth noting that a lot of the text on the cards are open to interpretation which can cause a bit of hostility between The Keeper and the Players. It's never nice being singled out in any game, and as a Keeper, you've got your work cut out for you when there are a bunch of people teaming up against you.
We'd all forgotten the rule to roll for sanity when we saw a monster, which would have meant a lot of us would have gone insane and The Keeper had forgotten to check his win condition as he was so focused on destroying us using his minions. A mistake he won't be making again.
Highlights from the night: Ash-Can-Pete, who in our game was an unarmed homeless man with a dog, managed to do quite a bit of damage to various Eldritch entities. He also ran into a burning room just to finish off a very large Shogoth, ignoring all pain. My character did the majority of clue gathering, whereas Mr. Bush was our heavy hitter, with a Tommy Gun that just kept on dealing out the pain.
This particular adventure had the heroes winning - but in a cruel twist of fate... us winning, meant that we saved the day... but our characters were ripped apart by the angry cultists! This left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth as I felt that if we had won we should have won... however, it is true in fitting with the bleak Lovecraftian tone.
All in all, it's a fun game, however there's a lot of setup and rule querying. It'll definitely come back out on the table again.
If you like the sounds of this game, but don't like the idea of all the setup or heavy rules, then the superb Betrayal At House on The Hill is well worth a look at - an opinion of which will be posted on here at some point.