Review: Mansions of Madness, retake

Long story short, Mansions of Madness 1st edition was a rubbish, including most of the expansions. In fact, some enterprising spirits have rewritten the whole in attempt to make it work. The key reason for it was that Wings of Glory system does not really turn into exploration game, regardless of how much cards you add. Fundamentals were flawed. Foundations stood on what could be described as intellectually dishonest logic and there were no easy way to fix it.

Another problem was the rules which were scattered to most unlikely places without any indexing in a page count that exceeded some modestly complex, genuine wargames. All this when in reality there was real content for about 4 pages worth. A Third problem was the setup time that allowed filler game of modestly sized ASL scenario to be played, with a coffee break in between. Final problem that broke the whole product was the complete lack of play testing, and many scenarios that were irreparably broken (what is more fun than spending three hours to set up a game that breaks down completely after hour or two of playtime? Or game where the main goal is to avoid all the system traps that cause the scenario to fail completely?). That said, our group could certainly put the game system to test, but with MoM first edition, one had to tread carefully like amidst venomous snakes.

I did file a complaint about the defects long ago, because I think that it is not the customer’s responsibility to playtest and debug a system that comes with such a hefty price tag. FFG ignored the complaint.

… Then, time went on… About five years passed.

Apparently Asimodee took over FFG in some level, and Mansions of Madness was redeveloped by new designer that had genuine ideas of how to make the game work, and not to make it just another Wings of Glory, or X-wing on a ground level. Asimodee also had completely reverse attitude towards the defects of original.

… and then some additional time passed, and I received a parcel.

Yes, it was a copy of the 2nd Edition.

Now, 2nd Edition of Mansions of Madness appears more of the product that first edition should have been (except the figures, which are, unfortunately, still rubbish. However, luckily the monsters have counters to represent them and they work wonderfully). Instead of being clutter ridden cardboard hell, 2nd edition has stripped out all but essentials – and replaced keeper with application. Downside is that one needs a computer, phone, or pad to play but the upside… well, it completely remodels what original failed to achieve. Exploration.

MoM-2nd-ed - 1

Scenario 1, final moments 😉 Spoilers, if you looked!

So far, there has been only one game of 3 players, but at first time, most striking bugs are some of the algorithms that declare how events affect, or how monsters move. For example statement of: “monster moves towards the investigator with least damage” is hard to judge when there are three investigators without any damage in equal distance. Instead it would have been better to say: “…towards investigator with most health remaining” if that was implied (for example, least damage is not equal to most health and there appeared to be no tie breaker rule). Similar imprecise wordings are probably the worst bugs discovered at least so far. Compared to the first edition, that is a massive improvement and they can be worked out even if one would appreciate more accurate “algorithms”.  Rulebook does state that in conflict situations players decide but it would be worthwhile to have some of the texts altered for less room for players to maneuver.

MoM-2nd-ed - 2

Made it, just barely. Relatively easy, but pretty solid scenario.

Of course, in the original, the 1st scenario was really the only one playtested, and factually playable, hence waiting to see what happens after we’ve done all of 2nd ed scenarios. At this time, I am willing to say that Asimodee has done the right thing and I consider the matter settled.

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