Mansions of Madness
Mansions of Madness is a tabletop strategy game designed by Corey Konieczka and published by Fantasy Flight Games in 2011. The players explore a locale filled with Lovecraftian horrors and must solve a mystery. After five years, two big-box expansions and six print-on-demand scenarios, the original Mansions of Madness was retired and replaced by Mansions of Madness Second Edition, designed by Nikki Valens and using an app in place of a human "Keeper" for running the game's scenario.
|Years active||2011 - 2016 (First Edition), 2016 - Present (Second Edition)|
|Genre(s)||Cooperative, adventure, horror, mystery|
|Players||2 - 5 (First Edition), 1-5 (Second Edition)|
|Setup time||10 minutes|
|Playing time||2 - 3 hours|
|Skill(s) required||Problem solving, cooperative gaming|
First Edition GameplayEdit
Mansions of Madness requires two to five players. One player takes the role of the "Keeper" and is responsible for the monsters and happenings of the game, while the other players take on the roles of investigators trying to solve the mystery. At the beginning of the game, the players pick a scenario to play and set up the map accordingly. The Keeper consults his rule book to make decisions about the story and to place clues and traps across the board. After setting up, the players begin at the starting point and if there's a main character, he or she begins first. If not, the youngest goes first. Then, the other explorers take turns exploring. Each investigator may move two spaces and carry out one action. Each investigator has a Health and Sanity value that depletes as they are wounded or scared. Each time an investigator suffers damage, the keeper may play trauma cards that inflict further penalties. For instance, after being hit, an investigator might receive a broken leg and be unable to move as quickly as before, or they could develop nyctophobia after having an encounter with an eldritch horror. During the investigators' turns, the Keeper may play Mythos cards, attempting to injure them physically or mentally, degrade or destroy their items, or otherwise set them back.
After the investigators complete their turn, the Keeper then gets to react. He accumulates "threat" each turn, a resource required to use most of the Keeper's abilities. Playing these cards is a large part of the keeper's abilities, and they often cost threat to use.
The goal is hidden from the investigators until near the end of the game, while the Keeper knows the objective from the beginning.
On 4 August 2016 a second edition of Mansions of Madness was released. Aside from some minor modifications, gameplay was fundamentally the same as in the first edition but with the role of the keeper replaced by a companion app that would run on PC, iOS, or Android platforms. This app expanded the gameplay in several ways including the randomisation of maps and monsters and incorporating and extended range of interactive puzzles into the app. It also meant that the game could be played solo.
The second edition also came with a conversion kit that allowed players who owned the first edition base game and either of its big-box expansions Forbidden Alchemy and Call of the Wild to incorporate their investigator figures, monster figures and map tiles into the second edition game to add more variety and unlock extra scenarios. Shortly after the second edition base game was released, the two Figure and Tile collections Recurring Nightmares and Suppressed Memories were released to make all the first edition components available to those who did not own the 1st edition game or expansions.
The base game came with four scenarios of varying length and difficulty and a fifth scenario that could be unlocked by paying for the DLC. Players who owned either the first edition base game or added the Recurring Nightmares figure & tile collection could play an additional sixth scenario. Players who owned the first edition Call of the Wild expansion or added the Suppressed Memories figure & tile collection could play an additional seventh scenario.
First Edition Expansions & ScenariosEdit
Two "big box" expansions were published for Mansions of Madness.
Forbidden Alchemy was designed by Corey Konieczka, the designer of the base game, and released in 2011. It included the 3 new scenarios Return of the Reanimator, Yellow Matter and Lost in Time and Space. The expansion also contained 4 new investigators (Carolyn Fern, Dexter Drake, Darrell Simmons & Vincent Lee), 4 new monsters (2 Byakhees & 2 Crawling Ones) and 6 new map tiles as well as additional cards and tokens. A revised printing in May 2012 included corrected cards and map set-ups for all three scenarios.
Call of the WildEdit
Call of the Wild was again designed by Corey Konieczka and released in 2013. It included the 5 new scenarios A Cry for Help, The Stars Aligned, The Mind's Veil, The Dunwich Horror and A Matter of Trust. This expansion aimed to shift the game's focus to outdoor settings that were designed to be less linear in order to give the players more choice as to how they explore and investigate. It also introduced allies and NPCs to the game and added situations where the Keeper had to find clues and solve puzzles. The expansion added 4 new investigators (Amanda Sharpe, Bob Jenkins, Mandy Thompson and Monterey Jack), 11 new monsters (2 Dark Druids, 2 Child of the Goats, 2 Goat Spawns, 2 Nightgaunts, Dunwich Horror, Dark Young and Wizard) and 11 new map tiles as well as additional cards and tokens.
Fantasy Flight Games released six print-on-demand scenarios separately.
Second Edition Figure & Tile CollectionsEdit
Mansions of Madness Second Edition shipped with a conversion kit that allowed those with the first edition game and either of its two expansions to use their investigators, monsters and tiles while playing second edition scenarios. It wasn't necessary, but it did add more variety to the randomly generated game maps and monsters and gave players more choice of investigator to play. However, with production of the first edition game and expansions ceased, Fantasy Flight Games decided to package the old game components in two new Figure & Tile collections and released them simultaneously shortly after the release of the Second Edition base game. As such, they weren't considered a true "expansion" but rather a re-packaging of the old, out-of-production first edition components that allowed new players to add them to their second edition game.
The Recurring Nightmares Figure & Tile Collection contained game components from the first edition base game: 8 investigator figures, 18 monster figures and 15 double-sided map tiles. The first edition base game actually had 24 monster figures but the second edition base game already had the 6 cultists so they weren't included in this collection. It also unlocked the Dearly Departed scenario for play.
The Suppressed Memories Figure & Tile Collection contained game components from the Forbidden Alchemy and Call of the Wild expansions: 8 investigators, 15 monsters and 17 double-sided map tiles. It also unlocked the Cult of Sentinel Hill scenario for play.
Second Edition ExpansionsEdit
Beyond the ThresholdEdit
Beyond the Threshold was released in January 2017 and included 2 new investigators (Akachi Onyele and Wilson Richards), 1 new monster (4 Thrall) and 6 double-sided map tiles, as well as additional tokens and cards that expand the base decks. It also unlocked the two new scenarios Gates of Silverwood Manor and Vengeful Impulses.
Streets of ArkhamEdit
Streets of Arkham was released in Q4 2017 and included 4 new investigators, (Finn Edwards, Diana Stanley, Tommy Muldoon and Marie Lambeau), 4 new monsters (7 models), and 17 new double-sided map tiles, as well as additional tokens and cards that expand the base decks. It also introduces Elixir Cards and Improvement Tokens for improving skills and a new Tower of Hanoi style puzzle type and unlocks the three new scenarios Astral Alchemy, Gangs of Arkham and Ill-Fated Exhibit.
Second Edition ScenariosEdit
|Scenario||Difficulty||Duration (minutes)||Physical Requirements|
|Cycle of Eternity||2/5||60 - 90||Base game|
|Escape from Innsmouth||4/5||90 - 150||Base game|
|Shattered Bonds||5/5||120 - 180||Base game|
|Rising Tide||3/5||240 - 360||Base game|
|Dearly Departed||5/5||120 - 150||Mansions of Madness First Edition or Recurring Nightmares Figure & Tile Collection|
|Cult of Sentinel Hill||3/5||120 - 150||Call of the Wild Expansion (1st Ed) or Suppressed Memories Figure & Tile Collection|
|What Lies Within||4/5||120 - 150||Base game + DLC (paid)|
|Gates of Silverwood Manor||4/5||120 - 180||Beyond the Threshold Expansion|
|Vengeful Impulses||2/5||90 - 120||Beyond the Threshold Expansion|
|Dark Reflections||3/5||180 - 240||Base game + DLC (paid)|
|Astral Alchemy||4/5||90 - 120||Streets of Arkham Expansion|
|Gangs of Arkham||3/5||180-240||Streets of Arkham Expansion|
|Ill-Fated Exhibit||5/5||120-180||Streets of Arkham Expansion|
|The Twilight Diadem||4/5||180-240||Sanctum of Twilight|
|Behind Closed Doors||3/5||120-150||Sanctum of Twilight|
Mansions of Madness First Edition received favourable reviews at Eurogamer, Penny Arcade, and the Dice Tower podcast. Criticisms include the complexity of the game, and the amount of time it takes to set up and play. Praise is often directed at the amount of replay value, the Lovecraftian theme, and the uniqueness of the game.
In the 2011 The Dice Tower Awards, Mansions of Madness won the "Best Production Values" class and was the runner-up for the "Best Game Artwork" award.
- BoardGameGeek, retrieved 12 February 2017
- Fantasy Flight Games, retrieved 12 February 2017
- "Learn About the Mansions of Madness Second Edition Conversion Kit". www.fantasyflightgames.com. Retrieved 2017-07-23.
- "Mansions of Madness: Forbidden Alchemy". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2017-07-23.
- Mansions of Madness: Call of the Wild expansion, Forbidden Flight Games, retrieved 31 October 2013
- "Step Beyond the Threshold". www.fantasyflightgames.com. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
- "Streets of Arkham". www.fantasyflightgames.com. Retrieved 2017-07-23.
- Smith, Quintin (2 April 2013). "Mansions of Madness review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
- Groen, Andrew (1 July 2013). "Mansions of Madness is a board game where one player is out to royally screw you". The Penny Arcade Report. Archived from the original on December 11, 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
- Vasel, Tom (2 June 2011). "A Review of Mansions Of Madness". Dice Tower. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Nardini, Enrico (29 March 2011). "Table Top Tuesday: Mansions of Madness". Pikigeek.com. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Sadowski, Kaja (31 December 2012). "Starlit Citadel reviews Mansions of Madness". Starlit Citadel. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- "2011 Awards". The Dice Tower. 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2013.