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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.

Mansions of Madness
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
Random chance Medium
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 or she 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.

Second EditionEdit

On 4 August 2016 a second edition of Mansions of Madness was released.[1] 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.[2] This app expanded the gameplay in several ways including the randomisation of maps and monsters and incorporating an 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.[3] 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 AlchemyEdit

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.[4]

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.[5] 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.

  1. Season of the Witch (2011)
  2. The Silver Tablet (2011)
  3. Til Death Do Us Part (2011)
  4. House of Fears (2012)
  5. The Yellow Sign (2012)
  6. The Laboratory (2013)

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.[3] 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.

mansion of madness map

Recurring NightmaresEdit

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.

Suppressed MemoriesEdit

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 new 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.[6]

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.[7]

Sanctum of TwilightEdit

Sanctum of Twilight was released in Q1 2018 and included 2 new investigators (Lily Chen and Charlie Kane), 1 new monster (2 Wraiths), and 5 new double-sided map tiles, as well as additional tokens and cards that expand the base decks. And unlocks the two new scenarios The Twilight Diadem and Behind Closed Doors.

Group of friends playing Mansion of Madness

Horrific JourneysEdit

Horrific Journeys has been announced for release in Q4 2018. The expansion will include 3 new scenarios.

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
Altered Fates 3/5 90-120 Base game + DLC (paid)


Mansions of Madness First Edition received favourable reviews at Eurogamer,[8] Penny Arcade,[9] and the Dice Tower podcast.[10] Criticisms include the complexity of the game, and the amount of time it takes to set up and play.[11][10] Praise is often directed at the amount of replay value, the Lovecraftian theme, and the uniqueness of the game.[12]

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.[13]

Watch It Played, a YouTube series, started out as a resource for Mansions of Madness.[14]


  1. ^ BoardGameGeek, retrieved 12 February 2017
  2. ^ Fantasy Flight Games, retrieved 12 February 2017
  3. ^ a b "Learn About the Mansions of Madness Second Edition Conversion Kit". Retrieved 2017-07-23.
  4. ^ "Mansions of Madness: Forbidden Alchemy". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2017-07-23.
  5. ^ Mansions of Madness: Call of the Wild expansion, Forbidden Flight Games, retrieved 31 October 2013
  6. ^ "Step Beyond the Threshold". Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  7. ^ "Streets of Arkham". Retrieved 2017-07-23.
  8. ^ Smith, Quintin (2 April 2013). "Mansions of Madness review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ a b Vasel, Tom (2 June 2011). "A Review of Mansions Of Madness". Dice Tower. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  11. ^ Nardini, Enrico (29 March 2011). "Table Top Tuesday: Mansions of Madness". Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  12. ^ Sadowski, Kaja (31 December 2012). "Starlit Citadel reviews Mansions of Madness". Starlit Citadel. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  13. ^ "2011 Awards". The Dice Tower. 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  14. ^ YouTube

External linksEdit