Mansions of Madness

Quintin Smith van Eurogamer schreef:

"One to four players control "investigators" arriving on the scene of some ominous mystery. The board is a 1930s house made from gorgeous interlocking tiles. Their objective is to put a stop to whatever horror is inevitably occurring within: anything from a ghost, to witches, to cultists trying to lure some elder god into our fragile reality. The Investigators do this with brains and teamwork. This isn't, however, some gore-flecked Cluedo. The Investigators will be halting evil with guns, dynamite, or even their bare hands. Mansions of Madness is the board game equivalent of an immersive sim. All it wants to do - with its 350 cards, 32 miniatures and 80 cardboard tiles - is tell stories that are overseen by a final, "Keeper" player, bringing Mansions of Madness up to its total of two to five players. The Keeper is your antagonist, directing monsters and investigators alike like some giggling puppet master, as well as incidental stuff like lights going out or fires spreading.

(...) All of which is marvellous design, as thematic as it is thrilling, and the puzzles are just as good. Every game of Mansions of Madness will see players having to unlock strange rune-boxes, rewire panels or scan rooms for evidence, which brings in a little mini-game. The Keeper builds a sliding or rotating tile puzzle in accordance with the scenario you're playing. The investigator present has to try and solve this, against a time limit, with a move limit based on their character's intelligence stat. If they fail, the keeper covers it up, leaving that player's progress, but with all the players unable to look at it until someone actively spends their turn working to solve it again. Probably with some be-tentacled monsterpiece loping down a corridor towards them.

(...) When you have a good game of it, it's an event that'll sit like a jewel in your memory for the rest of your life.(...) Mansions of Madness is a beautiful object and a fantastic collection of ideas. But as a game? About a third of the time, it simply doesn't function. For a game about solving a mystery, the Investigators are never solving a mystery, which is a bit of a problem. (...) From opening the box to the Keeper setting up a scenario, with every card in its assigned room, and double-checking everything, you're looking at 30 minutes. Add a rules explanation and friends with more interest in actually having fun and talking than treating the game like a military exercise, you're looking at 90 minutes before you can even start playing. Which means this isn't a casual game - but it's not something you can sink your teeth into, either.(...) Is this me giving Mansions of Madness a bad review? Not in the slightest. (...) This remains a board game where, in front of all your friends, you try and cast a dark spell found in a library and melt the skin off your left hand. (...) Even if it doesn't succeed every time, Mansions of Madness remains a game that can transport you and your friends into a desperate, evocative story that you'll share forever. And really, it'd take a different critic than me to call that anything other than priceless.

Video review

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