I think the more games I play, the more I flirt with being homeless. It’s really a razor’s edge at the moment, and try as I might, the willpower used to exert denying myself of new games seems to wane with each passing day. But generally speaking, I don’t have the luxury of always playing the games. I job search, read, put together games workshop miniatures, write blogs, and am contemplating an online business that sells games. I know this is a very brief season as I have a few opportunities for employment, but I’m dragging my feet because I’ve never taken a break. All this to say is, I have a few favorite games I am always willing to bring out on a Thursday night, but there are games that I haven’t played that have, in the past, given me a sense of wonder. Some people call this an “itch” that makes them want to play them again. It’s more like a knife in my side but we’ll move on.
So now I’m confronted with a new game, and yes, I bought it, so call me masochistic. I really didn’t want to like this new game, that of “Mansions of Madness” second edition for many many reasons. Primarily, and this is being completely honest with you, is because I just wanted to revisit Star Wars Imperial Assault and lose myself there rather than jumping in an entirely new “dungeon crawler” type game.
Ugh. I hate myself because I love this game so much. I wish I didn’t love it; I wish I didn’t buy it. I wish I didn’t have to search online for all of the sold out expansions and pretend like I had money, place it in my cart, and then leave it for that make believe day when I actually have money to spend on needless things.
Alas, let me give a brief reason as to why I love this game so much. First, let’s see what the publishers, that of fantasy flight games, has to say:
Fight for your life in Mansions of Madness Second Edition, the app-assisted horror game inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. From the makers of Eldritch Horror, this fully cooperative game takes you and up to four other players on a harrowing adventure through the dark and desolate halls and alleyways of Arkham. Much like the original Mansions of Madness game, the second edition offers a number of thrilling and confounding scenarios, each with a unique and unpredictable map, intricate puzzles, and bloodthirsty monsters.
One writer said that the app is the game master, and you all play against it. In some regards, this is true. Let me give you a play by play of this. My buddy and I looked at the rule book for about three minutes each, though it would have taken us hours just to get through it individually. It was game night and we were in a rush to start a game; I wasn’t able to look at the rules because I had to take my son to soccer practice. So we downloaded the app while three others were eager to get involved, and the five of us sat down and placed the game board sections where the app told us to. Simple. We then placed the other parts of the game, as per the app telling us to (in an English accept mind you…with creepy music coming through my computer via our steam account), placed our plastic unpainted investigators on the board, and went to work.
We had no idea what we were doing. We moved, tried out different things, and any time we had a question on the rules, we just went to the reference section. But we played. And we really started to enjoy it. We continued to play. Everyone else in the room came over and watched us play for a bit while three ended up going insane from all the horror (okay, maybe it was just their characters). Our little game master blared through from my speakers and did a much better job than I could have.
What makes this game so amazing is that it is so simple. It’s bizarre for me to say this, considering the first edition was overly taxing. Though the components will first make it SEEM like the game is complicated, it’s nothing compared to say, The Cones of Dunshire. Why? Because of the Harry Potter like magic of the app. Oh wait, but what about updates and in twenty years when I’m old and gray and the app won’t work anymore?
If you are still playing this game in twenty years, or if you have lived beyond the app still working, I promise you, with every ounce of my being, that you will have destroyed the game and cardboard components way before the app is going to go the way of the dodo bird. The argument of it not working in a long far off distance is pointless. What about all of the gaming systems you have bought or computers you have had to get? What about all of the phones you have purchased or shoes you have had to wear? All of those wear out; so why is a game any different? I used to play Axis and Allies religiously as a kid; I sure as heck would rather play Battlelore or Warkhammer 40K before I pick up A&A. The game has run its course.
But Mansions of Madness second edition is so good; it will honestly blow you away. It is indeed one of my new favorite games. It is beyond that of Imperial Assault, beyond Dead of Winter, and yes, even beyond Santorini (though for different reasons). Though, I have to interject, Santorini is still one of the best games out there because it is so quick.
So please, consider this game if you can get it because it will be sold out soon. They will do a reprinting some times, but chances are those will go fairly quickly too. Pick up everything you can for this game and if you get the expansions, come on out and join us on a Thursday night because I want to see them! Badly!