Spooktacular Games: The Haunting… And The Horror…
The night and the road stretch onward out of sight. Your group has been travelling for so long, you thought it’d be closer to dawn by now. You crest a hill and there you see a strange house. Your fuel gauge drops to empty; you have no service for your phone. Do you sleep in the car or head into the Abandoned House? Was that a light flickering in the upstairs window? What is going on? Do you have the guts and the investigative prowess to figure it out without losing your mind… or your life?
Our last game suggestion is the heftiest of the bunch and it's definitely a game for an older group, but if you love Eldritch Horror (and really, who doesn’t?) Mansions of Madness by Fantasy Flight Games is the perfect addition to your Spooktacular Game night!
Mansions of Madness is a behemoth of a game! But the manufacturers have very helpfully provided an app that will basically run the game for you. Set up is the most complicated of any game we’ve talked about so far, so we’re going to give a very abbreviated version pulled from the Learn to Play booklet. First, you set up the card decks, organize the map tiles, organize the monsters, and create token pools by separating the tokens by type. Then you need to choose your scenario. There are several different possible stories to choose from, and players will need to choose which of them they want to complete and input that choice on the app. Players will then choose their investigators and take both the investigator card and the corresponding figure. Once investigators are chosen the app will direct you to collect your starting position. Lastly, for set-up, read the prologue and reveal the entrance on the map tile the app directs you to start with and place your figures and any additional tokens on the map tile.
Gameplay is divided into a series of rounds, the number of which will vary depending on the players choices. Each round is divided into two phases, the Investigator Phase and the Mythos Phase. During the Investigator Phase the Investigators perform actions that allow them to explore the board and attack monsters that they encounter. During the Mythos Phase, the app will dictate actions taken by the monsters, and generate mythos effects which vary according to the scenario and what is happening in the game. The Additional Rules section of the Learn to Play booklet contains additional rules regarding effects like investigators being damaged, wounded, insane and eliminated. This section also contains the rules for how to conduct the skill tests that the app will direct you to make as you explore and engage with monsters and even examples of the types of puzzles included in the game. The Rules and Reference booklet will have all of the additional rules you need to play the game, and you should probably keep both booklets handy for quick referencing. The investigators win the game when they identify the objective, complete their investigation and complete the necessary tasks! If the investigators fail to complete their objectives, they lose the game. If one of the Investigators is eliminated, the other Investigators have until the end of the next Investigation phase to complete their investigation or they lose. Additionally, there are some game effects that can change how an individual Investigator wins or loses the game.
We fully admit that this game is complex. It has a lot of pieces and a ton of different options for actions you can take and things that you could run into. Having to figure out what the actual objective is in each scenario is also a very unique objective in this game. But its variability and its complexity that we like so much! No two scenarios will be the same! Honestly, even if you replayed a scenario it is unlikely to progress the same way! We think that if you give this game a try, it’s sure to be a spooktacular addition to game night!