You only need the miniatures to play, nothing else. And there is some beauty in that. The value given to each miniature seem to be quite random, as my most exensive piece "The hulk" is not able to knock down anything.
I was a little disappointed. Nice pieces, but the game is not very exiting. I think the kids would have more fun with Snakes and ladder or a deck of card, and they are far cheaper. These would provide more learning as well.
This game is so huge that it offers plenty of room to play it the way you want. Me and my group make decks with cards drawn from the same pile of cards. This removes the, "the one with the most money" aspect.
I gave my cards away. It have some interesting features, and it have the right "lovecraft mood", but we quickly found the most effective ways to win. The result was very similar decks. There is also very little interaction.