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Subject: Arkham Nights Session - Play With The Designer rss

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Christopher Scatliff
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My trip to Arkham Nights definitely paid for itself tonight as I had my name drawn for the first "play Mansions of Madness with Corey" session of the evening. Four of us sat down to try out this new game with the designer himself running the bad guys.

We had Ashcan Pete, Joe Diamond, Michael McGlen and Harvey Walters trying to determine what madness had occurred. The first few rounds were pretty calm as we explored the initial rooms, finding several "you have found nothing of interest" rooms (which don't bother me - they act as decoys so you don't know which rooms to initially head for) while Corey simply amassed some early threat (same concept as Descent, use it to power the overlord abilities).

Soon we started running into the puzzles (which come in three types - wiring puzzles, lock puzzles and rune puzzles) which was a really neat mechanic. It is intellectually engaging, but also limited by the intellect of the character you're playing. These are obstacles that prevent you from exploring a room immediately until the puzzle is solved.

Eventually we stumbled upon the first of several clues which had to be found to determine the overlord's goal. This is decided by a number of choices made by the overlord during setup. Corey assured us that the number of different combinations of choices is sufficient to allow plenty of replay value. The clues are nice in that you can generally deduce from the flavour text where you should go to find the next clue, which is a nice touch. But the scenario we played (not sure if this is the case for all scenarios) was pretty Zelda-like, in that you can't access the later clues until you find the earlier clues. It made it a little linear, but I don't think that can be avoided, and it didn't bother me.

As this was going on, though, Corey started unleashing his threat against us. This resulted in, among other things, Maniacs jumping out of nowhere and attacking us, Trauma being inflicted upon us when we sustained horror damage (which happens *a lot*) and a variety of random events which mostly result in having to pass an attribute check or have some kind of delaying event happen. Most of his cards seemed to have a pre-requisite for playing (a la MEQ shadow cards), which added to both theme and forcing him to spot his opportunities.

Sadly, we were not that efficient at gathering clues quickly. He accomplished what he needed to in order to trigger the endgame, which unleashed a nasty Shoggoth upon the house. This is a much much tougher creature to battle than the zombies and maniacs we had been fighting. Combat in this game is very fun, through the use of the special combat decks, which vary the results and even types of checks made when attacking. Separate decks for humanoids and eldritch creatures, making the eldritch combats much more difficult.

Even so, we came up with a plan to deal with the Shoggoth. (I won't reveal his actual final objective, since I don't want to spoil the scenarios.) We decided on a healthy dose of shotguns and tommy guns, with a dash of elder sign thrown in for good measure. And it might have worked. But we had a few bad rolls, and Corey's stockpile of threat and nasty cards slowed us down just enough. Victory to the designer.

I enjoyed the game quite a bit. There were some really neat things going on. I especially liked the puzzle mechanic, and the combat decks. I'd have to see the game from the overlord side to get a feel for the long-term replayability, but I'm willing to assume that he did a good job on that. I will be buying this game.

I know I was vague about some of the rules and details here, but it's late and I have more Arkham Horror to play tomorrow. I'll be happy to answer specific questions.
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Chris J Davis
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Many, many thanks for that! Can you please expand a little more on how the puzzles work and how the players go about "solving" the clues?
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Kristofer Dahl
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I would love to know more about:

*Combat
Do you hurt a monster like descent or is it more like talisman or arkham horror were you either win or loose against the monster in 1 roll?
You said there are card invloved. Is there no dice rolls for combat?

*The keeper
I uderstand it that he has threat just like descent.
does he also play cards using the threat like descent?

Thanks man!
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Christopher Scatliff
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Many, many thanks for that! Can you please expand a little more on how the puzzles work and how the players go about "solving" the clues?


Sure. Take a lock puzzle for example. The obstacle card will say something like "you encounter lock puzzle 4B" which gives you the starting tile for the puzzle. Then some other tiles are placed adjacent to it. Each of these tiles has a picture of a tumbler with a different coloured arrow pointing to each side.

Your job is to manipulate the tiles so that every pair of adjacent tiles has the same colour pointing at each other, like Carcassonne. The trick is, you're limited by the Intellect value of your character. You get a number of solving actions equal to your intellect (usually between 4-7).

Possible actions: rotate one piece 90 degrees, swap two adjacent pieces without rotating them, or draw a new piece and replace one of the existing pieces with it (this costs 2 actions). If you haven't solved the puzzle by the time you've used up your intellect, the puzzle stays in its semi-solved state until you either try again on your next turn, or another investigator comes to finish it up. However, there are cards the overlord can play to "reset" the puzzle (randomly shuffle and re-assign the pieces).

Wiring puzzles work much the same way as lock puzzles (different coloured wires leading out of junction boxes), while Rune puzzle are more of a "scrambled picture" type puzzle where you have to rearrange the pieces to form the picture provided.
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Chris J Davis
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Smoo wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
Many, many thanks for that! Can you please expand a little more on how the puzzles work and how the players go about "solving" the clues?


Sure. Take a lock puzzle for example. The obstacle card will say something like "you encounter lock puzzle 4B" which gives you the starting tile for the puzzle. Then some other tiles are placed adjacent to it. Each of these tiles has a picture of a tumbler with a different coloured arrow pointing to each side.

Your job is to manipulate the tiles so that every pair of adjacent tiles has the same colour pointing at each other, like Carcassonne. The trick is, you're limited by the Intellect value of your character. You get a number of solving actions equal to your intellect (usually between 4-7).

Possible actions: rotate one piece 90 degrees, swap two adjacent pieces without rotating them, or draw a new piece and replace one of the existing pieces with it (this costs 2 actions). If you haven't solved the puzzle by the time you've used up your intellect, the puzzle stays in its semi-solved state until you either try again on your next turn, or another investigator comes to finish it up. However, there are cards the overlord can play to "reset" the puzzle (randomly shuffle and re-assign the pieces).

Wiring puzzles work much the same way as lock puzzles (different coloured wires leading out of junction boxes), while Rune puzzle are more of a "scrambled picture" type puzzle where you have to rearrange the pieces to form the picture provided.


Okay, that actually sounds quite cool - combining both the intellect value of the characters and the intellect of the players themselves. I like it.
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Christopher Scatliff
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Lyker wrote:
I would love to know more about:

*Combat
Do you hurt a monster like descent or is it more like talisman or arkham horror were you either win or loose against the monster in 1 roll?
You said there are card invloved. Is there no dice rolls for combat?

*The keeper
I uderstand it that he has threat just like descent.
does he also play cards using the threat like descent?

Thanks man!


Monsters take wounds, which are tracked by putting a little wound marker in the clip on their base. It's very hard to kill a humanoid in one blow, and impossible to do it against an eldritch monster.

When you attack a monster, the keeper draws cards from the appropriate combat deck until he finds one that matches the type of combat (blunt weapon, ranged weapon or no weapon). This card then describes what happens that round and the nature of your attack. For example, you won't always attack with Marksmanship when using a gun. The card may say "the monster charges at you" and force you to test Dexterity instead so you can pistol-whip it. Or it could ask you test Marksmanship with a penalty, but with the possibility of greater damage. So each attack is unpredictable in what you'll be tested on and the possible damage. I like this a lot.

The attack is just an attribute test: roll a d10 and score your attribute or lower. But like I said, you don't know what attribute you're testing until you draw the card. If you hit, you then look at the bottom of the monster tile to see how many hit points it has. You do *not* get to look at this until you first hit it.

When a monster attacks you, again a card is drawn but there's a separate section on each card for monster attacks. Again, this is usually an attribute test you have to make to avoid the attack. Sometimes the card will say "special attack" which is unique to each monster and is read off of the tile in the figure base.

-----

Keeper: he had 5 cards in front of him at the start of the game indicating actions he could play by spending threat. My assumption is that this selection of cards may vary from scenario to scenario but I don't know that for sure. This covers actions like moving monsters, some special monster attacks (like claiming a "trophy" from the victim for later sacrificing), and I forget what else.

He also has two decks he can draw cards from. One is the aforementioned "trauma" deck whose play is usually triggered by taking horror damage (or possibly physical damage, too, but we didn't take much physical damage so I'm not sure) and gives you some ongoing debilitating effect (think of "Madness" cards from AH). The other deck I forget the name of (I want to say "mythos") and it had a variety of random events which he could play when conditions arose (usually having to be in a certain room or having a certain amount of damage) and I think these cost threat to play.

Hand limit of four of each kind of card. And the amount of threat drawn each turn is equal to the number of players.

There's also an event deck, but he doesn't have control of that. Instead, there's a number on the back of each event card. At the end of each keeper phase, you add a token to the top of the event deck. When there are a number of tokens equal to the number on the back of the card, the event is triggered. There were 5 cards in the event deck in our game, and Corey said that the bottom card (we didn't get that far) is usually the "everybody loses" card.
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Chris J Davis
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But how about clues? Is it mostly that a clue will give a hint as to which room to go to next for the next puzzle, or is there more to it than that? Do they give hints as to what the Keeper's objective is only in the form of flavour text, or is there some gameplay mechanic that comes into play?
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Smoo wrote:
Lyker wrote:
I would love to know more about:

*Combat
Do you hurt a monster like descent or is it more like talisman or arkham horror were you either win or loose against the monster in 1 roll?
You said there are card invloved. Is there no dice rolls for combat?

*The keeper
I uderstand it that he has threat just like descent.
does he also play cards using the threat like descent?

Thanks man!


Monsters take wounds, which are tracked by putting a little wound marker in the clip on their base. It's very hard to kill a humanoid in one blow, and impossible to do it against an eldritch monster.

When you attack a monster, the keeper draws cards from the appropriate combat deck until he finds one that matches the type of combat (blunt weapon, ranged weapon or no weapon). This card then describes what happens that round and the nature of your attack. For example, you won't always attack with Marksmanship when using a gun. The card may say "the monster charges at you" and force you to test Dexterity instead so you can pistol-whip it. Or it could ask you test Marksmanship with a penalty, but with the possibility of greater damage. So each attack is unpredictable in what you'll be tested on and the possible damage. I like this a lot.

The attack is just an attribute test: roll a d10 and score your attribute or lower. But like I said, you don't know what attribute you're testing until you draw the card. If you hit, you then look at the bottom of the monster tile to see how many hit points it has. You do *not* get to look at this until you first hit it.

When a monster attacks you, again a card is drawn but there's a separate section on each card for monster attacks. Again, this is usually an attribute test you have to make to avoid the attack. Sometimes the card will say "special attack" which is unique to each monster and is read off of the tile in the figure base.

-----

Keeper: he had 5 cards in front of him at the start of the game indicating actions he could play by spending threat. My assumption is that this selection of cards may vary from scenario to scenario but I don't know that for sure. This covers actions like moving monsters, some special monster attacks (like claiming a "trophy" from the victim for later sacrificing), and I forget what else.

He also has two decks he can draw cards from. One is the aforementioned "trauma" deck whose play is usually triggered by taking horror damage (or possibly physical damage, too, but we didn't take much physical damage so I'm not sure) and gives you some ongoing debilitating effect (think of "Madness" cards from AH). The other deck I forget the name of (I want to say "mythos") and it had a variety of random events which he could play when conditions arose (usually having to be in a certain room or having a certain amount of damage) and I think these cost threat to play.

Hand limit of four of each kind of card. And the amount of threat drawn each turn is equal to the number of players.

There's also an event deck, but he doesn't have control of that. Instead, there's a number on the back of each event card. At the end of each keeper phase, you add a token to the top of the event deck. When there are a number of tokens equal to the number on the back of the card, the event is triggered. There were 5 cards in the event deck in our game, and Corey said that the bottom card (we didn't get that far) is usually the "everybody loses" card.


This is starting to sound very interesting. It seems they've gone to great lengths to make the players really feel that they're participating in a coherent story. I'm looking forward very much to seeing how it plays out in practice.
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Christopher Scatliff
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bleached_lizard wrote:
But how about clues? Is it mostly that a clue will give a hint as to which room to go to next for the next puzzle, or is there more to it than that? Do they give hints as to what the Keeper's objective is only in the form of flavour text, or is there some gameplay mechanic that comes into play?


The clue is found while exploring a room. It is generally accompanied by a key or magic phrase or something that you need to get by the obstacle standing between you and the next clue (which is how they keep it linear).

The flavour text on the clue card will give you a hint of where to go. For example, the first clue could have a couple of paragraphs from a diary of a guy who arrived at the mansion and other weird stuff. There may be the phrase "...he let me stay the night...". And then next clue might be in the guest bedroom. That kind of thing.

When you find the third clue, you discover the full agenda. We failed at this.
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Kristofer Dahl
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Smoo wrote:
Lyker wrote:
I would love to know more about:

*Combat
Do you hurt a monster like descent or is it more like talisman or arkham horror were you either win or loose against the monster in 1 roll?
You said there are card invloved. Is there no dice rolls for combat?

*The keeper
I uderstand it that he has threat just like descent.
does he also play cards using the threat like descent?

Thanks man!


Monsters take wounds, which are tracked by putting a little wound marker in the clip on their base. It's very hard to kill a humanoid in one blow, and impossible to do it against an eldritch monster.

When you attack a monster, the keeper draws cards from the appropriate combat deck until he finds one that matches the type of combat (blunt weapon, ranged weapon or no weapon). This card then describes what happens that round and the nature of your attack. For example, you won't always attack with Marksmanship when using a gun. The card may say "the monster charges at you" and force you to test Dexterity instead so you can pistol-whip it. Or it could ask you test Marksmanship with a penalty, but with the possibility of greater damage. So each attack is unpredictable in what you'll be tested on and the possible damage. I like this a lot.

The attack is just an attribute test: roll a d10 and score your attribute or lower. But like I said, you don't know what attribute you're testing until you draw the card. If you hit, you then look at the bottom of the monster tile to see how many hit points it has. You do *not* get to look at this until you first hit it.

When a monster attacks you, again a card is drawn but there's a separate section on each card for monster attacks. Again, this is usually an attribute test you have to make to avoid the attack. Sometimes the card will say "special attack" which is unique to each monster and is read off of the tile in the figure base.

-----

Keeper: he had 5 cards in front of him at the start of the game indicating actions he could play by spending threat. My assumption is that this selection of cards may vary from scenario to scenario but I don't know that for sure. This covers actions like moving monsters, some special monster attacks (like claiming a "trophy" from the victim for later sacrificing), and I forget what else.

He also has two decks he can draw cards from. One is the aforementioned "trauma" deck whose play is usually triggered by taking horror damage (or possibly physical damage, too, but we didn't take much physical damage so I'm not sure) and gives you some ongoing debilitating effect (think of "Madness" cards from AH). The other deck I forget the name of (I want to say "mythos") and it had a variety of random events which he could play when conditions arose (usually having to be in a certain room or having a certain amount of damage) and I think these cost threat to play.

Hand limit of four of each kind of card. And the amount of threat drawn each turn is equal to the number of players.

There's also an event deck, but he doesn't have control of that. Instead, there's a number on the back of each event card. At the end of each keeper phase, you add a token to the top of the event deck. When there are a number of tokens equal to the number on the back of the card, the event is triggered. There were 5 cards in the event deck in our game, and Corey said that the bottom card (we didn't get that far) is usually the "everybody loses" card.


Thank you so much for all the sweet info! =)
would you guess the leaght of a full game of mansions of madness is like a descent road to legend dungeon or the original descent dungeons?

e.g 2+ hours vs 5+
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Bruce Moffatt
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Thanks for all the info Christopher, this is sounding like a wicked game.

I don't suppose you got a chance to have a close look at the miniature bases? I'm curious as to whether they are going to hold the monster chits from Arkham Horror.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Where the bases usable with Arkham Horror monsters?

-shnar
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Steve D
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Thanks for the write up. This game sounds great. Really looking forward to getting it. Wish I could have made it out there.
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Thanks for the write up!

The clue thing is the only thing that is worrying me, the rest sounds pretty cool. I don't see how the clue cards can have any real replayability, to be honest!
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Trevor Long
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Man, I was beat to the punch by several hours (I was playing Harvey in that game). I agree wholeheartedly with everything said x10. If it were available to do again I would have turned right around and played another time and maybe one more after that and then bought the game brought it home and played again.
Like Arkham Horror before it there is something about the game and the way it plays out that speaks to me. Yeah, I might gain a horror for listening to the voices in my head...
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Trevor Long
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shnar wrote:
Where the bases usable with Arkham Horror monsters?

-shnar


Definitely not with the larger monsters, like the Shoggoth for example. The base is just much bigger than the AH ones. Corey did mention at the Q and A that the view holes on the monster bases did line up (on purpose) with the monster tokens from AH, but to be honest with the randomness of the same monster class having different abilities/hit points I don't know why it would come up.

EDIT: Okay now I think I see why folks are asking. So they can use the figures in AH? I suppose you could for zombies and maniacs and outher humanoid ones...
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I know that the larger monster bases are bigger, but the "plug in" part of the base looks like it's the same size, regardless of the size of the base itself, so that the AH monster chits could fit in them even if it's the bigger base.

Nice to hear they were thinking ahead about possibilities of merging the games. I do like the cross-game-features FFG is starting to do (with the Runebound Universe and now Arkham games).

-shnar
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Winter324 wrote:
Man, I was beat to the punch by several hours (I was playing Harvey in that game). I agree wholeheartedly with everything said x10. If it were available to do again I would have turned right around and played another time and maybe one more after that and then bought the game brought it home and played again.
Like Arkham Horror before it there is something about the game and the way it plays out that speaks to me. Yeah, I might gain a horror for listening to the voices in my head...


Any additional information you can impart would be greatly appreciated.
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Kristofer Dahl
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Winter324 wrote:
Man, I was beat to the punch by several hours (I was playing Harvey in that game). I agree wholeheartedly with everything said x10. If it were available to do again I would have turned right around and played another time and maybe one more after that and then bought the game brought it home and played again.
Like Arkham Horror before it there is something about the game and the way it plays out that speaks to me. Yeah, I might gain a horror for listening to the voices in my head...


Any additional information you can impart would be greatly appreciated.


Yeah, we want moooore! =)
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Bruce Moffatt
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Thanks for the reply re the bases. Given that the bases and miniatures have to be assembled before play, it means that FFG can produce a range of monster miniatures and supply bases that will hold the chits for AH.

If you look past the limited range of scenario specific figures that come with MoM (as great as they are) and see the possibility for a whole range usable in a range of 'Arkham Horror' games, FFGs (presumed) forward thinking becomes apparent.
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Trevor Long
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shnar wrote:
I know that the larger monster bases are bigger, but the "plug in" part of the base looks like it's the same size, regardless of the size of the base itself, so that the AH monster chits could fit in them even if it's the bigger base.

Nice to hear they were thinking ahead about possibilities of merging the games. I do like the cross-game-features FFG is starting to do (with the Runebound Universe and now Arkham games).

-shnar


I'll be back there tomorrow. The Streets of Insanity wiped me out ninja
I'll take a closer look at the bases for the Shoggoth and the Hound of Tindalos that are hanging out in the display case. I got the impression that the 'hole' for the big guys is the entire side, but I could be misremembering. I'll report back here.

NOTE: Before anyone freaks out Streets of Insanity is a two hour game with all the expansions and some other set factors being run at Arkham Nights. Not a new game.
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Lyker wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
Winter324 wrote:
Man, I was beat to the punch by several hours (I was playing Harvey in that game). I agree wholeheartedly with everything said x10. If it were available to do again I would have turned right around and played another time and maybe one more after that and then bought the game brought it home and played again.
Like Arkham Horror before it there is something about the game and the way it plays out that speaks to me. Yeah, I might gain a horror for listening to the voices in my head...


Any additional information you can impart would be greatly appreciated.


Yeah, we want moooore! =)


I don't think Chris dealt with the combat too much, so I'll write about that either later tonight or tomorrow. I think it is really cool and gives that extra element of 'ah crap' to whole proceedings.
EDIT: Garbage, I see that he did, just later in the thread. Oh well, in any case I likey.
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Lyker wrote:
Smoo wrote:
Lyker wrote:
I would love to know more about:

*Combat
Do you hurt a monster like descent or is it more like talisman or arkham horror were you either win or loose against the monster in 1 roll?
You said there are card invloved. Is there no dice rolls for combat?

*The keeper
I uderstand it that he has threat just like descent.
does he also play cards using the threat like descent?

Thanks man!


Monsters take wounds, which are tracked by putting a little wound marker in the clip on their base. It's very hard to kill a humanoid in one blow, and impossible to do it against an eldritch monster.

When you attack a monster, the keeper draws cards from the appropriate combat deck until he finds one that matches the type of combat (blunt weapon, ranged weapon or no weapon). This card then describes what happens that round and the nature of your attack. For example, you won't always attack with Marksmanship when using a gun. The card may say "the monster charges at you" and force you to test Dexterity instead so you can pistol-whip it. Or it could ask you test Marksmanship with a penalty, but with the possibility of greater damage. So each attack is unpredictable in what you'll be tested on and the possible damage. I like this a lot.

The attack is just an attribute test: roll a d10 and score your attribute or lower. But like I said, you don't know what attribute you're testing until you draw the card. If you hit, you then look at the bottom of the monster tile to see how many hit points it has. You do *not* get to look at this until you first hit it.

When a monster attacks you, again a card is drawn but there's a separate section on each card for monster attacks. Again, this is usually an attribute test you have to make to avoid the attack. Sometimes the card will say "special attack" which is unique to each monster and is read off of the tile in the figure base.

-----

Keeper: he had 5 cards in front of him at the start of the game indicating actions he could play by spending threat. My assumption is that this selection of cards may vary from scenario to scenario but I don't know that for sure. This covers actions like moving monsters, some special monster attacks (like claiming a "trophy" from the victim for later sacrificing), and I forget what else.

He also has two decks he can draw cards from. One is the aforementioned "trauma" deck whose play is usually triggered by taking horror damage (or possibly physical damage, too, but we didn't take much physical damage so I'm not sure) and gives you some ongoing debilitating effect (think of "Madness" cards from AH). The other deck I forget the name of (I want to say "mythos") and it had a variety of random events which he could play when conditions arose (usually having to be in a certain room or having a certain amount of damage) and I think these cost threat to play.

Hand limit of four of each kind of card. And the amount of threat drawn each turn is equal to the number of players.

There's also an event deck, but he doesn't have control of that. Instead, there's a number on the back of each event card. At the end of each keeper phase, you add a token to the top of the event deck. When there are a number of tokens equal to the number on the back of the card, the event is triggered. There were 5 cards in the event deck in our game, and Corey said that the bottom card (we didn't get that far) is usually the "everybody loses" card.


Thank you so much for all the sweet info! =)
would you guess the leaght of a full game of mansions of madness is like a descent road to legend dungeon or the original descent dungeons?

e.g 2+ hours vs 5+


From the Q&A, Corey said that the 'early' scenarios like we played are around 2 hours, though really if there weren't as much explanation our game would have been more like 1.75 or less. The 'long' ones may take a little over three hours.
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Steve D
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Jim Thorpe
Pennsylvania
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Quick question: I keep seeing that the game comes with 15 floor tiles, but by my count I have 29 from the large image. Can you confirm anything that is in the box? I am really curious about that
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Christopher Scatliff
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Winnipeg
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It's about time, too.
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bleached_lizard wrote:
But how about clues? Is it mostly that a clue will give a hint as to which room to go to next for the next puzzle, or is there more to it than that? Do they give hints as to what the Keeper's objective is only in the form of flavour text, or is there some gameplay mechanic that comes into play?


If I remember correctly, the clue card is just a card of flavour text (it is usually accompanied by another card, like a key, with a specific effect). However, event cards will check to see if you've discovered clues yet and trigger events based on that.
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