Sunday, October 28, 2012

Miscellany: Mansions of Madness - Forbidden Alchemy review

"Forbidden Alchemy" is an expansion set for the "Mansions of Madness" board game that focuses on the (appropriately Lovecraftian) theme of "science gone mad." The set includes three scenarios (with accompanying new monsters, puzzles, and tiles), as well as material that can be used with the original MoM scenarios (mainly new investigators and combat cards). For the playtest, our gaming group tried out "Yellow Matter," a story about the discovery of a meteorite and its mysterious yellow substance...

We generally like "Mansions of Madness" for its atmosphere and roleplay-friendliness, but the game certainly has big flaws: it takes forever to set up, the monsters and obstacles all behave the same, and some scenarios are flat-out unplayable ("Classroom Curses," I'm looking at you). "Forbidden Alchemy" doesn't really iron out these kinks (hell, the initial release was so botched that the CEO of Fantasy Flight Games apologized), but the included material is at least as good as anything in the original game.
"Yellow Matter" has the players trying to rescue a test subject from the clutches of the sinister Dr. Faust, all the while dodging horrible alien monsters and the mutations of their own bodies. Playing as the Keeper, I eventually defeated the Investigators by turning one of them into a Cronenberg-esque horror, the first of a new human-alien hybrid race. The experience wasn't perfect, by any stretch (it was unclear that I had even won until we figured out what the objective cards meant), but it was fun, and worth the $25 asking price.


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