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Mansions of Madness: too easy for the Keeper?


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#1 Perkele

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:39 PM

Hi all, me and my gaming group have been discussing this subject for a while now and I thought I'd ask you about your opinions of this topic. Is being the Keeper too easy compared to the investigators' job?

 

We have played this game, I'd say, 15 times total (the players change every now and then, but it's usually the same group), and a vast majority of time the Keeper, I, win the game. We like to play our games "as well as we can" (we play lots of different games and we all like to play well), and I don't think I'm better player than the others, but I still as the keeper keep winning the games.

 

This wasn't a problem at first since we just thought the game is intended to be hard for the investigators (and I believe this is true, at some extent), but lately some of the investigator players have seen to be not interested in playing since it's too hard for them to win. I honestly can't blame them, and I really want to do something about this issue since I personally love how the game works, the models (which are, by the way, getting painted slowly but surely!) and the mythos.

 

Have any of you encountered similar problems, and if you have, what have you done to fix it? Should I try playing less optimally, and by that I mean doing more "role-play gameish" things like taking samples even if they wouldn't be needed or focusing less on my own object and doing funky stuff (then, when the investigators are rocking the house, start playing harder)? Do you have experiences of playing with less amount of threat tokens etc.?

 

I'd really appreciate your comments about this thing - should I play more "easier" or is the role of the keeper universally this OP?

 

-Perkele


I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you… stranger.


#2 Tibs

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:52 PM

Yes, it is too easy for the keeper.

 

Personally, I play as hard as possible against the investigators, both because it's Lovecraftian and because they'll appreciate their win more.

 

That said, I have made two subtle changes in favor of the investigators:

 

  1. The keeper's "hand" is limited to four total Mythos and/or Trauma cards
  2. The keeper receives ½ point fewer threat each round (e.g. 2½ for a 3-investigator game). I use a madness token to represent a half point of threat.

The game is still quite hard but it's not a 100% lose rate as it used to be.


Edited by Tibs, 24 January 2014 - 07:22 AM.

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#3 hashrat

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 07:17 PM

If anything it is too hard.

 

As the keeper you are responsible for keeping the game fun, too easy it isn't fun, too hard it isn't fun, and our guidelines are.. well, there aren't any are there.

 

Other than playing, hoping you don't mess up too bad, then fixing your mistakes at a later date, there is no way to know.

I recently had a game where without actually trying, I pulled off a models special move 2 turns running, end result was 2 heavy hitters making progress for the investigators near impossible.

 

And there is always the "do I run this guy away, or stay and face them?" decision, run and it looks silly, stay and you might die and grant a far too easy victory.

 

Given the setup time and playtime of MoM (rather long..) you want a good game for all involved.

Not always easy!



#4 SquarePeg

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 01:03 PM

I find that all of FFGs Lovecraftian games (Elder Sign, Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror and Mansions) are always tough to win. The first time I ever played Arkham my team won (I was playing with veterans of the game) and they laughed and told me that that wasn't normal… and man were they right. haha. Elder Sign was the only game I could win pretty easily… until that expansion, that thing is great value for the money but it will crush you!

 

Mansions is no different. Whenever I have a table of new players I introduce the game as a horror movie, and like any good modern horror movie chances are good most characters will meet an untimely demise and the outcome of the game is rarely a 'victory' in the classic sense. All of this helps to set up an experience that's more about playing the game, and trying to win, rather than winning being the purpose of playing.

 

While playing I also like to 'play up' the investigators small victories. They killed a cultists? Tell them its nothing. It's a minion. Laugh at your minions demise. Be a good sport when they do do something good and it'll make the loses easier to take… and more fun. 

 

Finally, I would strongly suggest picking up Call of the Wild. The scenarios are great and I can't say enough good things about the co-op scenario. There is no keeper in co-op it's just your team against the board mechanics. It's a lot of fun and could make your group understand that you're just as challenged by the game as they are. Good luck!



#5 Perkele

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 03:05 PM

Good replies, thanks all!

 

@ Tibs: I like those two changes, I'll go and test them out next time we'll play.

 

@ SquarePeg: The horror movie metaphor is pretty good, I've actually never thought about it that way. I definitely have to remember that as well. Call of the Wild is a great buy, I agree, since the models are gorgeous and the extra missions are always a good thing. We still haven't played the co-op scenario yet, but I'm really into playing that one sooner or later.


I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you… stranger.


#6 Zargas

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:44 PM

Ive run the game maybe 6 times or so, it is almost 50% chance win/loose actually depending heavilly on the scenario picked.

I find the scenarios when you work with insanity and status effects like fire/darkness rather than summon monsters the hardest as a keeper. Maybe it is just because I fail to se a way to exploit it as a keeper, or maybe my investigators are to clever lol. Typhically I do not check up on possible exploits prior to a game, like checking the goal in advance and looking at what keeper action cards I get.. Maybe I should start to do exactly that!

 

Take "Classroom curses"  as an example; I could not drive them insane with the darkness fast enough until it started to get interesting playing mythos cards. They stormed through the building and killed the few monsters that showed up really fast. The whole time I waited for the right time to use "Uncontrollable Urges" to force a player to throw her lantern on a monster, because as long as the lantern was in play, nothing really exciting happened. Would have loved a maniac or two to stir things upp earlier.


Edited by Zargas, 27 February 2014 - 07:50 PM.


#7 Mikethebike

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 06:28 PM

Yes, it is too easy for the keeper.

 

Personally, I play as hard as possible against the investigators, both because it's Lovecraftian and because they'll appreciate their win more.

 

That said, I have made two subtle changes in favor of the investigators:

 

  1. The keeper's "hand" is limited to four total Mythos and/or Trauma cards
  2. The keeper receives ½ point fewer threat each round (e.g. 2½ for a 3-investigator game). I use a madness token to represent a half point of threat.

The game is still quite hard but it's not a 100% lose rate as it used to be.

 

Do they appreciate the thematic way of playing even though it´s a big chance they loose? My players like the game but they didnt like the WTF-experience when the house just fell apart and there was nothing they could do because of the last eventcard. It was like "uh, oh this was exciting but then suddenly everything ended without a chance to flee or anything. This is a lame ending. Just boring. We didnt even have a chance to fight til the end with Walter Lynch". I could agree with that but at the same time it does feel thematic. Sometimes things happen that you can´t prevent, just as in real life.

Problem with Traumacards is that you can´t play them unless the investigators are hurt enough and if you draw the wrong cards there is nothing you can do as a Keeper to make the investigators weak. Then the Keeper is quite powerless. Especially if there are no monsters lurking around.


Edited by Mikethebike, 02 March 2014 - 06:30 PM.


#8 fatesadvent

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 04:54 AM

I have not found this (about 4 plays). The game was about even for both sides in the first 3 scenarios. I would generally prefer the game to favor the keeper even more. The players should not have an easy time, and its too easy as is IMO (I like challenges).






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