Hi, new to this section of FFG, as I usually post in other forums. I finally got a chance to play this game. I have been playing Arkham Horror for years so when I saw this was coming out I was very excited about it. I am happy to say that the game is pretty solid and my group enjoyed it a lot. I was the keeper so I can only review it from that standpoint.
Overall, I will say the game plays very well. I really like how fast turns can go, the story elements were surprisingly well written - which I was happy to see as the game completely depends on them. Players have a good number of options of things to do, which was also great. The system really didn't take long to pick up at all and all the steps were very straight forward. It did a good job building suspense and it felt, at times, it was a lot like Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu, except without all the roleplaying stuff thrown it. But it did remind me of those bi-gone days when I would run RPG modules of Cthulhu. It really does do a great job of capturing the feel of Cthulhu. Though there are mechanics (as many of you know) that are very descent based, the mythos cards are absolutely better handled. I really liked the fact players had an opportunity to make checks to avoid my more powerful cards. Also, it seems like Threat builds up more slowly, giving the players more breathing room. I always hated, in descent, when Overlords would try to pound you to death in the first few rooms and it took hours to get through it. These games, with the keeper having so much power, can often feel like the players are there to entertain the overlord/keeper at times. I did not at all find that to be the case with MoM. Again, I really did think it played very well and smoothly.
To be a bit more critical of the game, this is what I found to be troublesome. On one hand, the players have a lot more freedom to split up, but it does seem, with the 3 clue mechanism that one player takes the brunt of the "story" work and the other two players are simply there to support them. Sure, there can be trading of necessary items, etc. But it does lend itself to that style of play. One of my players didn't find much to do at all and got a little bored since the story did not engage him as much as it did the other two players. I feel there needed to either more clues or more things for the other players to do that could contribute to the story. I know that the guy who whacks tons of monsters did a lot of stuff, but to the function of the game, he wasn't really participating in the main game, which was, to uncover/solve the story. Which could be how the story mechanism itself is designed. You are supposed to go from point a to b to c, then solve the problem. Exploration seemed very linear to me and exploring beyond the three central clues seemed somewhat pointless, other than better gear. This could have been fixed simply by the Keeper being able to place at least one of the vital objects where they wanted to, but instead, those are all scripted based on choices. I also think the game could have benefited from sub-plots. For instance, there are the three main clues of the game. However, there could be a sub-plot the other players could be involved in that would in someway help them find something that would be useful toward their final win condition.
My next problem was keeper set up. I don't know how to say it politely, but its not well done. For those who play Arkham Horror with an expansion, I think you might get what I mean. First off you have to build your decks. Which would be like before every new game of Arkham, you had to pull one expansion from your game. Then, based on your choices, you have to find locations all across the board and put very specific cards in over a dozen rooms. These list change as well based on the choices you made, so you have to check and double check to make sure you are placing the right choice cards in the right room. The cards are also listed in the book not in the order they should be placed, but in reverse (i.e. lock cards, which should go on top of the pile are not listed first, they are listed last). The exploration cards also have no guide to tell you what scenarios they are going to be used in so you have to first sort a deck, then seperate that deck, then place them where they belong. There are a number of fixed items and random items in the game. The random items could have been one deck that is set up off to the side and the key, fixed items could have been set up in a pile. This way, the players could have drawn the random items...well, randomly and the fixed items could have been triggered when players explored certain rooms as it is now, without having to do all that card sorting. Honestly, I don't think that would have changed the game very much.
Lastly, the puzzles. They are an alright mechanism, and I can tell the designers put a lot of top notch work into them. However, I never really saw them doing much to change the game. My players were always capable of solving them in one turn and then the game moved on. I will have to play it more to really say one way or another, but they didn't seem to pose a real challenge or a threat. My player's didn't like them at all. I didn't mind them, but I was a keeper so I didn't have to do one. However, it did seem like the game lost momentum every time one came up. We'd be going strong, then a puzzle was triggered, and there was a 3-10 minute wait for the player to solve the puzzle (which was done in one turn), then the game moved on. Maybe they are better used in other scenarios, but in this case, I just didn't see it.
One thing I would have also liked to have seen is the use of hands. I know it's picky, but I would have really liked to see how many hands items and equipment took up, that way players could use a pistol and a sword, etc.
I would have liked to see an item limit on the number of items the investigator's could carry. This could have been done with a simple printed number on a character sheet. This way, players would have to make more critical choices and the drop item function might have come up more. But I will admit, I am a huge fan of survival horror (which is how I've always viewed Cthulhu), so I guess I just found that missing.
My final thoughts are that this game didn't bring a whole lot of new dimension to the Keeper vs. group style of games. It is an absolutely great game, don't get me wrong, I just didn't see it push new ground in that direction, except for the story being the motivation of the game. Hopefully future expansions will add more dimensions to that (more than just new scenarios/equipment/and gear). Overall, I give the game a 7.