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Pankurucha

Labyrinths of Lunacy Gencon Scenario Review (Minor Spoilers)

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Hi everyone, I just got back from Gencon and I want to share my overall impressions/review of Labyrinths of Lunacy.  It's the first Epic Multiplayer scenario they have produced for the game and if it is any indication of the direction and scope of future scenarios I have to say we are in good hands going forward.  I'm just going to admit up front that I loved the scenario, it was tense and fun and provided some unique challenges we haven't seen in Arkham scenario before now.

 First I will go over the general information and layout of the scenario then I'll get into some personal highlights from my group and overall player experience. Stop reading now if you want to go in completely blind. Most of the spoiler stuff will come at the end but you have been warned.

 

The premise is pretty simple: you and three other investigators wake up in a sealed room and must navigate a series of traps and puzzles to get out.  Think Saw but with a distinctly Mythos/Arkham flavor and style.  The scenario can be played in one of three ways.  The first is Epic Multiplayer Mode which has three separate groups (groups A, B, and C) of 2-4 investigators each attempting to work together to get out of their respective rooms and survive.  The catch is that the groups can't communicate with each other normally and must trigger particular card effects in the scenario to gain any means of communication.  Each group also requires items or actions that only the other groups have or can perform to advance so teamwork and coordination are a must if you are playing in Epic mode.

The second variant is to play the game as a 1-4 player standalone scenario, and the third variant allows you to break up the scenario into a three part, 1-4 player mini-campaign.  So even solo players can pick this one up and get the overall experience.  I haven't played it with my group at home yet so I can't vouch for the 1-4 player standalone experience but I am happy to say the Epic Multiplayer experience was really tense and fun.  I would definitely recommend giving Epic mode a try if you can get at least six players together.

The scenario itself is slightly larger than the two previous stand alone scenarios.  It consists of two decks of cards and some over-sized set up cards that have all the instructions, story, and additional rules for the scenario; one deck is the encounter deck and the other contains all the locations, act, agenda, and other cards needed to play the scenario.  Groups A, B, and C all have unique act, agenda, and location cards that interact in different ways and clues to the scenario are littered all over the cards, including in the art and flavor text so it pays to take a close look at each card as it comes into play.

Since it was a convention game they broke the game into three one hour rounds consisting of one round per act.  This added an additional time crunch on top of the usual tension provided by the agenda deck.  The groups also could not advance to a new round until all three groups had completed the round.  This provided some tension as well because if you were playing too slow you could actually seriously hurt the other two groups at the table by eating up too much of the hour.

 

Now I am going to talk about my play experience and share some highlights from our game.  There will be spoilers below so stop reading if you don't want any information about stuff that can happen or cards that you will see played.  Once again you have been warned.

My table had 10 players total, four in group A, four in group B, and two in group C.  I was in group A and we had a veteran crew of players consisting of Roland (me), Skids, Ashcan Pete, and Rex. We were playing standalone mode and most of the group decided to add only 9 xp to avoid getting additional weaknesses.  I decided I go all in and added roughly 33 xp and three additional weaknesses to my deck.  Overall we were a pretty well rounded group with a good amount of clue gathering and combat ability.  I think this really helped us survive.  Our other two groups were not so lucky. I do not know the character composition of the others but Group B was wiped out at the end of Act 2 because they couldn't gather enough clues in time.  Group C was killed off during Act 3.  My group managed to squeak by and get out.  Since only one group survived we didn't get the "best" resolution but we did survive in the end.

In the beginning of the scenario we were given a card that had a cipher on it.  This was one of the most interesting things to me in the scenario.  Figuring out the the cypher, how it was used, and what effect in had on the end game was really fun.  I really hope we see more stuff like this in future scenarios.  It wasn't a crazy difficult cipher by any  means, but it was something the players actually had to figure out on their own.  It wasn't just told to you by a card in play which added a nice bit of genuine puzzle solving and forced us to stop and think about something in the game and not just make a mad dash for clues.

The multi group dynamic was also a lot of fun.  In Act 1 group A needed a key that only group B or C had, Group C had to flip one of three switches to prevent one of the investigators in group B from drowning, and only group A and B had the relevant clues to figure out which of the switches was the correct one.  Each act had things like this that made the players really need to coordinate with each other.

Overall it was a fun experience.  It seems to be in line with the difficulty of the other standalone scenarios but a lot of that will depend on how experienced your group is (both as players and characters) and what you bring to the table with your deck.

 

Soakman and Samea like this

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40 minutes ago, Soakman said:

Thanks for the write-up! This sounds awesome!

You're welcome. It was a lot of fun.  I would love to see some impressions from others who played the scenario too.

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It is awesome. My table had 12 players and I was in group A with Wendy, Daisy, Akachi and Mark (myself). I kept to 9xp, but Wendy's player had 3 weaknesses (so I assume 29xp); I don't remember for the other two. I was defeated by horror in act 2 (we hadn't deciphered the note yet, so I'll get to do it in future replays), but not before whacking several monsters; Wendy was also defeated by horror, but near the end; someone in group C was also defeated (pretty early, I think), but all 3 groups managed to survive, so we got the "best" resolution. By the way, Epic Multiplayer mode only requires 3 players (1 in each group).

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26 minutes ago, Khudzlin said:

By the way, Epic Multiplayer mode only requires 3 players (1 in each group).

I just double checked my copy of the scenario and you are correct.  My apologies for the oversight.  That makes it even better for small groups.

I am glad you enjoyed your play through as well.  I am really excited for the future of the game if this is the sort of thing we can look forward to for big events like this.

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We played Thursday at noon.  Our group had Jenny (myself), Jim, Zoey, and Rex.  Zoey and Rex had no upgrades at all that I saw, Jim and Jenny were both in the 19XP range.

Our table survived with no casualties, although it was a near thing.  A judicious application of the Gold Pocket Watch let us really pile on the Big Bad at the end, and with 2 tables finishing successfully we helped the third over the finish line.  Which was good - I don't think we would have all survived another turn.

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12 hours ago, Khudzlin said:

 Wendy's player had 3 weaknesses (so I assume 29xp);

19xp- 2 basic weaknesses and the signature weakness. 

 

12 hours ago, Khudzlin said:

 By the way, Epic Multiplayer mode only requires 3 players (1 in each group).

This is true provided each player has their own copy of Labyrinths of Lunacy.  That is the only hurdle I can see small groups having right now, especially since the adventure was only available through this event atm.  I would guess in a few months it will be available for retail though. 

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1 hour ago, C2K said:

This is true provided each player has their own copy of Labyrinths of Lunacy.  That is the only hurdle I can see small groups having right now, especially since the adventure was only available through this event atm.  I would guess in a few months it will be available for retail though. 

After last year, we got a Fellowship event for LOTR which ran the scenario before it was available for general purchase.  I'm hoping we see something similar here.

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16 hours ago, Khudzlin said:

It is awesome. My table had 12 players and I was in group A with Wendy, Daisy, Akachi and Mark (myself). I kept to 9xp, but Wendy's player had 3 weaknesses (so I assume 29xp); I don't remember for the other two. I was defeated by horror in act 2 (we hadn't deciphered the note yet, so I'll get to do it in future replays), but not before whacking several monsters; Wendy was also defeated by horror, but near the end; someone in group C was also defeated (pretty early, I think), but all 3 groups managed to survive, so we got the "best" resolution. By the way, Epic Multiplayer mode only requires 3 players (1 in each group).

I was the Daisy in your group.  It was a total blast - appreciate you taking a lot of the hits for us so we could make it out.  Very thematic for Mark!

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9 hours ago, C2K said:

19xp- 2 basic weaknesses and the signature weakness.

I meant 3 random weaknesses (but I might be mistaken).

6 hours ago, unlimitedpower said:

I was the Daisy in your group.  It was a total blast - appreciate you taking a lot of the hits for us so we could make it out.  Very thematic for Mark!

In hindsight, I should have used Sophie's ability at some point. But yeah, I see the guardian as the one who ensures the others don't take too many hits, preferably while not taking too many themselves.

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