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Krysmo

Masks Review - such potential...but...

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OK I played through it twice and I can safely say that IMHO, FFG crapped the bed on this one. What a way to wrap up a series, if that's what's happening.

There's a few good things - Calvin Wright is great, the Corruption condition is fun and nice to have more in the Mystic Ruins deck.

But there's 2 big problems here for me:

1) Resources. So you can spend a turn getting one, hold a maximum of 2, and each resource can either give you +1 during an Acquire Assets action or +1 Health OR +1 Sanity during a Rest action.

We already have mechanics that cover this. The Bank Loan gives you +2, with the cool penalty of going into Debt. You also have a lot of Investigators (Charlie, Jenny, the Millionaire, Bob, George, need I go on) that have good INF and can either distribute goods or wipe out debts. Similarly, there are lots of cards that give you a bonus on Resting, or that save you Health or Sanity loss (e.g. certain Talents).  So why you'd want to clutter a game with another bunch of tokens there is beyond me.

So if you decide to forget about Resources, you'll have to house rule new abilities for half the new Investigators in this expansion.

I really like the way Resources are handled in the AH LCG, and if they'd planned for them like that at the beginning (e.g. ammunition for weapons), it would have been fine. But here it's like FFG said "hey, we've got Resources in other games. How can we maximize our reuse of the art department and include them in EH??".

2) Personal Stories. I was really, really looking forward to this one.  But this is "The Bloated Woman" all over again...emphasis on "Bloat", and it could be a man too for that matter!

The stories in AH are a lot of fun and I use them regularly. Here, in the games I played, if I focus on winning the stories I ended up with, and I crap you not, at least 10 (but usually more) cards for each Investigator. And poor Leo, the new guy I brought in, has to gain 5 allies (easy enough) to win his story...which gives him another ally, and the bonus of him not losing allies. Seriously the amount of cards on the table were out of control.

3) and a bonus one, yeah - Campaign mode is really nothing special, I've heard better examples of this on these boards.

There's more not to like, but with this expansion FFG has successfully turned a nice, lean fun game into a card-display monster. 

A real shame, as especially after CiR which I loved, I was hoping they'd knock it out of the park with a loose adaptation of my favourite CoC module. But nope, it's like tripping at the finish line.

That's my 2 cents, happy to hear yours.

Edited by Krysmo

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adding Focus tokens was a bitter pill for me to swallow, as i felt there was no choice with the addition of investigators that relied on it. i simply cannot adopt Resource tokens.

i noticed after Pyramids that my investigators went from having 3-5 items/weapons/spells each, to what.. 8,9,10 sometimes? add that with the conditions, you need an extra table just for the investigators. there was simply too much of it, and yeah you can leave some stuff out and keep others, can't you? well.. no. just as the problem you're running into here, you can't leave talents out or you remove some of the investigators.

i sadly do agree and disagree with you, as there's simply never too much you can add to this game, because i love it.. but.. hey, there's simply too much now isn't there? i understand the logical fallacy and the cognitive dissonance therein. 

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Some of the personal story rewards/consequences are GREAT, and while they may take time to pursue for what appears to be little consequence, think about how if you are playing in campaign mode, you get to keep the reward from the beginning of the game. It can be very powerful. Take a look at Jacqueline, Patrice, Agnes, and Marie. Those are just the truly great ones that I can think of. Or think about an Ursula that gets to start every game (if you can keep her alive) with an artifact on top of her starting items.

I think they will add GREAT fun in campaign mode with limited need or usage in solo mode. But I still think they're cool. 

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Agree with the OP.  I have never bought any big box expansion (only small ones) as the bigs are not good value for money (and table space).  I was considering this big box, especially because of the personal story and campaign.  I was hoping the campaign would add some narrative.  But alas, it's just play 6 AOs, with 2 preludes (which I don't use) and certain conditions carrying over.

With nothing new, the game is already long enough.  Play 6- AOs- campaign ? No, thanks.

I'll be passing up on this one.  Terrible value for money.

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Well, given how they botched the campaign mode, the _only_ reason to get Masks is for the Personal Stories. In the Arkham Horror board game Personal Stories were my favorite addition to the game. They were especially great to help out new players who were struggling to decide what to do and were looking for some short-term goal to follow.

Are the Personal Stories in Masks as good as the ones in Arkham Horror? I haven't seen enough of them to form an opinion, yet. In contrast to the Arkham Horror board game, I've also been avoiding to buy any of the large expansions, so far, so if I decided to get Masks, I'd end up with half of the included Personal Stories being of no use to me.

Regarding the addition of resources: They do seem a bit redundant. I'm not sure adding them to the game makes sense if you aren't playing campaign mode. Perhaps some house-ruling is in order to come up with a better use for them.

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Just now, jhaelen said:

the _only_ reason to get Masks is for the Personal Stories.

Unless anyone cares for the new Investigators, Ancient Ones, Assets, Artifacts, Unique Assets, Mythos, Monsters, Mystic Ruins and other Encounters.

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43 minutes ago, tsuma534 said:

Unless anyone cares for the new Investigators, Ancient Ones, Assets, Artifacts, Unique Assets, Mythos, Monsters, Mystic Ruins and other Encounters.

I haven't gotten it yet, but based on what I've heard, I'm already wanting it for the AO for the mysteries requiring adventures and the way you can bring in Egypt or Dreamland for a different AO. The rest is frosting. I'm not enamoured by the campaign but already have thought of ways to house rule it. As for other mechanics you can easily take them or leave them. There's so many investigators and other cards you're never forced to play any particular mechanic.

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4 hours ago, tsuma534 said:

Unless anyone cares for the new Investigators, Ancient Ones, Assets, Artifacts, Unique Assets, Mythos, Monsters, Mystic Ruins and other Encounters.

To be fair, there’s a whopping 4 new artifacts in this box, not many more monsters or Assets, *one* new spell, and half the new Investigators have special abilities that require use of Resources, which bite the big one (IMO). 

So while I get what you’re saying there’s not much of that stuff in the box.

the new mystic ruins material is nice and sure the 2 new AOs  are ok, but this box is a letdown given what FFG is capable of doing.

Edited by Krysmopompas

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4 hours ago, neosmagus said:

I haven't gotten it yet, but based on what I've heard, I'm already wanting it for the AO for the mysteries requiring adventures and the way you can bring in Egypt or Dreamland for a different AO. The rest is frosting. I'm not enamoured by the campaign but already have thought of ways to house rule it. As for other mechanics you can easily take them or leave them. There's so many investigators and other cards you're never forced to play any particular mechanic.

I understand  your last point here but if you want to play with the Mechanic, the Millonaire, the Painter, and one of the other new Investigators (Forget which at the mo) you need to either use Resources in your game or house rule their abilities somehow. A lot of the Personal Stories require Resources as well as a healthy amount of the Mythos cards and new Encounters. Yuck (again IMO: )!

Edited by Krysmopompas

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5 hours ago, jhaelen said:

Well, given how they botched the campaign mode, the _only_ reason to get Masks is for the Personal Stories. In the Arkham Horror board game Personal Stories were my favorite addition to the game. They were especially great to help out new players who were struggling to decide what to do and were looking for some short-term goal to follow.

Are the Personal Stories in Masks as good as the ones in Arkham Horror? I haven't seen enough of them to form an opinion, yet. In contrast to the Arkham Horror board game, I've also been avoiding to buy any of the large expansions, so far, so if I decided to get Masks, I'd end up with half of the included Personal Stories being of no use to me.

Regarding the addition of resources: They do seem a bit redundant. I'm not sure adding them to the game makes sense if you aren't playing campaign mode. Perhaps some house-ruling is in order to come up with a better use for them.

I like having the option of the personal stories. I will likely use them every game, but mainly just because I can. They do give you a bit of direction, but they also require a bit of work and sometimes trying to accomplish them (especially before their 'lose' condition) will sink valuable turns you will want to use to better effect. There's not a lot of extra flavor text on them, however, which is probably their biggest flaw. The win and lose conditions (I don't think) have any flavor on them, but the name and condition for acquiring them pretty much tells you all you need to know. 

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2 hours ago, Krysmopompas said:

*one* new spell

I'm grateful for this one, because we finally have the same number of Rituals, Incantations, and Glamours.

2 hours ago, Krysmopompas said:

the 2 new AOs  are ok

That's 100% more AO's than in other big boxes! Unless, for some reason, you're including sideboard AO's.

It will take some time before I can buy it but so far this expansion seems vastly superior to all the other big boxes. I'll be glad to verify whether my impressions will prove true.

As an offtopic sidenote, you seem to have developed a split personality:

@Krysmo @Krysmopompas

Quite fitting for this game forum.

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Huh didn't notice! I haven't been on the boards a lot, but log in separately on my phone and laptop. Maybe that's the diff! At least it looks like I'm the same image...

I'd be curious to hear your impressions when you buy it and look through it. I was certainly looking forward to it, but when I bought it and played a few games it was "Overwhelming 1" to use an AH term. Way too much bloat.

BTW RE: having the same number of subclasses of Spells, I don't think that was EH's biggest problem, but I appreciate differing opinions!

Edited by Krysmo

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17 hours ago, tsuma534 said:

That's 100% more AO's than in other big boxes! Unless, for some reason, you're including sideboard AO's.
@Krysmo@Krysmopompas

Err, why wouldn't you count the 'sideboard' AOs?

The only big difference to other big box expansions is that instead of a sideboard we get the personal stories.

And given the comments I've been reading, I'm more and more convinced that 'Masks' is only interesting for completionists. Disappointing, indeed.

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Has anyone played Nyarly or Antediluvium yet? They both seem at least interesting.

I'll join the chorus and say that I won't be using Resources. And probably not the investigators that use them, either.

Are there any encounters that require you to have resources, like some do with focus?

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1 hour ago, jhaelen said:
18 hours ago, tsuma534 said:

That's 100% more AO's than in other big boxes! Unless, for some reason, you're including sideboard AO's.

Err, why wouldn't you count the 'sideboard' AOs?

Because I detest sideboards. Under my criteria this is the first expansion that features 2 AOs.

1 minute ago, Eldan985 said:

Are there any encounters that require you to have resources, like some do with focus?

Yes, there are.


It's very interesting to me that so many people don't like the resources.

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I like resources as an idea, but I find them quite redundant in implementation. Overlaps too much with focus and, as mentioned, debt. THey don't add too much new.

 

Even in the fluff. Older expansions had encounters written where you could spend focus to represent that you were prepared for some emergency or brought the right supplies. If that's there, what's the need for resources?

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On 2/21/2018 at 5:12 AM, Eldan985 said:

Has anyone played Nyarly or Antediluvium yet? They both seem at least interesting.

I'll join the chorus and say that I won't be using Resources. And probably not the investigators that use them, either.

Are there any encounters that require you to have resources, like some do with focus?

I played Antediluvium yesterday. It's not too bad, but I had some bad luck with where the mystic ruins encounters spawned that really set us back. Finished the 3rd mystery and then mythos made him flip, proceeded to work towards the final mystery, won on the last turn. I won't say what the final mystery is because spoilers. BUT that being said, it was a great game. Sefina is the only investigator that made it through the entire game,and I believe every other new investigator other than Preston perished (he wasn't used) and so did Diana Stanley.

IMO, strongest investigators to worst in the expansion appear to be Sefina, Agatha, Calvin, Carson, Daniela, Father Mateo, Preston. Other than Preston, they're all pretty dang good. Probably in that order. Likely going up against Nyarly tomorrow.

There definitely are encounters that require you to have resources for their payoff. And I don't understand why they're so bad. They're fine. I don't think we needed them, but they are handy if you happen to have a way to generate them for resting and getting larger returns. They aren't even that hard to keep track of, so if you're getting the expansion, not sure why you wouldn't use them. Also, they are considered items, which means you can both trade them and pick them up off of incapacitated people.


EDIT: Soo, Preston is deceiving in that he can buy his way into a LOT of equipment that will help him with his terrible terrible stats. Until he finds things to pad them, he's going to be awful anywhere other than a city. But considering you can sometimes snag 4 items at a time from the reserve.... well... he's a bit of a wildcard.

Edited by Soakman

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I've played three game so far. Two vs Antediluvium and one vs Nyaralothotep. 1-1 vs Ante and 1-0 vs Nyar.

Resources: Not a bad mechanic. It allows you to spend extra attention to healing an investigator that may die off with resting alone. The extra successes on acquire assets is also very welcome when playing lower influence characters. They can now get a critical 3 or 4 cost item that really helps their character concept out without praying for double success on two dice + debt to get it.

Character stories: Love them. They add mini quests to each character and really flesh them out. The rewards are usually very nice and worth having (with some exceptions). I did notice that some of them are stronger and some weaker and that's to be expected. I'll always play with them going forward. Great content add for someone like me who owns every expansion.

New ancient ones: Both very fun. Nyar is the stand out, with each mystery being a 3 piece adventure. Solid here.

New investigators: I do full random investigators (no choice at all), so I've only played Calvin so far, who came in to replace a defeated investigator. He was very useful as he was able to full heal one of my strongest investigators who was down 6 total health/sanity and he completed his personal story right away on his first turn. The rest look interesting and I look forward to playing as them.

Campaign: Can't say much about it as I haven't played it yet. Setting it up now and will attempt it. It looks interesting and I believe I will enjoy it but we shall see.

New locations: 8 locations each for spaces is very nice as it is double what we got in other expansions, bringing the total up to 48 from 40 cards for each space on the board. Nicely increases variety.

New spell: Really nice spell for a combat caster. More combat spells are welcome.

Other new cards that I've used so far are great as well.

Overall, a great expansion. If you enjoy the game, you'll enjoy this.

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