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Disappointing First Game

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Just got the second edition. On paper this game sounds like it should tick all of the boxes for me and my friends, and while I did enjoy it, one thing was apparent and has me worried for trying again: we were constantly under attack (we played the recommended starter scenario, three people playing). I expected our poor investigators to be in terrible danger but I didn't expect monster/cultist spam. It seemed like the app spawned a new monster about every two turns. We barely got through a second room before we decided it was late and should wrap up (obviously we spent a lot of time early in the session learning the rules). By the time the last cultist spawned and delivered the same dialogue line as the previous one I could see everyone at the table sigh in anticipation of rolling out a bunch of attacks to take him down. The investigators were still relatively fighting fit by the end of it, so it's not a difficulty issue, so much as it was just tedious. Every time we tried to get back to exploring and investigating a new enemy appeared. Nothing says Lovecraftian suspenseful horror like endlessly spawning monsters that you beat to death one after another...right...?

So my question is this: is this normal and the game is supposed to run with constant battles, or did we just get unlucky?

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I've only played solo, but in the starter scenario I never really experienced "monster spam". It's true that if you take too long to achieve goals, then the "in-game timer" (turn counter, if you like) will start to make things tricky. But in that first scenario I usually get something like a couple cultists and a could deep ones... until I find the objective. Then it kinda kicks off and becomes something of a battle to get out alive. Which adds to the excitement and tension.

Note that other scenarios vary - some are more combat oriented, some focus very much on story.

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I'm the same as icabod...have played through about three scenarios with a group and only had one get bogged down with monsters...so I'd say you were unlucky. To me the game is at it's best when it's more about the mystery, the atmosphere, and the puzzles rather than just feeling like a typical dungeon crawl in a lovecraft setting...it shines in those moments!

Once the end-timer mechanism kicks in, you'll see more monsters then but I also agree with ichabod that it adds a nice tension to the game at that point and ups the ante. Hope you get a better experience next time - when it works, it really is something quite special!

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Sounds like a fantastic game... Have another go and see what happens.

The very first game I played was Cycle of Eternity, and we had a stream of low-hit-points Deep Ones - there was always at least one or two, we couldn't fully cull the tide. (William Yorick certainly collected a lot of Clues with each Monster defeated!). We realised we had to think our resources (actions), by having some Investigators fight and some search the mansion. We learned not to separate too far from each other. We were also learning the rules, so we would have missed a few things, for sure. In the end we were betrayed by an Investigator suffering from Pyromania, but not before the overwhelming loss of another Investigator sealed our fates before the mansion was truly ablaze. We lost, it was an awesome time at losing in such a Lovecraftian manner.

Horror. Despair. Overwhelming cosmic odds! Welcome to Mansions of Madness. :)

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Players who don't 'get' Mansions tend to regard every scenario as a simple random dice fest.

They search every token in every room and either get overwhelmed or win by sheer luck.

The way to consistently win is to regard the game as a race to find the critical clues.

Don't skim read the text.  We all tend to do this... including myself.

FFG's scenario writing style is unfortunately very verbose and key information is often obscured by tons and tons and tons and tons of flavour text.

Use every action carefully.   Often you don't have a lot of actions to spare before really bad things happen.

Follow the breadcrumb trail of clues as quickly as possible.

Support other investigators - you only need to lose one to lose the game.

Don't forget about the special actions an investigator can use - especially to help other investigators.

Use the little known 'Push' action to move an investigator with a key item an extra space.

Use the 'Trade' action to pass on a key item like a baton in a relay race.

All players can help to solve a puzzle.  Solving a puzzle using teamwork helps to keep everyone involved and makes solving them less of a chore.

 

 

 

 

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i ran demos of this game at a convention, so have about 10-12 Cycle of Eternity plays in. I've seen many variations of the game, and monster spam is not typical, some games had more than others, which is seemingly dependent on some in-game decisions, how quickly you explore. the game seems to have more opportunities to spawn the bigger the map gets, is my observation. as otbers have said, though you don't need to rush, time will also increase the pressure, which I dont know if it os literal time or number of rounds.

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15 hours ago, Hobbyist said:

though you don't need to rush, time will also increase the pressure, which I dont know if it os literal time or number of rounds.

The clock mechanism come strictly from round counts. You can take as long as you want during the events, but as you start to advance the round counter then that starts the countdown to more difficult mythos events, monsters, and sometimes eventual loss. Think of it like a B&E, if you want the money and jewels you'll make a beeline for the safe. If you want to get caught your going to stare at photos on the walls or poke around in the refrigerator. While some of these actions in game will net you some clues, they can also be seen as wasting actions. Also, don't be afraid to run from those monsters if they aren't around your goal. Some considerations in a five man team to have two of your gators go on offense while you have the others fleshing out the map until you find something concrete or find an interact '!' token.

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