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If you are up for some Lovecraftian mysterious happenings, we will be delighted to suggest to you, two of the best games in the genre.
Arkham Horror: The Brotherhood of Investigators
Arkham Horror is a cooperative game where you get to be on the right side of the law as an investigator, searching for clues and fighting the monsters.
It is a living game published by Fantasy Flight Games. Here all the players work together to complete the task of a given scenario, which allows you to switch on your Sherlock mode and start investigating.
The Commandments of the kinship
Of course, one of you will don the mantle of the ‘Lead Investigator’ and will be the final decision maker of the investigator group.
Each player has their prebuilt deck along with an investigator card with special abilities and five resource tokens to begin with.
While playing the game, you will have to jaunt through the agenda deck, the encounter deck as well as the scenario cards and the location cards, not to mention your very own investigator card to represent the characters on the field.
But no need to lose your sleep, you are provided a detailed booklet to help you breeze walk through this all.
You will be using the location cards to change the location as well as the ‘engage action’, if you bump across an enemy at the new location.
You will also be required to undergo skill test by drawing chaos tokens for using your four ability traits of Willpower, Intellect, combat and Agility. And don’t forget to keep a track of your damage or horror value, otherwise you will be eliminated.
The Game End
The game will continue till everybody is eliminated or the decks have been all used or the objective of the scenario has been completed.
Mansions of Madness: Choose between the Pure and the Profane
Mansions of Madness too invites you to investigate the cryptic and dark mansions, but you can also choose to unleash your inner demons by opting to role play as the evil ‘Keeper’.
As a keeper, you will able to choose and devise the scenario of the game. And your lone objective will be the triumph of the evil over the investigators. The investigators on the other hand will have to search clues in order to snatch victory out of the monster jaws of the keeper.
The Canons of the competition
Each scenario has its own layout using the gothic modular tiles of the game and each investigator will be provided detailed cards for their characters .This will include details on their health and sanity.
The investigators thus make their moves and undertake actions. They will often encounter locked doors which can be opened through instruction revealed on flipping open the cards for them. As you move through the game using your ‘explore’ actions, the keeper will reveal cards for you, which will help you gauge the objective of the game.
You can also attack monsters once you chance upon their locations. You also get weapons to aid in your attack, provided you pass your attribute test. And here is when you even get to roll a die to bow to the mercy of lady luck.
The keeper also finds the ‘threat tokens’ at his disposal which are provided at the beginning of the game and they can work magic against this odyssey of the investigators. They work as the Keeper’s evil currency to draw nasty cards like Mythos and Trauma cards.
The Game End
If the investigators lose all their health points, they die. The game ends with the victory of either the investigator or the Keeper, and here is one scenario where we don’t mind the triumph of evil over virtue.
Since both of these are Fantasy Flight products, we bring you comparisons between them picked up by other board game enthusiasts and nerds, to clear the mystery air around them.
Arkham Horror Vs Mansions of Madness: Comparison
The Evolution Axis
Arkham Horror is a game where expansions and changing scenarios are released every month. So you can look forward to regular updates and the fact that it is constantly evolving.
Mansions of Madness on the other hand is more of a stand-alone game. While different editions of it are also released every three or four months, it lags a tad bit in tempo as compared to Arkham Horror editions. However, it does have an amazing core game set and you can totally play the different game scenarios as you bide time for the arrival of its new updates.
Intelligent Design or An Impromptu Game
The choice between the two also depends on whether you like to put your gaming think cap on while playing board games or you are more of a let-life-its course kind.
Mansions of Madness is more of an experience game where you just let the game takes its course and there not much strategizing and drawing blueprints involved. It is also a game where you can call a couple of friends over for beer and start playing with them, without the agonizing delay caused by them taking time to understand the nuances of the game.
Akhram Horror, on the other hand, requires dedicated gaming partners who will carve out strategies while creating the deck at the start of the campaign and where the players have to exercise their decisions with discretion.
The Expedition Duration
If you have experienced players at hand, you can crack open an Arkham Horror scenario in a matter of an hour. The Mansions of Madness, on the other hand, can stretch to four hours or more.
Mansions of Madness is more of a game that happens to you, rather than you happening to it. Thus the duration of this odyssey is not something that is in the player’s control.
The Arkham Horror game, on the other hand, is a game where a player has more of an agency, thus the length of the combat varies with the numerical strength and personalities of the players.
The Immersivity Quotient
When it comes to the aesthetic appeal and immersivity quotient, Mansions of Madness has a slight edge over Arkham Horror.
The modular tiles, well-crafted cards, the die play allow a certain narrative to it. But the trump card in this is the 3D monsters that up the gothic quotient of the game several notches.
In fact, many board gamers often end up painting their monsters according to their tastes, friendlier or more vicious, whichever way you wish to swing the deal.
That is not to say that the visual dimensions of Arkham are any less appealing. But the Mansions of Madness monsters sure tilts the deal in its favor.
The Replayability Rendition
The Replayability score of Arkham is more than Mansions of Madness, primarily because the game changes with each different player.
Also, the scope of scenarios is wider in Arkham. While Mansions of Madness scenario is well, as the name declares, somewhat confined to the mansion.
To sum up, the comparison between these two Lovecraftian giants, if you want an easy game and have time to spend, Mansions of Madness is your pick. Even better if you have time on your watch to paint the monster miniatures. However, if board games for you are about nimble strategizing and crafty countermoves, you can bet your money on Arkham Horrors.
However, if we have to choose for the sake of choosing, Arkham Horror takes a slight lead in the board games marathon if Lovecraftian is your favorite theme. This is because this is a Lovecraftian universe with board game elements, while Mansions of Madness is a board game with Lovecraftian elements. Not to mention it will be a little lighter on your pockets compared to Mansions of Madness.
Before we close it, we will like to remind you to keep a lookout for their expansions; after all, there is always space on the game board for new and maniac monsters.