News for January 2011
Fisticuffs and Pseudopods 12
A look at combat in Mansions of Madness
Mansions of Madness | Published 26 January 2011

They had split up, against Michael McGlen’s better judgement. But since the dame got all paranoid and the old man started sputtering nonsense, Michael assured himself that it was for the best. He checked his gun, its familiar grip reassuring even in the growing madness that surrounded him. “No more creeping around and readin’ books,” Michael growled to himself, walking confidently down the hall. “If any more psychos want to spook me they can answer to Tommy here.”

Many mysteries await solutions in Mansions of Madness, and only the most cunning investigators will be able to crack the case before they lose their sanity. However, quick wits and arcane knowledge are not the only things that will ensure survival against the dark powers working against you. Sometimes brute force will work where clever thinking fails, but you must pick your battles carefully...

The odds are stacked against the investigators in Mansions of Madness; as you’ve seen in our previews thus far. The story is riddled with a tangle of clues, and while you and your companions may be equipped to deal with the worst of situations, you must carry out your investigation quickly. The Keeper has many devious tools at his disposal, including mind-boggling puzzles and a host of minions guarding his sanctuary. Today we’ll explore how combat works in Mansions of Madness, and the dangers of physically engaging an enemy.

Live to Fight Another Day

Combat is not the backbone of Mansions of Madness, it is a dangerous endeavor that investigators should not undertake rashly. Discretion and resolve are the primary weapons an investigator should wield when dealing with the Keeper’s minions. However, sometimes there is no avoiding a direct confrontation, and violence will surely ensue. First, let’s take a look at how investigators can avoid a fight.

Resourceful investigators will quickly learn to use the surrounding environment to their advantage. Blockading doors and finding hiding spots are a less-messy alternative to unloading your gun at every moving shadow. Barrier Features and Hiding Space Features allow investigators to utilize this idea. Whenever an investigator is in the same space as a Barrier Feature, he may spend an Action to barricade a door in that space, making it harder for monsters to come after him. Likewise, he can spend either a Movement or an Action to hide in a Hiding Space Feature, making it harder for monsters in that room to attack him. These subtle tactics can really save your skin during your investigation. However, they are far from sure-fire methods, and despite your best efforts, you may be forced to face that lumbering shadow that’s been chasing you.

(A Barrier feature and a Hiding feature)

Monsters have the potential to not only drain your health, but also your sanity. Whenever a monster moves into (or is placed in) an investigator’s current room, the investigators in that room must each make a Horror Check. If passed, the investigator keeps it together for the time being. Any investigator that fails this check must lose 1 sanity, making him a prime target for the Keeper’s Trauma Cards.

A Fighting Chance

Once monsters are in the same space as an investigator, his only hope to avoid combat is by making an evade check, testing his Dexterity against the monster’s Awareness. If the investigator passes this test, he may move out of the space or perform any non-combat actions as normal. Multiple monsters must each be evaded individually. Failure to pass an evade check gives the Keeper the ability to damage the investigator. However, sometimes the Keeper may want the investigators alive for his own demented purposes, so the Keeper is given the option to damage the investigator or not. Finally, if you choose not to hide, barricade yourself from, or evade a monster, you also have the deadly option of engaging them in combat...

(The card backs for the Beast, Humanoid, and Eldritch combat cards)
(Click on the card backs for sample cards)

Combat is resolved with a combination of dice and class-specific Combat Cards. Monsters are divided into three categories: Beast, Eldritch, and Humanoid. Each of these categories has a specific deck of Combat Cards used when the appropriate monster is either attacked or attacking an investigator. Each Combat Card features a short narrative, giving players context about the fight at hand, and what needs to happen to successfully survive the encounter. These Combat Cards are broken up into halves - the top half is used when the investigator is attacking a monster, and the bottom half is used when the monster is attacking. Each time an attack occurs, the Keeper draws a card from the appropriate deck and checks to see if the conditions on the card match the conditions on the board. For example, if the investigator is attacking with a Ranged Weapon, then the Keeper will need to continue drawing cards until he finds a Ranged Weapon card, and then follow the instructions on the card (usually resulting in a skill check).

Now that you know how to fight, it’s near time you began your investigation. Prepare yourself for the insanity of Mansions of Madness by contacting your local retailer to inquire about the upcoming preview event!

Mansions of Madness is a macabre game of horror, insanity, and mystery for two to five players. Based on the beloved fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, Mansions of Madness tells a story in which one player takes on the role of the keeper, a malevolent force working to complete a sinister plot, and all other players take on the roles of investigators, the unlikely heroes who gather to oppose him.

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Comments (12)

Published: 2/1/2011 12:08:27 PM

I love the idea of hiding or barricading a door, that's a cool addition that doesn't sound like it would involve much overhead. This baby is on pre-order and I'm betting Cory doesn't let us down, it's gonna be great!

Published: 1/28/2011 8:16:44 PM

 YA!!!! Ya saquen el juego a la venta maldita sea!

Published: 1/27/2011 2:12:35 PM

It seems that nobody can let a friendly FYI note stand! :-p

Sure, release dates are never set in stone, but they are often indicators. Over the holidays Amazon showed 2/8; now only weeks after the "Your Invitation to Spread the Madness" article announced a preview event on February 19th and 20th, so it makes sense that we the public will now have to wait beyond 2/8.

Published: 1/27/2011 12:57:42 PM
#9 still says BSG: Exodus hasn't come out. So I wouldn't take their release dates too seriously.

Published: 1/27/2011 8:57:37 AM

Amazon shows the release has been pushed to Mar 14... It's going to be a long winter!

Published: 1/27/2011 5:42:38 AM

The combat cards remind me of the epic final combat cards in Arkham Horror - nice!

el Igore
Published: 1/26/2011 3:30:19 PM

@Kordovan: Click on the three card backs. They link to example-cards.

Published: 1/26/2011 3:13:43 PM

 Too bad they did not spoil any one monster-card (face-up) ...

love this game and wait for it more&more anyway.

Mr. K
Published: 1/26/2011 1:18:46 PM

 Arrrrgh! Barrier feature? How great is that!

You're killing me.



Published: 1/26/2011 12:59:18 PM

Do want!

Curious if there is a list of places that will have a copy for release yet.

Published: 1/26/2011 12:31:10 PM

The combat mechanic is great.  I really enjoy that you don't necessarily know what skill check you are making until the card is read.  Adds another excellent layer to the cake.  Looking forward to the upcoming preview weekend!

Published: 1/26/2011 11:37:38 AM

whew.... i'm glad that combat is also with dice...

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