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OK. So Mansions of Madness is practically here. I know I can't be the only one who's hotly anticipating this game.

The only question I have about it is this: The game comes 5 scenarios included, each with 3 variations, for a total of 15 unique games.

Can the included scenarios be hacked, modified, customized or remixed? Can entirely new scenarios be created from the existing components?

I know that there are people out there who have had their hands on this for some time already, and I want to know what they think.

Sure, 15 scenarios is a lot - especially since players won't know exactly what path they're on until they uncover late-game clues. But I'm interested in the answer to this question from a re-playability standpoint, especially with regard to community-created scenarios vs. officially released expansions. I don't have anything against official expansions - I just imagine that if the game is as good as I expect, my group will be ready for something new well before FFG is ready to release one.

EDIT: Now that the game has been out for a while, the community really seems to be supporting it. BGG has a number of scenarios and tools for crafting your own.

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5 Answers 5

Having played the game about 4 times now, it seems to me that designing a new campaign for Mansions of Madness is possible, as everything, including which powers the Keeper has, is entirely mix-and-match.

However, it's far more a stripped-down Dungeons and Dragons than a traditional board game. You'd effectively have to:

  • Come up with a game-style concept (e.g. Monsters, monsters EVERYWHERE!)
  • Come up with a story to justify that concept (e.g. A witch is opening a plane to the Cthonic regions in exchange for the resurrection of her sister)
  • Come up with a set of hidden objectives (e.g. get out before you're used in the ritual, stop her from opening the gate, kill her and her undead sister)
  • Come up with a set of clues (e.g. Discover how to interrupt the ritual successfully and safely)
  • Come up with a time set (e.g. The 5 stages of the ritual, each one summoning progressively more horrible thingummies)

and then work out how to layout the board to fit the story, and how to prevent the players from reaching the objectives too soon.

The main issue is the clues, which have to look like the provided exploration cards, but have to be changed.

The most obvious solution is to simply use existing clue cards, but tell your players to ignore the flavour text, and instead at the point of discovery, hand them your own prepared cards.

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The way I see it, you could just place the clues 1A 2A 3A etc. and when they find the clue you have written down on a piece of paper what the text should read. Same with event cards. When time runs out for the event card and you flip it, you just have another text that corresponds to the number on the event card

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I think creating your own stories will be quite doable, but you will be strongly constrained by the chrome in the game.

Or, you will reuse the cards "clue 1, clue 2, clue 3" etc, then hand the user a new clue when they find the ones from a scenario you've exhausted so far.

I especially think new scenarios with "pieces missing" will be a strong way to play.

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It is the clue and objective cards in particular that I think you'll be unable to produce - except by creating in a manner that is probably a violation of FFG's copyright (because you'll have to reproduce the card backs to keep them from being 'marked cards'), which is not something I'm interested in. –  gomad Mar 31 '11 at 16:26
    
@gomad: I discuss clue cards in my answer, and just don't reveal the objective card AT ALL till it's time to reveal it. That way they don't even see the back of the card, so they can't know it's homebrew. –  deworde Jan 12 '12 at 16:29

To people who play Arkham Horror, there is known to some an application called Strange Eons. This program helps players create their own game content.

It is hoped that Strange Eons will at some point support MoM as well. Then people will be able to write their own stories, with their own unique story elements.

Until then, producing your own scenarios would present an inordinate amount of work.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Ok, so I'm answering my own question, at least in part.

First of all, I think the internets were greatly deceived when they spread the idea that each of the five scenarios (there are indeed 5) had only three variants. Some of the scenarios had what looked by my calculations to be upwards of 40 permutations.

Second, the Keeper's role is much more dynamic than I had previously realized. It strikes me that the Keeper's game is similar to the Demons' game in , a truly wonderful asymmetrical 2-player game. Like the Demons, the Keeper accrues Threat over time, which he must pay for all his actions. It seems to me that the vagaries of Keeper play will keep even an identical scenario from playing out the same way twice.

Finally, I think that the answer to my hackability question is a resounding no. The thing that has me so excited about MoM is that it provides narrative out-of-the-box. The game does a lot more storytelling than most. That very quality seems to make it hard to vary beyond the included scenarios. Each card is tied tightly to a choice or combination of choices and the stories will fall apart if not constructed properly.

This is my opinion as of having read all the books, but having played zero games. I will update this answer if that opinion changes.

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