Forbidden Alchemy is sure to concoct a draught of devilish delight!
“The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”
Folks, there’s no hiding my love for all things Lovecraft in gaming. I’m a true sucker for a game of Arkham Horror, and now many of us have had the opportunity to go mad for Mansions of Madness. This great storytelling board game has become an instant favorite with me, and for a short time, some of us out there wondered if this fabulous game was ever going to see an expansion. Until I truly dug into the meat of the game, it looked pretty self-contained. The parts and puzzles that came with the game didn’t allow for much leeway in mixing things up. There would always be rune puzzles and wiring puzzles to solve, and the weapons and gear were pretty straight-forward, allowing little variation, or seeing anything new. There are but FOUR spells in the game (much to my chagrin), and they seem to cover every aspect of gameplay. Worse still, there were FIVE stories in the core set, and even though there are several choices to make in these stories that could be radically different, each premise was still the same. Mansions looked doomed to be a one-hit wonder.
Shame on me for having so little faith in the creative team over at Fantasy Flight Games…
Within a year of its initial release, FFG was hard at work, delving into the darker lore, weaving a spell of resurrection into Mansions of Madness. We saw the birth of the “Print-on-Demand” expansions; self-contained tales of terror with a brand new story (complete with multiple-choice plots) and new cards to go with it! New weapons, arcane artifacts, clues, story and plot cards came in every new expansion. First, FFG announced “Season of the Witch,” and then surprised us at GenCon when they placed shiny new copies of “The Silver Tablet” unannounced, and now they have “Till Death do us Part,” and still another being designed as I write this blog entry.
Still, while new stories are a GREAT way to keep the game fresh, it does need that extra little kick to make it truly special again. That’s where FFG’s latest announcements came in:
Mansions of Madness: Forbidden Alchemy, the first “big-box” expansion to Mansions of Madness is going to rock your socks! I can’t wait for this thing to be released! It has everything one needs to make the game new again:
1) A new type of puzzle: The Alchemy puzzle!
Beyond its role as this expansion’s namesake, this new puzzle has your investigator trying their hand at the arcane science of alchemy, mixing strange magical chemicals and crafting eldritch potions using alien schematics of sorcerous science…The resulting elixirs can either grant fantastic powers, or warp your mind and body beyond recognition! It’s a gamble, but if you’re clever, you just might walk away one step closer to perfection. If you aren’t so lucky, the keeper will slap you with some of these shiny new alchemical condition cards!
2) New Room Tiles!
Oh my God, FINALLY! This game needed new tiles! From the looks of it, we’re going to be getting some laboratory and hospital-themed tiles. Throw in some new outdoor tiles for good measure, and you have a fresh look for your game. If FFG is going in the direction I think it is, it may be making unique locations in each expansion. A change of scenery is good. Thanks, Fantasy Flight!
3) New MONSTERS!
Ah. No longer must we fight endless waves of zombies and witches. No more must we contend with Mi-Go and Hounds of Tindalos. No more must we fight Cthonians and Shoggoths over and over again! It looks like the Byakhee and the Formless Spawn will be joining the ranks. Again, it goes without saying that this game needs new content visually. I still wait patiently for FFG to put in some Dark Young to make the investigators fear the forests…maybe next time?
4) New Combat Cards!
Combat was getting boring. You fly through that deck, and your players already know what to test just by the flavor text! It’s also nice to see that they’re spicing things up by making new TYPES of tests. This is how you keep a game fresh!
5) New Mythos, Clue, Item, and Trauma Cards!
To be honest, an expansion without these would be kind of lame. Without these, you have no new stories, and Forbidden Alchemy boasts THREE new stories. it warms the cockles of every keepers shrivelled, evil heart…
6) Finally, new INVESTIGATORS!
We’d like to welcome four new souls to the legion of the damned…all Arkham Horror veterans!
*Vincent Lee, the Medical Doctor: We now have characters that can heal other investigators without the use of magic! Keepers, be on your toes, because this one hurts. Vincent heals Stamina damage, so you have to be merciless in your beatings.
*Carolyn Fern, the Psychologist: Vincent’s partner in healing, Carolyn heals Sanity, placing that extra strain on the Keeper to be as ruthless as possible.
*Darrell Simmons, the Photographer: Darrell looks to be the guy to point out monster weaknesses, making them more easy to combat. he’s got good stats, but his luck stat is worse than my own, if that’s to be believed.
*Dexter Drake, the Magician: Oh, hell yes! Dexter is my Arkham Horror favorite, and I’m thrilled to see his return in Mansions of Madness! Aside from being obviously good at magic, Dexter has an awesome ability to teleport between those trunks you can hide in. After all, he is a magician!
I can’t wait for this expansion, and it looks like it will be out around Christmas time. It’s an absolute MUST BUY for your Lovecraft game collection, and it will be sure to drive you and your friends stark raving mad!
…in a good way, of course.
See you in the Mansions of Madness, real soon!