My Favorite Game Mechanic: Mansions of Madness

Have I mentioned that the Geekly household likes cooperative games? I have? We’re a family of sore losers and think the other people at the table are cheating. I mentioned that too? Well, we’re also fans of puzzles and like the occasional Lovecraftian horror game. Ha! That’s new.

When I think of those criteria, I think of Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition, but there’s a specific mechanism that brings out the best in that game: integrating an app.

You know what they say about not being able to beat them. Many games use apps as game night assistants, but Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition uses the medium to create ambiance with mood-setting background music. It adds character to the game. Not just with the music, but with the variety in each area’s setup and whatever algorithm that tells the app that the players of this game have done specific puzzles in the past, it’s time to mix it up. It even randomizes the solution of each scenario, so someone can play the game more than once and get a different outcome.

Okay. Some of these features aren’t executed as well as they could be, but Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition harkens a new age in tabletop games. I don’t think we’ll get too many of these type games at once, but there’s enough in Mansions of Madness to make someone excited for a third edition or how other games will incorporate apps in the future.

There’s plenty more to like of Mansions of Madness besides its app integration. The exploration, discovery, and puzzle-solving are well done. The Geekly household likes to rotate who takes the role of narrator each turn so that everyone gets a turn. If there’s another gripe I’d have with Mansions of Madness’s app it’d be that they could’ve included more voice acting (as in various actors or more of it so that a player at the table wouldn’t have to roleplay)—but more roleplaying isn’t a bad thing. Ham on, Hammy.

 

The Mansions of Madness’s app works well overall. I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen in this game and other games like Beasts of Balance, the One Night Ultimate series, Alchemists, and World of Yo-Ho. This is a trend I don’t see going away soon and if Mansions of Madness is the start of a new wave of games, I’m okay with that as a change-up, but I still like my classic analog games.

That’s what I have as my favorite game mechanism for Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition. There are plenty more that I could include. What are some of yours? Maybe there’s another tabletop game that uses a companion app better. You can challenge me to a leg wrestle or tell me about it in comments.

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