Archive for the ‘mansions of madness’ Category

Longtime readers of this site will know of the pure admiration and love I hold for Mansions of Madness. Since its first edition release, it’s a game that I’ve praised for blurring the lines between board games and RPGs. The release of Second Edition in 2016, along with the app that acted as the game’s GM, creating a fully co-op version of the game, is a development in tabletop gaming that I’ve lauded again and again. It’s now a game that appeals to boardgamers, role-players, and video-gamers.

Now, a brand new expansion has been released in Streets of Arkham. Although the core set had a couple of scenarios set in the nearby town of Innsmouth, this time the new scenarios aren’t just limited to the titular “mansions”. You wander around museums, hotels, parks, beaches…the game has exploded!

Fantasy Flight have obviously taken on board the feedback on the first expansion – Beyond the Threshold – which was enjoyable, although a little on the thin side, only supplying only a few new characters, one new monster and two new stories. Streets of Arkham, offers up four new investigators, three new monsters, new tiles and three new scenarios.

The new characters are a mixed bunch (aren’t they always?), but all look fun to play, and offer some intriguing abilities in the game. The new monsters are where the game really shines, though. The Star Vampires (personal favourites of mine since a memorable game of Call of Cthulhu nearly ten years ago) look terrifying on the table; truly alien and terrible. The Lloigor miniature is the best in the box, so far. Not as tall as the Star Spawn from the core set, its pose and detail is far superior, towering and looming over the feeble investigators sent to defeat it. Looks great on the new map pieces too, especially as a potential climax to one of the new scenarios.

The new scenarios are the absolute cream on this antediluvian, non-Euclidean cake, however. There are actual mysteries to the solved! The game even tells you to take your own notes before you start! What’s more NPCs appear on the board, interact with it, and have their own little turns during the Mythos Phase. IT’S A BOARD GAME WITH CUT SCENES!

With this latest expansion, Mansions of Madness has come even closer to being the ultimate board-game/RPG hybrid, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. If you’re already a fan of the game, then this is an absolutely essential purchase to up your game. 10/10.


Don’t worry, no spoilers follow. 

Mansions of Madness was easily the best game release of 2016, but until now, new releases have been limited to the upgrade kits (which added in the gubbins for those who didn’t own the first edition) and one DLC scenario. Thankfully, there is now a small…well, medium, sized…boxed expansion.  

So, what do you get in this box of mystery?

Well, two brand new playable characters, for starters. Wilson Richards, the handyman, and Akachi Onyele, the shaman, are characters that are familiar to players of other games in the Arkham Horror Files series. Their special powers are pretty useful, with Richards becoming Focused every time he takes a Horror Check, and Onyele is able to instructions to discard Clue tokens. 

You also get some extra items, and a couple of new spells for your characters to discover in their “adventures”, as well as more than a few extra room tiles and monsters that are designed for use in the two new scenarios included, and they’ll no doubt also get mixed into the previously released adventures.

The new monsters are limited to just one type, the Thrall, and they’re a pretty nice looking design, calling to mind the later scenes of John Carpenter’s version of The Thing, with distorted faces and mutated limbs being the order of the day. They’re a cool design, and hopefully they’ll make an appearance in future (and past) releases, too.

The two new scenarios are what we’re most interested in, of course…so how are they? Well, actually, they’re really bloody good. The stories are, at first at least, less the killer monster on the loose sort, and actually start out as more the 1950s creepy house in the mist or murder mystery sort. For me, this is a great win, as much as I love all the Arkham Horror Files series, sometimes they are a little less The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and a little more Fright Night! A return to a more Call of Cthulhu RPG style of play is most welcome here!

The two scenarios included are superb, but the rest of the box set feels a little lacking. Two extra characters and just one new monster type in a boxed expansion feels a little thin. Hopefully a larger expansion is on the horizon that will give us a little more satisfaction on this front. 

Definitely worth picking up for the extra scenarios…but there is a feeling that the rest of the box is not what it could have been.

Mansions of Madness: Beyond the Threshold is available now priced £29.99. A copy of the second edition core set of Mansions of Madness is required to use the contents. 


Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb.