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Best game for battling Shoggoths: Mansions of Madness

Let’s get Lovecraftian.

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Mansions of Madness
Dylan Matthews is a senior correspondent and head writer for Vox's Future Perfect section and has worked at Vox since 2014. He is particularly interested in global health and pandemic prevention, anti-poverty efforts, economic policy and theory, and conflicts about the right way to do philanthropy.

Board Game Geek rating: 7.3/10.0 (270th).

Mansions of Madness comes out of a slightly different tradition than the other games on this list. As Euro games took off in the US, so too did a tradition of Lovecraftian horror games, which borrow liberally from non-board role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and are usually (but not always) set in the Cthulhu Mythos, a fictional universe that springs from the mind of early 20th century horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. It’s a place where scientists and other researchers, usually working at a university or other institution in New England, come face to face with previous unknown and utterly terrifying paranormal creatures and forces.

Arkham Horror is the classic game in this genre, but Mansions of Madness is both easier for first-time players and more meticulously put together. The game pieces are beautifully done and highly durable, and even without its many expansions, the game contains enough different scenarios to make it very replayable. The one catch is that it takes forever to set up. The first time I played, we started setting up around 8 p.m. and had only just gotten started when we called it a night at 1 a.m. So it’s probably better to set aside a Saturday afternoon if you want to do it right.

Buy at Amazon: Mansions of Madness ($89.95); Mansions of Madness: Streets of Arkham ($38.95); Mansions of Madness: Suppressed Memories ($39.96); Mansions of Madness: Recurring Nightmares ($39.96); Mansions of Madness: Sanctum of Twilight ($26.95); Mansions of Madness: Beyond the Threshold ($27.42); Mansions of Madness: The Yellow Sign ($29.99); Mansions of Madness: House of Fears ($16.79); Mansions of Madness: The Laboratory ($20.00); Mansions of Madness: Season of the Witch ($29.99); Mansions of Madness: ‘Til Death Do Us Part($15.93); Mansions of Madness: The Silver Tablet ($25.99).