Research Blog Antarctica #168 – Mountains of Madness

The boardgame Mountains of Madness being played.

Boardgame: Rob Davia & Miguel Coimbra: Mountains of Madness (Iello, 2017)

Based on the classic Antarctic H.P. Lovecraft novella At the Mountains of Madness, Mountains of Madness is a co-operative boardgame about an expedition seeking to uncover strange remnants and other relics from the titular mountain while avoiding injuries and suffering from madness.

Visually, it resembles the Lovecraft-themed boardgames but out by Fantasy Flight Games, but in terms of mechanics it’s quite different. The core of the game is in a mechanic where the players must resolve a challenge on a 30 second timer while handicapped by communication problems caused by madness cards.

This means that the game has a party game component, with players whispering, singing, speaking in rhyme and so on as mandated by the cards. Each challenge requires communication and as the players get madness cards of increasing severity, the game gets harder.

Fooling around because of the madness cards was the most fun part of the game. Often, the memorable moments were those where communication devolved into total chaos, leading to an absurd loss. Indeed, I started to feel that the game might become less fun if you learned to play it well.