Mountains of Madness

Mountains of Madness is a cooperative boardgame where you form a team of Antarctic explorers and have to escape from the eponymous mountains. Without going mad.

Well, despite going mad. One of the game mechanics is that each member of the party starts off slightly unhinged, and gradually deteriorates as you get higher up the mountain and the eldritch horrors / oxygen deprivation get worse.

This manifests itself as a series of random tics that each player draws from a pack of cards, and then has to keep secret from the others. I drew "Moustache" early on, which meant I could only speak while holding my finger under my nose as a makeshift moustache, and could only communicate with anyone else if they did the same. Unfortunately, my wife inferred only that I was ignoring all women, rather than just people with a moustache.

To make things harder, I was the leader of the group and had to coordinate all the guns, rope and other things we needed to survive. Not so easy when there’s a two minute time limit per turn and the only person you can talk to has to hide his teeth and sing all the time. And this was just the base set of craziness.

We didn’t die. In fact, our motley group of explorers pranced up the mountain, getting slightly madder as we went on, but never failing and falling to the bottom. I assume this was due to a gin-fuelled misreading of the rules, because at one point we were using pencils to overcome a glacier, and that can’t be quite right. One of my resolutions for this week is to read the rules a second time and figure out where we were going wrong. Or too right, I guess.

Anyway, very pleased with that purchase. It had languished on a shelf since I bought it in March, worried it would be too complicated to play. Since it appears I can half manage it with half a pint of gin in me, I expect if I have a full pint of gin I’ll definitely play it properly.

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