The Big Book of Madness

Time to get your co-op Harry Potter esq faces on, with IELLO’s “The Big Book of Madness”. Set in a college for gifted magicians, “The Big Book of Madness” is a challenging co-op game that sees players taking on the roles of students who just can’t keep out of trouble. Sure the professor said never open that Pandora type grimoire, but curiosity got the better of you and you opened that sucker. Now all the monsters within its pages are out and you need to cast your spells and get better at magic to put things right. Of course, nothing is ever that easy.

“The Big Book of Madness” may have a kidified / cartoony look to it, but don’t be fooled, there is a whole lot of strategising to be done here. At its heart “The Big Book of Madness” is a deck / pool building game with variable powers thrown in.

The Big Book of Madness board game review by Gameapalooza AustraliaThe Big Book of Madness – A magical gameplay experience, once you’re into it

Setup & Gameplay
Setup of the game is simple, place the game board and however many madness cards dependent on the number of players (20 for 2, 25 for 3, 30 for 4 and 35 for 5). Separate the curse types, shuffle and place. Element cards are also placed and finally players get their four basic spells. It’s a little bit of faffing the first time you play, but it’s not too crazy. When you put it away, put it away smartly and it will be helpful for followup plays.

Time to choose a character. Each magician has a special ability, but let’s face it, you’re probably going to choose based on the awesome artwork. Next up you get your start deck and the grimoire is composed. Spells and tokens are sorted and it’s time to begin!

Gameplay is simple enough, you essentially have to work together to deal with the monsters within the book. Working together is one of the cool things about “The Big Book of Madness”, because it means there’s barely any downtime. As curses occur players need to strategise how best to remove those that remain. Characters making cards available to all players is the only way to win. Don’t work together and you’re going to be royally screwed because certain things are accumulative.

IELLO The Big Book of Madness board game review by Gameapalooza AustraliaThe grimoire in The Big Book of Madness… defeat them before they defeat you!

The reason this is a book of madness is because it can slowly drive you mad trying to defeat it. Madness cards are added and if a player gets too many, it will essentially drive them insane and they die (probably dribbling in a corner somewhere). Dealing with madness as you play is important, but it also takes up valuable time, it’s a clever little mechanic because players need to carefully balance what they’re doing with every turn.

Everything in “The Big Book of Madness” works really well, it’s streamlined, thematic and scales well (though we suggest 3+ players). Replay value is pretty high too, given the game sets up randomly and the characters chosen each have different special abilities. Speaking of characters, female players have a good choice of female characters, with an even number of both male and female.

Game Build Quality
The quality of the game is great. Beautifully designed from the box down. Cards, board and components are all top notch and that little wooden book, adorable.

Gameapalooza House Rules
Great the way it is!

2-5 Players
Ages: 12+
Setup Time: 5 minutes (longer the first time)
Play Time: 60-90 minutes

The Big Book of Madness board game review by Gameapalooza AustraliaThe Big Book of Madness grimoire page, check out that awesome artwork.

Overall
Overall, “The Big Book of Madness” has some great design choices. It’s a fun game experience and it all works smoothly, A beautiful looking game, with great quality components, fairly easy gameplay, all tied into some clever strategy. Given all these elements we’ve got to say “The Big Book of Madness” is a great game and definitely one you should think about checking out in a game session, and perhaps even adding to your collection. Don’t be put off by that cartoon box art (if you’re one of those people that doesn’t like that). It’s not a perfect game, but it is a really good game and there’s a lot of fun to be had.

[author] [authorimage timthumb=’off’]/content/images/2016/02/gameapalooza-micro-review-icon-sm.gif[/authorimage] [authorinfo]Micro Review – The Big Book of Madness is a cool game. Thematic, fun and magical, with strategy for days. We recommend you check out The Big Book of Madness. It’s not a perfect game, but it’s definitely a good one.
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info] [/author]