Tower of Madness Review - Header

Tower of Madness Review

Rob Kalajian review, tabletop Leave a Comment

Tower of Madness- Smirk & Dagger $59.99
Tower of Madness Review - Cover

Game title: Tower of Madness

Game description: A three-dimensional clock tower, stands over a foot tall, filled with marbles. Thirty otherworldly tentacles push through the tower walls in every direction, in this high-tension, push-your-luck dice game of Lovecraft inspired horror.

Overall
3.7
  • Play (Mechanics)
  • Presentation (Art/Quality)
  • Plan (Rules)

Summary

Smirk & Dagger has taken a nostalgic game, wrapped it up with some extra mechanics and a Lovecraftian theme, and released it as Tower of Madness. It’s a push-your-luck dice game with a central 3D tower filled with tentacles and marbles like a horrific version of Kerplunk. Players try to investigate locations by rolling dice and casting spells all while pulling tentacles from the tower and trying not to go insane, or worse, awakening Cthulhu and signaling the end times.

Pros

Simple mechanics

Nostalgiac throwback

Cool factor

Cons

Takes a bit to set up

Roof doesn’t sit on tower easily

Expensive

Full Tower of Madness Review

Smirk & Dagger has taken a nostalgic game, wrapped it up with some extra mechanics and a Lovecraftian theme, and released it as Tower of Madness. It’s a push-your-luck dice game with a central 3D tower filled with tentacles and marbles like a horrific version of Kerplunk. Players try to investigate locations by rolling dice and casting spells all while pulling tentacles from the tower and trying not to go insane, or worse, awakening Cthulhu and signaling the end times.

Each round in Tower of Madness has players rolling dice trying to get a Gate, Heart, and Brain, along with extra “Discovery” points to try and successfully investigate a Location card. Players can reroll dice but must lock in at least 1 on their player board each time they roll. If they fail to get the required dice, they must then draw a tentacle from the marble-filled 3D tower at the center of the table and take any marbles that drop out. Not all marbles are bad, however! Some earn you extra Spell cards or even points at the end of the game. Of course, there are some that will start to drive you insane and also 3 green Doom marbles that, once they all show up, signal the end of the game.

Tower of Madness Review - Example Cards

Example Location cards, each with special conditions for the round

Once each player has taken their turn the players that successfully investigated a Location will compare their Discovery totals. The playest with the highest total earns the Location and the points associated with it. If the Location deck can be gone through before the 3rd Doom marble drops the player with the highest score wins. If not. Doom. Here’s an interesting twist, though. Once a player goes insane they lose the ability to roll dice but instead pull a tentacle every time it’s their turn. They may also use the Insanity portion of any Spell they hold. If an insane player causes the 3rd Doom marble to drop they win the game as the Doom Bringer.

Tower of Madness is relatively simple, using familiar mechanics to classic games such as Kerplunk and older push-your-luck dice games. It does so in a way that feels familiar, yet fresh and fun. It’s a modern family-style game that even gamers can enjoy. It’s light, thematic, suspenseful, and filled with many tense moments and excitement as players try to successfully outroll each other, sling spells, and pull sticks from the tower in hopes of keeping the marbles in there or at least having it drop some extra points or spells their way.

The game, while a blast to play, isn’t without its flaws. It certainly takes a bit of time to set up. Also, the damn roof of the tower can’t seem to fit properly without the tower opening up, spilling its contents, and causing half the tentacles to pop out of their designated holes. It’s not a necessary piece, however, so that problem is simply solved by not using the tower’s roof. The next issue is the cost of the game. At $60 it feels a bit pricey for what it is. You’re certainly getting your money’s worth out of the components of the game, but at that price, I generally expect a bit more from gameplay. You can, however, find the game for around $40 on Amazon. A much better price, in my opinion.

In the end, my family and I have been having a blast with Tower of Madness. It’s a great game that provides a light, thrilling experience with a familiar set of rules for older players that is still accessible to younger ones. The game won’t be for everyone. Hardcore gamer may not find much for them here. Fans of family games, classic games, and Lovecraft will find plenty of love.

A copy of Tower of Madness was provided free for review by Smirk & Dagger

 

 

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