Would it fix my issues with the original? Or just provide a new cover on the same old game?
For those new to the original, Mixtape Massacre is a thematic game based on Horror movies, albeit primarily the 70’s and 80’s tropes. Players portray different villains competing to massacre a town; either you collect the most trophies from your kills, or you’re the last monster standing.
The game appealed to many Horror fans, had a lot of buzz, and received decent ratings. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it lived up to its hype, as we found the mechanics mediocre and much of the theme was just window-dressing.
The game was dominated by RNG, with poor die rolls causing players to just lumber around the board with little progress. The monster tropes provided no unique gameplay except for a “once a game” ability, meaning everyone was basically playing the same character except their figure looked different.
Another complaint was, once a character died, the player was out for the remainder of the game. This approach is very old-school and unpopular; who wants to play a game where they might be “out” and must do something else while everyone else is playing?
Even the alternate scenarios only seemed to change the difficulty and drag the game out longer, rather than fix any of our concerns.
Although Mixtape Massacre wasn’t a bad game, per se, it was a bit disappointing after all the buzz. Thus, we hoped that the new expansion would address some issues while adding new ways to play.
I have no problem saying that you should pick up Black Masque; it adds some new monsters, cards, and challenges. Unfortunately, most of these are either window-dressing or there to add difficulty.
The Death cards primarily kill off players far faster, as they’re notoriously difficult to defeat and they not only take health but put a cap on your maximum. Death tokens mark areas where you must visit and attempt to beat the card; if all the Death cards/tokens are active, then everybody loses.
Similarly, the expansion also adds a new card like the Survivor, except worse. Instead of defending and possibly losing some Health or Souvenirs, the Final Girl card must be killed… or she kills you.
For a game that had a problem with killing off characters and leaving players bored while everyone else plays, these new cards only exacerbate that problem. You are far more likely to die and be “out,” and now there’s a chance for a complete loss for everybody.
One aspect of the expansion I did enjoy was the inclusion of Challenge Cards, Challenge Dice, and A-Bit of an Event Cards.
New cards require rolling a pair of green Challenge Dice to engage. You might fail (and the card is discarded), you might succeed (and can attack), or you might succeed with a bonus (a possible auto-kill).
Even better, players that roll a specific combination discard the Scene card and instead draw an A-Bit of an Event card. These cards cause board-wide rules that last for a certain number of rounds; one of them even replaces your character with a werewolf and a serious boost to your rolls.
New optional rules in the expansion also added a sweet fix to one major complaint.
After a player dies, they may use the Challenge Dice each turn to make Redemption rolls, with a chance at returning to the game (albeit weakened). Although not a perfect replacement for leaving players out (they still must watch everyone else play until they’re back), it’s at least an option for including those who’ve died.
Similarly, Brawls are less deadly between characters as the Challenge Dice are used by both players to reduce damage taken. For an expansion that kills off characters with Death rules, these optional rules only seem to encourage survivability.
Does Black Masque fix everything we didn’t like about Mixtape Massacre? Yes and no.
The Death rules and several new Scene Cards only seem to exacerbate the difficulty. Players may find themselves “out” far faster, and the RNG just gets worse when facing these cards.
The Challenge Cards and Dice, as well as A-Bit of an Event Cards, do add something new that enhances the original. Also, the optional rules for the Challenge Dice provide some Redemption (no pun intended) for players who would have to sit out of the game.
Like Mixtape Massacre itself, Black Masque is a mixed bag of blessings and frustrations. Although not perfect, I think its an adequate expansion that players should add to the game.
Mixtape Massacre: Black Masque is on shelves now. 2-6 players, 30-90 minutes, Ages 17+.
I give Black Masque an eventful 3.5 full moons out of 5.
(Special thanks to Third Eye Games & Hobbies for directing us to this expansion!)