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Talking with Rob Daviau about Mountains of Madness!

With the release of Rob Daviau's Mountains of Madness at Essen SPIEL'17, we sat down with this creative and prolific author to discuss his new game!

You are mainly known for coming up with very immersive games. In your opinion, is this something key to make a great boardgame?

It’s not something that is a key for all boardgames or for all designers but it works for me. I get excited by story and by plot and my mind just works that way. I occasionally do something less story-based and less immersive but not always. At some point during the design process, you grow tired of the game you are making because it keeps having problems. I think it’s important to have an idea you love and are comfortable with from the very start to help get you through those design rough spots.

What makes Mountains of Madness different than other Lovecraftian games?

Mountains of Madness is quite different from other Lovecraftian games. There are so many good ones out there and most do a very good job of evoking the details of the world. But they tend to have some common traits: they run long, they have a lot of writing, and they really favor those who know the source material.

I set out to do something that had less writing, ran shorter, and could have casual players join in. At some point I realized that it was more fun for the PLAYERS to feel insane rather than the CHARACTERS.contents


What were your main difficulties in the development of this game?

I started out on the wrong path, trying to something more traditional. I got lucky with a flash of inspiration about communication. I noticed that a group of people can agree on something and then all walk away with different ideas about the conversation. I mentioned “This feels like I’m going crazy” and then the game idea fell into place.

For a game of this kind, what importance do you give to the illustration work?

All games are experiences and the art is important to all games. As are the pieces, the rules, the box, even the font used in the game. You can play any game without real art but it makes a huge difference.


Unlike many other cooperative games, there’s no king speaker in Mountains of Madness. Is this something you intentionally worked to avoid?

It was a lucky side effect of the design. With everyone talking for 30 seconds it’s hard for one person to take control. Also, with a rotating leader, it gives everyone a chance to be in control.

In the last few years, we have seem more and more people coming to the hobby of boardgaming. Why do you think people are getting more interested in boardgames?

The market has always been quite big. In part, what I think we’re seeing, is more people buying hobby games rather than games from Hasbro or Mattel. Those companies have really focused on the very young or games that are very simple and people are looking for something more.

How long was the playtesting phase for this project, and what were the usual reactions from players?

The game was started in the fall of 2014 but the A-HA moment moment came in January of 2015. I threw away the old version I was working on and had a new version ready to play by April 2015. I turned over the final game at Gen Con 2016 so it was about 14-18 months once I had the key idea.


Learn more about Mountains of Madness in the video trailer below!

Make sure to get your hands on a copy at Essen SPIEL'17 by pre-ordering the game already on our website:
Publié le 13 October 2017

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