Dragon Trouble and Bad Luck in The Big Book of Madness

June 13, 2020 | Sessions | 0 comments

Dive into another session with The Big Book of Madness as the difficulty heats up with a page-devouring dragon.

I tried out a new strategy that was more about controlled failures in The Big Book of Madness. Success! This is a rather strategic solo board game, although it feels more abstract than I originally anticipated. All the same, I had the highest difficulty level to try out! So off I went to revisit this forbidden tome with a new group of foolish students.

Game Overview

Game Name: The Big Book of Madness
Publication Year:
 Maxime Rambourg
 Xavier Gueniffey Durin
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game (Cooperative)

Element cards that range in value from 1 to 3 make up the core feature. These combinations lead to destroyed curses, new spells, unique abilities, and more.

With the worst curses coming out in full force, I had my work cut out for me. This looked to be a tough challenge!

A Collection of Element Cards in The Big Book of Madness

New Students

I mixed everything up as I reset everything. Gone was my fire duo! This time, a new pair stepped up to the plate with different specialties and unique abilities.

The composition of the starting decks is vital. It might make more sense to choose synergies in the future.

As it was, I had a pretty good outlook! This pair only suffered in the area of fire, but I would have plenty of early opportunities to improve that position.

Such colorful artwork! The theme might not be very strong at times, but everything always looks so bright.

A Pair of Interesting Students Ready to Open The Big Book of Madness

A Troubling Curse

As the pages turned and new monsters showed up, this pair succeeded in very controlled bursts. In fact, they were relatively terrible in terms of defeating curses!

Yet this is a major strategy. I didn’t have the resources to succeed in every area, so I had to pick and choose.

A few positives came out of the earlier pages, yet the final page was upon the students very soon. I was relieved… It looked like they were poised to succeed in no time!

Naturally, a single curse hung on for too long. I thought through about a dozen different options on the last turn…

The Lone Curse to Lead to an Ending in The Big Book of Madness

Dealing with a Dragon

My goodness! I had a plan in place that looked like it would give me a very small chance of success. I thought it through several times and almost completed the actions.

A-ha! A new strategy suddenly stood out in the bleak promise of a loss. So I went down a new path and realized I had an even better chance of success.

It was the air student who just needed to pull an air element card. Not difficult at all! Just one. You can do it!

But naturally, things backfired and then, presumably, caught fire as the dragon escaped into the world. 

Losing to a Dangerous Dragon in The Big Book of Madness

Trouble with Spells

As I saw my imminent defeat in sight, I started to look at where I went wrong. This really did come down to a lot of bad luck, yet there were some poor decisions on my part.

The low-level spells weren’t particularly useful. I had to start sifting through them to possibly uncover better options… But I was too busy curing all the madness!

Unfortunately, this left the students with only a few ways to interact and offer additional support to each other.

Spells can be very hit-or-miss, although this selection itself wasn’t the sole cause of my undoing. I blame myself!

Poor Choices in the Spell Department in The Big Book of Madness

Session Overview

Play Number: 10
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game (Cooperative)
Play Details: Difficult Difficulty Level in Normal Mode
Required Play Space: 30″ x 28″
Setup Time: 10 Minutes
Play Time: 45 Minutes
Outcome: Loss

Even though the student focused on air had plenty of card draws, there were absolutely no air element cards to be seen… Until I redrew at the end of the turn as I was defeated. Oh, what horrible luck! Well then. That was that!

A Hilarious Way to Draw the Right Cards in The Big Book of Madness


10 Plays


Price & Value



Challenges & Mechanics



Design & Theme



Components & Rules



Achievement & Enjoyment



Distinctness & Randomness


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What level of difficulty have you completed in The Big Book of Madness? Do you have a particular monster or curse that you absolutely despise? I was so close to victory with this play! Even with some suboptimal moves, it still came down to the final turn. Not too shabby. This strategy of accepting more failures does seem to be working out nicely!


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