In “Lobotomy 2,” you and up to four friends play as a group of patients in a mental asylum. Or at least that’s what you’re told, but recently, you are not so sure. The world around you has become dark and twisted, and the people who move through the asylum — security guards, orderlies, and the occasional dog — have become grotesque, violent versions of themselves. Each turn, you will have three actions that you can use to move, attack, upgrade items and abilities, or swap equipment between characters. The ultimate goal of “Lobotomy 2” is to escape the asylum — but to do so, you’ll need to face a slew of unnatural creatures, including horror favorites like an animated doll or an evil children’s toy named Buddy.
Much like fellow horror title “Mixtape Massacre,” “Lobotomy 2” tiptoes around copyright with a few overt homages to Hollywood icons. You may take on the role of “Maddie Maxwell,” a not-so-subtle tribute to Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” or Wicked Jimmy (cough) and his dog. Those who prefer science fiction may choose Matt Riggs — say it quickly — a patient whose bald head and sunglasses make him the spitting image of Laurence Fishburne in “The Matrix.” Each section header for the rulebook also offers an overt reference to popular culture, with nods to “Aliens” and “Crocodile Dundee” in just a few opening sections of the warm-up session.
To help you learn “Lobotomy 2,” Titan Forge has also introduced an introductory scenario that expands the rules as you hit various in-game benchmarks. It’s an approach with solid precedent — the hybrid rulebook from “Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion” remains a personal favorite to this day — but Titan Forge’s proves to be no match for Cephalofair Games. To learn the game effectively, you must be willing to cut several pages out of the scenario booklet with a pair of scissors. Given the attention to detail that has gone into each miniature, the very manual — and frustrating — process of clipping out rulesets from a booklet with no custom storage option for these loose pages is a bit of a letdown.