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Gloomhaven

Calliope

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Well, us KS backers should mostly have the game by now, and those people lucky enough to grab one of the scarce retail copies should probably have theirs on Tuesday. I'm curious what people think.

For those who aren't familiar:

Gloomhaven is a scenario-based dungeon crawler for 1-4 players (though a solo player has to control 2 characters). It's also a legacy game, meaning that there are sealed envelopes and stickers and things about the game permanently change. This manifests in a few different ways:

1: There are a whole bunch of location stickers that you put on the board as you unlock new locations. Each location is linked to a numbered scenario in the scenario book.
2: There are global achievement stickers that also go on the board to track certain major world states - ie. who rules the city of Gloomhaven or whether you chose to kill or help a particular character. This will affect the availability or certain quests and may alter the outcome of different event cards you run across.
3: Gloomhaven has a "prosperity level" tracked across the bottom of the board, with little squares you fill in as the level increases. At each new level, new items become available to buy. Additionally, any new character can automatically level up to the current prosperity level - so a character being started when Gloomhaven is at level 3 could automatically level up to level 3 themselves.
4: There are three sealed envelopes that you're instructed to open when certain conditions have been met.
5: Of the 17 classes in the game, only 6 are initially available. The others are in sealed packages that are unlocked when certain conditions are met.

Spoiler: Show



When a new character is created, that character draws a personal goal card. Their goal might be to get enough money to retire, or it might be to see the world by exploring a certain number of locations, etc. Once that character's personal goal has been met, they retire, usually unlocking something new in the process. That player then creates a new character with certain bonuses. Rather than playing one specific character through the entire campaign, the group instead controls a party with members that come and go as their own personal goals demand.


Aside from the legacy system, the game's most novel feature might be how combat/movement/etc. are handled. Each character class has a hand of cards, with the hand size determined by the character class. You always have access to your entire hand of cards, which you select from the cards available to your class and level before the scenario starts.

Each card has a top effect and a bottom effect - something like "move 5" or "attack 3". Some will inflict status effects or heal or do other, more complex stuff. Every turn, you play two cards from your hand. You then do the top effect from one and the bottom effect from the other. Those cards then go to your discard pile.

To get cards back from your discard pile, you have to rest. When you do, you get your cards back - except for one, which is lost for the rest of the mission. If you ever have too few cards to play 2 in a turn AND you don't have enough to rest (2), you're exhausted and out of the fight, same as if you'd run out of HP. Additionally, some cards will have very powerful effects...with the trade-off that they're lost, not discarded, when those effects are used. Thus, combat becomes more about managing resources and planning out your actions from a set list of abilities than rolling dice and hoping for the best.

That's not to say it's completely without randomness. Each monster type has its own AI deck, so you can never be entirely sure what those monsters are going to do in a given turn. Additionally, each player (and the monsters) have a deck comprised of cards with values like +0, +1, -2, etc. On each attack, you draw one and use that to modify the results. As characters level up, they gain perks which can be used to alter the makeup of this deck; for instance, replacing a -2 card with a +0, or adding cards that grant additional modifiers like armor piercing or poison.

There's more to the game - for instance, event cards drawn from either a city or road events deck, populated with cards determined by choices you've made in the game or added when you unlocked other things. But that's the gist of it.

Right now, my group is 3 games in, and I'm really, really liking it, maybe more so than any of the other dungeon-crawly games I own. The combat system is absolutely brilliant, and the legacy aspects add to the sense of weight behind everything you do. If there's any interest, I might post updates of how our campaign is going, just so people can get an idea of what it looks like (especially if they're unable to get a copy or just aren't interested in shelling out the cash).
 
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Crumbs

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Any way to play it without the legacy part or at least a way to mitigate the stickering of things?
 

Calliope

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Any way to play it without the legacy part or at least a way to mitigate the stickering of things?
Pretty easily. There are reset kits on BGG where you can print out a copy of the map and/or stickers, you could just track stuff on that instead of putting things on the actual board. You could, I guess, also just keep a list of which scenarios you've unlocked, since they're all numbered. The map just serves as a visual reference of which scenarios are available and which ones you've already completed.
 

Stork!

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Any way to play it without the legacy part or at least a way to mitigate the stickering of things?
You don't have to sticker anything. You can just keep track of what's unlocked with pen and paper. BGG also has a whole bunch of files for resetting the game after playing it. PDFs of the map and stickers and so on.
 

Crumbs

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Awesome. It is just the stickering I saw as a problem. From everything you posted this is right up my alley and our group is looking for a campaign game the is not pandemic.
 

Calliope

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Awesome. It is just the stickering I saw as a problem. From everything you posted this is right up my alley and our group is looking for a campaign game the is not pandemic.
It may be hard to get at the moment, as apparently there were a whole lot more retail orders than there were copies to go around. That said, you might get lucky if your local store managed to score some copies from their distributor.

If not, there's apparently a reprint due sometime later this year, at least.
 

Geoff Watson

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I've got it, though I've only played the first scenario.
Looks great, though I don't know if my gaming group is interested in such a long campaign.
 

Stork!

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It may be hard to get at the moment, as apparently there were a whole lot more retail orders than there were copies to go around. That said, you might get lucky if your local store managed to score some copies from their distributor.

If not, there's apparently a reprint due sometime later this year, at least.
25 000 preorders for 2250 copies. The game really blew up after it was already printed unfortunately.

I can't wait for my copy to arrive although I'm not sure I'll have anyone to play with, hopefully my girlfriend enjoys it.
 

jeremywolf81

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25 000 preorders for 2250 copies. The game really blew up after it was already printed unfortunately.

I can't wait for my copy to arrive although I'm not sure I'll have anyone to play with, hopefully my girlfriend enjoys it.
You can play it solo if need be; the monsters are automated in a sense, everyone gets to be the player and the baddies follow specific rules and their own cards. I somehow managed to be one of the lucky few that got a retail version of this. Played two scenarios today and I seem to be doing alright with my group of Brute, Scoundrel and Spellweaver.
 

Kath

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My copy turned up on Friday, and I've done a few test games solo against the first scenario without any of the RP/story text. So far, I'm really liking it, especially as I learn how to play more. The first test (brute and mindthief) failed part way into the final room, the second test (tinkerer and cragheart) barely passed, and the third test (brute and scoundrel) was an easy victory.

I'm really looking forward to playing the campaign properly soon - I have a regular group that's done Pandemic Legacy and Warhammer Quest, and so I'm hoping that Gloomhaven clicks for them too.

I'm in awe of how much content there is in this game. There's a 15 odd classes, a score or so of monster types, dozens of terrain tiles and nearly 100 scenarios. The box is massive, and it weighs nine kilos!
 
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