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Cephalofair Games

Gloomhaven is a game of Euro-inspired tactical combat in a persistent world of shifting motives. Players will take on the role of a wandering adventurer with their own special set of skills and their own reasons for traveling to this dark corner of the world.

Gloomhaven is a game of Euro-inspired tactical combat in a persistent world of shifting motives. Players will take on the role of a wandering adventurer with their own special set of skills and their own reasons for traveling to this dark corner of the world. Players must work together out of necessity to clear out menacing dungeons and forgotten ruins. In the process, they will enhance their abilities with experience and loot, discover new locations to explore and plunder, and expand an ever-branching story fueled by the decisions they make. This is a game with a persistent and changing world that is ideally played over many game sessions. After a scenario, players will make decisions on what to do, which will determine how the story continues, kind of like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Playing through a scenario is a cooperative affair where players will fight against automated monsters using an innovative card system to determine the order of play and what a player does on their turn.

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Second coming of Jesus in boardgame form. My most played title ever.
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boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #301611 10 Sep 2019 17:58
I searched the site - I only found a few topics with Gloomhaven in the title, not counting Michael's sale - One, from last year saying we should talk about Gloomhaven, which was filled with people mostly talking about why they haven't played it, or were playing (Game that is marginally similar - i.e. Dungeon crawler, minis, theme, legacy) that they felt filled the same play space. And the other thread was a Trashdome where the FaT crowd mostly handed Silver Tower a unanimous victory based on the fact that almost no one but Charlie had played the game and Silver tower had dice and some people used the word euro to describe some it's mechanics, which was very problematic for people that had never played the game.

My copy arrives tomorrow. I'm ashamed to admit how much it feels like Christmas. I played it 3 weeks ago for a friends birthday and it took over the table for the rest of the weekend. The twelve year old in me, that spent rainy weekends wearing out Hero Quest with his brothers and friends, thinks this is the best thing that has ever happened, and the puzzle loving 46 year old me loves it too!

I think we need an actual Gloomhaven game/table talk thread, for people that actually are, or are interested in, playing the game, and maybe discuss all the high-brow topics of component bloat, kickstarter excesses, industry shifts, the resurgence of rpg's, etc. somewhere else. If any of the mods prefer it based on a different sub-forum, have at it - I punted and stuck it in catch all.

I'm thinking that most people would prefer spoiler tags if you are going to talk about specific missions or any materials not revealed when you open the box - i.e. unlocked classes, the contents of any of the envelopes, scenarios, city and road cards - If we had people that wanted to talk specific scenarios alot, maybe we could do a sub thread.

/Seriously had to adult myself into not planning a short work day tomorrow, so that I could meet the Fed-Ex guy
//and hug him
///well, at least a high five
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #301612 10 Sep 2019 18:24
So - My first conundrum. Who gets to play? I have a group of gaming associates - people that I play with at meet ups, that definitely would be all over this, and a few that I really get along with and like puzzley games, as well as the subject matter. Then there are a handful of friends that I game with in family settings, and we usually put a movie on for the kids, and then play Takenoko, or Legendary, Betrayal, Villainous and other middle weight games, and a few of the guys (and their 12-14 year old boys) would really dig this. My wife seeing how into it I was, said, maybe I will play that one with you (I don't think she is going to like it....) And of course if either of my daughters or my son in law was into it, I would want to play with them all of the time.

I would like to have a weekly game - I will host unless someone with a better set-up wanted to host - And I would like to play with mostly the same people - But I know that someone will drop out at some point. And also, 3 seemed like a good number - 4 seemed like it would drag unless you had 4 that were fully engaged and liked to play quick, because one Analysis/Paralysis guy during card selection could really suck the joy out of a session.

So my questions for those of you that have taken this for a spin :

How did you put your play group together? How did you handle it when someone wasn't there? Or when you had someone that wanted to jump in on a Gloomhaven in progress? Did you have designated "at large" characters for drop ins to play? Did people share characters? Did any of you try running two games out of the same box?
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #301614 10 Sep 2019 19:12

boothwah wrote: How did you put your play group together? How did you handle it when someone wasn't there? Or when you had someone that wanted to jump in on a Gloomhaven in progress? Did you have designated "at large" characters for drop ins to play? Did people share characters? Did any of you try running two games out of the same box?

Disclaimer: I haven't played Gloomhaven, but I was in a small group that completed Silver Tower and is currently partway through Blackstone Fortress. More to the point, we faced the same issues that you are now facing, except for the important distinction that Gloomhaven is a legacy game.

Our Silver Tower group consisted of a three committed players plus one player who we knew in advance would be moving away before we finished. Our Blackstone Fortress group is the same three committed players plus one less reliable player. To minimize absences, we only play when all three of the committed players are available, which is about once every 4 or 5 weeks. Sometimes we will dedicate a long session to the game, and sometimes we just play for part of a session after playing some other board game. We used to take turns running the extra character when there was a no-show, but the host doesn't mind running the extra character so we tend to leave that to him. Running a second game would be possible, and maybe our host has been doing it. Just in case, we all take a camera phone picture of our character's stuff before putting the game away. Blackstone Fortress also has "card vaults" for the specific purpose of keeping each character's stuff together between games.

For your purposes, the legacy game factor means that you probably shouldn't run more than one Gloomhaven group at a time, because the components will be getting altered through play. For the same reason, you should stick with a single core group of solid players. Most of my gamer friends would find it impossible to make it to a weekly game on the regular, but I have had good success with role-playing campaigns that meet on a bi-weekly basis at the same scheduled time. Also, I suspect that even one AP player could really be a drag in Gloomhaven.
ThirstyMan's Avatar
ThirstyMan replied the topic: #301638 11 Sep 2019 11:56
Is solo play possible?
Frohike's Avatar
Frohike replied the topic: #301639 11 Sep 2019 12:15
Yes, although it does give you full information for the initiative and cards played by all characters. This has a couple of effects: the rules require you to increase the difficulty setting a notch, and each round can start to take on a kind of... mathy/Mage Knight sluggishness if you don’t restrain yourself from micromanaging each possible action combination. Some people actually prefer that quasi-brain-burn every round. I personally have to force myself to turn it off or fatigue sets in.
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #301646 11 Sep 2019 16:34
Solo play is very robust. I wouldn't want to run more than 2 characters myself. I did a solo scenario myself with my buds stuff, and it was enjoyable....I tend to play pretty fast and loose, rather than spend 15 minutes s round on the brain burn - but it can be as puzzley as you want....

I don't see myself playing much is a perfectly good game for solo play....probably one of the best if you are into tactical skirmish puzzles. And maybe the branching story line/unlockable legacy content is icing on the cake for that crowd. But for me it's the whole sandwich, plus the social side of a shared ritual.

So excited to play with other people. But who knows, maybe sometime down the road, I will play some solo gh vs. starting another Xcom2 save.
Varys's Avatar
Varys replied the topic: #301651 11 Sep 2019 23:33
I finished the campaign and it was about 80% solo. At first, I only did 2 characters solo, but 2 is sometimes not the best number. 3 is consistently good, so I eventually got used to that especially once the GH helper app came out. Near the end of the campaign, I did play 4 a bit more often mainly to help speed up the unlocking of classes (more characters means more chances to unlock some of the personal goals).

Btw, the helper app is amazing.
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #301667 12 Sep 2019 16:42
The box was waiting on my coffee table when I got home. Opened, as I my 19 year old daughter thought it might have been the mother of all cosmetic shipments from Amazon.

"Your game came, Dad. I tried unpacking it for you, but it's to freaking heavy - what is it?"

"Do you want the drinking from the firehose version or do you want to wait until I unpack it and try to give you the 20 minute sell on it?"

"Short version."

"Like Pathfinder, in that we have our own dudes with their own cards and abilities and we get new cards and abilities, and there is an ongoing campaign. The combat is tactical minis, you submit two actions cards face down each turn and then act them out in initiative order. We work through a campaign book and our success/failure/choices open or close various locations and scenarios."

"Sounds cool? How long does it take to play?"

"About a half hour per person."

"I want to try it."


Later in the evening, the wife finally sits down and says, "So this is the big one you've been chasing since Ryan's B-day?"

I asked her if she wanted to the rundown - She looked over the components - "not tonight, and I'm going to want a glass of wine, because I'm guessing you're going to want to watch a video."

So - Yay?!?
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #301981 24 Sep 2019 20:08
First game of the campaign went well. We went Brute, Mindthief, Cragheart. Check marks all around and treasure chest looted to boot.

Some takeaways -

I will only play without the app, if playing without the app is the only option. At first I was hesitant because I like all the rituals and damage tokens and markers are not that onerous to deal with. But man it saves a BUNCH of table space not having all the envelopes and action decks out. Probably saved 20 minutes total, with reduced set up, tear down and in game administration.

I will weekly remind our group to pursue checkmarks and that the tension between the slightly selfish battle goals, and the hidden information are what keep this game from being like Pandemic and that none of us want that alpha gaming experience.

Making the best of a dog's breakfast when you're last in initiative order is a valuable skill to have. Getting bent over not being able to do the amazing thing you hoped to do, is something that you need to be able deal with gracefully, or this is not the game for you. I would go as far as saying, if you've ever been accused of being an alpha gamer, or know that you have those tendencies, you should probably try a practice session with at least 2 other people, because there's a good chance this game might not be for you.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #302216 05 Oct 2019 10:19

An interesting development. Also I hope Gloomhaven: Subtitle is the official name.

Edit: the tweet won't work? It's a stripped down retail version of Gloomhaven with 4 new characters and 24 scenarios. Compatible with the base game. $40ish.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #302217 05 Oct 2019 11:14
The new smaller version might have been up my alley if the video game version wasn’t already in early access. I’ll probably just buy that some day.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #302218 05 Oct 2019 11:18
Yea honestly once people don't want to play a game without the helper app instead of faffing with the actual cardboard I think it should just be a video game at some point. Either way though, bite size Gloomhaven at Target is neat. Plus this probably fits way more into how much most people will actually play Gloomhaven.

Edit: also works as an expansion to Gloomhaven which is neat. All new characters, monsters, and scenarios.
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #304440 21 Nov 2019 23:01
So we are well into our three player campaign. Now that we are playing on the weekly the itch to pull it out for solo play has subsided.

Everyone hit level 2. This game really hits it's shine on that 4th or 5th session. This week's game we set up, played, and picked up and realized our plays are running @ an hour, so I'm going to start setting up 15 minutes early so we can get 2 scenarios in from now on.

When I get some free time at my pc, and can be arsed, I'll put up some spoiler tags and talk some stats and gameplay.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #304441 21 Nov 2019 23:07
Do you think part of the game shining a number of sessions in is related to player attachment to their characters or is it that they're powerful enough to have new tools and options...?
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #304443 22 Nov 2019 00:31

Gary Sax wrote: Do you think part of the game shining a number of sessions in is related to player attachment to their characters or is it that they're powerful enough to have new tools and options...?

Yes. Both.

In both groups, it followed a similar pattern:
The first two sessions you are figuring out how to play the game and your character. The 3rd and 4th session you are figuring out how to play well together. By that time you are adding some sauce in optimizing your playstyle and starting to make choices on perks, items, and new cards. It's really a nice ride.
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #304584 26 Nov 2019 20:49
Last night was fun. We didn't get 2 scenarios in because I was too distracted during the game and played too slow for a bit. Also, I didn't set up early. It's my fault, I own it.

We re ran a side scenario we had previously failed, and our level 2 selves were burning cards for xp and stretching the ending out to try to maximize some looting. Quite a change from exhausting 2/3 of the way through the first try.

Our breakdown on why in no particular order:

- we have to admit that variance is a thing. There weren't any memorable null attacks or curses on our draws, but we did have at least 3 fortuitous crits on some big attacks

- We know our heroes pretty well now. For example : The Tinkerer player said, regarding the difference between the two attempts, hes had about 4 sessions to figure out that the tinkerer almost has to be a little liberal with a few of his impact cards early to get real value out of them, and that having that luxury is what made the Jack of all trades playstyle work, without taxing the rest of the party.

- Knowing the scenario helps a lot. It informs card and item selection. In this particular case we purposefully chose to run it on occasion of all 3 of us donating to the great oak, because we knew the scenario was handing out curses. And....the mind thief chose the negate scenario effect perk because of the experience he had with the curses the first go around.

- We had more stuff ....level, items

- We had perks, and back to the first point, controlling variance is always the best way to cheese the system. Once your combat deck is cleaned up, you do what you are planning to do more often.

We threw most of our weight in the breakdown analysis on the knowing how to play your cards/hero aspect, to satisfy our egos, whilst begrudgingly acknowledging that in fact wild ass card pulls from our currently overcooked combat decks shared an equal amount of influence on the outcome.

We'll see what we say when the monsters level up.

/I will clean this up sometime when I am not on my phone
//or I will complete the third slashy when I discover this a week from now and shame myself.
///looks fine for a phone post to me
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #305215 17 Dec 2019 21:52
This week, we introduced a new player to our game, as one thr regs was out, and the guy who was planning to be our 4th finally was done with seasonal play and was available for a try it out. It went well.

We set up the game, gave him a 10 minute verbal rules run down, and jumped right in. This game is really easy to join as a new player in an established group. 10 minutes, pick an envelope and there you go. A new player doesn't need to learn th a.i. or any of the bookkeeping as a primer. By the end of the session, he had it all down and was calling the enemy focus and such.

Tdil : You only need Rodney or the How to Play if you are all new. This game is a breeze to teach.
boothwah's Avatar
boothwah replied the topic: #309383 19 Apr 2020 16:34
Here's my quarantine set up. The board gets to stay on the wall for the duration per the Queen. Missing my bros...I got their buy on to tooele away with my Brute and a new Scoundrel. Gonna clean up some half done missions and probably retire the Brute before we get taken out of lockdown.