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× Talk about the latest and greatest AT, and the Classics.

Jaws of the Lion

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31 Jan 2024 23:57 - 01 Feb 2024 12:11 #341682 by Sagrilarus
Jaws of the Lion was created by Sagrilarus
So we've been playing this and it hasn't exactly set our world on fire. It is exceptionally well regarded, so this came as a bit of a surprise.

The consensus of our post game show tonight was that it's not very dynamic. It's kind of a vanilla play that does what it does with competence, but that there's no surprises, no variation in the concept. We're 5 scenarios in so there's still a fair way to go, but as of now all the opponents are the same, different standees to represent them but doing the same battly things.

Jaws of the Lion is in the top ten.

We're going to continue, but all four of us are thinking it's more or less an engine builder, a hand management kind of play. We're thinking we'll keep going until we reach level 5 for our characters.

Anyone else play this? Is there a significant change in the nature of the play at higher levels?
Last edit: 01 Feb 2024 12:11 by Sagrilarus.
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01 Feb 2024 13:51 #341684 by southernman
Replied by southernman on topic Jaws of the Lion
I started with a mate who had played Gloomhaven mainly because I wanted to experience the Gloomhaven thing, we only got thru 5 scenarios as well before my house renovations interrupted us. I'm not sure if his lack of free time will allow us to continue but I was happy enough with those five plays to restart it with other people.
I'm a big AT game player/owner who very seldom plays euro-leaning games but I'm also big into co-op, narrative, character building adventure games so I haven't had any bad feelings from it yet - but I can see other pure fighty, competitive AT players not getting a great lot of fun out of it.
And how I feel at the end will decide if I keep both Gloomhaven and Frosthaven (picked up in decent deals), just one of them, or sell both.
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01 Feb 2024 16:59 #341688 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Jaws of the Lion
Fundamentally it's an engine builder, with an adventure theme. But I think they missed the chance to make things more interesting with very little additional rules load. As it stands the combat rules are complete snoozers. I'm wondering if they're more interesting in the bigger titles.
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01 Feb 2024 20:02 #341692 by dysjunct
Replied by dysjunct on topic Jaws of the Lion
I played the first 3-4 scenarios. I've never played the original Gloomhaven.

I thought it was boring and anti-thematic.

- Boring: repetitive, illusion of choice, go here and fight stuff. Fighting is very samey. Occasionally you get a thing that is mildly different.

- Anti-thematic. The limitations of using one half of a card, and then not being able to use a move again (or for the first time, if it was on the half of the card you didn't choose) until you rest was just silly. I am a fantasy hero but I can't poke at a rat again without taking a breather!

Like most of these games, it made me want to play D&D instead.
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01 Feb 2024 21:10 #341693 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Jaws of the Lion
Yeah, there's some really gamey aspects. My character just came to a rest in one of the battles. Wasn't dead, had plenty of pips. I just wasn't allowed to do anything. I pretended to take a nap and told everyone to fight more quietly. And with you holding all your cards every time you can do your set-piece opening attack. So my character kinda has his official boss move. I can do it everytime.

Just seems like odd decisions were made. Apparently they're correct ones, because everybody seems to love the game. I'm finding it too rote.
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02 Feb 2024 08:44 #341697 by hotseatgames
Replied by hotseatgames on topic Jaws of the Lion
I've never played the tabletop version, but I have the Gloomhaven PC game and it did not grab me. Just felt like too much work.
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02 Feb 2024 11:40 #341698 by Virabhadra
Replied by Virabhadra on topic Jaws of the Lion
Even my girlfriend, who will play anything with me (especially if there's a story connected), started suggesting different games by the time we got to the 10th mission. Whoever said that Gloomhaven is to tactical mini's combat as Mage Knight is to D&D nailed it - all the fuss and none of the color.

Also, there's too much shit on each card and I never felt like hard memorizing it to play the deck-building aspect well. I'm willing to put the work in for a good solo experience, but Gloomhaven just isn't very rewarding.
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04 Feb 2024 07:11 - 04 Feb 2024 07:13 #341708 by Sevej
Replied by Sevej on topic Jaws of the Lion
I really don't like it. Tried it because of all the noise around the original game. The only good thing about it is the map booklet, and even they screwed that up by not making more beautiful maps and sticks to brown, grey and blacks just to be gloomy.

Don't like the combat. Random as hell. The cards give illusion of planning. It doesn't, it just makes it hard to do stuff. Don't like blessing. Don't like messing up with the elements. Don't like the very incremental nature of adding cards of the combat deck (+1 card among more than a dozen that you may or may not see). Blah blah blah. Don't really like the setting.

The worst part: checking up 3 or 4 different cards just to deal 1 damage. Or no damage. Blargh.
Last edit: 04 Feb 2024 07:13 by Sevej.
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05 Feb 2024 12:19 #341715 by Cappster_
Replied by Cappster_ on topic Jaws of the Lion
I'm glad that others feel the same as we did.

I just edited the episode we recorded after playing Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, and we all agreed that it was pretty bland, which seems odd for a game in the top 10 on BGG.

I think we ended up landing on the game lacking "Dynamism." We played through the first five scenarios over 10-ish hours over four sessions. In the end, we felt like a) we were not making many meaningful decisions during the scenarios, or b) we were not making many meaningful decisions that affected our character and their progression.

Sure, you could tailor which action/ability cards went into your hand at the beginning of each scenario - but my gut is that this is an illusion of choice. You'll probably play your optimal pairing of cards in an optimal order, scenario after scenario. This becomes more automatic/linear as you play and figure out what is optimal. As Sag likes to say, the game suffers GACMITS. Generally Accepted Correct Moved In This Scenario. Nothing in the game framework even tries to mix things up: There are no abilities that rely on chance (other than the combat modifier), and you generally have all of your options available. Even drawing a hand of cards vs. having all of your cards available could shake this up - although I suspect some cards need to be modified.

And (as far as we can tell, as far as we have gotten), all the choices you are presented with during character progression are meant to reduce the variance in combat, which is okay if you want an efficiency puzzle with a dungeon crawl theme (which I think is why it ranks so high on BGG). Me personally: This isn't what I want in a Dungeon Crawler.

At some point in our conversation, I compare Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion to Heat: Pedal to the Metal. I can't remember if it made the recording, but Heat: Pedal to the Metal basically missed the mark with us as a Racing Game. However, I found it to be a pretty great hand-management game. It's a strange dichotomy that leaves me still unsure how I feel overall about Heat. I'm having the same dilemma with Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. As a Hand Management game, I think JotL is pretty good. However, it presents as a Dungeon Crawl, and there are a myriad of other dungeon crawlers that I think dungeon crawl better. Because of this, I think I am less inclined to agree with the praise that Jaws of the Lion has heaped upon it.

We have agreed as a group to either stick with it to level 5 or skip to level 5. I know a "big change" happens around that point, and I am interested in seeing if it makes the game more interesting. At the very least, it will provide us with another episode to put out, either recanting our previous opinions or doubling down.
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05 Feb 2024 13:36 #341717 by Ah_Pook
Replied by Ah_Pook on topic Jaws of the Lion

southernman wrote: I started with a mate who had played Gloomhaven mainly because I wanted to experience the Gloomhaven thing, we only got thru 5 scenarios as well before my house renovations interrupted us. I'm not sure if his lack of free time will allow us to continue but I was happy enough with those five plays to restart it with other people.
I'm a big AT game player/owner who very seldom plays euro-leaning games but I'm also big into co-op, narrative, character building adventure games so I haven't had any bad feelings from it yet - but I can see other pure fighty, competitive AT players not getting a great lot of fun out of it.
And how I feel at the end will decide if I keep both Gloomhaven and Frosthaven (picked up in decent deals), just one of them, or sell both.


however you feel about JOTL at the end, i can assure you that you definitely dont need unplayed copies of both Gloomhaven and Frosthaven. either one will be a monumental undertaking to reach the end of.
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05 Feb 2024 16:09 #341720 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Jaws of the Lion
The food is terrible, but there's plenty of it!
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08 Feb 2024 08:26 - 08 Feb 2024 08:29 #341737 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Jaws of the Lion
My girlfriend and I played about 10 scenarios. Then we moved and haven’t gotten it back out. It’s a less clumsy and shorter thing than the big box Gloomhavens, but still not the most fun game ever.

It’s complicated enough to compare to tactical video games, but it doesn’t look so great in comparison.

That said, I think 12 year old me and my friends would have eaten it up!
Last edit: 08 Feb 2024 08:29 by Jexik.
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08 Feb 2024 08:44 #341738 by Virabhadra
Replied by Virabhadra on topic Jaws of the Lion
How could I forget about the Magic track? That thing puts the 'F' in 'fiddly.'
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08 Feb 2024 12:46 #341741 by Msample
Replied by Msample on topic Jaws of the Lion
A friend of mine and I played a fair bit of GLOOMHAVEN , each running 2 characters at a time. The narrative/arc whatever was skim deep at best. I viewed the game as more of a tactical puzzle generator than any sort of narrative driven campaign. Same for playing on Steam.
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10 Feb 2024 11:42 #341755 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Jaws of the Lion
Tactical puzzle generator is a great encapsulation of Gloomhaven.
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