I have successfully completed my first two scenarios of Gloomhaven and thought I would do a quick post highlighting my initial thoughts and impressions.
(+) Oh. My. Goodness. This game is INCREDIBLY tactical.
Selecting 2 cards from your hand to play each turn initially seems luxurious (Wow! I can do whatever I want!)... but then you need to consider initiative. And then you need to try and think what the monsters will do - will you still be able to do that action if the monster moves? And then you need to consider if you might need that top or bottom action for a different situation later. And all this adds up an incredibly deep tactical system. Amazing.
(+) This game is wonderfully thematic and tense. You really feel like a mercenary team heading into a dungeon - the flavor text and the map tiles are pretty awesome so far. I won both of the scenarios I played by the skin of my teeth! Each game I had one character exhausted (essentially out of the game) and the other character was using their last two cards in a desperate attempt to finish off the last monster. I was on the edge of my seat when I was drawing my attack modifier cards!
(+) The rule book is excellent! Easy to read, clear, and relatively concise.
(+) So much to see and do! I unlocked a side mission in one of the scenarios and I can’t wait to go and check that out! Or do I continue the main storyline? I can’t wait to keep playing.
(+) Plays great solo! I can see why the designer tells you to increase the difficulty when playing by yourself. Knowing exactly what your characters will do is a huge advantage.
(-) There is a lot to manage and do in this game. Can be very overwhelming. A good organizational system is flat out required to enjoy this game. I actually did something that I’ve never done with a game before- I went out and bought 4 Plano boxes to store components and counters and such. I’m very happy I did!
(-) Setup time can be very lengthy. Even with my sorted and organized components it still takes a while to get everything ready.
My initial thoughts: This game is everything they say it is. Tense, thematic, deep, rewarding,
and challenging. I’m looking forward to many more fun and exciting games. Very happy to be a Gloomhaven owner.