Skurvy5

Gloomhaven: First Impressions

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. 

4 points by Skurvy5 - updated 6 days ago | 52 comments | report | subscribe

BenjaminK 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Good to hear! Was it difficult to learn at all, or were you able to jump into it relatively quickly?

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Hmmm. I don’t know. I tend to over prepare for my games. I watched tons of different videos and read the rule book several times. I got the game on Christmas and didn’t play until two weeks after. 

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

But I guess I didn’t answer your question. Globally it’s not a difficult game. Similar to Imperial Assault in a broad sense. There are of course many details to learn 

BenjaminK 7 days ago | 1 point[-]

Good to know. I’ve been rather intimidated by it, but I really don’t know much about it. I really do hope to play it though. And with what you say, I’m not AS intimidated haha

Skurvy5 Supporter7 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’m glad I got the app. But I’m also glad I did the first two scenarios without it. It’s not that it’s too hard to play... it’s just that the app helps things run faster and it reminds you of each little thing along the way. 

Marshwiggle92 Supporter7 days ago | 1 point[-]

Sounds like the perfect app for a game like gloomhaven. 

WadeB1977 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I am glad you enjoyed it.  My friend and I have completed 52 scenarios (we counted the other morning) and about 12 or so in we started using an App.  We have android phones so its free, but you have to pay for it if you use iPhone.  The app was very helpful in reducing our setup and take down time as well as managing the game play.  I was adverse to it at first because part of the gaming experience is getting away from technology...however, in THIS case I found that it gave us so much extra play time it was worth it.  What the app will do is remove the need to find monster cards, monster modifiers, and deal with adding the monster hit points on the table as well as tracking your own status effects (poison, immobilize, etc).  You still need your modifier deck and everything else...mostly the app manages the monster damage.  You have to move the monster though and be aware of all the priorities for monster focus and movement choices.  

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Yeah. I might start using the app eventually but I wanted the full experience first. 

disom 9 days ago | 1 point[-]

I said this in another post, but I really need to get on the Gloomhaven train. My hesitation is that my group likes to play a lot of different games and this seems like a huge commitment from everyone. I won't play solo so I'd need everyone on board to not only play, but also do the work to learn the game.

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

It’s a huge commitment to get a group involved with Gloomhaven. I got the game with the intention of playing it solo. My game group is only able to meet monthly so there is no way we’d be able to play such a long campaign game. 

Why are you against solo play?

disom 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I've just not gotten much enjoyment out of it from board games. I'd much rather play a video game or a digital implementation of a board game on my phone or computer. I play more for the social aspect, even if it's a multiplayer solitaire euro. 

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I used to think that way. And sometimes I still do prefer a good video game over a solo board game. But then I go and look at my collection and think about playing a physical board game. And it’s just so satisfying to play one, even if you would prefer to play multiplayer. 

WadeB1977 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I play a 5 character campaign with several friends and we often have someone who can't make it and there are a few backups that fill in when one of the main fellas is gone (someone will ask so for 5 characters you raise the scenario level by 2 and use the four player monster placement data...no it doesn't appear to crowd the board too much).  

What makes it great for a group is the narrative in the game.  With each player having a life goal you will unlock new characters (a game changing experience that makes the game feel new every time) new city and road events, and new narratives depending on the choices you make.  Now, we use the app to choose initiative and manage the monsters so our setup and takedown and game time is greatly reduced.  I think we generally get through a 5 character scenario in about 3 hours but the caveat is we still have players who don't game a lot learning the game.  After a few scenarios that time will go down.  we also take break to eat cheese and drink beer...that cuts into my accurate measurement of time here. 

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’m going to get the app soon but I wanted to learn every detail of the game before I start offloading to the app. 

Marshwiggle92 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Good idea. 

Sometime I would like to see your top five or ten games, especially considering the new heavy hitters you have gotten the last several months. 

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I got the app last night. It’s a huge difference maker. 

You can probably guess my top 5 pretty easily. 

Marshwiggle92 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I'm just curious where gloomhaven, paladins, and spirit island fall   

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I haven’t played Paladins yet. 

1. Rebellion 

2. Gloomhaven 

3. Imperial Assault

4. Scythe

5. Spirit Island 

philryuh Supporter7 days ago | 1 point[-]

IA!!!!

Marshwiggle92 Supporter7 days ago | 1 point[-]

Excellent. Thanks. 

Sliddell11 9 days ago | 1 point[-]

That is my same hesitation. No one in my groups can be consistent enough to play a game like this. The solo interests me, but I couldn’t drop that amount of money for just solo

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Then get it for Christmas from your Dad like I did!

Sliddell11 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Haha that’s how I get most of my games! Unless there are major sales...

WadeB1977 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I'll reference my comment above for the consistence of players...as for cost, I have not found a game yet that dollar for dollar compares to Gloomhaven.  Not even close.  I have probably played close to 200 hours of Gloomhave for the $100 I spent and still haven't finished the original game (my two player buddy and I are close though) AND...after we finish the game, we can go back and do the scenarios we didn't unlock (probably another 25-30 scenarios).  I expect to get 400 hours out of this game.  I haven't even started playing with my son or daughter which I will probably do in the next year or two.  Make that 600 hours.  For a $100 game that is pretty good.  

Sliddell11 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Wow I def didn’t realize the gameplay hour potential! That’s a ton!

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Agreed. I think value per dollar with this one is simply out of the park. It’s a large initial investment but you need to consider it like an investment - it pays off the more you use it. 

Sliddell11 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Definitely. Cheaper than a game system and yet more hours of game time. You both are swaying me...

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

There is a huge reason it’s ranked #1 on BGG. 

Sliddell11 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Another solid argument.... we shall see!

Marshwiggle92 Supporter9 days ago | 1 point[-]

Awesome. Glad you like it. I hear the ending of the main story is flat out awesome. If that is so, than that makes the situation even better. 

Skurvy5 Supporter9 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’m definitely intrigued by the story so far!

Marshwiggle92 Supporter9 days ago | 1 point[-]

Good 

Sliddell11 9 days ago | 1 point[-]

Bro that looks so crazy! I’ve never seen gloomhaven laid how before. Glad you’ve enjoyed it so far!

so with setup being a beast and also wanting to get a decent amount of playtime in, how do you minimize wasted time/setup time for each gameplay?

Skurvy5 Supporter9 days ago | 1 point[-]

My solution is to just leave it set up! I’ve got a card table in the corner of our bedroom so I can leave it out and play it most evenings while my wife reads or watches a show. That way we can still be together and I can save time!

BenjaminK 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

And it fits ok on the card table? I would have thought it would take up more space.

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Ok so I bought the Gloomhaven helper app and used it tonight. It did a lot of things. Saves a ton of table space. Helped me remember to adjust elements. Gave a nice visual layout for turn order. Helped track damage much easier  

I think I forgot to use shield for the bad guys though. That’s probably a bad thing. 

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Do you see that picture? It barely fits on the table. 

BenjaminK 7 days ago | 1 point[-]

Hahaha Fair. Do other campaigns get bigger and take up more room?

Skurvy5 Supporter7 days ago | 1 point[-]

As far as I’ve seen all the scenarios are about that size. But I haven’t played all 95. So perhaps someone with more experience can answer that!

BenjaminK 6 days ago | 1 point[-]

95! Holy cow that’s a lot of content! No wonder the box is so massive haha 

Marshwiggle92 Supporter6 days ago | 1 point[-]

Only 22 lbs. 

BenjaminK 6 days ago | 1 point[-]

A person could get huge muscles from constant play haha

Marshwiggle92 Supporter6 days ago | 1 point[-]

There you have it. 


"me a geek? Nah....Look at these guns!" 

Skurvy5 Supporter6 days ago | 1 point[-]

This is the real reason they made Gloomhaven the way that it is. 

Marshwiggle92 Supporter6 days ago | 1 point[-]

Isaac Childress : Undercover Exercise Advocate. 

WadeB1977 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I generally do the same thing when I play long games alone and leave them set up on a table in my office.  For Gloomhaven, my buddy has a garage in his backyeard with heating and air and we play out there in the early mornings and leave it set up.  He plays with his kids too. 

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

That’s awesome. My garage is neither heated nor air conditioned. 

Sliddell11 9 days ago | 1 point[-]

That’s a pretty great idea! Unfortunately I only have my kitchen table, so every game of solo I’ve played so far is going in and out of the box every time haha 

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Yes it wouldn’t work if I only had my kitchen table. Good thing I have my super fancy card table. 

Sliddell11 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Haha. I’d love to get a high quality game table one day. But that wouldn’t happen for YEARS

Skurvy5 Supporter8 days ago | 1 point[-]

Oh my wife will never let me get one. 

Sliddell11 8 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’m for sure in that boat too lol

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