Gloomhaven: First Impressions

Supporter
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. 

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10 months ago

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

Supporter10 months ago

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. 

Supporter10 months ago

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 

10 months ago

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

Supporter10 months ago

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. 

Supporter10 months ago

Sounds like the perfect app for a game like gloomhaven. 

10 months ago

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.  

Supporter10 months ago

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

10 months ago

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.

Supporter10 months ago

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?

10 months ago

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. 

Supporter10 months ago

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. 

10 months ago

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. 

Supporter10 months ago

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. 

Supporter10 months ago

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. 

Supporter10 months ago

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

You can probably guess my top 5 pretty easily. 

9 months ago

Would you recommend using the app right from the beginning, or do you think it would be better for new players to try the game without it for a scenario or two? (I understand that you started without the app, but I am interested in what you would recommend to a new player now that you've experienced the game both ways.)

Supporter9 months ago

I’m glad that I played the first couple of scenarios without the app. It helped me understand the workings of the game. But once you understand how it works it’s nice to have the app handle some of the work so you can focus more on the fun stuff  


9 months ago

Thank you!

I am starting the first scenario next week, and I was conflicted about using the app from the beginning. I'll do as you suggested and try the first scenario without it.

Supporter9 months ago

I think with any game it’s important to understand how it works before you let someone else do the game for you. It gives you a greater appreciation for how the game works and a more thorough knowledge of the strategy 

Supporter10 months ago

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

Supporter10 months ago

I haven’t played Paladins yet. 

1. Rebellion 

2. Gloomhaven 

3. Imperial Assault

4. Scythe

5. Spirit Island 

Supporter10 months ago

IA!!!!

Supporter10 months ago

Excellent. Thanks. 

10 months ago

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

Supporter10 months ago

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

10 months ago

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

10 months ago

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.  

10 months ago

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

Supporter10 months ago

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.