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Noob Impressions of Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

This is somewhat of a follow-up to my post over a week ago about being a new gamer. I received a flood of welcoming and game suggestions from you all and it was fantastic! Thanks again to everyone who gave recommendations. After researching a lot and taking all of your comments into consideration, I decided to go ahead and dive into #Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion.

Right off the bat, I have to say that I'm really enjoying the game overall. This was my first time purchasing anything even remotely like this, so I was blown away by how in-depth it is. It was slightly intimidating to pick up the hefty box in the mail and lug it to the table, but once I broke into it I had a great time.

Setup took me quite a while. I’d say I probably spent an hour and a half punching out all of the components, organizing everything, and reading the introductory booklets. I really appreciated the reference sheet for first-time setup which clearly walked me through step by step on exactly where to put everything. I was glad to find that it’s surprisingly easy to set up and put away again between sessions.

Like many of you have said, Jaws of the Lion excels at teaching new players about the game. It was really helpful to have a linear progression through the rules and mechanics. It added on features in small intervals to really ease me over the learning curve. As of now I’ve almost completed the first five “tutorial” scenarios, and I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of how most things work. There were points where I had to re-read the rulebook and glossary multiple times, but I imagine that some ambiguity in these games is inevitable.

Gloomhaven Setup

The closest comparisons I had to this experience personally were Fire Emblem games, which I liked a lot. To me, they were similar in the fact that both games start you on a grid/tile map and they consist of turn-based tactical battles (though the turn order is always changing in Jaws of the Lion). I’m really enjoying the leveling and equipment systems, as well as looting. I realized that playing solo is essentially playing the role of both characters in a two-player setup as opposed to playing against the world by yourself. That was fine, but I actually got my wife to join in for a few games as well! She was a great sport in learning along with me for a few rounds, and moving forward I’ll probably just tag her in and out of scenarios when she’s up for it.

I found that the main issue for me is keeping track of different abilities and buffs for multiple characters and enemies. Sometimes I would go through two whole rounds before realizing I should have been applying a condition to enemies, removing stat changes, or something similar. There are a lot of moving parts but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I also downloaded some companion apps as suggested to me by  and those have been really helpful, thanks for the tip!

Bottom line: I really liked my experience with Jaws of the Lion so far! It met and exceeded my expectations and I’m excited to keep coming back to it for more. I even extended the invitation to start a campaign with a couple different groups of people! I realize there won’t be another “first” like this again (as far as getting into board games for the first time), so I’m enjoying it as much as possible. Keep the suggestions coming and I'm looking forward to expanding my gaming repertoire in the future!

 

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3 months ago

I love this, I cannot wait to continue to indoctrinate you into the hobby lol. 

Supporter3 months ago

Another member in the cult!

3 months ago

Look at what you've done to me!! Haha

Supporter3 months ago

Full-blown Gloomhaven is amazing! I'm glad you are enjoying it so far! You've taken your first steps into a wider world!

Premium User3 months ago

Nice mini review. It is so great to see new people get into the hobby. Jaws of the Lion is a pretty ambitious early start!

3 months ago

Thank you! I wanted to essentially jump in the deep end and I wasn't disappointed!

Owner3 months ago

Hmmm is that 's indoctrination again? lol

Pretty sure he did something similar too!

3 months ago

Ya! My first game was Scythe, but to be honest Phil was the one that jumped at the opportunity to play TMB! He said he had already been looking into it! Then when we played he mentioned Gloomhaven and mentioned to him that there is a more approachable version with Jaws at Target!

3 months ago

True! Someone else had mentioned TMB to me a few weeks before and it stayed at the edge of my awareness for a little while. I just needed the enabler ;) Gloomhaven appears at the top of most game rankings so that one was just hard to ignore when I first started looking into games. Finding an affordable sale was all I needed!

3 months ago

Lol happy to be your enabler...

3 months ago

Been playing some co-op scenario's with 2 players (2x2 heroes) and 3x1 hero on the pc game (steam).

Time flies thinking about possible strategies :)

3 months ago

Sounds like a lot of fun! I want to check out the Steam version sometime.

I started a new campaign with a couple other guys today too and they loved it. They're big into Steam so maybe we'll end up getting into that at some point.

3 months ago

yeah forget to mention it is regular Gloomhaven and not JotL.

Been playing 5 single missions with 3 people this week (1 hero per player)

Quite addictive really :D

Premium User3 months ago

Glad you're enjoying it! 

3 months ago

That's great! How many missions are there in the Jaws of the Lion campaign?

Owner3 months ago

There's 25. I believe you only need to do 17 or 18 to complete the main storyline though.

3 months ago

Cool. do you plan to complete them all?

3 months ago

My goal is to complete them all, yeah! I don't want to miss any of the content.

3 months ago

Awesome!

Supporter3 months ago

Thanks for sharing.  I love seeing a comparison to a video game RPG as #Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is mostly in the back of my mind as a game that could be my Tabletop version of a video game.

3 months ago

Definitely, and the more I play it the more accurate that description seems. Then again, I've been into videogames for a long time so I tend to use them as my point of reference for a lot of comparisons.