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Gloomhaven» Forums » Rules

Subject: How secret are Battle Goals? rss

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Wes Holland

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So... How are you guys keeping your battle goals secret?

When you notice the Mindthief specifically avoiding ending turns on money...

When the Brute says "Don't kill that last guy when you're going last in the round... Let me open the door before you kill him."

When you're about to attack that stupid Bandit Guard and murder it on turn one, and the Spellweaver says "No, don't kill him yet!"...

I'm picking up on certain 'tells' that give away the battle goals. Is it pretty subjective as to how much communication your table allows on this subject?
 
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K G
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We may express certain desires, but we usually try to lie to cover up our battle goal.

"Don't kill that last guy when you're going last in the round...Let me open the door before you kill him." We'd probably add, "We have turns to spare, and there may be treasure or loot tokens in that room."

"No, don't kill him yet!" We'd add something like, "Because if you do, I won't have anything to do this round." This one is kind of a stretch, for sure.

This pseudo sharing can lead to some bluffs too.

"Let me loot that treasure chest" or "I really need to get those 6 loot tokens sitting next to each other." Did I say that because I need to fulfill my battle goal, or did I say that because I'm greedy and I want you to think I need it for my battle goal?
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Jarad Bond
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This has occurred to me too. I never reveal until it's pointless to keep it secret (judged by myself). I think it is funny to keep my partner guessing and battle goals *definitely* have an effect on the scenario, causing me to lose more than once as I learn the finer details of Gloomhaven.

I'm strongly tempted to make it so the other players try to guess your battle goal at the end of the scenario (one guess per battle goal, so other players have to come to an agreement, or the person to your right guesses). If they get it right, you'd split the reward... like half a check each.

Secret battle goals have been *so* fun, I'd like to have seen an incentive like that to *really* keep them secret. Battle goals are entirely artificial anyway, so why not?
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Trent Y.
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My group barely keeps it a secret. It's often super obvious what we are trying to accomplish.

Conversations heard:
"Anybody else have a pressing need to open that door? Cuz a door killed my parents and I feel the need to open that door!"

"Don't kill that guy yet. Soften him up but don't kill him!' (Often followed by another player pulling their x2 damage)

Where possible, we try to accommodate each other. Everybody who gets their goal strengthens the core.
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soak man
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The key for our group is to not say ANYTHING about your battle goal. It's hard, and it is often not followed through on.

So, if you have to open a door, you simply can't say ANYTHING about doors or revealing rooms or anything of that nature. You just have to hope or convince your co-mercenaries to try to let you go first.

But the point is, you really can't enforce it. Everyone just has to watch their mouths. It's so hard, but I have definitely lost mine because I didn't say not to kill an enemy. If you want to play with secret goals, you just have to swallow your tongue.
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Eric Bridge
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soakman wrote:
The key for our group is to not say ANYTHING about your battle goal. It's hard, and it is often not followed through on.

So, if you have to open a door, you simply can't say ANYTHING about doors or revealing rooms or anything of that nature. You just have to hope or convince your co-mercenaries to try to let you go first.

But the point is, you really can't enforce it. Everyone just has to watch their mouths. It's so hard, but I have definitely lost mine because I didn't say not to kill an enemy. If you want to play with secret goals, you just have to swallow your tongue.

I would NOT enjoy the game if we played this way, personally, and we'd rarely get certain battle goals. If my fellow mercenaries get their checkmarks, their XP, etc, we ALL win, as we are stronger in the next scenario.

So, in contrast, we are saying things like:

"If you guys don't mind I'd really like to deal the death blow to this guy."

"I'm feeling very tired down here. Just FYI that I'll be long resting next turn."

"Ooh a chest! You guys mind if I loot that?"

"Sorry, but I think my items are defective. That's why I'm not using them."

Otherwise, those battle goals that VERY MUCH depend on the actions of the other mercenaries would NEVER get picked. That's what's odd about them. Many of them - maybe even most of them - I can make happen entirely on my own. But others, like first kill, killing en elite, looting a treasure tile, loot otkens, etc - will rarely work without cooperation from other mercenaries. We still don't share loot, equipment, etc, but I see no reason not to help each other achieve their battle goals.

Just my experience anyway.
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Gordon Au
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We don't talk about our Battle Goals at all either. I've been lucky, had one goal to always have an enemy on the board, we had a timer on that scenario, so I just suggested that we really needed to hurry so I pushed us to open the last room even though we didn't kill everything. My brother had the goal not to use his items, he just didn't say anything about it and didn't exhaust anything; we just thought he was saving them until we asked him why he didn't use his goggles on a big attack, he just said he didn't want to.

I'm enjoying playing with the hidden battle goals; sure it's not the optimum way to advance our characters and strengthen the party, but it's kind of fun not knowing what everyone is trying to do and also 'accidentally' messing up your friends' goals. To me that's how the rules are written up, and those check marks are just gravy anyway. You just have to be sure that you're not going to sweat missing out on some goals.
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Moose Detective
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soakman wrote:
The key for our group is to not say ANYTHING about your battle goal. It's hard, and it is often not followed through on.

So, if you have to open a door, you simply can't say ANYTHING about doors or revealing rooms or anything of that nature. You just have to hope or convince your co-mercenaries to try to let you go first.

But the point is, you really can't enforce it. Everyone just has to watch their mouths. It's so hard, but I have definitely lost mine because I didn't say not to kill an enemy. If you want to play with secret goals, you just have to swallow your tongue.


This is silly. And sounds like it would make the game completely unfun. Enough of the battle goals are things that make the game harder, there is no reason to then be obtuse about them. Some of them become obvious almost immediately anyway - when you go out of your way to acquire gold or kill an elite or open a door there can only be one reason why.

If I have the one to always have a bad guy on the board, I will push forward and open doors, I will tell them the turn I'm opening the door, the same way I would if I didn't have the goal. If I have the one to open a chest or get 5 gold, I might or might not tell my partner what I'm doing because they might want the treasure anyway. If I have the one that says kill an elite enemy, I'm going to say "leave this one to me"

The idea is not to say "my battle goal is X" so that for certain things where your group can help or hinder your goal, they have to determine if you're using bad strategy or furthering your own agenda at the cost of the mission. The idea isn't to turn Gloomhaven into a game of Taboo.
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Paul Grogan
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I agree with Eric and Moose, and what we do is exactly what Eric does.
Works very well for us, even though the rules say they should be secret.
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Eric Bridge
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Case in point was the 2 player Scenario we just completed this afternoon.

We picked secretly, and mine ended up being "There must be enemies on the board at the start of each round" (meaning someone needs to keep opening doors while there are enemies alive, or at least before the end of a round where all visible enemies have died). My buddy secretly picked "Open at least one door."

In the first room I was worried, because we had 1 enemy left with 1 health left. Normally a good time to finish him and then long rest. But I was too far from the door to open it on this round. So I told him that I really wanted to keep the enemies coming, and then he said that he wanted to open that door anyway! So he moved to that door, revealing a room full of enemies that would kill him, but I had suggested he open the door then turn invisible. I finished off the enemy in the first room, the enemies in the next room headed my direction but couldn't get to me, and on the next turn we both continued our slaughter.

If we had not discussed this, things could have turned out differently. I see no problem with talking about these things, especially if we can stay "in character".

 
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Todd T
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I don't think there's anything wrong with stating what you would like to see happen, just like in a game without the Battle Goals present. It seems like the way to handle Battle Goals is somewhat similar to how you talk about Action Cards. You can make your desires known, but you can't list the motivation for why and try to work it out in a way that's best for the party, too.
 
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Wes Holland

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After musing on it for a bit, I recall Isaac putting something in a blog post about the point of this being to prevent Alpha Gamer from dictating how everyone goes, because there's some secret info that isn't privy to everyone, so that the 'optimal move' isn't obvious.

So, I think that by rules, they're secret, so that the person who's getting annoyed at always being told how to move can reply with "Well I have my reasons/Battle Goal that tells me to do it this way, and I can't tell you what it is because the rules say I shouldn't."

And yet, the group that has no real Alpha Gamer problem can just all collaborate on their battle goals, too.

So, follow-up question. Does anyone talk about the goal they *didn't* pick before the scenario ends? My assumption is that being told to discard face-down means that you shouldn't, but even eliminating 4 of 24 possibilities doesn't realistically tell you what they *did* choose.
 
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