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Subject: The Pit - a fan scenario by Jamey Stegmaier rss

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Jamey Stegmaier
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Gloomhaven was my most anticipated game of 2016. I've been excited about it ever since Isaac started talking about it on his blog several years ago.

So I was honored and excited when Isaac asked me in the fall of 2015 to design a scenario for Gloomhaven. Unfortunately, I was swamped with Scythe at the time, so I had to decline. In hindsight, I think that was for the best, because I wouldn't have understood Gloomhaven without first playing it a number of times.

Flash forward to 2017. I received Gloomhaven, unboxed it with my friends, and began the campaign. I played a handful of games before filming my game design video about it (https://youtu.be/_ln06gnvWZM), and I've played a few times since then.

I reached out to Isaac to ask if I still had his blessing to design a scenario, and he was very kind to grant it to me. Obviously it's way too late for it to be included in the game, but I thought it might be fun to design and share it on BGG anyway.

In this scenario, the disoriented characters find themselves stuck in a dark pit, and it's up to them to figure out how to escape. The Pit is designed to take about 60 minutes, and it uses a progression system as you regain your memory (you hit your head falling into the pit, so you start with fewer cards than normal and gain more when you rest).

You'll note from the following file that it's 9 pages. That may seem long, but it's really just that the content (mostly images) is separated so you don't accidentally spoil anything. If you're going to play The Pit, you should only read the first page before playing. Also, I didn't want to bother Isaac or Josh with graphic design, so I just took photos of the board/pieces and pulled them into Word.

The PDF file is here: https://app.box.com/s/q9oygw8vdsjtcioognqi85bmq93e7mju

Whether you play The Pit or just want to talk about it from a design perspective in the comments, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

[Update: For any monsters you encounter in the pit, I would recommend playing them at as high of a difficulty level as you feel comfortable with. This isn't a combat-heavy scenario--it's more about a race to get out of the pit--but an increase in difficulty level will also increase the tension provided by the few monsters you'll encounter.]
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Shiloh Macheras
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How cool! Thanks you for contributing to this amazing game. BTW, I have Schythe coming this week, not sure how I'm gonna manage these 2 awesome games at the table? Good problem to have.
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Michael Penny
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When I die, I want to die like my grandfather, who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car
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Oh Jamey,

Now you're just showing off.

Gonna give this a whirl tonight. Looks sweet
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Daniele Mazzoni
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Wow, that's great!

While I disliked the video as it doesn't focus on the best aspects of Gloomhaven (but hey, you like what you like),
I love the idea of regaining the memory/cards while going through a scenario!

And my comments stop here for now because I don't want to spoil anything and read only the first page.

Thanks a lot for a new scenario with new mechanics!
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Noel Szczepanski
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Awesome! I can't wait to try it.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Quick note to those of you who already downloaded the file: I was scrolling through the PDF, and I found that a line break on one of the later pages could lead to some confusion. I've removed the break, converted it back to PDF, confirmed that it's correct, and reuploaded it via the same link. Sorry for the hassle, but please download it again if you already have. Thanks!
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David Latimore
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Should this be played as a one-off in casual mode or can it be played in campaign mode? If the latter, when would you recommend we 'unlock' it? And is it linked to Gloomhaven (so no Road Event?)

Read the first page, and giving this a go either way!
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Jamey Stegmaier
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David: I think it's fair to play this in campaign mode at any time during a campaign. It's not in Gloomhaven, so you would have a road event. The timeline for it is basically "after any scenario". You've celebrated a victory with your fellow adventurers--celebrated a little too hard--and then you find yourselves in the pit.
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Antonio Caciolli
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jameystegmaier wrote:
David: I think it's fair to play this in campaign mode at any time during a campaign. It's not in Gloomhaven, so you would have a road event. The timeline for it is basically "after any scenario". You've celebrated a victory with your fellow adventurers--celebrated a little too hard--and then you find yourselves in the pit.

so it is basically linked to any scenario and we can do it right after any scenario we play without coming back to gloomhaven?

thank you very much, this is great
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Mathew G Somers
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So, it has finally arrived! Haha... Now, I intended on only reading the first page and waiting on the rest until I could properly experience it all in action, but our previous conversation left me a little overeager to see your thoughts on paper, so I did end up spoiling myself a bit and reading through the scenario in its entirety. I'll throw my thoughts in one big old spoiler tag, so as not to similarly spoil other folks.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Okay, so where to begin? Well, cutting right to the chase, the main thing I am curious about, is how it will all play out. I mean, knowing everything now, I am admittedly worried; I'm unsure what the overall effect will be -- Is it good, or could it use some improvement? Question: Did you find this to be a better overall experience while playing it yourself, given that you wanted to do something "else" with the game, so to speak? Or was it simply up to par with other scenarios you've encountered in terms of the fun factor? Obviously, you chose to deviate from the norm, so I'm dying to hear feedback from the community, too!

Regarding your deviations, though, I honestly have to wonder why? In my mind, you've gone and ignored the basic structure of things and stripped away all of the tough decisions for simpler, throw away ones that more or less exist in the game already, which may sound harsh, but I'm unsure how else to relay that thought. Like, yes, you managed to give players a few different ways to complete the scenario, and that is awesome, as is the overall story, and the concept of memory loss (my favorite!), but when all is said and done, based upon the discussion we had, I was expecting something far greater... Of course, I could be wrong, and the mechanism of memory might make things interesting, but I'm doubtful.

Ultimately, players are presented with either looting or killing some thing(s) and escaping, except you've removed all tension normally there from the enemies, as a single character could likely mop the floor with the lot of them alone, right? Thus, they're essentially a non-issue, so effectively that leaves us simply wandering back and forth looting this thing and that, unimpeded and at our leisure almost, because there isn't much to attack, the loot is sectioned off, and although I've not done the math, I believe, while you start with fewer cards, you should have just about as many turns as normal since you eventually end up with all your cards after a few rests, which, by the way, creates this wonderful arc that the scenario never really seems to capitalize on -- An odd choice... Perhaps there is a bit of information I've overlooked?

I don't know, but my initial excitement has been let down... I don't think you really presented something as fresh as you had intended. I feel the choice of fighting or looting is almost always present in every scenario, like do I kill things and carry on, or dart over there real quick and grab x, y, z? Also, there are several scenarios that have a goal of escaping, or looting something and escaping. So what did you perceive as being fresh? Was it the hidden information??? I mean, I just cannot see how that, coupled with everything else here, would make for a different and better enough experience for you...

Also, I think it could have probably been laid out in a more standard fashion and randomized, where each plate combo places one of the four rooms down, you know? But which room remains the mystery. And by using letters like *e*, *f*, *g*, et cetera, in place of the treasure tile, exit tile, or whatnot, you can keep some vague secrets still as to what those rooms contain until the special rules in those sections are read when they're revealed, if that makes sense.

If I were you, I'd balance the scenario out for the different character counts, standardize the monsters and add some, so the difficulty was as it is in other scenarios, but the focus could still be on the slaying of vipers, if that was the path players sought -- Oh, and by the way, in my opinion, clumping the same enemy together, especially the only enemy, in one area, will make for a relatively boring experience. Elsewhere, I'd make the key/exit strategy trickier in some fashion, make it a bit more interesting, and I'd scatter some of the loot in the main room to give players something extra to think on while they wander about, along with some obstacles and/or traps -- Perhaps even fake/trapped loot. I'd spend extra time to figure out a better way of implementing the memory mechanism, so that it feels chunkier and like it has purpose beyond the gimmick, and maybe I'd consider also having players start at a certain health due to the drop, some formula based upon their level, which might add healing as a thing to keep players busy. Additionally, I would not have those 10XP tokens, they're far too rewarding, I think. And I don't know, there's probably other things that can be done, to better flesh out what you have here.

Hmm, I feel like quite the jerk! Haha... Again, I've not personally played through The Pit, so I could end up being completely inaccurate in my assumptions, and I know I may have not worded things as best I could have, i.e. the most considerately, but I'm only trying to express my concern and what I think would improve the scenario overall, so I hope it at least did not come across as personal or as malice, and if it did, then I greatly apologize -- That was not my intent. When all is said and done, who am I, right? I'm only one man with one opinion. And for what it's worth, I'll still be looking forward to all you do in the future!

The End

Edit: Jamey has since altered the manner in which the vipers play out.
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Sebastian Grawan
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Awesome work, Jamey!
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Cato Larsen
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Awesome! Can't wait to try it out with my group!

Btw, if you want to make it more in-line with the scenario booklet, Isaac shared all the design files for Gloomhaven (Including board tiles etc) here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1733586/files-creation
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Ryan Espin
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I am super eager to try this! I'm considering creating a Road Event card to add to my deck that will allow me to encounter this scenario. Can't think of good flavor text yet though.
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David Latimore
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SolidAsSnake wrote:
I am super eager to try this! I'm considering creating a Road Event card to add to my deck that will allow me to encounter this scenario. Can't think of good flavor text yet though.

*thump*
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Ryan Espin
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Hahahahahahhaha brilliant! That would be a really fun way to handle it
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Thanks Cato! I wasn't aware of that.

Ryan: I like the idea of a road event card.
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Cruel
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Maybe Isaac can import your scenario on a official scenario page so it fits into the gloomhaven scenario book page style.
 
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Mathew: Thanks for your comment, though I'm really sorry you read through the entire scenario before playing it, as the scenario is all about progression and discovery. I'll try to make that disclaimer more clear in the OP: People are welcome to read through the whole scenario if they don't intend to play it, but I wouldn't recommend playing it after you've already spoiled the whole thing for yourself.
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Charlie Theel
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This sounds very interesting, great work Jamey. Looking forward to trying this.
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Greg
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Will definitely have to give this a go sometime. After painting all the starting minis, I finally got to start the campaign with my daughters this past weekend. Quite fun. It will be nice to have another scenario to tackle.
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Joao F. Falaschi
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Common sense won't pay the rent and doesn't grow on trees, but splitting hairs can get you anything you need
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How does the scenario scale between 2 and 4 players? I only read page 1, so I'm sorry if this is answered somewhere else in the document.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Joao: Thanks for your question. There's no scaling. Everything in the scenario is for all player counts (as long as you use a total of at least 2 characters in a solo game).
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M T
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Interesting premise!
There is already a random side scenario deck and the rule book hints that there are more opportunities to get one than there are side scenarios. I will add it to that deck.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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M T: I like that! Yes, I'd call it a side scenario. There are opportunities to get XP in it, so I think it's best played as part of the campaign (perhaps when you don't have time for a full game, but you want a shorter scenario to play through).
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Luke
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Looks very cool so far.

One more try at the solo Brute quest then I'll set this up.
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