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Subject: is the game much combat-oriented? rss

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Andres K
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So I was 100% into backing the reprint, but then I saw the review from cmmayo (https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1745876/game-i-wanted-vs-ga...) and I got my doubts.

I would like to add that I loved Pandemic-legacy and I love Time Stories and Descent is great. I've played Mage Knight once and although I won, I do not remember if I liked it or not, but it was interesting (and fiddly with all the modifiers)

If I understood correctly, the game has a dungeon "time" and the time between dungeons. Is there anything to do during the dungeon except killing stuff? Are there puzzles? Side-quests? Things like "get the item and try not to kill anyone"? Or timed quests? Or is it all about small choices in between and hack-and-slash later on?

Please don't tell me that "it's a spoiler, so we can't share", as this is/will be an expencive investment.

Two more things:
a) where are the negative reviews?
b) it is replayable, right? So I can do some quests over again with different characters (thinking like Descent 2nd).

Thanks.
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mike heim
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The dungeon part of the game is primarily a tactical combat game.

There are some non-combat aspects or goals, but that doesn't detract from what the game is...

A) It's fiddly and a big time commitment. If there's a player who shows Analysis Paralysis at your table, it will happen here. With so many rules, it's not uncommon to mess something up.
B) You can play any scenario with any character. There are rules addressing this...jump in to a scenario with a fresh party.
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Anon Y. Mous
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It's a tactical combat game. It never pretends to be anything else. Lazy journalism has made this "D&D in a box" meme (meme in the original sense, not the modern Internet usage) keep coming up, but it's completely misrepresenting what the game is.
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Philip Leo
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I haven't really seen any negative reviews, but there are some "meh" reviews out there.

The time between dungeons consists of buying items, upgrading/leveling up your character, city events, and road events.

The city and road events are fairly simple in structure. An event happens, and you choose how you respond to it, and then flip the card and see what happens.

All of the events and story in the game is very well written, so don't be too quick to dismiss it as minor.

Overall, the dungeons themselves are mostly about combat, but each scenario plays out in unique ways, and the combat mechanisms themselves are extremely interesting.
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Alex Sundown
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If you don't like combat, and with Gloomhaven you'll be looking at highly tactical card driven combat with the constant feeling of running out of time in your neck, then Gloomhaven probably isn't for you. I'm six scenarios in and I'm inclined to say that Gloomhaven is at least 80% combat and I'm loving it. But I can completely understand if someone says that Gloomhaven isn't for them.
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mike heim
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Hmm, asking for negative reviews here is like walking into a church and telling the choir "give me some reasons why this church isn't great."
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Moose Detective
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20 plays/16 scenarios in - its mostly small decisions in town with the city events/road events, store purchases and then the main part of the game is a combat scenario.

A lot of the scenarios, especially the early ones, are "kill all enemies" or "kill X enemies" or "kill the boss". There are a few other scenario types. I've had an "escape" scenario, I've heard there are escort scenarios. I haven't seen any puzzle scenarios but I would love them and I wouldn't be surprised if there are some.

We had one scenario with pressure plate hijinks that required specific positioning to open doors, which is "puzzle-ish" but not exactly.

Some would argue that the combat itself is a puzzle as you have to figure out how to best use your cards to survive through the enemies but also last through the whole scenario. The decisions behind the card play are what makes this game so good.
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Andres K
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kzinti wrote:
Hmm, asking for negative reviews here is like walking into a church and telling the choir "give me some reasons why this church isn't great."

Well, I've read a lot of positive reviews, but the negative ones are usually the most interesting ones and they are usually not so many.
Eyegleam wrote:
If you don't like combat, and with Gloomhaven you'll be looking at highly tactical card driven combat with the constant feeling of running out of time in your neck, then Gloomhaven probably isn't for you. I'm six scenarios in and I'm inclined to say that Gloomhaven is at least 80% combat and I'm loving it. But I can completely understand if someone says that Gloomhaven isn't for them.

Well, Descent was good, so hope it also is.
stevelabny wrote:

A lot of the scenarios, especially the early ones, are "kill all enemies" or "kill X enemies" or "kill the boss". There are a few other scenario types. I've had an "escape" scenario, I've heard there are escort scenarios. I haven't seen any puzzle scenarios but I would love them and I wouldn't be surprised if there are some.

Thanks! Let's hope shipping is dirt cheap then
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Joeri Kreikamp
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Wibs wrote:
Is there anything to do during the dungeon except killing stuff? Are there puzzles? Side-quests? Things like "get the item and try not to kill anyone"? Or timed quests?

The bulk of a scenario is generally hack-and-slash, though in a very tactical manner due to the way using abilities is set up. The goal of a scenario can differ from "kill all enemies" to "last X number of rounds" to "get item A and get out alive", etc. Other people will be able to provide a more exhaustive list.

Note that Gloomhaven as a 'system' allows for many more victory conditions of a scenario, thereby changing the way in which it can be played. Over time there will be plenty of fan-made scenarios which focus less on hack-and-slash and more on unique and creative objectives (or such is my expectation at least). If you're interested you could look up the scenario made available by the creator of Scythe to get an idea of how different a scenario can be from what Isaac has created initially.
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J Mathews
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Of the games you mentioned, Descent is probably the closest to Gloomhaven. But whereas Descent's story is either emergent (R2L) or on rails (regular campaigns), Gloomhaven's is branching and features a lot better writing and a far richer setting. And the tactical gameplay is superior to Descent, IMO.

Also, I wouldn't get too hung up on this as a "legacy" game because those who have seem to have been disappointed. It is a campaign game with some campaign mechanics that remind people of mechanics that have been used in recent legacy games. The legacy label was something the BGG attached to it, not something the designer did.
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lucus Trout
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You seem fairly similar to me going in to Gloomhaven, with the somewhat notable difference that I've played a decent amount of Imperial Assault instead of Descent, but from that I understand the combat system is essentially the same.

I prefer the story of Gloomhaven to IA, although since Time stories is essentially all story, it isn't quite as story driven as that. So while 85%+ of gameplay is tactical combat, if you like it in Descent there is a good chance you'll like it here. I think Gloomhaven does it better, but obviously I'm on the Gloomhaven forum right now instead of IA/Descent.

I didn't notice if anyone mentioned but you CAN replay scenarios and there are character progression reasons you might want to, even if you won the first time. Also the Legacy stuff is easy to undo, especially if you take note that the symbol that looks like a card ripping up actually just means "remove from campaign" not "hey rip up this card Risk/Pandemic Legacy style". Although so people do. We keep ours in a RFG baggie.

The only warning I'd have about the game is, it takes a long time to set up (although for my group not as long as Imperial Assault or Mage Knight) and beware of playing with Analysis Paralysis prone friends.
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Andres K
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lucusvonlucus wrote:
and beware of playing with Analysis Paralysis prone friends.

That's usually me in the group, so I am not afraid
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Anthony Avelar
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a) This game is the best game I have ever played. There are a lot of board gamers out there that have been wanting a great campaign game that has board game/euro tactics. This is it. Yes there is a lot of fighting and that is usually your main objective, but how the games unfold and how close they end up, is what makes this game so great. Time after time we thought we had it figured out to see something pop out and now we might lose the game with one last turn. If there is a negative review, it is because the person didn't want to play this type of game. It is not because it is bad.

b)By replayable, you mean playing it 70 times before it is done then yes. It also has a random dungeon creator. Also many more scenarios will be made over the next few years.

The overall pace of this game is so great. Each room has some crucial decisions. Gloomhaven is the GOAT!
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Philip Leo
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lucusvonlucus wrote:
The only warning I'd have about the game is, it takes a long time to set up (although for my group not as long as Imperial Assault or Mage Knight) and beware of playing with Analysis Paralysis prone friends.


Yeah it does take a while to set up, but in my experience it's very comparable to Imperial Assault and Descent. It might even be faster--it depends on how you have your terrain pieces and standees sorted. I think some people kind of lump the between scenario events and leveling up your character in with setup time. If you do that, then yeah the "setup" time is really long.
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A P
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It's combat . . . All about combat. But there are two differences between this and other standard tactical combat games.

First, it is not a dice chucking game, which is why this gets compared to Mage Knight. You have to make meaningful, tough decisions about how to approach the combat using cards. Throwing your tank at a room full of baddies won't work. Yes, there is some luck involved, but it can all be managed and it is immensely satisfying when you win.

Second, the rule set is pretty damn streamlined. In my view, the complaint about fiddly parts comes down to set up and take down, not the actual game play itself. The actual game play is remarkably straight forward and is easy to grasp. I can play this game with my 9 year old son and he groks it. When I played Imperial Assault, I spent half the game with my nose buried in the rule book. Not so here. Now, setup and take down are a real pain. No way around that.
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Beaux Williams
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Tactical combat is definitely at the heart of Gloomhaven. The interactions in town and on the road are interesting, yet very minor, parts of the game. A player will spend time in town between each scenario leveling up and buying items for their characters. But make no mistake that tactical, card-based combat is what this game is all about.

I have been playing Gloomhaven solo and will tell you that it strikes a sweet chord with me. For me it feels akin to a hybrid between Descent and Mage Knight. The difference is I would much rather play GH than either of those games. While there certainly are legacy aspects, I wouldn't necessarily label it as a "legacy game". The legacy aspects are just right....however, I am holding out for the replaceable stickers that hopefully will be coming out soon.

Oh, and it is best case scenario to find a table where you can keep the game set up between sessions. Personally, I like to start a scenario and walk away when my brain starts to hurt. Its nice to come back later with fresh eyes. Keeping the game out also eliminates the need to put an insane amount of content away. It might also be helpful to sell any cats...or children. whistle
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Mike Oehler
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If you go the game's website or the overall game blurb here, pretty much the first thing is "A game of Euro-inspired tactical combat..." Like 90-95 % of our game time so far has been in the combat/dungeon crawl mode. The impact of a road event is most often some kind of bad thing afflicting you in the tactical combat.
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Corey Mayo
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Wibs wrote:
So I was 100% into backing the reprint, but then I saw the review from cmmayo (https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1745876/game-i-wanted-vs-ga...) and I got my doubts.

I would like to add that I loved Pandemic-legacy and I love Time Stories and Descent is great. I've played Mage Knight once and although I won, I do not remember if I liked it or not, but it was interesting (and fiddly with all the modifiers)

If I understood correctly, the game has a dungeon "time" and the time between dungeons. Is there anything to do during the dungeon except killing stuff? Are there puzzles? Side-quests? Things like "get the item and try not to kill anyone"? Or timed quests? Or is it all about small choices in between and hack-and-slash later on?

Please don't tell me that "it's a spoiler, so we can't share", as this is/will be an expencive investment.

Two more things:
a) where are the negative reviews?
b) it is replayable, right? So I can do some quests over again with different characters (thinking like Descent 2nd).

Thanks.


Thanks for reading my review. Yes, this game is about 80% tactical combat. Don't be confused, this is much more a strategy game than a thematic game. The "time between dungeons" works more like a video game RPG than a D&D session with friends. You are only developing aspects of your campaign and character that translate into game mechanics, such as increased combat effectiveness or unlocking scenarios and items. Now that I understand that, I'm embracing it, and it is, indeed, starting to be (almost) as immersive and as enjoyable to me as Mage Knight.

I'm just trying to bring that to the attention of potential buyers/backers. It's a great game for what it is, once you realize what it is.
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J Mathews
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Antivelar wrote:
b)By replayable, you mean playing it 70 times before it is done then yes. It also has a random dungeon creator. Also many more scenarios will be made over the next few years.

Don't forget that due to the branching storyline, you won't exhaust all the story options and so another run-through may be viable as well. Kind of like Paragon/Renegade options open up different content in ME.
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Andre Smothers
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The game is 90% tactical combat I would say.
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Luke
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Tetsuo2k wrote:
The game is 90% tactical combat I would say.


Heck! I'll up that to 95% combat.

About 1% reading story and making story choices.

About 4% record-keeping.

There are some negative leaning reviews, specifically, "why I rate it a 6 after 1 play."

Here are some common gripes, and I think they're fair. GH isn't for everyone.

-It's too long: There's so much content that it's intimidating.

-It's all about combat: It is all about combat.

-It's too hard: It has a learning curve. People with experience in strategy and euro style mechanics will have an easier time. Someone coming from a dungeon bash background may need to adjust their thinking.

-It's not the story based rpg experience I was expecting: It is all about combat.

It's Legacy/It's not really that Legacy: There are stickers and record-keeping. Your enjoyment of those things may vary.

It takes too long to set up: It will require some amount of organization/storage to keep set up times reasonable.

I think it's hard to have Negative reviews of Gloomhaven this early when it takes so many plays before someone can get a good enough grasp of the mechanics to talk about it critically.

I also imagine that going into a forum for a game with a small and dedicated fan-base and doing a slash and burn review isn't a ton of fun for most people.

It might be worth starting a thread looking for negative views. Create a safe place for people to discuss their dislikes.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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The vast majority of people who own this game were the ones who Kickstarted it and they are already inclined to like the game. The general public hasn't really gotten their hands on this game yet, since retail was very short-ended. Once the "average" gamer gets a chance to play, you'll see a lot more negative reviews, or at least not-so-glowing-reviews.

I personally am having a very hard time liking this game. It's come across as so fiddly, lack luster, and mechanic oriented it's lost the immersion factor. When I play, I don't feel like I'm "dungeon crawling", I feel like I'm playing a card game. This disconnect between game and theme is very important in my group, so we're probably done playing this game.

-shnar
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mike heim
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I thought hard and long to come up with a critique. Here's my best shot.

Each scenario is long. At first I believed that it was just long at the beginning because I was learning the game. However, as you level up, your character gets more complex, and monsters slap on more HP. Expect to spend 3 hours on a scenario.

Often during a scenario, your two cards will be near useless because of the enemies' actions, and you have no way to changing your actions...which is terrible. It'd be like in D&D, declaring your actions first and then everybody rolls for initiative. You planned to run up and hit the evil druid with your Hammer of Returning. However the evil druid gets the initiative and roots you in place. Instead of throwing your hammer 10 feet now that you're stuck, you are forced to stand there and blink at him.

Gloomhaven Example 1
I'm completely surrounded by enemies so I play a shield and retaliate card. The enemies also play a retaliate card, so we stand there looking at each other. (blink, blink)

Gloomhaven Example 2
I play a card that allows me to run up two hexes and hit that baddie. He plays a card that immobilizes me. Although I have more ranged cards in my hand, I just stand there looking at him. (blink, blink)

That being said, if you are into role-playing, these instances evoke a hilarious narrative, lightening the mood of your bumbling "heroes" of Gloomhaven.
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Kristabelle Du Bast
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shnar wrote:

I personally am having a very hard time liking this game. It's come across as so fiddly, lack luster, and mechanic oriented it's lost the immersion factor. When I play, I don't feel like I'm "dungeon crawling", I feel like I'm playing a card game. This disconnect between game and theme is very important in my group, so we're probably done playing this game.

-shnar

This is exactly how I felt about Mistfall, mechanical and no immersion at all. On the other hand I love Myth which although highly tactical feels to me like a a sort of slow motion martial arts fight. I really want to try Gloomhaven, will buy in to the kickstarter but still have a slight apprehension about the combat.
 
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kzinti wrote:

Gloomhaven Example 1
I'm completely surrounded by enemies so I play a shield and retaliate card. The enemies also play a retaliate card, so we stand there looking at each other. (blink, blink)

Gloomhaven Example 2
I play a card that allows me to run up two hexes and hit that baddie. He plays a card that immobilizes me. Although I have more ranged cards in my hand, I just stand there looking at him. (blink, blink)

That being said, if you are into role-playing, these instances evoke a hilarious narrative, lightening the mood of your bumbling "heroes" of Gloomhaven.


While your examples CAN happen they don't have to. You choose your two cards, then see what the enemy AI flips. You can switch your actions from the cards you chose. So if you planned on doing a shield1 from a bottom and a retaliate2 from a top but now you see the enemies will not be attacking you, you can adjust on the fly and use the other top and bottom actions instead. If they also don't work, you can just use a generic move2 bottom and attack2 top. I suspect the problem you're running into is Brute vs Guard where the Brute's retaliate top has a Heal on the bottom and a Guard's retaliate would mean you don't even want to put an Attack2 on him. So with full health/no adjacent allies to heal your turn just becomes standing still or a Move2. I've been in that situation a few times too but defensive opponents going defensive WOULD be a thing. After a few failed Retaliate attempts, when I finally got it to work it was pretty glorious.

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