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Subject: Why is this game popular? rss

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Noneya Bidness
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Keep in mind I haven't played it so maybe there's something spectacular in the game mechanics that makes it something special.

But it looks like you could just pick up the core rules and some dice for a standard RPG, end up saving money and have infinite replay ability.

I don't always like the new hotness but I can usually understand why other people do. This one has me completely baffled.

 
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Daily Grind
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Last time I checked, you couldn't play an RPG solo, so that's my reason. I'm sure other have different ones.
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Robert Ell
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It's not an RPG, really. It's a tactical card-driven combat game with a very light story written to drive it.

Every RPG I've played has had abysmally terrible combat.
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Ben Michels
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This game is so much more than a standard RPG. For one it doesn't require a good DM to play which is one of the biggest things I appreciate about it. It provides a fantastic world that continues to build and progress while providing very well tuned/balanced cooperative scenarios. On top of that, the amount of variety present in the various player classes, the items, and the monsters/enemies is fantastic.
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Mike Waleke
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Also if you don't like dice, this game has none.

Plus not everyone likes RPGS.
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Noneya Bidness
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madmanw wrote:
Also if you don't like dice, this game has none.

Plus not everyone likes RPGS.


That's kinda my point. It is a RPG. Just a very limited one. Or rather it certainly seems that way to me based on what I've seen and read. I was hoping someone would go into a little more detail as to why it's not. So far I haven't seen anything that says other wise.
 
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Robert Ell
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Thanos007 wrote:
That's kinda my point. It is a RPG. Just a very limited one. Or rather it certainly seems that way to me based on what I've seen and read. I was hoping someone would go into a little more detail as to why it's not. So far I haven't seen anything that says other wise.


I would call RPGs an extremely limited version of something like Gloomhaven.
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Noneya Bidness
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Elltrain wrote:
Thanos007 wrote:
That's kinda my point. It is a RPG. Just a very limited one. Or rather it certainly seems that way to me based on what I've seen and read. I was hoping someone would go into a little more detail as to why it's not. So far I haven't seen anything that says other wise.


I would call RPGs an extremely limited version of something like Gloomhaven.


Explain.
 
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John B
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hand mgmt.
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Justin Weber
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It is a story driven campaign game with card driven combat. It's not linear, you get to make choices that shape your experience which results in different experiences from group to group. However it's also not open ended. You aren't merely given a setting and the building blocks of a world that you need to develop. I think this makes it more approachable. The burden of creating the story isn't on the DM or the players. It's already scripted. However there are enough choices in the story to make it interesting and unique for different groups.
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William Korner
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It is popular because it is fun. A couple of the players in our group have never played pen and paper rpg's and to them they are a bit daunting and when asked to play D&D in the past they were not really into it. Playing Gloomhaven and loving it like they are is giving me hope that after the Gloomhaven campaign is over I might be able to tell them about the similarities and get them to try D&D.

The combat is fun, the leveling up is fun and nobody has to DM. It is a great hybrid of RPG and boardgame.
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al cann
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Noneya -- have you played Mage Knight? It is a similar game in that there is a puzzle involved in how best to coordinate attacks to maximize characters' abilities. The individual cards that come with each character are all unique and what works in one situation and with some characters will not work in other situations with other characters.

It is only an RPG in that your character gains experience, gains levels, purchases different items and gains more powerful cards with experience. You are not "role playing" in the sense of personifying your character. Once your character satisfies his/her personal goal, which might be any number things such as completing "X" scenarios in "Y" location(s) or killing X number of specific enemies, etc., then you retire that character and unlock another.

Also the game does not have permanent death as part of its regular rules, only as an optional variant. "Death" in this game is "exhaustion" that merely renders the character useless for the remainder of the scenario but fully charged and ready to go in the next scenario.

I have played all versions of D and D, Call of Cthulhu, Pathfinder, and the old TSR Top Secret and they are all significantly different than Gloomhaven. Gloomhaven is worth it, it is a great game.
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Joshua Reubens
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We are about 180 hours into Gloomhaven at this point and I'm currently running a Cypher System RPG.

I love RPGs and I love Gloomhaven. They scratch completely different itches for me. I generally run the RPG where in Gloomhaven I get to play as there is no GM but more than that RPGs for me are about telling a story together where Gloomhaven is about uncovering a story together. The closest thing I can think of to Gloomhaven in RPG form would be 4th Edition D and D as it was a terrible RPG but an ok tactical combat simulator. I can't think of any other RPGs that are that focused on tactical combat and beyond that none that use cards instead of dice to make it more about hand management than luck.

As long time board gamers and role players several of my friends and I have been looking for a game exactly like this, a game we can play together and no one has to prep for. Your millage may very...
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BG.EXE
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Cuz good. I mean I could go into more detail but this entire forum and dozens of reviews highlight it.
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J P
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Thanos007 wrote:
madmanw wrote:
Also if you don't like dice, this game has none.

Plus not everyone likes RPGS.


That's kinda my point. It is a RPG. Just a very limited one. Or rather it certainly seems that way to me based on what I've seen and read. I was hoping someone would go into a little more detail as to why it's not. So far I haven't seen anything that says other wise.


It's kind of like a PC game RPG, but nothing like a tabletop RPG. What makes it unique is its hand-management card based tactical combat system, which is unlike anything else out there at the moment. The other aspect that is unique is that it's a Legacy game, so much of the content is sealed and hidden until you unlock it. This gives it an element of discovery that hasn't been seen in this type of game yet (although it has in games like Pandemic Legacy).

But, in the end, it's the combat. Watch Rahdo's play through or something.
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Greg
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I used to play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons, and one of the things I hated about that system was the lack of structure. For example, one of the players would say, "I'm going to climb this tree and see if I can catch a glimpse of the enemy approaching so we can ambush them."

And I'd be thinking, wtf? I didn't know we could do that.

With a system like Gloomhaven, it's always completely clear what your options are. You have a set of cards that detail all your possible actions and it's up to you to make the most of them. You don't need a dungeon master to decide which actions are viable and which aren't, and you certainly don't need to roll any dice to determine your success or failure.

I would say that the RPG elements in Gloomhaven are secondary to the tactical play. For example, you don't have to "role play" your character. You simply choose which cards to play. Some people I play with hate storytelling/role playing so this is highly preferable to them.

Likewise, the systems for developing your character are very straightforward and satisfying: you're just adding more cards to your decks, giving yourself more options and improving the odds of drawing good cards.

I also love how self-contained Gloomhaven is: you don't have to buy any expansion packs, you don't have to buy a separate "monster manual" or "dungeon master's guide" (books which typically cost $40 each, btw). You simply pay about $100 and get one huge box packed with a tremendous amount of content.

Overall, I don't think Gloomhaven is an RPG; I think it's better than an RPG: it's tactical, it's intuitive, it's full of meaningful decisions, it has more content than you'll (probably) ever need and it's just a very satisfying game to play overall.
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Robert Ell
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Thanos007 wrote:
Elltrain wrote:
Thanos007 wrote:
That's kinda my point. It is a RPG. Just a very limited one. Or rather it certainly seems that way to me based on what I've seen and read. I was hoping someone would go into a little more detail as to why it's not. So far I haven't seen anything that says other wise.


I would call RPGs an extremely limited version of something like Gloomhaven.


Explain.


Can you name a RPG with extremely interesting, tactical, luckless combat? How about a DM-less RPG where the players aren't tasked with telling the story?
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Noneya Bidness
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Elltrain wrote:
Thanos007 wrote:
Elltrain wrote:
Thanos007 wrote:
That's kinda my point. It is a RPG. Just a very limited one. Or rather it certainly seems that way to me based on what I've seen and read. I was hoping someone would go into a little more detail as to why it's not. So far I haven't seen anything that says other wise.


I would call RPGs an extremely limited version of something like Gloomhaven.


Explain.


Can you name a RPG with extremely interesting, tactical, luckless combat? How about a DM-less RPG where the players aren't tasked with telling the story?


Sounds like you've had some pretty bad GM's.

RPGs with interesting tactical combat? Scores of them at least. And since there's an element of luck in all combat I don't consider dice rolling an issue. Sounds like you're not looking for combat but puzzle solving. Nothing wrong with that, they're just different things.

Also tasked with telling the story? One: that's mostly the GM's job but the players effect the outcome. It's a form of cooperative story telling. Two: If it's a task to tell someone what you want then I'd consider you (and don't be pedantic I don't mean you personally) lazy, unimaginative, or both.

NOTE: edited for clarity
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Christian B.
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Because a lot of people like it.
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Brent Warner
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If you come at it from the viewpoint of a direct comparison to RPGs, you're bound to come away disappointed with the "limitations".

- Why can't I kick over that table and use it as cover?
- How come taking a "short rest" doesn't slow down my next action at all?
- How come I can't choose to negotiate with some villains?
- etc

So yes, this is definitely not an RPG. It is a dungeon crawl boardgame. And from that viewpoint, it stacks up very well against other games in its genre (and with other boardgames in general). It has lots of interesting decisions both during combat and when progressing your characters. It is incredibly well balanced, both for different levels of characters and different numbers of characters. It comes with a ton of content in terms of different monster types, different scenarios, different character classes, etc.

If you would always prefer an RPG over a dungeon crawl boardgame, don't get this. If you sometimes would like a boardgame as an alternative to RPGs, this is an excellent one to consider. I'd recommend playing it once and then seeing what you think.
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mike heim
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You do you.

If you enjoyed 4e D&D you'll love this game. If you didn't care for 4e D&D, then you probably won't care for Gloomhaven so much.

My game group did 4e for two years and loved the combination of RPG and tactical miniatures combat, so this game is great...for us. However, there are some issues that people who don't like miniature war games would have with this as well. It's up to you.

You do you.
 
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soak man
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This game is really really NOT an rpg. The story elements, while fun, are not incredibly deep or immersive. The setting IS immersive, but the game itself focuses more on the gameplay than characters or character development.

What you're asking is akin to seeing a CCG or LCG and asking why someone wouldn't play other card games like bridge or go fish.

Just because some of the elements are the same does not at all mean they scratch the same itch.

If you want to say that GH is just a fancy RP battle system, then sure, you could say that. But you could wrap pretty any strategy boardgame inside of an RP and say the same thing.

I mean, if you want to RP war-room conversations and army generals, you could do that and just add the 'battle system' from Risk. But that's not what Risk is for, and duct-taping them together would probably cause both to suffer to some extent.

The battle system involved in GH is much too intricate and time-consuming to be an "RP" and if it was, I'm sure most people would find it too limiting to do the cool things they see in their head when they decide to do them.

Long story short... Gloomhaven is a boardgame.
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Willem Monsuwe
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Thanos007 wrote:
But it looks like you could just pick up the core rules and some dice for a standard RPG, end up saving money and have infinite replay ability.


Have you looked at the front bgg page for the game?
First line from the game description: "Gloomhaven is a game of Euro-inspired tactical combat..."

The term RPG does not appear anywhere in the description. The thing that comes closest is: "... kind of like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book"

In other words, you're comparing oranges with apples.

This game is popular because it's a very good euro-style dungeoncrawl system with a layer of worldbuilding, different characters who feel wildly different when playing, a bit of character growth during a campaign, and a lot of unlockable content (new characters, etc) that becomes accessible during a campaign.
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Darren Nakamura
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Note that I haven't actually played this yet, but I've watched a lot of videos and I lurk in this forum quite a bit.

My impression of Gloomhaven is that it's one of the most video-gamey board games you can get. It has a built-in story, it can be played solo, it has unlockable content, it has achievements, it has loot. It hits a lot of the same points that a lot of very popular video games do, which is something that board games have (surprisingly) not done much of in the past.

Combine that with the interesting tactical system of choosing two cards that creates many combinations of possible actions and the strategy of when to use your one-shot cards for their greatest effect, and I don't think it's hard to see why this is popular. It's not just an RPG-in-a-box. It scratches a lot of different itches, including the very base human desire to do a thing and get a reward for doing that thing.
 
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Noneya Bidness
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So... and this is not a criticism, it's just a really blinged out Dungeon Crawler with a moderately innovative combat system?

And before this gets too flamey, I'm not crapping on people who enjoy this. I'm trying to understand WHY they enjoy it. I refer everyone back to my op. I generally understand the new hotness whether I like it or not but this one just seems to be a few pieces shy of an RPG that, why not play an RPG?

A fool's errand I suppose. People like what they like. I'll let it go with that.
 
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