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Subject: We play on easy - are we wimps? rss

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Lex Major
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Hi,

We're veteran boardgamers, and we like to think our ouselves as "no slouches" when it comes to difficulty (we've dealt with "not on default Pandemic" and the likes, and deal with Mage Knight regularly.)

We started out the first scenario on Normal difficulty barely squeaking by a victory, and got our asses HANDED to us on the Second scenario on Normal difficulty again. Since then, we've been playing on Easy, and we found the game to be much more approachable - and enjoyable - on that difficulty level.

Since then (4-5th scenarios), games have become maybe a bit too easy, but we're wary of going back to normal (we HATE re-doing scenarios...)

So down to ESSENTIAL questions:
1) Should we try to crank the difficulty back to normal now that we're on levels 2-3?
2) Are we running the risk of having "long term XP/gold deprivation" if we stick to Easy difficulty, and thus have problems in the later scenarios?
3) More to the point: are we wimps? (We've since renamed our party "The Wimps", so that one may have already been answered...)
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Being new to the game as well, I think it comes down to learning how the game works and how the cards interact (top of one and bottom of other) along with how your characters can work off each other. I would say go back to normal be safe and you may have to redo a scenario 20-25 % of the time. For example, making a bad choice on a road event and starting out poisoned with curses.
 
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Andrew Sarnowski
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Nah. It depends on what you're looking for. As adults we only have so many times we can get our friends together for as long as Gloomhaven takes and the point is to have fun and move forward with the story. If this were an RP campaign the DM would be adjusting things on the fly so the players had a good time. You guys should do the same.
After all, there are only so many hours and many many other games.
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Jay Johnson
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I'd recommend trying it Normal level now.
When everyone is first learning the game, it makes sense to maybe drop the difficulty a notch. But now, 4-5 scenarios down the road, people are more familiar with the mechanics of the game, and which cards to choose to bring for the scenario, and which cards to play in particular situations, as well as how the different characters (and players) in the group can coordinate.
All evidenced by the fact that you admit that things are starting to feel too easy. So give it a try on Normal. if you don't like it, you can switch back.

And also don't forget that even on "Easy" difficulty, the scenario difficulty will increase eventually as players level up. (once characters start hitting level 3 and beyond)
 
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David Debien
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I find the game difficulty on Normal is about right for me. I don't hate re-doing scenarios at all, especially since we usually re-do them immediately and everything is setup.

My experience in the first few scenarios was similar to your own. We won the first scenario by a hair then got smashed by the second scenario twice. By the third run, we had it down to a science and managed it quite easily. It didn't hurt that we had levelled and grabbed some new items in the shop in the meantime.

IMO an Co-op game should be hard and win ratio shouldn't be much more than 50% or it gets boringly easy.

If you lose, take your lumps. The scenario is already setup. Try it again immediately after licking your wounds in town.

All that said, it's your game. Do what is most fun for you!
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John R
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I would try bumping it up to normal for a scenario or two and see how it goes. The first few scenarios have the possibility of being fairly difficult. I think this is mainly because they aren't "easy" beginner scenarios. He just throws you into the campaign without any chance to get familiar with your characters and how the game works. So, you're trying to learn everything while still attempting average to above average difficulty scenarios.

I know when I first started I failed the first scenario twice playing two characters solo, and once I got my group together we failed scenario 4 two or three times. Now that we have more experience we're playing most scenarios at +1 or +2 difficulty. It's just a matter of getting used to the game, and getting used to the people your playing with. Now that you have a few scenarios behind you it might be time to test the difficulty again.
 
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dyvim tanelorn
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We started with "hard" and the first scenario kicked us in the ass. Than we redid the first scenario (winning) and played the second scenario on normal. We thought we understood how to play and we set the difficulty to hard. Now we play always with "hard", sometimes we lose, but usually we win on first try. It's a game that must "click" before starting to play it well.
 
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Conor Davitt
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Since you're not a fan of replaying scenarios, take a little interlude and set up a random scenario using the random scenario cards, and run through it on "normal." If you get slaughtered, maybe stick with easy. If you barely squeak through, perhaps you can bump up your regular campaign. I find that, in my group, we've been playing on normal and we almost always get wiped, but manage to pull through (often in the last hand or two with all but one character out of the game, and a few times down to the last attack mod card flipped). For me/us, that's an awesome way to pull through - it makes for a really intense game.
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I would concur with everything said above that you might want to bump back up to normal, Just to try. The game absolutely has an initial learning curve. I lost the first game I ever played when being walked through with a friend's copy. Since then, my wife and I have played quite a few rounds on normal difficulty with the friend and gotten a solid grasp on the game.

When we finally received our own copy, as the person setting up the game I accidentally had us playing the first scenario on hard, with character classes we had never played before, and we still squeezed out a victory.

We have since gone back to Normal, but the moral being that after a number of games, your group has surely become more familiar with the mechanics and how to optimize your cards.
 
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Martin Askjær
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Some things to note:

If you regularly play Mageknight and enjoy it, then this game should not be that big of a challenge. With that in mind, just doing a check up:

You are playing with a scenario level that is your teams average level and then divided by two rounded up ?

You can avoid damage from a single attack by loosing a card from hand, or two from your discard pile.

Using rest actions only/mostly when you have discarded all of your cards
 
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javascrybe wrote:

So down to ESSENTIAL questions:
1) Should we try to crank the difficulty back to normal now that we're on levels 2-3?


Not if you're enjoying the level of challenge that you're currently getting at easy level.

Personally, I find it weird that people get hung up on the "easy" label.

My group of 3 Gloomhaven players are all extremely experienced gamers (each of us has played hundreds of unique games over the past 15 years and more), we're 53 plays into the game, and we've only ever played on easy level. We're also busy people with other interests and other campaigns (Pandemic Legacy: Season 2) in progress, and we dislike having to repeat a lot of scenarios. In those 53 plays we've had 8 losses and a handful of easy wins, but most of the time we feel like we're being challenged enough to enjoy the experience.


javascrybe wrote:
2) Are we running the risk of having "long term XP/gold deprivation" if we stick to Easy difficulty, and thus have problems in the later scenarios?


Regardless of the level, I have an issue with the amount of gold gained versus the cost of items and enhancements. Part of the fun for us is leveling up skills and getting cool gear, so we've also heavily house-ruled the economic system (we award scenario gold at a level above our current level, and have halved the price of everything on the enhancements chart).


javascrybe wrote:
3) More to the point: are we wimps? (We've since renamed our party "The Wimps", so that one may have already been answered...)


Not at all. The whole point is to have fun, so if it's fun for you to get crushed regularly and repeat scenarios frequently, then level up. If it's not, then enjoy where you're at!
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Lex Major
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Korkrest wrote:
Some things to note:

If you regularly play Mageknight and enjoy it, then this game should not be that big of a challenge.

I'll correct that: I play Mage Knight regularly. My other party members do not We have all the rules pretty much OK. Thinking it through, I think it's the fact that in low-level parties, some "game quirks" (a turn with 3-4 attacks on a single character) do tend to be unforgiving. I think we've managed around that since. Maybe it's time we try it a bit tougher

squash wrote:
Not at all. The whole point is to have fun, so if it's fun for you to get crushed regularly and repeat scenarios frequently, then level up. If it's not, then enjoy where you're at!

Thanks for the answers, you ease my mind a lot!
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Paul S
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Thought I might add: I took some of the advice I'd read here, to start off on "easy" level, for Scenario 1 - and did not regret it. We won, first time, but with 1 of 3 of us practically exhausted and the other 2 almost dead. Close enough for me to get that "just did it" buzz that I think most great co-ops deliver. Losing would not have been a more pleasurable exercise.

So go with it. I think I'll do 2 or 3 more at easy before I go back to normal - and all the posts that suggest that levelled up PCs help a good bit tell me that I'm right about that. Also: I have no shame
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Ryan H
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I agree with what everyone else has said here, which is to play at whatever level you find fun. However, I do want to say that as your town's prosperity grows and you unlock more items, and as your characters all level up and can specialize into their roles more, you will most likely outpace the difficulty. We started out at normal, progressed to hard, and are currently fluctuating between hard and very-hard depending on our group's composition. This isn't because we are some uber-badass masochistic gamers, but simply because the increased number of available options (items, higher level characters) boosts your group's power level at a faster rate than the scenario difficulty increases.

So, play at easy now if it seems good, but don't be too afraid to dip into normal every once and a while to evaluate where you're at! I think eventually you will find yourself wanting to jump up to normal, and maybe even to hard (way down the line), but there is no rush if you are having fun.

Also remember that there is a built-in difficulty tuning knob within each scenario - loot. If you jump back up to normal and feel like you might lose, ignore all loot and just focus on winning that one so that you don't have to repeat it. If you're finding a scenario a bit too easy, see if you can get every piece of loot and still beat it. Coincidentally, the extra money will also make you stronger so eventually you can jump to the next higher difficulty .
 
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Michael Iachini
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Our original party tried the first scenario on Normal and got wrecked. We re-did it on Easy and survived. We did the next one on Easy and survived.

From there, we started playing on Normal, and as we leveled up shifted to Hard and were doing fine.

Then our starting characters started retiring. And even though our town prosperity was above 1 and the new characters were coming in with some extra money and ability cards and hit points, we quickly dropped back to Normal, with a sprinkling of Easy. Right now, I think we're on almost all-Easy, all the time.

Partly, our original three characters meshed well together, and added item cards and ability cards as they leveled up to mesh even better together. Now, one player has retired once and the other two have retired twice, and we have not yet hit on a party makeup that hums as well as our original.

We're totally fine playing at Easy if Normal (let alone Hard or Very Hard) would be unfun. Zero regrets for Easy!
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Lex Major
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wojciech slusarczyk
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Also after 4-5 scenarios you should reach level 2 and obtain a little better gear. As the normal difficulty could be still level 1 - it should be a little bit easier for you.
 
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Mikkel Øberg
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All is fine, we hate redoing levels and also play on easy. Primarily because we play it two player, and we don't want to deviate from the roleplaying by having to min-max-match our characters - playing on easy allows us to just do what's riveting, but still play effectively.
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javascrybe wrote:


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Andrew Gross
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I'm currently hosting two very different campaigns.

One of them is with a guy my age and his 15 year old son. They both really enjoy playing, but would not enjoy treating every turn as a puzzle to be maximized, planning card plays out 3 turns in advance, looking at stand numbers to determine future order of moves to move your character one hex over so they interfere with themselves, and so on. They like the hack and slash part of the game.

I really enjoy playing with them. We're playing on normal difficulty, and have failed about 1/3 of our scenarios. We don't mind doing them over, since you get to keep your experience and gold. The one time we failed a scenario twice, we did it on Easy and rushed through it in about an hour.

The other campaign is two player, and I'm playing with another guy who is as much of a gamer as I am. We are min/maxing everything we can, with the exception that we're voluntarily house-ruling that stamina potions return one fewer card than printed, because otherwise we find them to be mandatory for all characters, which is boring.

We have completed five scenarios, all of them on Hard setting. We have not failed one yet, though one of them did come down to the final card flip. We may consider going two levels up instead of one level up if we make it through another 3 or 4 scenarios without being beaten, though I personally don't expect that to happen.

I'm not sure whether that's useful to you as a barometer or not. Basically, if I'm playing with people who aren't super logical and don't enjoy thinking about every decision, I'd be fine playing on a mixture of Easy and Normal, depending on how the rounding is going for determining scenario level. But if I was playing with people that consider themselves serious gamers, I would not be willing to play on Easy; I'd post-mortem every turn of every scenario until we collectively learned how to play well enough to make Easy mode a joke.
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Oskar van Velden
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I have wondered the same, Lex

I play the game solo and was playing the first 2 scenarios on easy. But after I finished the second scenario without any problems... (really had no problem and killed the boss monster within a couple of rounds and with no pain at all). So I cranked up the difficulty to normal and started scenario #4 ...

But there I got wiped pretty soon, so the next try I lowered it back to easy... and I finished the scenario really on the last card. One of my characters was already exhausted and my other character only had 3 cards left whistle

So I guess I still need to know/learn how to use my cards more efficiently so I don't get exhaused as quick as I now do. But I guess I'll keep on playing on easy for now ^^
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