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Subject: Replaying Gloomhaven - Upping the Challenge! rss

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Hey,

Huge Mage Knight-fan here. GF as well. Playing 2-3 people, all very competent at analytical games. Nearing the mid-end of our campaign and it has been a blast! I know Isaac is working on the expansion for us, but both the timing and contents of that is uncertain.

Now, assuming one has played the game to completion, unlocked all the classes and seen all the content (which i have not at the moment, but once we finish i will look at everything) how to set up a slightly modified campaign to set the correct level of challenge?

Now, the exploration of classes and mechanisms is good enough for this playthrough to be entertaining, but we already had to increase difficulty for the game to stay interesting, and that doesn't seem right to me..

First, the problems i have with the challenge right now can be summarized as such:

1. Stamina potions seem overpowered. We buy them for all classes.

2. XP and levels matter very little as challenge scales, possibly even decreasing difficulty as the game goes on. This is simply a nice way of introducing more complexity and customization.
Further, the game seems 'better' balanced at low levels (1-5) meaning prosperity increases leads to... worse play experience?

3. The REAL leveling is in items and enchanting cards, thus fuelled by gold. Gold is the REAL XP in this game, and it is highly variable. You get more gold as the game goes on, thus DECREASING the difficulty, when i would prefer it to increase..
I personally don't even use enchantments because decreasing the difficulty further is unsatisfying, but i would like to because it is fun, and i'm torn between two options.

4. Personal goals have been very variable in the group in difficulty, leading to frustration and unfair distribution of fun unlocks. The extra perks for unlocks also unbalance the classes unneccesarily.

-------------------------------------------------------

Now i've been thinking about fixes. These are where i'm currently at for fixing these (percieved) problems:

1. One less card for each Stamina potion. Seen other do this, we haven't implemented it yet, but seems very good to me.

2/3. XP not mattering is fine, even preferrable, but the higher levels need a balancing adjustment. Considering counting character levels for difficulty as +1 in the 4-6 range and +2 in the 7-9 range. This would disincentivise startign at a higher level since you would have less time to build up your gold (real power-increase).

4. Count the XP until 'level 10', the character then immediataly retires, not unlocking a character but instead unlocking a scenario and item as if there were no characters left to unlock.
This has the side-benefit of not leaving OP 9-level chars in the game for too long.

----------------------------------------------------------

I would like to hear from others thinking in the same vein. Clever difficulty adjustments? Agreements/disagreements? What would you change in a replay?
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Sean McCarthy
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I'm nowhere near finishing the campaign, and there's a lot of stuff I'm not spoiled on yet, so consider this spitballing.

* The stamina potion change feels really good to me. I've played close to 10 early games with it and I think minor stamina potion is still a great item!

* It occurs to me that item availability is designed for 4 players and doesn't scale down. Playing with 2 or 3, perhaps you'd like to consider cutting the available items by half, or by 1 each? Maybe that helps a little bit with money equaling power. Obvious early effects include Cloak of Invisibility and Boots of Striding.

* I don't think you want the game difficulty to scale automatically with character progression to the full extent that it's appropriate - that always feels bad and leads to weird incentives in one direction or the other. Instead I'd suggest making it a goal to play at higher difficulties. The simplest version of this is to record how many scenarios you beat at normal, hard, very hard, very very hard... and try to maximize that.

The version I'd like to do, but can't without getting spoiled, is draw up a sort of tech tree for the town, where you can use glory points (earned from beating scenarios at higher and higher difficulties) to pick from a variety of small town perks that can all be taken once. They'd be stuff like:

[] Second copies of all potions now available
[] 3-4th copies of all potions now available
[] You can now sell items
[] Sold items become available for other players to buy
[] Adjust your party's reputation by 1
[] +1 Prosperity
[] Pay 1 less when paying gold for an event
[] When in town, may pay 10 gold to re-pick a card chosen on levelup
[] Choose one class to unlock immediately

Basically a mix of extra bonuses, and unlocks for new restrictions on things you could already do in the base game.
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Ryan H
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I pretty much completely agree with your points and think your ideas are great. The game has some issues at higher level play and we find ourselves starting at level 1 even though we're technically allowed to start at a much higher level. Sorry I don't have a ton of feedback other than +1, these ideas are great .
 
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Alex G
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How about setting up the board for +1 player? So 3 if you have 2 players and 4 with all three of you. If that's too easy have 2 of you play 4 player while the third plays the monsters. You also can let the monster player make ambigious against the players.

You might get more gold, but that's only a problem if the game is too easy. Personally I'd rather get to become powerful to overcome a greater obstacle than just limiting character power.
 
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C Sandifer
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Interesting.

We're playing a 2p campaign, and we've found the game to be plenty challenging. Our record is something like 16-12, though the 12 losses have been the result of replaying the same handful of scenarios over and over again - including the crazy ooze scenario with the water valves. Which we eventually abandoned out of frustration.

It probably doesn't help that we haven't used any tank characters yet. We started with Mindthief/Scoundrel (retired @ level 4) and then switched to Spellweaver/Elementalist (currently level 7). Shield monsters are particularly heinous. When there are too many, we sometimes lower the monsters by a level to have any shot at winning.

I always feel gold-poor, as I'm so focused on killing, moving, healing, and surviving that I rarely have time to loot.

And perhaps the 2p game is particularly prone to insta-loss bad luck, whether it's a bad road event, monster action card, or combat modifier.
 
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Matt Ziemer
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1. I would think a easier fix would just be, don't buy stamina potions.

2/3: I really have to say I disagree with the idea of xp not mattering. It's just like any RPG or dungeon crawl where you can increase the power of your character through many different means: xp, feats, items, perks, etc, etc. I know many people would say that the items and enhancement you buy are a very small, insigificant part of the power increase of gloomhaven. I'm of the opinion that the changes to your modifier deck are the biggest power increased to your character.

4: I think this is a really interesting idea but it makes me think it'll work against what your going for. Your looking to make the game harder, and it may do that, in a way I guess. I think a big part of the game is striving for your retirement goal and by making a mandatory retirement at lvl 10, there is no need to try for retirement goals anymore.

Anyway, not to be all negative. I'm glad you are having fun and success with gloomhaven and hope you can find a way to keep enjoying it your way.
 
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Quote:
1. I would think a easier fix would just be, don't buy stamina potions.

2/3: I really have to say I disagree with the idea of xp not mattering. It's just like any RPG or dungeon crawl where you can increase the power of your character through many different means: xp, feats, items, perks, etc, etc. I know many people would say that the items and enhancement you buy are a very small, insigificant part of the power increase of gloomhaven. I'm of the opinion that the changes to your modifier deck are the biggest power increased to your character.

4: I think this is a really interesting idea but it makes me think it'll work against what your going for. Your looking to make the game harder, and it may do that, in a way I guess. I think a big part of the game is striving for your retirement goal and by making a mandatory retirement at lvl 10, there is no need to try for retirement goals anymore.

Anyway, not to be all negative. I'm glad you are having fun and success with gloomhaven and hope you can find a way to keep enjoying it your way.


1. Removes fun and strategy, why would this be better than the 'fix'?

2. My simple counterpoint is quite crisp here: the only thing going into determining your difficulty is level. This means any bonus on top of that decreases difficulty (items, enchantments)

4. note that you do not get the goal, only 'base' retirement awards!
 
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Quote:
I'm nowhere near finishing the campaign, and there's a lot of stuff I'm not spoiled on yet, so consider this spitballing.

* The stamina potion change feels really good to me. I've played close to 10 early games with it and I think minor stamina potion is still a great item!

* It occurs to me that item availability is designed for 4 players and doesn't scale down. Playing with 2 or 3, perhaps you'd like to consider cutting the available items by half, or by 1 each? Maybe that helps a little bit with money equaling power. Obvious early effects include Cloak of Invisibility and Boots of Striding.

* I don't think you want the game difficulty to scale automatically with character progression to the full extent that it's appropriate - that always feels bad and leads to weird incentives in one direction or the other. Instead I'd suggest making it a goal to play at higher difficulties. The simplest version of this is to record how many scenarios you beat at normal, hard, very hard, very very hard... and try to maximize that.

The version I'd like to do, but can't without getting spoiled, is draw up a sort of tech tree for the town, where you can use glory points (earned from beating scenarios at higher and higher difficulties) to pick from a variety of small town perks that can all be taken once. They'd be stuff like:

[] Second copies of all potions now available
[] 3-4th copies of all potions now available
[] You can now sell items
[] Sold items become available for other players to buy
[] Adjust your party's reputation by 1
[] +1 Prosperity
[] Pay 1 less when paying gold for an event
[] When in town, may pay 10 gold to re-pick a card chosen on levelup
[] Choose one class to unlock immediately

Basically a mix of extra bonuses, and unlocks for new restrictions on things you could already do in the base game.


Interesting fix. Any added customization is nice, and getting that 'push the difficulty' for higher rewards resemble Mage Knight as well. Would like to see this suggestion fleshed out.

Personally i have no problem with the 'counterincerntive' of not aiming for XP but gold, but that is preference i presume.
I sometimes feel that XP breaks the strategy down a little even, as you 'farm' it on easy levels and do not have time to get it on hard levels. This is somewhat counter to what it should be. Removing incentive to 'progress quickly' should fix this.
 
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Seppo Sinisalo
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I dont't understand why staminapotions are op. Minor stamina pot gives you a single turn more so are there better stamia pots or am I missing something :O? And whats your ruling for less cards for each pot as the rules state that no duplicate items?
 
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Lagoondragon wrote:
I dont't understand why staminapotions are op. Minor stamina pot gives you a single turn more so are there better stamia pots or am I missing something :O? And whats your ruling for less cards for each pot as the rules state that no duplicate items?


Well they are not gamebreaking, but the more you play the more people seem to notice that they buy them for every character, meaning that they are not chosen because of synergy but just because they are plain better than other options.

They not only give you an extra turn, but also the possiblity to replay your best card/cards.
 
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Robert Marney
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The problem is that stamina potions have an incredibly powerful effect for their prosperity level, reducing strategic choice and specialization. Most classes, especially as you level, have some cards that are way better than others, so it's not just one extra turn, it's your best turn. Picking up your best attack is more damage than a minor power potion; picking up your best heal or move will avoid more damage than a minor healing potion. Picking up the specialized card you need against a particular enemy (a pierce, immobilize, push/pull, true damage, etc.) is often a 4+ damage swing in your favor. And did I mention it gives you an extra turn of looting before you need to rest?

Usually, a stamina potion will do more for you than a leather armor or poison dagger that costs twice as much. For some classes, it's as good as a piercing bow or warhammer that costs 3 times as much.
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patrick mullen
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I've only played a few scenarios so I'm at the beginning of my journey. Here's some things I brainstormed.

* Increase the difficulty while lowering the bonuses you receive
* Draw a random dungeon card for each room you enter in the dungeon and apply the negative effect
* Draw a random monster card and add a number of extra figures from a group not in the current scenario to the current scenario depending on desired scale. One extra figure for each character level?
* When you draw a road event, look at the back and choose the worst possible outcome.
* Give advantage to monster action decks - each turn draw two and pick the one that you think is the worst
* Perk the monster attack deck - every time a player gains a perk, the monster attack deck gets a perk as well. Start with removing the negative cards, but after that you may need to print out your own extra modifier cards, or pull some from unused classes.
* Randomize monster placement on each reveal - I'm not quite sure how to pull this off. Maybe D6=1,2,3 is 1, 2, or 3 spaces closer to the players; and 4,5,6 is 1,2, or 3 spaces further away? Not sure.
* Lower all player hand sizes by 1.
* Lower potion capacity by 1 (so 0 at level 1, 1, at level 3 etc), and require one other equipment slot to be empty.
* Increase negative item effects by 1. If an effect is not listed, you have to add a -1. A [-1 x 2] becomes a [-1 x 3]. Perks that remove these penalties instead restore penalties to base values.
* Decrease item usage value: if an item has 2 uses it has 1. If an item is tapped, it's lost. If it's lost, you have to lose an additional card (hand or discard) to activate it.
 
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Knut K
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I really like the idea to use the random scenario-deck for upping the difficulty.

To apply the negative effect from the room cards is a good idea. I would do this for every room.

And to place extra monsters via the monster cardio also a good idea. But there are more precise rules needed for number and placement.
 
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Bjorn B
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I've seen many people reporting the players get more additional power than the monster upon leveling up.

I was thinking about giving the monsters also perks and improvements to their modifier deck. This could scale with the scenario level (7 perks when playing at level 7). And players get to choose which perks to pick.

Inspiration and cards for possible perks could be found on the different character sheets.

[] replace -2 with 0
[] replace -1 with +1
[] remove 4x 0
[] remove 2x -1
[] replace 0 with +2
[] add 2 blesses
[] add rolling +1
[] add +3

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Ivan Alaiz
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We are also halfway through the campaign and found the same grip, as time goes on it gets to be a walk in the park.

We have played most of the campaign at 4 players, and the amount of scenarios where we had a real challenge started to drop after average party level 5 and prosperity 3...

We started upping the difficulty and playing at level +3 or +4, that had an unforeseen effect that made the problem worse, as we were getting 5 and 6 gold per coin which accelerated the pace of which we were buying equipment and upgrading cards, and mainly also we also heavily donated to the temple.

Lesson learnt, if you are adding +1 +2 or whatever dif, dont use the updated level gold gain rate (xps are ok).

Once we could not level up more the game (monsters at level 7 by default) we nerfed the stamina potions, essentially we only use 1 stamina potion even though someone argued that a character could potentially buy 2 potions (a minor and a later version as well)...

Then we nerfed it even more making it non refresh-able by any means (so only 1 use per scenario no matter what).

The game still felt too easy so what we started doing was to up the number of player setup. So we play 3 players only and then do a 4 player setup, or playing 2 and doing a 3 player setup.

We never thought of adding the random scenario challenges, we will try that for sure as a next step.
 
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Marcel Cwertetschka
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M0ebius wrote:
We are also halfway through the campaign and found the same grip, as time goes on it gets to be a walk in the park.

We have played most of the campaign at 4 players, and the amount of scenarios where we had a real challenge started to drop after average party level 5 and prosperity 3...

We started upping the difficulty and playing at level +3 or +4, that had an unforeseen effect that made the problem worse, as we were getting 5 and 6 gold per coin which accelerated the pace of which we were buying equipment and upgrading cards, and mainly also we also heavily donated to the temple.

Lesson learnt, if you are adding +1 +2 or whatever dif, dont use the updated level gold gain rate (xps are ok).

Once we could not level up more the game (monsters at level 7 by default) we nerfed the stamina potions, essentially we only use 1 stamina potion even though someone argued that a character could potentially buy 2 potions (a minor and a later version as well)...

Then we nerfed it even more making it non refresh-able by any means (so only 1 use per scenario no matter what).

The game still felt too easy so what we started doing was to up the number of player setup. So we play 3 players only and then do a 4 player setup, or playing 2 and doing a 3 player setup.

We never thought of adding the random scenario challenges, we will try that for sure as a next step.


Our group played over 500 hours of gloomhaven and are at town prosperity 8 and never had "too easy scenarios". My guess is that you are playing rules in some capacity wrong, as later scenarios still tend to be down the wire. Monster levels really scale hard, and monster level 7 is really tough as their stats take a quite big jump from level 6. Also there are many scenarios which are inherently harder than others and might even take multiple tries to beat them.
 
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Ivan Alaiz
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We thought that as well initially but I don’t think we are not doing anything wrong, it’s a pretty experienced group and read the rules and the forums extensively. We use faqs and so on... there have been periods where the feeling of “walk in the park” was more intense than others, depending on the characters... three spears for example abused the refresh abilities and his solo quest item...

The one thing we realized we had done wrong was donating more than 10g a piece and we backtracked and remedied it.

I’m sure we possibly got something wrong... but I don’t think it would something as major to affect this.

Tempo is a non issue, the only player that runs into cards shortage is the tank if he has some tight spots in which cards need to be burnt...

i think that playing at level +3 for so long has snowballed the gold inflation... characters are very well equipped very fast.
 
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M0ebius wrote:
We thought that as well initially but I don’t think we are not doing anything wrong, it’s a pretty experienced group and read the rules and the forums extensively. We use faqs and so on... there have been periods where the feeling of “walk in the park” was more intense than others, depending on the characters... three spears for example abused the refresh abilities and his solo quest item...

The one thing we realized we had done wrong was donating more than 10g a piece and we backtracked and remedied it.

I’m sure we possibly got something wrong... but I don’t think it would something as major to affect this.

Tempo is a non issue, the only player that runs into cards shortage is the tank if he has some tight spots in which cards need to be burnt...

i think that playing at level +3 for so long has snowballed the gold inflation... characters are very well equipped very fast.


If you re-read the rulebook you will see that you are not supposed to scale up the gold, only monsters and traps..

No wonder you've got a broken team.. :-)
 
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Ivan Alaiz
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Just went back read page 15 and cannot find any reference to not scaling up gold when raising scenario level, where did you read that?

In hindsight this would have been the best approach but it is not obvious on that moment...
 
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Steve Hope
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If you don’t scale up the gold, why do the show gold amounts for levels 6/7?
 
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M0ebius wrote:
Just went back read page 15 and cannot find any reference to not scaling up gold when raising scenario level, where did you read that?

In hindsight this would have been the best approach but it is not obvious on that moment...


Well i'll be damned. It seems we read the 'open information' variant on page 16 and started applying that 'rule' to all difficulty-increases..

You are correct, i was definitely wrong here.
 
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Ivan Alaiz
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Elusive2 wrote:
M0ebius wrote:
Just went back read page 15 and cannot find any reference to not scaling up gold when raising scenario level, where did you read that?

In hindsight this would have been the best approach but it is not obvious on that moment...


Well i'll be damned. It seems we read the 'open information' variant on page 16 and started applying that 'rule' to all difficulty-increases..

You are correct, i was definitely wrong here.


If you are doing just fine in terms of difficulty I would suggest you keep doing that, we started really early playing at dif +1 (second scenario) and were paying at +2 and loooting at least 90% from scenario 10 onwards... and the added gold snowballs quickly.

We also played with the second edition prosperity tracker which is slightly shorter which also makes the game easier.
 
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Tobias
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M0ebius wrote:

We also played with the second edition prosperity tracker which is slightly shorter which also makes the game easier.


Did you also use the nerfs introduced in the 2nd edition (e.g. Scoundrel's looting abilities were nerfed a little)
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Elusive2 wrote:
Quote:
I'm nowhere near finishing the campaign, and there's a lot of stuff I'm not spoiled on yet, so consider this spitballing.

* The stamina potion change feels really good to me. I've played close to 10 early games with it and I think minor stamina potion is still a great item!

* It occurs to me that item availability is designed for 4 players and doesn't scale down. Playing with 2 or 3, perhaps you'd like to consider cutting the available items by half, or by 1 each? Maybe that helps a little bit with money equaling power. Obvious early effects include Cloak of Invisibility and Boots of Striding.

* I don't think you want the game difficulty to scale automatically with character progression to the full extent that it's appropriate - that always feels bad and leads to weird incentives in one direction or the other. Instead I'd suggest making it a goal to play at higher difficulties. The simplest version of this is to record how many scenarios you beat at normal, hard, very hard, very very hard... and try to maximize that.

The version I'd like to do, but can't without getting spoiled, is draw up a sort of tech tree for the town, where you can use glory points (earned from beating scenarios at higher and higher difficulties) to pick from a variety of small town perks that can all be taken once. They'd be stuff like:

[] Second copies of all potions now available
[] 3-4th copies of all potions now available
[] You can now sell items
[] Sold items become available for other players to buy
[] Adjust your party's reputation by 1
[] +1 Prosperity
[] Pay 1 less when paying gold for an event
[] When in town, may pay 10 gold to re-pick a card chosen on levelup
[] Choose one class to unlock immediately

Basically a mix of extra bonuses, and unlocks for new restrictions on things you could already do in the base game.


Interesting fix. Any added customization is nice, and getting that 'push the difficulty' for higher rewards resemble Mage Knight as well. Would like to see this suggestion fleshed out.


I bit the bullet on mild prosperity-unlockable-item spoilers and fleshed it out. Posted here.
 
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Mauro Moura
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I kinda agree with most of your points, altough ppl ovearact with the whole "the game is easier at higher lv thing, its suposed to be easier, if youre max level youre at the pinacle of your power, and its not that much different from the low lv game, you win most scenarios, its just some specific scenarios with some variant goals that are harder than the normal kill everything scenario that poses a chalenge at any level, and I think thats fine the game ahs throngs of scenarios itd be tedious if you lost half of the time.

Now regarding the extra perks for unlocked characters, its not umbalanced at all, you gota remember that a newly unlocked char doesn't have all the perks that the recently retired char had at the same level becuase he didn't go trough multiple scenarios completing battle goals, newly made characters are usualy weaker than you just retired one (also because they come with way less gold than your other character had and therefore have acess to less items) and the extra perk is there to aliviate this in a little bit.
 
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