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Subject: Gloomhaven as a Pathfinder Replacement? rss

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Michael Winger
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I had started a Pathfinder game with a group of friends awhile back. However, having a new baby and working full time, I found myself unable to fulfill my GM duties properly, and the game has been put on hiatus indefinitely.

With Gloomhaven hitting retail, I have been considering picking it up, if it could hit similar notes for my group.

Could I get the same feel of making a character, smashing bad guys, and progressing that character with Gloomhaven? Are there non-combat encounters in the game?
 
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Vince De Zutter
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If by "non-combat encounters", you mean "encounters where the goal isn't to kill everything", then yes. If you mean "encounters where you don't have to partake in combat", then no. All encounters have a combat element to it.

Progression (for characters and the world in general) in an RPG sense shouldn't be a problem. Your group will find their fix in Gloomhaven for all that.
 
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Shagrath
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There are some non-combat encounters through City and Road events, but these are primarily just a transition point from scenario to scenario. Basically, a paragraph or two is read setting up some event and then the party will have two options to decide on, and on the flip side of the card, the resolutions will be presented and something good or bad can happen.

All of the actual scenarios in the game where you use the map tiles all have some form of combat, but as already stated, it's not always kill everyone/everything.
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Felix Scholz
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While Gloomhaven would do away with any GM duties it still requires commiting quite a bit of time to be worthwhile in my opinion.

Then again if you still find 3 or more ours every few weeks with your group it should work. By what you have written I'm not sure if it is really what you are looking for though. There is not much roleplaying in the game by itself. If your group is used to Pen&Paper gaming there are situations you can roleplay I guess (not really my thing) but be prepared to spent about 90% of the time in scenarios fighting.

Which directly relates to your closing question. The road and city events come closest to non-combat encounters as anything I'm aware of in Gloomhaven. But they just consist of some text that fits on a card, a choice for the group and then on the back the consequences of the choice you made (with some flavour text).

Hope this helps.
 
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HenningK
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Gloomhaven is NOT an RPG. It is a tactical combat game, and in most scenarios, the goal is to kill all enemies.

Between scenarios, you have encounter cards where you can choose to do option A or B (made-up example: agree to help a sick merchant to sell his goods or ignore him), but the effects are often minor.

It's a great game as the combat mechanics are awesome, there is a lot of stuff to unlock, the characters play very differently from each other, and the story and writing are better than usual in a boardgame. But it doesn't have the freedom of an RPG, and the game is 95% combat.
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Matthew Kameron
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I would say, for the purpose of your question, the answer is no.

Gloomhaven is a dungeon-crawl tactical game. Like Descent and all the others. Yes, it is better (according to the popular vote, at least) and yes, it has a few bits of flavour that isn't pure combat. But that flavour is peripheral to the core game.

The core game is:

* Look at board
* Look at cards
* Choose which 2 cards to play
* Play them, kill some bad guys
* Repeat the above until you win or lose
* After every couple of sessions, level up and/or shop

As an ex-GM who had a baby 2 years ago, I also stopped role-playing due to no time for writing. I love Gloohaven and other board games, but Gloomhaven is a board game. It feels nothing like a role-playing game to me.
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George Aristides
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Regniwekim wrote:
I had started a Pathfinder game with a group of friends awhile back. With Gloomhaven hitting retail, I have been considering picking it up, if it could hit similar notes for my group.


I would say probably not.

I am assuming that most Pathfinder players transitioned to Pathfinder from DnD 3.5, because they enjoyed the character building and "simulationist" aspects of 3.5, and disliked the emphasis on tactical combat, streamlining and "gamist" aspects of 4th edition.

In my view Gloomhaven is a (much) lighter alternative to 4th edition DnD. Characters start off pretty powerful at level 1, they all have similar card mechanics that are reminiscent of the 4e powers. Similarly to 4e DnD, the effects of these powers, while mechanically streamlined and balanced, are different enough to give a different feel and playstyle to each character. As they level up, characters' power levels progress linearly in a streamlined fashion, with limited options for customisation.

A session of Gloomhaven consists primarily of tactical grid-based combat. Non-combat encounters is just stuff you do between combat that might have a small positive or negative effect on combat (e.g. you might get some extra gold you can spend on a new weapon, or start the next encounter poisoned)

So to conclude, I find that for me Gloomhaven successfully scratches the 4e itch (i.e. I can meet with a group of people regularly, discuss tactics of mini-placement and power use, smash the bad guys, take their stuff, have minimal downtime between combats and proceed to the next dungeon)
 
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Brian Torrens
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There are boardgames out there that do a pretty good job of a psuedo-rpg. I received my copy of Folklore: the Affliction which is fun and has a "choose your own adventure" style story, mixed with tactical combat. They just completed their reprint Kickstarter and have not opened the pledge manager yet, so you could probably late back it if you were interested.

Another one coming up soon is Middara. It looks amazing! I think you can still late pledge it as they are just now getting close to beginning production. It has a really deep story element to the game.
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Michael Drog
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Plus after a while, Gloomhaven is a job without the spontaneous fun that the GM job is. If you gave up GMing due to life I doubt you would rather spend that precious time in Gloomhaven.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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It depends what you like about RPGs.

If you like the tactical aspects of combat and making decisions about when to use your big attacks/limited resources, Glommhaven will be your jam.

If you like progressing a character and making them more powerful through leveling up and finding/buying gear, Gloomhaven will be great.

If you like the stories behind the fights that you are fighting, Gloomhaven has something to offer with branching story paths and little mini scenarios in the event cards, but it certainly can't rival an interactive world created by a real living person (or a computer RPG). That said, it does do a pretty good job at giving your actions consequences.

If you like role playing and exploring the personal dynamics between your character and the NPCs in the game, Gloomhaven doesn't do much. I mean, you can always choose to role play your character (and I suppose the decisions in the events and what scenarios to pursue could be construed as role playing decisions in a limited way), but that's not really what it's for.
 
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Nathan Ehlers
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I'll throw another thumb behind "gloomhaven ain't an rpg".

I liken it more to Diablo 2 or 3 than anything else. It's a smash'em'up with an okay story where the real interest is building out different characters to make them more effective at killing and looting everything on the map. You get bored with one, you put it away and get a different one. Do that till you move on to the next game.
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