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Subject: Inaugural Play of Gloomhaven... ...Didn't Go So Well... rss

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Jeff Knapp
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So I FINALLY convinced the wife to let me explode the Gloomhaven box all over the table. Now, this game is WAY outside of her comfort zone - most of our games have been city builder/worker placement/whatever "Alchemists" is. So a dungeon crawling combat game is definitely a stretch. But I really, really like the aspect of us working together for a common goal and getting to see the town/characters evolve as we play.

For game one, we played through the first scenario - I had hoped the story would build some excitement (it honestly didn't, but I'll worry about that later...) But I set everything to super-easy difficulty; level 0 monsters, and we picked what I've read is the easiest combo ever - Spellweaver & Brute. The only thing I didn't do (aka "bother with") were the item cards - frankly I haven't even unwrapped the cards yet! But honestly I felt that super easy monsters and a strong team would negate the need for items. That may have been a mistake.

Our first observation once we finally set everything up and started rifling through our cards was that no combo whatsoever would allow us to MOVE to the elite guard in front and smack 'im. All of the card combos force you to attack first and then move. I ended up with a low-damage ranged attack with the Brute, then swung forward and to the right to draw attacks away from the Spellweaver. I believe she too made a light ranged attack, then swung left at a safe distance. On the second turn, the elite guard drew a x2 card if I recall, and hit me for something like 6 damage. Ouch. Of course then the other guard hit me and I think did another 3 damage. Suddenly my tanking Brute had 1 health point left. So on the next turn, I used an area attack, drawing an x2 on the first guard, killing him in one shot (and earning my "executioner" goal card) and then hit the elite, bringing him down to one health. My wife laid a good hit on the third guard, and healed me up a few points from range. Unfortunately it wasn't enough, and the elite got another great hit on me when it next activated, dealing enough damage to knock me out - only on turn freaking 3... So I discarded a card to negate the attack. On the next turn, my wife went first, taking out guard #3 and moving next to me to grab a coin. I then laid the final blow on the elite guard, and healed my wife a bit. On the next turn, I opted to loot the elite's corpse, and played a persistent shielding card for future use. I expected my wife to proceed through the door, but she too stayed put, healing me again (she had already rested.) So we kinda just sat there for a turn, which I realized was kinduva waste.

On the next turn, the Spellweaver wasted her first card, then used a move 6 to bust through the door, earning her "explorer" goal. Now, I think we did this right - she moved 1 space to the door, opening it, and we set up the second room. We revealed the enemies and drew their cards - both had a lower initiative value than both of us - but we finished the Spellweaver's turn first. She blitzed up right between the guards, stopping between them and the elite archer. That probably wasn't the best move, as the archer laid a hit on her, and then both guards, who happened to draw a ranged card, both got hits on her as well. She too had to discard a card to negate the last attack in order to stay in the game.

I - having rested - had to waste my first action as I was too far away to do anything, and then played a movement card that also included an attack=2. On her next move, the Spellweaver played a nice combo - one that attacked 3 with a range of 2 and target of 2, letting her hit the two guards, killing one and severely wounding the other. She also played a defense card that let her negate the next two attacks, meaning that the lethal hit the archer attempted next was easily ignored. On my next turn I killed the remaining guard, and then closed the gap with the archer.

On her final turn, Spellweaver dealt the first actual damage to the archer, but in the process, played her last two available cards. She was instantly out of the game. Me, with 4 cards left in play, moved to the opposite side of the archer and then pushed him onto a trap he himself had laid in a previous turn. The three damage trap used up his last two hit points, and I felt pretty good about myself. I used my last three cards to move across the room, rest, grab a coin, and then hopped over the traps in front of the door to trigger the third room before collapsing on the floor in exhaustion.

And so there we were, limping out of an incomplete dungeon with a few measly coins and covered in the stench of defeat.

I struggle to figure out what we did wrong. I realize we played several cards that become lost after use, but in many cases, they were the only card we could play to any effect in those turns. We also each burned a card to stay alive, but the enemies really got some good hits on us, and it was either that or fall on our face right out of the gate. Lastly, we did waste that turn exiting room 1, which was really just a lack of communication (or maybe a lack of courage!)

So I'm kinda curious what other mistakes we made that resulted in us being so far from finishing the game. The last room, with four enemies, would have taken several turns to finish off - we weren't even close. Was it just lots of little misplays that piled up on us?

I will say this - a few of the combos my wife played were fairly impressive. The one where she targeted two enemies while basically making herself invincible for the next two hits (assuming we did that right) was impressive - and I told her that. So I'm hoping that those little personal victories will encourage her to play again, but honestly I didn't get a good vibe from her. I might have to make me some friends really quick.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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You don't have to play the cards from Top to Bottom. You can do that Bottom Move action and then did that Top Attack action. Your comments make it sound like you made that major rules mistake.

Also, I wouldn't call the combo that you used particularly strong...just not particularly weak. You should have used your Item Cards. It doesn't complicate things much.

If I'm correct about the rules mistake, then that is a huge handicap...and really your main problem.
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Michael Wheal
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You know you can do the cards in any order !

Bottom first, then top of 2nd card. ...
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Ben Kyo
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Forward 1, Forward 2, Forward 3... siege attack 5?
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Two things I note that you did wrong:

1) Coerce someone into playing a game "way outside their comfort zone"

2) Assume that you always have to play your cards top>bottom. That's not correct.

EDIT: the three 6:50 timestamps made me chuckle.
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Very Stout
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And you can always play the generic part of the card and it isn't 'lost' if it would be otherwise.
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Sean McCarthy
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I recommend reading page 1 of the scenario book which reminds you to buy items and has suggested items for each class!
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A Kar
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You mentioned having burned several cards to stay alive—you really probably should have done that when the elite crit you for 6 damage. Ouch!

Other than that, items are super useful. The suggested starting items are great. The Spellweaver can dive into a group of enemies then pop her invisibility cloak to avoid all those attacks, then play a high initiative card the next turn to stay invisible and hit the baddies again for a kill shot.

And like everyone is saying, top and bottom don’t have to be played in order. Something like the Brute’s Balanced Measure should be able to hit like a truck in the Black Barrow. (EDIT: consider Grab and Go and boots of Striding for a reusable Attack 6! That’ll teach those bandits a lesson!)
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John B
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your not alone:

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/28101530#28101530
 
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Ben Kyo
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johnb4bgg wrote:

Thread by the same author - the session report just came to everyone's attention later presumably because it went through Geekmodding first.
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John B
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Hah!
Missed that.
 
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Mike Daneman
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I also didn't see you mention taking a short or long rest in your playthrough. You realize that any discarded (not lost) cards come back to your hand when you rest (except one that you have to lose every time you rest), right? Also, the Spellweaver has a card that lets her recover her lost cards once per game.
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Jeff Knapp
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Haha yes everyone I made this session report early in the morning and then later in the day - before this was approved - caught the video by Childres himself which mentioned playing cards in any order desired. Whoops.

Yes - I do believe that was the biggest mistake we made, and would have changed the game drastically. Also I do think we played too many powerful cards early, which were then of course lost, instead of letting those cards cycle through once or twice to lesser effect until needed later.

Last night I got my card collector sleeves in, and got all the items organized by Gloomhaven posterity level. I saw a video (something about "Blinging my Gloomhaven") where the guy did that, and almost makes a JC Penny's-esque catalog of items available. Need to grab a cheap folder tonight and we'll be ready to implement items.

Lastly, I sat down to my Brute cards last night and picked one of the 'X' cards to replace (what I felt was) a weaker level 1 card.

Oh and we did take rests - I just couldn't quite remember where each was taken, so I left it out of the session report. The one thing I'm not crazy about is the rule that you must have 2 or more cards in your hand to take a short rest - that forces you through the cards just a little quicker, reducing priceless turns. And yes my wife used the card that recovered the Spellweaver cards, but I think she played it a little too early - probably a card to save until you only have 2-3 cards left.
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Scott Burns
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ViperMan wrote:


Oh and we did take rests - I just couldn't quite remember where each was taken, so I left it out of the session report. The one thing I'm not crazy about is the rule that you must have 2 or more cards in your hand to take a short rest - that forces you through the cards just a little quicker, reducing priceless turns. And yes my wife used the card that recovered the Spellweaver cards, but I think she played it a little too early - probably a card to save until you only have 2-3 cards left.


Uh what? You need to have 2 cards in discard to short rest, not in hand! Also yes when you play reviving ether she should be getting 5-6 (even 7 if done right! Ride the wind and then reviving ether with last two cards!) cards back in hand
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Jeff Knapp
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ExPat wrote:
ViperMan wrote:


Oh and we did take rests - I just couldn't quite remember where each was taken, so I left it out of the session report. The one thing I'm not crazy about is the rule that you must have 2 or more cards in your hand to take a short rest - that forces you through the cards just a little quicker, reducing priceless turns. And yes my wife used the card that recovered the Spellweaver cards, but I think she played it a little too early - probably a card to save until you only have 2-3 cards left.


Uh what? You need to have 2 cards in discard to short rest, not in hand! Also yes when you play reviving ether she should be getting 5-6 (even 7 if done right! Ride the wind and then reviving ether with last two cards!) cards back in hand


From page 17 of the rulebook:

"Players must either play two cards from their hand or declare a long rest action at the beginning of every round. If a player only has one card or no cards in their hand, the long rest action is their only option."

I read that as you can only take a short rest action if you have 2 or more cards in your hand.

Is there something that explains otherwise? Trust me - I don't really get it either...

 
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Michael T.
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ViperMan wrote:


From page 17 of the rulebook:

"Players must either play two cards from their hand or declare a long rest action at the beginning of every round. If a player only has one card or no cards in their hand, the long rest action is their only option."

I read that as you can only take a short rest action if you have 2 or more cards in your hand.

Is there something that explains otherwise? Trust me - I don't really get it either...



how about reading the next part of the rules named "Resting"? The part you quoted are the rulings about what every player has normally to do in the beginning of every round (namely selecting two cards OR rest).
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Björn R.
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ViperMan wrote:
ExPat wrote:
ViperMan wrote:


Oh and we did take rests - I just couldn't quite remember where each was taken, so I left it out of the session report. The one thing I'm not crazy about is the rule that you must have 2 or more cards in your hand to take a short rest - that forces you through the cards just a little quicker, reducing priceless turns. And yes my wife used the card that recovered the Spellweaver cards, but I think she played it a little too early - probably a card to save until you only have 2-3 cards left.


Uh what? You need to have 2 cards in discard to short rest, not in hand! Also yes when you play reviving ether she should be getting 5-6 (even 7 if done right! Ride the wind and then reviving ether with last two cards!) cards back in hand


From page 17 of the rulebook:

"Players must either play two cards from their hand or declare a long rest action at the beginning of every round. If a player only has one card or no cards in their hand, the long rest action is their only option."

I read that as you can only take a short rest action if you have 2 or more cards in your hand.

Is there something that explains otherwise? Trust me - I don't really get it either...



A short rest is done at the end of a round. This means, that a short rest has to be conducted before the start of a round, where you have one card or no cards left in your hand.

If you choose to not do so at the end of the previous round, you will only be able to do a long rest at the beginning of the round, as you always have to play two cards except during a long rest.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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ViperMan wrote:
ExPat wrote:
ViperMan wrote:


Oh and we did take rests - I just couldn't quite remember where each was taken, so I left it out of the session report. The one thing I'm not crazy about is the rule that you must have 2 or more cards in your hand to take a short rest - that forces you through the cards just a little quicker, reducing priceless turns. And yes my wife used the card that recovered the Spellweaver cards, but I think she played it a little too early - probably a card to save until you only have 2-3 cards left.


Uh what? You need to have 2 cards in discard to short rest, not in hand! Also yes when you play reviving ether she should be getting 5-6 (even 7 if done right! Ride the wind and then reviving ether with last two cards!) cards back in hand


From page 17 of the rulebook:

"Players must either play two cards from their hand or declare a long rest action at the beginning of every round. If a player only has one card or no cards in their hand, the long rest action is their only option."

I read that as you can only take a short rest action if you have 2 or more cards in your hand.

Is there something that explains otherwise? Trust me - I don't really get it either...


That's because choosing to short rest technically takes place at the end of the previous turn. Read the rules for short resting on the same page of the rulebook.
 
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Jeff Knapp
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Von Strubel wrote:
how about reading the next part of the rules named "Resting"?


How about you check your tone. I'm trying to decipher a 52-page rulebook which more-than-one reviewer has suggested is disheveled and poorly organized. Several of my misunderstandings of the rules of this game have been due to a single word or phrase that seems to contradict the core rule in a different paragraph.

This is actually something I worried about before purchasing Gloomhaven, and was the reason I started THIS discussion.

I asked for clarification, and I appreciate those who cleared up my confusion.

Thank you.

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Darren Nakamura
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One thing I'm not sure anybody has mentioned, but you'll want to draw your wife's attention to the Spellweaver card Reviving Ether. It's the cornerstone of the Spellweaver's arsenal. It sounds like she didn't get a chance to use it.

It requires some precise hand management to use most effectively, and if something goes awry, it can basically cut the number of Spellweaver turns in half. In the ideal case, you'll want it in your hand when you're down to just two cards in hand and six in the lost pile, paired with a card that has a lose ability on the bottom (Freezing Nova, Ride the Wind, Frost Armor, or Aid from the Ether -- in my opinion the best options are either Freezing Nova or Ride the Wind, because the other two will basically have no effect).

Play the bottom-lose ability for its effect, then play Reviving Ether to get all of your cards (minus Reviving Ether) back into your hand.

I've played with a Spellweaver who has run into trouble on a couple occasions, where he had three cards left, played a lost card and another card, leaving one card in hand (Reviving Ether), one in discard, and six in the lost pile. This counts as being exhausted, because you don't have enough cards in hand to play actions, nor do you have enough cards in your discard to rest.

Spellweaver/Brute isn't necessarily the strongest two-character duo among the starters, and personally, I'd recommend a Scoundrel/Brute team when you're just learning the game, because the strategies are simple to grok and the tactics are all on the board. Spellweaver has to be much more mindful about which cards are where than any of the other starting classes, so it adds one more piece of complexity.
 
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Darren Nakamura
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ViperMan wrote:
How about you check your tone.


This might be helpful.

https://www.german-way.com/how-to-tell-when-germans-are-real...
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Tyrone ..................
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ViperMan wrote:
Von Strubel wrote:
how about reading the next part of the rules named "Resting"?


How about you check your tone. I'm trying to decipher a 52-page rulebook which more-than-one reviewer has suggested is disheveled and poorly organized. Several of my misunderstandings of the rules of this game have been due to a single word or phrase that seems to contradict the core rule in a different paragraph.



This is all good, but you did have to realize you were talking about taking a short rest but then quoted a part in the rules that talked about a long rest. So, you didn't think that maybe you'd have to look further in the rulebook to find the part that specifically talked about short rests or at least have quoted that part in your reply? Because you made it look like you were picking sections of the rules to support your argument when they didn't apply.
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Jason Sesta
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Seems like if you were iffy about the wife playing you should try a couple of solo games in scenario 1 first. Good to work out the kinks and let the weird situations come up you will have to investigate. It's a long game and I think it takes a good half a dozen games before things become intuitive and you really have the rules worked out (esp. tough things like monster focus, movement, etc.).

You most certainly need all the of the help you can get from items while your character is level 1 even at scenario level 0. Playing the cards in whatever order you want is also pretty important as once you've determined initiative you don't have to follow the leading card. Heck, you don't even need to play the same top and bottom actions you were going to when you picked the cards if the situation dictates.

Hope it works out for you but it sounds like you definitely need more practice with the game to get the experience you want. I know I read the rulebook multiple times and played the game solo several times before playing with anyone else and there were still niggling questions that came up.

Also, I would highly recommend this monster AI quiz if you really want to know what you're doing. I studied this pretty intently and it's helped a TON.

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/234575/gloomhaven-rules-q...
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JATL
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A disheveled and disorganized rule book it is not. Nor does it contradict itself.
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Mathue Faulkner
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MrGurbic wrote:
A disheveled and disorganized rule book it is not. Nor does it contradict itself.

I agree. For this complex of a game (and especially this genre), it's one of the best rulebooks that I've seen. I've also not seen any reviewers really complain about the rulebook....but I only watch the bigger names.

Myth had a disheveled and disorganized rule book. The Gloomhaven rulebook isn't perfect, but I'd give it a solid B+.
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Conor Davitt
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One thing that's helpful to me is doing a ctrl-f search in the rules PDF:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/136993/gloomhaven-final-r...

or the FAQ:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1897763/official-faq-game-r...

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