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Talkin' about havin' gloom: let's all play Gloomhaven!

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
So Gloomhaven is a game we've been playing here at Casa de Sarc for a while now (in its GH-for-babies Jaws of the Lion edition).

If you're unfamiliar, then very briefly: it's a dungeon crawl in the form of a mildly randomized card puzzle, or vice versa. Generally you have your player characters, each with their own hand of cards, and a room or three full of monsters. Every turn you pick two cards and do the top action (e.g., Attack 3) from one and the bottom (e.g., Move 3) from another. Some cards can be gathered again, while others are lost for good; these tend to have more powerful abilities. Every time your hand gets low or runs out you rest to get them all back—except one, which you lose for good. In this manner your options become limited over time until you're too tired to continue and your character taps out (encounters can still be won by your teammates).

Also, instead of dice, each characters (and the monsters, collectively) use a deck of cards to modify their attacks. So that Attack 3 might get +1, or -2, or be doubled, or be a miss (the last two are just one per deck, and signal when your deck gets reshuffled). There are no defense dice. So the game is a fun, brain-burny exercise in stretching your cards as far as you can and defeating your enemies as efficiently as possible.

And it's on Tabletop Simulator and VASSAL, with the creator's blessing!

So I'd like to gauge interest in getting a TT party together. If you're into that idea, sign up here! Also, while each quest is limited to four players, the player party can take more, so people can drop in and out easily. If you miss a game, you can just show up for the next one. And different configurations of the group should be able to meet more or less often and play without the rest (if there's a lot of interest I'll probably put together a calendar where people can sign up for a planned run).

There are six starting characters (with more unlocked as you play) in the base game, plus four more from Jaws of the Lion. So let's say the initial cap for the party will be ten. Chime in below if you're interested. I'll post up a primer on the starting lineup and we'll figure out who's playing whom later on.

Signers-on:

1. Sarcasmorator
2. Mogri
3. jpfriction
4. aturtledoesbite
5. Purple
6. Serephine
7. Kalir
8. Lucas
9. Nodal
10. liquid
11. Thraeg
 
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Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
I have never Gloomed a Haven, but I am interested in doing so.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
I could definitely get in on that... particularly over TTS. VASSAL is... unpleasant, UI-wise. But not a deal-breaker. Any particular day you'd want to run it on?
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
I'm not sure about a particular day, but I'm thinking we can have a running campaign with the whole group. People can play as they're able, mark progress in a campaign tracker we all refer to, etc. So we can have consistent party/campaign progress and tracking without needing a consistent group of players or specific regular day.

Also Tabletop Simulator is $9.99 on Steam through 8/25, and $29.99 for a 4-pack if anyone wants to coordinate going in on that (I already have a copy).

Also the ten-person limit is just for the start. Once characters start retiring and new ones are available we can expand the roster.
 
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So Gloomhaven is a game we've been playing here at Casa de Sarc for a while now (in its GH-for-babies Jaws of the Lion edition).

If you're unfamiliar, then very briefly: it's a dungeon crawl in the form of a mildly randomized card puzzle, or vice versa. Generally you have your player characters, each with their own hand of cards, and a room or three full of monsters. Every turn you pick two cards and do the top action (e.g., Attack 3) from one and the bottom (e.g., Move 3) from another. Some cards can be gathered again, while others are lost for good; these tend to have more powerful abilities. Every time your hand gets low or runs out you rest to get them all back—except one, which you lose for good. In this manner your options become limited over time until you're too tired to continue and your character taps out (encounters can still be won by your teammates).

Also, instead of dice, each characters (and the monsters, collectively) use a deck of cards to modify their attacks. So that Attack 3 might get +1, or -2, or be doubled, or be a miss (the last two are just one per deck, and signal when your deck gets reshuffled). There are no defense dice. So the game is a fun, brain-burny exercise in stretching your cards as far as you can and defeating your enemies as efficiently as possible.

And it's on Tabletop Simulator and VASSAL, with the creator's blessing!

So I'd like to gauge interest in getting a TT party together. If you're into that idea, sign up here! Also, while each quest is limited to four players, the player party can take more, so people can drop in and out easily. If you miss a game, you can just show up for the next one. And different configurations of the group should be able to meet more or less often and play without the rest (if there's a lot of interest I'll probably put together a calendar where people can sign up for a planned run).

There are six starting characters (with more unlocked as you play) in the base game, plus four more from Jaws of the Lion. So let's say the initial cap for the party will be ten. Chime in below if you're interested. I'll post up a primer on the starting lineup and we'll figure out who's playing whom later on.

Signers-on:

1. Sarcasmorator
2. Mogri
3. jpfriction
4. aturtledoesbite
5. Purple
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Ill sign on.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Glad to see so much interest! It'll be a few days before I get things really organized for this, so in the meantime you all can find the rulebook here and any number of beginner's guides, like this one, or this one. I strongly encourage you to check them out!

Here's my very brief rundown of the starting lineup and what they are good at doing:

Gloomhaven
Brute: Melee tank, retaliation/damage, some conditions (Lucas)
Cragheart: Melee/ranged tank, terrain alteration, healing (Kalir)
Scoundrel: Damage, speed, multiple attacks (Purple)
Mindthief: Augments, action granting/forcing, conditions (liquid)
Tinkerer: AOE/multitarget damage, conditions, healing (jpfriction)
Spellweaver: AOE/multitarget damage, healing (Mogri)

Jaws of the Lion

Demolitionist: Damage, AOE; needs obstacles to destroy (aturtledoesbite)
Hatchet: Ranged damage, fast movement, some healing (Serephine)
Voidwarden: Healing, action granting/forcing, conditions (Nodal)
Redguard: Melee tank, multitarget damage, retaliation/shielding, pulling (Sarcasmorator)

Forgotten Circles

Diviner: Putting down rift tokens, doing stuff requiring rifts, teleportation, manipulating card decks (Thraeg)

And a rough ranking of how hard each class is to effectively play:

Easy
Brute, Scoundrel, Redguard, Hatchet

Moderate
Tinkerer, Cragheart, Demolitionist

Hard
Mindthief, Spellweaver, Voidwarden

Very Hard
Diviner

Feel free to call out whoever you want to play as, and I'll take whoever's left. If you've played before, consider a harder character. And keep in mind that only ONE character of each type can be in a party at any given time (no doubling up on Brutes), and they stay in the party until they are retired (more on that later).

Also, my plan here is for party play to be independent of me, specifically, or any other person, in general; once things are underway and everyone has the basics down and a setup that allows them to play, anyone in this group can schedule a game with anyone else at any time! So long as we don't have two groups attempting the same scenario at the same time, there shouldn't be any conflicts. Just keep track of things for the party and campaign as you go (I'm still figuring out the exact method we'll use for this). This naturally means that those who play more will have a strong influence on how the campaign progresses—there are various events and outcomes that are tracked as the party and players achieve particular goals and milestones, and some of them affect what future quests can be played, how much items cost, stuff like that.

The campaign itself doesn't really end, even though you could conceivably reach a point where all scenarios have been played. Instead, characters have individual goals, and once those are reached, they retire and the player starts a new character (of the same type or a new one, with some leveling up already accounted for so they're not far behind the group). New characters are unlocked as old ones retire, so if it goes on long enough we'll eventually have all 17 (+4) classes available, along with various other developments. Also, completed scenarios can always be replayed for gold and XP and fun, and you can generate randomized scenarios as well.
 
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Serephine

and a spark kindled carpet into flame, Blooming
(she/her)
Hatchet sounds like a good mix of beginner and something I sorta already do in mmos.

Also holy fucking shit that rule book is denser than lead...I knew it was complex but my GOD
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Also holy fucking shit that rule book is denser than lead...I knew it was complex but my GOD
Most of it you don't need to know all at once. The combat part is not too bad! But a lot of the campaign stuff gets tricky. And enhancement pricing, yikes.

The Hard class names speak to me. I'll take any of them.
I'll assign you the Spellweaver.

jpfriction: Tinkerer is not hard, just less straightforward than Scoundrel, and a support class. Big hand of cards too, so it takes a while to tire. If you'd rather have it instead, lmk.
 
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Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
So in investigating things it looks like the JotL characters might not be fully available for TTS? Just up to level 4? I'll check into it more but there might be a cap on how far those characters can go, at least for now.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Also holy fucking shit that rule book is denser than lead...I knew it was complex but my GOD
Really only one person at the table needs to have a good command of the full ruleset. Monster/companion AI in particular can be very complex and fiddly, with a lot of frustrating edge cases, but it just needs one person "at the wheel".

Other than that, the core driving mechanic of the whole game is elegant and simple. Pick a pair of cards, then pick their order. Then see everyone else reveal their cards, realize that you all fucked up, and try and optimize within the flexibility offered by being able to choose after the fact which top half and which bottom half you want to use.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Also the order only matters for player initiative. For example, say you pick cards that are numbered 22 and 66, and another player chooses 19 and 80. You each independently and without coordination decide which of those is your "lead" card (e.g., you go first at 22, and the other player goes second at 80, with enemy initiatives somewhere between 1 and 99), which determines who moves when. But once the cards are down you can use either half of them in either order. So while everything gets fucked up, if you pick your cards carefully you'll be able to adjust on the fly (hopefully) to your plan being ruined.

This has two main effects:
1. Makes it unusual to do exactly what you were hoping to do
2. When you DO get to do exactly what you were hoping to do, it's awesome
 
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Serephine

and a spark kindled carpet into flame, Blooming
(she/her)
So that's something else that blew my mind out of the back of my skull, you're not supposed to like plan out your turns in a cooperative vs the board style game? Fucking WHAT?! Like actually literally what, I thought the idea was to win?
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I mean, you're supposed to try to do that. Sometimes it'll even work! But because of the rules restricting what you can say to each other, plus the unknown/semi-random initiative of the various monsters, you're going to fuck it up. It's like Hanabi with wolves and dragons instead of fireworks.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
I'll scoundrel it up if that's still untaken?

Also I'd be shocked if there isn't SOME fan supplement squeezing every drop of content out of any given game and... back into its TTS counterpart. Usually in a frightening matryoshka doll of nested containers.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Oh no doubt, but I haven't ferreted it out yet. People seem remarkably willing to respect whatever boundaries Isaac Childres sets up.

Anyway, it takes a while to reach level 4, so it won't be an issue for some time. Worst case, we can proxy stuff for it, and I've got JotL so I can reveal all secrets.

So that's something else that blew my mind out of the back of my skull, you're not supposed to like plan out your turns in a cooperative vs the board style game? Fucking WHAT?! Like actually literally what, I thought the idea was to win?
The thing about GH is that sometimes it just kicks your ass and you need to try again. But when you try again, you know what's coming your way and you can strategize a little better. So go into it with that mindset and you'll have more fun. Each delve is pretty short — two or three rooms of enemies, usually you just have to kill them all. And you get to keep any XP and gold you earn during play, so if you hit a wall, eventually you'll level up as you keep dashing yourself against it. You can also just lower the difficulty of the encounter, and your end-of-scenario gold and XP bonus will fall accordingly.
 
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Lucas

So bad
(he/him/they)
On the one hand the voidwarden speaks to me but on the other hand I feel like I probably shouldn't try anything too complicated when I haven't even glanced at the rules yet so I'll take the Brute.
 
So that's something else that blew my mind out of the back of my skull, you're not supposed to like plan out your turns in a cooperative vs the board style game? Fucking WHAT?! Like actually literally what, I thought the idea was to win?
You plan out turns kind of. I E no saying Im going on 7 but yes to Im going really early. No to Im using Twin Attack but yes to Im planning on hitting these two guys.
 

Serephine

and a spark kindled carpet into flame, Blooming
(she/her)
That all makes sense, I was just shocked when I read that page of the book, it's a radical departure from what I'm used to, but I can dig it because presumably everyone is on the same page about how it works and is cognizant of the ramifications of playing like this.

So a random follow up question, how much RP'ing gets done in this game? It seems like quest goals and such encourage you to have some level of investment in your own storyline, do people RP in this really?
 
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