Our final send-off for the buddy headed to Zambia was Saturday. We played a couple games of Gloomhaven.
I think we’re five or six games in now. The first day of play we had two deaths (didn’t understand an essential death-avoidance rule), so this particular party has only been together for four games? I think? With one character absence jammed in there somewhere. I gotta say, at least for the four committed players, the game is marvelously flexible in accommodating everyone else. I’m even thinking about playing some solitaire so I can get some traction on my personal quest (I need to go through four Gloomhaven missions, we’ve only unlocked two of them).
My favorite bit of the game is also the part I hate the most: tuning my action deck for the adventure. I’m level 3 now so I have two additional action cards to choose from. So for my Mindthief, I think that’s a total of 17 cards that need to get winnowed down to a 12 card deck? I suspect I’m overthinking it, and can probably get away with a preferred build that stays the same from mission to mission.
The good part of the action deck building thing is that there are so many considerations. There are card synergies, of course. But every card also has an initiative number, and going all-late or all-early or even all-middling seems like a bad idea. And of course there are synergies across the party: can anyone use this darkness or wind or ice I’m generating? If I’m not going to summon a rat swarm is there anyone else who could use an out-of-initiative-order move?
And that’s why it’s also my most hated part, although “hate” is too strong: I’m never satisfied with my build. Never.
We have one character who’s very close to finishing out their personal quest: someone needs to kill uh… 15 or 20, can’t remember, “elite” units (they have yellow bases) and they’re one away as of Saturday. That’ll unlock our first box and allow for the first retirement, which in turn unlocks the Town Records book, which I think unlocks even more stuff. I’ve gotta say, coming off the big swingy exciting unlocks of Seafall, the legacy unlocking stuff in Gloomhaven feels slooooow. We’ve removed far more things than we’ve added, in terms of city and road event cards that are removed.
The game itself still feels slow too, but I think that’s because we’re being SUPER finesse-y about completing our missions, maximizing our loot, and hitting our battle goals for checks. Takes some fancy math, sometimes, to hit all three of those. It’s fine, no big. I guess I’d just say that any given day of Gloomhaven is much less dramatic than I was expecting. Like any dungeon-party game, it comes down to grinding.